Scenes from the Thatcher funeral

by Sam Kriss


What had she done with all the milk? That’s what we should have been asking: what had she done with all the milk? By the time we found out, it was too late.

At first it’s almost imperceptible. Mourners shuffle past the open coffin as it lies in state. She looks different, they think, but it’s hard to say exactly how. It’s true, she seems a little fuller in the face than one would expect, plumper, like an over-ripe fruit – but at the same time white, deathly white.

Within a few hours its hard to ignore. Something horrible is happening to the former Prime Minster. She’s grotesquely fat, and visibly growing. As Ed Miliband delivers a heartfelt speech his already clammy skin begins to drip with sweat; Nick Clegg, in the front row, collapses into Cameron’s lap. A sour aroma rises. One of the Queen’s Bodyguards of the Yeomen of the Guard standing guard over the coffin starts to vomit uncontrollably; soon the other three are unable to hold themselves back either. Baroness Thatcher swells and pales until her body barely fits in the coffin. The imperious hawk’s beak of a nose sinks into the bloating flesh. She looks like an enormous blancmange; her skin seems like it’s about to burst. Then it does. The first fissure tears its way through what was once her forehead. A high jet of milk streams out into the vaunted ceiling of Westminster Hall; the news cameras follow the triumphant ejaculation as it arcs up and descends, splattering a group of Young Conservatives. The coffin shatters. A tidal wave of milk rushes through the hall. The stench of rot and acid is incomparable: hundreds of thousands of gallons of milk, hidden away in some dark warm recess of her body for forty-three years. As the mourners drown in the sea of putrid milk some are dragged down into its depths by heavy caesin blobs. Others are not so lucky: the smaller curds swarm and envelop them, leaving nothing but whitened bones and shreds of corduroy. The massacre completed, they swim together, and begin to converge…

Thatcher bursts through the roof of the Palace of Westminster. She is one hundred feet tall and brutally nude, her limp dugs shimmering with the semitransparency of milk. Somewhere, buried deep in her monstrous frame, are dark reddish shadows: supported on rusting bones formed from the frames of long-dead factories, the Iron Lady strides out into the Thames, and howls. From down the river in Canary Wharf a howl rings out in reply.

We thought she was dead, when in fact Margaret Thatcher was never alive. Not as we knew her, at least. If she ever existed, the grocer’s daughter from Grantham died a long time ago, and something else, scuttling like a hermit crab, moved into her body. She was animated by the false life of things, the undead hum of markets and brands and commodities, the image of life that opposes life itself at every turn. How could such a creature die? When her heart shuddered to a halt, it only freed the Thing inside from its fleshy prison.

Everything makes sense now. Why did she fight so hard to close down the mines? They were digging too deep, burrowing too far into the cold heart of the earth; there was something down there that she didn’t want them to find. Why did she introduce a poll tax? Because her alien sentience could never comprehend any differentiation within humanity. Why did she send young men to die for the Malvinas? Because without access to the magnetic flux streaming from both poles of the Earth, her plans to gain immortality would be doomed to fail.

We stand, quivering, waiting for the monster that was once Margaret to smash our cities, pound our homes to splinters, rip up our infrastructure, bat away our fighter jets like flies, tear apart our society, leave us cold, enslaved, and alone. It doesn’t, though. It just stands there, ankle-deep in the river, the crooked slit of a grin stamped on its milky mouth. Its work has already been done.