Mr. Madeley rang me a few minutes ago. It was well after midnight and he sounded very anxious and, in my opinion, somewhat intoxicated.
'Dennis,' he said. 'I'm worried about tomorrow. I hope you're not going to write about your disability.'
I told him that I had intended to write about the last five years working as his assistant. 'You might call it a disability,' I said. 'I prefer to call it a wage trap.'
'Oh, no,' he replied. 'I don't want you writing about your life with me. You know all of my secrets.'
'Not all of them,' I said. 'Just the ones that involve lubricants.'
Now before you get any funny ideas, that bit about lubricants was one of my little jokes. I have lots of them. Well, you have to, working for a man like Mr. Madeley. Life is not easy. I can tell you that. Besides... even if I do know most of Mr. M's secrets, I wouldn't dream of writing about them here. Not when I could get good money for the serialisation rights.
'That's not funny, Dennis,' said my employer. 'You must remember to be discreet. You're writing for a public audience. This blog goes out under my name so don't go offending anybody.'
'Don't worry, Mr. Madeley,' I told him. 'If people want to know about heat rash from polyester or a certain person settling out of court when nuns accused him of indecent exposure, they'll have to go elsewhere. They won't get any of that from me.'
'That's good to hear, Dennis,' replied Mr. Madeley. 'But I want to give you some advice. If you have to write about... you know... your hand... then don't go mentioning your stump. It's not appealing.'
'It's not meant to be appealing,' I told him. 'It's just who I am.'
He sighed. 'Well if you must talk about it, can't you make it sound positive?'
'Positive?' I asked.
'Give it some human interest.'
'Righty-o,' I said. 'Perhaps I could give it a name...'
He thought for a few moments. 'I can't see how that would help.'
'It would make it more human. It would have a personality of its own. I could even drape a puppet over it. Of course, I wouldn't be able to make it talk or move and it would have to sit somewhat moribund on the end of my arm...'
'Disguising an amputee's stump with a paraplegic puppet doesn't sound the way to go to make your first blog post light and breezy, Dennis.'
'I'm not technically an amputee,' I replied. 'It was...'
'Yes, yes, I know,' he interrupted. 'It was ripped off by a basking shark off the coast of Cornwall. Look, Dennis. This is your chance to shine but don't get too comfortable. You're only filling in for one day while I'm earning a few shillings. Next week, I'll get one of my celebrity friends to write something longer. You know, something with a bit more meat on the bone... In the meantime, just write something interesting. Something that the educated people who read my blog would enjoy.'
'I know just the thing,' I told him. 'Just you wait until tomorrow, Mr. Madeley! I'll have your readers eating out of the palm of my hand...'