September 9, 2009


Some commotion. Enough to be noticed. Small crowd gathering in front of the cottage at the edge of the shire. The door to the cottage open for the first time in collective memory.

“There’s a tunnel below, that’s what.”

“Naw, a burrow to the back, I heared tell.”

“Be it cakes or bread, one and the same, we’ll know soon enough.”

The self-important constable, preening, steps out from inside the cottage. He says, “Make way.”

The small crowd parts, necks stretched, peering. Two proud deputies carrying a man-sized bundle wrapped in a coarse woven burr blanket emerge into the stillness of morning. They pause. The constable nods. The blanket is adjusted so such that the head of the corpse is revealed and displayed to the crowd. Murmurs and nods. Blanket readjusted. The deputies march off down the cobbled road with their burden. The crowd, silent, turns as one to the constable. The constable preens, addresses the crowd.

“It was as I so often opined. Did I not opine, yeomen?”

All nod.

“His home was no longer an abode of bliss. Therefore, he expired as I opined he would. Shut away he was for fifty years and never once seen or thought of but for the wisps of smoke each morning rising from yon chimney. For three days past, no smoke. I therefore entered with my deputation to confirm my oft-mentioned opinion. Yes, his home was no longer an abode of bliss. He had at last exhausted his supply of Plumtree’s Potted Meat! What was left but to step willingly into eternity?”

Brought to You by Plumtree’s Potted Meat

Without it, despair

With it, an abode of bliss

A James Joyce Production

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