A Midwinter Day’s Nightmare or “Down the Pan”

By Billy Shakestick

Dear listener, draw near. I have a tale of intrigue in the affairs of states, mendacity in high office and of the fulminations of the rabble. Not just any tale, but a wondrous gallimaufry. A man, a voter, in a distant land preparing to go to the polls, falls asleep after a hefty lunch ….



Forsooth, what manner of place do I find myself in?

Heheheheheh, you are in Lalaland

I know this not. And who may you be?

Bottom, the faerie queen of Lalaland. Heheheheh

Are you the ruler here? I look around me and see complete pandemonium

Heheh, you see rightly. Pan is verily the ruler of this realm. Ah, here he is this moment

(Enter stage left Pan, the lord of the faeries. After briefly sniffing Bottom’s hair, he fixes our voter with his goatish eye)

What manner of creature are you? Have you cast your lot in with me?

Er, no

Then you ain’t a faerie for sure

Er, um, no. I’m a man

I knew two men once, kings and great friends of mine, Oberon and Stumpf. Now resting with their ancestors. Bottom, I thought I commissioned you to prevent the hordes of humanity pouring into Lalaland.

No, great Pan, only to oversee it. Heheheh

Oh, really? Sometimes the memory doth play tricks after 2000 years on the hoof

Yes, greatest Pan, you shouldn’t overdo it. Ah, look, here comes Orion

(A figure enters stage left, glances furtively around, winks at Bottom, whispers in Pan’s ear and exits stage right. Pan grins goatishly, gets up and exits stage right, trotting briskly)

Truly, is this the ruler? He seemeth more a Lord of Misrule. See, the baying mob comes closer.

Heheheh. The faeries rule the mob. We are in no danger. Well, I am in no danger.

(Enter the mob from stage left, exiting stage right carrying all before it)


Our voter starts awake. With relief he realises

‘Twas but a spectral visit such as imagining devises.

Too much of rough Prosecco in all likelihood,

An excess of fried chicken and other greasy food.

He wipes the sweat from off his brow, and dons his coat,

His hat, his gloves, heads out to vote.

By Don Trubshaw

Don Trubshaw is a co-founder of the website Societal Values. He has a PhD in the philosophy and sociology of education and teaches in Higher Education.

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