Scene From The 21st Century – An Inedible Message – Issue 25


A fellow of indeterminate age sits looking ruefully at his portfolio. He resembles an old railway network map with more lines than a modern version after so many cuts.

Whilst he is in this pre-use state, another person emerges from the backdrop, without any discernible entrance point. It is as if the figure merely manifests itself before him. The figure presents itself to him.

“Hi. I am your adviser. Ready to get cracking?”

The fellow, not surprised in the least, nods with all the enthusiasm of a sea anemone.

“You are looking a little pasty.” The adviser says in a kind of accusing tone.

“Been spreading yourself too thinly again?” He adds with a sickening smile on his face.

The fellow looks up and stares at his (tor)mentor.

“Don’t make a meal of it, please. I get enough of that kind of mock joviality on the street.”

“Well, we need to spread the word, and you are one of our trailblazers. Being as tall as you, people notice you so much more than those small operatives whose boards scrape along the ground. They lower the stock of our product, whereas you are a beacon of light-heartedness, a lighthouse, if you will.” The adviser enthuses.

The fellow tries not to rise to the baiting; instead he slips in between his script for the day.

“There’s no need for the vague attempt at Cockney Rhyming Slang. What’s with the new font?”
“We thought that your old one was fading and even your message was in need of change.”

“Did you have to choose Chancery. Isn’t there enough irony in the world without this?

“There can never be enough irony in the world. Irony means that no-one can recognise truth from lies; when they think they do, their peers will knock them down with that pejorative phrase, ‘Ooh, look at ‘im, taking himself so seriously’, and be reduced to doubting himself entirely.” The adviser says at length – at least ten feet away.

The fellow’s eyes roll in an old gesture of exasperation. He used to roll his own but it was pointed out by his thirty-first adviser – the current one is his forty-ninth – that rolling your own gestures is bad for your health. As the fellow moves towards the edge of the stage, his adviser vanishes in a slowish process where it becomes transparent then is seen no more.

“At least I am involved in advertising, the old-style, and not sat at a computer all day.” The fellow muses to himself but audible to the audience (this assumes there would be one at such absurd dramatics).

He then looks down at the words in front of him and shudders. Strangely enough he had never looked at the words behind him but knew that such a thing would be taken care of by the modern world that insists on remembering in the short term – usually the length of a modern ‘contract’, whilst forgetting what is said today and what should be the embarrassing contradictions.  The great irony here is his vegetarianism in a context of being the meat in an advertising sandwich. Not to mention the fact that he is and always has been bored by this use of his so-called talents.

“Ce-le-ry, as they say in France,” was his way of amusing himself in the wake of his spiritual death.

The fellow walks off stage and the back of the message he daily takes to the world should be visible to the audience.