The Prime Minister of Tawa – 43
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When Mash got home at seven in the evening, he found Heather playing solitaire on her laptop in the dining room.
‘Where’s your mother?’ he asked Heather.
‘No idea Dad. She might be in her room,’ Heather said. She had discontinued her protest and was on talking terms with Mash, but she was no longer Daddy’s little girl.
‘Judy,’ Mash called. There was no reply. Heather glanced over her shoulder and then went back to her game.
‘Don’t you have your exams in May?’
‘Yes I do.’
‘That’s just a month away.’
‘I know Dad.’
‘Do you have a lot of stuff to study?’
‘Not much actually. This year I want to sit for the Keenda paper. I’ve been paying attention in class, you know.’
‘Are you going to learn Keenda this vacation as well? Like you did last time?’
‘I’m not too sure Dad. Mom says she is thinking of going back to Watford. She says she has nothing much to do here and she is bored.’
‘Did she really? Don’t worry, she isn’t going to go anywhere.’
Mash went off in search of Judy. Before he reached their bedroom, his mobile phone rang. It was Ted Hoffman.
‘Hello Mash. I believe you’ve been desperately trying to contact me since this afternoon.’
‘Yes, I did try to call you. I wanted a small favour.’
‘You know the PDA is launching an agitation against our deal with Bendron.’
‘Hmm. I dunno why they want to do that.’
‘I was just wondering if you could have a word with Kemon Padusee and.. and possibly tell him that ..’
‘That the PDA’s agitation makes you unhappy.’
‘Well, we aren’t supposed to intervene in your internal affairs, are we? We always get some stick if we intervene in any other sovereign country’s affairs.’
Mash laughed aloud. ‘If you are uncomfortable doing this, I can understand. But if you could do it, it would be a big favour.’
‘I’ll see what I can do. The PDA’s agitation does actually make me very unhappy and angry. What else?’
‘Nothing much. Things seem to be going our way in Iraq. Did you see Saddam’s statue being toppled?’
‘I did indeed. The republican guard did not put up much of a fight, did it?’
‘They just melted away.’
‘I wonder when our boys can come home,’ Mash mused.
‘Well, I do admire your courageous decision to send your soldiers to join our coalition. But it may be a while before the last soldier leaves.’
As Mash hung up, he wondered if by wondering when the Tawan contingent could return, he had given Ted the impression that he would withdraw his troops if Ted did not help him with the PDA. He had not intended to do that. Hopefully Ted would not misunderstand him and would make that one phone call to Kemon.
He pocketed his mobile. ‘Judy!’ he shouted.
He went into the bedroom and found Judy in bed with the AC on at full blast.
‘What’s up honey?’
Judy sat up in bed and said, ‘I’ve decided to go back to Watford.’
‘Really? And why’s that?’
‘Because I am sick and tired of this country. And of you?’
‘I don’t think it’s a good idea. It will not look good if the Prime Minister’s wife leaves him.’
‘I don’t really care.’
‘What will you live on?’
‘I’m entitled to half of everything you have.’
‘Really? And what makes you think so?’
‘I’m British. I know my rights.’
‘You are in Tawa. I run this country. And I will not pay you a single pie.’
‘We’ll see about that,’ Judy said and got out of bed.
Mash grabbed her by the lapels of her housecoat and pushed her back into bed. ‘I am your husband. You are my wife. You will do what I say. Is that clear?’
‘Like hell it is,’ Judy said as she struggled to get up.
Mash slapped her hard on her cheek. Judy looked shocked. ‘If you dial 123, you’ll get the police helpline. I suggest you try and file a complaint against me and see how far you get.’
Mash walked out of the bedroom and slammed the door shut behind him.
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