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A Man of a Few More Words - by Swan Morrison

The Da Vinci Code

Leonardo da Vinci intently studied the one hundred-year-old manuscript. It had been the final writing of a fourteenth century monk, Godalming of Guildford.

It had been Godalming’s sacred task to copy the Holy Bible according to papal instructions. One rule was that all copies should be perfect. A simple slip of the quill would necessitate burning the entire volume, even if many thousands of words had already been committed to parchment.

Godalming lamented the destruction of many months of work due to a simple error. He had thus experimented with combinations of substances until he had perfected what he named ‘correction fluid’. This, when applied to an erroneous mark, would dry to the same colour as parchment, leaving the mistake invisible.

When news reached Rome, the Pope pronounced this innovation to be the work of the Devil. To hide error, rather than publicly cleanse it in flame, was declared to strike at the very heart of Christianity. Correction fluid was forbidden and all supplies destroyed.

Godalming would have merited no further attention had it not been for his further ingenuity. He had experienced problems in keeping completed pages together while working on the next and was inspired to invent the paperclip. The fact that pages of sacred text could now be conjoined as if in sexual congress enraged the Pope. Such a heinous abomination could only have been devised by Satan incarnate. He ordered Godalming put to death and his evil devices erased from the face of the Earth.

The manuscript that Leonardo now carefully returned to its place of concealment had been written shortly before the Inquisition had burnt Godalming at the stake. Safely hidden within the monastery for a century, it had now, at enormous risk, been delivered to Leonardo - leader of the secret brotherhood, Office Dei.

The manuscript was the sole text detailing ruthless Catholic suppression of office supplies. Leonardo, however, knew anecdotally of many incidents. A monastery in northern France had been rased to the ground when the use of adhesive tape had been discovered within its walls. A legend from southern Germany told of a heretical abomination of stationery so perverted that the village from which it emanated, with all its occupants, had been obliterated by the Inquisition. Villages within a fifty-mile radius had met the same fate. No clue remained - except the name ‘postitnotes’.

Leonardo himself had been secretly guilty of the sin of designing office equipment, including a stapling device and a ballpoint quill. He recalled the tense moment when the Inquisition had discovered the drawings. To his great relief they had accepted his explanation that these were parts of a flying machine to allow the Pope to journey closer to God.

Members of Office Dei swore a sacred oath to pass their arcane knowledge to future generations and to quest for the meaning of ‘postitnotes’ – ‘The Holy Grail’ in the coded language of their brotherhood.

Such were Leonardo’s thoughts as he continued his depiction of The Last Office Party.

He portrayed key aspects of the biblical text such as Paul, in the absence of a photocopier, exhibiting drawings of his bum made by a scribe. In addition, however, he subtly included images of office supplies.

Legend tells how the yellow squares may even be clues to the Grail itself!

The Last Office Party by Leonardo da Vinci

The Last Office Party
Leonardo da Vinci