the occasional old five pound note
invested under our long suffering mattresses,
in the golden age of scurvy, typhus, plague
there was always something fatal
to take the frail off our hands
at hardly any expense to anyone,
bar the price of digging the grave.
Now, some scientist comes flapping daily
from the laboratory to declare another bastard
disease sadly no longer incurable.
The long term cost of all this
getting better will be our ruin.
The future we offer you will be short
For starters, every cup of tea will be tested
to ensure it contains appropriate levels
of the deadlier strains of E-Coli.
Those suffering from cardiac
arrhythmia or elevated blood pressure
will be taken off all expensive medication,
and shouted at three hours a day
by unemployable sociopaths,
so happy at the hint of a job,
they’ll work for nothing.
From his or her fortieth birthday onwards
asthmatics, and those with chronic
bronchitis, sarcoidosis, and cystic fibrosis
will receive no treatment at all,
unless they agree to immediately
take up smoking.
Those with Crohn’s disease, IBS,
or colitis will be force fed three loaves
of slightly stale bread
until they stop complaining.
Everyone availing of our public health system
will be subject to random spot checks
on their way to work, to make sure
they’ve gobbled their daily ration
of fat only yoghurt.
Schoolteachers will be empowered
to wire children judged too thin
up to the school sugar pump,
until they have expanded sufficiently.
Those who, despite all this,
insist on turning seventy five
will be tickled to death with feather dusters,
they will be expected to supply themselves;
their laughing corpses dumped
in the nearest river to further
infect the water supply.
Over the next five years,
we will replace the costly chaos
of our hospital system with the eternal calm
of the graveyard.
KEVIN HIGGINS is The Bogmans Cannon satirist-in-residence.