This is the 125th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.
The PM, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 4th April 2013
Word count: 645
Life returned to normal slowly. The war, the insurgency, and the victory, they had taken months, but life after was slow.
It wasn’t hard for Doctor Hammersmith to understand why, everywhere you looked signs of the occupation stared you in the face. Empty homes, possibly from those that fled the cities not yet to return, most likely they were slaughtered.
Still life went on, and it was Doctor Hammersmith’s job as Prime Minister to make sure it did. Which was why this very day he was sat behind his desk at his office in York about to sign into law an order for mandatory service for everyone over the age of fourteen to apply for no more than ten years.
It was the most extreme law he had passed, but a nation in shock and mourning would not survive, life must go on.
“Margaret,” he called, and in moments the Prime Minister’s secretary popped her head round the door.
“Fetch me Cooper Sinclair,” he instructed her.
Minutes later the resistance leader for England arrived. He was a terrifying sight of a man, gnarled and worn by the bitter fight and numerous injuries, none of which had broken his resolve.
“How can I help?” he asked. Doctor Hammersmith knew this man just wanted to retire to a quiet life, the war may not have broken him, but the war was over he wanted to lick his wounds, and make what he could of a new life.
“Thank you for coming Cooper,” Doctor Hammersmith started, “I’ll cut right to the point, I need you to reestablish a police force, and it’s going to be tough, crime is rampant, and I’m just finishing a law that’s going to cause quite a bit of ill feeling. I need someone I can trust, and someone former resistance members might be willing to serve.”
“I’m honoured sir,” the war man said, “But the fights passed me. Maybe a younger man might be better.”
“You can have as many younger men in the chain of command, I don’t want you to fight, I want you to lead. The new police force needs someone decisive and strong, in the face of adversity they must not falter.”
“I’m a military man,” Cooper rose from his seat, “Hell I’m a militia man now. What do I know of murder, and drugs, and peace keeping.”
“We’ve got the best of the police force that’s left to help you out with that stuff,” the Prime Minister said, “Besides peace has it’s own insurgency. Criminal gangs are forming, they think they can get away with anything. The army is focused on rebuilding defences, and the criminals know it. I need then smashed. I know as long as there are laws there will be law breakers, but criminal gangs can’t be allowed to find power, or it’ll all collapse. Do you understand?”
“Yes, I think so,” Cooper said, “So I’ll do it, for two years. I’ll set you up an army of the interior, and we’ll wage war on criminals, though many of them might have been friends and comrades from the war. Then your on your own, after two years it’ll need reforming without penalising what came before.”
“I know, and two years is good enough,” the Prime Minister said.
“I’ll need resources, weapons, gear, and authority,” Cooper said.
“You’ll have it,” Doctor Hammersmith said, “Meet with the force commanders I’ve lined up and work out what you need.”
Cooper got up from his chair again, this time he saluted, pivoted and left.
“Good luck my friend,” the Prime Minister said after him. That was probably the easiest request of the door, now he needed to find zero National Workmaster to oversee the placement, and the enforcement of work for twenty million people. It would be the most unpopular position in England, after the Prime Minister.