Lucy Vickery

Unauthorised version

In Competition No. 3081 you were invited to supply a parable rewritten in the style of a well-known author.

Like Milton, many of you seemed taken with the Parable of the Talents. Here is Sylvia Fairley channelling Mark Haddon: ‘He gave five talents to one, that’s 14,983 shekels, and two to the next, 5,993 shekels. Those are prime numbers. I like prime numbers…’ I thought Kafka might loom large but he cropped up only once in a sea of Austens, Hemingways, Trollopes and Wodehouses.

Strong performers, in a keenly contested week, were Joseph Harrison, W.H. Thomas, Philip Machin, Hamish Wilson, David Silverman, David Mackie, Jan Snook and Hannah Burden-Teh.

The winners, below, pocket £25 each.

Though nobody was paying me to investigate the guy, I was intrigued enough to watch him on my own time. He kept some rough company but his boosting message of joy and redemption drew crowds like a dead cat draws flies.

That was funny, because he told stories that came out of left field and disappeared over the bleachers. One concerned a traveller along the nightmare alley between Jerusalem and Jericho. Sure enough, he was ambushed, robbed and left bleeding in the dirt. Then it was like New York, nobody cared. He became invisible, even to his own people.
So far, no surprises. Then the snap ending. What you might call an enemy alien, a Samaritan, stopped, cleaned him up and rescued him. When you picked the bones out of it it didn’t amount to much, but the way Jesus had people transfixed he could have been Houdini.
Basil Ransome-Davies (Raymond Chandler’sThe Good Samaritan’)
No chap wants to wobble in, browsed and sluiced to the eyeballs, to find his door as tight as a cork and no one waiting to guide his tottering footsteps to the Land of Nod.

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