Vol. 3, Issue 13, May 31, 2005
Think Difference (Engine).
The Sleaze

I'm Still Here, I Think

Ezekiel F. Watley, Esq.

My morning Routine this A.M. was interrupted by a most Peculiar telephone-call. Now, generally I am not in the Habit of conducting my business Telephonically; my forthright and eminently Competent secretary Elisabeth has standing orders to make sure that those with Genuine business come to visit me in Person, and those who do Not are politely given the brush-off. This morning, however, she took it upon herself to direct me to the instrument Myself, seeing as how the caller was under the impression that I was Deceased.

When last I checked, I most certainly did Not appear to have expired. Though it has been some weeks since my last visit from my Physician, none-the-less I feel reasonably Certain that nothing Untoward has occurred in the mean-while since then, such as my Demise. Zounds, this calls for a Stern response.

It transpired that the gentleman Caller was in fact from the Tax Bureau, which was interested in the Disposition of my modest estate. It further transpired that he was not Interested in the normal Pleasantries of conversation, nor in the results of our local Sporting events. Indeed, it transpired that he was not in the Slightest disposed to believe that I was, in fact, who I said I was.

"It says here you are quite Deceased, Mister Watley," he informed me with the crisp, starched intonation that is a Requirement of his profession. "I have the notice right Here in black and white, from the Times no less. Plain as a Pikestaff, sir. So would you please pass the phone to someone more Alive who can answer my Queries?"

Great Heavens. I double-checked my Pulse; still going! One of us was Wrong, and I was reasonably certain that it was the Times. However, this development did explain the very mysterious arrangements of Flowers which had been arriving at our offices over the past few days. In vain did I protest that I remained in fact among the Quick.

"In order to resolve this, we need to speak with the Solicitor in charge of the disposition of your Estate," he droned. Well, that was easy Enough of course, since I am my Own solicitor. I asked the caller to Hold for a moment, took a bracing draught of Bowmore Islay, and returned to the phone in the capacity of my own Legal Representative. At that point, of course, it was quite Easy to resolve the situation; one's legal representation is always more Credible than one-self, even if the representation is one-self. Apparently. In any event there shall be a Retraction and an Apology in to-morrow's Times, I am assured.

It was my benighted nephew Ephram behind the whole affair, of course; he admitted that he had been "forced" to declare me Deceased some days back in order to further some illicit scheme of his, which fortunately came to Naught. But I cannot remain angry with the lad, though the increasing sophistication of his scams does grow somewhat Alarming.

I cannot fault him because this morning, as I sit and watch the dust-motes dance in the late-morning sun streaking through my leaded-glass windows, I feel most curiously Alive. It is not every day that one must make the conscious Assertion, that I exist, that I am Living. It is indeed both slightly marvelous and slightly Sobering to do so. Cogito, ergo sum; how easy it is to forget the remarkable Nature of this simple truth.

Raise your glasses to Yourselves, good readers, and toast the extraordinary reality of your Existence. But keep an eye on the Obituaries as well: you never know who may turn up there.

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