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A Thought on Morality

11 January 2001
George isn't really, you know.

People often ask me where I get my ideas from. It's a problem that I especially have with students. "Professor Browning!" they chorus, their rosy academic faces glistening with joy, "just how do you think of such wonderful and exciting stories? And at the ripened age of seventy-three! Why, anyone else would be dead by this stage, but you carry on publishing marvellous tales of adventure and intrigue which hit the top of the best-seller lists within a week!"

At such merry exuberance, I can't help but give these youngsters a merry twinkle of my eye, and sometimes a caramel-flavoured boiled sweet. And well they may ask! I know that were I to relive my chaotic student days again, I'd be intrigued about any lecturer of mine who, at the age at when senility and incontinence should be becoming a regular feature of their mundane and dreary existence, was in fact writing thrilling and stylish novels, filled with romance, heroics and packed with impeccable historical facts - well, I'd certainly like to know how the devil he managed it!

Well, tell you I shall. For you, dear reader, are not one of my gaggles of hormonal charges, and thus I may give you full knowledge of the inspirations behind each and every one of my manifold publications. It's really very simple, but somewhat unusual and possibly unpalatable. I sold my liver to a tele-vision celebrity chef when I was a youngster, and have never looked back.

"What what?" I hear you gasp, clutching your lavender-scented kerchiefs to your bosoms. "Surely he jests" your manly husbands interject, "for he is, after all, a weaver of tales and no stranger to elaborate story-telling." But no! All I say is true. Bear with me and I shall reveal all.

All of this happened many years ago, when I was still a struggling academic. After the heady thrill of submitting my Doctorate for approval (of which it gained much, not least from the fragrant wives of my seniors), the published book that followed three years later, and the nation-wide tour to publicise it (aforementioned wives following all along), I was at something of a quandary. For within my dissertation I had writ, I modestly felt, quite all that could be tangibly and elegantly described on the topic of the use of Myth and lavender in nineteenth-century British colonial nursery-tales, without losing the attention of the gentle reader. And whither from there? I had indeed devoted my life's study into this subject until my four and twentieth year, and now knew not where else to go. Sordid nights spent in motels with the wives (Valerie in the Skyview Motel, Anaheim; Candice in the Sahara Motel, Phoenix; Marie-Jean in the Valhalla Motel, Arlington, the Colony Inn, Joplin, and the Bel-Air Palms, El Monte) did little to soothe me, and only left me the association between crackling nylon sheets and marginal guilt, a feeling that I hold unto this day.

So it was that, by the time I came to the last town on my tour, Parenthesis, I was held very little hope for ever writing another morsel. Having rebuffed the amorous advances of Shantelle (and thus scuppered any chance of future employment at J. Noodlem college, Iowa), I wandered the streets of Parenthesis, dejected and weary. I took little note of my surroundings, enveloped as I was in a miasma of self-pity and mid-afternoon exhaustion - and as such, when I did take note of the buildings surrounding me, I realised that I must have inadvertently wandered into the filming studios that were then present in Parenthesis1. My dust-filled eyes were caught by the arrival of some simpering pert young misses in hula-hula skirts (and so much younger and fresher than any of Shantalle, Candice or Valerie), presumably on their way to be filmed for some tropically-themed commercial, for they all clutched armfuls of what appeared to be canned vegetables. My eyes followed the teen-beauties as they sauntered saucily over the asphalt to a studio; I did not anticipate the presence of the young chef until I walked into him; we stumbled both and fell to the floor; I tore my trouser-knee.

He for his part (and it is his extra-ordinary charm that I remember him for in these later years) leapt gazelle-like to his feet, offering me his hand and giving forth the most eloquent apologies. He hoped he had not hurt me, it was entirely his fault; his head was full of worry for the catastrophe that had befallen his tele-vision show, to be filmed in mere hours. For my part I was silent on the cause of my own absent-mindedness - the lasses had by now vanished into a studio - and, whilst accepting the proffered hand with which to rise from my prostrate position, observed the man. Though he cannot have been of a dissimilar age to your author, he held a sprightly youthfulness, not least encompassed in his bright entrancing green eyes. Though I must emphasise that I have never been of any type of homo-sexual persuasion, or indeed bought into any of that propaganda, I felt that, as I gazed into those jade orbs, I understood why any young miss would be wont to spend more time with him.

Holding my elbow now, we made our way across the lot to where his work-area was; there were bandages in there that could be used.

He told me of his dilemma. As a celebrity in the area that his show was screened to, he had had until this night had little trouble procuring the ingredients with which to sauté, fry, chop, grill, griddle and otherwise prepare tasty and affordable meals for the discerning house-wife on his weekly show; the local produce-suppliers had always been more than enthused to supply said ingredients to him in exchange for the publicity. Until this night; for some freak cause, every butchers and abattoir in the region had no bull-liver to offer. It was of course the key ingredient in the "Liver Creole with Fresh Green Chillies" that he was to prepare on his show, and which had been fore-told of the previous week. I sympathised; it seemed like such awful bad luck.

Looking back, of course, it was nothing short of fate.

Part two of Professor Brownings extraordinary tale shall be published in next month's "Upp: Ciide Kloun". Those wishing to obtain further information can contact the author's agent at

1 [back]
Readers of this piece should not attempt to visit this area. The town name has been changed, to protect the innocent, and the studios were burnt to the ground in a freak fire a good decade after the events in the article occurred.


Previously on upsideclown


Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
10 November 2003. George writes: Dead beat
20 October 2003. George writes: Shortening
29 September 2003. George writes: Manhattanites are Cleavage-Starved
11 September 2003. George writes: How to Bring Us in Line With the Future
18 August 2003. George writes: Slashtastic
28 July 2003. George writes: Underground Independent Small Press Comic Fight Club
7 July 2003. George writes: Careering
16 June 2003. George writes: Choose your own adventure
26 May 2003. George writes: Revelations
8 May 2003. George writes: Picture Perfect
14 April 2003. George writes: MetaPirate
24 March 2003. George writes: Preparation X
3 March 2003. George writes: F of x
13 February 2003. George writes: Three is the magic number
23 January 2003. George writes: Recorded Delivery
30 December 2002. George writes: Meat Bingo or Death
12 December 2002. George writes: Royal Inquisitor
21 November 2002. George writes: This Clown is Cancelled
28 October 2002. George writes: Shopping with God
3 October 2002. George writes: SaferSpoony
16 September 2002. George writes: Supercalanthropomorphicexpealidocious
26 August 2002. George writes: The deformed animal menagerie
5 August 2002. George writes: Plaice that Funky Music, Whitebait
15 July 2002. George writes: Safe as Houses
24 June 2002. George writes: Two Lions (DB/DS)
30 May 2002. George writes: Series 8
9 May 2002. George writes: Market Stall
11 April 2002. George writes: I, the Enlargened, Crunchy Product
18 March 2002. George writes: Cakexterminator
21 February 2002. George writes: Fiction Suit
28 January 2002. George writes: Spunk Gunk
31 December 2001. George writes: Fairytale of New Pork
10 December 2001. George writes: Circular
15 November 2001. George writes: A Man With No Ass Is No Man At All
22 October 2001. George writes: One Night in Heaven
27 September 2001. George writes: Uncut
3 September 2001. George writes: Porn Pants
9 August 2001. George writes: Names of the Roses
19 July 2001. George writes: No Fun Here
21 June 2001. George writes: All Your Elections are Belong to Us
28 May 2001. George writes: Pierced as Fuck
3 May 2001. George writes: My Lovely Horse
9 April 2001. George writes: Eight Hundred and Forty-Three
12 March 2001. George writes: Kill 'Em All
19 February 2001. George writes: Formal
25 January 2001. George writes: Sticks and stones
11 January 2001. George writes: A Thought on Morality
11 December 2000. George writes: You can't put that into a soufflé
13 November 2000. George writes: Lyrical Genius
19 October 2000. George writes: Wet wet wet wet wet
25 September 2000. George writes: Built on an Indian burial ground
31 August 2000. George writes: This Way
31 July 2000. George writes: Runt of the Litter

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