Are you starving yet? That’s the intention. Feeling faint? How many fingers can you see? 11? Excellent.
Do exactly what you’re told. Don’t scream. Or we’ll have to sit on you. Stay still. We really don’t like hurting you. We do this to survive. We have families to feed. I also have relatives who came last month and are showing no signs of leaving. We have orders to do this to you. We’re not bad people.
It won’t hurt if you don’t struggle. One jab and you’ll be at peace ever after. Close your eyes. Relax now, think of someone you love. Your wife. Your neighbour’s wife.
Feeling light-headed already? Steady, now, steady. Stand up and follow us. Don’t try to escape. We’ll find you. Our people are everywhere. Get in here. Hand over your clothes, underclothes, shoes. Now you can’t run away.
We can see you’re shivering. It is cold, yes. Don’t fall asleep. We’ve got orders to keep you awake and conscious. Count sheep!
Answer our questions truthfully. We know you’re lying about this one — and that one — and your age. We’ve got ways to get at the truth. We don’t like being lied to. My relatives promised to leave on Sunday but they still haven’t.
Hand over your wallet and your jewellery. Protest is futile. Give up. This looks like fake gold. Hey R — doesn’t this look like fake gold to you? Pity! No, not your silver tooth. We’ve got ways to take that out, if we need to. But not now.
Walk this way. Down the last, long corridor. Stop counting sheep. It’s getting on my nerves.
That door at the end? Go in. Into the room which says Keep out. Danger, skull and crossbones. Quick. It will be over in a flash. You won’t feel any pain. Let us strap you onto this cold steel machine. Hold still. No one will hear you screaming. Stop screaming. And STOP COUNTING SHEEP. This room is soundproof, we made sure of that.
Now, hold your breath. While we make our escape. Just think of something happy: Blue skies, floating, happily ever after. Your neighbour’s wife. Keep holding your breath. You’re turning blue. That’s expected. Don’t breathe. All you’ll see is a bright light. Take care. Be brave. We’re going now. Remember, you don’t know our names.
‘Hello,’ I hear her say again. ‘Please focus. It’s the annual checkup, not holdup. We really need to start. Now your name please.’
Like I’d ever tell them the truth.
Where Jane De Suza, the author of Happily Never After, talks about the week’s quirks, quacks and hacks