A Message From Beyond

I have received in the post what can only be described as a screed from Madame Boubou, who describes herself as a “mystic channeler”.

Dear Mr Key, she writes, I was in my kitchen boiling an enormous pan of rhubarb when I was of a sudden engulfed by wisps of ectoplasm and a voice spoke to me from the Other Side. Please note that this is the same place you describe as the ethereal realm in your piece entitled Annals Of The Frankish Kings, or at least I strongly suspect it is. Of course there are many realms, oh many many many, and we have cognisance of a mere handful. The vast majority of people are only familiar with the one realm, this earthly one, but I am a mystic channeler and thus have access to more realms than I can shake a stick at, the ethereal realm, or Other Side, being one of them. What happens is that the spirit beings who languish there sometimes find themselves impelled to send messages to those of us in this solid world of concrete and cement and soil and pebbles and clods. It is no easy matter to breach the awful chasm that divides us, and that’s where I come in. Even when I am puttering about engaged in workaday activities such as boiling up an enormous pan of rhubarb, my channels remain open.

I would explain further but I suspect your puny brain would be incapable of grasping the eldritch nature of my gift. As that wag H P Lovecraft put it, “the most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents”. I can vouch for that. Anyway, all this is by way of preamble to the marrow of my message, which is that I have to pass on to you a complaint. As the ectoplasm wafted around me, I became aware of a voice being channelled through the mystic Aether. You may not be surprised to learn that it was the voice of Pippin the Short, of whom you wrote in the aforementioned Annals Of The Frankish Kings. Here is what he said, faithfully recorded using my Pencil of the Paranormal, which, as luck would have it, I had sharpened under a zinc and copper pyramid just before putting the rhubarb on the boil. I have omitted the hideous guttural gurgling noises which began this mystic communication, but otherwise give it verbatim:

O Madame Boubou! You must pass on a complaint to a place called Hooting Yard. It must be known that I am not a Frankish king short of stature. “Pippin the Short” is a mistranslation of “Pepin le bref”. I should rightly be known as Pippin or Pepin the Younger, for I have an older brother named Carloman. That is all that is meant. You cannot imagine how fed up I am of being thought a diminutive king when in fact I am a king of average height. Please make sure this misunderstanding is corrected tout suite, or I may have to consider litigation, which can get frightfully complex in this ethereal realm. Enjoy your rhubarb.

After what sounded like a choking sob, the voice grew silent and the ectoplasm dispersed. I was about to stir my enormous pot of boiling rhubarb when another voice crashed in from the Beyond. This time it was houri-eyed siren of the silver screen Pola Negri, who channelled a message of titanic importance through me. However, what she had to say is no concern of yours. I trust you will admit that you have traduced the reputation of Pippin the Younger and rectify your error at once.

Yours sincerely, Madame Boubou the Mystic

One thought on “A Message From Beyond

  1. This reminds me of the story of Sir Martin Sorrel, who sued (and won) a court-case against a former employee for calling him a “Mad Dwarf”. I have met Mr Sorrel on 2 occasions, and I can assure you that he is not mad nor does he suffer from dwarfism.

    Unfortunately threats of litigation tend to draw attention to that which we would rather hide. I feel that Pippin would have done better by holding his royal tongue, least the chattering classes get hold of this issue. I can just see the headlines: “King Pippin – tall or short, YOU DECIDE”

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