Annual staff review

I am everything to you —

Your anchor in life’s ocean

Your revitalising lotion

Your energising potion

Your centre of emotion

Your object of devotion

Your means of locomotion

Your path to promotion.

Don’t be cross —

Without me,

You are dross,

A dead loss.

I’m da boss,

my albatross.

So why the commotion?


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Messalina

She sidled up to him like a dredger slipping its mooring.

Her perfume was Fantasia, by Theo Melanoma, and her makeup, paint on an old fairground puppet. Tight leather miniskirt, chest like a barrage balloon, and a face like poison.

— Buy me a drink, handsome?

In the dimly-lit bar, Cosmo saw no trace of the agony in her eyes.


Waiting for Apollo

—Come in, Apollo!

—Tweeeeeek…. crackle…. hisss…. spluttt

— Are you receiving? Over.

— Tweeeeeek…. crackle…. hisss…. spluttt

— NASA calling Apollo. Come in, Apollo. Over.

—…..hisssss….so just sit back and…. spluttt…. smooth vibes from the Juice Wellington Trio…. splutttt…. coming to you live…. hissss-splutttt…lo Theatre in beautiful downtown…. crackle-hisssss-splutttt….

— Marconi! Get your sorry ass in here!


 

Arbour

The pomelo grove, neglected for years, is over-run with arsesmart and jackfruit. On the western edge, a gazebo still stands among clamorous ivy and scutchgrass — a tiny, weathered theatre where love once trod the boards.

Here, Pyramus pined for Thisbe, Gaston yearned for Berenice, and Cosmo fairly heaved for Laetitia.

A voice calls out from the house:

— Don’t compromise your ardour, Cosmo dear!

— I shan’t, Mama!

It’s not called jackfruit for nothing.


A question of tone

A tatterdemalion meets a gaberlunzie on the steps of the public library:

— I’ve just been reading in The Times about that vile phansigar….

— Oh yes, apprehended at last, thank goodness!

— Let’s hope the full weight of justice is brought to bear…

— I should hope so…. excise the canker from our midst, so to speak. It’s a question of tone really, isn’t it?

— Precisely! That sort of thing undermines the commonweal at so many levels…. social harmony…. savoir vivre…. not to mention property values.

— That too, of course. It goes to the very heart of what we mean by “civil society”.

— Indeed, just so! Well, we can rest easy in our beds now, thanks to the vigilance of our independent constabulary.

— Stout fellows!