Sal Oberon sat and surveyed the Forest before him, chewing on a lump of toxic by-product of indeterminable origin, found recently floating in the stream. The Forest of the Knobbly Goblin; the Forest of the Crippled Fairy; the Forest of the Sexually Depraved Sprite: all of these names. The proprietors of Yore (three and a half generations after the Ancients had moved up the property ladder, upping sticks to an, as yet, unpolluted Woody Glade), had failed to fill in the required application forms for ‘permanent name status’ (at least, not on the pink, maroon, turquoise or ever-so-slightly beige copies) and had therefore foregone their rights to such. Sal Oberon sat and contemplated the shithole simply known as a Forest (downgraded from Enchanted Wood, and a long way short of being a Woody Glade), pondering its position as the official dumping ground for all sorts of toxic magic by-products with no bureaucratic course of redress.
Suffice is to say that with all that magic shit clogging up the sanitary system, it’s no wonder the fairies’ wings started dropping off from acidic erosion, the elves started getting high just by sitting on the mushrooms and the pixies all went bad. It was only natural then that the place kept changing name, all by itself, without the aid of bureaucratic intervention, mauve balloting papers, planning meetings, steering groups, or formal written constitutions. Strange shit can happen when you live in a toxic magic dump.
Sal Oberon sat and surveyed the Forest of the Neurotic Nymph, desperately trying to avoid seeking gainful employment. He sighed. It was all very well telling stories but no landlord would take a nice little yarn in lieu of a month’s rent, and particularly not his landlord (who owned several hundred properties in and around the Forest, ranging from fairly respectable ex-tree stumps to the average little puddle of mould with its one room and en suite outside door). The evening edition of Jobs for the Hopeless Cretins Who Don’t Work in Local Government laid open nearby:
Undergrowth De-Viscosity Technician: Must have own gloves. No brain required (certificate of authenticity essential). 5 Groats per year. Apply on mauve, watermarked paper, cut into a perfect equilateral triangle and carefully folded into exactly 27 smaller and equally perfectly equal triangles.
Snail Speed Research Assistant: Must have qualifications. Any qualifications appropriate (though not yours).
Tree Officer: Required immediately. Must be able to count. Apply in lemon or aubergine ink, in some vague language format of forgotten antiquity. PhD essential. No idiots need apply. You are an idiot. Sod off.
Toxic Magic Forest Denial Officer: Qualification in Basic Lying essential (preferably educated to Advanced Deceit). Salary: 2.6 Million Groats. (Maybe).
Trout Licker: You won’t be qualified. Go away now.
Sal Oberon sighed the heavy-hearted sigh of the pitifully hard-done-by. A gang of marauding pixies staggered past with cans of beer in hand, aerosol-spraying the toads and spitting at little old fairies with arthritic wings who wore overcoats, despite it being the height of summer.
‘Oi,’ shouted one of the yobs, ‘get a job, you waster.’ They all laughed together in that demented cackle of cretins-in-arms. Sal Oberon couldn’t even muster the energy to make it to abject apathy.
‘Fucking hippies,’ the pixie with the brain today shouted out.