Dear Mr Key, writes Tzipi Blankette, yet again, Forgive me for writing to you yet again, but I think you may be able to help tackle a massive and debilitating psychological trauma which has affected me for the best part of my life. In my speed-reading of the entire Hooting Yard canon I noticed that you had included two statements of particulars by famed archer and man of Switzerland William Tell. At the end of the second statement, Herr Tell promises a third statement in which he will address the subject of sausages in Switzerland, but this third statement has never seen the light of day. I cannot imagine why you would put the kibosh on such a text, so can only ascribe the non-appearance of the statement to forgetfulness on your part. Having said that, if you have had to suppress it for reasons to do with seemliness or national security, I quite understand, and I will leave you alone and instead write to the lovely Julian Assange, currently languishing imprisoned in an agreeable English country house. I am sure he will be able to unearth William Tell’s third statement of particulars for me.
Perhaps I ought to explain why I have a burning desire to read it. You see, when I was young, a mere chit, I begged my parents, Mr and Mrs Blankette, to take me to Switzerland to see the gnomes of Zurich. I was fascinated by gnomes at the time, having read a children’s edition of Rudolf Steiner’s Theosophy : An Introduction To The Supersensible Knowledge Of The World And The Destination Of Man (1910), wherein the sage writes of invisible gnomes, among other fantastic beings imperceptible to the senses of ordinary lumpenproles. I was keen to commune with the gnomes of Zurich and badgered my parents incessantly. Now, my mama and papa were great admirers of the big fat spider Harold Wilson, and knew that he had coined the phrase “gnomes of Zurich” in 1956 as a pejorative term for Swiss bankers. They knew, in other words, that there were no actual gnomes, invisible or otherwise, to be found in that fair city. But rather than telling me the truth, they decided to teach me a hard lesson. Driven half insane by my unceasing and whiney demands, they whisked me off to Zurich. At a tender age, too tender, I would learn to be crushed by disappointment and have it driven home to me that our political leaders, even the big fat spidery ones, can be monsters of mendacity – unlike, say, lovely Julian Assange, who carries the shining torch of truth at all times and in all circumstances.
It was that trip to a gnomeless Zurich which led to the massive and debilitating psychological trauma I mentioned earlier. Now to the reason I am desperate to read William Tell’s third statement of particulars. On the third day of our visit, by which time I had become a wailing and screeching bundle of fractious hysteria, mama and papa tried to appease me by taking me to a butcher’s shop. Perhaps they thought the sight of raw meat and blood and entrails and huge sharp cleavers and slicers and glistening knives and the butcher’s apron soaked in gore would shut me up. As indeed it did, but for quite an unexpected reason. Our visit to the shop coincided with a sausage-tasting gala, at which chunks of a variety of sausages from every canton of Switzerland were presented on paper plates. The butcher’s apprentice stood there, in a puddle of I think it was boar’s blood, handing out the paper plates to all comers. As I was still bawling and screeching at the absence of gnomes, my papa stifled my cries by plucking from a paper plate a chunk of Swiss sausage and cramming it into my gob. As I bit down on it, involuntarily, I caught a fugitive glimpse of a hitherto invisible gnome, standing slap bang next to the butcher’s apprentice. I swallowed the mouthful and the gnome vanished. Without having the manners to ask, I snatched a second chunk of sausage from papa’s paper plate and sank my girly fangs into it. Alas, it was a different type of Swiss sausage, and the invisible gnome failed to reappear. I proceeded to scoff as many free sausage samples as I could, but to no avail. That first bite, of that first sausage, was the only one that revealed the gnome to me. Two hours later, the butcher announced that the gala was over, and we were turfed out into the street. The next day, we left Zurich forever.
In the years since, I have been trying to find out exactly what kind of sausage it was that made visible to me, oh so briefly, the magical world of gnomes of which Rudolf Steiner so supersensibly wrote. I have haunted butcher’s shops from here to kingdom come, and taken bites out of thousands of sausages, not all of them Swiss, not all of them even cooked, but never yet have I again seen that Zurich butcher’s gnome, nor one of his kind. So you can imagine the excitement with which I read that archer of repute and man of Switzerland William Tell, in his third statement of particulars, would address the subject of sausages. As far as I am aware we have nothing on record to suggest that Herr Tell ever communed with gnomes, but I feel laughably confident that I will be able to winnow from his sausagery some significant clue. I need to read that damned statement of particulars, Mr Key! Please oblige.
Yours yet again,
I am afraid I must inform Tzipi that the document she is so keen to read was stolen from the Hooting Yard Data Silo by a ragamuffin in the pay of lovely, lovely Julian Assange. Lovely Julian has not seen fit to release William Tell’s third statement of particulars, I understand, because it contains compromising details about lovely Julian himself, the kinds of sordid details which ought never, ever be placed in the public domain. The mind boggles at the mental image of William Tell aiming his bow at a Swiss sausage atop the lovely head of lovely Julian Assange, and it is surely better that a veil is drawn over the whole squalid business. Sorry, Tzipi.