rather astoundingly mediocre  

September 8th, 2011

If you listen first, and write later, then whatever you write will have had time to filter through your brain, and you'll be in what you say. This is what makes you exist. If you are only a reflector of information, are you really there?

Jaron Lanier


For sale: one finely embossed and framed sheet of cardboard bearing a portrait of Joseph Card, the inventor of cardboard. $400 OBO. Box 1532.
For rent: rock and jazz triangles. Suitable for playing rock and jazz on the triangle. Reasonable daily and weekly rates. Sorry, no classical triangles are available at this time. Box 29.
Triangle Lessons! Study this popular instrument with Nick Tresscat, a classically trained trianglist. Nick is a renowned studio musician and was featured on Nazareth's Hair of the Dog. $100/hour. Box 197.
We make styrofoam cookies. They're not very tasty but they are great for packing. If you need to pack something breakable we can provide the necessary cookies. Box 30.

Tips for Fall Living

Not just leaves fall from trees. Wear a helmet at all times.



Would you like to receive a weekly email from Hugh Briss? You would? Well, just send a short missive stating same to:

The Case of the
Missing Purpose

From The Files of
Egmont le Manchot

portrait by Ian August

The Charleroi Police were once again stymied and when they were stymied they inevitably turned to their very best detective, the penguin Egmont le Manchot.

As the penguin piloted his Opel Corsa through the rush hour traffic of Charleroi he contemplated the conversation he had had earlier with the Commissioner.

She had been adamant that the case must be solved quickly, before the end of the week and as this was Friday Egmont knew he had very little time. But the penguin was confidant in his sleuthing abilities. He had only one unsolved case in all his years detectiving. He didn't think this one would be too tough a nut to crack.

The case revolved around Le Manchot's pre-frontal cortex, the part of his brain where Egmont did his second best thinking. As he drove along whistling a Beethoven overture quietly to himself he went over the details of the crime.

There had been a robbery. It seemed that someone had stolen the sense of purpose that had previously belonged to Paul Thiry, a young designer and graphic artist.

M. Thiry had been in his home, hand tinting some line drawings for a poster advertising a new seven bladed razor, when he noticed that his sense of purpose was not where he had left it (on the lovely Louis XIV washstand he kept in his hall by the door and which also held his Blackberry. The Blackberry was still there). Thiry immediately called the police.

The detectives assigned to the case, Monsieurs Dupont and Dupond were stymied (see above). Thiry's sense of purpose was in none of the usual places. A rousting of the local members of the demi- monde produced no results (for Thiry's case that is, the police did manage to haul in two drug dealers, one peeping tom, a shop lifter, four vandals and a guy with six unpaid parking tickets in the course of their search for the missing sense).

The Superintendant of Police called on the famous penguin detective as was her habit in such cases.

Inspector le Manchot's first move was to visit M. Thiry's apartment. It was beautifully appointed (apartments in Belgium are not elected) and clean as a whistle. A very clean whistle. The penguins practiced eye perused the place. Nothing appeared to be out of place.

It was Egmont's believe that in the case of some crimes, no crime has actually been committed. It is only the belief of the "victim" that there has been a crime. Therefore if one can convince the victim that no crime has occurred then one has solved the crime.

This is what Egmont believed in regards to M. Thiry's missing sense of purpose. He believed that M. Thiry had never possessed such a thing and so it was impossible for it to have been stolen. It was merely a matter of convincing the young designer that he had never had such a sense and the penguin's work would be done.

Carefully questioning the slender young fellow, Egmont strove to find out when he thought that he had last held this supposed sense firmly in his grasp.

Was it yesterday? Was it last week? Was it this month or even this year? Perhaps in design school? No? At the lycee? No? As a child? Perhaps? Perhaps squatting in the sandbox with his trowel and bucket? Maybe. Could he be sure? He could not.

Egmont strode out of the man's apartment. Another case solved. Young Paul Thiry was left alone with his despair. He was resolved to keep it safely locked away where no one could touch it.