Evening Thoughts


Am I talking too loudly again ? Just say if I am, but I've been through a bit of difficulty recently, and I'm not quite myself. I mean I'm not who I was designed to be. Yes it is a nice design, isn't it ? From General Northern, their 'Bennett Old-Fashioned' model, but I customised it myself. I had a FrankCapra© originally, but I found that - well - a teensy bit American if you know what I mean. Mother and I are great believers in buying British when we can. Well, of course, we're the generation brought up to that, they were very hot on it in the years after we left the EU and we had all that trouble with the Scots going. Good riddance, I say - oh, you're not ? No, of course you wouldn't be, being bla- looking so -er - distinguished. No, the Americans may have all the big name Personality Designers, but that's just fashion, isn't it ? Give me a good solid British personality any day. And I added all the hobbies and other little touches myself - did I tell you I collect ? Of course my daughter Diana helped, she always had a flair for it, we hoped she might go on to be a Designer herself . . .

No, I'm sorry. I'll be quite all right in a minute. I wonder, could you - my hands are shaking and I can't quite . . . yes, the green ones. No, the other green ones - 'Pãnaway, for the crisis in your life'. Only over-the-counter stuff, not quite strong enough really, but I've got an appointment at the clinic tomorrow.

That's a bit better. Yes, very quick acting these new dermal patches. Isn't it wonderful what they can do now ? Oh you don't ? Where was it you said you came from ? Oh, well, I expect you're too busy trying to feed all those people . . . Do you really ? And you come here to lecture ? Well, there's a turn-up for the books. You must be quite an expert if they ask you here to lecture - after all, our system's the envy of the world. Oh, I'm sorry, did something catch in your throat ? Thought you were going to choke there for a minute.

Of course, having the drugs makes such a difference. Things have never been better, here. I can remember before it all came in, and this country was in a sorry state, I can tell you. People blamed the Government, but then some people always will. I mean I don't vote myself, but they've been in power for sixty-four years so they must be doing something right, mustn't they ? People said the same things when the Health Service was abolished, but you know, the Government was quite right, a lot of the illness was in peoples' minds, and properly designed personalities have put paid to all that. And there's hundreds of charity clinics, and the church medical centres for the poor people. So we rub along all right, despite what the moaning minnies say.

Sorry, was I shouting again ? Just say. No, I love this country, I do. It's such a nice place now. Nice, that's the word. The people are nice, everything runs nice and smoothly - except these buses, ha ha. I'm afraid the potholes on these secondary roads don't do their suspension any good. By car ? Oh, yes, we have one, change it every two years. A little electric runabout, but it's got so expensive to use the motorway lanes that I come by bus when I'm going this far. You have to wait a bit, but it's much cheaper.

No, I was in town for - some personal business actually. Our daughter just passed her exams, you know. Did very well. Bright girl, Diana, not like her old dad. She used to say I had a shabby, comfortable old personality like a pair of trodden-down old slippers . . . No, I'm all right, really, that Pãnaway is kicking in nicely. Oh, your hanky, that's very kind, if you give me your address I'll get Mother to launder it and send it on. No, really, it's no . . . well, if you're sure.

Did we celebrate ? Yes, of course. I had a bottle of champagne - the real stuff, not British sparkling grape concentrate. Had a bit of a windfall on the lottery a few years ago, and I bought a case - my goodness can they charge for that stuff ! I suppose it's all the duty they put on EU imports. Actually, I don't mind telling you, it wasn't very nice - sort of sharp - but you have to do these things properly. We were going to have a party for her, but she said no, she was sixteen and she wanted to go to the rave with her friends.

Well, yes, I suppose so. That's teenagers for you, although I thought it was a bit ungrateful. Still, you can't expect every little thing to be ironed out of their personality at that age, can you ? But how they could, how they could . . .

Oh dear, I'm terribly sorry. Now I've upset that woman over there and she's moved seats. This isn't like me at all, you know, a grown man and carrying on like this. What happened ? No, I don't mind talking about it. Actually, the specialist said it might help, until they can get me sorted out properly.

Well, she said she'd be back by midnight at the latest. Of course, it was quite safe, we don't have the sort of crime you get in your countries - oh, I read about it the Herald, that's my netpaper. You know, posts the news on the home comp each morning. Only the nice things, of course - I can't think why anyone would want their morning all upset by having the computer select all sorts of unpleasantness to read about. Well, we used to have that sort of crime, but as I say, this is a nice country. That's why I just can't understand it. How could she take illegal drugs, when everything in her life was so nice ?

Yes, I'm, afraid that's what it was. The police doctor explained it to me. Seemingly there's a bit of a fad among the young people at the moment for this stuff, terrrible stuff. Doom, they call it. Oh, no, nothing like that, not an addictive drug, no-one takes those any more do they ? Do they really ? Well they don't here. Just this filthy . . . No, I mustn't get angry. that wouldn't be nice. But when I think of that doom-monger going round handing out that muck to nice young kids it upsets me, it really does.

Well it's a personality drug, don't you see. Just like Positiv, and Kalmankool, and Go-plus, and all the other decent, useful drugs we use. But it works the other way. That's what they were doing, my daughter and her friends, wallowing in depression and misery and God-knows-what. I just can't understand it, can you ? I mean she had everything, we always gave her the best personality we could afford - I mean the memory boosters for her exams alone cost a small fortune. So why did she want to be unhappy, eh? Tell me that ! Tell me why ?

Oh, look, I'm terribly sorry, I didn't mean to grab hold of you like that, and you've been so kind. I - well, it's just been awful the last few days. She killed herself, you see. She took Doom, and she made herself so unhappy she killed herself. Jumped off the bridge into the river. They say she was shouting something, something about how she didn't want to live in this miserable, shabby country full of losers - I mean, wild, silly stuff - the drug talking I suppose - oh, I don't know, I just don't want to think about it any more.

No you're right. Sad things do happen in the world, and we mustn't dwell on them. Yes, perhaps some small good will come of it. Mother has given away all Diana's clothes and stuff, so some poor person will get the benefit of those. And - and . . . Well. Someone will get the benefit.

Time, you say. Well, I dare say that's so, but we don't have to leave it to quite such old-fashioned methods. No, Mother and I are agreed on what's to be done for the best. The clinic has been booked for tomorrow, and it's Doctor Stevens, ever such a nice man and so talented at his job. Expensive, mind, but we had a bit put away over the years, and you have to pay if you want the best, don't you ?

No, by the time we come out tomorrow, his clever little machines will have wiped away all the memories of her, from the time she was a baby. Mother's terribly upset about that - well I am myself - but Diana - well, she wouldn't have wanted us to go on feeling like this. We'll have to forget that we ever had a daughter. We have to make it that she never existed. We have to, you see. You do understand that ?

After all, everyone has a right to be happy, don't they ?

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