Previous, the Prime Minister met with the Queen.
The Prime Minister was in the loveliest of moods as he stepped into his carriage to return to Number 10. The ride from Buckingham Palace back to his residence was one of the happiest he had ever made. Usually he was in a foul mood. The audiences with Her Majesty had always gone at the very least not well. This one had gone extraordinary well. Now all he had to do was implement the plan he, Pip and Sir Myles had worked out in secret the last evening at the Prime Minister’s Table in the Commons Diner.
For an autumn day, the sun was especially warm, shining down its favoritism upon him. He drove through St. James Park and watched the pelicans. The lake was an especially lovely shade of blue that autumn day as his carriage made its way down the Mall and past Whitehall and on.
As his carriage arrived at Number 10, Sir Myles was waiting for him at the door. “Are they all in there?” he asked.
“They are indeed, Argyle,” Sir Myles said, shaking his friend’s hand. “They are indeed. Did Her Majesty agree to The Plan?”
“She did. Every last line of it. She thinks it is a great strategy. And I am now completely in her favor. So, let’s go and do our dirty work. I am going to enjoy this.”
The Prime Minister, followed by Sir Myles, walked into his Cabinet Room. All his ministers stood.
“Prime Minister, what is he doing here?” the Chief of Defense Staff demanded.
“Sit, gentlemen,” the Prime Minister said. “I most assuredly am going to sit. I hate to do dirty work standing.”
His Cabinet took their places at the big round wooden table that some attributed to going back to the Round Table at Camelot. The men were very unsettled. What was going on?
“Prime Minister, I asked you a question?” the Chief of Defense Staff demanded a second time, gesturing toward Sir Myles sitting at the Prime Minister’s side.
“Oh, Sir Myles has a new portfolio,” the Prime Minister said, his hands resting peacefully on the round table made of sturdy oak. “He will be assuming the duties of the Defense Ministry and the Defense Staff. He will be both the Defense Secretary and the Chief of the Defense Staff.”
The Cabinet was stunned.
“What? You can’t do that, Argyle Mactavish,” the Defense Secretary protested.
“That’s right,” the Chief of the Defense Staff joined in. “Your government will fall if you lose our support.”
“’Tis true,” Prime Minister said. “My government will fall. But you know what? You are both sacked. And so are the rest of you. You have plotted against my government for the last time. I demanded your loyalty and you gave me treason. Tomorrow morning Her Majesty will announce the dissolution of Parliament and the call for new elections.”
“Her Majesty can’t do that,” the Chancellor of the Exchequer stood up and shouted. “She does not have the power. The public will go mad.”
“Oh, but she does have the power,” the Prime Minister said smiling. “She has not exercised that power in many years. We are, after all, a constitutional monarchy, and Her Majesty is still the Head of State.”
“The public won’t stand for it,” the Chancellor sat back down. “Besides you need our support to win an election. Without it, you are a done-for.”
“I’m afraid, Thurston,” the Prime Minister addressed his Chancellor of the Exchequer directly, “that you will be the done-for. When the public finds out what you had in store for Lady Wimpleseed Prissypott, how you plotted to take her life, you gentlemen will be the done-fors.”
“But you can’t prove that,” the Defense Secretary interjected.
“Oh, yes, I can, Charles.” The Prime Minister reached down into his briefcase and pulled out several cables addressed to the British Ambassador in Spain. They instructed him to instruct 007 James Bond to carry out the order of The Times to make her ladyship disappear. One way or another.
“You bastard,” the Personal Assistant to the Prime Minister said. “How dare you?”
“No, P. A., how dare you? So, gentlemen, you have till midnight to have your desks cleaned out. We, the queen and I, are making a clean sweep. Tomorrow is about to be a new day.”
Each of the Cabinet members stood and marched out the door. The Home Secretary stopped and turned back to the Prime Minister. “I am sorry, Argyle,” he said. There were tears in his eyes. “The devil made me do it. And you know what a taskmaster he can be.”
“Holsteen, you should have listened,” the Prime Minister said to his former friend, “to the angels of your better nature. For your own good and for the good of your country.”
The Personal Assistant was the last to leave. “Prime Minister, I promise you that you will regret this,” he said, glaring at his former boss. “I promise you that. The Times will destroy you.”
“P. A., before it’s over,” Sir Myles said on behalf of his friend, “The Times will no longer be The Times. I assure you of that.”
Next week, To Rescue or Not to Rescue.