Prince Philip's Decline

The year was 2010. German victory had been hard won in the recent war with the British Empire but eventually perseverance (and a great many Zeppelin raids over London) had paid off.

Kaiser Fred's special envoy, Markus von Strahlheim, marched up to the gates of Westminster, every step a victory for the German Reich.

Von Strahlheim wore a uniform covered in medals, a tall metal helmet with red feathers on its spike and sported a long grey moustache. As the gates were opened for him, he nodded briefly to the man opening the gates and removed his helmet, which he then proceeded to hold as though it were no weight at all.

The outgoing Prime Minister, Lord Ashdown, was in the House of Lords waiting to greet him and ceremonially hand over a big golden key.

All the surrounding British lords were silent as von Strahlheim entered and bowed to them. They rose and bowed in return before sitting back on their long benches.

"I am here on behalf of his Excellency ze Kaiser of ze German Reich to receive ze Golden Key of Office as a token of Britain's long friendship vith, and loyalty to, ze said German Reich. Ich liebe Deutschland."

Everyone got up and, in a daze, found themselves repeating "Ich liebe Deutschland" before returning to their seats, still not quite able to believe what was happening to them.

"One learns to ski," said a muffled voice from the back.

"Was ist los?" muttered von Strahlheim, looking to see who it could be.

To the embarrassment of all, the Duke of Edinburgh, husband to the Queen, had entered unannounced and was sitting on the back bench with a balaclava over his entire face and massive blue-tinted glasses over where his eyes must be. On his feet were two ridiculously long yellow clown's shoes.

Von Strahlheim ignored this randomness and continued with his victory speech. He would make these British weaklings squirm yet.

"From now on all instructions to your people vill be delivered by you, your Qveen and ze House of Commons as usual but they vill originate from me."

"One learns to ski," said Prince Philip again, quite loudly this time.

Von Strahlheim could hear a few titters. Inwardly fuming he decided to show German dignity and ignore this outrgeous lack of respect.

"Any attempt to proffer laws contrary to ze wishes of myself as governor of ze British province on behalf of ze Kaiser will be severely punished and ze miscreant..."

"One learns to ski,"



By now many of the lords were openly laughing, the tension of the moment being broken by the eccentric Duke.

"Prime Minister, or should I say ex-Prime Minister, kindly hand over the Golden Key."

"Chorles," said Prince Philip again as Lord Ashdown, his voice trembling with suppressed humour, intoned all the rubbish fed to him to say by von Strahlheim.

"One learns to ski," said the Queen's husband again. "Chorles. A Mummy; a Daddy; a David; a Julie."

As he said the names of each of the last four random characters the Duke was breaking a stick into smaller and smaller pieces on the back of the bench in front of him. By now everyone was roaring with laughter, farting and hurling paper aeroplanes around.

"Good jokes, yes?" sneered von Strahlheim. "Very good British jokes. So full of deep vit and clever humour. Ve vere to be lenient viz you. Let's see how much laughing you make ven my IMPERIAL GERMAN GUARD STORM VESTMINSTER AND PLACE YOU ALL UNDER ARREST."

True to his word, von Strahlheim had all the lords, including Lord Ashdown, placed in the Tower of London in disgrace for their appalling behaviour towards their new German masters.

The Duke, being a relative of Kaiser Fred, was free to go, even though he had caused the insurrection in the first place.

Von Strahlheim, still seething at the humiliation he had received during what was supposed to be the proudest moment of his life, stepped into the lift in his hotel an hour later, trying to keep his head up. Somehow everyone seemed to know what had happened and had that awful look on their faces when you're desperately trying to keep a staright face in a serious situation but inside you you're having a laughing fit.

The man controlling the lift kept his head pointed down towards the floor.

"Tventy-sird floor," snappend von Strahlheim.

He turned around and faced the door, which closed... and opened again... and closed again... and opened again. He turned abruptly round. The lift-operator was still staring at the floor, his peaked cap obscuring his eyes. He was probably depressed at the humiliating defeat of his Motherland, thought von Strahlheim smugly. This thought brought back a flush of pride to him. He could still write to his old mother in Buckow, who was waiting to hear from him, of his life finally having reached its purpose.

"Lift going up. Doors closing," said the lift. "First floor. Doors opening... Doors closing. Stand clear of the door, please."

An elderly couple stood there, staring into the lift. Von Strahlheim gave them his victorious sneer.

"Lift going up. Second floor. Doors opening... Doors closing... Doors opening... Doors closing... Lift going down..."

Von Strahlheim found himself back on the ground floor. It was strange: no-one had entered or departed at any of the intervening floors. He placed his helmet smartly back on his head and smoothed his eyebrows in the little lift mirror.

"Lift going up. First floor. Doors opening... doors closing. Stand clear of the doors, please. Lift going up."

Standing on the first floor was the same elderly couple who'd seen him before.

"Oy, look at him goin' up and dahn!" said the woman, pointing rudely at her new Prime Minister.

"'Ear: isn't it that German geezer?" asked her husband. "Someone's playin' silly buggers with the lift! Core, I gotta take a photo of this: this is a classic!"

"Doors opening... doors closing... doors opening... stand clear of the doors, please!"

Von Strahlheim turned slowly, unable to believe it possible that even the moronic Britons could be so infantile as to play with the lift like this. He turned and saw that, yes, indeed, someone had pressed every single floor and that the doors were being opened yet again by the lift attendant.

"Vot is the meaning of zis... zis... OUTRAGE!" he shouted, totally losing any of his German cool which still remained.

Before he raised the alarm to get his troopers involved, he noticed something about the attendant which made him stop in his tracks: two incredibly long clown's shoes. He didn't need to look at the man's face. He marched stiffly out of the lift to the inevitable call of "One learns to ski," from the randomly-minded Prince Philip and climbed over twenty flights to his room, snapped both by professional photographers and by an ever-increasing group of laughing onlookers as he walked up and up. Every now and again some joker called out, "Oy, mate - d'you want me to call the lift up for ye?"

Why were such peasants admitted into a luxury hotel like this, wondered von Strahlheim.

"Oy, mate - learning to ski, are we?" called out someone on Floor 21.

Two flights later and Markus von Strahlheim opened the door to his room, closed and locked it from the inside... and collapsed onto his double bed next to the beautiful busty blonde woman ordered for him by the House of Lords. She was already sipping champagne and poured him out a glass, too.

He drained it in one.

"Ooh, you are thirsty!" she giggled.

"Zat is because I have just spent ze last tventy minutes going up and down in ze lift and climbing over tventy floors."

Sandra (as she called herself) laughed. She had such a sympathetic expression and such an infectious laugh that he found himself laughing, too. He also found himself telling her everything about himself: his war record; how he'd saved a number of comrades' lives during the Battle of St. Ives... and about his mother in Buckow who'd always been so proud of him and who'd been waiting to hear of today's events.

Sandra turned out to be more than just a pretty face: she  gave him great advice on what to put in the e-mail to his mother to ensure this was the happiest day of her life; she told him what to do and say to please his wife more in future; she told him how to gain the respect of the Britons; she even talked frankly about the last war. Lord Ashdown had set up the Germans, claiming they were linked to Jewish terror group Beni Ha Aretz, who randomly blew things up hoping to win themselves a Jewish state.

Sandra's suggestion was to set up a Jewish state called Judah in part of Australia. The British would have to yield it as part of their war reparations. The whole world would be grateful that their explosions had stopped. The new Jewish state would be grateful to the German Reich. The Aboriginals could be offered compensation for their loss of land and good relations set up. Well, the Britons had - dishonestly - said the Germans and Jews were in league. Why not make it true: that would stop the lying Lord Ashdown's laughter once and for all!

Von Strahlheim had the best evening he'd ever had with this wonderful woman, this sensual woman, this woman of wisdom, this understanding and intelligent woman... this heart-meltingly sexy woman! He would take all of her advice!

She was like an agony aunt, an escort, a military strategist and a therapist all rolled into one.

Unbeknownst either to von Strahlheim or the House of Lords she was also the most successful secret agent that Beni Ha Aretz had trained.

The End

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