Several nights ago I couldn't sleep a wink due to an ongoing bout of the ague. Restless, I barked at my nurse to open the window so that some fresh air could clear the fetid odor of my bedchamber. As she drew the curtain, she revealed a sight that sent stark terror down my aged and malformed spine. A comet! The hairy-star of lore, the legendary harbinger of doom and portent of evil!
Immediately, I sought the speculations and advice of learned wise-men from the Orient. I clapped my hands, and in came my vizier, my alchemist and my soothsayers three. "What does the coming of this great comet mean?" I asked them. They stroked their long beards in thought and leaned upon their enchanted staffs.
"It ushers in the Great Reckoning," said my vizier.
"It is the chariot of an angry god," said my alchemist.
"There will be a plague of frogs," said my soothsayers three.
Well, be that as it may, one thing is for certain: I shall never permit anyone to commit suicide on my property again! I learned my lesson when Halley's Comet visited in 1910. My mother was out buying a soupbone at the butcher's, and I had agreed to look after the boarding-house. A group of a dozen robe-clad individuals walked in, having seen the "rooms for rent" sign in the window. They gave me $75 in silver and asked if they could kill themselves upstairs. I saw no reason why not, and they soon did the deed by swallowing ant paste and putting feed-bags over their heads. I believe in freedom of religion. I even helped a couple of them along by hitting them with planks.
Well, not long after, mother came home, and you can believe the fuss she raised. We had to pay Police Commissioner McCracken $10,000 to keep the whole incident a secret. Worst business decision I ever made.
Anyway, if you come crawling to my door, crying to be let in because a comet is headed straight for your town, you can just forget it! You are doomed! I have my own hermetically sealed, iron-clad bunker-chamber located some eight miles below the earth's surface, and there will just be room for myself, my valet and 71,000 cans of beets.