A friend passed me on a chain letter by email today. It promised good luck if a further five (could have been ten) people were subjected to its inanity within an hour. It also threatened bad luck if no effort was made to propagate it, giving an interesting twist on the usual pyramid-scheme of stupid, unverifiable superstitious credulity.
I had scrolled no more than halfway through this when a pig burst into my room and went crazy, running about, snorting, trampling over piles of research papers, slamming his hairy flanks against the escritoire, upsetting my specimen jars and generally causing a thundering nuisance. When he shunted against an ornamental plinth and brought the Dean Gaffney equestrian statue crashing down I decided enough was enough, and shouldered my blunderbuss.
The pig must have sensed the danger as he scrambled for cover behind the Chesterfield. In a single fluid motion I leapt over it and levelled the doom-trumpet at… empty space. The pig had gone to ground. All was silent except for the sounds of beagles stirring in their cages and some early Wall Street results filtering through on the tickertape machine. Hearing a muffled grunt from behind me I wheeled round and loosed off a round of grapeshot, making matchwood of a pygmy diorama.
As the smoke finally cleared, something else reached my nostrils amid the acrid stench of cordite – a faint whiff of… the farmyard! I was on the trail! Breath bated, senses heightened, I followed the pig stink through the silent library, past the Linnaean Society periodicals, past the Finnish Almanacs, the priceless erotic lithographs, the ex-Eastenders workout DVDs…
All of a sudden there was a guttural shriek and I looked up to see the pig perched with unholy poise on the rim of a marble globe. With terrifying speed it hurled itself at me, eyes ablaze, and its trotters closed around my neck. Spots danced in front of my eyes as the swine’s grip tightened. I staggered, gasped, but managed to marshall enough strength to bring my Cuban heel down hard on the beast’s trotter. This brought the pink devil to its knees and allowed me enough time to scramble to my feet and make for the gun cabinet. I was only halfway there when I heard an express-train snort and the thunder of piggy hooves behind me. The beast was closing – twenty, ten, then five yards. I would not make it…
I felt the hot breath on my back, the murderous snout drew nearer, the mouth opened, revealing sharp yellow tusks, and in the instant before it snapped closed, I leapt. More by luck than design, I grabbed onto a sixteenth century Augsburg chandelier and swung up, up in an arc. The snorting demon reared up and tried to change course, but the highly polished floor offered no purchase and, trotters skittering this way and that, the pig hurtled straight down a flight of stairs and out the window.
Panting heavily, I took two pistols from my cabinet and headed for the street, intending to finish off the brute. But when I got there it was quite dead, steam rising off its sides in the chill November air. As my eyes travelled over the prone porker I noticed with horror a little hand protruding from underneath its bulk. I gathered my remaining strength, heaved with all my might and rolled the carcass to one side, revealing that it had landed on, and squashed completely flat, a little blond bespectacled boy wearing a cowboy suit. How terrible. But what was this by his side? A satchel full of Milky Bars!
I couldn’t believe my luck!