In Defence of the Realm

Chapter 13

Thankfully I was so exhausted by the time I got home sleep came immediately; none of the previous evening’s surprises keeping me awake.

But now I was up, stuff I hadn’t asked Jacob about was buzzing around my head; what was the journey he’d spoken about? What preparation did I need? In fact, why did I need any preparation? I hadn’t agreed to anything… I don’t think.

“Oh my word,” I sighed out loud to myself. How had I got here? Everything seemed so unreal… in fact everything was bloody unreal.

Then it dawned on me: The last three months had all been a stupid trick. I don’t know why, or the purpose. But, for sure, I’d been duped.

The whole thing a laugh at my expense; but the people at Markent’s had seemed so genuine; especially Mr Brizelthwaite.

But if it was a complex joke then that would explain why Jacob had his special letters that no one was allowed to see; the whole scenario designed to catch out an ex-army guy who, through his training, had to be observant.

The more I mulled over the details of my employment, the more it became apparent that, for one reason or another, a nasty insidious joke had been played on me.

“YOU BASTARDS,” I yelled at the top of my voice.

I’d heard of this, army personnel after demob having the piss taken out of them; no respect for the fact they’d laid their lives on the line for the country.

No dots would connect up in my head to provide a reason for this – just the certain knowledge it happened, there, ready to grasp and embrace.

I felt destroyed. They’d done it to me, and I’d been caught out. What a complete fool I’d been: what a complete fool I was. A survivor of Afghanistan; a person who’d stopped atrocities being enacted in the UK and a person who’d committed, in civvy town, to help those around him – everything being thrown back in my face.

I decided enough was enough; the joke stopped here. I took the writing pad from the bookshelf in my lounge, placed it on the coffee table and considered how I would phrase my resignation.

It had to be poignant; it had to crush the reader just as their sick joke had crushed me. But I couldn’t be vitriolic; that would show they’d won. Any words I wrote had to perform like the motions of a surgeon’s scalpel; dignified, precise and thoughtful.


I looked at the pad then looked at the clock; the clock had moved on, but the pad remained blank, even after all these hours. It was twelve forty-five Sunday morning.

It really bugged me; in my head I knew all the things I wanted to say, but none of them complied with the principles I needed to follow if they were not to get the better of me.

I wrote the word ‘You’ then put the pen down. I checked the clock again – 1 a.m. ‘This’ll teach you,’ I thought knowing my presence would never grace the Markent’s post room ever again.