All Stories, Fantasy, General Fiction

The Quillemender and the Authoress: A Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical by Leila Allison  

Ha! Versatur Circa Quid! Has any fable (feeble or otherwise) been told in the first person? Methinks not. For those of you unlucky enough to be unacquainted with my humble works of genius, behold the vainglorious splendor of, I, Judge Jasper P. Montague, contentedly, fruitfully, and most certainly deceased. The unwashed refer to me as a common household poltergeist, but, in fact, I am a Quillemender.

I will thoughtfully wait ten seconds as to allow the most addle-minded amongst your number (and that is a sizeable sum, indeed) to finished mouthing “Whazza quill-a-mander?”

Not “quill-a-mander,” dolt (which implies the spawn of an unlikely porcupine/amphibian trist), but Quillemender.  A Quillemender (or, I’ll allow, “Quill”) is a ghost who specializes in “editing” the written words of living persons. We tend to gravitate toward lazy, inattentive authors and “authoresses,” for proofreading is the bane of our existence.

We Quills have been around longer than foolscap and iron gall ink. Usually, the governing power of the universe (aka, “Supreme Being”) arranges it that a Quill be linked to a specific person (or persons) related by blood to the Quill. In my case I “haunt” my great great great great granddaughter, Leila Allison, a self professed “authoress.”

Leila is the perfect example of a lazy authoress. After research (which, for hell’s sake, nowadays requires nothing more than “OK, Google…”), proofing text is something she is least likely to do. Let’s face it, the lady is either bombed out of her skull or thinking about getting that way whenever she composes; she’d think of detail work as “tedious,” if she were to ever think of it at all.

At one time there had been other words in this feeble fabel file. Words that might have cast base canards and ruthless aspersions on the character of a certain long dead relative of the authoress. That, naturally, would not do. So, what had lain between the title and the “moral” has been put down with the same courageous resolve that one must summon to relieve a mortally wounded creature of its suffering. In the modern idiom, for the sake of you dolts (who should arrive down here sometime within the hour), I gave it the needle.

Hark! I hear a chorus (save for the dolts) ask “But, esteemed Judge Montague, how does a Quillemender function?” The answer lies in thermal dynamics, not hocus pocus. No Ouija board required. Quills create hot and cold spots, mix them into tiny vortexes which drop before rising. The “drop” allows for the manipulation of still wet ink, but I find it much easier when it comes to typing. All I need is the password to Leila’s Chromebook (which, as of yesterday, is “Nixxy-smonnix@Androidsnot”) and I am in. She is fully aware of my existence yet remains obtuse to the fact that I watch her futile attempts to thwart my entry into her device. Versatur Circa Quid! (Sigh, once more I must attend to the dolts; that’s Latin for “What comes round goes round.” )

The ever-changing technology of delivering information is something that a Quillemender must keep up with or face a future of meddling with grocery lists and scrawled telephone numbers (some Quills have hit the skids so severely that they must ply their trade in bus station restrooms). For centuries the only way a Quill could “get across” was via the manipulation of still wet ink (some “do” pencils, but its a low craft). This limited a Quill to making edits roughly the same size of the original text. For example, behold this bit of classic, albeit rascally,  Quillemending from 1882.

The Original Text: 

Dearest, Millicent, 

Whenever I think of you, my heart swells fondly in my breast. 

The Improvement: 

Whenever I think, it’s about fondling the swell of your breasts. 

Of course, that’s coarse, even the dolts might get it (unless they get lost on the way). But it is a prime example of how the Quills of yore had to make do with the available resources (namely,  ink). Nowadays, with all the easy to understand editing procedures in even the cheapest devices, the physical work has become much easier, and, eventually, will lead to far more creative edits than just rearranging the words into something naughty. It’s a Brave New Frontier for Quillemenders.

Yet there remain two obstacles for my kind to overcome. First, any file we emend cannot surpass the size of the original (which is much like the old fashioned ink bugaboo). We have yet to find a way around this. But we have made great strides in torpedoing the efforts of our “competition,” the absolutely mindless “auto-correct.” Have you noticed a recent tendency for that function to replace a misspelled word with the most inappropriate choice possible? Ha! Versatur Circa Quid!

Yet it is the first dilemma which forces me to prematurely exit with still so much I would like to say. But available space is a stern mistress, and I must allow room for Leila’s “Moral” to the “Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical,” lest even she and the dolts might catch on to the improvements.

Condescendingly Yours,

Judge Jasper P. Montague, Quillemender

(Sorry, dolts, but by the time you get here nobody will be around to explain it to you.) 

The Moral: The proofreading may not be in the pudding, but do it unless you want to end up in a jam.

Coda 

I see that rat rat rat rat bastard Jasper has gotten in again. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the old son of a bitch, especially when he “improves” the emails I send my coworkers. Like yesterday, I insincerely composed a typical staccato, polite, thanks-but-no-thanks interoffice email. I’d wrote “Infatuated with the idea. Gotta ask Tech first.” This is what I sent: “Infuriated with the idea. See you in hell first.” It pissed me off because the first one would have allowed me to blow off the imbecile’s “input” without further exchange while the second one will probably result in the injured party to return to the practice of stealing my lunch from the community refrigerator.

Alas, the old adage is true: you can’t choose your relatives, especially the dead ones. Anyway, I’ve decided to let great grandfather squared’s “improvements” stand. I believe that they match the moral of the thing better than what I had originally devised.

Hmmm…maybe an egg salad sandwich that will spend tonight beside the fireplace for lunch tomorrow…Ha! Versatur Circa Quid!

 

Leila Allison

Image by Janet Gooch from Pixabay

4 thoughts on “The Quillemender and the Authoress: A Feeble Fable of the Fantasmagorical by Leila Allison  ”

  1. Sometimes the Quillemender’s cousin, the Quille id member, can be fairly helpful in dredging up truths beneath the surface. Mine unfortunately often leads to instinctual e mails sent to unintended recipients. I remember a concept called “automatic writing” practiced by the poet WB Yeats and others. Sometimes that works better than the standard version. Funny story!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Leila,
    I’m quite sure that you know that I am a lover of fables. I like the old dark ones. But for anyone to be able to do what I consider a present fable is a touch of brilliance.
    I am jealous of anyone who can do either of these and get that rich tone into their writing. The subject matter also needs to be considered, especially when it comes to the more up to date stories.
    As I said, I wouldn’t have a clue where to start with one never mind a series of them. You have hit a wonderful imaginative vein of inspiration with these!
    They are a joy to read.
    Hugh

    Like

    1. Ah, but your stories are good fables. Some, at the end, could have “The Amoral” attached to them. Many seem to confuse what you do with immorality, but I see them as truthfully amoral/.
      LA

      Like

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