‘Doctor, je need your help beaucoup.’

‘You look like you need somebody’s help. What seems to be the problem?’

‘I’ve lost le will to believe in anything, le will to carry on and le will willer.’

[Doctor nods slowly] ‘OK, let me see now. How do you feel when you see the news?’

‘Vraiment awful’

‘I see. I’d like to try an experiment. How do you feel when I say the word “schmexit”?’

‘What’s un schmexit?’

‘Just part of the experiment. How do you feel?’

‘Vraiment bad, actually.’

‘How about if I say, “exit”?’

‘Worse. Je feel sick to my estomac.’

‘And if I shout “BREXIT”?’

[Patient projectile vomits across the surgery] ‘I am désolé, Docteur.’

‘That’s ok. I’ve seen a lot of this lately. You’ve got Brexitosis, I’m afraid.’

‘Quel est le Brexitosis prognosis?’

‘It depends. Some people lose all hope, completely give up and wander the streets of London shouting “Why, God? Why?” Others sit sobbing in Café Rouge or Carluccio’s, putting sad red crosses through foreign words in the menus. At least two of my patients have started compulsively stockpiling frankfurters, turning them into interesting hats.’


‘He voted Remain, I’m told.’

‘Bien sûr.’

‘If you want to recover, you’ll have to put your mind to it.’

‘How? How do je recover from… le word that sounds comme “schmexit”?’

‘No more news. OK? Avoid listening to UKIP and definitely no watching “Live from Westminster”’. If anyone approaches you on the subject, fingers go in ears immediately.’

‘Je will look like a twat, won’t je?’

‘Well, you’ll be joining Britain on that one, won’t you?’

‘Er, that’s a bit dur.’

‘Whatever. My lunatic aunt Maude has more common sense – and she likes to dance round Ealing with bloomers on her head.’

‘Merci very much, docteur. Je feels strangely reassured.’

‘So does Russia, but that’s another story.’


© Greta von Szabo 2016

Dedicated to the memory of Miles Kington.


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