It is a wonder that, in all the talk of the nation’s parlous financial state and of the need to reduce the deficit, none of the main – or indeed minor – political parties has suggested one particular way of raising revenue. It has been left to economics guru Bingley Swelling to call for a werewolf tax.
In a paper presented to the Pointy Town Pointyhead think-tank last week, Professor Swelling outlined, with bullet points, some of the benefits of such a tax. There were three bullet points in total, of gold and silver and bronze, and it should be said that they were not made, literally, by firing bullets from a Mannlicher-Carcano sniper’s rifle à la Oswald, but represented by puncturing three holes in the Professor’s cardboard worksheet using a heavy duty hole-punch from Hubermann’s stationery department. The rim of each hole was then coloured accordingly with lead-based gold and silver and bronze paints applied with a long-handled Pastewick brush, of weaselhair. Beside the holes, or points, upon his cardboard, Swelling inked some text, with a biro, before propping the worksheet on a tubular metal display stand, for easy viewing by the think-tankists gathered to hear his… I was going to say “lecture”, but that does not quite give the flavour of the Swelling approach.
Not actually a werewolf himself, the Professor nonetheless had the appearance of one. If his yellow, bloodshot eyes, lumbering gait, and shocking hairiness were not enough, his speaking voice was akin to a lupine howl, whether the moon was full or otherwise. This made it hard to grasp what he was saying, hence the pedagogical aid of the cardboard worksheet with its bullet points. Thereagain, it would take a mind of infinite subtlety to interpret the hacking and stabbing marks made by the Swelling biro. His handwriting was atrocious, though in fairness, given the size and shape of his appendages, perhaps one should prefer the term paw-writing. Thus the paramount importance of the holes themselves, and the colours of their painted rims.
Here are some notes I took on the occasion. I hasten to add that I am not a paid-up Pointy Town Pointyhead, but I know how to worm my way into such meetings through bluffery and mesmerism.
“Gold. Werewolves often have enormous reserves of wealth in the form of precious stones hidden in caves. Sometimes these jewels are embedded in the heads of toads, the toads being kept in cages hung from the roofs of the caves. Source : The Hidden Wealth Of Werewolves by Dobson (out of print).
“Silver. Impossible to understand the first thing about this bullet point, other than the assertion that at least twenty billion could be raised “at a stroke”. But twenty billion what?
“Bronze. Swelling’s clincher. A one-off levy, set at a swingeing rate, on all werewolves waylaid when attempting to embark on ships sailing across the mighty oceans bound for the mythical “island o’ werewolves”. Source : The Mythical Island Where Werewolves Think They Come From by Dobson (out of print).”
Unlike the pointyheads, who were wild-eyed and nodding enthusiastically, I identified a number of problems with Professor Swelling’s thesis, not least his overreliance on out of print pamphlets by Dobson as intellectual ballast. Still, even I have to admit that there is much here to chew over, and chew over it I shall, just as a werewolf might gnaw one’s vitals having sunk its fangs into one’s throat, out on the moors, on a moonlit night.