Until his doctor put him on a course of placebos for his terminal hypochondria, Stegosaurus Mulligatawny had never had a day’s illness in his life. However, Mulligatawny had recently concluded that there is no point having a health service free at the point of use if he didn’t use it. Therefore, he tried to find something wrong with him so he could get his money’s worth out of something he had – up until then – little use for. Apart, that is, from some serious heavy-duty imaginings about nurses – both in and out of their uniforms. This almost resulted in repetitive strain injury to his wrist, had he not exhausted himself before any serious damage could occur.
After all, Mulligatawny did have rather a good imagination. Unfortunately, he worked in a Local Authority. A place where having an imagination is a dangerous thing. So when his employers rejected his proposal for a traffic congestion scheme for the third time, he became utterly despondent. Especially so when he discovered they had rejected his plan because it didn’t make things worse for every road user. Nor was it, in the eyes of the Traffic Department, financially punishing enough for the council’s local taxpayers. Furthermore, the Traffic Department claimed, his scheme was not seriously convoluted enough to get the council an award for The Most Inventive Use of the Spurious and Unnecessary Complication at the Annual Local Authority Awards. These awards are presented annually to the local councils that succeed in making the lives of their local populations more complicated, miserable and expensive as the council can get away with.
Continuously passed over for promotion by younger, more dynamic council officers with a better record of making things worse for people in the area. Mulligatawny put his first attack of hypochondria down to this snub and his now dead-end career. As Mulligatawny suffered from increasing dissatisfaction with his job, he started out drinking the local council’s coffee from its vending machines.
Soon he was on 17 cups of the unidentifiable brown liquid a day, which contained almost enough caffeine to wake up an amoeba from a light snooze. From then on, for Mulligatawny, it was downhill all the way. Soon he was drinking instant coffee and weak tea and taking vitamin tablets as his drug use increased. He tried dabbling with homeopathy, but he found the highs from such strong drugs so harsh that they left him strung out for days.
When his local street drug dealer ran out of the grass cuttings he usually sold to the naïve and gullible like Mulligatawny, offered the council worker some placebos. ‘The strongest on the market, man,’ the dealer promised as he handed them over.
Mulligatawny had never known a drug trip like it. He saw things in colours, he’d never seen before, which as this was the West Midlands was all the colours beyond grey and brown. Mulligatawny was so high he almost nearly spoke to a woman… once.
However, the drug habit was costing him a fortune, with Mulligatawny using nearly one and a half placebos a week. He was in despair, wondering how his local council salary would be able to finance his drug habit and enable him to continue taking his mandatory seven Caribbean holidays a year. Holidays that were now compulsory for local council staff under regulations reached in a compromise between the local authorities and the public sector unions.
However, it was then that Mulligatawny discovered to was possible to get placebos on the NHS. So, from then on his whole life, his whole world, changed forever.