Nelson & The Bottle of Tagged Lager by Jonty Morgan Available from the Kindle Books Store on Amazon

What would life be like without Horatio Nelson?

Nelson made turning a blind eye an acceptable, even heroic, option when he placed the telescope to his unsighted eye at the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801. Had Nelson been absent from history this famous incident wouldn’t have occurred and turning a blind eye would have been nigh on impossible for future generations to do.

J.H. Dillinger, gunslinger, escape artist, bank robber and the FBI’s public enemy number one wouldn’t have been famously cut down by a hail of bullets in an FBI ambush outside the Biograph Movie Theater in Chicago in July, 1934. Instead, in a world without Nelson, this would’ve happened:

DILLENGER LIVES ON

Public Enemy No.1 Saved Outside Movie Theater.

J.H. Dillinger dramatically escaped an FBI trap last night outside the Biograph Movie Theater in Chicago last night. He was on his way out when he passed an agent of J. Edgar Hoover’s new law enforcement agency who signalled to his fellow officers by lighting a cigar. Dillinger was immediately suspicious and reached for his gun but was surprised when a man in the street ahead of him, who’d wantonly dropped some litter, was cut down in a hail of bullets. Dillinger was then able to make his escape as the scene descended into chaos accompanied by the screams of shocked onlookers and much spilled blood.

It’s believed that the dead man is a Chicagoan called Darby Cincantona and that the scrap of litter he’d dropped was the stub of his theater ticket. Late last night an FBI spokesman said that they deeply regret allowing their Public Enemy Number One to escape their ambush but they could not turn a blind eye to the public nuisance caused by littering.

Aready, the failure of the FBI to turn a blind eye has caused consequences:

  1. Overnight the USA has become virtually litter free.
  2. The Federal Bureau of Investigationhas now been re-christened as Forthwith Bin It.
  3. Bookmakers have installed Dillinger as favourite to hold the Christmas Public Enemy Number One spot.

In a world devoid of Horatio Nelson, Napoleon would’ve led a successful invasion of Britain. Bonaparte had disparagingly referred to Britain as ‘a nation of shopkeepers’ and would’ve sought to address this by issuing the following proclamation:

PROCLAMATION

A’ll shopkeepers shall relinquish their places of business and hand them over to Napoleon Bonaparte and the Committee of Conquest for Britain Provisions Sub-Committee. Thereafter, the following laws will apply:

  1. Anone, other than members of the Provisions Committee, caught in possession of a till shall have its contents confiscated and then they will be beheaded by guillotine.
  2. Anyone suspected of harbouring price labels shall be submitted to torture and once their confession is extracted, be taken to the nearest guillotine and have their treacherous head lopped from their neck. A label shall then be attached to the remainder of their body saying ‘25% OFF’, as a deterrent to others.
  3. Saying ‘Can I be of assistance?’ will only assist in the perpetrator’s speedy conveyance to the guillotine.
  4. If someone rings a bell when another enters a building, a bell will instead toll as the perpetrator enters the kingdom of Hell via the guillotine.
  5. Remaining in a shop for more than 15 minutes without purchasing any goods shall henceforth be classed as ‘Loitering with intent to become a shopkeeper’, and be punishable by execution by the guillotine.

A’ll capital offences previously punishable by hanging shall henceforth be punishable by the guillotine. By these means I shall transform Britain from being a nation of shopkeepers to being a nation of chop-weepers instead.

Napoleon Bonaparte

Bonaparte Palace, London, 1806.

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