Occluded front, occasional showers, outlook fine ... dead body at the front door

Share
Related Topics
A brand-new post-modernist tale for our times today!

Many people have died and left their bodies to science, but the only person who ever specified that he wanted his body left to the science of meteorology was Captain Humphrey Wantage.

"We've had a WHAT delivered to the front door?" said the head of the London Weather Centre.

"Body, sir," said the doorman. "Corpse of the late ..." he consulted the invoice ..."Captain Herbert Wendover."

The doorman of the London Weather Centre was not a very good reader. Yes, 40 years, man and boy, Jed Kirkup had been doorman of the London Weather Centre and had never owned up to being illiterate. Everyone else knew he was, of course, which is why he had never been promoted.

What nobody knew except him was that when Jed Kirkup had joined the London Weather Centre originally, he thought he was joining the London Heather Centre, but had been unable to read the name over the door. He was mad about heathers, so much so that he had named his first child Erica. Shame it had been a boy. But I digress.

"Wait there," said the head of the London Weather Centre down the phone. "I'll come down and sort this out. There must be some sort of mistake."

The head of the London Weather Centre was Sir Basil Bellwether, a man whose only talent was for being in charge of things. Dear reader, have you ever wondered how people who are natural born leaders ever get to the top? How is their talent ever spotted when they are callow, useless subordinates?

It makes you think there is something to be said for the hereditary principle after all, so that queens and kings are born into leadership situations instead of having to work their way up from the bottom. On the other hand, do you think that, if the position of Prince of Wales was filled competitively, Charles Windsor would have got the job ? But I digress ...

Sir Basil Bellwether had been in charge of the London Weather Centre for 20 years. There was now nothing about weather forecasting he couldn't handle.

Except dead bodies.

"Some kind of protest is it, Kirkup?" said Sir Basil, approaching the doorman at the grand entrance to the London Weather Centre and staring gingerly down at the face of Captain Humphrey Wantage, sticking out of the top of a large bag.

"Some chap killed in a cold snap who's decided it's all our fault and has sent his cadaver here as a protest? Or someone knocked dead by a falling tree on a night when we said there wouldn't be any wind, and the wife has sent the corpse round to try and shame us? Look, weather forecasting isn't an exact science, Kirkup ..."

"I know that, sir. But it's not a protest. I think the bloke has donated his body to science. He wants us to have his body."

"What!?"

Sir Basil read the note attached to the body. By gum, Jed Kirkup was right. The late Capt Wantage had donated his body to the London Weather Centre. He had not specified for what purpose. All the note said was: "I have received more pleasure from listening to your weather forecasts over the years than from any other part of the Today programme. Please use my organs for more research into weather forecasting, and tell John Kettley I think he's got a smashing voice."

"How on earth did the blasted fool think we can use his body for weather forecasting?" said Sir Basil, half out loud.

Much to his surprise, Jed Kirkup answered the question.

"Auguries, sir?"

"Auguries?" said Sir Basil.

"The Romans used to forecast the future by looking at people's entrails and reading them, sir. Like tea leaves, but more drastic."

"I think that was just animals," said Sir Basil. "And I don't think they were used for weather forecasting, more for the entire future. Anyway, how did you know that, Kirkup? I thought you were ..."

He paused.

"Illiterate, sir?" said Kirkup. "There's more ways of learning things than out of a book, sir. And people who can't read sometimes have better ideas than those who can."

"Indeed?" said Sir Basil. "Then come up with a good idea for disposing of this body."

"Certainly," said Kirkup. "Rub out `I leave my body to meteorology' on the label, write in `I leave my body to metallurgy' and send it all round to the London Metal Centre."

"By Jove," said Sir Basil, "I think you've got it!"

Well, I can't see exactly how this post-modernist tale is going to end yet, so we'd better have another episode tomorrow. Don't miss it!

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Assistant

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Maintenance Assistant is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Newspaper stands have been criticised by the Child Eyes campaign  

There were more reader complaints this year – but, then again, there were more readers

Will Gore
 

People drink to shut out pain and stress. Arresting them won’t help

Deborah Coughlin
A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?