Vaulting over the safety rail

Who could say how many candles Vernon required to be lit on his behalf?

Who could say how many candles Vernon required to be lit on his behalf?

Section 98 steps up to the plate

With his heart stopping, and restarting erratically, Vernon trembled over to the platform framed by the well-proportioned staircase either side of him, and surveyed the audience. Struggling with the moralising voice of his mother, it was all he could do not to break down and confess in a sobbing voice ‘I’ve been taken advantage of.’ Instead Vernon stroked his beard to buy for time and located the challenger in the audience.

Vernon vaulted over the safety rail like a lemming on red B.

Vernon vaulted over the safety rail like a lemming on red B.

Stooping, Tarkey drew close and whispered, a little too loudly Vernon thought, “She’s Ms Negativa”. Vernon felt as if the whole event was sinking into farce. He whispered back to Tarkey, “for real, Negativa?” Tarkey looked again at his guest list and corrected his mistake, “Ms N. Egatvia.”

Vernon pulled himself up to his five foot five and spoke calmly into the microphone, “Ms Egatvia, I am sorry to say that until humans have given something meaning, all is nonsense. Not being human the nonsense filter does not render things meaningful it filters out that which has no meaning.”

Looking back at the occasion through the soft warm glow of certitude known as hindsight Vernon always told himself he should have stopped there at the safety rail of truthful anti-climax. But he had not.

See the section in context on The Novel page

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