Monday, December 26, 2011
Sunday, November 6, 2011
A sound came to Arein. It was as if the volume was being turned up slowly until it was too loud, pounding in his head relentlessly. Eventually, the sound became distinguishable as the chatter of children. He could hear it more clearly now. He could also feel his body, though he wished he couldn’t. There was an oppressive weight spreading from his head to his toes. Arein’s breath hitched in his throat as he felt the heaviness. It gave him an awful feeling as if the pain was bearable but was about to get a lot worse.
Trying to feel past the weight, Arein realized that he was sitting upright. He could even vaguely feel something underneath him – a chair. He tried to open his eyes but the awful feeling weighed in on him. He fought with it for a moment and, slowly and painstakingly, he wrenched his eyes open.
His bleary surroundings focused after a few laboured blinks. As he had guessed he was sitting upright in a chair on what appeared to be a large stage. A thick, red curtain separated him from whatever was causing the noise.
He forced his neck to the right, seeing two more chairs. In them sat Sedalia and Rem. On his left was Arella. He breathed a sigh of relief; they were all there at least, they weren’t… He forced away the lump in his throat and made himself focus. The others were asleep, or so it seemed. They sat straight up in their chairs, although there were no ropes to force them into their positions.
Arein went to turn around, to see behind him but the weight on his body pressed down even harder, causing Arein to flinch and gasp. He didn’t feel pain, but he felt, again, as if he was pushing the boundaries and any minute the weight would snap and crush him to death. He didn’t dare try to turn around again, but he needed to move, to get off the chair and get out of wherever he was. Panic started to rise in his chest as he became all too aware of where he must be; the Kasimir Castle.
He fought with the weight on his body, desperately trying to pull his limbs away from his side, his torso away from the chair, but again and again he felt the invisible pressure of the boundary and could not stop himself from pulling back. The prospect of the pain it would bring to break the barrier was too frightening, too terrible to even imagine.
A low groan came from his right. Arein whipped his head around as fast as the weight would allow. Wincing with the pain, he heard another groan. It was Rem.
“Rem,” Arein hissed, surprising himself with how softly the sound came out. “Rem!”
“Rem, wake up!” Arein hissed again, focusing on making his voice louder. “Rem!”
“…Arein…?” came a small voice from Arein’s left.
It was Arella. Arein turned his head, more slowly this time, to see her eyes searching the room. When she spoke, her voice was almost too quiet to hear. “W-where are we…?”
Arein didn’t want to say it aloud, foolishly hoping it wasn’t true, but his silence wasn’t the answer Arella was looking for.
“Arein, tell me.”
“Kasimir Castle… I think.”
Arella’s eyes widened. She seemed to struggle for a moment, her eyes cast down on her body. “Arein,” she whispered urgently, her eyes still focused on her frozen frame, “I can’t move.”
“Neither can I,” he said lifelessly.
“What’s happened to us?” Arella’s eyes were terrified as she whispered the words. Arein had never seen her normally serene face so frightened, and it frightened him even more.
“I don’t know,” he replied, fighting to keep the panic out of his own voice. “I think we’ve been drugged or… or something… I don’t know!” His voice caught on his last words and Arella’s eyes widened even further. They flickered to the curtains as she noticed the noise coming from behind them.
“Who’s out there?”
“I don’t know,” Arein repeated, wishing he could say something else. “It sounds like children though.”
It reminded him of the dining hall at the Kasimir School, the constant chatter as voices fought over one another to be heard,
Just as Arein finished speaking, the noise died down. The area behind the curtain became completely, unnaturally quiet as though the people there had suddenly disappeared, or were at least sitting extremely still.
Then, a loud voice boomed from behind the curtain.
“Boys and girls,” it said slowly. It was a male voice, rich, indulgent and faintly familiar to Arein. “We are all here together to celebrate this momentous occasion. We are finally one step closer to our goal!”
The invisible crowd gave a cheer in unison, sounding strangely rehearsed at it.
“We have been training long and hard for this, have we not?” the voice continued, taking on a sympathetic tone. “But there is hope. We do not have much longer to go now.”
Arein was hardly listening to his words. Something about the voice was familiar but wrong, like an old favourite blanket that still felt the same but had taken on the musty, mouldy smell of the attic that it just couldn’t get rid of.
And then he realized. It was Olle. It was the same voice, had the same intonations and the same tone but it was too youthful; too strong; not the voice belonging to the old man.
He continued his speech unaware of Arein’s frightening discovery. Olle was here, talking to a crowd of what could only be the Kasimir students…
A whoosh of air came from behind Arein as if someone had opened a door. He could hear footsteps behind him and he turned slightly to Arella, only seeing a glimpse of her frightened face before a voice spoke.
“We better get you ready for your… performance then,” a woman’s voice murmured from behind them.
Arein turned his head just slightly until he could see a woman’s figure standing in front of Sedalia. She raised a gloved hand and gave Sedalia a sharp slap across the face. Sedalia gasped, but Arein could not see her face.
“Wake up,” the woman ordered, moving over to Rem. She raised her arm again and Rem was slapped awake, though he stayed silent. The woman came to Arein next.
“Well Arein, I should have guessed you’d be awake already.”
Arein gaped, only just remembering the name of the girls’ coordinator at the Kasimir School. “Miss Shyla?”
“Mmhmmm…” Miss Shyla said dismissively, looking at a small notebook she held in her gloved hands. She glanced up to Arella. “Oh. Your friend is awake as well. What a shame.” She stuck out her lower lip in a fake, baby-like frown. “I’ll have to tell them that the spell’s not strong enough, or that you two weaved a little bit of magic of your own… Mathius won’t like that.” She chuckled darkly, turning her attention back to her notebook and pacing in front of them.
Arein’s eyes moved over to Sedalia’s, trying to see her face, to tell her it was all right. As their eyes met, Sedalia gave a whimper and Miss Shyla twirled around.
“Quiet, girl,” she said harshly, striding over to her. She took Sedalia’s face in her hands, her voice dripping with sudden sweetness. “You need to put on a brave face for the crowd. You don’t want to embarrass yourself now, do you?”
Sedalia tried to wriggle her way out of Miss Shyla’s grasp, but stopped suddenly. “Ah –”
“No control for you,” Miss Shyla said, cutting off Sedalia. She giggled in a childish way. “I can’t having you jumping off the stage!”
She released Sedalia and strode away, moving around them and out of Arein’s view.
“Wait!” Arella called suddenly, her voice wavering.
The footsteps stopped. “Yes…?” Her voice was both warning and taunting at the same time.
Arella closed her eyes. “What’s going to happen to us?”
Arein could almost hear the grin in Miss Shyla’s voice when she replied. “Wait and see… although you’ll have to wait quite a while. It’s a slow and painful process, having your very being pulled out of your body… or so I’ve heard…” She laughed again, but it was drowned out by another cheer from the audience. “Well, your public awaits.”
They waited in silence for only a moment before Olle’s voice boomed out from behind the curtain. “ – I now present to you, four of the Twelve!”
The crowd cheered again and, as if on its own accord, the curtains flew open. The noise was suddenly deafening. Hundreds of children calling, jeering and shouting at them, all seated in a massive hall filled with row upon row of chairs. Every student that had ever been through the Kasimir School now stood up from their seats, their face’s twisted with malice and a hatred fed by Mathius. Arein, Arella, Rem and Sedalia winced at the insults they could hear, and the even worse ones that they couldn’t. They were on show, frozen in their seats to be paraded as trophies.
Arein squeezed his eyes shut willing himself to ignore the crowd of children below. After what seemed like an age, the crowd quietened and Arein forced himself to open his eyes again and see what was to happen next.
“That’s quite enough,” came Olle’s voice from the corner.
Arein wrenched his head around and had to bite his tongue from screaming at the pain it caused him. The invisible barrier throbbed red hot, the pain slowly easing away leaving Arein gasping. The crowd noticed his pain and laughed as one. Ha ha ha – all together, again, as if it had been planned and rehearsed.
Arein kept his eyes on the floor, but he could hear slow footsteps advancing towards him. He raised his eyes and saw…
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Since I discovered a website where you can watch them for free, I've been addicted. I've watched movies on the human mind and body, on religion, on racism, on heaps of incredibly interesting topics that I find fascinating. I know many people think that documentaries and mind-numbing boredom go hand in hand, but if you watch documentaries on topics that you're interested in then it's absolutely riveting.
With this discovery, I have learnt something about myself. I have learnt that I can NOT watch documentaries about...
There. I said it.
I just find them far too emotionally traumatising. Animal documentaries lull you into a false sense of security. They show you clips of adorable sea-otters holding hands and deer frolicking in the meadow while birds sing and the sun shines. And then, they flash up a few clips of these sea-otters being swallowed whole by a seal, or the deer being slowly chased until they collapse with exhaustion and are descended upon by wolves.
I know what you're thinking. "It's the circle of life, Emily. Everyone needs to eat." I try to remind myself the wise words of Mufasa. The lion eats the antelope but "When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the antelope eat the grass. And so we are all connnected in the great Circle of Life. "
At this stage, I'm surprised I even manage to get through the Lion King without falling into an emotional heap.
I understand that it's all natural and proper but I can't help but feel terribly sad. I watched a show about baby turtles and how they have to find the ocean once they're hatched, but birds fly by and snatch them off the ground so only a small percentage ever make it to the sea. The rest struggle helplessly in the birds claws.
Or take tonights documentary for example, in which whales played a hunting game with a poor seal until it was slumped, exhausted on an ice float. A sneaky whale came up, bit it's tail and slowly dragged it into the water, with the seal looking helplessly towards the camera. Maybe it was the fact that the seal reminded me slightly of my dog, but whatever the reason, I find animal documentaries far far too sad.
So from now on I shall watch informative documentaries that steer away from the animal kingdom. To avoid being ignorant, maybe I'll read wildlife articles... That way I don't have to see their puppy dog eyes as they're nommed on by a lion.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
Like most girls, I grew up with the Disney princesses dancing across my T.V screen while I watched in awe and admiration. The princesses represented everything good in my eyes; kindness, generosity of spirit, and optimism. My sisters were the same, as were my friends. And yet, despite our childlike admiration of the princess’s good qualities, some people find it necessary to destroy the fragile innocence that children only just maintain by seeing bad where there is none.
As long as Disney films have been created, there has been argument over their portrayal of gender. No matter what era, some over sensitive parent finds fault in a certain look or word that a character may say in a potentially offending tone. Unfortunately, not everyone in the world can be universally pleased and, by now, Disney well and truly understands this. And so, the Disney we see today is a careful company. It markets to its audience intelligently, using their films as a representation of modern times and this is the key point to my argument. Disney films reflect the time they were made in. Snow White was not a rebel, nor a strong, feminist woman because the traits that were admired in women of that time were gentleness and reliance on men. Now, in a time where individualism and emotional strength are the admirable qualities, we see far more feminist-like characters. Take Mulan, Pocahontas, and Meg from Hercules. These are women who promote bravery and determination. Yes, Snow White is a subservient character, yes, she relies on men, but we can’t deny that once, this was the ideal woman.
When it comes to men in Disney films, the arguments are not dissimilar. The public say that not all men can be strong and handsome, that Disney promotes an unrealistic standard in their heroes. What the public so easily forgets is what the Disney films are; cartoon animations. As Walt Disney says himself, “All cartoon characters and fables must be an exaggeration, caricatures. It is the very nature of fantasy and fable.” There is no greater representation of this cartoon creed than in the Disney films. The characters, especially the men, must exaggerate their qualities in order to communicate whether they are good or bad. For a child to understand easier, their qualities take outward manifestations. A person with inner beauty (the protagonists of the story, most commonly) will show this with their appearance. Blackness of heart will also show through appearance, meaning that the evil characters are most commonly not referred to as beautiful. In short, Disney does not create heroes as powerful men and subservient women like some people claim they do, but rather they use the surface of the character to show a deeper motivation.
Take for instance, a film that I would never, never, have thought could be targeted for racial slander. The Little Mermaid was one of my favourites, and everyone knows the crab Sebastian who sings the famous song, ‘Under the Sea’. Much to my horror, this character was listed as one of the top ten most racist characters in Disney films. The writer declared that Sebastian’s lyrics, suggest that Jamaican people are lazy.
What does this say about people today? It seems like the only characters that do not spark outrage are those with American accents and white skin. Is this a reflection of Disney films, or a reflection on our own racial views?
Disney tries. It is obvious that they try but they are constantly stopped in their tracks by protestors. Their first film in which the heroes were not American, Aladdin, was instantly met with angry Muslims and Arabs. The monkeys from Jungle Book also caused arguments, along with the crows in Dumbo due to the fact that they had African-American voices. It seems that, with our canny knack for finding fault where there is none, the human race is never happy with anything.
I have watched Disney my whole life, and I am neither racist nor sexist. I am not disillusioned. I do not expect a fairy godmother to help me out of my troubles, nor do I place a stigma on any step-mothers I may know. I am my own person and while I love Disney, I do not base my whole life education on their films. These people who complain that Disney is “secretly trying to brain wash us”, are forgetting key points about life itself. They are first of all forgetting that Disney films are for entertainment. They are films, not social commentaries or political documentaries. Second of all, and most importantly, they are underestimating the intelligence of our children, who are not so suggestible, despite some claims, to see an evil character who may be Chinese and believe that all Chinese are evil. They do not see what we see. It wasn’t that long ago that I was a child myself and I still remember. Children are so willing to be innocent - to cheer for the good guy and laugh and be entertained. If the adults of today are so intent on seeing the bad in a company that creates immortal films that made me feel happy every time I watched them, then we better say goodbye to our children’s innocence now because sadly, Disney, there’s not much hope.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Sunday, September 4, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
Saturday, July 30, 2011
Russian – Vladmir Nabokov describes it best: “No single word in English renders all the shades of toska. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish, often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for somebody of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest level it grades into ennui, boredom.”
Yagan (indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego) – “the wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start”
Inuit – “To go outside to check if anyone is coming.”
Czech – Milan Kundera, author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, remarked that “As for the meaning of this word, I have looked in vain in other languages for an equivalent, though I find it difficult to imagine how anyone can understand the human soul without it.” The closest definition is a state of agony and torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.
Japanese – “A mother who relentlessly pushes her children toward academic achievement”
Scottish – The act of hestitating while introducing someone because you’ve forgotten their name.
Tshiluba (Southwest Congo) – A word famous for its untranslatability, most professional translators pinpoint it as the stature of a person “who is ready to forgive and forget any first abuse, tolerate it the second time, but never forgive nor tolerate on the third offense.”
Czech – This word means to call a mobile phone and let it ring once so that the other person will call back, saving the first caller money. In Spanish, the phrase for this is “Dar un toque,” or, “To give a touch.”
Brazilian Portuguese – “The act of tenderly running one’s fingers through someone’s hair.”
German – Quite famous for its meaning that somehow other languages neglected to recognize, this refers to the feeling of pleasure derived by seeing another’s misfortune. I guess “America’s Funniest Moments of Schadenfreude” just didn’t have the same ring to it.
German – Translated literally, this word means “gate-closing panic,” but its contextual meaning refers to “the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages.” (Altalang.com)
Japanese – Much has been written on this Japanese concept, but in a sentence, one might be able to understand it as “a way of living that focuses on finding beauty within the imperfections of life and accepting peacefully the natural cycle of growth and decay.” (Altalang.com)
French – The feeling that comes from not being in one’s home country.
Pascuense (Easter Island) – Hopefully this isn’t a word you’d need often: “the act of taking objects one desires from the house of a friend by gradually borrowing all of them.”
Danish – Its “literal” translation into English gives connotations of a warm, friendly, cozy demeanor, but it’s unlikely that these words truly capture the essence of a hyggelig; it’s likely something that must be experienced to be known. I think of good friends, cold beer, and a warm fire.
French – “The call of the void” is this French expression’s literal translation, but more significantly it’s used to describe the instinctive urge to jump from high places.
Arabic – Both morbid and beautiful at once, this incantatory word means “You bury me,” a declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person because of how difficult it would be to live without them.
Spanish – While originally used to describe a mythical, spritelike entity that possesses humans and creates the feeling of awe of one’s surroundings in nature, its meaning has transitioned into referring to “the mysterious power that a work of art has to deeply move a person.” There’s actually a nightclub in the town of La Linea de la Concepcion, where I teach, named after this word.
Portuguese – One of the most beautiful of all words, translatable or not, this word “refers to the feeling of longing for something or someone that you love and which is lost.” Fado music, a type of mournful singing, relates to saudade.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
2. Performers have very little need for personal space. This means constant cuddles, hugs, massages, ass-slaps and much much more. When performers are comfortable with each other, they are REALLY comfortable with each other.
3. What looks insane to non-performers is an absolute hoot for us. Example 1: 23 students dancing the tango with chairs as our partners. To us = most fun ever in a drama class. To others = clincically insane people with bizarre attatchments to inanimate objects in need of serious help.
4. Performers make the best audience. If you have performer friends coming to see you in a show, you can be guaranteed cat-calls, cheers, very loud laughter, very dramatic tears and perhaps a standing ovation if you're lucky.
5. Everyone's allowed their quirks amoung performers. Seeing as we're all pretty damn quirky, you would be quite hypocritical to not tolerate someone elses quirks. So we all pool our quirks together to make super-group-crazy-quirky-funness. If that makes sense.
6. We're all fairly dramatic - this may seem like a downside in many ways, but in many other ways it's brilliant, because you know what? It means we're not afraid to show our feelings. Something excites us, we will scream, jump around, and carry on. Something bad happens and we let it all out.
7. We trust each other. This could just be a performers-that-you-have-worked-closely-with kind of thing but it's absolutely amazing when you wholeheartedly trust the people you are performing with. When you practically work as one because you know each other so well, and support each other's choices.
8. I can shout out random musical theatre news and generally someone will react.
9. We're linked by the fact that we all suffer the same pitfalls, emotional walls and insane highs. There's no way any true performer can avoid these, and so in experiencing them we are all connected in that way,
10. Performers are just a hell of a lot of fun. A night out with performers is one that will be filled with unexpected, spontaneous and often hilarious things. I never forget a night with my performing friends.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
“What a wicked face that fellow has!” the judge murmured down to me meekly.
What a wicked face indeed! I couldn’t help but agree. From my little stool by the judges table I could see the man’s features quite clearly; wide, slightly grinning mouth, bright flickering eyes. The bluish shadow that marked his fatal blow was only just creeping out from under he’s carefully sculpted hairdo. He had draped himself casually over his chair, inviting the gaze of the jury members with a clear and disconcerting relish. All in all, the effect was one of utter arrogance with just a sharp hint of humour glinting in the darkest part of his eyes. He shifted his gaze to me, gave a lazy smile and rolled his eyes as if to say, “What a waste of time, eh, buddy?” I returned the gaze and blinked a few times as if to say, “Kindly stop looking at me.”
It was a true mark of his puffed up pride that he did not look away at once. After all, I was an Angel, albeit a rather unimportant one. But as far as the hierarchy of Heavenly Judicial Rankings (HJR) goes, I was certainly several happy steps above him on the ladder. What’s more, I had my newly printed license for the Gaze of Retribution sitting snugly in my pocket and in my cheerful pride of this achievement I was all too keen to test it out a little. Unfortunately the man’s rather pitiable defence attorney, who had had his morning coffee that day, was paying attention and gave him a sharp rap on the shoulder.
“Oh, come on!” the man groaned in the long suffering tones of a rebellious teenager, or a very immature fully grown man. “Why is nothing happening?”
The judge, who seemed to have taken personal offence to the complaint cleared his throat meaningfully – or at least as meaningfully as a series of indignant gargling and choking noises can be.
“We shall begin court proceedings.” He nodded to me. “Sir Angel Harvey of the second ranking, if you could please read the list of grievances.”
I pulled out the sheet I had written earlier and put on my best possible law-court voice. “List of complaints towards one Barnaby, of negative seventh ranking,” I squeaked judicially. “Disrespect towards Angels, disrespect towards The Big Guy, disrespect towards the carefully ordered system of the afterlife, 3 counts of missing compulsory afterlife apology workshops, 2 counts of still-living-spousal neglect, and 34 counts of inappropriate nudity.”
A large dramatic sigh was followed by my well-spoken announcement and Barnaby rolled his eyes in an exaggerated fashion to the point of a damaging neck strain.
“Representative of the defence,” the judge intoned in what he had hoped to be a powerful authoritative voice but which sounded rather like he was suppressing a large belch, “Do you have anything to say?”
The defence attorney made a large thing of shuffling around some papers, which were very obviously blank. He then opened and shut a briefcase a few times, pulled his glasses to the end of his noise, peered out over the courtroom and said in a clear and succinct voice, “No.”
Barnaby threw up his hands in exasperation. The judge ignored him and proceeded to say, “Barnaby, do you have anything to say for yourself?”
Given the opportunity to perform, Barnaby stood up grandly, extending his arms and prancing to the jury’s table before strutting back and forth.
“Once you have finished your talented rendition of A Chorus Line,” the judge tittered with a little flush of pride at his terrific humour. He had, in fact, just finished a season of A Chorus Line as the role of ‘talent-lacking dancer #4’ and had been hoping to slip a comedic musical reference in court soon so as to make people take notice of his vast theatrical knowledge.
Barnaby also flushed, but with anger that his dramatic start had not quite come off with the finesse he had hoped for. He turned murderously to the giggling jury and began speaking in a low ominous undertone.
“Well, your honour, if that really is your name, I have several things to say –“
“Speak up, you idiot!” a jury member exclaimed, throwing a small paperweight in his direction.
“Fine! Since none of you understand theatrical subtlety –“
“I wouldn’t say that!” the judge huffed angrily.
“- I shall speak plainly!” Barnaby cleared his throat.
“Get on with it!” another anonymous jury member yelled.
“My response to these crimes, my impatient friends,” Barnaby continued, ignoring several angry murmurings from the jury for being wrongly labelled as his ‘friends’, “is thus. First of all, I only disrespect Angels because they could not look more ridiculous if they tried.”
I tucked my fluffy angel wings as far behind me as possible and tried not to look too embarrassed.
“Secondly, The Big Guy completely understood that my comments to him were a joke, and we had a good laugh about it. He said he found it refreshing that I felt comfortable enough to call him what I called him as no one had ever done it before.”
I nodded, hating myself for accepting his explanation. It was a well-known fact that The Big Guy had a rather strong sense of humour. He had, much to my terror, given me a lift home from my religion-appreciation class one day and as intimidated as I was, his jokes about global warming had kept me chuckling for days. Any man high up enough in the HJR to be called Almighty but still insisted on being called The Big Guy is generally able to tell a joke from a fist in the face.
“And what did you call The Big Guy?” the judge asked in the voice of someone who is about to tell a very bad joke that they think is hilarious.
Barnaby sighed. “Butthead, your honour.”
The judge shook with suppressed giggles. “And how long have you been in the third grade?” He then burst into unrestrained laughter which the court imitated out of manners and pity more then anything else.
“As I was saying,” Barnaby said testily, “HE got it, if none of you thick-headed idiots did not. Thirdly, I have nothing to say to that claim as the actions speak for themselves. Fourthly and fifthly combined, there are clearly far too many ridiculous rules and classes to climb the so called heavenly hierarchy then altogether necessary, which brings me to sixthly – I expected to be able to do what I want here but cruelly I cannot, so I ask you, what is the point of being dead if it is just like being alive?”
At this arrogant outburst the judge positively shone with red-faced flustered indignation.
“The point, Barnaby!” he sputtered. “The point is – the point, I say, is…”
He lost himself for a moment in the furious and bewildered silence of a man who is forced to think about things he generally strives to ignore.
“The point is that you have done bad things and you shall be rightly punished!” He finished after a long pause, rather anti-climactically.
“I thought that was the reason I was here in the first place,” Barnaby stated with a theatrical flair.
“You are sentenced to…” As much as the judge had no patience for Barnaby’s dramatic tendencies, he had no problem with his own and so the suspense-inducing pause that he put in his sentence dragged on for a full three minutes before I delicately drew the matter to his attention.
“Judge!” I shrieked subtly.
“Harvey, I was pausing dramatically and you just ruined all the anticipation.” I had the good sense to blush and look timidly at my feet. “Anyway, as I was saying, you are sentenced to be born.”
The jury gasped obediently, reading the ‘GASP’ sign that was now flashing luridly above the judge’s table.
“Oh me, oh my,” Barnaby yawned. “Should I be terrified?”
The judge blinked a few times before saying, “Well, yes, if you don’t mind.”
“Well I do mind!” Barnaby exclaimed hotly, ignoring his defence attorney who was now flapping a hand in front of his face. “I think it’s time someone sensible, intelligent, good-looking and generally extremely funny should tell you the problems with this system you’ve got going. The after-life should be a place that is different to life, otherwise it’s just like living still, but after!”
“Um, it is called the after-life,” I interjected as timidly as I could manage while still sounding very intellectual. “It’s quite logical for us to have this system.”
“Oh, yes, of course, I’m sorry – I do believe you have convinced me with your mental fortitude,” Barnaby said with the discernible sarcasm of a brick. As a result, the jury and judge all smiled in surprise satisfaction that my intelligent words had gotten through to him.
“Well, since you’ve seen the error of your ways –“
“No you fools!” Barnaby cut of the judge with an extravagant gesture that upended the table and sent papers wafting about everywhere. “I was being sarcastic. I actually think that this system is idiotic because human beings aren’t logical. We are emotional! The after-life shouldn’t have a hierarchy; it should have no system at all! It should be different for each person –“
“ENOUGH!” thundered the judge in an excellent display of his voice projection training. “Off you go right this second. You shall be born this evening and I’ll hear not another word from you. Now, begone!”
Barnaby gathered himself together into a perfect picture of composure as he gathered up the blank papers on the floor that his defence attorney had brought to look more professional. To this attorney, Barnaby said, “I expect you have assumed already that I shan’t be paying you didly-squat.”
And with that, Barnaby left the room, accompanied by four armed Angel guards.
“Well!” sighed the judge. “Glad that’s over. The rebels of one life always end up being the radical thinkers in the afterlife, don’t they? Anyway, The Big Guy’s hosting drinks tonight, who’s coming?”