Szohôd, Borduria, October 22nd 1956
Bob flung open his bedroom window and began to haul in the Bordurian Taschist Flag which hung outside. Grabbing a pair of scissors from his desk, he removed the moustache from the centre of the flag with 5 rough cuts. He threw the hated symbol to the floor and spat on it in disgust. Climbing back out into the starless night he replaced his country’s national flag on the flagpole outside his parent’s flat, before shutting the window.
What he’d done felt good. He was stupid-drunk but happy. He paced the room, excited by his brave act of vandalism, repeatedly rubbing his bare upper lip in an annoying habit he’d developed since his teenage years, when his inability to produce respectable amounts of facial hair had first proven to be a problem. For Bob, and indeed all the comrades that called Borduria home, a bushy and silky moustache had become more and more important over the years. Their Wise and Abundantly Hairy Leader, Marshal Kurvi-Tasch, had never said that all people must develop facial hair in accordance with his own, but his personality was of such importance that soon all party officials grew them and those unruly elements of society, those who rejected the teachings of the Wise and Abundantly Hairy Leader, had started to be proudly tasch-less.
For whatever reason Bob, despite a proud and hairy father, had never been able to grow more than a thin line of wispy fluff below his nose and his chin was balder than a newborn baby’s bottom. He wouldn’t have minded so much, not if he hadn’t been for Bianca. Or more precisely, Brian, Bianca’s father. Brian was a radio presenter on the most listened to show on the state run Radio Kurvi. It was his show which laid down the rails upon which the moral majority would roll their trains. When Bob was round at Bianca’s for a family dinner (and the obligatory half an hour of snogging in her bedroom) her father had said, whilst staring Bob straight in the eye, “I consider the packs of young people without moustaches as possible dissidents and even dangerous to the onward march of Taschism. Moreover I’m going to devote my radio show tomorrow lunchtime to this topic.”
Bianca, Bob’s Love
This news has sent Bob on an enthusiastic session of liver abuse with a bottle of pálinka. You see, Bob loved Bianca dearly, she was the only girl who’d let him take off her bra and he didn’t want his inaction below the nasal cavities to end his best ever relationship. He was stuck between a rock and a bald face and he needed a solution. If Brian, Bianca’s dad, made his radio broadcast tomorrow then he’d be doomed. Once society turned against the tasch-less, Bob would be an outcast, and Brian’s daughters didn’t date outcasts. It was with this in mind that Bob drifted into a drunken and restless sleep…
Szohôd, Borduria, October 23rd 1956
Bob was awoken by the cheering crowd in the street. His head was pounding harder than a quadratic equation as he flung open his window to stare into the street below. Through his hung-over gaze he saw a group of students shouting anti-Taschist slogans in the street below. One of them was mimicking Bob’s act of de-Tasching the Bordurian national flag. He was shocked: what were students doing out of bed before breakfast? Why was that man doing that to the flag? Why was his mother running at them with a rolling pin?
Like a rabid bull in a porcelain factory, Bob’s mother arrived nostril first into the crowd screaming blue, red and green murder. Upon the prompting of the group, her attention was directed up to her own building, the face of her son and the destroyed flag fluttering in the wind beside him.
“You!” She screamed. And then unnecessarily, judging by the blood lust in her eyes, “You’re in trouble.” Bob had never been the quickest thing on two legs, but he had grabbed the offending flag form the flag pole, was dressed, downstairs and out the back door faster than the time it takes a jury to reach a guilty verdict against an ex-party leader during a show trial.
Bob ran and ran and ran, the flag in his right hand, his greasy locks trying and failing to flow sexily in his tail wind. He turned back. The crowd of noisy young men were following him shouting Tasch knows what. “I have to blend in,” he mumbled to himself, “where can you find lots of people on a Saturday morning?” He paused. “Staltin Square!” his hung-over brain screamed back at him. And off he ran, putting a little distance between himself and the dirty students.
Staltin Square was even more packed than usual. And not full of the nice old ladies smelling faintly of wee or market stall holders that he hoped would be there, but rather full of similar looking moustache-less youths that had got him in trouble with his mum. They were gathered around the statue in the centre of the square, he ran there, hoping to hide in amongst the crowd. He was about as successful as the seventh successive 5-year plan.
“It’s the flag guy,” screamed a girl in medical need of a bath as she hugged Bob. “You rock!” her bald-faced boyfriend yelled, “genius idea. Genius,” he continued pulling out his own de-tasched flag.
“Get up here and tell us what inspired you!” He said shoving Bob up onto the highest steps of the statue. He was next to a Young Angry Man (YAM), waving his fist and generally acting in a way in which Bob’s mother would disapprove.
“What’s you name freedom fighter?” said the YAM. More to the crowd than to him.
“Bob” said Bob.
“What do you have to say to us?” the YAM continued. Bob wavered. What the Tasch was he doing here? On a makeshift stage looking out onto a crowd of young angry people who would provide enough material for 10 of Brian’s radio shows, the Christmas special and the “Best Of…” box set. He started to sway, his legs giving way. His head was rushing with blood. Images of moustaches, his mother and Bianca’s nipples all flashed before his eyes…
… somebody had given him a flag to hold. He waved it limply and then fell…
”See what living in such a society has done to the poor boy?!” Screamed the YAM.
”Mmmm, er.” Said Bob from the floor.
”He says that he hates these dirty fucking moustaches!” The YAM ‘interpreted.’
”I’m sorry Mum… I think I should try to grow…” Bob groaned in a daze.
”We must de-Tasch our country.” The YAM continued.
”Where am I…?” Bob’s head had started to readjust itself.
”He urges you to pull down the statue!” The YAM screamed without a hint of shame.
The crowd roared and swarmed over the statue. Ropes were produced from inside bulky duffle coats and a team of people were quickly assembled to pull down the 8 meter high Staltin. Sociology students, who had never before shown any practical worth to society, suddenly found themselves involved in a physical job and they enjoyed it. Some of them even started wondering why they’d spent their lives trying to avoid work. Within 20 minutes the great statue of Staltin was ready to come down.
Bob sat down on top of Staltin exhausted and confused, confused and exhausted. People around him were cheering, but he could see little reason for celebration. Brian, Bianca’s dad, was still going to end all possible chances for him to be a respectable comrade and thus he could never again enjoy sustained bouts of tonsil tennis with the girl he loved.
The crowd was all around him. Lifting him onto their shoulders. Chanting something that he couldn’t understand. He was distraught. He screamed. They didn’t understand or didn’t want to understand – they were marching away from the square with Bob firmly panted on their shoulders. He relaxed. Well, as much as a man could who was on the shoulders of a baying mob – at last he was being taken away from the scene of the trouble. Or so he thought until he sighted the destination of these dissenting do-no-gooders… the radio building.
As the crowd drew close to the building they let Bob down, patting him heartily on the back and trying to act brave. It wasn’t only Bob who was wishing he’d packed an extra pair of underpants now. The radio building was guarded by a mean looking police line and the once cocky students had started to get cold feat. The revolutionary slogans were changed into demands for conciliatory talks over a nice cup of tea. The would-be revolutionaries were saved by an unlikely figure as Brian, Bianca’s dad, sped past them in a taxi, got out in front of the building and looked back at the crowd with a cocky grin on his face.
“Dissidents!” He spat.
”Oooooh!” Said the crowd mockingly and edged towards the door. Emboldened in the face of a less heavily armed and even angrier enemy.
”Reactionary elements!” Brian raised his voice, foaming slightly at the mouth.
”Oooooh!” Repeated the crowd and started the laugh as they made another advance towards the door.
“Counter revolutionaries!” Brian screamed in vain.
”Oooooh!” They said again as they came toe-to-toe with the police line.
Brian eyed the crowd. Bob tried to hide and failed.
”You!” Screamed Brian in a way which was reminiscent of Bob’s mother.
”Erm. Hi.” Said Bob sheepishly.
”I always knew it. Mark my words, in Marshal Kurvi-Tasch’s name, I swear you will never see my daughter again.” Brian bristled.
”What about if Marshal Kurvi-Tasch is no more?!” Shouted the YAM. Bob looked like he would shrivel up and die.
”You hairless fools! You’ll never win!! This is the end for you and your phoney revolution!!! By nighttime you’ll be rounded up and in jail!!! I’ll see that you,” he said pointing at Bob, “get special treatment tonight!!!!”
The air was so thick with tension that you could have gone surfing on tension waves. Bob’s mind raced faster and faster: he would never see Bianca again, there was a row of angry policemen gnashing their teeth in front of his face, he had upset his beloved (and scary) mother. He had to, for the first time in his life, be proactive and do something radical to make sure that his life didn’t end alone in jail, spending every evening with only cry-wanks over Bianca to keep him sane. The blood rushed to his head, his eyes burned red and he let out a scream that made even the police line go limp at the knees. And then he ran. Bounding though the police line, pushing Brian out of the way, he burst through his own insecurities and into a new life… for everyone.
…five days of bloody violence followed. In the end Marshal Kurvi-Tasch stepped down and for a few brief weeks Borduria started to become a free country. Brian, Bianca’s dad, avoided the students, snuck off home after the radio building incident and shaved off his moustache. Bob and Bianca got married just two days before the Soviet tanks arrived…