The last thing you want when driving around a roundabout is to catch, out of the corner of your eye, some fascinating text which demands a second look. This morning, I caught sight of a newspaper headline board that said “REVEALED: FIRKINS BAKERY CONSPIRACY” and nearly ran into the back of the car in front, which had chosen that moment to slow down to almost walking pace to make the exit.
I spent the rest of the journey trying to work out what the headline could have been about.
The “REVEALED” carries connotations of scandal and excitement, of journalists in greasy-spoon cafes or on rainy street corners paying for information with used banknotes. Or maybe a long-running undercover investigative operation, with journalists putting the Public’s Right To Know above their own personal safety as they infiltrate the notorious Firkin Bakery Gang. Then an all-night-long marathon job, to get the story put together and ready for the morning edition, with journalists and editors going home for a shower as the sun rises over the quiet streets, satisfied in the knowledge of a job well done.
A CONSPIRACY requires a group of people working together, usually in secrecy and often outside the law. Crowded, smoky rooms at the back of dingy little shops, running a wide-ranging blackmail and extortion scheme based on threats to reveal prominent people’s consumption of confectionery – or in a penthouse office at the top of a high-rise in a big city, plotting a hostile takeover of the world-famous Firkins Bakery (purveyors of cake-related delicacies to the rich and famous over the world, since the days of Marie Antoinette).
Or, with the addition of an apostrophe, was the conspiracy the brainchild of the mad scientist Dr Firkin, plotting to add his dastardly secret formula to the world’s flour, turning the bread-eating population into mind-controlled zombies?
Then I arrived at work and looked up the full story – which proved to be, if not quite as exciting as I had imagined, definitely more than a little bizarre! Truth may not be quite as strange as fiction, but it comes pretty close.