My Obituary

By A.E. Vithano

A.E. Vithano, novelist, philosopher, man-of-letters and general scourge of the decent half of the human race, lived a life soaked in debauchery but nevertheless managed to pass peacefully away in a little siesta taken on the afternoon of 13th June 1976 (or some other appropriate date). He is survived by two sons, both of whom have yet to realize this fact. No doubt their mothers are too busy to tell them.

In life Mr. Vithano was both a pragmatist and an idealist, a Marxist and an aristocrat, a politician and a philosopher, a soldier and a scholar, a feminist and a whoremonger. Consequently he found himself welcome in social circles of diverse natures, having tea with pope and pimp alike. But because he didnšt speak God, popes didnšt understand what nonsense he was spouting, and usually condemned him to an eternity of hellfire and brimstone. We wish Mr. Vithano a pleasant journey in the afterlife.

Mr. Vithano was not born with a clot of blood in his hand, so that he might lead hordes into battle magnificent; no bolt of lightning heralded his birth; nor did any wise men visit him at his cot. Despite these inauspicious shortcomings, the young Mr. Vithano soon distinguished himself as a deft hand at procuring sweets secretly from the shop of a Mr. Belltham, who as a consequence of these raids suffered his final heart attack on a wet Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Vithano began his education in Amity Nursery. There he learnt to love the prim white skirts and (equally prim) smiles of one Ms. Cummings. He was sorry to leave that institution, and had to be promoted to Chancery Primary when he was deemed old enough. The scars of that educational experience survive to this very day. Thereafter, his academic career was smooth and uncomplicated, leading to his accepting a lecturing position in his university at the age of 25.

Essay after essay followed, winning him acclaim. Still, he was reportedly unsatisfied. Sources close to him (whose faces and names this writer can scarcely remember) declare that the young A.E. Vithano was a creature of vanity and flightiness. He realized that he was no Eliot whose words rocked the heavens, or Saussure whose scrutiny plumbed the depths of ancient mysteries. He was another uninteresting creature trying terribly hard to be interesting, someone who had a way with words and used them, like Nietschze and Voltaire, to distract others from his ugliness and sickliness. (So it is reported)

And so (the sources say) he wrote Gentle Beast under the pseudonym of Joe Silentio. I, for one, do not subscribe to this theory. Why would a narcissist take so much trouble to be famous and yet reduce his chances of being found out? Again, the Sources have a ready reply to that: he knew he would be found out. That does not satisfy me either, for if he was counting on being found out, he was also courting disaster at the hands of the courts of law. Still, the Sources stood fast to their claims, and, on 17th September 1964, A.E. Vithano found himself, his career and his fast waning reputation in the hands of the courts of law.

Fortunately for Mr. Vithano, society is not so discriminating when it comes to issues of morality and, upon his release for a lack of incriminating evidence, received the bewildered A.E. Vithano into its happy and lucrative bosom. Interviews beckoned, critics knew his name, and journals invited his pen: he had done it --- he was a celebrity. Along the way, the world had fun, laughing along with the humorous Mr. Vithano as he protested again and again at his ever having written Gentle Beast.

Two or three books followed, none of which reached the pomp and circumstance of Gentle Beast. Still, his reputation had been cemented --- he was forever the author of that most scandalous, delicious, abominable book. At the height of his popularity he was constantly saddled with scandals, which have added considerably to his already formidable reputation. In between these scandals he disappeared from society thrice. The first caused some alarm, but his subsequent re-appearances and exits reduced this phenomena to a common joke. The most widely read daily of the time, The Daily Reader, ran its headline thus: So --- When Will Mr. Vithano Come Back Now?

Mr. Vithano is not expected to make a re-appearance anytime soon.

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