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“Do you think I should join the army?” he asked. “I thought you were a pacifist. That was the problem last time we had this conversation.”

“Yes, I suppose I am still. I could run away to sea, maybe. Merchant Navy.” “I don‟t think we‟ve got a fleet anymore. Ships are all crewed by Koreans, or Poles or something. What about the Church? Always was a good standby. And the old ladies would all fall in love with you. “

“I think the church only works in inner cities these days, where they don‟t have old ladies. They have drugs and knives and social exclusion, and I don‟t know much about any of those things.”

“You don‟t know much about feeding an old man, either,” G-Gramps said. “I can‟t live on baby food.” He dipped the corner of the thinly sliced white bread into his egg yolk and for a brief moment contemplated his mortality.

“I‟d die for a pepperoni pizza,” he said.

BILL SMITH picked up a ready-made pizza at the supermarket on his way home. He was going to buy a ready-washed bag of salad leaves to go with it, but he‟d read there was something dodgy about the gas they pumped into the bags to make the salad look fresh for days on end, and in any case he was feeling too depressed to think he might be caring about his body.

His council had just that day awarded its New Enterprise of the Year award to a business that would be making bio-fuel out of a new fast-growing grass crop, and he had to promote it to the media. This could be the saving of Covinshire‟s farming community his press release said, quoting Alfie Bagehot, the Cabinet member for Economy. No quote about saving of the world‟s eating community. No quote today from Celia Drinkwater, the Cabinet member for Sustainability. No note to the Editor clarifying that the growing of crops for bio-fuel would delay people seriously changing their energy consumption levels for decades. That the world wouldn‟t be growing enough rice.

Alfie also insisted that wind farms had to be fought on planning grounds because they spelled the death of Covinshire‟s tourist economy. He‟d insisted that Bill get this message into the New Enterprise release to suggest that somehow they were complementary policies. Bill didn‟t question policy. His job was simply to explain policy to the people of Covinshire. He had to explain the democratic process that led to the policy and he had to celebrate the achievement when it was realised. This was only the latest offensive in a long assault by politicians blue, red, and yellow on his newly green soul.

Tomorrow a committee would agree that it was time to look again, after barely a year, at a five-year plan to modernise Covinshire‟s rural infrastructure. Journalists would yawn. He

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