Willing Participants


“This here is what I got,” the man said. “Old London Underground double-decker.”

“What’s it run on?” asked the other.

“Petrol,” said the man. “It ain’t been converted.”

“No good to me that way,” answered the other. “There hasn’t been any petrol for months.”

The man looked wise. “Oh, it’s to be had– for a price.”

“Not interested,” said the other. “This has to be strictly by the book.”

“You mind if I ask what it’s about?” asked the man.

The other looked uncomfortable, then shrugged. “Can you keep it under your hat?”

The man nodded.

“Government is starting up the Quietus again.”

“No! Really?”

The other nodded.

“I thought they’d given up on all that, considering how badly the last few times went. I read about Bexhill in the paper. People screaming on the boats and all, you know.”

“They’ve worked all that out. Only willing participants this time. They sign a pledge and everything.”

The man nodded. “I guess I can see it. Things is a lot worse than they was two years ago. I can see why they’d want to take that way out. Hell, I might myself before too long. You never know.”



This is written with a debt to P.D. James’ Children of Men, a great read.

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