QuirkyTales Banner






Keeping Pace

Michael Jacobs, secretary to Andrew Forbes-Willis, Liberal Democrat MP for North Widditch, sat at his desk in the outer office, hammering away at his keyboard and fielding an endless stream of phone calls.

Andrew Forbes-Willis burst through the door, startling the secretary so much that he nearly deleted the prime minister from his contact list with a misplaced click of his mouse.

'Good afternoon, Michael! Just had a splendid lunch with Herbert Green,' said the MP as he shucked off his jacket and plonked himself down in a chair. 'Fascinating man, fascinating. He has some truly inspired ideas for welfare reform.'

The secretary quickly clicked 'cancel' on the screen and slumped in his chair. 'Herbert Green is a Tory, sir. A very right wing tory.'

'Absolutely. He's got all the answers you know,' said Andrew dreamily. 'By the way, he was telling me about some new thing on the computer. What did he call it now? Prattle? No, Chatter! No, dash, I can't remember now. Anyway, Michael I absolutely have to have it. He says you can update people with what you're doing using ... get this, I can hardly believe it myself ... using your mobile telephone!'

'I believe the honourable gentleman was probably referring to Twitter, sir.'

'That's the chap!' said Andrew, clapping his hands in delight. 'Must have it, Michael, apparently all MPs have it.' He pulled his phone from his pocket and turned it over and over, frowning. After some time he found the power switch and turned it on. 'So, how do I do this, Michael?'

'Sir, you already have a Twitter account. I took the liberty of setting one up for you some time ago. I update it regularly.

'Oh! But surely I should do that myself?'

The secretary swallowed hard and forced his hands away from the keyboard. He hated having these sort of conversations with his boss. 'Sir, it's quite technical, and it's very important to take care over what you say …'

'Well of course, Michael! Heaven knows, I understand about that. But you know how I love technology. This is right up my street.'

The secretary's eyes strayed to the lower drawer of the filing cabinet. He knew it to be filled with various gadgets his boss had bought, insisting they would revolutionise public office, then abandoned in frustration within days. The MP for North Widditch was a good man at heart but he was also quite dim, particularly when it came to modern technology. It had taken several hours of patient schooling to help him grasp the concept of sending a text message. And then it had taken days of diplomacy and calling in favours to smooth over the chaos caused when he inadvertently sent a message intended for his wife to all contacts. Love for technology was not, in the MP's case, matched by ability.

'Yes sir. Twitter is accessed via the internet browser on your phone.'

'Internet browser? Honestly Michael, speak English!'

'Sorry sir. Click on the picture of the blue globe at the bottom of your screen.'

The MP's face creased with concentration as he stabbed at the screen. 'Ah, Google! My old friend!'

'Yes sir. You are now on the internet.'

'Good heavens.'

'Quite so. Now, type in your name in the search bar …'


'Sorry, click in the white box beneath the Google logo …'

'Ah right, yes, yes!'

Some time passed while Andrew tapped out his name, misspelling it three times. Michael returned to his computer and quickly updated the Twitter account to show that his boss had just returned from a working lunch with one of his coalition partners.

'Gosh, it's found all sorts of sites! There's my official one, and one on Wiki and, oh, what's that? I don't remember this one.'

'Which one, sir?'

'Third one down.'

The secretary hastily tapped out a search on his computer, read the returns, blanched, then leapt across the room to point to the fourth return on the MP's screen. 'Don't worry about that one, sir. This one is your Twitter account.'

Andrew stabbed at the link and chuckled when his Twitter account bounced onto his screen. 'It's all very jolly isn't it? So, what have I been up to? Good grief, it knows I just got back from lunch!'

'Yes sir, I just told it.'

'Ah. Well I think I should probably take over now, Michael. It is, after all, my account.'

'As you wish, sir.'

'So, what do I do with it?'

For the next half-an-hour, Michael Jacobs attempted to take the honourable Andrew Forbes-Willis MP through the rudiments of Twitter. It was hopeless, and the MP quickly lost interest and headed towards his own office on the pretext of having a great deal of work. Moments later he reappeared at the door.

'Michael, I seem to have misplaced my … thingy, whatsit? Lord, what's it called?' he clicked his fingers and frowned at the floor. 'Parchment? No. Scribe?'

'Your tablet, sir?'

'That's the thing! I can't seem to find it.'

'You left it at the restaurant, sir. The maître d called just after you left to say he found it on the floor by your chair. I'll collect it this evening on my way home.'

'Excellent. After all, where would we be without our gadgets, eh Michael?'


© 2013 Kay Lawrence.


Leave a Comment

: (required)
: (required, but will not be published)