The Bright Side.

Peter Smith has just found out he has a month left to live due to a lethal brain tumour.
He has also just found out that in less than a month, the human race will become extinct and that he has been chosen to be one of six humans to survive the approaching apocalypse. And who has saved him? E.I.P.F, the Earth Inhabitant Protection Front, a group of intergalactic environmentalists who want to save just one species.
And so, whilst also keeping his deadly secret from the aliens, Peter embarks on a quest to rally the chosen survivors, whilst avoiding Government Agents, the secret services, Satanists, Velociraptors, and a manic depressive Tyrannosaurus .

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7. Chapter 7

 Walter O’Donnell fiddled with the brim of his hat nervously. Occasionally his eyes would drift over to the large mob of angry women waving placards. This was not what he needed on a Thursday afternoon. He wiped his brow with a handkerchief, then turned to the chief constable. “Well?” O'Donnell asked in his piping Irish accent. “What are you goin' to do about it then?” The chief constable stared at the throng of angry women and scratched his head, this was something new to Chief constable Mark O'Reilly, he had faced muggers, rapists, a few murderers and even a suspected terrorist (who had turned out to be Mrs Murphy who had left her shopping bag outside a public toilet) But he had never felt this sort of fear. These women had power, they had the power of fear on their side. He turned to his assembled officers. As the women shouted and harangued, they winced in pained pride. “Well Mr O'Donnell” Mark said diplomatically, “As far as we can see they're not as such breaking any laws!”

Walter had had a very taxing last few days, a vein in his forehead which was normally not visible and passed its time streaming blood across the mans face, was now pulsating furiously, taking the spotlight on O'Donnell's head. “Not breaking any laws?” he screeched, his hat nearly tearing in his hands. “They're not working! That's breaking several laws in my book!”

The chief constable sighed, it was true. The women at O'Donnell's match factory had all, on the Monday, packed up their things and walked out demanding equal pay. Typically O'Donnell had seen this as a basic attack on his own rights as an employer and had poured petrol on the smouldering situation and had called in the police. Most of whose wives actually worked in the factory and had been part of the walk out. In fact, if Mark stood on his tip toes, he could just make out the permed complexion of his own furious wife waving a placard with the slogan: 'More pay from the fascist bastards!!!' He could tell it was beans on toast for his dinner tonight. “Well Mr O'Donnell, have you actually tried talking to them?”

Walter looked as if he had been accused of child murder, “Talk to them?” he breathed, this time he dropped his hat. “I couldn't do that! Haven't you seen who's leading them?”

“No sir, I haven't”

“It's her! Martha Kelly!” O'Donnell spat the name out with the same venom as saying 'terrorist', “She's always doing things like this. Making trouble for me. Me! An honest, hard working employer. I'm being persecuted here! You should arrest her!”

A hand suddenly landed on O'Donnell's small shoulder, his knees buckled. “May we be of assistance sir?” The chief constable and the match factory owner turned to face the owner of the hand. He was a smiling, pale faced man wearing a plain black suit, an identical looking man stood beside him, both smiling blankly. Behind them, lingering slightly, was someone who almost looked normal. “Who are you?” O'Donnell snapped.

“We represent the women's institute” the left suited man said with a smile, the young man behind them rolled his eyes wearily. “But you're not women” Mr O'Donnell pointed out with a puzzled frown.

“We're the men's department” the suited man on the right offered.

The Irishman frowned, he had always viewed the Women's Institute as being a solely woman based organisation, but here were two rather odd looking gentlemen saying they represented the institute. He looked from them, to the army of screaming protesters outside his factory, in the corner of his eye he caught the flash of cameras. Damn, the tabloids had arrived. “All right gentlemen” he said, adopting his most diplomatic smile, “I leave this situation in your most capable hands”

“Thank you very much” Kurt said.

The two suit wearing men then approached the crowds of women, almost dragging the third behind them. O'Donnell and O'Reilly watched as the two men murmured something to the gang of women, then they were swallowed by the throng. “Did you catch their names?” Walter asked.

“No, I didn't.” Mark said, “Why?”

“No reason” Mr O'Donnell said shrugging, “Just wondering what to put on their headstone”

 

Martha Kelly raised the megaphone to her lips, permanently cast into a snarl, “What do we want? Equal wages! When do we want them? Now!” she spat the words out like whips, urging the other women into repeating. They did so obediently, it was difficult to decide what they feared, losing their jobs, or Martha Kelly annoyed.

Kelly lowered the megaphone and turned to her ready, demure lieutenants. “Well ladies?” she asked with the warmth of a polar bear, “what have you achieved?”

One of the women raised a hand nervously, “Yes Glenda?”

“Well I've managed to get hold of The Guardian” the woman mumbled.

“Well done Glenda” Kelly said with a sharp nod

“I have The Telegraph interested in our story!” a second woman said eagerly, desperate to avoid Martha's smouldering disapproving glares.

“Well done Mary” Kelly said, her bitter eyes slowly softened as a list of major newspapers were reeled off as interested in Martha Kelly's latest exploit. Finally, her snake hungry eyes rested on one silent, small women. “What about you Susan?” she asked.

Susan mumbled something and stared at her feet. The other women, sensing the beginning of a storm, shuffled away from their once friend. “What was that Susan?” Martha asked, her voice dripping with liquid poison. “I called up the gazette”

“Which one” by now the softness in her eyes had boiled and now only hatred writhed in bitter glee.

“The Irish Gazette”

“The Irish gazette”

Susan nodded mutely. Martha started drumming her fingers on her folded arms, “Susan” she said coldly, “when I asked you to contact the biggest tabloids in Britain, not once did the Irish gazette cross my mind.”

“Well I just thought -”

“Just because your brother is the assistant editor, does not mean that he can get our cause known country wide” Kelley said loudly, “and you are not meant to think Susan. I'm the one here to think, if I wasn't here to think for you dithering women you'd still be in that stuffy factory stuffing matches into boxes for that shrimp of a misogynist”

“Mr O'Donnell isn't that bad” one woman said bravely, hiding behind two of her friends. Martha immediately turned her smouldering gaze on the speaker, “Yes, and we all know what you two get up to in his office, don't we Gladys?”

Gladys retreated to her own private rage, but when it came to vindictive rage, Martha Kelly had no equal.

Of course, that's what Martha Kelly was fighting for, equality. Where women could be equal among men, and perhaps, as an added bonus, being viewed as superior. It was why, when Kurt, Lars and Peter entered the circle of frightened, rebellious women, Martha sprang like a viper. “Who the hell let those Men in here?” she spat, she said the word 'men' as if it were a swear word, and many of the women recoiled as if it was. “Hello Miss Kelly” Lars began, smiling warmly, “We represent -” Peter grabbed the Collopian's arm and dragged him back, “What Mister Smith?”

“Look,” Peter hissed, low enough to spark Martha's interest. “I know how to deal with women like this. They won't accept anything you two say!”

“Why not?” Kurt asked, “We have very honest faces!”

Peter stared at the supposedly honest faces. “Just let me deal with her. Please?”

Kurt and Lars swapped glances, “Well, I suppose if he does fail we can erase her memory and start again” Lars suggested.

“True” Kurt said nodding, they then turned to Peter. “All right, as a human, we shall allow you to speak to the female human”

The trio turned back to Kelly, the large group of women suddenly tried to look innocent, as if they hadn't all been straining to listen to the hurried conversation. Peter stared into Martha's fire fuelled eyes and adopted his most charming smile. “Miss Kelly? Hi, I'm Peter Smith, I represent The Times

The Times?” Martha asked greedily.

“Yes. And we would love if you would grace us with an interview” Peter silently crossed his fingers, he could see the bile of vanity rising in Kelly's eyes. Slowly, she stared at the accumulated women. All middle aged and extremely dimwitted in Martha's modest opinion. And it was true, without her leadership they would still be on the packing line at O'Donnell's match factory, it didn't matter that they had been happy with the easy work. Such things never did matter to people like Martha Kelly. She was the pioneering socialist that everyone feared, and fear was sometimes a better motivator than happiness. But what would really make Martha Kelly happy, would be to do an interview with The Times. “All right” she said eagerly, “Let's retire to my office”

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