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The Baron de Charlus once told me: "You may or may not have heard of the fragrance 'Silences for Men' by Jacomo. I was presented with a bottle of it when I was a houseguest at the castle of my aunt, the Grand Princess Ermentrude Talbotha der Krateen, she whose family were once tyrannical rulers of all the provinces of Upper and Lower Palatine. Quite a handsome bottle, opaque, oblong, black, with the words 'Silences' and 'Golden' written on it in gold.
'Nephew,' demanded the old crone in a menacing whisper, 'what is your opinion of this excellent fragrance?' Cautiously applying a few drops to my skin, I sniffed and recoiled in horror. 'My dear Aunt Ermentrude,' I responded, 'this is indubitably the epitome of disaster! If I must dignify it with a description, it is reminiscent of nothing so much as rancid soap bubbles! It calls to mind the almost unimaginable concept of a decaying fairy trapped in an old waste pipe! It navigates a territory best left unexplored by all save dungeon masters, torturers, cruel old witches and leprous dwarves! Though it pains me to do so, I feel I should oofer a prayer of supplication to the Great God Tommy T and to the quintessentially clean-cut spectre of the immortal and bespectacled John Denver: Take me home, country roads, take me home!'
Observing the monstrous old lady quiver with indignation, I beat a hasty retreat, being all too aware of her clutching talons and beckoning dungeons. In retrospect, of course, it may have been that the bottle of Silences for Men had gone off, like almost everything else in that gloomy and godforaken place."
20th January, 2007