It must be Christmas, I thought, for of late my local shopping centre has been infested with a plague of Charity Booths.

These parasitic”Charities”, with their cut-and-paste “Cause” and their attendant, importunate, guilt-tripping Shills, specialise in exploiting common courtesy to allow them to get a hook

into your bank account.

Whatever you do, do not engage with them!

Maintain a steady pace, don’t slow down and don’t make eye-contact with them. Don’t hesitate either, to use other shoppers as “human shields”, blocking the Charity Shill‘s view of you.

Most importantly, never, ever respond to one of their conversational gambits.

Feign deafness, mumble something in Turkish, pretend that you’re on the phone talking to someone else..

do anything but answer them or respond in any way

to their cheery greetings.

Don’t feel guilt or embarressment when you stride past them, eyes averted, ignoring their conversational gambits. These people are professional sociopaths,

smiling-faced, dead-eyed manipulators of social codes

who prey on people’s decency and politeness.

Yes, these people are trained like Scylla & Charybdis to hook you into a conversation and suck you down

into a whirlpool of Financial Commitment.

So like some modern, brave Odysseus

of the Charity Booths,

I skillfully steer a middle course between them

down the shopping centre’s central aisle,

Scylla on one side, all hooks and tentacles

and Charybdis‘s gaping maw on the other,

whilst the lone Cyclops at the Fred Hollows booth leers at me, speculative as a cannibal

considering the menu.

Even worse, an old menace has recently reappeared to threaten the shipping lanes & trade routes of the shopping centre and prey on the unwary voyager. There is little hope of resisting this creatures’ seductive songs, for it is none other than the mariners ancient foe, the Siren!

Yes, a perky girl has replaced Charybdis & Scylla at the main Charity Booth and there she has been successfully luring mariners onto the rocks all week.

Pert and curvaceous,

blue eyed and blond haired and habitually dressed in the shortest of short, flouncy skirts

or figure-hugging tights,

I have witnessed a number of otherwise

healthy young men develop a sudden

and inexplicable interest in charitable works.


Myself I have been fortunate so far,

as she has been still digesting her last victim

each time I’ve happened to walk past (the

timing must be precisely calculated)

but still I worry.

Will I be strong,

I ask myself

and resist the Siren’s fatal Song,

should she turn her attention

to me?



The Reverend Hellfire is a practised Performance Poet

and an Ordained Minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanism

and the Church of the Universe.

A hundred and one house-hold uses!

(See attached booklet)


~ by reverendhellfire on January 7, 2019.

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