It’s the early hours of Friday, May 8, 2015.
A clutch of people, tired and dishevelled, try to get as comfortable as they can in the Guildhall’s theatre seats.
Small pockets of people talk quietly to each other. Other groups sit or stand in silence.
One thing they all have in common though is they are waiting for the result of the election for the Portsmouth South constituency.
Two groups stand separately. One comprises Gerald Vernon Jackson and his entourage. They are ignoring his former political comrade Mike Hancock in the other. He is reclining in his seat, managing to ignore both GVJ and Tory candidate Flick Drummond at the same time. It’s quite a skill.
No-one knows quite what to expect.
Suddenly, the unthinkable has happened. Mike Hancock has been re-elected.
But wait! As the night rolls on and the swingometer has a meltdown, it appears history is in the making.
Lining up on one side of the political divide are the Tories, UKIP and the DUP.
On the other are Labour, the Lib Dems, Greens and the SNP. Both putative coalitions also total, somehow, an identical number.
And suddenly one man holds the country’s fate in his hands — Mike Hancock, the great survivor who was written off but scored a sensational but unlikely victory in Portsmouth south.
And now the independent MP is wooed by Miliband and Cameron. From the former he gets a promise of a bridge not just from Portsmouth to Gosport but extended straight to London.
From Cameron he obtains an IOU to build a high-speed train line with two stops from the Harbour to Waterloo.
But there’s more. Hancock becomes the deputy prime minister. Not only did he hold the power to split the vote and shatter dreams in Portsmouth South, but he is also now the man who can make trouble for the prime minister — a man who can’t now even stop him from being a special envoy to Russia.
Vote wisely on May 7. And if you fancy putting a fiver on this happening, remember where you read it first ...