Chief among the Loopy Prigs of Shelmerdox was one whose head had dimensions similar to those of a large plum, and its hue too, its hue or tint if you will, a splenetic fellow of milk-stained necktie and eggy brow, whatever that might be, slumped in his hammock at all hours save for when he was off on a jaunt armed with a blunderbuss and the head of wrung-necked chicken dangling from a lanyard about which, foolishly, he had written a song, Oh Lanyard Fair!, to the tune of Carry On Wayward Son by Kansas, nothing to do, apparently, with the Carry On film series starring such screen luminaries as Hattie Jacques and Charles Hawtrey, the latter a resident of Deal, near Sandwich, in Kent, where the Chief Loopy Prig of Shelmerdox had been known to picnic, on occasion, and exhibit his gift for snatching wasps in mid-buzz, reaching to grab them in his fist, with its strange musculature, before plopping them into an empty marmalade jar and screwing the lid down tight, the better to transport them to the Wasp Zoo at Tantarabim Bamforth, a place with the only known conjunction of bim and bam in its name if the gazetteers of that land were to be believed, and why would they not be?
I put this question, in its entirety, from that opening “Chief” to the closing “be”, to both Condoleezza Rice and Ringo Starr. Neither has seen fit to reply, yet, which causes me some grief, though not enough grief to provoke weeping, yet. The weeping will come, I am sure of it, perhaps by next Thursday, if I have still not heard from Rice or Starr, in which case I will be minded to take the Alger Hiss Option. It is unclear to me of what this option consists, but I will strive to find out by visiting my local librar, abutting the market square, with its enormous cement horse trough now a bed of flowers, pinks and posies and lupins and hollyhocks, and nary a horse in sight, any more, since the triumph of the motor car.
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. For example, only the other day I met, in a shabby cafeteria, a dreamer, who once played the drums for Freddie’s pop group, and he told me that he had been dreaming about the Chief Loopy Prig of Shelmerdox, except that for him it was more nightmare than dream, for the wasp had escaped from the marmalade jar – how? – and stung him on his eggy brow – that mysterious phrase again! – thus waking him from his troubled sleep, waking him into a world where there was no sting, no wasp, nor even a Loopy Prig of Shelmerdox. Thus baffled, the dreamy drummer arose from his bed, and threw away his crutches, and walked!
To where did he walk?
To Tantarabim Bamforth.
And what did he do there?
He rattled a tin.
What was in the tin?
From whence had the buttons come?
The buttons had once been the eyes of a rag doll, a ventriloquist’s dummy, now blind, languishing in a crate in a storage facility in Deal, near Sandwich, in Kent. Imagine that.