Obedience and Revolt: The Mysterious Roots of Half a Life
ABC Home PageJim's Counselling DivisionRenata's Coaching DivisionSite mapLinks & Resources

This book is an ideal gift for any and all psychologists, psychoanalysts, psychotherapists, counsellors, coaches, teachers, trainers, social workers, or indeed anybody who is curious about the human mind, and the journey of the emerging individual from a dysfunctional family background, into a fully autonomous, joyous life of their own.



Obedience and Revolt: Volume 1 – Learning to conform

An autobiographical novel & psychological thriller,

By Daniel O’Beeve


Update – 24th January 2016:


“Daniel’s book will make you laugh.  It’ll make you cry.  But most of all it will make you question everything you ever thought you knew about men, their fathers and mothers, Ireland and England, sex-love, and the spiritual journey that each of us must make in order to integrate our hearts and our minds”.

Sean Brady, Irish Lights…


We have tried to explain what Daniel’s book is about, several times.  It seems on the face of it to be the brave and protracted journey of an Irish catholic country-boy, from oppressed conformity to freedom.  He seems to be rebelling against the insanity of Catholic dogma and over-control by priests.  He is running away from the prejudice of city folk against their country cousins.

It’s a story of loveless beginnings and the quest for a loving life; a meaningful life. It’s an exploration of the damage that is done to the mind of a child who is culturally deprived, subjected to sadistic control, and prevented from developing any kind of social or emotional intelligence.  Can he recover?  How can he escape? 


We tried and tried to communicate what this important book is about.  But we failed.  Then, we recently asked Daniel, the author of Obedience and Revolt, to tell the readers of this page why he wrote his fictionalized autobiography; and to give them a flavour of what it is about.

This is what he wrote:

“You might wonder why such a relatively young man as I, who is not exactly famous, should write his autobiography.  Well, it began as a journal writing project.  Every day, for a few minutes, I would write down things about my childhood, like early schooling experiences; my amateurish experiences with girls – dancing, kissing, trying to get dates – and on into my involvement with revolutionary politics.  Then into my breakdown, and my discovery of therapy; and then my discovery of the healing power of writing, especially writing emotive narratives.  Then on into a more successful era of enjoying sex-love relationship…

“Of course, you might think that ‘emotive narrative’ means ‘sad and depressing stuff’.  There was undeniably some of that in my life, but also some laugh out loud madness, and some quiet moments of bliss.  And the whole journey was dedicated to finding a way out of hell and into a kind of loving heaven on earth. It’s a spiritual and philosophical journey; a quest for the Good Life, which we all desire.

“One example of the hilarious nature of growing up in Catholic Ireland, before I immigrated to England, is this: When I was about twelve years old I did not know ‘which way up’ I was.  On a scale of one to one-thousand, my level of emotional intelligence was about seventeen!  I had great difficulty understanding anything about the real world.  For example, one day I stumbled upon my older sister, Caitlin, and my younger brother, Tandy, in a quiet corner of our parents’ home. They were draped in a blanket – their ‘tent’. Caitlin was about thirteen and a half and Tandy was about ten and a half years old.  They were reciting some kind of rhyming statements (doggerel?), in loud whispers.  It was obviously rude and against the rules, which was why they were taking so much pleasure in reciting it.  The storyline, so far as I could tell, involved a man and woman, lying on the ground and doing something not so nice with something called a ‘hairy jack’.  Caitlin did not like my interruption of her secret ritual with Tandy, and so they broke off what they were doing, and she announced loudly to Tandy that, while he had an impressive hairy jack, I (Daniel) did not! I was unhappy to hear this. Nobody likes to be described as deficient relative to his little brother.  But I was quick to reassure myself that perhaps my hairy jack was just late in arriving.  I had no clear idea what it could be, but I must have had some clues, because my next thought was that perhaps that was the function of my navel – to form the root of my hairy jack, which would grow over time, and arrive one day, allowing me to stand proudly alongside my little brother, deficient in no significant way”.


“At birth, all humans find themselves in a gilded cage, with padded comfort of one degree or another.  In those cages, we all learn how to be more or less human, more or less moral, and more or less socially intelligent.  But partly through our ignorance and misunderstanding, and partly because of our parents’ prejudices, we create a map of the world which will lead us into and through various confusions, comic crises and even tragedies.

“To achieve our autonomy, we have to figure out how to get out of the cage.  But what most of us overlook, as we hurtle away from our parents’ cage, is that we carry the cage inside of our heads and hearts.  What a comic paradox!  And many people, informed that they are locked in an inner cage, do not want to escape.  They seem happy to carry on their childhood madness into and through their apparently adult era of freedom.

“My journey started in Hell and ended in Heaven – metaphoric-ally speaking.  At birth, I was thrown into a loveless family, in grinding poverty, in a priest-ridden culture of fear and unprincipled conformity.

“For many years I hated myself – reviled myself – for my cowardice in conflict with my peers.  But it only took a few months of writing my autobiographical journal to arrive at the realization that I was never a coward.  I was systematically abused by sadistic parents and teachers, to ensure that I would be maximally frightened and fearful.  My early, cowardly shape did not come from inside of me.  It came from my repressive environment.  My bravery was demonstrated in the way I walked away, not just from the cage of my parents’ home, but also how I struggled to free myself from my inner cage – my distorted map of the world and my disfigured image of myself.

“Looking back today, it seems I have been on an impossible journey.  When you are born into Hell that is where you are supposed to stay – normally.  However, there was something inside of me that would not conform – an inner rebel.  It looked conformist.  It was very obedient and quiet.  It was patient to a fault.  But it was simply biding its time, pretending to conform. And when the gates opened just one inch, I was off like a bat out of hell!”



Obedience and Revolt:

Volume 1: Learning to Conform

An autobiographical novel

By Daniel O’Beeve


Edited by Dr Jim Byrne



Published by the Institute for CENT Publications

In cooperation with the CreateSpace Publishing Platform

27 Wood End, Keighley Road, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 8HJ, UK






Published in 2015, by the Institute for CENT Publications; in cooperation with the CreateSpace Publishing Platform

Copyright © the Institute for CENT and Dr Jim Byrne

27 Wood End, Keighley Road, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 8HJ, UK. Telephone: 01422 843 629

All rights reserved

Copyright © has been transferred from Daniel O’Beeve (the author) to Dr Jim Byrne (the editor and publisher) and the Institute for Cognitive Emotive Narrative Therapy (CENT)


The right of Dr Jim Byrne to be identified as the owner of this text has been asserted in accordance with Section 77 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

This paperback is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out or otherwise circulated without the joint publishers’ written consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

ISBN-13: 978-1508792222



“‘There's nothing so fearsome as the revolt of a sheep’, said de Marsay”.

Honoré de Balzac, The Human Comedy: Selected Stories


“Unworthiness is the inmost frightening thought that you do not belong, no matter how much you want to belong, that you are an outsider and will always be an outsider. It is the idea that you are flawed and cannot be fixed. It is wanting to be loved and feeling unlovable, or wanting to love and feeling that you are not capable of loving”.

Gary Zukav, The Seat of the Soul


Foreword – by Daniel O’Beeve

“The story he told to the world was not the real story of his pathetic little life.  The true story of his life was locked in a vault in the basement of his mind. He had never told that story to anyone, especially not to himself”.

Willi-Sean Maguire.  Irish Magus…



We are born alone.  And we die alone.  And in the interim, we live with some very difficult people and very challenging life circumstances.  Of course, some people suffer more than others, but we all suffer to some degree, because we are human, and have human desires which often are not satisfied.

I was born into a storm of violence and rejection.  I was raised in a loveless family.  I was an outsider from my first day in school.  Unlike Camus’ outsider, Meursault, I was not brave.  I was a coward by nature.  And unlike Meursault, I would gladly lie and pretend if that would lift the burden of total social rejection.  Indeed, I lied so much, about who I am, and where I came from, that I lost my real self, and lived most of my life in a flimsy, pathetic, unbelievable story.  A story without heart or soul.


And then I found myself again!  And then I began to retrieve the real story of the life of Daniel O’Beeve.


The story I am about to tell you would have been impossible to tell, just one year ago.  Without the gift of Professor Valises’ final report, I would not have had any idea what had happened in my life.  But he had been watching everything that happened to me, from the time I was sixteen months old.  And he summarized it all in his final report to the Intergalactic Federation’s research board.


In the beginning, this story had nothing to do with me.  In the beginning, I did not even exist!

Professor Valises was coming to the end of his one hundred and twenty year career, and looking to prove his theory that his species has a kind of biological ‘backup file’ of ancient ancestor qualities, which is used to replace a person’s genetic coding in times of psychological crisis.  When he discovered humans, on Earth, he thought he might be able to prove his theory by studying us!

The professor had nothing to say about child abuse or neglect; nothing to say about poverty and deprivation; and nothing to say about sexual repression.  All of those themes came later, in the unfolding of my own life story.

My story might never have been told, except that Professor Valises fell asleep on the long, winter night-shift, in the year 3619 APV, and his PA, Loola Kalata, took advantage of her new found freedom to direct the Intergalactic Federation’s steerable wormhole viewing-machine to a region of space once considered to be solely occupied by a few uninteresting asteroids.  Instead of re-finding well known asteroid belts, she discovered a new blue-green planet which clearly was occupied by living beings. 

This planet was first listed as Planet 3EX771, and later renamed with the label used by its inhabitants: Earth!

When Professor Valises awoke, he was furious.  His PA should not have been playing around with such valuable high-tech equipment.  But when he realized what she had discovered, he had her promoted, and they shared the credit for the discovery.

Professor Valises had his own reasons for wanting to set up a research project on Planet Earth, and these are described towards the end of his final report, which he sent to me when his research project was complete.


Much of what I learned about my life came from dreams or daydreams, in which elements of story were shared with me – or so it seems, on a good day!  At other times I wonder where these ideas come from:

I climb wearily up and up this long steep slope – this rough, stone-strewn path.  I have been trekking upwards for years.  I turn a corner, and find I am standing, in rags, outside the gates of heaven – big Golden Gates, studded with pearls.  My feet are sore and torn from my long and gruelling journey.

“My name is Peter”, says the tall man in long white robes, who steps from behind the gates.

I smile.  If I’ve reached the gates of heaven, I must be going in the right direction. But then Peter tells me I have to answer three questions to get in. Sounds easy!

“Firstly”, he said, “what have you concluded about human suffering?”

I looked at him blankly.

“Secondly”, he said, “what did you do to try to reduce human suffering?”

I looked at him guiltily, because I have spent my whole life being self-preoccupied! Or brain-dead!

“And finally,” he said, “what was the main cause of your mother’s pain and suffering, in her own words, told directly to you?”

I looked at him sadly.  I realized I had failed.  I had wasted my life.

“I’ll be back later!” I told him, turning away, and I began the long, slow, reluctant walk back down the stony road that had taken decades to climb!


Because of the observational studies conducted by Professor Valises’ team, we are able to report on aspects of my life which would have been concealed from me; plus the movement of various mysterious archetypes: like the little white goat; the tall woman; the little blue bear; the Saravey Priests; the Sortray de Manga’s ‘black hand gang’ that operated across much of Arab-influenced North Africa; and Sheikh Exal Rambini.

Because of Professor Valises’ report, we are able to construct a story about the war between good and evil that underpinned my life, the life of my ancestors, and the life of a curious boy, who came out of the south, heading north and west, and who was guided towards personal liberation by his own questions and the loving actions of the mysterious Sheikh Exal Rambini.

Professor Valises made it possible to pursue these stories, of inner and outer experiences, in the kind of detail that helps to make sense of life on Earth. By passing fluidly between the world of universal dreams and the world of socially shaped stories, we are able to climb to a height which could not be reached before this research was completed. And, because of the background researches of Professor Valises’ assistants, Dr Kala and Kolonel Balaga, we can also reconstruct the infamous battle of Crumble-Baan, which was a pivotal part of the downfall of the Celtic clans of Hibernia – my ancestors.

Originally, of course, we humans were all one.  We were the extended family of a little post-hominid woman somewhere on the plains of the Serengeti, in East Africa. Long before we migrated to the four corners of the world.  In this broader sense, then, my ancestors were your ancestors!

My sincere wish is that this book will change your life, for the better!

Daniel O’Beeve, Paris, France, August 2015


To get a copy of this paperback book (or an electronic, Kindle, version), please click the appropriate Amazon link below:

Extract from Chapter 1:


Chapter 1

It’s only seven o’clock in the evening, and already it’s very dark outside, on this cold and miserable third day of January, 1970. 

It’s time for me to go. To go away again.  Alone.  Back to England.  Moving on.  Into another black night.

The dense clouds part, briefly, and the bright, full moon shines down on the glistening surface of the rain-washed, reinforced concrete slabs that make up Limavada Road, in Wattling Town, on the outskirts of Dublin city. The moon disappears again, and the road is plunged into darkness. 

I am in the front bedroom of No.84 – the white, pebble-dashed council house in which my father lives; and in which I grew up from the age of nine to eighteen years. This is one of more than ten thousand such houses on this, the biggest housing estate in Western Europe.

I want to know the weather forecast for my journey, so I switch on the little transistor radio at the foot of my bed, but somebody’s changed the station to Radio Caroline.  James Taylor is singing about how he’s seen fire and rain, as have I.  He’s seen lonely days when he could not find a friend.  This is too painful to listen to; so I change to Radio Eireann, where Simon and Garfunkel are singing about how the boxer is laying out his winter clothes, and wishing he was gone - going home.  This is even more poignant for me, and so I switch off.


When I was eighteen years old, I left home, on my own, to go to England, to start a new life for myself.  My life at home at that time was miserable. 

A few months ago, at the age of twenty-three, after five years of absence, I returned to Dublin, after the disastrous failure of a strike I tried to organize at a sweat-shop factory in Bristol. 

Since then I’ve become involved in radical politics.  And I have just left a very painful, short-term relationship with a twenty-one year old woman.


A few weeks ago, I sat in the National Library of Ireland, in Kildare Street, Dublin, and skimmed through a book (titled, Meditations) by Marcus Aurelius. I was supposed to be reading Karl Marx at the time.  I found a mystifying statement by Marcus, to this effect:

‘This thing that I am, whatever it may be, comprises flesh, and vital spirit, and a governing self’.

I was mystified by this statement, because, although I can find the fleshy ‘me’, I cannot access anything that might be called my ‘spirit’; and I do not seem to be controlled by a ‘governing self’.

I am like a robotic machine – with no ‘soul’; and there is no conscious driver of the bus of my life.

Daniel O’Beeve – who is ‘me’ - is a ‘thing’ that runs on automatic.


Now I am packing my suitcase – the cardboard one I bought four years ago, when I joined the armed forces, in Birmingham: another of the big mistakes of my short life. I am preparing to depart for London, on my own, with two weeks’ wages in my pocket.

I look under the bed for any soiled socks or underwear, find nothing, stand up, lock my case and turn towards the bedroom door.

I can hear the television booming from the living room downstairs.

I am going away for the last time – not like Cervantes’ character, Don Quixote, to fight a noble cause; or like James Joyce’s alter ego (Stephen Dedalus), to forge the unformed conscience of the Irish race in the smithy of my soul.  At best, I can claim to be going to the heartland of British capitalism to foment a socialist revolution.

At worst, I am simply moving to a less uncomfortable burrow, like a disturbed mole!


Twenty-three is such a difficult age.  According to the psychological theory developed by Carl Gustav Jung, I have not even reached the middle of my adolescence, which runs from puberty to the age of about forty-five years.

I am too young to be wise, and too old to be directed by others.  So I wander aimlessly through a meaningless, chaotic life.  I am guided by my common sense, such as it is.  Because of the highly inadequate education – or ‘edjumacation’ – that I received at the hands of the Catholic Church; and the lack of much emotional or cultural socialization at home – I am at a loss to know what life is supposed to be about, or how to live it.  My level of emotional intelligence, on a scale of 1-100, is about 17!  I don’t know what I feel, or even if I feel anything – apart from a general, high level of background misery.  I cannot read the moods or intentions of others: apart from anger, which is a signal to get out of their way.


The booming television noise is caused by my father – my dad – who is almost totally deaf.  I can hear the theme sound of the Twilight Zone booming through the floor below.  He is the only other person in the house.  According to him, my mother recently ran off with a ‘mad Republican’; and nobody knows where she lives.  My rotten brother Tandy, who is almost twenty-two, is living in Blackpool; Walter, who is twenty, is living up the road with his girlfriend, who is pregnant; Terry, nineteen, is out with his girlfriend; Peter, seventeen, is down the country (illegally) driving a vegetable truck for a living, probably under the influence of alcohol; and Minnie, thirteen, could be almost anywhere, living her wild child life, unrestrained by parental control.

So it is going to be relatively painless leaving the house.  I do not have to speak to anybody but my dad, and there’s no real point speaking to him.  He is almost completely deaf; and he keeps his hearing-aid switched off – for reasons only he seems to understand.  If I go in to say goodbye to him, he will pretend to be able to hear me; he will keep the television volume on maximum, so I will not be able to hear his mumbles; and I will have to pretend to be able to understand him.  So, it’s best to avoid all that, and slip out unnoticed.

When Hermann Hesse’s character, Siddhartha left home to seek spiritual enlightenment, he asked his father’s permission; and he waited patiently until he received it.  But I felt no such need.  I’d previously left my father five years ago; and in any case, he had never been connected to me in any meaningful sense of the term.  The bond between us was a bond of ephemeral disregard and misunderstanding.  A detached, cold coexistence in an unfeeling space.


I’m wearing a warm leather jacket with fur collar, Levi jeans, and strong leather boots.  My head is kept warm by collar-length, thick hair, and a beard that reaches my breastbone. I zip up the jacket, and notice the sensation of the presence of ‘the ugly boy’, a kind of wraith that haunts me, like Arthur Miller’s ‘broken boy’ – a symbol of his life of suffering.  But unlike Arthur Miller, I cannot embrace or kiss my ‘ugly boy’, nor even allow myself to be aware of him for more than a second at a time.  So I zip my jacket and slap my chest, knocking the wind out of him, so he will not impinge too much on my consciousness for quite some time to come.


I sneak quietly down the stairs, out the front door, pulling it gently behind me.  I am off into the unknown – again!  And this time, I will never return.


As I walk down the garden path to the gate that leads to the pavement outside, I am shocked at how quiet it is, and how all alone I feel, on a housing estate of ten thousand homes.  But none of them is home to me.



Dreams and reality often seem to be interchangeable in the confused mental world in which we are now engaged.  Sometimes the story is controlled by Daniel-1, who is positive, hopeful and quite spiritual.  Sometimes it is controlled by Daniel-2, who is negative, depressive and nihilistic.  And sometimes the narration shifts to a neutral third eye in the sky:

As Daniel heads off down the road and turns left, a little, cornflower-blue bear shuffles out of the bushes by the gate, and follows him at a discrete distance.  The bear is wet and cold, and his arms are wrapped around his chest for comfort.  He is about three feet tall, made from some kind of terry-towelling material, with glass eyes and a down-turned, embroidered mouth. 

Behind the little blue bear, a peculiar porthole, about four feet across, opens up in the sky, surrounded by puffy white clouds.  If you look directly into that porthole, you will see a little cobalt-blue alien siting in the middle of an array of desks, looking out. Two bigger aliens – one green and one blue - lie sleeping in their desk chairs.

The little blue alien is furry, like a cat’s fur, with long white hair, draped down both sides of his head. And he has three eyes – one being in the middle of his forehead.  The gold ID-badge which hangs from a chain around his neck reads, ‘Professor Nuveen Valises, Director of Research’.

The little blue professor is fixated on Daniel’s retreating back.  Then Daniel stops by the bus stop and puts down his suitcase to light a cigarette. 

The professor, who can now see Daniel’s face again, is crying.  “I’m very worried about Daniel!” he says.

But his two colleagues cannot hear his words, because they are fast asleep.

“I wish I could rescue this poor little Earthling”, says the professor, and then sobs openly. 



This is my story – the story of Daniel O’Beeve - the first volume of a two volume autobiographical novel – which is also something of a psycho-logical thriller.  This volume contains the story of the first twenty-three years of my life; plus some glimpses into later years.  It involves detective work, psychoanalysis, suffering and personal growth.  It lays the ground for the investigation of a deep mystery.  It is a story of some real experiences, which have been fictionalized; and some fictional experiences which are ‘true’! The truth is more important to me than it is to Sophie Hannah.  In her 2015 story about Hercule Poirot’s investigation of a triple murder, Sophie has one of her characters, a Nancy Ducane, make this statement: “It is the job of art to replace unhappy true stories with happier inventions”.[1]

That may be some artists’ idea of the goal of their work, but it is not mine.  It is also very different from the function of psychotherapy.  It is the job of psychotherapy to help the suffering individual to process their unhappy true stories, so that they can disappear! Most human disturbance is caused, it seems, by the attempt to escape from experiencing our unhappy true stories!

That is one of the functions of this present book; both for me and for you. To face up to some facts of life!

When I was a little boy, I loved detective stories.  I think, at that time, I probably thought they were intrinsically interesting and an obvious choice for anybody to read. But that was not the whole story.  In fact, I now believe that I loved detective stories because, at some non-conscious level of mind, I knew that I was going to have to learn how to be a pretty damn good detective if I was ever going to resolve the mystery of my life. 

At that time, when I was ten to twelve years old, I didn’t know (consciously) that there was a mystery.  At that time, I did not know that most of my soul was frozen; and that most of my life-potential had been stolen.

I was like the victim of a hit-and-run ‘accident’, who is lying, maimed, on the side of a dark and deserted road; who, in his delirium, begins to fantasize about growing up and becoming a traffic cop; a cop who goes around putting up CCTV cameras on every inch of the public highway, so that, if anybody is ever run over by a drunk driver, they (the victim) will be easy to find; and thus the drunk driver can be identified and brought to justice. 

In reading detective stories, I was beginning to learn how to be a good psychoanalyst - by studying Charlie Chan and Hercule Poirot! A good detective wants to know where the body is buried; and a good psychoanalyst wants to know where the truth is buried.


I want to tell you who I am, and where I’ve been – but for your benefit.  However, first I want to say this:

The human brain-mind, at birth, is like a thousand shards of broken glass, scattered across the night sky.  This fragmented mess – this biochemical soup – is an uncoordinated cacophony of non-conscious feelings: Good and bad; physical and mental; pain and pleasure; love and hate; terror and rage. It takes at least two decades, and sometimes more, to fashion that loose association of electro-chemical elements into a relatively well-functioning committee of sub-personalities; or what we normally call ‘a person’. 

The first requirement for success in integrating those myriad elements is to learn a coherent map of life from emotionally intelligent, moral, loving parents.

Because the environmental factors are often inadequate, it frequently proves to be the case that the individual fails to develop even a small fraction of their full potential for loving and living and creative work.



My psychological development was retarded to dangerous levels of enstupidization by an entire culture of damaged individuals; helped along by a religion of monumental stupidity, inaccuracy, autistic sex-phobia, and general emotional dysfunction; and an ‘edjumacation’ designed to fit me for a lifetime of servitude to any parasite who wanted to exploit me economically.


When I reached my teens, my Japanese judo teachers tried to teach me a philosophy of life that could save me. It helped a little.  But I was already on the wrong track, and heading in the wrong direction. My map of life was written on the back of a crumpled postage stamp, stuck to the sole of my uncomfortable right shoe.


“If we do not teach our children about love and why it’s so much healthier than hatred, what will become of them?  If we do not teach them about their journey towards healthy sex-love relationships, in maturity, who will teach them?  And if we do not know enough about love and sex, and relationships, and how to manage our hatred and rage, what hope is there for any of us?”

Micky J. Moran, A Very Peculiar Tragedy…


1. The journey begins…

Strictly speaking, I should begin this book with these words: My name is Daniel O’Beeve, and this book represents the story of half of my life.  Or, this book represents the first half of the first half of my life. 

That would accord this text a certain kind of credibility as a straight-forward autobiography.

But this is not a straightforward autobiography.  It is, instead, an auto-biographical novel; and so it requires a different kind of beginning.  Like this:

The mystery really began with the arrival of the email – if you can call it an email.  I’d been working hard all day, and right into the evening.  I was trying to write up a dream sequence – or was it a daydream sequence? – involving some strange men in a strange landscape.

At last, in total exhaustion, I switched off the computer and began to ‘palm’ my eyes.  I kept my eyes open, and cupped my hands over them – fingers close together - so I could stare into total darkness.  That was a blessed relief.  My eyes were tired and sore.

Suddenly there was a bright flash, which shone through my hands: revealing my black bones, surrounded by pink muscle and flesh.  I was so startled that my hands fell away my eyes.  And there, on the computer screen, was a strange email.  The text was like flickering, blue gas flames; and the background was a kind of mucky cream smog.  Despite the poor contrast between them, I could easily read the message, which said:

From the scratchpad of Professor Nuveen Valises, Head of Research Team, Planet 3EX771.  valises@IFspaceship29.fed

Dateline: 3619 APV

Daniel: You have completed your mission admirably; and so, I thought, had I.  However, I now realize that if you do not write the story of how you did it, my mission will also have failed.  So I must strongly request that you get down to writing up where you have been, and what you have experienced, so we can both rest easy knowing we have completed our historic missions.

What follows is a single sentence summary of the abstract of my report to the Intergalactic Federation:

+We-an hipotiste Daniel’s mirt skurpt anstrazhan toll Daniel valay rasoltav ohum rurlattah ugg gir andluttay im oan positatay oneroot cun higga uppanparon oan dazt vurlt dit zoon moedhuur haast lowershowal-zan wur mit gut wan sexoullarm ditch ihram Faltaar.+

Oh, sorry.  I should have realized… I will have to translate that for you.  When you get down to writing your story, I will send you a full transcript of my report, translated into English. That may help you to fill in some of the blanks.

Good luck!

Nuveen Valises


The problem with this message, of course, was that the computer was switched off!


[1] Sophie Hanna (2015) The Monogram Murders – The new Hercule Poirot Mystery.  London: Harper.  Page 191. 

To get a copy of this paperback book (or an electronic, Kindle, version), please click the appropriate Amazon link below: