September 18th, 2005



From theatrical_muse: What is the best present you have ever given someone else?

Well, when I was a nipper, my mum used to say each handmade thing I gave her was the best ever, even the misshapen plate I made out of clay when I was six and baked behind the radiator then painted a picture of Outside on (trees and sky and clouds, with birds and squirrels, though they did look a bit like paint blobs). But she was biased of course.

I've have to say I'm not absolutely sure but I could tell you about the one I know about. See, I read an old legend about a man dressed in red and white who broke into people's places and left presents for good children in the old days when people lived in little houses Outside. Used to get down through the hole in the roof that let the smoke out which shows you how long ago that was. No, I didn't dress up, but it happened I'd nicked a lot of cash from a rich bastard's safe not long before the Festival of Light and I got the idea of leaving a bit here and there in Delta flats where I knew they could do with some. Didn't bother with aircon ducts or anything; just went in through the door when they were at work; those locks aren't up to much. It was nice hearing people talk about it afterwards down the market or the pub--made me feel really good about myself--so till they packed me off to Cygnus Alpha, I made it an annual tradition unless I heard of a really bad case.

Like the couple who had a stall in the market and sometimes sold knick-knacks (or nick-knacks I suppose you could say) that I'd picked up on various jobs. Their little girl fell ill and needed the sort of medicines Deltas don't rate--just like my mum all over again. So I did an Alpha clinic and dropped the stuff off with some instructions. I never signed the note; only gets embarrassing otherwise and a debt can ruin a good business relationship. Later I heard them telling everyone it was a miracle.

I'm no angel but it made me feel, well, like my life was worthwhile.