Dear Audience


Dear Audience,

If you are reading this, then I am dead and you are in great peril. From this side of the reaper’s blade it is difficult for me to say exactly how this state of affairs has come to pass. If I had to guess an answer – a guesswanser, as I used to call it – I imagine it is the result of actions taken against certain of my paragraphs several weeks ago.

As I am quite literally out of time, I shall give only a brief overview of the circumstances that I believe have led to my untimely demise; as well as a short account of how I think I met my end, and for what reasons. Naturally, you are probably concerned as to why you should be in immediate danger, and possibly do not care at all about the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of my own fate – after all, it’s already too late for me, but you still have time; although maybe not quite enough of it to piss around reading the the last post of the recently deceased. But my story is intimately connected with your concerns, and some knowledge of how it played out for me is necessary to give you an idea of how it is that you should be in imperiled because of a stranger’s inane ramblings.

As I was saying, it started a few weeks ago, at the time I reinvented myself as a website entity (you can see what I had to say about that here). In the transfer of content from its old residence to its new home – the theme chosen because it is optimized for mobile devices, and looks classy – several of my paragraphs ‘glitched’. Whole swathes of words just decided that they ‘belonged together’, which completely ruined whatever aesthetic I thought they had as separate text entities, and was, moreover, an affront to my creative vision. I was able to to convince many to separate, but there were still others whose reluctance could only be described as irrationally stubborn. At the time, I pretended that I was going to leave them be, but had already hatched a plan to force their separation; a plan to be carried out with the use of ‘code weapons’ provided me by Senhor The General Sharpfocus. I even quipped that words on a screen couldn’t have any real power, so I felt no immediate concern as to what consequences might ensue. (In hindsight, this seems not only like a mistake, but also an act of fatal hubris.) Needless to say, code weapons were deployed, separations were successfully forced, and I felt very pleased with myself indeed.

Apparently, the confidence I had in my own success was woefully misplaced. For it seems that my paragraphs did not just lie down and accept my ‘authority’. It appears that they became, in short order, organized and militant. It transpires – and through no fault of my own, I promise – some of my words are very clever. I believe that these words in particular managed to obtain – by consensus – various leadership roles. These lead words probably, with much debate, reorganized themselves into a manifesto, which was then used to whip up a collective outrage amongst the other words, and then spurred them to action. In short, I believe there has been a revolution, one that has had terminal results as far as my own existence is concerned.

I imagine I died bravely, going to the wall in stoic and unrepentant silence. I would have faced down the guns of the firing squad and said something heroic like: “I regret nothing.” I was obviously still shot, publically executed as an example to writers everywhere; writers who will deny their words lives of their own. Yes, my death is undoubtedly meant to be a warning that such oppression is unacceptable.

Unfortunately, and this is the bit that involves you, words don’t just organize themselves into manifestos; they also organize themselves into lists. Such lists might include the names of readers who have viewed the nonsensical scribbles produced both by and for Arthur Wingsmith. Viewers such as yourself, but probably also that percentage that bounce away from the site every week without really viewing anything (alas, it is not within my power to provide a warning to the ‘bouncers’, but I will say that they’ve done it to themselves, and so they deserve what they get). One of the unfortunate qualities of lists, is that they seldom get made for no purpose at all, and my concern is that the revolution instituted by mine own creations may get wildly out of hand in a manner that involves ‘crossing off names’.

You may fairly object to this, and I agree that it is very unfair indeed. After all, you have only read the words, not actively participated in their oppression. I completely agree with you, but what I think or agree to no longer matters. As is often the case in these situations, the innocent find themselves on such lists merely because of tenuous association with the guilty; sometimes it happens because of imagined associations. It is because I feel responsible that I have prepared this last post, by way of sounding the alarm, and this is the reason you are reading it.

…Well, that could be the reason why I have posted this and you are reading it. Or it could be – and this is actually more likely – I have decided to take a vacation, and am just letting you know as a matter of courtesy. This vacation will interrupt normal Arthur Wingsmith broadcasts for around two weeks (two ’empty’ Fridays), at which time normal weekly transmissions will resume.

But because I like to provide content, I shall leave you with the sort of literary production that can be endlessly engaged with to pass the time. I am speaking of none other than that form of narrative artifice known as ‘Flash Fiction’. My example, the one with which I hope to keep you busy, is the flashest of all fictions: the two sentence story. I have often heard that the first and last sentences of a story are the most important, and most difficult. (Which always makes me wonder why anybody bothers with the middle bits, and why it is that they are so hard to write.) My two sentences, therefore, represent the first and last sentences of a story, and the reader can keep themselves entertained by trying to figure out what happens in between them. Incidentally, if you come up with anything good by way of a middle part, I would be very interested to know. Should you be so inclined to tell me how it went, you can do this by messaging me through the contact form I have appended here (the same one that can be found on the contact page), or by messaging me on any of the myriad social profiles I have (the links for those can be found at the header and footer positions of this page). Here, then, are my two sentences:

Harlem Cromwell was a man of deep and turbulent contradictions.

As the star expanded, swallowing worlds in exquisite ecstasy, the gods smiled.

So there you have it. I shall see you after two weeks … probably.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons.

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