hat little I know about Guy Fawkes is that he was a Catholic conspirator who plotted to blow up Parliament in 1605 or so, when the King’s Men were still performing at the Globe plays like Hamlet and Every Man in His Humor, and James I (of future King James Bible fame) was on the throne after the death of his distant relative Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry VIII. Fawkes got nowhere in his plot, because one of his co-conspirators took the precaution of warning a Catholic member of parliament to stay away, which kind of gave the show away. No doubt this is a sort of Drunk History version of events, in that I am writing from memory, without even bothering to consult Wikipedia or the like, but I don’t really care at the moment. I can’t write, I have no future, my books are in storage, and I’m paying more money a month than I make for the privilege of sleeping on somebody’s sofa in a basement. Historical accuracy on a throw-away entry is not exactly a high priority at the moment.
I’m not fond of terrorists, as a general rule, but I do have fond memories of Guy Fawkes—bonfires, fireworks, the smoke and sparks seen through an evening autumn mist. But these can’t be your memories (I hear you protest); you’re a goddamn American, born and bred in the fictitious nation of Cascadia. You wouldn’t have celebrated Guy Fawkes Day. What are you trying to pull?
And that is true, more or less. You see, what we were celebrating wasn’t so much Guy Fawkes Day, despite the bonfires and fireworks and burning in effigy (at least once)—it was a birthday. One of my brothers was born on 5 November. At some point—I think maybe it was when we got The Phoenix and the Carpet—we learned about this English holiday that happened to fall on my brother’s birthday, and as it seemed cool, we borrowed elements of it to enliven the festivities. We kept it up for years, actually, though eventually, like all good things, it came to an end.
There’s no point to this; I’m just typing words randomly in the hopes that they will somehow fall into pleasing patterns to lighten somebody’s day. Not mine, apparently—my light seems to have gone out for good. But somebody’s. When I started this I intended to somehow lead artfully to a cool piece by J. L. Bell about the end of Pope Night in Boston, but things veered off in an unexpected direction, so I’m just going to drag it in by main force. Go read that—it will entertain and enlighten. And maybe sometime in the future I will again have something to say. Right now I’m going to crash out on my rented couch, and hope that things look better when I wake up.