Sunday, 4 October 2015

Picture This: Fabrication of Fiction

A Dickensian Tale

1. By Degrees

Ms Gripe was a lady whose name so aptly suited her attitude. In common with all her divine circle or acquaintances, friends and relatives’ none but they were of any particular importance, significance or notoriety to be worthy of patronage, patience, perception or even of the briefest of pauses for thought. This might have been supposed to be perfectly understandable if Ms Gripe had risen in stature by any degree since her birth, but alas past petulance of pubescent pains, Ms Gripe had not grown at all.

It was a constant source of consternation for the griping continent that no one would comprehensively believe them on anything for long. Yet converts to Gripe-ism seemed to be instantaneous. Ms Gripe herself was very accomplished in her achievements in that which meant that she was always in immediate need of ever more company, consolation and long convalesce periods away from her most intimate of popular acquaintances. This even extended to her very vexing father – one Gripper Gripe. This was not of course the name given to him by his parents Godfrey Gripe and other. Gripper’s mother whose first name he had now thankfully all but deleted from his thoughts had thought it fashionable to label him Gaylord so as to never be seen to not be keeping up with The Times, The Telegraph and especially The Tattler should their fortunes in life rightfully change. They certainly merited change as Godfrey was of the Godly profession and had worked his fingers to an abundance of arthritic calluses; his back to a crooked hook and his feet to a pitifully painful pigeon-step shuffle as a gravedigger first and latterly a clerical assistant of some considerable notice at the local temple of worship.

And so it came to pass that Godfrey and wife had much to grumble about in their dotage when Gaylord refused to become inclined to copulating with members of his gender at all and first disowned him, praying for his soul as they disappeared into the bottomless pits of poverty for all to conveniently and absolutely forget in due course.

Gaylord meanwhile acquired the appellation of Gripper but first taking up wrestling with his father over this naming matter and then punching the living daylights out of everyone as his chosen profession although officially he became a digger of roads. Remarkably he rose in the world rather faster than his father and married but his only heir apparent was his gorgeous Ms Gina Gripe.

Things were not gorgeous at all in the current Gripe household though. Firstly, despite the promise from infancy that Gina would be the greatest beauty to grace this planet, thus far this proved not to be the case – consequence, she had not yet married and was now nearing the age of the abominably ancient age of three.... three decades.  This was not a topic it was wise to broach with Gina unless due precautions has been taken first. Shield to avert injuries from low flying objects of high value were not uncommonly damaged beyond repair thereby requiring immediate replacements of superior and more expensive quality, ideally from the best of stores in Knightsbridge or Mayfair in London, though Paris, Milan or New York would do if the young lady were escorted there to select the items herself, which she never was as finances did not quite run to that on any accountant’s books.

Secondly, the young lady was ashamed of her dear papa’s profession and first name... Geoffrey she advised would make all the difference in the world to her marital prospects so that she could then continue the family tradition of grumbling at the thought of leaving the parental nest, groaning at even the thought of the act of procreation but mainly her energies would be best served in her abject horror of the wedding preparations, the subsequent honeymoon, nuptials and the lifelong detestation of having to be responsible for offspring of her own. And yet she could not fathom for one moment why none brave enough to attempt to court her at all would pop the wretched question.

It might be supposed that on this fine cheery sunny Sabbath morning that we would find the Gripe household similarly cheerful, but as in name so in nature for according to The Times, The Financial Times in it famously optimist hue, the Wall Street equivalents, Punch, the Spectator and of course Gina’s favourite of all The titillating Tattler; the pressure was on. Indeed the pressure was never off the Gripe household to keep abreast of irrelevant news for even to acquire copies of this worthy publications required a mastermind of gripping proportions to acquire freshly printed copies to put on display. The ingenuity was astonishing to behold and was largely co-ordinated by the current Mrs Gripe as Gina grandmamma had sadly died from the obstinacy of her youngest son but two years earlier. Her Uncle Gregor Gripe was to come to dine for luncheon this day for this was indeed a crisis and an emergency meeting was therefore an understandable necessity.

A full Security Council meeting of the most trusted of groaning Gripes was called and none invited was likely to refuse to attend. The grandiose grandeur of the occasion was reflected in the most favoured of publications being strategically placed by the grandiosely grotesque hall table by the door as due warning to any intruders, even if they were deliverers of local news and purveyors of more gossip. From papers deliverers to postal, (Royal mail ones being naturally preferred), none could escape the notice of such a display today.

Likewise in the inner sanctum were the arrangements of ornamentations carefully arrayed, the best fake china, the most polished of fake but vintage brown furniture, the plumpest and freshest looking of antique cushions, the least tattered of lace, the most sparkling of moulded cut glass and the most glintingly glistening of reflective mirrors, pictures and frames. The whole house positively reeked and choked of spit and polish for when the Griping tribe returned from their most dutiful obligations at the local place of worship this Sunday luncheon time.

Seldom did they heed a word written or said there, nor indeed did they note a syllable of their most prized of daily and weekly publications. They were glanced at and duly discarded as if all was known to them beforehand, most days. This however was not most days. In point of fact, this was emphatically unlike most days. In actuality first Mr Gripper Gripe had started to read the headline stories silently and then by degrees aloud to the clan at breakfast for weeks now, for such was the pressure to keep up with the times not least their most loathsome of all detestations of all... those infernal holier than they, members of the Ethological societies, and somehow there were a rather unhealthy glut of those about now.

And so we witness the setting of a rather tempestuous Sunday for our beloved Gripe household as they return from their devotions to God and for once find on their oversized doormat and new yet all too familiar by now headline on the cover of their favoured publications. The word on all of them is by now very familiar, yet it is the local rag that grabs their attention most. For the briefest of moments there is a pause in the griping from all of them for the headline in the blackest of bold san serif type reads...


and the victim is a name familiar to them. The moment of silence has of course to be immediately annihilated with first a snort, then a grunt and finally; it is of course our Gina first to utter the words in her perfectly calmly scoffing petulant tone “I suppose folk will think me connected and then suspected of this one too. This is too much and Papa, I TOLD you it would come to this too.”

It was followed by her Uncle who was by far the sharpest of the cards to play his hand, “No, Gina it will be me. I actually visited there often enough, did I not?”

Somewhere on this globe a murder had indeed been committed and so it was that suspicious minds set about their business of panic in a futile attempt to clear their own name.
In point of fact it emerged over an exceedingly long period of time that it was but two murders of epic proportion to be at the route of all evil in the world. The first was merely the first to be reported and most widely broadcast as a person of some note. The second went for a very long time largely unreported for it was assumed to be unconnected, unimportant and of not consequence at all except to immediate family, friends, work colleagues and acquaintances in the nearby vicinity. Such is the way of all such avoidable deeds of mischief and destruction.

It was not the worst of times, nor was it the best of times and yet it distinctly felt like both simultaneously. For a new dark force and risen and it shouted execration's louder than any that had yet deafened any ear and it’s name was Terrorism. It took many forms for many mistook their own people to be terrorists, their own governments, their own high and mighties, their own religious leaders, their own professors of excellence in many fields, their own artists, their own physicians and even members of their own families too.

With each twist of each knife, with each shout of protestations the accusations flew much to the delight of the genuine culprits who enjoyed this game in their extreme and perverse way. Their leaders stuck rigidly to the line that every human person was meant to die and as accomplished as Gripes by name or nature were on a set of small islands that happened to be still British, none were quite as accomplished as a few, here and there across the globe in converting life loving peaceful folk into wishing to kill everyone including themselves.

It was a time of climates to change and among the many climates that were constantly aflutter was the air pressure, one second searingly hot, the next colder than the most deeply buried of glacial deposits and there were few precious few of them left. Every flea and gnat felt the pressure, every insect, wolf or cat was on high alert and even in the unfathomably complicated most secret chambers of commerce and high finance, bears, bulls, sharks and deers arguably felt it most of all.

However this was not entirely the case for by degrees it was the most worshipful  and the most just, and then the most Royal and then the most ignorant and dis-enabled that were under suspicion, held responsible, accused, abused and made to feel thoroughly the most thoroughly wretched of all.
Eventually the general consensus was that it was the messengers themselves in broadcasting news that were to become the least popular of all, yet the demand for more news still grew and never more so than from the quaint and pretty shores of Albion who many believed had engineered the whole sorry mess by virtue of all aboard merry old England refusing to be anything other than largely, acerbic, sarcastic and generally evasive when ever questioned unless by the British establishment themselves.

Too late to save the best of them though, for by this time (some six months later), many a discreet and well informed honest judge of character in many an investigative professional capacity had succumbed to false accusations and played dumb. Many more were sent to the dock and incarcerated for speaking out and a few more murders added to the obituaries that no one much cared about for they hadn’t the time, will, inclination or interest – one or two even too the bullet to their own heads to save anyone else being burdened with the expense of time and effort to see justice served. This did not bode well for the innocent who were as ever, trying to pluck up that courage that only a truthful person can find to come to anyone’s aid.

For at this point in proceedings the Gripes where now temporarily much better connected with the Snobgrasses and the Underlings all of a twitter digging for gold only to find ever more heaps upon mountain ranges of pyrite.

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