Guff’s hands trembled as he read the letter that flapped limply in his bony, malnourished fingers.
You have three weeks to complete your overdue payment, or your assets will be seized and criminal action will be taken against you, he read out loud.
The next letter in the pile, a statement from the bank, brought similarly unwelcome news.
“Oh god,” Guff shouted, his eyes widening and knees knocking the kitchen table as he jumped up, “it’s only the second week of the month and I’m already completely out of money!”
His eyes darted across the statement, hoping, pleading for an error or money missing from his account that he complain his way back to.
“Damn, it's true, I have no money and only have my spending habits to blame. I spent 2 gold coins on toilet paper last month. Who do I think I am, the king? I should just be using leaves and tree bark like the rest of the poor people. Damn my desire for a luxurious life!”
In complete dismay and with a growing ache in his heart, Guff reluctantly flipped to the third letter delivered to his door that morning.
“The local council? Oh no, more trouble, what now, someone saw what I was doing behind the back of the restaurant a week ago? Surely shitting next to a bin is better than doing it down your trouser leg on the way home, isn’t it? At least I left it in a neat pile and not all sloppily plopped in a dirty line. It wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t served me that awful garden salad, the yolks were practically green!”
To provide young people with increased opportunities, the government has created the Apprenticeship Scheme, the letter stated, which seeks to pair young individuals seeking on-the-job training with skilled workers/specialists such as yourself.
Guff smirked, momentarily proud of being called a skilled worker, before dropping the letter onto the table.
“Like I have the time or patience to be teaching others,” he stated with a huff before his eyes were drawn to the words financial bursary at the bottom of the page, which encouraged him to read it thoroughly.
“Well, well, well,” he stated upon finishing reading the latter, “the government will pay me to impart my knowledge and skills to others. This could well be the answer to my financial woes!” Guff shouted, once again banging his knees as he rose to his feet, this time coming up slightly higher than before and knocking the top of his head on a lamp dangling from the ceiling above.
Guff practically skipped to the local government office, a stone’s throw away from his ramshackle house (which was more of a shed) that sat precariously next to an almost dried-up stream.
The office was situated at the far end of a parade of shops and businesses, which the locals frequented.
Many an evening, Guff could be found stumbling out of The Plumber’s Plunger after having a few too many drinks.
He also regularly frequented the supermarket, mostly on Tuesdays just before closing time, as this was when the almost-rotten meat was sold half price.
Blowing a kiss at a poster advertising the apprenticeship scheme in the window as he entered the building (which one of the cleaners mistakenly thought was meant for him and winked in return), Guff proudly walked toward the inquiry desk.
“Help you, sir?” A voice muttered from underneath the desk.
“The local lord must be doing well if his office can afford a talking table,” Guff marveled in wonder.
“Not doing so well that they can afford to give me a decent wage,” the voice replied as its owner, a balding officer worker stuffed into a shirt that was at least 3 sizes too small for him, rose to his feet upon retrieving a piece of chewing gum he had dropped on the floor.
“I see, well, that doesn’t concern me, what does concern me is the apprenticeship scheme,” Guff stated, pointing to the window behind him.
“Looking for training, are you?”
“To train, to train! I am already fully trained in the arts of the arcane.” Guff almost shouted with an unplaced sense of pride.
“Oh, wizard, are you? I suppose I should have guessed what with the flappy hat and dirty beard.”
“You could have just said beard, didn’t have to add the first part,” Guff pouted.
“Well, you’ll be needing this here form, then, and you can put a notice up in the window there advertising yourself.”
“Very well, do you have a pen?”
“Can’t you just magic one up?”
“Well, I could, but at the very least I’d have a nosebleed, and at the very worst I'd shit myself,” Guff stated with a surprising lack of embarrassment.
“Here you go then,” the worker replied handing him a pen, “I’d have to be the one to clean that up.”
After around 30 minutes of mulling and re-writing, Guff’s notice was complete and displayed proudly dead-center on the window out front, it read as follows:
Do you seek ancient wisdom and abilities?
Do you hope to explore the hidden wonders of the world you inhabit?
Are you willing to complete light cleaning and occasional bouts of cooking?
If you answered yes to all of the above (and are able to make delicious-tasting meals), you may be able to become the apprentice of Guff Woldingsmold, the Wizard.
Interviews will be held this Saturday afternoon at the decrepit house next to the stream 20 or so paces from where King Reginald VIII.5 was executed for public indecency.