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Impractical Man by Tom Holt

Tom Holt's parody on Atkin/James song 'Practical Man'
Last night I met the impractical man
To try and sort out the book he wrote.
My jaw was set and my chin was jutting;
I said it could do with a little cutting -
I said the book; I really meant his throat.

"It's good," I told the impractical man
(Behind my back I had fingers crossed.)
"If we trim the bits that are just too wordy -
That's pages twelve to a thousand-thirty -
We might just find the sales offset the costs."

"Oh no you don't," said the impractical man,
"You cut one word and I'll break your spine.
I don't mean p'raps and I don't mean maybe.
I love that book like my own sweet baby.
You paid me for it, but the book's still mine."

"Try this," I told the impractical man,
"Instead of cutting the boring part,
We lose the bits that are repetition
And save them for the large-print edition.
That ought to suit my bosses and your art."

"I'll see you damned," said the impractical man,
"Before you butcher a single word.
This bit here, though you mean to bin it,
Has ninety per cent of my soul crammed in it.
I won't let you touch that, you heartless turd."

I'd have liked to thump the impractical man,
But something stopped me, I don't know what.
Perhaps it was pity, perhaps compassion,
Or maybe his skull was too thick to bash on,
Or just some cause that since I have forgot.

"All right," I told the impractical man,
"If you won't budge then I have no choice.
Though my heart's as soft as a cuddly bunny,
The deal is off and you owe us money."
You should have heard the iron in my voice.

"You're all alike," said the impractical man.
"It's scum like you that bleed authors dry.
And as for cash you must take your chances;
I'll pay you back from next year's advances.
I hope you rot in hell," he said. "Goodbye."

So I took my leave of the impractical man,
Glad that his effort was off my list.
He talked of art and he talked of honour,
Like every other damn primadonna.
The next time I see him, he'll get my fist.

I've had enough of the impractical man;
He's brought me nothing but grief and strife.
He's a pain, a pest and an endless quibbler,
A second-bite-of-the-cherry-nibbler,
But most of all, he's a two-bit scribbler -
There's plenty more like him, you bet your life.


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Book Cover of Who's Afraid of Beowulf?

Quote from Who's Afraid of Beowulf?

`No, Starkad,' said the King kindly. `I know you're not afraid. But not this time. I'll explain later.'
 Starkad sat down, looking dejected, and Brynjolf patted him comfortingly on the shoulder. `It's because you're so stupid, Starkad,' he said gently.
 `You'd only be in the way.'
 `Oh,' said Starkad happily. `If that's the reason, I don't mind.'
(Tom Holt, "Who's Afraid of Beowulf?")
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