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At The Governor's

Duncan bombed down the road and swore as he slammed on the brakes.

Farmers protesting on the road again, he tried not to let that distract him and ducked to avoid being noticed in the queue. He knew what they were saying. He had heard it before. He would hear it again, only with increasing frequency.

Pickets or not he was late. He floored the accelerator again.

His com was down and he hadn't seen a public com for miles. He could have sworn there had been public coms in this area when he came by last month. In fact he knew there were. Must find out why they have been removed. He had sent a screen message to the Governor but he hadn't received confirmation from him. He'd also sent a query to Vision, the main com provider in the area. They'd sent a message back saying there had never been corns in this area. He must make enquiries in the office, not good for a highway like this to be without corns. He was sure there had been corns.

“Five minutes to destination," chimed the terminal.

The car steered onto a private track. Plumes of brown fine dust flew up behind the speeding machine. Duncan straightened his tie and tried to think of an excuse for his absent wife. He couldn't think of one. He felt confused about it all. Still no good now. Damage done. Half of him told him that he had done the right thing. The other half chastised him for being childish. But he felt betrayed. Had his wife tried to help? Either way he felt guilty for chucking his wife out of the car. But what was she up to, what did she know?

Duncan nurtured the glass of whiskey in his hand. 'Beautiful smell,' he thought to himself as he watched the twinkling lights on the console.

No one on the road, just more fields. The tenebrous clouds plumed high into the sky in the distance.

'Big storm coming, ' mused Duncan.

The car veered slightly and the large iron gates, which marked the entrance to the governor’s land, came into view. The entire area was fenced off by a low brick wall. Discrete video units, unerring sentries guarded the property silently. As Duncan approached the gates swung open. He felt the car decelerate, the whine of the engine gently dimming to a low droning noise.

“Never usually open straight up, I really am late," murmured Duncan.

As Duncan entered the long drive its long green lawns turned into a small golf course. The Governor nearly always let guests play on his course at the weekend. Not a soul about.

The house came into view .It was a mongrel: Gothic, Norman, Georgian, Chromium, with crenellations and turrets.

No maids, no staff no one about. Drawn curtains. Duncan switched off the ignition. Thunder boomed in the distance.

Duncan went up to the 'castle' door and knocked. He could hear the echo resounding within the building. He checked his tie again.

A bee buzzed nervously at his side, stealing nectar from a small scented rose in a Roman urn next to him.

'I thought I had bad taste, but this place always makes me feel better,' In spite of himself his mind was chattering.

Duncan hammered on the huge black knocker. Its iron figurine lion stared at him lifelessly.

Duncan span around impatiently looking for clues.

The tee off was a few metres from house's entrance. Little fresh turfs were scattered in front of it and there were fresh golf shoe prints. A lone golf ball stood on top of a tee. A good golf ball too.

If there is a choice between a com and a door knocker, you were always expected to use the knocker. That was one of the only finer pieces of etiquette that his mother had ever taught him. He was not sure it was true, but he had always stuck to it. Duncan decided to be impolite.

“Hello," said a neutral voice, with a timbre.

“Hello, hi, its Duncan Anderton here," Duncan chirped, relieved to find someone at home.

“Can I help you?" the voice droned indifferently.

“Well, I hope so, could you tell the Governor that Duncan has arrived to see him."

“I don't think we knew you were coming," said the voice flatly. "Oh," said Duncan, somewhat deflated.

“Well, could I speak to the Governor please?"

"I am the Governor," said the voice flatly.

Duncan stood for a moment confused. The voice watched him. "Er, since when was that exactly?" said Duncan politely.

“Since this morning, I was installed “s Governor of the state this morning."

“Well, where is Dwayne?" asked Duncan somewhat uneasily. "He has moved," replied the voice.

“Oh," said Duncan.

“May I ask where he has moved to?" "He did not leave an address."

“Well could you let him know that I would like to keep in touch then?" "I will let him know if he calls,"

“Well, may I introduce myself? I am Duncan Anderton. I am the Mayor of… "

“I know who you are, I am acquainted with your history," said the voice.

Duncan scratched his ear.

“Well, it would be nice to make your acquaintance."

"Yes." said the voice.

“You see I have some things to discuss with you regarding Hertferd. They are quite important.

"Mr. Anderton, I am a little busy right now. I am trying to deal with the situation with the pickets you saw on the highway. I do not mean to be rude but now is not a convenient time. We can communicate via screen if you wish. It is quicker. I do not mean to waste your time."

“Oh," said Duncan with a forced smile.

“Well may I have the pleasure of knowing who I am speaking to?" "The Governor," replied the Governor.

“Err...your name I mean?"

There was a pause. Duncan felt very awkward, he felt like he had asked for personal details of this guy's sex life or something.

“Er.. We are having a drinks party over at my place next weekend you must come over, it would be good for you to get to know people over in Hertferd."

“Yes, that would be good," said the Governor, "I will reply to your invitation in due course."

“Right then, guess I had better be off then, swell to talk to you." "Yes."

The com made a pipping noise as it disconnected.

Loud thunder, count the seconds, just four miles away. Suddenly heavy rain started, jiggling the gravel around.

Duncan pulled the jacket up over the top of his head and dived towards the car, its door hissed. He sat down and typed a message into the screen to his parents at [email protected] Not his day for finding people in.

“Er, Hertferd please."

“Prepare to depart," the Southern voice cooed.

As he sped away from the house he could see chinks of light emerging from behind the large curtains upstairs. It was clichéd, but he felt he was being watched. A camera span on its pedestal as his car boomed by.

Duncan was not one for getting the spooks but he was spooked. There was something palpably wrong. The new Governor was quite un-American and he had an east coast accent, just a hint of it, educated east coast but he just sounded so flat.

Life was going to get very complicated from now on. For all Duncan's slight mistrust of Dwayne, Dwayne nearly always helped him out politically, this guy, well it took a while to build rapport with people, but this guy was like ice.

As days go, today had been disconcerting and shitty. And then it hit him: that Sunday night feeling, and on top of that he was going to be returning home to a nest of asps. The women in the house would be about to give him a hard time.

"Shit! Its Monday tomorrow and no Sunday night sex!" he bleated.

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