‘If you had all the time in the world,’ the Grand Interrogator asked me, ‘and you were in the fullness of your health, what great things would you achieve?’ ‘Why,’ I cried out straight away, without even needing to think about it, ‘I would nurdle all the nurks and I’d spurge all the spongaloids for a start, and then I’d splutter all the fluttermucks and flitter all the fumble-mungers. And then after I had done that I’d scutter all the mutterflops and scourge all the gumble-patches…’
‘Very good,’ the Grand Interrogator interrupted me, shaking the crumbs out of his beard (for he had been eating handfuls of cupcakes as he listened) but what about the grundlefrucks?’ I grew pale when he said this because I had of course forgotten all about the grundlefrucks. That was my error. I had quite overlooked the grundlefrucks and this immediately put a very different perspective on things. My hands started to shake and my knees began to knock against each other. The interrogator fixed me with a pale cold eye – “Well, you would look like a right wazzer if you neglected to do anything about the grundlefrucks now wouldn’t you?’ he enunciated scornfully. I knew what he had just said to be true, and my knees began to knock together all the more. For a good ten minutes there all you could hear was the sound of them knocking away like castanets.
The Hall of Interrogation grew very quiet then. Silence spread out in all directions like an oil slick; silence the like of which I have never come across before. Silence that would shrivel your very soul. All I could see was the Grand Interrogator’s pale blue eyes and the various festive remnants of all the left-over meals that were embedded in his tremendous red beard. We had reached an impasse because he would not speak and I no longer had the capacity to do so. Eventually the interrogator started again all over again, ‘If you had all the time in the world,’ asked me, ‘and were in the fullness of your health, what fine statements would you make?’ ‘Why,’ I shouted out, full of enthusiasm, ‘I would praise the majestic wonderfulness of the fribblings and I would loudly commend the staunch commitment of all our heroic bunglesnucks to defending the Sacred Spodules from the ravages of the depraved frinkle-poopers. I would then adulate the Fnarps for their essential role in floostering the Fnurgles. And then I would compose an epic hundred verse poem commending the actions of our wonderful supreme leader and protector Lobofrumpus the Incalculable in the face of the Six Unspeakable Calamities…’
‘Yes, yes, yes,’ the grand interrogator interjected testily, ‘but what about praising the tremendous exploits of the All-Conquering Warlord Muppet-Boy Scrotum-Features Scrunge-Face Doodle-Brain Poopy-Pants the Third? The dreadful coldness emanating from his washed out pale blue eyeballs was enough to liquefy nitrogen. I was heartily glad that I had my thermal underwear on, I can tell you! I had messed up again, obviously. I had let myself down in a big way. Inconceivable though it was – and I freely admit that it is inconceivable – I had completely and utterly forgotten about the All-Conquering Warlord Muppet-Boy Scrotum-Features Scrunge-Face Doodle-Brain Poopy-Pants the Third and his tremendous exploits. I couldn’t believe that such a thing could have happened – it was absolutely incredible to me that I would have omitted any mention of this great hero. I had dropped the ball there and no mistake.
From the corners of my left eye I could clearly see the shocked expressions on the faces of the assembled dignitaries and bigwigs. Horror was I thought too moderate and mild a word to describe the look upon I saw upon those noble and distinguished features. It was much too moderate a word to use. ‘Who am I trying to fool?’ I asked myself bitterly, ‘using such a word as ‘horror’ in a situation where it is so plainly inadequate? What am I thinking of?’ I was losing ground very quickly, it occurred to me. I was losing ground at a prodigious rate, and I didn’t know how much of it I had left…