On a whim he closed the office,
locked it, left the keys inside,
with a message on the table
"back in five" but specified
neither minute, hour, nor aeon
(there's a spelling to agree on!
Oh, the blatant show of sophis-
try, the mark of the unstable.)

There was something in his manner
as he took the stairs in twos
that implied a growing vision
of a time too rare to lose.
Was he off to save the planet
or to visit Auntie Janet
or to plunge the state in anar-
chy? - so palpable his mission.

Yet he wasn't armed like Lara
Croft (the innocent say - who?)
nor endowed with bulbous muscle
like Stallone. In citing two
counterpoised unprepossessing
specimens, I'll leave you guessing
for description, lest my nara-
tive descend, like Bertrand Russell,

into tiresome speculation
(even he was at a loss
to distinguish bind from batter
and besides, who gives a toss?)
So, the 'he' that I endeavour
to present can be whatever
you desire, from the sensation-
ally slim to something fatter.

In the street he hailed a carriage.
(The observant will detect
discontinuous progression
of allusion. Quite correct,
for Stallone and Croft are modern
while the carriage is a dodderin'
piece of history). Disparag-
ing the quirks of my expression

is your privilege, dear reader.
If you choose to call my bluff
and declare my story lacking
I won't argue, sulk or huff,
for I find my muse (an ogress!)
not in content but in progress
so I'd better say auf wieder
sehen to her and send her packing.

He alighted in a flurry
of expletives as he found
that the paving slabs had melted.
As he sank below the ground
he was conscious of descending
but to where? It seemed unending
and as fast as any hurri-
cane that ever blew a Belted

Galloway (a cow, I tell you)
from her feet into the air.
(As a simile it's spurious
but the breed itself is rare
and befits an exposition
of a plummet to perdition
that deserved to be on cellu-
loid like many things less curious).

By and by he reached a grotto
or a subterranean cave
to be greeted by a vampire
"That's a fine way to behave
towards a noble superstition"
said the bloodless apparition
who was sitting on an otto-
man (the cushion, not the empire).

"Your unlooked for interruption
of my century of sleep
is outrageous. May I mention,
the indignity you heap
on my person by intruding
falls like snot into a pudding?
So, what follows isn't option-
al. You have to pay attention

"while I chronicle the curses
that shall fall upon your head
should you make it to the pavement
in a state more live than dead.
Number one - your hair will tumble
from your pate to leave you humble
as reward for all your narcis-
sistic foibles and depravement.

"Number two, your teeth will follow
where your hair has led the way
('where your hair' is oddly clumsy.
So is this, I hear you say,
and it should have been depravity
depravement lacks in suavity)
And three, you'll look like Ptole-
my, dome headed, fat and gumsy".

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