What the Dickens?

It was as if the door to the Atheneum contained a message from Rome's Lions; 'we've been waiting'.

It was as if the door to the Atheneum contained a message from Rome’s Lions; ‘we’ve been waiting’.

Section 95 is watching the egos arrive; here is the section complete.

Vernon looked across the expansive space with its over padded chairs, its elaborately painted ceiling and swarming egos and sighed. Tarkey was excited; over excited and impatient.  Despite laying out £1500 to Émile, incurring significant expense besides, and due to receive another similar bill imminently for a product he’d been advised would fail, he had insisted on this dramatic launch for the Nonsense Filter. Vernon could not understand the rush.

Tarkey had at first proposed that this unveiling should take place at the School in the Park, not least because he would get rooms for free in a glorious setting. Vernon would not hear of it. Destined, as he was sure he was, for the village stocks and public ridicule, he was not keen that this should commence where he worked. He had in the end resisted the temptation to programme the nonsense filter with the answer to their test pieces. At least he’d avoided fraud; failure would be harder to give the slip.

They were at the Athenaeum, seated in the spacious well lit Georgian chandeliered ballroom. This recently renovated grandeur, costing the local council around £600,000 made exactly the splash Tarkey was seeking. The site had been the home originally of the quaintly named ‘the heart of the hop’ Inn. Vernon, locked as he was in his morose thoughts had renamed it ‘heart-stop-inn’ while he waited for them to build the scaffold, or the stocks, or whatever was causing the delay. He’d been waiting since he arrived at 5 o’clock. and now it was 7.30. Though a best frock ballroom was as suitable a place as any for him to be defrocked as a charlatan, that did not mean he was insensitive to the disgrace.

Forget 15 minutes of fame; Vernon anticipated longer-lasting shame

Forget 15 minutes of fame; Vernon anticipated longer-lasting shame

Now Vernon had more in common with Charles than just a beard to remember.

Now Vernon had more in common with Charles than just a beard to remember.

Originally developed in the 18th century as Assembly Rooms, and later playing host to several readings from his works by Charles Dickens, it was a curious mix of the popular and the elegant. Unsettling the balance decisively, were the inelegant popular press who were there in force. National and Local; Vernon expected sensationalist exaggeration from the former and bad spelling from the latter. But hey, what damage could either do to the press release he anticipated, ‘Filter is nonsense.’ As he sat there fretting and tugging his beard, ‘It’ll never work’ kept running though his head. Thankfully Émile their computer wizard was elsewhere.

Check out the story so far on The Novel Page

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