These silent totems and the smog only a breath above. The still pond and the watchtower. The giant portakabin canteen empty, dust sticking to its grease, where briefly they came, once visited. The park meadows are left to nature. Not hacked back any more, weeds are growing now. The canal, sludged up, reveals its shopping trolleys and plastic. But the railway lines are busy. People pass, noses pressed against the windows, staring. And beyond the tracks the towers rising, the remains of artillery, the air ambulance – and the city itself, its sheen of gold, citizens drinking Coca-Cola, munching Hula Hoops.
Even as the children danced and eyes were filled with tears of joy; even as hearts swelled with pride; even as the crowds clapped and cheered; even as the plaudits flowed; even as the hyperbole swelled and the superlatives thundered and the fireworks lit up the sky; even as a nation rejoiced; even as the world watched: they were busy sneering; burying their hands in their pockets; turning a blind eye; out on a limb, not having the stomach; cutting back staff; pulling away beds; dismantling the letters N, H and S, plunging the needy into a long dark night.
Demands were made to sack them. If they excercised their legal rights, employers should be able to ensure workers had no job on their return: strikes should become illegal. The show must go on. So, shunt private cars from the roads, disrupt public services and tell the citizens to walk. Call for an exodus – it would be better if a large migration of inhabitants freed up space in the city. Ban foods, drinks and certain items of clothing. Force businesses to rebrand or close. Take ownership of vocabulary, shape and colour. Sanctify corporate sponsor status. This is a possible fiction.