On Not Being Winston Churchill…

“What’s your full name?” the main man asked. 

I thought him to be the main man because he was the one to ask whilst the others nervously pushed together in an attempt to allow him his rightful share of the space. He had grown accustomed to such reverenced for his authority and he moved around his little stage as if it was the first performance of Hamlet, with him naturally playing the eponymous hero.

“Name, full name,” he continued. I had obviously fluffed my lines.

“Winston Churchill.”

His head snapped quickly to the right as if trying to capture something that had suddenly appeared for the briefest of instants, before disappearing again into the unknown. He looked at his clipboard, using his pen to trace the list he had upon it.

“Churchill?” he muttered through itching annoyance before snapping back. “Very amusing, Mr. Evans. Now what’s your full name?” He was not amused.

“You already know. It’s Michael Andrew Evans.”

“Very good. Date of birth please.”

I gave him my date of birth and offered to recite my national insurance number which he declined. There wasn’t even a ripple emerging from the chorus line.

“Now, it says here that you are quite badly damaged. How did that happen? Were you hit by a car?”

My conversations with the doctors on this ward always started with the obligatory misconception. It was an opener devised to enable my memory. Either that or it was an easy way of checking out my story, seeing if I was sticking to it. I told my audience about the accident, adding in those extras that I thought writers would add. I had little touches about the dappled nature of the sunlight falling through the wood’s canopy, the sense of ironic freedom which I felt just before the darkness hit, and another thing which came as a surprise, my sense that somebody had been standing there at the side of the road orchestrating matters that ended with my entry into a convenient ambulance. The rest, I said, was history.

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