A Divine Comedy

Arthur Mulcrum was in no way unusual. His surname rhymed with fulcrum as you would expect. He had a side parting with lofty combover ambitions as you may have suspected. Like many Arthurs before and since he still lived in his childhood home at the age of fifty-three where he looked after his mother – the once statuesque, twice reduced Mathilda Mulcrum (nee Crump) – and her borderline feral dachshunds, Ranjit and Stephen. Statistically speaking, as was Arthur’s wont, Arthurs were no more nor less likely to live at home with their respective mums at the age of fifty-three than any other human males. Except of course, for Reginalds, who have remained a statistical anomaly throughout history.

Arthur was “a nice guy”, “a bit weird but nice enough” or “which one is he again?” depending on who you asked. Statistically speaking you could bet your house on option one. The second description was only ever voiced out loud by Barry Harding (newsagent) and that was all down to a mix up involving a copy of Accounting Babes and the bumper Christmas issue of Logic Puzzler Monthly. The doubt involving his identity was Mathilda’s idea of a joke and can therefore be discounted.

Bearing all this in mind it would fair to say that other than perhaps the old beggar woman who raggedly flounced her way into the village fete of 1976 and proclaimed that the then thirteen year old Arthur Mulcrum was in fact possessed by a cat from the future (wanted by the Parisian authorities for a spate of art thefts and who had been in hiding in le deuxième arrondissement for several months) most people would have been surprised to learn that Arthur was pen-pals with Satan.

When questioned on this fact, Arthur tended to shuffle about a bit within the confines of his cardigan and offer to make tea but gradually, over time, darjeeling and an assortment of wafers I gained his trust and he opened up. A little.

“It all started about eighteen months ago. Lionel and I were sitting in the canteen lamenting the loss of the written word. It’s all whatsyerface and twitterbook these days isn’t it? Anyways, we got to talking about how it was when we were in school and how we had pen-pals and such. He used to write to a girl in Borneo apparently. Me? No. Nothing like that. Colin Harris from just outside Torquay. He wanted to be a cowboy. Never met him but the last letter I got he was thinking of doing an apprenticeship with a local builder. I said to Lionel that kids these days don’t know what they are missing out on and we left it there. Anyways, next morning I came down the stairs and there it was. Well it was easy to spot to be honest in that bright red envelope. Lovely handwriting on the address. The smell was a bit off-putting mind you. Aye, that’s what I thought as well, a drop of Old Spice splashed on by mistake but it was…well it was a bit more brimstone-y than that to be honest with you. What’s that? No. Look I’d rather not talk about what we’ve talked about over time but it’s all pretty normal to be fair. That first letter was just a few lines of introduction asking me if I’d be willing to write on occasion. He told me he liked to write by the fireside and about his pets. Yes, he’s got a couple actually. Loves cats. He’s just got a new rescue kitten. Called her Lucy Fur bless her…”

…meanwhile somewhere off-central to la neuvieme arrondissement de l’enfer

Luuuuuucy! Pusspusspusspuss…Luuuuu

“Your Blackness?”

“Oh don’t be so formal Nigel, I only stand on ceremony in front of the hordes.”

“Right. Sorry about that. It’s just that there’s a letter just arrived for you, Your Despic…Lionel.”

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19 thoughts on “A Divine Comedy

  1. Was wondering where this was going and laughed out loud when I got to “pen-pals with Satan.” You have the best imagination. 😄 I could stand for more also… 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a collection of weird notes to myself in my gmail account, one of which was “write about the summer you became pen pals with Satan” – stumbled across it last night and this was the result.

      Very glad it made you laugh and I’m pretty sure there’s more to come from these (and some related) characters – it fired up my brain which is always nice/dangerous. Thanks for reading and commenting – appreciated!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad it fired up your brain! I feel like there’s so much I want to know about this Satan. All the details in this are spectacular. Satan rescues kitties and gives them punny names? Hilarious! Yay! Keep going. (But no pressure, heh)

        Liked by 1 person

      • There are two things I can guarantee…I have no idea what adventures will come, and it’ll be fun finding out 🙂

        Thanks for the support – how can I feel pressure after such a pep talk 😉

        Like

  2. This is seriously awesome! And hilarious :p I like your characterisation of Arthur (a lot). Also, I’ve read ‘The Colour of Magic’ and have moved onto another Discworld novel: I now have a lot less faith in my writing ability, my imagination and my characterisation, and I’m also loving Pratchett. I am redeemed! :p

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! Thanks Ana 🙂 Great to hear you’ve enjoyed Pratchett so far – and don’t worry, soon your dwindling faith will turn into utter despair in the face of his brilliance just like mine did (I’m kidding – he’ll just kick start parts of your brain you didn’t know you had!)

      Really appreciate the kind comment – very glad to hear you had fun with this!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think you’re going to get your wish on this one Mel – after dipping my toe into Arthur’s murky waters so to speak it appears to have infected my foot and a small portion of my calf so I have no choice now but to write stuff down. I think there’s some potential for setting Arthur and Lionel on a collision course with Stormcrow – which might be a bit of fun…

      Thanks for yet another supportive comment – the world can blame you for not putting a stop to things when you had the chance 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s been so nice to have such a great reaction to this piece – it took me a lot longer to write this than my gibberish normally does but since completing it I’ve got all sorts of ideas for characters and related scenes – it’s a whole new experience for me but I’m very excited!

      Glad you liked the dachshunds – those are the sort of oddities I conjure up when I’m not drinking red wine 🙂

      Like

  3. Pingback: A Divine Comedy — Nik Eveleigh | Euterpe's Vault

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