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Bob Short

Of the Chancellor's fall from grace, much has been written. Column inch after column inch of innuendo, both spurious and otherwise. Personally, I would have thought that, in this instance, the truth needed little embroidering but you know what the press are like. Then there are the rumours doing the rounds like bad demo tapes. A story just isn't a story without a few artistic flourishes. It was a nice touch but, really, there was no hamster bound in cellotape. Fiction. Well, think about it. What sort of life expectancy would you give a rodent in that position? What would be the point?

You're obviously the kind of punter who wants the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the said truth. Well, this must be your lucky day because I'm the fellow with all the facts at his disposal. Pull up a pew and I'll tell you all about it. Now don't be tight with that bottle, son. I'm a little parched and the telling will come a whole lot easier after a little lubrication.

The suit was tight. I could stick a very or two in there by way of adjectives to illustrate my point but you get the picture. I know, you might say it was meant to be tight; a full rubber body suit complete with face mask, gloves, the works. Top to bleeding tail with only the slightest hint of gauze around the mouth to facilitate breathing. The trouble was there's tight and there's tight and I'm sure the suit's designer didn't really have the living incarnation of the Michelin Man in mind when he made the damn thing. He would have triple sewn the seams if he had.

In retrospect, it's easy to say that the guy should have bought a size to fit but you know how these things work out, especially when you're the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the last place you want to be caught dead in is a shop called "Fetishes'R'Us". You're the guy who is supposed to be looking after Her Majesty's readies after all. It really wouldn't be good form.

The guy on the counter could have said something like "No way are you like gonna squeeze into that suit blimp man". But feelings would have been hurt and the guy would have missed his commission and you and me both know what that means in this big bad world of ours.

The assistant sighed as he looked up from his comic book and muttered something about one size fitting all. It's his job to avoid conversation with the customers; to keep a discreet distance. Everything on sale is shrink wrapped to discourage further investigation. It was mystery as much as anything that was on sale. It was part of the service and was included in the bill accordingly. The customer could take it or leave it.

Besides, let's face it, they're hardly going to let you try something like that on in the shop are they -- even at £350. I don't have to draw a picture for you, do I? Would you want the job of sponging away all those nasty little accidents that would inevitably occur?

But let's return to the star of our show. Despite the fact that he was five foot five inches tall and weighed close to eighteen stone (of which only the barest minimum was muscle), Sir Paul had got himself so worked up over the idea of the suit that he was happy to accept the till jockey's half hearted assurances. I guess it was love at first sight. There was no way on God's good earth that he would leave that beauty behind to be manhandled by some stinking old pervert. Or, should I say, some other stinking old pervert. Before you could say "don't leave home without it", Sir Paul had flashed the plastic and scurried out into the Soho night.

He clutched the packet tightly to his breast, completely consumed by the desire to play with his shiny new toy. The only trouble was that this was the kind of toy he couldn't take home. What would Mrs Sir Paul say?

From what I can make out, there hadn't been a whole lot of horizontal action going on in the marital bed. Despite all those stand-by-your-man photo sessions, I think I'm fairly safe in saying that you would need to provide a pretty large barge pole if you wanted her to touch her beloved husband. You kind of catch this look in her eye in those photos. Am I right?

Sir Paul did what Sir Paul generally did in these circumstances. I'm not going to take a moral stance here. I'm just your friend and narrator after all. If you've been paying any kind of attention here, you've already worked out that our Paulie is a major league sleazebag. What do you think he did? Right. He procured the services of a young lady and took her to the nearest hotel.

This is where the fun really started. For those of you whose interest in rubber is restricted to radial tyres and hot water bottles, it may help if I tell you that rubber clothing is not the easiest thing to put on. Think about the last time you used a condom and then multiply that by the rest of your body. Even a slim person has to break out copious amounts of talcum powder if he or she wants to get into costume. Sir Paul needed more than a bit of talc. He needed a bloody miracle.

The mechanics of getting the garment on involved turning it inside out and rolling it on. This had the result of creating a hideous roll of flab in the path of the oncoming rubber like that gush of air that hits you just before the tube train comes out of the tunnel. A pressure wave, I think they call it. Though this was more of your pressure Tsunami.

The further the garment was pulled up, the more the bulge swelled and the harder the task became. My, it wasn't a pretty sight. The girl wasn't naive. She'd seen a lot despite her youth. But this. This was something special. She was gonna be up for an Academy award if she could keep her face straight through this.

It took Sir Paul twenty seven minutes just to get his legs and gut into the suit. Now, that's a lot of time to spend watching someone get dressed but, if you'd been watching, I guarantee you would have been entertained. Hell, you wouldn't have been able to stop laughing. Not for a second. Even though your sides protested and the tears rolled down your cheeks. Man, was it funny.

The poor guy was sweating something awful. This was the most he'd done by way of physical activity in the last seventeen years. His face had taken on the strangled hue of a ripe tomato, his breathing was short and rapid and yet he persevered. Here was a man with a mission.

The arms and upper torso presented an easier proposition and, with the girl's assistance, it wasn't too long before all sight of flesh disappeared. The final task that needed to be completed was the securing of the back of the suit. This involved an assortment of press clips and buckles and the lacing up of an arrangement not unlike one of those old style corsets.

Sir Paul could hardly move and so, before the back could be done up, the girl had to roll him over physically on the bed. Easier said than done. Have you ever seen a beached whale? Well, say no more. This was the kind of job that needed a block and tackle.

Oh, the girl got him over all right but, in doing so, the fat bastard ended up on the very edge of the bed. Now hold that thought. You and I both know that he's going to end up sailing right over the edge of that bed. There's just too much potential energy stored up in the system for things not to go all kinetic on us. Eighteen stone of barely contained blubber on the edge of a precipice. I mean, it's an accident just asking to happen.

Now that he was rolled over, the girl climbed on top of his back to finish the job. The thing was, she had to get her knee in there if she was gonna pull those drawstrings on that corset back good and tight.

So picture the scene. A big fat man wrapped up in black rubber. A girl kneeling on his back, pulling hard on two lengths of cord. Imagine Sir Paul all hot and bothered in his shiny new suit. Imagine the excitement he feels as the girl mounts him. He tries to hold back the inevitable but his groin is pressed hard against the rubber of the costume. All it would take is the girl to shift her weight, to lean back on to his buttocks and then it just had to happen.

There she goes, pulling back on those strings. Leaning right back. Oh yes, that had to do it.

He twitches involuntarily as he comes and that's the straw that breaks the proverbial. Half a second later and we've got the closing scene out of Moby Dick with the girl playing Ahab to his whale. He plunges off of the bed and into the depths. She holds on for all she's worth, clamping her thighs hard around his bulk and gripping the reins tight.

There's this dull, squelchy kind of thud when he hits the carpeted floor with minimal finesse. He sort of lays there, effing and blinding fit to burst. Now the girl, quite rightly, takes offence at some of the muffled remarks spewing out of the rubber suit's gauze vent. She wasn't being paid enough to put up with that kind of nonsense. A lot of the shit he was coming out with was of a personal nature, you understand. The sort of stuff that only an old style patriarch with an Oxford education would still have the affront to utter in these more liberal times.

She helped herself to the contents of his wallet, including his selection of plastic cards. She got her stuff together and left him to mumble helplessly from the confines of his second skin. He should count himself lucky that she didn't give him the kicking he so richly deserved. If it hadn't been for the mistaken belief that he'd get off on it, she probably would have.

Now you're asking yourself why he didn't stop her. The thing was, he couldn't. Now that the corset was tied (and she'd done an excellent job making sure that it was), he was totally immobile. Oh, he could wiggle about a bit but that was about it. Without assistance, he wasn't going to get that suit off. There was no way he was going to get to the door with it on. Considering the way he was dressed, I'm not sure he was all that eager to wiggle his way over to the door, anyway. He was, basically, stuck.

I'm not saying he didn't try to do the old Houdini bit and get the fuck out of there. That was his one hope in hell. He squirmed and struggled but, let's face it, the guy was a fat bastard. He was going nowhere.

And that's how the chamber maid found him the next morning. She gave the door one of those tentative little knocks that chamber maids do and, seeing as there was no response, she bundled in. She didn't see him at first but, when she did, I guess she must have thought he was dead or something coz she threw a bit of a wobbly. Her screams drew a crowd like shit draws flies.

You ever watch wrestling on TV? You know how they've got all those masked bad guys? From time to time, one of the good guys unmasks one of the baddies and the crowd is always shocked coz the guy under the hood is someone they thought was a goodie. Well, that's what it was like in the room. Everyone was wondering who the fuck it was in the suit. There was no reason to believe they'd know him, even if the mask was pulled off but when the hood came off...

Well, you can imagine the comments.

"Fuckin' hell! It's old wotsisname. The bleedin' guy on the telly."

"It never is."

"Bloody MPs. All perverts, the lot of 'em."

Their chatter was accompanied by the lightening flash of photography, that terrible second caught again and again for posterity. The guy with the camera was this weazley little bloke from Sheffield; the sort of fella you don't see much of these days now that childhood nutrition has improved. He was clicking away merrily on this little instamatic jobbie, a look in his eyes like a shopkeeper's till.

Even at this point, I still think Sir Paul could have escaped this predicament. When you think about it, if he denied everything, what would anyone have said. Treasurer in Rubber Suit Fiasco! Knights in Black Rubber! I doubt it. The photos were lousy, anyway. All camera shake and poorly lit. He was unrecognisable, his face an overexposed white smear in the black void of the suit. The photographer could have claimed his picture was a UFO sighting and his story would have been equally believable.

Besides, if things really got dubious, he could of served an injunction or two, slapped a writ here and there, whatever the legal jargon is. The papers would have gutted out. A lawsuit defended by such unfocused evidence could only carry in the plaintiff‚s favour.

The thing was, he didn't stay cool, did he? The guy freaked. He tried to get at the camera man but, as he was still bound up in that silly suit, he wasn't having a whole lot of luck. With all of that activity, the heart attack (mild as it was) shouldn't have come as too much of shock for a guy shaped like him. It did though. Shook him up real bad.

Fat guy, bawling on the floor, looking a pretty ignoble death square in the eye. People have this thing whereby they think that, if they're going to die at all, it's going to be in their own beds aged one hundred and three. I guess the reality must hit you pretty hard. Do you know how many people die trying to take a dump? It doesn't bear thinking about.

Of course, he wasn't dying (except maybe in the political sense). The fat bloke was going to have years and years left to live this little fiasco down.

If he thought going through the hotel lobby on a stretcher was bad, the ambulance ride was worse. You would have thought that all their Christmases had come at once just to listen to the giggles of the crew as mobile phones were drawn from pockets. One might think such conduct unprofessional but, then again, this was the guy who had frozen their salaries three years in a row when he was Secretary of State for Health. They were probably just experiencing something akin to the Rapture, having taken this as a sign that there was indeed a just and benevolent God up there somewhere.

The press were ready at the hospital. I don't know how those guys get on to something like this so quickly. I mean, they seem to have the pack instinct of wolves. Surely, they can't all have friends who drive ambulances.

The heart attack, however, had turned the whole damn thing into a big time news item. One there was no getting out of. The photos were in the public interest now. Any writ was going to be about as effective as shovelling sand with a pitchfork.

Now, I don't know if there's a moral in all this. Sometimes a story seems like it needs a moral to bring it to an end. There's a fair few things I could point at and say you shouldn't oughta be doin' that sort of stuff. Don't fuck around. If you're gonna fuck around, don't go doing anything kinky. Bollocks to that. Asking people not to fuck around is like asking lions to lay down with the bloody lambs and turn vegan. And you know I'm hardly a saint myself.

The moral could be that you shouldn't get caught but that's really up to others and not to you. There's those old warhorses about climbing too high and having feet of clay and the like. I don't know, there's something a bit dodgy in the logic with those. They sort of make out that it ain't worth trying to do nothing. That may, of course, be true but it is a little on the pessimistic side. And, as these events testify, life is too fucking funny to go off and start being all pessimistic.

Well that's that then. I guess this is just gonna have to be one of those amoral tales you hear so much about these days because, all I can say to finish this story is that it couldn't have happened to a nicer fellow. And with that, I bid you goodnight.


Bob Short claims he has not only heard the chimes at midnight, he has stayed up past dawn to hear them again the next time around. Before being old enough to drink, he haunted Sydney's beer barns with proto punk band Filth. Later on, he gained some notoriety in the UK with the band Blood and Roses when he was described as everything from a "shambolic messiah" to a "long, tall streak of piss". He has been a DJ and worked in a sex shop, the civil service and as Musical Director for a theatre company. He claims the only thing ever to surprise him was seeing his thirtieth birthday. Currently, he lives in exile in the penal colonies of New South Wales with his son, Billy. There he makes low budget films such as Makers of the Dead, Kings' Cross Vampires, Lone Gunman Theory and Bad Animals. He is also working on a novel entitled Red.

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