Here at the Bill Sticker Paragraph Ranch, we’ve been raising sentences and phrases at stud for years and are currently training thoroughbreds for the rough and tumble of the St Mildews essay stakes steeplechase.
This morning, as I was making my daily tour of inspection, one of our doughty staff trainers waved me over as he was giving our little corral of suffixes their oat and bran mash. Beset by curiosity I went to the fence. “Morning Igor.” I said, raising my umbrella and sealing my immersion suit.
“Greetingth marsthter.” I could see by the look on his scars that there was a problem.
“Okay, what is it? Spit it out.” Shouldn’t have said it quite like that, but I did.
“We’ve got the Scoldth marsthter” He gushed.
“You mean Scolds?” I asked after I’d hosed off all the resultant snot and spittle.
“Nagging pain? Ringing in the ears? Depression?” I enquired.
“Oh dear. I knew there was an epidemic, but I hoped we’d be spared the worst of it.” I remarked. This was bad. A dose of the scolds at premises like ours can ruin everybody’s week. “How bad is it?”
“They’ve got the Thunbergth Marsthter.”
“Wrong climate eh?” I remarked, trying to make light of the situation. But I could see the state of our suffixes. They looked despondent, preferring to huddle in a corner, periodically glancing upwards in a manner best described as terrified.
Getting a dose of the Thunbergs, a nasty carrier for the terrent caeli virus can play havoc with a paragraph, not to mention what its related condition the iustitia socialis bacterium can do. You often end up with runaway pronouns and it takes ages to get those under control. Most of those infected pronouns die of course, but the infected language then needs a thorough de-worming, which is a protracted and very messy business no-one really likes doing. The Grammarian fees are phenomenal.
I paused, opened my visor and scratched my chin thoughtfully before closing it again. “Have we any Sargonite left?”
“Didn’t work marsthter. Itth the logic rethithtant variety.”
“How about a quick course of the historicals? I thought we had some Hellerian or Wattsup for this kind of thing.”
“Tried everything thur. Lithten to the poor little thingth marsthter. Itth pathetic.”
Sure enough, all I could hear from the pen of suffixes was the sad, soft bleating of “Denier, denier.”
Frankly it was heartbreaking. A whole chapter of suffixes infected. Well, desperate times call for desperate measures. “Shoot them all.” I said grimly.