Thursday, June 28, 2007

Paradox (319)

“That’s that done.”

Jasfoup tidied up the sprawl of papers on the table and stacked them neatly in a pile. The combination of parchment and vellum was prone to rolling up, so he dropped a copy of an encyclopaedia on them. Volume Ki to L.

“Ah ot un?” asked Harold, struggling over the Laverstone Times crossword. Jasfoup looked blank so he rempved the pen top from his mouth. “That’s what done?” he said.

“Oh.” Jasfoup wiped his quill pen with an ethanol-soaked rag. “number 41 to 61 of Shakespeare’s sonnets,” he said. “I’ll deliver them to him in a minute.”

Harold shook his head. “I can never get my head around time travel,” he said. “I read those as a child but here you are, just writing them.”

Jasfoup grinned. “Me?” he said. “Everybody knows that Bill wrote them, not me. His name’s on the bottom of them all, see?”

“So it appears.” Harold grimaced and leaned back to stretch his spine. “The fact remains, though, that I just saw you write them.”

“It’s a modest skill.” The demon smiled. “It does bring in plenty of money though.”

“How?” Harold looked around. “It’s not like a sudden fortune is going to appear, is it?”

“No, but the twenty shillings he’ll pay me for them will increase in value over the next three hundred and fifty years. It’s certainly nothing to be sniffed at.”

Harold pull out his copy of the Complete Works. “How do you do it though? I mean: ‘All days are nights to see till I see thee, And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.’ It’s pure genius. All the longing of a man in love encapsulated in fourteen lines.”

Jasfoup shrugged. “I don’t actually write them,” he said. “I just copy them from your book and send them to him.”

“But…” Harold shook his head. Some things were not meant to be understood.

© Rachel Green 2007

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