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The Imaginary Butler

This short story is also published in Hierophant . The suicide prevention hotline buzzed and crackled to life. It was that time of year again. Tristan released a long, drawn-out breath – the last of several. He had been lying in his bed hours longer than he should have. The remains of his alarm clock lay strewn across the floor. “Sir wouldn’t want to be late for his lecture” muttered Mr Sourcruft. “None of your cheek” grumbled Tristan, as he rolled over his covers. “Very well, sir” acquiesced Mr Sourcruft politely, before continuing, “but one must consider sir’s instructions of last night, which stated plainly that he should not be permitted to miss this particular presentation”. “Oh, to hell with it!” Tristan barked, “as if I’m realistically going to go to America now anyway”. The lecture was a presentation on student exchange opportunities in America. Sourcruft said kindly, “one must always have hope, sir”. “Pah, to hell with hope”. Despite this final statement, Tristan slowly manage

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