Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas

by Charles Pooter

"I am the Spirit of Journal's Past!" exclaimed the ghastly apparition.

The old miser, Charles Pooter, felt a chill run down his spine as the spectre delivered his chilling monologue. Pooter's knuckles turned white as he gripped the blanket, holding it to his chin, as if to shield himself from the ghost.

"I see that you recognise my countenance, Sir," continued the wraith, "and so you should! When I inhabited mortal flesh, I was known as Adam Hawks. Yes, yes, you know my name! I founded the wretched publication into which you occasionally pour your puerile rantings."

As the spirit spoke, he gesticulated. As Hawks moved his translucent arms, Pooter could see that the Hawks was encumbered with many heavy chains. Attached to the chains were the writing instruments of Hawks' period: the quills, pots of ink and reams of roughly-hewn paper that made up the life of Georgian and Victorian writers. Pooter even noticed a few early fountain pens amongst the assorted objects which weighed heavy on the dead wordsmith.

"Ah, I see you have noticed my chains, Pooter! Yes, this is my burden. My punishment for a writer's greatest sin in life: procrastination. Every time I let a potential idea die, without committing it to the page, another chain was added. When you die the same will be true, except your chains will be far heavier. They will be weighed down with the many computational machines with which you have failed to write anything of note in your miserable life."

As Pooter, realising the obvious seasonal pastiche that was to played out, allowed his fear to turn to boredom. The spirit continued.

"In this limbo that I inhabit I must work off my debt. My purgatory is to write down every idea that I allowed to die when I was on Earth. The nostrum that 'to publish is to be damned' is exactly arse about busom, Sir! To allow a new idea to die - no matter how half-formed, no matter how trivial - not to publish, that is truly to be damned!"

Pooter reclaimed his wits and spoke.

"I beseech you spirit! Do not damn me. I have a full-time job and many other commitments (mostly the job though). The journal which you founded has degenerated into a so-called 'blog': the lowest type of publication. I genuinely do not have the time to write the posts that I would like to write. Besides which, as the world turns to shit, it seems petty and ridiculous to churn out short articles on my own very particular political obsessions and whatever stupid facets of popular culture have recently attracted my increasingly-jaded attentions."

The spirit considered Pooter's pleas and gave his reply.

"Mercy is not mine to give Pooter. You must turn over a new leaf. You and all your fellow writers must revive the journal that I started. You must, between you, publish at least three articles a week throughout the next year, or you will all be damned. Damned, I say, damned!"
Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year to all our readers. Peace on Earth, Goodwill to all Men.

No comments: