Shrove Tuesday at the Peterson’s

It was Shrove Tuesday, and England and Wales were on the verge of war.

It began with the discovery that the bluestones at Stonehenge had originally come from a older stone circle in Wales.

The First Minster of Wales said in a speech that the discovery showed yet another example of the English taking things from other countries that didn’t belong to them and claiming them for themselves, and suggested that the English government did the right thing and return the stones to their rightful place in Wales.

The Prime Minister, unsurprisingly, made the situation worse by saying that no, they weren’t going to return the stones to Wales because A. it seemed likely that the stones were moved by the people who built it who were moving to Salisbury Plain and B. whatever happened happened over 2000 years ago and therefore was none of their concern.

He then suggested that the First Minister shove his proposition up his arse, buggar off, and eat a nice Leek Stew.

English-Welsh relations had been tense ever since.

“Oh, God,” groaned Dave Peterson as he dug into his pancakes whilst listening to the situation unfold over the news on the radio.

“Shall I get the nooses ready, dear?” Sarah Peterson asked her husband, only semi-ironically.

“It’s not that bad, at least not yet,” Dave replied before taking another bite into his pancake that, as delicious as it was, was not enough to distract him from the disaster that was the UK government.

“Just to think, we actually had the chance to get rid of these clowns,” Dave said after a while.

“Yeah. Still, at least we’re not picking at granite in the Gulag,” Sarah said reassuringly.

“Yeah, I guess,” Dave replied.

After a few moments silence, Sarah decided to seize the opportunity to ask her husband about an unusual item she’d spotted in the living room.

“I saw a Cat-O-Nine-Tails in the living room and I wondered why it was there,” Sarah said.

“Oh, that. Yeah, I bought it.” Dave replied casually.

“Why?” Sarah asked. “Will and Eleanor have been as good as gold as they always are.”

“I’m not whipping them, no.” Dave responded. “It’s me I’m going to whip. The PCC have agreed to flagellate ourselves on behalf of humanity for Lent.”

“But why?” Sarah asked, as intrigued as she was shocked.

“Because we felt it was a reasonable compromise between John’s charity bake sale and Simon’s Passion Play with real crucifixion,” Dave answered calmly.

“Real crucifixion?!” Sarah exclaimed.

“Yeah. Simon wanted to be nailed to a cross in the graveyard and left there until Easter Sunday when he would be let down in time for the Easter service. Me and John were going to do the nailing.”

“With hammers?” Sarah asked.

“No, with drills,” Dave replied nonchalantly.

“Drills?” Sarah asked.

“Yeah. But we decided against it after we realised that Simon would quite possibly die and we really didn’t have time to have an interregnum on top of everything else, plus Simon would be dead,” Dave responded.

Sarah was stunned into silence, before saying “so you’re going to flagellate yourself instead?”

“Yeah, it will be like the advent candles. On the first day of Lent, I shall whip myself once, the next day I will whip myself twice, the next day; three times, and so on and so forth until the very last day when I will whip myself forty times,” Dave explained offhandedly.

“So you’re going to whip yourself 820 times?” Sarah asked.

“Yeah, seems about right,” Dave replied.

“Is Simon ok?” Sarah asked, concerned for the vicar’s welfare.

“Yeah, I’m sure he’s fine,” Dave said, “well, I think the state of the world may be getting to his head, but apart from that I’m sure he’s fine.”

Sarah did not know how to respond, so she simply hummed and finished her pancake in silence.

After a while, Dave and Sarah sat silently next to each other in their living room; Dave talking to his Banana colleagues, Sarah writing a Guardian article about the Stonehenge situation and where the English government goes from here, if anywhere.

The Cat-O-Nine tails was safely in Dave’s bedside cabinet, ready for Thursday.

After a while, Dave looked at the clock on his laptop. He then muted himself, turned to his wife and said, “are you teaching the kids Algebra or should I?”

Wanting any opportunity to forget about the Prime Minister’s existence, Sarah sighed, said “I’ll do it,” and walked up to the children’s bedrooms.

And so Dave Peterson talked to his colleagues over Zoom, as the country continued to slowly descend into chaos.

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