Written by Carl LaFong

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

image for Silent Vigil Speaks
A Biscuit

Vigil Shortbread, the ninety five year old man known throughout the world as "Silent Vigil" has finally ended the longest silent protest in history. Mr Shortbread hit the headlines back in 1915 when, aged only five, he vowed never to speak again unless the then Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith, agreed to his demands for free biscuits for all primary school children.

The refusal of the government, to pass the controversial "Biscuit Act" caused national outrage and word of this plucky young boy's protest soon spread, sparking demonstrations across the country.

The protest really picked up steam when Emily Pankbottom, the world renowned soufflé farmer, chained herself to the legs of the King's Horse at Royal Ascot and had to be shot.

"Silent Vigils", as they became known, started happening around the world - in Italy a man jumped from the leaning tower of Piza refusing to scream on the way down. In America a giant monkey scaled the Empire State Building and refused to talk. Violent scenes were witnessed in Cambodia as Buddhist monks ran riot, smashing up biscuit shops, and fire-bombing local libraries.

At a press conference back in 1921 Mrs Vera Shortbread, the boy's mother, told reporters, "he's a very stubborn child. He once held his breath for two weeks because I didn't put enough sugar in my garibaldi mix, but I have never seen him this determined before".

Despite his refusal to speak, Vigil worked hard at school, and became the world's youngest Professor at the age of seven. That achievement was surpassed one year later when he successfully campaigned for the introduction of free biscuits in all UK Universities. However, his greatest ambition was never realised and even today, in so called civilised Britain, schoolchildren are denied free biscuits at break times.

It's fitting that this man's first words for almost a century were also his last.

Long time friend, Mr Kipling, was present at his side as he bade farewell to his loyal but ever so quiet pal. When asked about Vigil's final words, Mr Kipling refused to comment saying merely that it was a "private moment".

Later that evening, addressing the hushed crowd outside Professor Shortbread's apartment, a spokesperson for Mr Kipling said, "A new quieter biscuit will be developed and dedicated to the memory of Vigil Shortbread". This announcement brought cheers of silence from the now joyful but still a bit sad crowd. Amongst the crowd was Hollywood star (and founder member of the Royal Society for Silent Vigils) Silent Bob who, in a moving tribute, kept silent on their behalf.

In an effort to discover Mr Shortbread's final words I exclusively interviewed a Mr Parker, his next door neighbour. He insisted that he wasn't nosey but said, "I did pick something up on my long range microphone although it wasn't very clear, I will know more when my surveillance team submit their report".

Hopes that the post mortem would throw some light on the situation were also dashed when coroner, Mrs Eaglesfoot announced, "we were hopeful that the post mortem would reveal fragments of the deceased's last sentence lodged in his larynx but all we found was an unused groan, and a few biscuit crumbs"

Vigil, who never married, will be buried in the same grave as his mother just as soon as she dies.

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

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