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8. Sal Oberon and the Pillocks of Non-Person Orientated Procedure

Published March 30, 2017 by saloberon

Sal Oberon sat in contemplative meditation, riffing on Universal complexity but, more specifically, on the density of moronic ‘non-person orientated’ people out there, as a gaggle of waiting children sat around him, dribbling and waiting for the master’s effervescent insight.

‘Children. Listen. It transpires that the incidence that comes under the category of being nice to someone no longer figures as, well, just that. What we seem to be obliged to suck up, my little ones, is that being nice actually equates to a gross occurrence of not following procedure. Procedure, dear ones, is all, apparently.’

Sal Oberon leaned in towards the huddled mass, as quiet and as utterly flummoxed as they were.

‘Come closer, my poor future-indoctrinated no-hopers. This is the way things ought to be: procedure can tickle my fat, hairy arse. You know? Yes, you do. Procedure is to people as a slap round the head with a wet lettuce is to instructive learning.’

One child picked his nose and wiped the stringy bogey down his friend’s sleeve. Sal Oberon pretended not to see, and also he couldn’t muster the energy to even care.

‘Look,’ he sighed. ‘Maybe if I tell it as a story instead of trying to slide up sideways with a sneaky gallon of wise words . . .’

The children brightened instantly.

‘Ooh, a story. Please a story, Sal Oberon, huh?’

Sal Oberon groaned. This was the future he was speaking to, nay, blessing with the wonder of his learned experience.

‘Fine. Fine. Right, a story it is.’

He lit a cigarette and blew smoke into the face of the nearest child, who spluttered, but who came up smiling.

‘Once there was a poor shat-upon fairy geezer called . . . oh let’s call him, say, Sal Oberon . . .’

‘Really, Sal Oberon? He sounds like you.’

‘Ye-esssss,’ Sal Oberon uttered. ‘So, this poor shat-upon just happened, one day, to actually feel like giving a shit about someone he interacted with on a daily basis. This someone was poorly. Sal Oberon phoned him up and asked him how he was. A conversation ensued. Sal Oberon then said goodbye.’

‘Huh?’ said several children, if not directly then by mouthing it.

‘Exactly: huh? Well, it transpires, my little future fucked-ups, that being nice is anti-procedure for The Powers That Be, a.k.a. The Forest Council of Complying With Everything and Anything. Oh yes, it’s anti-procedure on account of the possibility of the damned Unions declaring it a degree on the wrong side of hassling. Yes, I can see you’re as non-plussed as I am about this.’

‘Huh?’

‘Indeed.’

Sal Oberon stubbed out the cigarette on his boot, standing up to shake the filth of ‘procedure’ from his coat.

‘When you reach the age of futile resistance to wage slavery, little ones, don’t forget the wise words of old Sal Oberon. Don’t accept the bullshit that having a give-a-shit conversation with someone, even and especially a worse off than yourself lowly editing-elf, amounts to hassling that someone to get their arses back to work, will you?’

The children all obediently shook their heads, not at all conversant with their master’s teachings. Sal Oberon headed out of the hollowed-out tree stump that served as a teaching space.

‘Farewell, fuckers. Till next time. Don’t let your usual teacher know how I taught you real things, if and when they turn up.’

Sal Oberon shuffled off, contemplating whether or not to let the said usual teacher free from his temporary incarceration, strapped up by the nether regions in a nether region of the campus. Sal Oberon gave no more consideration to the matter of ‘being nice to working colleagues’, unionised or otherwise, hoping with all the ill-will he could muster that the overlords of said colleagues and himself might readily choke on their own procedural alphabetti-spaghetti.
 
 

7. Sal Oberon Gets Right Royally Shafted in a Middle Management Kind of Way

Published October 25, 2016 by saloberon

Sal Oberon sat and surveyed the scene: the two drones were perched on the edges of their tight arses in front of him, practically falling off the precarious instruction manuals underneath them, and one intoned, ‘But really, Mr Obiwank, we have to follow The Rules.’

Sal Oberon sighed at length. ‘The Rules’ were ingrained in the air. One of the drones, as tight-lipped as she was tight-arsed, put on her best serious face. Sal Oberon resisted the urge to tell her to shove her rules as far up her tight-arsed crack as she could possibly muster. The other drone could only mindread as poorly as the first, fortunately or unfortunately. The invisible Rulebook floated around in the tight little room like a squeaky bad dog fart . . .

No-one at The Gathering at the fag end of the forest showed that they understood a single thing in the story that wasn’t The Rules. Sal Oberon looked around hopefully, but the array of frowns and officially concerned faces around him suggested he might as well go and slam his own bollocks between a couple of masonry blocks for all the good he was doing here. Nevertheless, stupidity or bloody-mindedness contrived to drive him to give it one more push.

‘You do know The Rules aren’t real life, don’t you, right?’

The assembled of The Gathering mumbled and grimaced at one another. Sal Oberon picked something out of his ear in a manner that he hoped might be nonchalant but was really just a way of stopping himself from punching everyone hard enough in the face to knock a modicum of sense into them.

‘Look, The Rules are just a control thing. They let the controller feel important. What’s the point of this controller if they don’t have anyone to control? Right? Someone controls the controller, and so on and so on. Freedom, fellow Little People, is freedom from other people. That’s all.’

Sal Oberon looked around hopefully again. Some of The Gathering were uncomfortably squeaking on their indoctrination-padded undergarments. Sal Oberon blasted on with an increasingly resigned attitude of ‘well, just fuck ’em then’.

‘So, when your common or garden Shyster Magnet (that’ll be me) gets told in no uncertain terms that he can’t let some pixie piss in his garden by the Forest Overlords, and the pixie promises to shit daily on the doorstep of yours truly because he’s pissed off he can’t piss in the forest without prior permission, Sal Oberon reflects that The Rules can go take a running jump . . .’

Sal Oberon surveyed the scene and no-one got his rampant analogies, it was clear. He waved his hand dismissively.

‘Fuck off, the lot of you. There should be Rules about people like you not understanding about not complying with The Rules and so forth.’

The Gathering of the Little People duly fucked off, not at all getting the intended irony, and Sal Oberon scraped out his Tale Weaving equipment to hammer out a therapeutic stream of largely offensive swear words and bile.
 
 

6. Sal Oberon and the Equality of Opportune Doom

Published October 22, 2016 by saloberon

Dear Mr Obiwank

Re: your communication dated September 2, nominal year of Our Overlord 2013, to wit, quote:

Dear the Council, Fuck off. Regards, S. Oberon.

We have, regrettably, been unable to administer timely response due to regrettable circumstances which have, regrettably, resulted in us being forced to periodically give a shit (or, regrettably, seeming as if this were, in fact, the case). This is, you should be aware, entirely your fault.

It should be additionally noted that, due to incorrect addressing of your complaint, we have been unable to reply in a SMART-targeted, timely fashion. It should be appendagely, additionally noted that any further complaints correspondence should be directly addressed to the Complaints Officer by name (please note that the names of Council Officers are not released due to data protection protocols).

We regret the lament inherent in your communiqué, Mr Obiwank, and we sincerely trust that we, The Council, might one day muster the requisite wherewithal to give a shit.

Warm regards

The Council
 
Sal Oberon folded the neutrally-coloured, logo-embossed paper back into its pasty aubergine-tinted envelope with the crinkly plastic see-through address panel peeling itself from the edges. He stared with pointed effort at the nameless drone of a Council clerk sat at the pale beige and rounded, safety-cornered, utterly uncluttered desk in front of him.

‘That’s a pithy little anecdote, Mr Obiwank . . .’

‘Oberon.’

‘Yes. That’s a pithy little anecdote, Mr Obiwank, but regrettably, it doesn’t explain your unauthorised three year absence from normal functioning society, now does it?’

Sal Oberon briefly fluttered his greasy wings, pondering which choice morsel might readily reduce her to a gibbering wreck if she deigned to patronise him one more time, before side-tracking himself by grumbling incoherently.

‘I’m sorry, Mr Obiwank?’

Sal Oberon growled.

‘It’s not an anecdote. It’s a letter. From your lot.’

‘Yes. Indeed.’

‘There’s a lot of apathy around in the Forest. Regrettably. I’ve been out of the loop. Again. Fell into the effluent discharge, overspill from Council HQ, no doubt.’

He flapped the envelope aimlessly. The Council clerk drone raised an eyebrow.

‘Hmm. Indeed, Mr Obiwank.’

‘Oberon.’

‘Yes. Well. Regrettably, it would seem that you need to fill out an Equal Opportune form.’

‘A what?’

‘Form 326b/111. An Equal Opportune form. Council policy, which your unauthorised absence from normal functioning society has prevented you from engaging with. Everyone has the right to be fairly convenienced by officially pointless Council bureaucracy.’

Sal Oberon gently pushed the second letter in his possession, the Unauthorised Absence Summons, across the uncluttered pale beige desk.

‘I’m not paying this nine hundred groat charge. Please feel free to shove it somewhere unseemly.’

The clerk drone raised her other eyebrow.

‘Mr Obiwank . . .’

Sal Oberon sighed.

‘. . . your attitude is regrettable. Please fill out this Equal Opportune form . . .’

Sal Oberon folded his arms and slouched his wings over the edge of the chair. The clerk drone scowled.

‘Very well, Mr Obiwank. We’ll do it together.’

‘I wouldn’t do it with you if you were covered in chocolate and strung up by the nipples underneath a drip tray behind the bar.’

The clerk drone shuffled uncomfortably in her chair before fumbling with the regulation plum-coloured pen and the aubergine-tinted Form 326b/111.

‘Mr Obiwank, what is your self-recognised ethnicity? Pixie, fairy, elf, goblin, imp, mixed-troll . . .?’

‘None of the above. Breathing entity.’

The clerk drone frowned.

‘Mr Obiwank?’

‘Other.’

She wrote in careful plum on the aubergine form.

‘Do you consider yourself either dyslexic, dyspraxic, disabled, dysfunctional, dystopian, or dysenteric?’

‘Dysinterested and dyseased [sic].’

The clerk sighed.

‘Mr Obiwank. Please do take this seriously.’

‘Write it.’

She wrote it.

‘What, Mr Obiwank, is your sexual preference? Straight, bi, semi-curious, homosexual, trisexual, quadrosexual, experimental, or unhealthily abnormal?’

Sal Oberon lifted an eyebrow.

‘Inorganically leaning.’

‘Meaning?’

‘I have a penchant for screwing cotton socks and old rubber boots. Next question?’

The clerk drone rustled the paper and pressed a staple into its corner, just in case it escaped no other leaf attached to it and, more importantly, because it was Council protocol and it needed SMART-focused filing.

Sal Oberon frowned.

‘Are we done here?’

‘That will be all, Mr Obiwank.’

‘Oberon.’

‘Yes.’

‘And the nine hundred groat fine?’

‘I’ll pass it on to the Department of Internal Affairs and Extenuating Apathy.’

Sal Oberon stood up and shook off his wings.

‘Good. Pleasure doing business with you. I hope your tits drop to below your ankles in your old age and that they trip you over in many splendid and comedically karmic ways.’

The clerk drone averted her eyes to ruthlessly file her form.

‘Yes,’ she mumbled. ‘Warm regards, Mr Obiwank.’

Sal Oberon shuffled out of the cubicle, stepped out into ‘normal functioning society’, and sniffed the toxic effluent of squalid forest air, kicking an errant toad in the face, making it croak out of its arse as he went by.
 
 

5. Sal Oberon Wakes Up and Smells the Coffee (after a Long Sojourn Away)

Published September 2, 2013 by saloberon

Sal Oberon woke up with a root beer hangover and an unhealthily fungal eleven-year stubble on his chin. He scratched places he couldn’t remember having, thinking what had happened to time, what was the point of quadratic equations (inexplicably), and was the thing that had seemingly evolved from the half a pizza he’d left, pre-hibernation, still edible? He checked his watch: half past Monday — or something.

Sal Oberon, Master Storyteller and Part-Time Shyster Magnet, fixed coffee. He stared at the eight feet high pile of junk mail on his doormat, wondering absent-mindedly if his landlord had died and forgotten to tell him. He picked up a random envelope and opened it: ‘Congratulations, Mr Obiwank (Sal Oberon rooted around behind his ear for a red biro with which to wearily spell-check the moronic mass illiteracy, the memory of which lumbered back up on him like a large toad squeezed into the dream of a pretty nymph princess), ‘congratulations on being selected to receive A LIFETIME’S SUPPLY of non-returnable BADLY SPELLD JUNKMAIL! Oh yes. Your liff is complete. Fret no more, Mr. Obiwank: you’re [sic] blood pressure is our pleasure! FREE fore liff!’

The pot on the stove hissed. Sal Oberon made coffee, not yet sufficiently stirred in himself to care greatly at the largely squeezed toad of mass illiteracy. It belched in a metaphorical manner and hopped off into a dark recess of his mind: ready to pop out with a small amphibian fanfare at some point in the not-too-distant future, its pretty nymph princess costume popping a few stitches at the edges instead and in the meantime.

The doorbell rang and Sal Oberon moaned wearily before levering open the front appendage to his formerly rented abode (landlord status pending), blinking in the light.

‘Sign this.’

Our hero stared with heroic grace, one index finger holding up an eyebrow, also holding in the mush of his root-beer-deranged brain. ‘What?’

‘Sign.’

‘What is it?’

The shadowy disembodiment of a voice that lurked beyond the proffered, held aloft and slightly aubergine paper managed to express its discombobulation without further recourse to actual words. Sal Oberon spoke in a slower tone, as was customary, he found, when dealing with the more flexibility-challenged: ‘What is it that you’re asking me to sign?’

There was a pause, and then: ‘This paper.’

‘Yes, but what is it?’

‘It’s a slightly aubergine form. Sign it.’

‘Why?’

‘It needs your signature?’

Sal Oberon stood on his doorstep and a blinding flash of epiphany flushed down on him from a great height, delivering unto him the purpose for hibernations, lobotomies and voluntarily overly-deep enemas: you don’t get out of life without the pink form of bureaucracy giving you the right to take your last breath and the pasty maroon form to say you can start mulching into the undergrowth. Sal Oberon sighed.

‘What do I get in return for my signature?’

There was another pause. ‘You get this slightly aubergine form with your signature on it, which says you’ve signed the form, which is slightly aubergine. Sign here.’

Sal Oberon gave in and signed the form. The shadowy disembodiment of delivery thanked him from the very depths of his tick box and disappeared up his own slightly diminished agenda. Sal Oberon clicked the door closed quietly and filed the slightly aubergine form on his eight feet high ‘to do’ list. Our hero dragged his sorry arse off towards the toaster, wondering if re-hibernation might be a crime punishable by death and whether that might come under ‘irony’.

When the second doorbell chimed, Sal Oberon through [sic] his red biro at the door. It shattered into a bloody mess of ink and abject apathy.

‘Bugger off.’

‘Delivery for Mr. Obiwank.’

‘He’s dead. He slipped on the toast of the eternally buttered side down. He accidentally impaled a lung on a plastic fork.’

The doorbell chimed. Sal Oberon regretted the purchasing of bloody Greensleeves, Ad Infinitum. The doorbell continued to chime and showed no signs of ever not chiming again. Sal Oberon answered the door.

‘What?’

‘Sign here.’

‘Why . . .? No. Don’t bother . . .’

Sal Oberon signed the mustard form, the indigo form, the puce and magenta form, and the off-beige form that stated that he’d signed the mustard, indigo, puce and magenta, and off-beige forms. He took delivery of the proffered appendage to his life, slammed the door and sat down with it before the delivery drone had had time to even think of disappearing up his own agenda.

The package sat in Sal Oberon’s lap like a turd might. He unpeeled it, carefully, as you might. The folder was municipally non-coloured, though it had a catchy logo: Council of the Forest of the Congenitally Be-Dwarfed, De-Hibernation Policy and Procedures (a Guide for Breathing, Shitting and Quadratic Equations), Volume 1 of 64 (pages 1-1684). Compulsory Reading (on mauve-form-actioned threat of eviction, excommunication, or any other order of the Council’s spontaneous choosing). Read by Tuesday, and sign (every page). Twice. In turquoise ink. In the right-hand margin. Countersign your own signatures for proof of identity. Twice. Re-read for accuracy. Proceed to start of list.

Sal Oberon added the policy document to his ‘to do’ list. A largely squeezed toad of a metaphorical nature and moronic mass illiteracy croaked brightly for a second, mistaking the ‘to do’ list with itself, before retiring to the crack between the floorboards. Our hero’s foot came down, missing it by a pretty nymph princess’s split seam.

Sal Oberon reached for his rudimentary Tale Weaving equipment, blowing the dust from its cavernous innards. ‘Right,’ he said. ‘Right . . .’ (though he wasn’t entirely sure what would be next, and right seemed to fit the bill right enough).

Dear the Council

Fuck off.

Regards

S. Oberon
 
Sal Oberon, Master Storyteller and Part-Time Shyster Magnet, was a little rusty at his game, coming out of hibernation as he was.
 
 

4. Sal Oberon Seeks a Mate

Published September 2, 2013 by saloberon

‘WLTM: Pretty, sweet fairy with slightly damaged wings; access to own Tale Weaving equipment and ability to drink like a trout in a puddle of shallow sorrow under a dripping wet sky laden with existential angst; GSOH; no Melodramatics need apply. Failing all of the above: strange freak/weirdo from wrong side of the bracken, of no fixed lineage or state of wing disrepair (however, must have at least rudimentary access to Tale Weaving equipment — even if it’s somebody else’s and used in the middle of the night by excessive creeping around following breaking and entering and without prior permission). Apply to: PO Box 3333, 63rd Knobbly Stump on the Left, East 98th Mole Furrow, Forest of the Hopelessly Lost . . .’

‘Nah,’ said Sal Oberon, screwing up the paper he’d just scribbled on and breaking the first Golden Rule of the Guild of Master Storytellers: never, ever throw away any story, no matter how crap. Sal Oberon threw it out of the window.

‘What’s this?’ came a haggard old voice from outside, and after a few moments of concentrated consideration, the voice shouted out, ‘Bloody hippies. Sitting on your arses all day writing bollocks. Get out of the house and meet people, Loser Boy . . . Get a life!!’

With that the little old and mentally unstable fairy, with her tightly buttoned-up overcoat on, shuffled off to hassle a couple of homeless goblins who were obviously up to no good, lying around pretending to be apathetic and waiting to be verbally abused by someone.
 
 

3. Sal Oberon Practises Zen Meditation Breathing Techniques on the Wing

Published September 2, 2013 by saloberon

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.
 
 

2. Sal Oberon Seeks Gainful Employment

Published September 2, 2013 by saloberon

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.