Back at the house where Cecily worked, Josiah Wigstand woke up. Seconds later, he tumbled onto the floor, a regular consequence of sleeping upside down in an armchair. He muttered to himself and turned himself upright. He wore a quilted dressing gown and a soft woolly hat. He looked from his dress and his sleepy demeanour as if he were one hundred years old. In fact, he was just over thirty. Settling himself down in his armchair, this time the right way up, he shot anxious looks around. There was no sign of Cecily, so he knew that he could do something she forbade him from doing.
He picked up the battered brown book that lay beside the armchair. The pages fell open and inside was a collection of yellowed clippings. Josiah shuddered and threw the fragments of toenails in the fire that burned in the grate. Underneath those had been some newspaper reports and photos, which concerned Josiah as a slightly younger man.
The first headline screamed ‘Man Undiscovers Dinosaurs! “
Josiah allowed himself to drift back to the glorious night where he was recognised as the man who undiscovered the prehistoric reptiles. The scientific community were delighted but he found himself the subject of some pretty unflattering crayon portraits. The culprits proved to be some annoyed 6 year old boys who were angry to have lost their precious stegosauruses and so on. The vivid purple writing flared again in his mind’s eye. ‘You are a poo face’ it had said.
Josiah had cried for weeks.
Eventually, he had taken himself off to the seaside as a place to take himself away from the glare and hubbub of publicity. He drifted along the Dorset beach, hoping to make himself feel better, listening to the gentle ripple of waves. A pair of eyes watched him but they were only a crab's who didn't recognise him. I t was merely waiting for Josiah to pass so it could return to its violin practice. Once he had gone, the crab picked up its bow rather shyly. Beautiful music burst forth from a tiny violin, unheard by an uncaring universe.
Josiah found himself at the base of a cliff where he overheard two palaeontologists talking as they dug a deep hole.
“Nice work this, Bert,” one yelled cheerfully.
Her partner, presumably Bert, stood up straight and fanned himself with an ostrich feather. The ostrich stood patiently and dreamed of the zoo. It hadn’t been on a nice excursion for ages, it was all work, work, work these days. Having cooled himself down, Bert agreed with his mate.
“Yeah, I should say sew, Melv” he chuckled.
Bert nodded and continued “Nothing like a good bit of needlework!”
“Even so,” Melv continued, fiddling with her long blonde hair, “this is nice work for you and me.”
“It’s certainly a bit easier than uncovering the buggers,” Bert muttered as he returned to the digging.
“If I could find that bloke who undiscovered the things, I would shake him by the hand,” Mervyn wheezed as she lifted the handles of a wheelbarrow. Its contents, a pile of old and gigantic bones, slid down into the hole and the pair began to cover them up.
Josiah continued on his walk, his mind buzzing. When he reached the next garage, a few twists of a spanner stopped the dreadful noise and he was able to think clearly. Pride surged through him as he reflected on the greatness of his scientific achievements. It was a far greater triumph than it was a displeasure felt by angry young boys! It was time to move on, to move upwards. It so happened that he got to planning his future, deciding the world of science was too cutthroat, dangerous and had a rather funny smell of sulphur. And acid. He decided embrace the world of business and technology.
Many nights he spent hunched over a computer. After these many nights, he went to a chiropractor, got his back better and bought a desk. Finally, he could work properly! Designing day and night, he realised that someone had already done that. Then, it hit him. Online carpentry services! No-one had done that before and it was a perfect idea. Within weeks, his prototype E-Nail was produced! Digital DIY became all the fashion amongst the rich and famous; E-Nails sold and sold until Josiah had more money in the bank than he knew what to do with. He asked around and realised that you could exchange money for goods and services. This truth established, he went on to buy his perfect cottage.
"I'd like the perfect cottage, please," he'd said to the estate agent.
The estate agent looked thoughtful.
"A pink marshmallow cottage with hot and cold running cement?" he asked in delighted disbelief.
Deciding that he and the estate agent had mildly differing ideas about perfect cottage, Josiah had backed away and appointed a new estate agent to help him. Mildred, his new estate agent, had shown him round several cottages until at last they had found what Josiah was looking for. Patting Mildred on her furry head and giving her a choccy drop, Josiah began the process of buying the cottage. Within a month, he had moved in. After being escorted out by the police, Josiah decided to wait until his purchase had been successful before trying to move in again.
A further two weeks passed, 5 and a half days of which Josiah spent living in his new house. He advertised for a house keeper and Cecily turned up for the interview. Josiah did two things that would affect his future forever. First, he appointed Cecily due to her excellent references and her lovely manner. The other thing he did, which was far more controversial, was to fall in love with her at first sight.
After she began to work for him, Josiah thrived materially and in his health. But his unrequited and unquilted love drained and gnawed at him until he could no longer function as a normal person. He retreated to his armchair and sat there looking through his book reflecting on former glories. Cecily tried to dissuade him from doing this; it was for this reason the book was banned. She said that living in the past stopped Josiah from moving on and becoming all he could be. And, to be fair, she was right.
Josiah was still reading the five-star review of the E-Nail from 'Carpentry Today!' which had broken the world of digital carpentry wide open for him when the door opened. Guiltily, he fumbled with the book. However, it was too late.
Cecily was standing behind him and he was caught red-handed!