The Earnestness of Being an Imp
The Earnestness of being an Imp
“You know what your problem is?” says the Imp. It is sitting in the corner of my study, over a pile of John Grishams, swinging its short, hairy legs.
I carry on typing out my newest hub, knowing very well that it is a rhetorical question and I am going to be told what my problem is whether I answer or not. The Imp asks a lot of rhetorical questions.
“You are a hub addict” It says in that throaty voice but in a posh English accent. I have no idea what accents Imps spoke in generally, as I haven’t had the pleasure of knowing one before. Wikipedia had no answers to that one.
“I am not” I say, quickly saving without publishing and pretending to study my Outlook e-mails.
“But you are. I have seen the signs, dear boy.” I hate when it calls me dear boy. I choose to let it pass, for it is not worth getting into an argument over the matter of relative age. The Imp has told me that it has been around several thousand years, in various stages of incarceration or freedom and has earned the right to call people dear boy and dear girl. And it looked it too, like a wrinkled hairy nut sac with a head and limbs.
The imp chuckles and I turn around. One of the Grishams has slid off the pile and the imp extracts it and holds it aloft. Its eyes glint as if it is about to make a scintillating point.
“I’ve heard of the saying the law is an ass. But this time the law is under my ass!” It laughs, or rather cackles heartily. I summon a rictus of a smile, wishing it would leave me alone to my hubbing. My hands itch to get back to my mouse, click the My Accounts page, look for My traffic stats, see if there were any new comments, any new followers...
“But back to the point. The signs of Hub addiction are all there, plain as that nose on your face.”
I touch my nose in an involuntary tic. The Imp makes me self-conscious even when being metaphorical. It jumps off the Grisham stack and walks jauntily towards the corner of my study heading for the decanter of my favourite single malt. It pours a thimbleful in a glass and swigs it down, without as much as a ‘May I?’. Rude manners, apparently, also are the birthright of an ancient Imp.
“Aah.” The Imp says, closing its bulbous eyes for a second. “That is a nice scotch. Speyside malt? You have good taste, dear boy.”
I grit my teeth. “Would you, perhaps, get back to the point?”
“You know the point. You are hub obsessed. You have been there over 12 weeks. Gathering followers like a little boy gathers Pokémon cards. You spring out hubs, hoping for new readership. You crave comments. You are always checking the pages on your iphone. You come back home and go straight to your laptop for a quick look. You go pale and get febrile when traffic lags. You go green with envy when other hubs seem to get higher scores with very little. You scour the hubbers profiles to study any secrets to reach more followers.”
I stay quiet. The Imp, annoying as it may be, speaks the truth.
“What do you suggest I do?” I clear my throat as if there is something stuck in it. It happens to me when I hear the truth spoken about me. A Freudian choke.
“Fear not, dear boy. I am here to help. I will give you secrets that will make you more successful than any other hubber. You shall rule the hubworld. You will be the king.” It stands there, spreading its gnarly hands wide, short stubby legs akimbo, its long hooked nose twitching, eyes gleaming.
I worry. Is this where the Imp asks for my soul in return? We all know what happened to Doc Faustus, is this same fate that will befall Doc mo?
“I know what you are thinking” The Imp comes closer, puts its knobbly fingers on my forearm in a paternal touch. It feels like an ancient twig.
“What do you mean?”
“I know you are thinking what the catch is”
Damn its prescience. Damn its almost telepathic ability to know what I am thinking. Hot Damn it all.
“Now now, don’t be vexed. This is an opportunity of a lifetime. All your desires will come true. You will be soon singing hey nonny, nonny and a hot cha cha”
I have no idea how to sing hey nonny, nonny or a hot cha cha, but it does sound like a celebratory romp.
“But before we go any further. You need to introduce me to the hubs. You need to write about me. Tell them about my greatness. We shall keep no secrets from the hubbers, we will do this act in plain sight, no tricks.”
“What do I tell them?”
“The Truth. How you met me, what I am and where I come from. And what I am capable of.” It cackles again, probably thinking about some clever deed it has done before, “The world shall once again know of P.G.Woodimp. My greatness shall be enhanced by social media. I’m tired of being spoken of in huddled groups around fires. I want fame”
I scratch my head and ruffle my hair. “But they may think I am mad. I am making this all up.”
“Maybe they will. That is part of the plan, my dear boy.”
“Well, okay then.”
The Imp walks over to one of my bookshelves and picks up Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight.
“Blast this woman. She doesn’t know what she has done. If I read one more teen vampire tale, I will puke.”
“Hey, go easy. The books are very successful and the films are too.” I offer.
The Imp looks at me in disgust. “The First lesson, dear boy, you need to learn is success is not always about quality. You will learn soon.”
It turns around and rummages through my bookshelves.
“Anyway, I gotta go. I am meeting this rather voluptuous impette in the 6th dimension. She and I have a lot to catch up. And who knows, I may get lucky, after a few shots of absinthe and some ancient weed.” The Imp winks elaborately and licks its lips. I shudder and swallow, trying not to imagine the imp and the Impette getting lucky.
The Imp clears it's throat. “Have got a copy of Kama-Sutra?”
“It’s there on the second shelf. What do you need it for anyway, you are old enough to know all the tricks.”
The Imp grabs a tattered, well thumbed copy and winks elaborately, “I am writing a sequel.”
I choke again. For a different reason this time. “Okay. Spare me the details. When will I see you again?”
“I will see if you have posted your first installment of our story. I will wait to see how many comments you get and what the page views are. If it hits my magic number I shall return. I shall give you details of my ancestry and adventures to share. So get writing.”
I nod, worrying about my reputation in the hubs.
The Imp, as ever, raises its finger perceptively. “What reputation? Get real and get cracking.”
“What is this magic number you speak of?”
But it didn’t wait for my question. There is this puff of greenish yellow smoke. A sulphurous odour like a post sprout flatulence. And it is gone.
So I start typing about my first encounter with P.G. WoodImp, for that was his full name.
This is the story of how I came to be acquainted with Pandemonicum Grenvillard Woodimp.
And I can’t get rid of him.
Anyway, does anyone know the hey nonny nonny and a hot cha cha?
The Imp returns in Mission Imp Possible
© 2011 Mohan Kumar
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