Water.

A very strange man appeared at my door today. He said he was from the Water Board. I have read about this waterboard. it sounds very unpleasant indeed and not a hobby I plan to take up at all.

His proposal involved piping water into the castle, and me paying him to do it.

I was, naturally, perplexed by this. Why would anyone want their home full of water? Furthermore, why would anyone want to pay for it? It would make quite a mess, I think. It’s possible he had confused me with a trout, although his experience of fish must have been limited because none of my oddities include fins.

His smile was too wide and too white to be trusted. ‘Everyone needs water,’ he said.

‘Well, yes,’ I said, ‘but I live in a swamp. In Scotland. Water is not hard to come by. It drops out of the sky most days.’

‘Ah,’ he said, ‘but we sell treated water. It’s very nice. You should try it.’

The village homeopath, Avogadro McNothing, sells treated water. It tastes the same as the stuff that drops out of the sky. This is not surprising because that’s where he gets his water too. I pointed this out and the Waterboard man laughed. A rattle followed by a wheeze. It sounded like Caligula shaking a puppy to death.

I wondered, aloud, why anyone would pay for water.

‘We control all British water.’ he said.

‘Really? Could you perhaps arrange to drop rather less of it around here? I have water tanks on the roof but they’ve been full for a long time and I have enough to be going on with, thank you.’

‘Oh, we don’t control the rain. It only belongs to us when it hits the ground.’

Fortunately, having tanks on the roof means the rain doesn’t hit the ground. I suppose that means it’s still mine. The stuff that comes through the roof, however…

‘You’d better come inside.’ I said. ‘There’s some water that belongs to you on the floors of several downstairs rooms. It would be nice if you’d take it away.’

He looked confused. That white smile blurred with the shaking of his head. I led him inside and showed him the leak in Caligula’s room without, naturally, going in myself.

The leak is still here, the water is still here, and so is he.

In spirit, at least. I hope Death calls again soon. It’s time for a cleanup. This one is really far too noisy.

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