Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cat litter

It appears a number of people (well, about 3 to be honest) have been enjoying the pieces originally published in Horsley's Over the Wall magazine. So, at the risk of overdoing it, here's another Wormwood - an old one from November 2005

If there is a hell, I like to think there is a special section reserved for the people who run junk mail competitions – you know, the ones that say:

Congratulations, you have already been selected for our £20,000 prize.

An elderly aunt of mine fell victim to these people and used to send them nearly all her pension, often accompanied by touching little notes expressing her pleasure and excitement at the imminent windfall – which, of course, never materialised. Instead, each new day simply brought a further immense load of fancy envelopes, containing cleverly-crafted deceptions and empty promises.

I tried reasoning with my aunt; I tried to get her to see that she was being taken advantage of, but she had an instant retort - explaining how she was reliant on the high-volume of incoming mail for making cat-litter which she produced, one or two sacks-full daily, with a hand-cranked shredder. Indeed, by the time she died her cat-litter operation had attained near-industrial proportions. She would sit patiently at her table, turning the handle and feeding in all of the envelopes and the letters from the many competitions she didn’t follow - as she put it. What she really meant was that she had only enough blood in her veins for three or four competition organisers to feast on at a time and the others would just have to wait their turn.

When she died – my dear, infuriating, stubborn old aunt, who worked all her life in a washing machine factory, wrote poetry and painted watercolours - my one consolation was that, as a source of nourishment to her exploiters, she was entirely used up.