Writings of the general word's body

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New Year Read

Let us begin the new year's new reads with a lie...

Uncle Vernon's Lie (by Patrick Samphire) is published in Serendipity, a new online journal of magical realist fiction. If you love magical realism then you'll love this story, in which a young boy is sent to holiday with his uncle, who will only ever tell him one lie. Uncle has no TV or computer but lives in an enchanted house and there's a girl in the garden who may not be real. Uncle Vernon is full of fantastical ideas, all of which sound like lies. Separating the one lie, may not be easy...

"What did that man want?" Benji asked.

Uncle Vernon grimaced. "He's a doctor."

"Then why didn't you let him in?"

"In?" Uncle Vernon's face whitened. "No, my boy. That would never do. Doctors make people ill."

"What do you mean?" Benji said. "They make people better."

"They don't, whatever they might tell you," Uncle Vernon said. "They make diseases. They make cancer and bad backs and in-grown toenails and colds and the Black Death and the dreaded lurgy. Doctors go poking around looking for new illnesses. They find someone who's a little under-the-weather and say, 'Ah-ha, you've got lung cancer'. Then, ever-after, people have to suffer from lung cancer, and the doctor gets a medal or certificate." He shook his head. "I let a doctor into my house once, and he made me a new disease. That's why I never let doctors in anymore." He glanced out the window. "Doesn't stop them trying. Meddlers."

Benji considered that. "The dreaded lurgy isn't a real disease," he said.

"Ah!" Uncle Vernon leaned down. "Not yet, it isn't. Stay away from doctors, and it might never be. See?"

Read Uncle Vernon's Lie.

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