Monday, October 16, 2006

Mr. Templeton Collysnook

Dear readers, what a day of long misery I have endured. The lawyer appeared at my residence at precisely 9am and punctiliously removed his glove before shaking me by the hand and introducing himself as Mr. Templeton Collysnook of London.

"Welcome M'lud," I ventured. "Would you care for some Um Bongo? It is the drink of choice in the Congo, don't you know."

"'Mr. Collysnook' will suffice," he said. "Further honorifics smack of obsequiousness to my mind, and that I cannot thole. Now, your use of the trade name 'Um Bongo' and reference to the lyrics of the advertising jingle created by Gerber Foods Soft Drinks Limited under the name Libby's, would most likely qualify for fair usage under British copyright law, but I will recommend that when you inevitably come to relate this episode of your life on that infernal blog of yours, that you refrain from posting any images that are the exclusive copyright of Gerber Foods. Doubtless you will be tempted to post an image of the hippo that apocryphally took an apricot, a guava, and a mango, and, while dancing a dainty tango way down deep in the middle of the Congo, mixed it with additional fruits to create the sunny, and indeed, funny, one they call 'Um Bongo'. I would advise that you eschew the temptation to do so, as it would be illegal to reproduce this image in electronic format. It may be acceptable if you drew a picture of the hippo yourself, provided the image was used in either an educational setting or an obviously parodic fashion, but otherwise it is best to bypass the whole thorny issue entirely by omitting any image."

"But would you like some of it to drink?" I asked.

"No thank you," he said. "Do you have any Kia-Ora?"

"I do," said I, "but I fear you would find that it's too orangey for you. Besides, it's just for me and my dog."

"Shall we ignore the issue of beverages for the moment, Mr....?" he said

I told him my name and he expressed doubts that I was a real person and not a fictional persona used on a website. He asked to see my birth certificate, which I gladly showed him. After a while he seemed satisfied that I, Horton Carew, was indeed a real person.

"This is truly remarkable," he said. "Well, Mr. Carew, it seems we at Norton & Walters owe you an apology. Mr. Norton will be astonished to hear that you do actually exist and are not the hamfisted creation of some wag and/or hack."

His confidence in my existence was pleasing to hear. I offered him a seat. He warned that, legally, my offer was worded in such a way that it implied he could keep the seat in perpetuity, but that he would let me off lightly and only use it to sit upon for the duration of his visit.

"Now then Mr. Carew," he said, "You're in a spot of bother here. Allow me to speak plainly. You must remove from your website your false claims about our client Patrick Bossert, OBE, and all accompanying images. If you fail to do so, you will be stuck with a hefty fine and conceivably a stretch in the big house. Mr. Bossert is alive and well and is not an evil manifestation or criminal overlord as your website suggests. His business reputation has been inestimably tarnished by your falsehoods. His children find themselves daily bullied in school thanks to your lies. What do you say to that?"

I told him firmly that I believed my account of Bossert to be true and that the images I had used constituted fair usage, and as such, I would not be removing them from my website.

"Tell me Mr. Carew," he countered, "Do you genuinely hold that Mr. Bossert's soul is trapped in a 5 by 5 by 5 Rubik's Cube? Does that sound like the rational thought of a sane person? Or even the rational thought of a sane Dundonian?"

"I will concede that my assertion beggars logic," I conceded, "And yet it remains the whole truth of the matter. What is more, I can prove it."

With that, I climbed the ladder to my attic and retrieved the Rubik's Cube from behind the old board game, Mr. Pop. It was frosty to the touch. I presented it to Mr. Templeton Collysnook, who put on a pair of blue latex gloves and placed the Cube inside a clear specimen bag with the greatest of care.

"Thank you Mr. Carew," he said, "I shall take this back to London for experimentation. Our lab at 11 Welham Square will clear up this nonsense once and for all."

I protested that he would not be allowed to take the Cube, that it was essential to the future of the world that I keep the Cube safe, and that Al Gore himself had ordered me to be its Keeper (I made up the part about Al Gore, because I find it often helps to drop names).

"Nevertheless, Mr. Carew, I shall take this item from you."

He stood up and made for the door. I beseeched him to leave the Cube behind but he ignored my beseechings with a wry grin.

"What of the copyright infringements?" I moaned as he let himself out.

"Forget them," he said, laughing, "I have what I came for! I am afraid I could not care less for your copyright infringements. In fact, I have a little phrase and song, which I invented myself, that I like to sing at moments such as these...

Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase,
Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze
It means no worries for the rest of your days
It's our problem-free philosophy
Hakuna Matata! "

And with that he skipped off, singing the above lyrics that he completely invented himself. Well, dear readers, I fear that thanks to my negligence Bossert's wicked soul may be free in 30-40 years time, when the 5 by 5 by by 5 Cube is solved. I pray that when that day comes, I will already be dead.

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