(///leaned.system.hunter – Westbrook Road, Staines-upon-Thames, UK)
Arnold was fuming. Nobody had brought more honour to the town of Kingsblandingsford. And yet, those small-minded nincompoops on the council refused to give him a fitting award. All he wanted was a statue. A statue celebrating his many accomplishments – explorer, hunter, writer, baker, painter – the list was endless. But the accolade was not forthcoming.
“The system mandates that statues are posthumous,” the mayor insisted. “Wait till you’re dead, then we’ll talk.” And he chuckled and walked away.
“I’ll show them,” Arnold decided. As it turned out, faking his own death wasn’t hard. He lived by himself, he had enough money to start again overseas, and had friends, real friends who could spread the story of his demise during a dangerous trip to the jungle. Best being a hero to the end, he thought.
He had to wait nearly a year before news reached him that the council had relented, and an unveiling was planned for a few weeks later. His beard was full and his hair newly blond. He could attend undetected.
And so he found himself milling with the crowd, cheering as the mayor leaned over and pulled off the cover to reveal the creation underneath.
“The best way to remember Arnold!” the mayor announced. “Immortalised. In cake form!”
The crowd roared with laughter at the large fondant of Arnold, machete in one hand, paint brush in the other.
“He gets his statue to celebrate his ‘many virtues’. And we’re not stuck with it, or him, any longer. Everybody. Dig in!”
Arnold marched away as the town started to eat him up. Let them have fun today, he thought.
He was pleased he had packed his rifle.