Friday, 21 October 2011

Chapter Fourteen

Ringing her parents to let her know they wouldn't have to put the house up for her bail was a strange hybrid of Monty Python and The Good Life:

"Hi mum, it's me."

"Oh hello Natasha, we thought you were in prison."

"No, I was just in Essex"

"What were you doing in Essex?"

"I was watching the world's ex fattest man lock his evil sister in a basement and forcefeed her cakes."

"Oh. Well we've been in the garden today, but we might go for a walk on the beach later."

It was also easy nipping the "Free Natasha" movement in the bud, online buzz was used to being quelled by the truth. It happened every week in the hope that Noel Edmunds was dead.

Finally, after three cups of tea and having a bottle of Lidl's cheapest brandy wrestled from her sticky hands, came the hard part, she phoned Sarah. She hadn't wanted to. She'd sulked, stamped her feet and threatened to take the campaign website down, but Kat and Gladys wouldn't budge. She'd been wrong and she had to face up to it.

Being wrong had never upset Natasha. You didn't go through life being Natasha without constantly having your fuck ups pointed out to you, but it still stung. Her fingers shook as she dialled her sister's number, imagining the smug iPhone vibration, the ringer was probably set especially to the Benny Hill theme tune just for her, maybe a photo of a turd came up. She imagined Sarah in a shiny venue giggling with a gaggle of supermodels, a brief interruption whilst shopping for cushions.

But somehow surprisingly Sarah's voice rang with something she took a few moments to identify as concern. Natasha nearly spat the tea across the room.

"I'm so proud of you!" gushed her sister. "Forgive me for saying this but I never really thought you had it in you. You were forever making plans and breaking them, I always found it so frustrating because you are so clever and so motivated. It got on my nerves that you found it so hard to act. But I was wrong. You've really pulled out the stops, you were even arrested for your beliefs. That's something I could never do."

"Do you mean that?" squeaked Natasha.

"Of course I do. I think you're amazing sis. That's why I just wanted to help you out - I thought that if you were inside then you'd need someone to be your eyes and ears outside, to keep the campaign going in your name. To fight for you and what you believe in. I kind of hoped it might bring us together. Like Nelly wearing plasters on his face, only cooler."

Natasha found herself wiping away a snivel. Was it true? Had her younger sister always been gunning to be her wing woman? But what about the dog killer thing?

"I want to heal our friendship" pleaded Sarah. "Getting engaged has put so much in perspective for me. I want us to be like real sisters, not two assholes who secretly despise each other."

"Oh hell!" exclaimed Natasha, "I need your help Sarah, are you free?"

"Hell yeah!" screamed an excitable Sarah. "And I'm going to bring you a present!"


It was odd forgiving Sarah, Natasha had never really considered that she'd end up being friends with the sister she had always seen as her enemy. But now it started to make sense, they'd always been consumed with mutual jealousy because they were very alike.

And as her sister arrived in an well organised heap on her front step to a massive hug and a few cheeky nips of lidl's cheapest brandy (once Kat wasn't looking), ushering the "present" in front of her, all rippling muscles and chocolate eyes.

"This is Kieron" winked Sarah. "He's my gym instructor and he's been dying to meet you. He's also a fantastic cook."

Natasha came alive a little more inside as Kieron kissed her hand before introducing himself politely to Kat, who put him to work piping icing.

Sarah was onboard she was able to use her PR skills to the best effect, knowing the best journalists to call about the rally, constructing releases and using her contacts to set up the event quickly, cheaply and easily. It was like watching a whirlwind in action and finally Natasha was able to sit back and look at her little sister with awe, safe in the knowledge that it was mutual.

And so they prepared for a celebration of life, love and cake. They had asked three bands to play, as well as numerous and newly liberated speakers from the celeb and fashion world.

Sarah excitedly explained that from the first mumblings on the internet the cake movement had exploded into the East London scene - with cakes being distributed in the best pubs and clubs. Several of the coolest bands had taken to pelting cake at their fans, whilst one of the presenters of T4 had taken to eating cake during interviews with movie stars and proudly displaying her stomach as it grew rounded with buttery love.

"And it's all because of you Natasha" gushed Sarah as she threw down her mobile phone having sold pictures of Tess Daley nibbling tentatively on a cheese straw to the Daily Mirror.

The party was going to be the best that Shoreditch had ever seen, and Natasha was going to address several hundred excitable sugar heads. For once everything seemed to be perfect. Just perfect.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Chapter Thirteen

It wasn't fair. She wanted to slam her fists into a nice squishy wall and weep like a five year old whose toys have been commandeered by a younger, cuter, more evil child. She wanted to weep and sulk and amass an army to slay her enemies.

The sugar comedown had shortened her nerves and something unpleasant bubbled in her gut as the train deliberately ploughed through every shitey pointless village in Essex. The train was mocking her. Every ticket barrier, every slow moving tourist, every tree, bird and gulp of fresh air that lined the endless road between the world's ex fattest man and home was mocking her. They'd probably been paid generously to do so by the harpy who was hijacking her accidental political tour de force.

It made sense though. Sarah had always done this - from scalping her Cindys to reading out her River Phoenix death poetry to taping over the best bits of The Sound of Music and pretending it was all just a misunderstanding.

It was typical, and tragic. After all the hard work Natasha had put in, everything she'd done to create a movement and then publicise it - all to be wrestled from her by the evil arms of Sarah. To become nothing but another trend. Another Shoreditch, asymmetrical hair, display of assholery. She wanted to change her view on gun control, or at least breath into a paper bag for a while.

After an eternity on a train and a minor outburst at a young Japanese couple having their picture taken outside Finsbury Park tube station Natasha burst into her house with fingers crossed that it was high noon, ready to do what a woman had to do. She was ready to to rip her sister's 50's quiff from her shiny little head, stab her in the face with her own hand crafted pin badges and shove a farmers market cucumber where the sun didn't shine.

And of course it was all in the name of the cause. Whatever that might be. Sibling shit aside, the cause needed Natasha to lead it, it needed someone battered, bruised, whose dream it had always been. It definitely didn't want to be led by someone who, as sure as eggs were eggs, would throw the cause aside like last night's kebab as soon as something shinier came along.

She threw open the front door and stomped through the hall into the kitchen. Gladys and Kat were sat at the table in the kitchen drinking tea, or possibly gin from teacups.

"Where is she" growled Natasha. Fists forming into little balls of granite.

Kat looked up and beamed, she had mascara stains below her eyes. "You're alive!" she screamed as she leaped up and grabbed Natasha in a sweaty embrace, smelling like someone who'd been awake for a long time.

Had Sarah spread death rumours as well? Maybe they'd thought she'd been sent so Siberia.

"Of course I'm alive! Why, what did she tell you?"

"Who?" asked Kat.

"You know who. My bitch of a sister."

Gladys affixed her best narked out granny face.

"Why the hell haven't you called? I've had SABTY's solicitors trying to track you down in prison. We've been threatening god knows who. There was talk of calling in Wogan and the Archbishop of Canterbury to demand your release."

Natasha hadn't expected them to be mad at her. She'd expected them to either be Stepford Sarahs or up for doing some trendy wendy clobbering. Kat looked genuinely sad and Gladys was annoyed. That wasn't in the script.

"I'm sorry" she squeaked. "I thought you'd been co-opted."

Gladys and Kat shared a sarcastic look. Apparently they weren't ripe for co-opting today.

"But what about the event tomorrow? That's got something to do with Sarah right?" Natasha was squeaking now. She detected an eye roll. She needed more cake. She definitely needed more cake. Sugar…..levels…..dropping…….

"She was here" said Gladys.

Eureka! And they'd told her she was mad. This place stunk of Sarah, the whole sorry plan stunk to high heaven of that jumped up, skinny, popular…..

"And so were loads of people. Sarah, Pete, your parents."

Her parents? Natasha's parents hadn't ventured towards London since The Blitz. Surely there was ….

"They all came round. They'd heard about the campaign through the papers, through Twitter. They wanted to help. And when you didn't come home….."

Kat interjected, her face like a freshly kicked puppy:

"We thought it was what you would have wanted us to do. So Sarah found a venue and we organised the demo."

"She was really proud of you. She kept beaming and telling everyone that you were her big sister."

Natasha's stomach contracted like she'd eaten a bag of superglue. This was why they didn't sell humble pie in Macdonalds.

"We did it for you Natasha". Kat's eyes were wet with tears.

Holy crapola. Natasha ran over to the biscuit tin on the side in the kitchen, picked up a handful of custard crèmes and crammed them into her gob. Crumbs spilled out of her mouth and down her dirty clothes, the chomping noises drowned out the thinly veiled disgust on her friends' faces. The swallowing motion blocked out the feeling of complete and total humiliation at having made such a twat of herself. The biscuits hit her innards with the lovely smacky feeling of a problem well avoided.

Only she hadn't avoided. They were still stood there. And she had a lot of apologising to do.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Chapter Twelve.....

Disclaimer - the characters in this chapter, and all of these chapters, are purely fictitious.

Beth Richards was tied to a chair in a cellar, a prisoner of the only person in the world she should have been able to trust and she was about to piss herself with excitement.

This was the front page, a new pair of laboutins, a tasteful feature in OK magazine, a concerned midnight phone call from her ex and an end to her worries about how she'd pay her homeopath.

"My life had always been tinged with tragedy," she mind-penned, "from the day my father left to the freak bowling accident that cut short my mother's life; I suffered watching my brother, whose desperation to be in the limelight manifested itself in morbid obesity - the most socially degrading of diseases, as he threw himself into the public eye. Not to mention two divorces and a full pet cemetery in my Devon farmhouse. Yes readers, mine was a life of turmoil which led straight to this very moment."

The fat fuck wouldn't know what had hit him.


"What do you mean you have your sister tied up in the basement?"

This was a bad time for hiccups to arrive, just as the whites of Bob's eyes were starting to freak her out.

Bob shrugged, "who else but the sister of the world's fattest man would go on such a rampage of hate against fat people? Besides, she's not just my sister, she's the bitch troll columnist who said you looked like a potato in a national newspaper."

Goddamn it did EVERYONE know????

Despite his obvious mental callousness, Natasha couldn't help but relate just a little bit. She still caught herself lamenting from time to time about the times she hadn't locked Sarah in the attic with nothing but spiders and a paperback copy of Flowers in the Attic, just to really freak her out. Perhaps if she had then maybe there would still be a couple of pubs left in East London where the air wasn't filled with the posturing of ironic facial haired nobbers who worked in advertising.

Then again, surely no one else's sister deserved such evasive action. Even a columnist. Even that columnist…….

"It's not forever" Bob added, in his best deflated-cake-freak voice. "It's just until we make her print a retraction and pledge her full support for our cause."

'Our cause'. Now there was a concerning term.

"I'm going to nail your balls to the wall," spat the emaciated Sloane. "Yours and your ugly friend's."

Natasha understood that being kidnapped was probably a bit traumatic, but was there really any need for ugly or claiming she owned balls? Again?

"I was brought here under false pretences!" squeaked Natasha.

"So the great activist speaks." Beth produced a sneer that could have melted lead. "I hope you get used to the sound of derisive laughter."

She triumphantly inspected a nail as Bob's face darkened. He turned around angrily and ran out of the room, taking the stairs two at a time, returning a few moments later with an armful of cake.

"You're forcing me to do this Beth" he thundered, grabbing a pink and white sponge and shoving it into her face like Beadle's angry ghost. She coughed and hacked and tried not to chew as three further fondant fancies bashed into her kisser.

"You're just making it worse for yourself." She gurgled like a crumb infested drain, spitting sugar crystals and gloriously imagining a Sunday supplement all to herself. Sweat broke out on Bob's forehead: "Say you're sorry!" he croaked.

From deep within the columnist a strange noise began to bubble up, like an earthquake in a peat bog. With the instincts of a cowardly oil prospector Natasha ineffectually covered her eyes with her hands, staring terrified through her fingers as a pink wave poured forth from the open mouthed ocean of Beth. It was The Exorcist in glorious Technicolor, with a rush of vom heading straight for the brother who had woken the demon, hanging in strings from the low dank ceiling, forming a sticky puddle on the floor.

Beth sat back triumphantly and raised her gore encrusted eyebrows in a stinking "fuck you". "You can't poison me with your junk food!"

Bob backed up angrily whilst Natasha considered running away, it seemed extra plausible now there was no cake left. If only it hadn't involved actual running.

Bob harrumphed and flicked a regurgitated chunk of sugar icing from his left ear lobe without a tremor, he had the Bermuda Triangle of gag reflexes. "Is that your best shot?" he taunted. "I got over the puking act when you were six."

Beth gurgled haughtily and Natasha tried not to envisage the working up of a fully functioning puking act, as Bob pulled out his secret weapon, a battered looking notebook. "I didn't want to have to do this Beth, but you leave me with no choice."

Beth gasped, her eyes widened:
He began to read, his voice softening:

"He walked into the room and noticed her sitting there resplendent in her blue grey suit. His working eye stripped her as she shivered with anticipation. "And whay might ye be?" he quizzed in a deep, Scottish dialect. Her breath came faster, he was the enemy and yet….. "I'm here to interview you Mr Brown" she breathed as a bead of perspiration worked its way between her pert breasts."

"Shut up!" screamed Beth, kicking the floor in front of her. "Where did you find that?"

Bob turned a few pages and continued to read:

"It was their love nest, their home away from home. With the John Lewis curtains she had always dreamed of as a child, forbidden by her mother, the money used instead to feed her brother's mars bar habit. He ran his hand along her thigh. "Oh Prime Minister" she sighed "Tell me more about how you stopped the recession."

A low howl started to emerge from the columnist. Beth's head rolled around on her shoulders like a toy from the 80's.

It was impossible to believe that Beth Richards had anything left to confess in her life. She had written in detail about the most intimate moments, from her anorexia through her divorce. She had slated friends, acquaintances and lovers with equal relish. But even the most painfully open people were, apparently, hiding something and this was the time you didn't want to be in a house with someone who was very good at pretending he couldn't move.

"Now organise a retraction or I'm putting everything online." Finished her brother.

The cracken, resplendent in a pile of her own vom, was finally defeated. If cake couldn't do it, then borderline stalking an unpopular prime minister would.


Beth called her editor and arranged a miraculous retraction before telephoning her assistant and dictating a follow up column for print the next day. She would support Natasha and the whole cake movement, heralding it a celebration of natural femininity and recommending Waitrose for this season's hottest cake protests.

"And don't forget to mention the rally." Nudged Bob.

"What rally?" asked Natasha as Bob and Beth glared in snotty synchronisation.

"The national rally tomorrow - the one that's all over you website. The one in Dalston."

Oh shit.

"I have to go" panted Natasha dashing out of the madness, into god knows what.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Chapter Eleven

The fun ended abruptly. Cinderella was tossed out into the street by a grumpy driver who said that the time was up, he had an eighteenth birthday party to get to in Ipswich and called her a mini cab. He drove away, removing his hat and muttering something about bloody punters not tipping as a lightly confused Natasha stood by the edge of the road.

When the cab turned up it eventually dropped her outside a large-ish, vaguely run-down ex council house in Essex.

"That'll be eight fifty" said the driver.

There was no such thing as a free limo.

A front door crept open and a male voice beckoned her inside in a strangely high pitch.

"Quick! Before the paps see me!"

Fantastic, thought Natasha, another nutter.


The interior was crème and bookless. The style copied out of a magazine, the magazine stolen from a dental surgery. People who were struggling to prove their normality lived in crème houses. Serial killers probably lived in crème houses, (with the possible exception of Ed Gein). Natasha lived in filth and peeling woodchip, like normal people. She mentally kicked herself. Of course she'd willingly got in a car to a serial killer's house. She was a ginormous helmet.

"Excuse the décor" said the man who had gushingly introduced himself as Bob with a firm, unsarcastic, handshake "I inherited the place from my folks."

Did that mean his parents were serial killers? He ushered her through to the back of the house.

She was trying to devise an escape strategy involving windows and a can of mace that she didn't have when she walked into the Taj Mahal of kitchens.

She gasped a little as light bounced off chrome, glistening like a roller disco. He had one of those giant fridges that offered you ice cubes; he had a range oven with specific little bits for making specific little foods; he had an array of knives that she was far too nervous to focus on and one wall was loaded from top to bottom with cookery books. Every cake, every curry, every anything you might want to wrap your gums around, the secret to unlocking them was on the shelf in front of her. Holy shit this serial killer was obsessed with food.

"I've made some treats!" he sighed shyly. "It's not much" he blushed, taking a seat opposite her at a huge rustic looking kitchen table, which was partially obscured by a cake stand loaded with eight different types of glistening picture book cake in a variety of colours.

"Holy fuck" exclaimed Natasha, prompting a visible wave of panic in her host.

"I'm not crazy!" he chipped in far too quickly for a sane person. "It's just that I love your campaign and I really wanted to impress you."

Honestly no one had tried to impress Natasha in a long time. There was an ex boyfriend who had romantically tried to burp her name but had ended up throwing up on her shoes, but she hoped she didn't have to count that.


Bob smiled a little bit. "You don't recognise me at all do you?"

Truth be told Natasha heard that statement with frightening regularity. 50p tequila, low morals and a propensity for making bad decisions had dictated her life choices for nigh on a decade. Tequila Tuesdays tended to morph into Wake With a Wanker Wednesdays. She had forgotten more people who had seen her naked than most life models.

"Did we sleep together?" He shook his head. Then it began to dawn on her. The house in Essex, the cooking obsession, the name. Bob was famous - she'd seen him on TV numerous times.

In trying not to scream and point Natasha merely clamped her hand over her mouth and yelped.

"Have some cake" said Bob "lord knows I can't have any."


It had been the usual fare, dead mum, absentee dad, insane sister, doughnuts for love. Cut to the advert break. A quick re-cap and bam - welcome to balloons of lard covering his body, a mars bar habit that was costing thousands a week, washing in bed and a humiliating documentary series. Next ad break, whizzy re-cap and an opinion column in the Daily something or other by a deeply embittered columnist naming and shaming the Fattest Man in Britain ™ - and other horrible drains on our precious resources. Follow up with paint on windows, starers and paps looking in and a generous donation of cash from a stranger towards a gastric band.

Bob hadn't eaten properly in two years, he could only manage a few mouthfuls before being full to the brim. Before then he had eaten enough every day for five people. And even though the lard had gone away and the skin had been removed, even though the paps no longer followed him and he wasn't stared at in the supermarket, he was by no means cured.

Food had always been his lifeline. It hugged him when he was lonely, it celebrated with him when he was happy; it filled him up when all he wanted to do was cry. Nothing had changed, it was just that his anaesthetic had gone.

"So what do you do now?" asked Natasha.

"Nothing" responded Bob, "At least it was going to be nothing, until today."

He smiled mysteriously, Natasha began to feel nervous again.

"I've decided to do what you're doing." He explained. "I'm going out for revenge."

As ever, Natasha hadn't been aware that this was what she'd been doing.

"I love your organisation!" beamed Bob. "Giving fat laden foods to all those smug skinny people to even things out, using cake to choke your enemies."

"It's exactly how the fat people can hit back at the world which mocks and undermines us, which forces us to subscribe to its twisted beliefs of what health and beauty are."

He was really going for it now.

"This is for every chubby school kid, every anorexic teen kicking back at every relative and evil skinny columnist who dared to laugh at us. This is our revenge Natasha - we will flood the streets with cake, we can change normal forever."

He leant back in his chair triumphantly whilst Natasha tried to discretely wipe a glob of spittle from her lapel.

"So let me get this straight. You want to force feed everyone cake to make them fat so they don't laugh at fat people any more. Especially the columnist who humiliated you."

"It wasn't just me she humiliated Natasha" he growled.

Suddenly there emerged a thunderous banging from below the floor. Then silence, then another fevered banging session. Then another eery silence.

"What the hell is that?" asked Natasha. Bob smiled the smile of a snake.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Chapter ten and a half

"You have to keep them on their toes." Explained Gladys. "You have to remind them that, no matter how much they think they own the place, they're only renting. And one day, no matter how many facelifts they have, one day no one will want to see them because they'll smell like piss."

Direct action called and so Natasha's moment in the sun loomed before her. She'd had the foolproof idea a few moments before, switching diet food for chocolate cake. People on diets never seemed happy, people eating cake did. It made perfect sense. Admittedly there had never been scientific studies, there had never been published PhD theses or bun fights on The Guardian's website, but it was clear for all to see - Natasha knew it deep down in her waters, the incidents of people on anti depressants had risen exactly in line with the purchases of crisp bread. It was science! And she was going to cure the world.

The supermarket was moderately empty, filled only with a few (deliberately) slow moving pensioners and some tired looking new parents confusedly sorting their way through the gobbledegook splattering the packets of baby formula, terrified that if they used the wrong type then they might end up breaking their babies.
The health food revolution hadn't rocketed its way into this particular branch - Jamie Oliver's tears had yet to form a river of low sodium diet muck in the centre of the store so the crispbread section was hidden away in its shame with the gluten free biscuits. The freaky food aisle.

Crouching low Natasha slid along the floor like a ninja, grabbing a packet and deftly slicing it open with a letter opener that her granny had bought her for Christmas when she was 11. She poured the cardboard content on the floor disdainfully and then ripped the top from the Tupperware container, refilling the contents with Kat's amazing cake.

"I was born to do this!" thought Natasha, as she reached for a second packet. She envisioned the delighted looks on the faces of the dieting masses, free at last. She took a quick couple of photos of the operation for all the armchair eaters and assorted blog freaks - well if they wanted to hero worship her she might as well let them….
This was what she'd set out to do, this would really get them talking. Here she was, an outlaw, an ass kicking, Nazi fighting, women's libbing outlaw who was going to change the world.

She'd star in a Marvel comic. She'd be played by Drew Barrymore. She'd get to sleep with Adrian Brody and then she would ignore his calls because she'd be on the road in her own Ken Kesey style bus - only instead of handing out acid they'd hand out cakes. They'd storm Hollywood and feed cakes to the starving starlets. Fat would once more be sexy, sumo would be king ……………..

"Would you please put down the Ryvita and come with me miss?"

Asked a freakishly young Policeman, who had probably been standing there for quite some time. Had she been speaking aloud? Natasha's stomach flipped. Which outlaws ended up being told off by 14 year olds?

The cell was more like a really bright community centre bathroom than the goo dripping, light buzzing, threatening rat holes on telly. Not only was she caged, her spirit broken, but Bad Girls had lied to her.

They'd put her on her own, possibly because she was a well-known revolutionary and a threat to the other, more vulnerable prisoners, or possibly because she hadn't stopped sobbing like an infant who'd crashed her roller skates, ever since they'd picked her up.

A kindly policeman called Stuart had been bringing her cups of sugary tea and lending her his Christmas handkerchief on the promise that she might stop soon, they were trying to get some work done in the other room and wailing was distracting them.

Unfortunately, the very process of attempting to stop crying made Natasha choke a little bit, uniting her with fresh tears of frustration blending with sadness. At some point in the last three hours she'd realised that maybe she wasn't ready to be a martyr the cause yet.

"I'm too middle class to go to prison!" she wailed, as if somehow they'd understand and let her go.

"It's okay" said Stuart, three hours later, patting her with as little of his actual hand as he could, whilst painfully aware of the thing that was about to drip out of her nose. "The supermarket aren't pressing charges, the only damage you caused was to half a packet of crisp bread, so not only are you free to go but there's a car here to pick you up."

Natasha sniffed long and hard and Stuart gagged a little. "You can keep the handkerchief" he added.
She'd been expecting Glady in a Metro, or possibly Kat in a taxi. Instead she was pleasantly surprised. The cars in Natasha's mind were smaller and had Magic Trees in them. This was a limo. A big massive shiny limo. This was what happened whenever drug runners were released from prison. Did someone want her to become a drug runner? She wasn't sure how many condoms full of heroine she would be able to swallow, although she had once fitted 23 Maltesers into her mouth at a party.

A chauffeur wound down the window:
"Mr Richards would like to meet with you immediately."
She considered the stranger danger aspects for about two seconds, whilst it started to rain.

Well it was the limo or the bus, and the bus wasn't there.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Chapter Ten

According to the mimeographed call sheet (duly posted to each and every member in a format to meet their needs) the dress code for The Society for the Abolition of the Tyranny of Youth's day  of direct action was Mature Casual. Kat and Natasha, therefore, found themselves in to co-op browsing through jumpers featuring Scottie dogs. She was shocked by the array of pets that could be found on clothing but played nonchalance, so as not to seem uncool in front of the old people. 

It was imperative, according to Gladys, that their organisations should work together. After all they shared the same ultimate goal. Kat nodded sagely, it was okay for Kat, the only life changing ideas that she'd encountered before had been in Judy Bloom novels. Natasha had little idea what Gladys was talking about. Was she supposed to have goals? Legal pharmaceutical based freak outs were not conducive to in-depth project planning. She only remembered something vague about wanting to change the world through cake and now she was being likened to a potato in the national press. 

Old people had always made Natasha nervous, so it stood to reason that SABTY scared the willies out of her.  She had ever been haunted by the fear that she might be force fed cod liver oil at an moment and had always known this, subconsciously or otherwise. She just hadn't realised until now that it was deliberate. 

But, like the Wu Tang Clan, SABTY were massive and very well organised, and she was scared of them. She feared anyone who knew what they wanted to do and took action to do it. What would happen after that? If it was successful surely it would lead to some form of responsibility and then what? It was difficult to get a decent tv break when you were leading the revolution. Even to only watch Neighbours. Even on catch-up!  

But direct action was Gladys' thing, so much so it was difficult to tell the difference between the crazy lady who danced and screamed in public parks and the massively sane evil genius lady who had introduced bags on wheels to London train stations at peak times, causing more broken designer shoes, savage commuter outbursts, nervous breakdowns and drop-outs from the rat race to lead rich and fulfilling lives than tube strikes, taxi drivers and chuggers put together. 

Resplendent in a thousand shades of beige, trimmed with salmon, sensible shoes hugging their tootsies like a long lost parent, they shuffled into Costa, the centre of everything. They sat amidst the mummies dreaming of yumminess; internet surfers pretending they were novelists and workers filling three minutes with a five quid sandwich. The table was plastic, the cups were paper, the mood was tinged with a set of people desperately paying attention to themselves.   Following five minutes of noisy rustling, ensuring they had the attention of the room, Gladys produced a corned beef and pickle sandwich wrapped in greaseproof paper, meat sneaking out of the bread like Jabba's dead tongue to be caressed by Gladys' slobbery gums. The waitress slid over like Robocop in an apron. 

"I'm sorry madam but you can't eat external food in here." 

Natasha wondered how a human would eat internal food, would it involve injections of mashed up swede and the slow release of bile? It didn't sound good. 

Gladys looked at the waitress and drooled slightly, it pooled on the fake wood veneer and threatened to burn through to the plastic below.

"I was in the fucking war." She said, through a mouthful of fake meat. 


Twenty minutes later they were shuffling down Oxford Street dragging shopping bags behind them and giggling like children. 

"You have to keep them on their toes." Explained Gladys.   "You have to remind them that, no matter how much they think they own the place, they're only renting. And one day, no matter how many facelifts they have, no one will want to see them because they'll smell like piss." 

She triumphantly lit a cigar and trundled along the middle of the pavement, piles of enraged suits trudging angrily behind her. 


And so it came to be her turn. Kat had skipped off to walk very slowly near some mainline train stations, and Natasha had been assigned a task more topical. 

Monday, 1 August 2011

Chapter nine

Beth Richards had been stuck on the Victoria line for fifteen minutes when she realised that she wanted to gun down all the other passengers. She was only on the stupid tube because the paper had cut her taxi budget, and the budget had been cut because these morons had stopped buying newspapers. The world was full of selfish assholes who were just trying to get in her way.

Other people were the sand in her ass crack that grumpy Monday. Some intern had informed her that her last column on the dangers of multiculturalism had received only 10 complaints and had barely been mentioned on Twitter and then she poured last week's coffee on her suede brogues. To add insult to injury the chocolate machine at the station had eaten the only change she had and she was about willing to rip the skin from the nearest snotty nosed kid's pet rabbit.

Someone was going to pay for all of this. That pointless cake girl - the one who'd managed to get them all excited over the weekend, she was as good a target as anyone. Beth resented being pulled from bed by a phone call from her editor to tell her to write about the new phenomena of cake giving. Apparently it was the new knitting. So what if it made a few hippies in London feel better about themselves? It was clearly some kind of danger to society. She took out her iPad and began to ponder. Something about the obesity crisis and ugly angry feminists………..

Waking up seemed surreal to Natasha, something to do with being in someone's gran's living room adorned with portraits of Vince McMahon where normally the Queen or Terry Wogan would be. Who knew that you could not only buy, but display an Ultimate Warrior tea towel?

"What about Hulk Hogan?" she asked the Crazy Lady - who was attached to a laptop in the corner of the room on a sofa that you wouldn't buy in a second hand shop.

"He was a fucking pussy." She retorted with a snort.

The smell of chocolate fudge cake wafted in, Kat was awake.

"You girls are famous" said the Crazy Lady, who had thrown away her crazy credentials overnight and could now speak in complete sentences. She thrust the laptop in Natasha's direction.

"We're trending?" she asked. Crazy Lady gave a seasoned nod.

"You'd better buy more gold clothing."

Apparently some pro-fat ninjas had forced an English Defence League rally to be cancelled by poisoning their speaker with cake. The man in question was recovering at home, meanwhile the internet was alight. Opinions seemed to be split roughly three ways. Some thought that they were about to save humanity and had dashed into the street to throw cake at unsuspecting passers by. Bank staff, Librarians, bin men and workers at Superdrug had all reported being handed unprecedented amounts of cake and cups of tea by masked individuals in various locations across Britain.

The second third, the beauty bloggers screamed obesity crisis - angrily criticising what they saw as a direct attack on the health of passers by. And the third - well they wanted to string Natasha and Kat up for attacking their leader. But they were smelly nut jobs and no one liked them.

"There are pictures!" wailed Natasha, wishing she'd brushed her hair, changed her pants, or taken up the offers on Groupon for several weeks of microdermabrasion or that other thing that makes you a better person by blasting you with lasers.

"You bet your ass" retorted Gladys.


Kat bounded through the front door with a tabloid newspaper held aloft like the Olympic Torch, resplendent in borrowed tiger print leggings and a Big Daddy t-shirt, eyeliner like shadow dancers across her cheeks.

Natasha wondered when she'd be able to drink a cup of tea. No wonder Jordan always looked vaguely harassed. Fame was definitely a burden.

"This one really hates us!" giggled Kat. "Beth Richards says: "It's potato like harpies like these two who, with their vengeful feminism, teach kids that it's good to be obese."

That wasn't nice. Natasha reeled slightly from being described as potato-like in a national newspaper. Natasha didn't think she looked like a potato. She had arms and legs, potatoes didn't have arms and legs. She had hair. Potatoes didn't have hair. She had a nose…….

She suddenly didn't want to eat breakfast any more. The thought prompted her to think about breakfast. "What's for breakfast?" she asked hopefully, "I can smell cake!"

Gladys picked up Natasha's jacket and belted it at her like Beckham playing Skeeball, forcing Natasha to fake it until her breath returned.

"No time for cake Doctor Jones. We've got work to do."