The Devil's Playground

“And you believed them?” There was a pause followed by a long “Hmmmm.”

“Well, why wouldn’t I?” Nigel asked, raising his voice.

“Nigel, Nigel, Nigel. Parish councils, county councils, borough councils, committees, quangos, governments: whatever you want to call them, all bureaucratic set-ups are where we do our best work! We love them, adore them. The more you set up, the happier we are. The opportunities there for us to entertain ourselves are endless: complacency, nepotism, idleness, arrogance, deceit, sleaze as well as everything from stationery-cupboard theft to outright fraud and corruption. They’re our playgrounds, if you will.”

Nigel met the fixed gaze of the stranger. A thought began to take shape that was so terrible he tried to shut it out but it remained, half-formed, lurking in a dark corner of his mind.

“Perhaps I was naive, but I took them at their word. Then, well, with all that heat... I felt terrible, but all I could think about was the kids and their faces when they saw the playground of their dreams.”

“Well, you survived and, credit where credit’s due, you were the driving force behind a record-breaking fund raiser. You can blow your own trumpet here.”





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