A.J. Walker


March 2023

A Woman Called Malaria

A Woman Called Malaria: What's In A Name?

I met Malaria working in a trendy bar in the city. She was a nice young woman. Confident, bubbly & attentive and efficient at her job - which largely comprised getting me drinks from the bar. In the quieter moments we had the opportunity to talk a little, which is how I discovered her name was Malaria - her colleagues at the bar called her Mel, apparently under the instruction of the manager who thought periodically shouting out “malaria” across the busy bar would not necessarily be a good thing for the customers.

She's actually in the second year of her medical degree at the university, and her job was need to help her through her studies as the grant she gets from her country is very small and he parents are not wealthy enough to help her much. She said she was enjoying being in a foreign country and loved the chance to meet very different people. She had never been abroad before gaining the chance to study here.

I asked how her parents had come to name her Malaria. And it turned out it wasn’t her given name. I found this slightly comforting if a little confusing. The name was apparently the last one in a long line of English language names she had used. Malaria had previously gone under the name Joy, and before that there was Sapphire, Crystal and Ruby. She was from a small country in the Far East which had a tonal language and she explained that Westerners usually had great difficulty in saying even one short word correctly - let alone learn the language - so it was common practice amongst people who worked with Westerners at all that they would adopt English names. She told me her given name and after several minutes of trying to repeat it she confirmed that I didn’t get very close at all. Commonly those with their short term Anglicised names would also rotate them over time. She'd had a few lasting less than a week before being jettisoned.

Right now she was a medical student named after a disease which kills millions world wide. Did she not consider the irony, I asked, and had she not considered changing it to something less lethal? She laughed coyly at this point and her eyes suggested that she enjoyed the question. It was her longest held name, she said. She’d chosen it at 18 and had it for two and a half years now. It had been a word she’d read and liked the sound of. It was purely on the sound as she hadn’t known then what it was when she’d first read it years previously. Her previous names had been based on beauty, colours, and maybe even; like Ruby, Sapphire, and Crystal. But Malaria was all about the sound. She shrugged, sometimes words changed meanings over time, maybe she was ahead of the curve.

Perhaps she is. Now I’m wondering what I’d call myself this week if I could change my name at will. Perhaps I’ll be Stout, or Porter, then again maybe I should follow Malaria’s path and pick a disease name or maybe a treatment? Yes, for this week anyway, call me Benzo. Benzo Diazapan.

Suspiciously Unsuspicious

Suspiciously Unsuspicious

In the early hours of March 14th it was reported that Mr Graham Donatello (62) of 11B Dockland Terrace was found quite dead in the grounds of the Great Hall on Constitution Hill. He had previously been seen during the day by several eye witnesses consulted by journalists of The Vision, including in fact our very own Editor, Simon De Mieville Jr, and the Chief Sports writer (and Saturday columnist), George Pressley III. Both reported that Mr Donatello was in decidedly good cheer, which was supported by others who saw him, and are in “deep shock” at the news of his sudden death.

The former great procrastinator and bon viveur was found by three children from the area, who cannot be named because of their youth. They are the two sons and the daughter of Mr Vivian Park-Reynolds and Ms Charley Simpson, his former young maid of long blonde hair and a reportedly open disposition. The children are said to be in good cheer despite their early morning surprise. Indeed all went into school later in the day to pass on the details of their grisly findings to their school colleagues and teachers. We can but marvel at the resilience of youth.

Donatello was found hanging from one of the tallest trees in the park and the attending police officers - a Seargant Strong and PC Gormless, were quoted as saying “there were no mysterious circumstances” (in the death of Graham Donatello). This journalist though could not help but notice that there were no signs of dirt on his hands despite or his smart, well fitting suit. This seems surprising as there was no ladder or other way of getting up the tree apart from climbing it. He also was wearing only one shoe and there was no evidence of the other one having been found inside the park; or in the tree. PC Gormless suggested that perhaps before the children had come along a ladder thief had been past.

It is also noted that Graham had been in a very bright spotlight in recent times with his short term wrangling - including within the pages of this veritable establishment - with the current Government over their handling of the unknowable miscreants affair and the apparent disregard of certain laws by multiple patrons of the State; and it should be said by some representatives within the Cabinet.

We await the findings of the city’s coroner on the sad death of Mr Donatello, but it is hoped by this paper that Dr Cliff Heraldston does recuse himself from investigating the case given his extremely close ties to the Government: he is of course married to Marjorie Nom De Plume, the mysterious & extremely high profile Secretary of State for Contentious Decisions (her of the “Discerning smile whilst she drives a dagger through your ribs” fame - in the words of ex-colleague and now ex MP Mr Richard Hardyman).

Whilst we wait we will not be holding our breathes - and neither should you. RIP Bon Viveur.