MR FYN’S FIRST WORK OF ART

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a poor, deluded guy thinks he is a great writer

(FROM THE ARCHIVES OF LITERATURE ROOM B)

 Mr Fyn surrounded

I received a very strange letter the other day. For the sake of truth, I shall quote it in full :

     

Your reference : Y.O.U.R.R.E.F.E.R.E.N.C.E.

                                                                          Ullage Limited

                                                                          The Lane

                                                                          Undon

                                                                          S.E.1

 

                                                                          Date unknown

 

Dear Mr Fyn,

      This letter is to inform you that, owing to information received, we are informing you that, from tomorrow onwards, your presence will be rendered totally superfluous at the above indicated prestigious institution.

      We ask you to act upon the information we are informing you of.

      Yours,

      The Information Bureau

 

      After I had read this strange letter (I had no intention of answering it), I entered the shower, wearing a pair of swimming trunks for the sake of modesty. When I emerged, I looked at the letter again, then, believing it to be a joke or wrongly delivered, I threw it away. I spent the remainder of the day gluing my mantelpiece together. It had fallen down in the middle of the night – too many books piled on top of it.

      In the evening, I went out and got drunk, wanting to become a poet and knowing that drink would help.

      The following morning I was surprised to receive another letter. In the interests of science and truth, I shall quote it here in full:

 

Our ref.: The I.B. (The Eye Bee)

                                                                         Ullage Limited

                                                                               The Lane

                                                                                Undon

                                                                                S.E.1

 

                                                                                Date enclosed

 

Dear Mr Fyn,

      Subsequent to your not acting upon the information we informed you of, we have decided to act leniently and take into consideration the possibility of your having misread or misinterpreted our previous letter. We have also been informed of your lack of insight, which helps.

      We instruct you, in no uncertain terms, to inwardly digest that your presence at the above prestigious address is rendered totally superfluous.

      We ask you to act upon the information we are informing you of.

      Yours,

      The I.B.

 

      I read this letter two or three times, put it in a drawer, then took my usual shower, after which I hung my trunks up to dry, made some toast, and spent the remainder of the day paring my feet (for they were very corny). In the evening, I went out and got so drunk that I ripped several windscreen-wipers off several cars.

      When I got home, a marvellous thing happened. I wrote my first poem:

      Let us, let us be three,

      the merrier than the other,

      clouts and clodhoppers we

      pacing one another.

I submitted it immediately — to GOG, one of the country’s leading literary magazines which has a broadminded policy on everything.

      The following morning, I received a third letter; it frightened me very much.

     

Your Ref.: SCUM

                                                                             Ullage Limited

                                                                             The Lane

                                                                       Undon

                                                                       S.E.1

 

                                                                       Date the third

 

Dear Mr Fyn,

      We have learnt that, yet again, you have failed to absent yourself from work. It is not customary for employees to continue working when they have been dismissed for petty pilfering and unwarranted acts of unsubtle vandalism.

      We propose to take this matter further, much further.

      The I.B.

  

      This letter disturbed me so much that I thought of going to the police. I placed it underneath the second (the first I suppose) and went into the shower. For the rest of the day, I twiddled my thumbs or bit my nails. In the evening, I went out. A strange thing happened. A tree I always pass had the temerity to speak to me, so I came home and wrote my second poem:

      EERT      EERT

      R T E       R T E

      EERT       EETR

      T R E       R T E

I submitted this poem to PRENTWRIT, an avant-garde magazine which few have heard of (because it is avant-garde) but rest assured, take my word for it, it prints all avant-garde masterpieces.

Mr Fyn in the foreground?     

      I did not really want to get up the following morning, but when I did, there was a fourth letter on my mat:

 

No ref.

                                                                            Ullage Limited

                                                                            The Lane

                                                                            Undon

                                                                            S.E.1

 

                                                                            Date the 4 the June

                                                                            the year the 9195

 

Dear Mr Fyn,

      It seems sterner measures must be taken. You forget that Eye Bee is not to be tampered with lightly. Your offences are prolific, your intentions obscure and profuse.

      But why, oh, why, do you still keep coming to work? This is what we cannot understand. Danger, danger, danger!

      Yours,

      Eye Bee

 

      I put this letter away and sat for a long time in the corner of my room. When, eventually, I lifted my head, it was twenty to nine and very dark outside. I listened to a tape recording I had made of my whimpers, it might help in the pending court-case, then I went out. I called at the police station but they only noted my name and address. The sergeant yawned a lot. He had yellow teeth. His tongue was like a squashed strawberry. He had a strange sense of humour and kept laughing.

      I didn’t get up the next day. The day after, when I did get up, I found two letters on my mat. I opened neither of them but went straight to the police.

      I saw a different sergeant this time. He smirked. When he yawned, I saw his teeth – they were acutely false. His tongue was like a squashed greengage. He shouted a lot and filled in a number of forms, after which his eyes grew very, very red and he had to go out to the toilet where it seemed to me he choked for a very long time.

      I don’t know what is going to happen if these letters keep on arriving. I really don’t………

      Today, some very polite people had a chat with me. It seems I am wanted as poet-in-residence at Sussex University. I have done it at last.

"done it at last" 

(This piece of writing entitled Mr Fyn’s First Work Of Art can be studied in manuscript form in Literature Room B at South Downham Mental Hospital, Five Spires Lane, Croydon, Surrey, CR3 3AH. Mr Fyn continues to write, but, in the opinion of the guardians of Literature Room B, he has produced nothing as amusing to date.)

 

Published in THE FROGMORE PAPERS NO. 44 AUTUMN 1994                               

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