Written by Auntie Matter
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Thursday, 20 January 2011

image for One Man's Quest for Fame and Glory Earnest Potter's bones are somewhere here.

A skeleton found in Australia's Simpson desert is believed to be that of intrepid explorer Earnest Potter . Earnest was last seen in January 12th 1894 as he led an expeditionary force into Australia's Northern Territory in search of a fabled gold reef. The map of where to find the gold had been sold to Mr. Potter by a Lewis Lasseter whom he met in a pub in Sydney. Lasseter swore on a stack of bibles that the reef was at least a mile long and a hundred feet thick. Earnest forced him to a contract and made off next morning with a crew of fifty men from his own regiment of the Queen's Own High.

Retrieved from the blanched phalanges of Earnest's left hand was a small pocket book in which he recorded his private thoughts to his wife Fleur. Here are a few extracts;

(1)"My dearest Fleur, we lost three more men yesterday from thirst and our two remaining scouts treacherously abandoned us last night when they thought we were asleep. I shall never forget the sound of their laughter. Black bastards, I should never have trusted them! I am too good for my own good as you always used to tell me. They did not appreciate the gift of life we gave them by not killing them when we first rounded them up for trespassing on our station. I swear to you they are worse than the Irish, if that is possible, and a great deal worse than the working class scum of London. That just leaves Cyril, Roderick and I. Roders is quite mad though and Cyril too seems to be losing it. The heat Fleur! Yegads the heat! One feels as if one's head is a boiled egg about to crack open. And at night one's testicles quite freeze as if one was visiting one's mother-in-law. And one cannot converse with anyone but oneself. One learns the bitterest lessons about one's fellow creatures in this godforsaken land.

(2) Yesterday was the worst. No food, no water. Roders killed himself by eating fistfuls of sand. Cyril confessed to me that he is gay and always had a crush on me on account of my amazing, physical strength, superior intelligence and good looks, as if his confession mattered a damn to anybody but the buzzards who circle above our heads. We spent hours praying for deliverance but nobody will find us out here. I left Roders still kneeling there until he fell over, quite, quite dead. I fear I will not get out of here alive... and I doubt very much my dearest one.... if I will even manage to get out of here dead.

(3) This is my last note to you. I should never have left our cottage in the Cotswolds. Tea and crumpets with dear old Auntie Evens and Parson Little, the games of croquet on the lush green lawns and games of bridge under the eaves, the morning vespers...tickling our pregnant room servant Joanne just to hear her laugh... I miss them all. And especially our loyal butler Blair who was always there to write my speeches for me when I had to address the House. What a servant he was. And what fun we had! But I am an Englishman, Fleur, and a soldier through and through. I came in search of gold. I so wanted to return to England like Sir Walter Raleigh and be knighted for my services to Her Majesty and our Empire. To spread her dominions was always my one real goal in life. But, the natives here do not seem to understand we own Australia because we were here first. They do not understand that they do not really exist because we have called this place 'terra nullis" which means "nobody lives here" but they have no Latin I'm afraid and English is quite beyond their intellectual reach. And so treachery is second nature to them. What can one do, Fleur? Give Buckingham our labrador a big hug from me... and farewell. I am awfully, awfully, sorry.... Forever yours, "Snugims Potter".

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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