Larry and Mick Justify Their Existence to a Hospital Porter, Whilst Queuing for Tickets to the Novelty Pen-Top Exhibition at the N.E.C
'I'm looking forward to the superhero stall,' said Larry.
'It's the Psychological Abnormalities one that I'll be making a beeline for,' said Mick.
'What will be on that one then?' said Larry.
'Apparently,' said Mick, 'they have pen-tops in the shape of Paranoid Delusion, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome and many other popular psychological ailments.'
'Do they have Bipolar Disorder?'
'What about Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder?'
'So I've heard.'
'Brill! I'll be heading there then.'
It was then that a hospital porter, gurney'n'all, came speeding in and pushed into the queue in front of them.
'Excuse me¦' said Larry.
'There is a queue here, you know¦' said Mick.
'I'm a hospital porter,' said the hospital porter.
Larry and Mick exchanged a puzzled glance.
'I don't care if you're the Chancellor of the Exchequer,' said Larry. 'You can't just push in front of someone in a queue. This is England. It's the Law.'
'It's not the law,' said the hospital porter.
'It should be,' said Larry.
'And who are you to tell me what I may or may not do?' said the hospital porter.
'I am Larry¦' said Larry.
'¦and I am Mick,' said Mick.
'But I don't think we need to justify our existence to you,' said Larry.
'¦ (a mere hospital porter)¦' said Mick.
'Pardon?' said the hospital porter.
'Nothing,' said Mick.
'The thing is, you see,' said the hospital porter; 'I am not just a hospital porter¦ I am the hospital porter.'
'The hospital porter?' said Larry.
'What do you mean?' said Mick.
'I am the Grand High hospital porter. The Head hospital porter. The Ultimus Hospitalporterus.'
'Don't follow you,' said Larry.
(Mick just shook his head)
The hospital porter said, 'Do you see anyone else complaining about me pushing in?'
Larry said, 'No, but--'
To which the hospital porter responded, 'That's because I don't exist. At least to anyone here but you. I am a messenger from On High and this' ' he indicated the gurney ' 'is my Spiritual Conduit.'
'Why do you keep speaking in Italics?' said Mick.
'It just seemed appropriate,' said the hospital porter.
'Carry on¦' said Mick.
'So you see,' said the hospital porter, 'you actually do need to justify your existence to me ' because if you don't, I will transport you to an alternative dimensional realm.'
Larry started, 'But what if we don't--'
- but then the Ultimus Hospitalporterus clicked his fingers and Larry and Mick found themselves in an alternative dimensional realm.
* * *
'Woh,' said Mick.
'Far out, man,' said Larry.
'Less of the hippy talk,' said the Ultimus Hospitalporterus, as he materialised amidst the swirls of rainbow colours, the enormous floating bubbles and the clouds of the physical manifestations of human thought. 'Now let's get down to business¦'
'Business?' said Larry.
'What business?' said Mick.
'This business¦' said the Ultimus Hospitalporterus, who clicked his fingers again and an enormous TV screen appeared before them.
'That's bigger than the one I saw in Dixons the other day,' said Larry.
'Of course it is,' said the Ultimus Hospitalporterus; 'it's the TV Screen of Divine Revelation.'
'There you go with your italics again,' said Mick.
'Shut it!' said the Ultimus Hospitalporterus. 'And listen¦'
Larry and Mick listened. And what they listened to was thus¦
* * *
You (said the Ultimus Hospitalporterus) have been chosen by these chaps¦ [picture of two men and one woman in dark suits and shades appears on the TV Screen of Divine Revelation]¦ to undergo the Test of Ultimate Faith. Why you two have been chosen, amongst the thousands of far more spiritually advanced souls, I don't know, but I don't make the rules. What this Test involves is undergoing a series of challenges¦ [a series of animated stick figures undergo a number of incomprehensible challenges]¦ which will ultimately demonstrate you attunement with the Natural Order of Things, in accordance with the Rules of Synchronous Alignment, as laid down in the Book of Secrets and Magic and Stuff a really long time ago¦ No, I don't know how long ago, just button it and listen, I've got a Novelty Pen-Top Exhibition to get into before it gets too busy (you try wheeling a Spiritual Conduit around the N.E.C.)¦ So¦ you will undergo these challenges, and upon their successful completion, you will be given a badge¦ yes, each¦ and you will be declared Synchronously Aligned by the Council of Three (the chaps I mentioned earlier).
* * *
'But what's the point?' said Larry.
'What do you mean, "What's the point?' said the Ultimus Hospitalporterus.
'What do we get out of it apart from a badge and¦ what¦ a certificate?'
'You don't get a certificate.'
'Well there you are, then ' just a badge!'
'It's a very nice badge. All shiny and colourful like.'
'That's all well and good,' said Larry. 'But what, other than an undoubtedly gloriously beautiful badge, is in it for us?'
'Spiritual accolade!' declared the Ultimus Hospitalporterus.
'Hmm¦' said Larry.
'Don't think I can be bothered,' said Mick.
'I think we'll pass then, thanks,' said Larry.
'But¦!' said the Ultimus Hospitalporterus.
'Can you teleport us back to the N.E.C. now please?' said Larry.
'Oh¦ well¦ Okay!' said the Ultimus Hospitalporterus. 'But you have to justify your existence to me first.'
'Why?' said Larry.
'Like I said, I don't make the rules,' said the Ultimus Hospitalporterus.
'Fair enough,' said Larry. 'We're¦ erm¦ Why are we here, Mick?'
'For the Novelty Pen-Top Exhibition, Larry,' said Mick.
'Yes, that's it,' said Larry. 'For the Novelty Pen-Top Exhibition.'
'You're too good!' said the Ultimus Hospitalporterus. 'Okay, off you pop¦' ' he clicked his fingers once more.
* * *
They were back in the queue for the Novelty Pen-Top Exhibition at the N.E.C.
The hospital porter had gone¦
'I can't abide rudeness,' said Larry.
'Nor me,' said Mick.
'Pass me the tickets,' said Larry.
'Rightey-ho,' said Mick.
And in then went.
[ fin ]