Millions of Britons were left rolling their eyes and shrugging to each other today as it became clear that they had all chosen the same day to fake their own deaths.
Whether they were escaping crippling debts, dysfunctional relationships or untenable positions at work, or just inspired to have a go by the final episode of Sherlock, the sheer number of British people who chose yesterday to become a modern-day Reginald Perrin and start a new life after staging their own demise has led to an uncomfortable recognition that they would all have to go back to their old identities.
41-year-old middle manager Paul Henderson, trapped in a loveless marriage for the last eleven years, had planned his ‘Great Escape’ for the last 18 months, and decided to use the traditional mid-January spike in suicides as camouflage for his ‘drowned-at-sea’ act, but was left gob-smacked when he found himself sitting down next to his own wife on a flight to Mexico where he was to become a goatherd.
‘It turns out she had just come from pushing the Volvo off Beachy Head to fake her own death, and well, long story short, blazing row, got chucked off the plane,’ explained an embarrassed Henderson. ‘I don’t think it would’ve worked anyway, with all the thousands of cars pushed off the South coast cliffs in the last 24 hours, and the coast guards being too busy clearing the Channel of empty canoes so that shipping could get through.’
Executives from Barclays Investment Bank were left similarly red-faced when they all turned up in the same Thai fishing village having separately filled their private jets with corpses and crashed them into the jungle.
‘I’d been covering up tens of millions of pounds worth of losses on my books for the last three years, and I knew it was going to come out,’ said would-be snorkel rental hut owner Philip Walker, a senior investor at the banking group, ‘but it turns out that was at the low end of the scale when I bumped into the guys. [Head of the FSA] Adair Turner had also faked his own death and rocked up to the same place. We were all booked at the same plastic surgeon too. It was very awkward. I guess I'll just have to go back to my original identity and get on with it.'
After several faked death attempts going unnoticed, Nick Clegg is also thought to be resigned to carrying on with his current identity.