Last year we had a P.G. Wodehouse story for Halloween. This year it’s Robert Benchley’s turn. This is technically a Christmas story, but it’s equally inappropriate for October 31.
Uncle Edith’s Ghost Story
“Tell us a ghost story, Uncle Edith,” cried all the children late Christmas afternoon when everyone was cross and sweaty.
“Very well, then,” said Uncle Edith, “it isn’t much of a ghost story, but you will take it—and like it,” he added, cheerfully. “And if I hear any whispering while it is going on, I will seize the luckless offender and baste him one.
Alan Arkin died a few days ago. You can find plenty of encomiums to this unique, legendary, etc. artist online1. Back in 1958, long before Peter Falk yelled “Serpentine” at him, he wrote a minor classic science fiction story, “People Soup.”2 You can read it here.
There’s an exhibition of Komar & Melamid’s art in New Jersey. I’d like to see it, but it’s a bit far to pedal. I wrote briefly about the duo here. The New Criterion article, worth reading though it is, omits one noteworthy project of theirs, a collaboration with composer David Soldier to produce examples of the “most wanted” and “least wanted” pieces of music. The “most wanted” song is inevitably drivel that not even Vernon Reid’s guitar can redeem, but people do like drivel, as I constantly rediscover. The “least wanted” song, however, is simultaneously wonderful and horrible and is worth hearing all the way though at least once.
6. In all criminal prosecutions for political crimes, the media shall enjoy the right to mount a speedy and public trial of the accused, by a jury of partisan hacks, in newspapers and television programs produced thousands of miles from the district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district said partisan hacks shall mock, ridicule, and defame. Participation of the accused in his own media and judicial trials is forbidden as an impediment to the efficient operation of the justice system.
By Robert Benchley
It was the night before Christmas, and Editha was all agog. It was all so exciting, so exciting! From her little bed up in the nursery she could hear Mumsey and Daddy down-stairs putting the things on the tree and jamming her stocking full of broken candy and oranges.
Long before The Haunting of Hill House, P.G. Wodehouse explored the possibilities of malevolent spirits infesting old houses. Here is probably the most chilling story Plum ever wrote, published nearly a century ago in 1925.