You are invited to describe an encounter between Bertie Wooster and James Bond in the style of either P.G. Wodehouse or Ian Fleming. Maximum 150 words. Entries to ‘Competition 2556’ by 31 July or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Competition No. 2553 you were invited to write a sonnet by the Mistress in reply to the author of Sonnet 130.
Zounds! Such a pounding unkind Shakespeare
When Rival Poets used the sonnet’s power!
But who’s to bring their weighty words to book?
T.T., thou shouldst be living at this hour!
But ’cos thou art well dead, I’ll sing of those
Who gave the Avon Swan such well-earned welly.
Seven share the purse; the extra tenner goes
For understated ire to good Ray Kelley.
Ray, Ros, Baz, Virge, Paul, Noel, Webster came
Hearing the injured Mistress’ plaintive cries.
With dozens that I haven’t space to name
They cut the egregious ego down to size.
All showed the ‘gentle’ bard could play the
Our Swan is upped, plucked, trussed, stuffed,
Honesty is your policy, Will. And mine.
Your honesty gives you the chance to air
Your scorn for sonneteers who lard each line
With phrases of such fulsome false compare.
Mine lets me censure both hyperbole
And exploitation, and now bids me say —
With both feet on the ground — it seems to me
Those ‘black wires’ go too far the other way.
You failed to mention that I wear a brow
Of Egypt, lacking Helen’s beauty… Why?
Because, Will, you’d recited proofs enow
You saw me through no frantic lover’s eye.
Your honesty and mine are out of joint:
How could you use me so to make a point?
Thou lov’st me, though my face doth please
Well, thou art no Adonis, to be sure!
Thou think’st my voice a tuneless viol? What?
Thou know’st not I thy grating voice abhor?
My smell assails thy senses? Oh, what pique,
Complaining of what thou dost stink of, too!
For, lest I breathe thy body’s noxious reek,
I use a nosegay when thou dost me woo.