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Outed: Creative Writing Story

His mobile phone buzzed him for the third time in the past hour. He was now visiblyirritated by the rudeness of it while he was having dinner with old friends. He hadpromised his long suffering wife an evening free of work interference. Conversationover the Beef Wellington had wandered cautiously from gossip about affairs amongstold school friends to anti-social behaviour, thankfully not his department. Not that hewas on speaking terms with the Home Secretary so he was tempted to join in the slightsagainst the secretary's liberal tendencies.Frank apologised and withdrew to the bathroom upstairs to listen to his voicemailmessage. The last six months as Higher Education Minister had been relatively quietcompared with some of his colleagues. He had opted for a period of consultation onhis plans for more foreign students and was managed to stay below the media radar.To work his way up from humble MP entailed long hours of surgeries with residentscomplaining about matters he no longer cared about, letters lobbying for issues he didn'tsupport, emails and media interviews he had grown weary with. Attending the PrimeMinister's weekly questions had become a form of light relief. He was passionate aboutchallenging what he regarded as highly annoying green issues and attended a weeklyplanning group to concoct media campaigns. Ultimately he would arrive home by tubeafter 7 o'clock most nights."Frank, it's Geoff, you need to get to a television now. It's not good news I'm afraid.Call me when you have. We need to respond".Frank's heart missed a beat as he went through all the possible eruptions He had tofind out what had happened but he knew by doing so it would in all likelihood blow thedinner party out of the water and he could not afford to do that to his friends.Frank was a minor minister who had benefited from being in the right place at the righttime. When his party came to power he had been rewarded for winning a difficult seatwith a junior position in the Environment Department. Having stayed on messageat a few high profile international summits on carbon reduction and committed theGovernment to nothing taxing, he gained a reputation for hard negotation and suitablybland press interviews. When then incumbent Higher Education Minister was caughtenflagrant with his research officer Frank was singled out as a safe pair of hands whenthat was what the PM most needed. His attractive and successful wife gave the mediasomething new to talk to about.Frank double checked no one was outside the bathroom door and dialled the phone."Geoff, keep it short, I haven't got long.""Frank, you may now have more time than you think. The Telegraph is outing youtomorrow on your foreign expenses claims. It doesn't look pretty. I didn't realise youclaimed so much....""Never mind what I claimed. No, yes you need to know it was all legit, signed off.What are they saying?"Geoff broke down what the Telegraph hack had read out to him on the phone. Frankwent white and stayed as if facing his own oblivion. They were all at it, he thought,then realised that as no defense. The first class business travel he could justify but thenhe remembered the evening out with a few other European ministers at the lap dancingclub and how much it cost. He could not take the chance of his wife noticing it on hisstatements - as an accountant she was more adept at moving his finances around to buildup a nest egg. One moment of weakness and he the world had now stopped for him."Frank, Frank. What do you want to do? We need to respond. Where are you? Youneed to go into hiding."Frank sat there. He could not go out of the bathroom and face his wife. Nor could hestay on the phone before they came looking for him. "Oh no, what have I done? Youneed to get me out this mess Geoff.""No Frank, you do."A whirlwind of scenes paraded across his eyes, his resignation fromhis ministerial post, his denial of any intent to do wrongdoing, abuse in the street. Andwould his wife stand by his side?At that moment he heard footsteps. "Frank, are you alright?"

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