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A Salmonella Outbreak (1988)

Yes indeed, I was there at the famous Whipround Prize of 1988 when Salmonella rushed in to announce his latest revelation from Mammon. “Nothing is off-limits, neither God nor Prophets…,” he recited. “Except your bank account Salmonella, my little bacillus”, interjected Satan (his literary agent) furtively. “O yes of course,” Salmonella recanted and chanted the famous Satanic Verses, “Except my bank account – so saith the lord my god Mammon.” At this the assembled literati prostrated themselves, for he had indeed abased himself to their god most profoundly. Satan had a good laugh afterwards remembering how he had picked up the little virus (as he would affectionately call him). Satan’s old friend Mammon, for a lark, had dressed himself up as The Muse, famous inspiration of poets, musicians and creative people and despite the fact that Mammon was a hopelessly grotesque, old miscreant they were both vastly a-mused to find out that Salmonella couldn’t tell the difference. I mean Mammon never had any delusions about himself being any great beauty and to see him dressed up as a tart and spouting dross…., well this little hum-bug starts writing it all down as if it was straight from the source. The laugh was on Mammon because with a bit of astute management from Satan (he never thought it possible) people started buying it up as if it were Manna from heaven. They were both a mite alarmed that the little bacteria himself actually believed it all. They hadn’t had such a perfect tool for literally onks and were a trifle worried that he might get ideas above his station – “I and Mammon are one” or “Whoever hath seen me hath seen Satan” – set himself up in direct competition so to speak.  Things worked out a real treat though. India (his home team) banned his pronouncements and – BOP – sales were doubled. A few people got a bit hot under the collar, burnt the book and, within  a week, the printers were on standby for a reprint. All that opposition allowed Salmonella to spout off a good bit of guff about the sanctity of his Muse-ings. He was even seen to be heroically defending civilisation against barbaric hordes of Islamic fundamentalists.  The story had a tragic ending though for it appears that despite all the warnings he  rashly allowed himself to be rushed into eating Curried eggs and so the poor man succumbed to a virus whose name you’ll probably guess. Coincidence? Divine retribution? Who knows?  No-one remembers Salmonella now at all. The great book muse-ums and micro-fiche archives that sprang up in 2010, when books went totally out of use, only had space for 42 million titles of merit so sadly they had to tell his executors there wasn’t room. They were a bit peeved because they accepted Joan Collin’s books. © Abdassamad Clarke, Dublin, 1988

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