Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Morose Reminiscences of the Critic Joy Watters

The elongated shape of the critic Joy Watters stepped forward, casting a jagged shadow across the floor. Her movements were jerky and fitful as though she had been stop-motion animated by Ray Harryhausen, while her curiously extended musculature put me in mind of the giraffe-necked portraits on the Cluedo character cards. Yes, Watters was like the dark version of Miss Scarlett. Unless of course we are talking about a round of Cluedo in which it was Miss Scarlett who committed the murder. In that case, Watters would be more of a light-hearted version of Miss Scarlett, but such a description would distort my intended meaning beyond use.

"Missster Careeeewww," said Watters, speaking very slowly like that elf from Lord of the Rings played by Steve Tyler's daughter, "Alllow me to tellll you my tale." [here I will refrain from replicating her slow speech through adding letters to her dialogue because it becomes tiresome]

"I will speak candidly Mr. Carew. Though this will be hard for you to believe, I am well over 400 years old. In fact, I am 300 years over 400 years old, making me roughly 700 years old.

"I was born in 1303 in an area of Scotland now known as Monifieth, but which was then called Munnyfeef because people did not know how to spell in those days. I have since discovered that at the very moment of my birth an earthquake in Egypt destroyed the famed Lighthouse of Alexandria, which I hold to be symbolic.

"The world was a different place back then - colder, crueller, harsher, and more people dressed in browns and greens, and had tousled hair, shaggy beards, and artistically smudged faces. Pan pipes could be heard echoing through the hills at all times and tribes of Scots sat round big fires every evening looking wistful. I lived with my grubby, struggling family in a mud hut on the banks of the Tay and subsisted entirely on barnacles and seaweed.

"When I was 18, my mother was burned as a witch because she looked askance at a dog, which was held in those days to be evidence of demon worship. I was exiled from my tribe as punishment for having a witch for a mother. Exile meant certain death for a young girl in those days: without the support of a family and a network of kilted villagers, I would undoubtedly perish. One stormy night, I simply capitulated. I made my peace with the Almighty, lay down on a heath, and waited for the elements to claim my life.

"As I lay on the cold ground, I heard a man's voice bid me arise. It was impossible to disobey. As I stood up, I beheld the most beautiful man I had ever seen. Clean-shaven, well-toned, and impeccably-dressed, he was unlike the swarthy brutes that populated my village and daily beat me. He looked exactly like Mark Ramprakash on Strictly Come Dancing.

""Madam, I am Le Comte de Saint-Inapt," the beautiful man said. "You may have heard of me. You are too beautiful, too perfect, too porcelain-hued to perish in such an ignoble way. It is fortunate you are not ugly, or I would have been forced to leave you here. Come to me."

"The man had such presence and gravity of tone, and such well-defined muscles, that I drifted into his arms willingly. There I encountered such ecstasies, such myriad heightened pleasures, and such indescribable sensual delights that I couldn't walk right for a week afterwards. But then he bit my neck and sucked the blood from my body, which put a damper on the evening.

"I awoke to find my beautiful mysterious suitor had disappeared and that I had joined the ranks of the undead. I was a nosferatu, a strigio, a moroii, a wampyr...a vampire!

"To cut a long story short, Mr. Carew, I have spent the last 700 years touring the world and meeting various famous historical figures. It's been great. One downside to the vampire lifestyle, aside from people thinking you're a Goth, is that you can create nothing new. After meeting and inspiring Shakespeare, I wished to become a playwright but found that I was unable to create anything of any merit whatsoever.

"In keeping with my vampire nature, however, I found I was able to survive through leeching from others - I could suck all the goodness from the work of others and do my best to spitefully reduce the original to a shambling, enervated wreck. I became a critic.

"That is my tale. Now, if you excuse me, I shall return to my interval drink. Of course.....I do not No, I prefer vodka and Diet Coke."

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