Sotheby and Self

Mr. Sotheby keeps his own company. But when a strange figure that looks and acts like him starts prancing into his life, several questions are raised: is this 'oneself' all he is cracked up to be? Who is the woman from another age that keeps haunting him and his other self? Is Derek Sotheby the man he thought he was, or is he the fading shadow of the man that he used to be? - Finished!

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1. 'Oneself' as Described by Mr. Sotheby

"There is no greater company in life than the company of Oneself. Oneself is always where you are, Oneself always understands you and your experiences and you have complete control over Oneself. This particular self is like you in every way, shares all your passions and is the most reliable person in your life: you will never abandon Oneself and Oneself will never abandon you," is what I would often scribble down, after a long and meaningful chat with Pug.

That is why the only companion in my life is this ‘Oneself’, meaning I will be leaving my complete wealth and property in my Will to my pug. It is not that my pug is spoilt or that I am a mad, dogs’ bottom licking loony, it is simply that I have no other acquaintance in life to leave my worldly goods to: My parents are dead, I have no siblings, I never went to college and I was the ghost standing in the corner of the playground during those blissful days of friendless primary school. I have never worked in an office or for anybody other than a virtual market. 

Loneliness is not a curse, it is a blessing.

Pug agrees. Sat with the fire blazing on a cold October evening, following a long hard day of difficult solitude and accounts, Pug discussed with me the high points of my life,

“Loneliness is not a curse,” he said,

“Ay,” I said, “A blessing, indeed!”

“See how I am the best company available?” he assured me,

“It brings me sorrow, Pug,” I said, “to inform you that there is no greater company in life than the company of Oneself.” Pug pulled himself away from the fire and towards me, offering the deepest kind of sympathy, asking what I mean, “I mean,” I carried on, “That you would be better off without me.”

Pug replied that seeing as I am his lifelong master; it would be very hard to pull him away from me and into complete solitude.

“Very well,” I sighed, “I wasn’t going to mention it, but seeing as you need a little more persuading, I shall.” The pathetic dog looked up once more and kicked away his cow hide bone by the sheer force of his swishing tail, “Dumb animal!” I mused, “But that is precisely why I shall leave you my complete fortune when I am gone. You shall be left in good care and with the company of yourself, as the best of us should be left. You will have money enough to eat and keep lodge somewhere pleasant in the country, with many farms to stalk and cockerels to chase.”

Pug reflected that he had been under the impression that I should be better off without him.

“Indeed, I would,” I replied, “But I think I shall need a taste of bad company for a little longer yet.”

Thus concluded one of my many discussions with Pug.

"Friends are the glue that sticks your trousers to the bottom of the chair. You can move nowhere, stuck with the same bunch of people stood around you and laughing, not with you but at you.

"The common worry when a person dies is whether a friend will cope without them, whether their business can be taken over, who shall look after the children or which piece of classical music to play as the curtains close in the crematorium."

The answers are simple (as I often told Pug): I have no friends, nobody shall miss me, my business is unstable enough as it is, Pug will have the money to buy his own property and I shall have a church service and my body not cremated. After the issue of my Will, there will be no fighting over shares and rights to particular properties, there will be not a single mourning friend to curse or blame another and not a flower lain on my grave or polyester coffin. It is best that way: I suffer from severe hay fever. No, Pug shall receive it all and I can rest in peace, contented that I need not worry about another being.

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