680 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 78 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2020
“‘Post-truth’ is a bullwinkle4 word,” said Assistant, with considerable
The truth of Assistant’s assessment was not disputed by anyone present.
Partner felt obliged to respond. “So the rules to our client’s short story competition
require anyone who enters the competition to use not only senseless
and vague words, but in one instance a word that isn’t a word at all?”
Associate, who was getting more pessimistic with each passing minute,
nodded in agreement. “Yes, I think those are the cards we’ve been dealt.
Some of them.”
“Some of them?” said Partner, with alarm.
“Yes. Don’t forget the other rule,” Associate replied.
“The other rule?” Partner had been so taken aback by the bizarre conjunction
of the words “cannabis” and “sunset”, and the non-words “post-truth”,
that Associate’s reference was simply confusing.
“‘…at least two lines in iambic pentameter…’,” Associate said, with
“What the fudge5 is ‘iambic pentameter’?” said Assistant, who had no tolerance
for such things.
Associate replied, “I think it’s some kind of poetry thing. I didn’t take that
carp.”6 Associate looked over at Paralegal with scarcely concealed disdain.
“You majored in English, didn’t you? Can you explain ‘ironic centimetres’?”
Paralegal turned a basilisk-like gaze towards Associate. “Iambic pentameter.
It’s not very hard. Soft, then hard, soft, hard. Five times.”
Assistant, who detested Paralegal, felt obliged to keep up. “You mean,
like, de-dum, de-dum, de-dum, de-dum, de-dum?”
Paralegal, who was always both gratified and shocked when someone
took an interest in the English language and its history, replied, “A simple
example, but that’s it exactly. The rhythm of a heartbeat.”
“Can you give us an example?” asked Partner.
Paralegal thought for a minute.
“A case, forlorn, hopeless, without a chance. Are we to use our skills in
vain for this?”
A silence settled over the room, like fresh snow covering the scars of a
misguided world. This time the silence really did last some time, as the others
looked at Paralegal with a new, unbidden respect.
Assistant finally spoke, giving voice to the thought on everyone’s mind.
“I thought you only spoke in haiku,” said Assistant.
With a sad head shake, Paralegal replied: “That’s what some morons have
thought. I’ve been the victim of a terrible plot. It’s easy to converse in any
kind of verse—that’s just the way I was taught.”