Sal Oberon is surrounded by morons . . .
‘What’s a moron?’ one of the children sitting at his feet asked.
Sal Oberon sighed.
‘A moron,’ he began at length, ‘is only marginally higher up the food chain than your common or garden cretin . . .’
‘Uh?’ grunted the child.
Sal Oberon pursed his lips irritably.
‘Which, in turn,’ he went on, ‘is slightly higher than an idiot. Then come the illiterates, the throwbacks, the nobodies, those who aspire to be nobodies, and the complete wastes of DNA . . .’
The children sat with question-marks screwed across their faces.
‘Look,’ said Sal Oberon a little tetchily, ‘do you want to hear this story, or what?’
The children all brightened up at the essential keyword and looked forward, no doubt, to some happy tale involving fluffy bunnies, lots of cuddly cute rhyming, and an over-abundance of patronising repetition designed in anticipation of exceptionally limited attention spans.
Sal Oberon shuffled his wings into a complex arrangement of greater comfort and drew in a deep breath. ‘Good,’ he said, and started again . . .
. . . Sal Oberon is surrounded by morons. He was winging through the Forest, fairly zipping along, a good percentage over the speed limit, when, with some alarm, he noted yet another moron precisely three and a half nano-millimetres behind him and travelling at the same ‘minimal-life-expectancy’ velocity. So, with calculated risk, and, overloading on irrationally vexed chemicals recently discharged with some rapidity into his brain, due to the crass invasion of his personal body space by the moron so close behind that he was almost actually inside him . . . he slammed on the brakes . . .
‘Wow, Sal Oberon,’ squealed the brightest of the children at the Gathering (the others merely sat and stared, dribbling and wondering when the bunnies might make their entrance). ‘Wow. Did you crash and mangle up the moron and die yourself too? Did you?’
Sal Oberon narrowed his eyes at the mound of excited dribble in front of him.
‘Ye-eeeess,’ he ventured slowly, and ‘Does your mother know you’re out? Hmm?’
He carried on with his tale. ‘Anyway . . .’
. . . there he was, slapping on his brakes and making some rather choice and tasty obscene gestures, I can tell you, with one hand behind him and half an eye on the way ahead, and the cretin behind only decided that . . .
‘Sal Oberon?’ the bright one piped up, quizzically. ‘Where did the moron go?’
‘What?’ Sal Oberon replied.
‘The moron, Sal Oberon,’ the child repeated. ‘Is there a moron and a cretin chasing now? Or did the moron have to go home for his dinner?’
Sal Oberon thought carefully, and after several seconds of careful cogitation, he said, ‘Yes. Both of the above.’ (Which didn’t help the bearer of the question much but did serve the storyteller’s intended purpose). ‘So,’ he went on, quickly. ‘Anyway . . .’
. . . the cretin behind only decided to speed up even more!! I mean, what an imbecile!! What a demented, moronic, plainly brainless act of wanton stupidity, at several wingflaps past the speed limit, in the outside lane of the Forest ring-road expressway. There are no words, no Venn diagrams, no bar-graphs with helpfully pretty colour-coding, no usefully user-friendly Help-Me-Quick-I’m-A-Dumbass-Can’t-Even-Find-The-On-Switch-Click-On-Me-NOW-Big-Red-Fat-Flashing-Stupid-Button to rightly describe how low down on the evolutionary scale of mind-numbing futile inanity that moronic, cretinous mound of puerile sap-for-brains actually rated out there . . .
‘Cool, Sal Oberon,’ the loquacious one said (though, it may be truthful to say he didn’t altogether get the entirety of the storyteller’s finest turns of phrase and carefully wordcrafted nuances). ‘Did you get squished and die though?’
Sal Oberon squeezed the bridge of his nose wearily and wondered why he sometimes bothered.
‘Noooooo,’ he uttered apathetically. ‘I practised the art of breathing and meditated on beautiful thoughts of serenity and inner peace.’
‘Like what, Sal Oberon?’
The storyteller leant forwards on his log. ‘Well . . .’ he concluded . . .
. . . Sal Oberon dropped into a haven of inner peace and tranquillity. He breathed . . . in and out; in, out; in, out. Peace . . . and then he slammed on the brakes again and thought beautiful thoughts of the moron behind pulling a full-lock skid at warp factor 27, snapping his wings off in the process in an extremely high velocity head-on collision with a rather hard tree, breaking his face, neck, legs and both funny bones in nine and half million assorted and painfully different places . . .
‘Whoa,’ exclaimed the child with a certain degree of respect, whilst all his assorted brethren dribbled profusely, still hanging on gamely to the hopefully imminent arrival of Mr. Fluffybunnykins and his irritatingly cheerful little rhyming-couplet narrator friend.