For my apprentice piece in monumental masonry I went the extra mile on that bit of lapidary legerdemain, I can tell you, but - call me vatic - not two weeks later (I think it was a Friday) superstitious old aunt Judy (worth a bob or two) goes and dies right there and then in front of me, her only relative, and funnily enough I didn't need to change a single word, since it already read: In Memory of Judy Scarrot / spinster, / triskaidekaphobic and / paraskevidekatriaphobic / of this parish / passed away / 13th April 2007."
"My dear Lieutenant Featherstonehaugh," she murmured, demurely lowering her eyes and her knickers, "One is no angletwitch, and it ill becomes you to suborn me, Lady Belvoir, a member of the nubility, to awaken that ergophobic draffsack Colonel Cholmondeley from his crapulous torpor in the fond hope of blackmailing him; so one shall overlook such gross presumption and interpret the solicitation as but injudicious precation . . . that said, I could not help but perceive your uncommonly ithyphallic stance, and so might I construe that you are still disposed to indulge in a little houghmagandy, mmm?"
Attention ladies! - Sapphic pied-à-terre now available on idyllic Lésvos, possibly suiting adventurous neophytes and acolytes of flagitious persuasion (local facilitation provided, all sacerdotal unguents extra, no epicenes or trannies, odes blessed by request).
"Hymie, du alter kaker, enough already - wha' d'ya mean, 'tolerate the vicissitudes of the velocipede' . . . and do you think I give a damn if Ahmadinejad called it a 'cosmeticized meidan'? - to me it's just Central Park in the dark, and if this stoned pedicab shvartzer shlepps us around the carousel just one more time - feh! - I'm gants fermisht, fershtay? - so the onus is on you, nebbish, to make him stop, nu?"
"Sure it's just dandy being right in the swim of things, but as the conference's chief negotiator I was nonplussed when up gets Mr. Shalom yet again (at 3 a.m. mind you) and addresses the Chair as 'a complete nebbish'; so not wishing to reveal my ignorance I joshed with him, responding amicably 'No, you nebbish, me English, actually, old boy' . . . at which point, blow me, but he and his delegation leave the assembly protesting angrily about constant vicissitudes and prevarications - as if I wasn't doing my level best!"
And then, at enrolment, all I wanted to do was sign up for the elementary recorder class, but some discalced weedy bald guy in a black satin jump suit kept on and on about 'wushu', grabbing me by the lapels, breathing last night's curry on me, and gesticulating in the most curious slomo manner; so that - for all my asseverations and protestations - I eventually got away only by putting him down as some loony mendicant and handing over my brogues and loose change to him - the super calloused fragile mystic vexed by halitosis!
"Ah yes indeed, treading the boards: what it is to be a poor player of (dare I say) some repute, strutting and fretting my hour upon the stage . . . the brave quotidian round of sock and buskin - today high jinks and tomfoolery, but tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, high-flown grandiloquence and grave magnanimity . . . but above all, luvvie, blessed with a fluffer like Brenda who doesn't smudge your mascara . . . Brendy, Brendy darling, make us another cuppa, there's a dear, I'm on in a jiff."
Awaiting impatiently Ronald's wonted matutinal visitation to the chapel of St. Laura de Nazianzi, the young cardinal might be discovered behind the arras, smoothing lasciviously his gold-embroidered silken buskins, painfully (and breathlessly - the flibbertigibbet!) cognizant of the exigency of satisfying to repletion the author's scandalous eccentricities.
Running the gauntlet of his egotistic sarcasm, her mettle had been so tried that, finally, she resolved upon renting her own mansard atelier, glad to escape both his witless gibes and the condescension of his entourage of obsequious myrmidons - those talentless Apes of God.
Woefully inexperienced as a children's entertainer, Mr Grimm entered the playroom enjoining strict silence before declaiming in cothurnal tones T.S.Eliot's 'Ash Wednesday'; after which the hostess, while thanking him for his 'most felicitous and selcouth' reading, swore to herself that next year she would insist on the agency sending along Mr Funnyface again.
For a blind date he knew that it had gone really rather well: during the main course he had felt impelled to comment upon only three of her more obvious imperfections, subtly glozing over the rest; and when conversation juddered to an eventual halt over coffee he attributed this to her tortuous and irrational manoeuverings to change the subject from gynaecology; so that, when on parting she proposed a decennial recess before their next assignation, he remained ever the stoic optimist.
"Would you believe it, all I said was (as I've been saying every day this last decennium) 'Let's go out for our postprandial peregrination, my dear' - but, blow me, she goes and places an immediate embargo on 'any more of your stupid, bloody words' and storms out on her own for a companionless constitutional - which, if you ask me, is pretty damn contumelious behaviour, up with which I shall not put!"
"And this we name the Dumb Healer," murmured the inquisitor, reverently unveiling a curiously wrought mechanism, meticuluously crafted and of baffling ingenuity; "it is the panacea of all falsehoods, for once the blasphemer's head is encased, further vociferation is denied, and after some hours of purifying torment the demons are vanquished and all that remains is a beatific smile of sublime gratitude".
Suffering the vicissitudes of a deep recession, the couple were desperately marketing their penthouse suite and had only recently downsized into a homogeneous and close community of simple village folk in darkest Norfolk; but having given summary notice to their ancillary domestics - retaining only housekeeper, butler, cook, and maid - the urban incomers were mortified to discover that, far from having won over the yokels with free beer at the gymkhana, they were marked down by pub regulars as sycophantic wasters - and crashing bores, to boot.
With unpresaged excitement, a motley alliance of canaille and connoisseur trooped through the newly decorated gallery rooms of the ducal palace to gaze in awe at the maestro's virtuosic grisaille trompe-l'oeils, blissfully unaware that these monochrome reliefs of airborne putti represented a grisly quantum leap in quattrocento taxidermy.
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