Three years and nine months until takeover
“So…” Em took a swig of her cider, and gave me a searching kind of look. “How’s it going, so far?”
It was our first time meeting up outside work since I started the job. Em looked different in jeans and trainers. Softer, maybe, but only a little bit. We sat in a booth, with enough privacy and enough background noise to talk openly, albeit quietly.
“Okay, I think.”
Everything I’d seen and heard and done in the past month hung in the air between us. I drank half my pint of Carling in one go, then put down the glass and said “So Bossman literally wants to take over the world.”
I shook my head in bemusement. “D’you think it’ll actually work?”
“No. There’s never been a king of the world, even when the world was only a few cavemen. And now it’s billions of people.”
“Some people have come close though, like ruled huge empires.”
She shrugged, as if she were not overly concerned by these people. I was beginning to realise that she rarely wasted words.
“What do you think is gonna happen then? Will he get bored, and like … decide to do something else? Or will it all go tits up?”
“Definitely tits up.”
Em muttered “Hell’s teeth,” which she had done on two previous occasions when I asked too many questions. She seemed to give this one some serious thought, though. Her forehead furrowed like a ploughed field. “TV broadcast,” she said. “It could go tits up at any point, but if I were a betting woman, I’d put my money on the TV broadcast. Y’know, when he’s going to interrupt the news and address the nation and all that.”
“You don’t think it’ll work?”
“He’ll get past security. He’ll get his fifteen minutes of fame. But he’ll end up in a secure psychiatric unit.”
“And what about us? Where are we gonna end up?”
“I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna end up buying a nice bit of land in the middle of nowhere and keeping horses.”
So Em wasn’t in it for the long haul. She had an escape plan. Before I could ask her for any details, she said “What would you change, if you ruled the world?”
“I dunno. I s’pose I’d just make everything bigger.”
When I went to bed that night, I gave the question some more thought but couldn’t decide on anything else to change. I didn’t really understand economics or politics, and the environment seemed fucked whichever way I looked at it. So the only thing I was sure of was that I would make everything more suited to people my size. Door frames would be higher. Cars would be roomier. I would re-shape the world to fit me.
I began to wonder if this was basically what Bossman was trying to do. His brain worked differently to most people’s brains, that much was obvious. Maybe he was trying to change the world so it would finally make sense to him. Not such a weird thing to do, really. Probably lots of people try to do exactly that, and it was only Bossman’s past – some odd combination of privilege and power and bone-deep loneliness – that made him think the most obvious way to change the world was to rule it.