Dick: Good reading, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the mag.
Sarah: And what a special mag we have for you this time. [To Dick]: You know what it is this time, don’t you?
Dick: We haven’t got to go visiting somewhere like that Willfield Open Learning Centre again, have we? It was just too terrible last time.
Sarah: Why? The place was alright.
Dick: It’s not the place, but last time I was just standing by the fire, in the manager’s office, when he shouted from the corridor “I want that office cleared now!!”
It took hours. There was three skips worth of waste paper on his desk alone! And so old — I found a Computer Studies test paper written in Latin. Very easy though — cause they didn’t have many computers in them days, you see.
Sarah: Gibberish, sheer gibberish!
Dick: Well, what then? Have we got a plot this time?
Sarah: Now you are being daft. No, it’s only the second birthday of this magazine, that’s all.
Dick: You mean we’ve been doing this rubbish for two years now?
Sarah: Amazing, isn’t it?
Dick: Sure is. You don’t get that long for murder nowadays. Mind you, I did tell you that if we kept that photo of the editor and….you know….
Sarah: From Berryhill High?
Dick: Them are the three!!!…we’d have a job for life, didn’t I?
Sarah: You did.
Dick: But what are we going to do this issue then, if we still don’t have a proper script?
You could throw a party.
Sarah: Look who it is! It’s the new designer woman, Molly.
Molly: I said, you could throw a party. You know, for the editor. You could even invite your fan, whats-her-name?
Dick: Good old Gladys!!
Sarah: But could you get enough food? The editor didn’t get that size by eating a few ham sandwiches and a fairy cake, you knows.
Molly: No problem. We just have to get the author to write a few words to the effect that there’s a banquet of food as far as the eye can see, and then a few more words if those aren’t enough. You can do stuff like that in a magazine.
Dick: Could he write a few words about you, me and a tropical island, do you think?
Sarah: What are we waiting for then, get clapping.
Sarah: Well, you know what these authors are like: clap, chant “Author!”, and there’s no stopping them from appearing.
Dick: O.K. Altogether now:
Author! Author! Author!
Thank you! Thank you! You’re too kind, but you know
I really couldn’t have done it without the support of
my wife, my publisher, my silver haired old granny….
Dick: What’s he on about?
Molly: Just author talk. Probably thinks he’s getting an award or something.
Sarah: Author chappie, we’ve been thinking, it’s the mag’s second birthday this issue and we thought it would be nice to throw a party for the editor.
What?! Oh, er…yes… I just thought I was at an awards dinner
for a moment there. You were saying?
Dick: We just wanted you to write a few words to conjure up a celebratory banquet for the mag’s second birthday.
Sarah: Why’s he in a box all of a sudden?
Molly: It’s writer’s block.
You don’t know what you’re asking. I can’t just ‘write’ like that.
I have to muse and cogitate for hours, form a crystal clear image in my mind,
then prick the very arteries of my soul and bleed the words onto the paper.
I can’t just ‘write’.
Molly: All we want you to do is write something like, ‘An immense table of food suddenly appears on the page’, and we can take it from there.
Where’s the challenge in that? Here I am talent the size of a planet and all I’m ever asked to do is write gibberish like this, and now you want to reduce me to a common caterer.
Where are the sonnets?
The Great British Novel?
Sarah: You could write it in verse.
Oh, alright then, here goes:
As far as humn eye can see
Appeared a table set for tea:
A banquet of food,
and the finest wine
Fit for a king or queen to dine.
Dick: Bravo! A poem worthy of John Bread-n-Jam.
Dick: Him too. Such imagery! And the rhythmic devices too.
It was rubbish.
Molly: Yes, but look at the food.
Did somebody mention food?
Dick: It’s the editor, right on cue!
Right on cue for what?
Sarah: Well, we decided, it being the second birthday of “The Bentilean” magazine, that we’d put on a little banquet — in recognition of your achievements.
Dick: Achievements?! What achievements?
Sarah: Thinking up the idea of the mag, finding people to write fo it…..
Don’t forget to mention for NO money!!
…….for no money, gaining three stones in weight, and the self-control when it’s mistaken for “The Bentilee Bulletin”.
Dick: Never heard of it!
I don’t know what to say, I’m touched.
Dick: Now there’s a novelty!!
Molly: Well, tuck in then. It was all conjured up for you, you know.
Sarah: Look! Here comes Gladys, her daughter Beryl, Samson Fox and RM from the mini-mag, and even the landlord of the Man O Horses Cottage, pub meals served twice daily.
Once on Sundays!
Both: We’re sorry to hear that!! [Sarah to author]: You don’t write them like that anymore.
Dick: He never did! It was straight out of “The Morecambe & Wise Christmas Show”, 1959…..
Both: ……….and every year thereafter!!
Well, what now? A cheap double entendre and the first
three words of “Bring me sunshine”, as usual?
Dick: Ah, well, I wanted to talk to you about that, actually. Any chance of you writing a few lines about me, Molly, and a tropical island…(nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more!)?
Never!!! I couldn’t prostitute my talent just to satisfy your sordid desires.
Dick: And if I slip you this fiver?
And as it came to end of day
Molly and Dick slipped away
To some isle, in a far off sea
To live in sunshine, and
Dick: Another masterpiece! Bring me sunshine….
Copyright John Steele, 1992, 2011
Self-evidently written to commemorate two years of my self-published community magazine, “The Bentilean”.