Disillusionment, defecation, Brexit?…
Having recently lost her husband around the time the Great British public voted to leave the EU, Ruth Walker, otherwise known as social media vigilante, InstaGran, seeks escapism through trying to foil the triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Agreement. However, is duping Downing Street security to then post selfies of herself soiling seemingly unrelated documentation enough to ensure the UK remains a member of the European Union for the foreseeable future?
Ruth frantically rushes one last post to her Instagram account after ringing the doorbell outside her best friend Jeannie’s house. The post reads; “So, I don’t think that Article 50 is going to be triggered anytime soon! Watch this space InstaGran-fans”. Just then, the front door begins to unlock and pull slowly inwards. Ruth shoves her hand-me-down iPhone 4 into her blouse and hastily adopts weaker, negative body language. Back arched, head looking down, Ruth raises her eyebrows and adopts a detached, helpless expression. The true identity of InstaGran WILL remain a secret. Jeannie’s blue-rinsed head slowly and feebly peers around the door and her eyes light up when she recognises her dearest, oldest friend, Ruth.
“Ruth! How are you dear? Frank not with you love?”. Ruth raises an eyebrow, draws breath and pauses. “Jeannie love, how many times do I have to tell you? Frank’s… he’s gone Jeannie”, she explains, becoming mildly exasperated. “Oh eh, er, oh my I forget. My…my mind’s not, oh I’m so sorry”, Jeannie prostrates, seemingly coming to her full senses for one short moment. “Jeannie, it’s fine love. None of us are as sharp as we used to be. And besides, it’s been a long time now. How are you supposed to remember Jeannie? But you know, there’s not a day that goes by these last two weeks since Frank passed away that I don’t briefly think about that lovable, fat Eurosceptic. Frank. Big, fat, lovable Frank. Everyone’s favourite Brexiteer”, mused Ruth, a twinkle of moisture appearing in the corner of her right eye. “Oohhh yes, I remember Frank now”, enthused Jeannie. “The last time I saw him, yes, yes, he was going on and on about how, if we did leave the EU, they’d be lining up for trade deals within a fortnight. Well, he was right wasn’t he, bless him”. Ruth exhales rapidly twice and snaps “NO, NO, nothing’s been agreed, Jeannie. We’re, we’re fucked Jeannie and it’s, bless his dead fat face, it’s people like Frank who got us into this, this road to ruin”. Ruth becomes even more animated, pointing her fingers to support her enthused dialogue. “Well, we might be the naughty child of Europe; the shit over the channel; the naughty neighbour, but, but”, Jeannie pitches in, “Ruth dear, it’s not all that bad after all really, now is it?”. Ruth halts. She squares up and adopts a somewhat mono tonal, determined delivery. “I said to Frank, I said, Frank, you fat, stupid lovable twat. If you vote ‘Leave’, I will never, ever, ever forgive you. In fact, I regret it now, but I said Frank, if you vote ‘Leave’, it will be the last thing you ever, EVER do. I’m European Frank, and I intend to stay European. Do you understand Frank?”. Jeannie pitches in, “Well in fairness love, it was the last thing he did wasn’t it, becau..”. “Rubbish!”, interjects Ruth. “He lived a full life after Brexit. He, he lived another…erm, 34 hours until his accid…his heart attack”. Looking clearly flustered and dabbing flecks of perspiration from her brow. Jeannie thoughtfully asks; “Remind me, Ruth love. How did Frank, erm, pass away?” Ruth hastily retorts, “He fell down the stairs. Poor fat face Frank. Died instantly. Right, Article 50…”.
Ruth is sat on her own at a table in what seems to be a typical garden centre-style cafe. Once more, she’s rushing to broadcast an InstaGram post in Jeannie’s absence. With two mugs on the table and with Jeannie’s historically weak bladder, we can assume that she’s currently visiting the ladies. A tired-looking waitress attempts to ascertain if Ruth’s table has finished with their order and would like their table clearing. She has a strong Polish tinge to her accent. Ruth breaks her concentration from her iPhone 4, engages the stare of the waitress and hisses “Not now. Article 50. Not now. If this doesn’t work out, they’ll send your lot packing for a start. Now bugger off“. As she frantically types with her right hand, she shoes-off the waitress with her left hand whilst her eyes re-engage frantically with her iPhone. The waitress backs away, somewhat surprised and totally unimpressed.
Ruth’s iPhone screen shows a post in progress: “So InstaGranners. You want to see InstaGran wipe her arse on Article 50 now right? Ha ha. Come on, we were tricked. Fooled. There IS no £350m per week spare money to sink into the NHS. My prescription prices certainly won;t be going down anytime soon. InstaGran knew this all along and you’ll know this if you follow my account. Even you Brexiteer Instagranner’s understand now that we’re a sinking ship once Article 50 has been signed. So InstaGran is going to make sure Article 50 NEVER sees the light of day. Watch this space InstaGranners”.
Just then, Jeannie hobbles back towards the table, wincing slightly, causing Ruth to pocket her iPhone and once more, she adopts a much more feeble persona. Raising her eyebrows, so chirps up; ”Jeannie love. What kept you so long?” Jeannie shuffles into place over her chair and then drops into it with a huge exhale. “The bladder Ruth. It’s got a mind of it’s own. And as for the colostomy bag”. Ruth grimaces and then composes herself and strikes a feigned concerned expression. “Anyway Ruth, you never did say. How did Frank die?” “Oh Jeannie, it’s last year’s news now. It’s pre-Brexit. It’s near…. nearly three weeks ago. I can barely remember what he looks like, never mind how he died. But, if I look back, he er, he fell. He fell hard, from the top of stairs”. Jeannie interjects “But he was wheelchair-bound and…”. Ruth cuts in “Stairlift. Always fooling around in that bloody stairlift. Bless him. He should have been called Stan. Stanna Stan, the xenophobic pillock”. Suspiciously, Jeannie probes “But, don’t you think it looks a bit..” Ruth cuts in sharply and loudly “No”. So loud in fact that a majority of the cafe are momentarily stunned. Tables of people turn their attention briefly to Ruth and Jeannie’s table.
Composing herself and leaning into the table, Ruth lowers and focusses her voice on Jeannie. “Look Jeannie, I’ve dealt with a lot this last few weeks. I’ve had to contend with losing my European identity and then….erm……eeeeerrrrmmm, ah…..Frank. Bloody lovely, fat Leave Frank. You know, there’s barely a day goes by I don’t think about that union-breaking, self-styled Enoch Powell. But the point is Jeannie, what matters to me now is that Article 50 NEVER gets triggered. And I hear InstaGran intends on snatching it from Number 10 and destroying it so we remain IN Europe forever”. Jeannie attempts to reason with Ruth. “Well, the majority did vote to Leave Ruth, and yes, it was a sham; fraught with false truths and equally extreme and erroneous propaganda from both sides, but, democracy DID prevail Ruth. And perhaps we should just accept it and make the best of the situation. Ruth?….Ruth!” Jeannie looks up from stooping into her tea and cake and looks firstly to where Ruth was positioned just. She looks left, then to the extreme right where Ruth can be seen outside the cafe dropping into her mobility scooter and accelerating onto the high street. She looks over her shoulder and squints back into the distancing cafe behind her. Witnessing all of this, Jeannie raises her eyebrows and shakes her head. She finishes her tea and asks a passing waitress if she can call her a cab.
Ruth motors home across the town’s pavements. Although her scooter barely touches 8mph, she tucks her head down for improved streamlining and raises it only to deliver the odd “Viva la France”, or “Guten abend” to pedestrians forced to move out of her way. On inspection, a number plate adorns the rear of her mobility scooter. The letters RUTH 1 are accompanied by a large European Union flag.
Once home, Ruth wastes no time in accessing InstaGram to address her followers. She types into a browser window. She’s about to yet again share a picture of the European Union flag with the accompanying post: “Sieg Heil. Yeah I said it! Is this the language of the ‘new’, ‘independent’ not-so-United Kingdom? Not on my watch it isn’t. This might be our bit of land, but the freedom of movement of people and goods is not something we can loose. But InstaGran’s not giving up her European passport so easily. And you shouldn’t have to either. But anyway, check the news tomorrow. Let’s see how Theresa May explains this one.”
As she posts her handy work, her ginger tabby jumps up onto her lap and starts vying for her attention. As she begins to pet the animal with her right hand, she addresses the animal in a cold, determined dryness. “You see Dylan, what the world, remain or leave, doesn’t realise is that InstaGran is going to shove one almighty baguette into the spokes of Brexit. Once my mobility scooter’ss fully-charged, I am actually going to sneak past Britain’s best, find Article 50 in Number 10 and literally wipe my arse on it, rendering it unusable and thus committing the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to a future of cheap air travel, subsidised farming and….and well everything else that comes with full European Union membership stuff. Forever”. She turns her head to the left and focusses on her InstaGran costume hanging up on the outside of a wardrobe in the corner of the room. Instagran’s costume is a very, very poorly fashioned, loosely knitted all-in-one blue and red woollen jumpsuit. The torso, legs, arms and neck are wildly out of proportion and also misaligned. The knitting is extremely course and uneven. A superman-esque ‘IG” emblazons the front, albeit in a very amateur, coarsely-knit fashion. Perhaps most unnerving, the suit’s groin appears to be, not only very baggy and stretched, but tinged yellow, leaving very little to the imagination as to the state the wearer of such a suit may have once been in.
Ruth squints her eyes and gazes in a most determined and satisfied manner at the suit. “Well Dylan. Don’t nazi salute the local Polish workers just yet. I have a sneaky suspicion that we’ll all be enjoying a continental breakfast tomorrow when we tune into Sunday politics”. Ruth holds the near matching superhero suit balaclava over her head and pulls it over her focused gaze. The rough-knit drags over her skin and once it becomes apparent that the eye holes and mouth are not aligned, Ruth goes about pulling the downright scary mask into shape until she can see and then breath adequately. She looks downright disturbing.
Ruth sits in her full InstaGran outfit in her mobility scooter before her mirror and takes one last satisfied, determined look at herself. Dylan her cat spots InstaGran and fearing the presence of a stranger, backs away, pushing himself fully under her bed. Making her way to her front door, Ruth then sets off in her scooter to the bus stop, attracting stares of disbelief from passers-by and awaits her bus. Her bus arrives and the driver opens the door to welcome her. Promptly examining Ruth’s bus pass, the driver asks “Erm, balaclava off please love”. “My darling, I can’t reveal my true identity.” “Right , so you’re not Ruth Baker then! As stated on the bus pass you just showed me?; something I need to determine before letting you on the bus or I will lose my job”. Ruth slowly peels off her balaclava to smirks from other passengers and the driver notions to her to board her scooter, dropping the bus down for her to alight. She yanks her balaclava back down defiantly, resulting in misaligned eyes and mouth and a young child sees her and begins to cry. She boards the bus and addresses the bus as she parks her vehicle in the buggy bay. “Don’t throw your European Union passport covers away just yet. You’re European. Thank me tomorrow. Oh and watch the news tomorrow morning”. A number of fellow travellers snigger and talk about Ruth and as the bus continues its journey, car drivers veer for a look into the bus to marvel at the spectacle that is Ruth in her badly-fitting, knitted superhero costume.
Ruth peers to her rear one more time to ascertain the state of the bus, then hurriedly reaches into her costume rummaging around for her dated iPhone. Scanning the bus one more time, she snatches the phone out, shoves her face into the screen and types away into her Instagram account. The post reads “Where are you Farrage, you wet fart? Accomplished your career have you? You mean rousing the natives with Enoch-Powell rhetoric? Lying, ruining a carefully orchestrated union of human beings and then throwing the towel in afterwards. You anal lesion. What an accomplishment. Well Farrage, with your French name, German wife and Polish PA, me thinks the lady doth protest a little too much. Well fetch me the toilet roll. And by that, I mean Article 50. I’ve not been eating too well lately and I think I’m going to leave an even bigger mess on it than you did. You BELLEND“. She looks up from her aged iPhone and gives a satisfied smirk before pressing the post button on her account. Just then, the bus pulls up at Westminster. Before Ruth motors from the bus, she once more adjusts her badly fitting balaclava, turns to the other passengers and, pushing out a black panther-style fist, she exclaims in a somewhat hammy French accent “Viva l’Europe”, to which a mother pulls her toddler in closely, several passengers pretend to be interested in something outside of the bus and a student unashamedly takes pictures of InstaGran whilst openly laughing aloud.
Once the bus drops its side, Ruth motors off, fist salutes the driver and parks up on the street to collect herself. She notices the time in a shop window and addresses herself “You daft cow, you’ve skipped your bloody meds again” and she reaches into her costume to pull out a pill box, divided into 7 days. She lifts the lid on Monday and unbeknown to her, as she tips the pill box towards her open hand, because the box was not constructed correctly, the entire week’s worth of pills roll into her hand which she hastily stuffs into he mouth and swallows.
“Right, where are you Article 50, where are you?” And as she clocks the signposts to Downing Street, she sets off in her mobility scooter, fully veiled in her insane InstaGran costume. As she approaches the gates of Downing Street, there appears to be a group on an official visit successfully gaining security clearance. The group seems to be made up of elderly people with varying kinds of disabilities, accompanied by care staff. Capitalising on the manic and confusing atmosphere, as three carers attempt to usher their group of twenty or more through the security gate, amongst an already busy street, a hustle and bustle of officials, office workers and foreign tourists, InstaGran seizes the opportunity to blend into the cue. In fact, she seems incredibly well matched to the group and up to and beyond the security checks, she passes through completely unchallenged.
The group is steered towards number 10 and as two roller banners close to the entrance indicate, as part of a disability awareness campaign, the group is paying an official visit to number 10 to meet the Prime Minister, Theresa May. A television and press presence is evident and as a cameraman follows the group, a Downing Street official directs the group into the building. InstaGran arranges her balaclava and takes a number of photographs of the scene on her iPhone. She sets off into the line of people snaking into what seems to be a presentation room. As the members of the cue await their turn to enter, a sprightly team leader addresses Ruth; “Hello there. Oh I didn’t notice you on the bus. You must have got changed along the way. And what are you? A superhero? That’s just superb. Are you battling our cause for us? Fighting evil AND mental illness?”. Stepping back to expect a response, Ruth’s head labours slowly towards the young man. Her eyes are half closed and the week’s worth of medication that Ruth hastily and erroneously swallowed earlier seems to be having an adverse effect on her. “Are you alright there?” enquires the man, seemingly seasoned to this level of communication. Ruth slowly focusses on the official and strains the words “meeehhh”. Her gaze drops and a small ball of froth emerges from her mouth. “Pardon missus” asks the man. “What are you going to ask Theresa May?” Ruth raises her right hand, forefinger leading. She lifts her head, fighting extreme lethargy and heavily slurs “Uhhmm goooiinngg to wiiippppe myyy arrseee on article 50 then set fire to the…the building”. The man enthusiastically retorts; “Erm……Fantastic. Wow. Really getting into character”. Just then he notices another member of his entourage; a middle-aded woman on crutches struggling to take her turn as next in the cue to meet the Prime Minister. As his attention leaves Ruth, Ruth spies a side-room with a pile of papers neatly stacked on a table. “Archicle fucking ff..fffii…fiiivdeee”, Ruth labours to announce to herself. She clumsily manoeuvres her mobility scooter towards the room, away from the cue, demonstratively attempting to remain subtle, yet attracting the attention of most people within the cue. She pulls up aside the table and announces “Ha Ha! Article 50! Pr…prep….prepare to…..eat…..sheeeiiiittt! InstaGran is an…an nee….an E….ooohhh. An Eeeeoooohhh resi…..reshedunt”.
InstaGran slowly stands up in her mobility scooter, swaying unsteadily and begins to slowly step out of her superhero outfit, catching her feet repeatedly in the process. She eventually manages to free her legs of the suit, the rest of the badly fitting knitted all in one, complemented by wrestler-esque mask now seems even more menacing than before. She reaches for the pile of papers and places it under her rear and struggles to position herself over the top.
Back in the entrance hall, two Downing Street officials address one another. A more senior female asks her junior “OK Sally, the PM is ready to address the room shortly. Can you fetch her speech from room 3 please”. Sally enthusiastically nods and makes her way into the room in which InstaGran is defacing Article 50. She strides around the corner into the room and freezes as soon as she sets eyes on the debacle in front of her. Sally tries to raise protest, but she finds it hard to make a sound. A thin, high pitched “The Prime Minister’s sp…speech” makes its way out of her pursed lips. InstaGran turns her head slowly to the junior, still heavily under the influence of her medication and points a finger threateningly at Sally and rasps “Eeeeeeeeeeeeee Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu fffffoooorrrrrr eeeevvvvveeeerrrrrrrrr” and drops her precariously perched figure down into her seat onto which she has just delivered her payload. Sally puts her hand to her mouth, raises her eyebrows and turns swiftly away from the room.
In a municipal hospital, Jeannie sits next to a stirring Ruth. A catheter in her left hand, administering the drip suspended next to her bed, Ruth’s eyes open and widen energetically. She looks far left, then far right, pauses, then launches a brimming smile. She rapidly shifts her gaze to Jeannie. “So then, staying in the EU then aren’t we?” Ruth beams, like an excited young girl. Jeannie isn’t sharing Ruth’s moment of jubilation. “How you managed to get in there, even the police will never know Ruth, but you took a shit on the Prime Minister of, for now, Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s speech The speech was prepared to announce government funding for a mental health charity. It could be argued that you have behaved abhorrently Ruth”. Ruth takes a moment to digest Jeannie’s comment, tips her head to the right thoughtfully and pauses. “Erm yes, that’s right”, she announces, looking satisfied and in-the-know, as if her and Jeannie have twigged onto a shared joke. “Yes, that’s what happened right. Article 50 is somewhere else, but there’s going to be a bit if a delay in leaving the European Union right?” Jeannie winces and addresses Ruth more authoritatively, “Ruth can you stop this now. This whole InstaGran thing. You were on the Channel 4 news with a knitted potato sack hanging off you, defecating on a national address to a disability charity. We saw your face Ruth. The police have expressed that they wish to prosecute you”. Ruth defensively retorts, “But my invisible cloak would have…” “Ruth, you were dribbling froth from your mouth and screaming expletives directed at Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and…. Well you did something horrible with your private parts… Live on the Channel 4 news. So really, unless you can prove that you actually are mentally disabled, you’re provably going to prison for the rest of your natural life love”.
“Ah”, bleats Ruth, as the magnitude of the situation drives home. “I AM mentally ill. Yes”. Jeannie doubtfully responds “You seem compos mentis to me, Ruth”. Desperately, Ruth states “I AM mentally ill. Yes. Ha ha”. She then pulls on her InstaGran balaclava which she believes provides her invisibility and creeps towards her mobility scooter. In exasperation, Jeannie pretends to not be able to see her and announces into mid air “So erm….see you tomorrow then?” Convinced that she is now invisible, Ruth speaks mysteriously and ghost-like into mid air “Yeeeessss Jeeeeaaaannniiiieee. And thank your cotton, European socks that we’re still part of the EU. Thanks to InstaGran”. Jeannie avoids looking at Ruth, rolls her eyes and concedes “Yes, thank you InstaGran. Thank you for shitting on Article 50. We love you InstaGran”.