I thought when I posted those other two stories of mine, it might relieve my writer's block on the story I WANT to work on.

This work is what P. D. Q. Bach would have referred to as heavily recycled. In other words stolen. This is of course a time honored method. As Albert Einstein said "... steal from one person it's plagiarism, ... steal from four, it's scholarship." Using this definition this work is definitely plagiarism.

But as someone else once said (I think it was Samuel Clemens, but I'm not sure), If you're gonna steal, steal from the best. So the following is stolen from one of the best American authors ever. His works aren't as well read as, for example, Melville and Hemingway, but his works will last at least as long as theirs.

The title comes from one of the two stories that most of the prose was lifted from. The other is entitled "The Cask of Amontillado". I hope this story is seen, not as a desecration, but as a mark of my admiration of Edgar Allen Poe.

Who doesn't think of Happosai when they hear the title:

THE IMP OF THE PERVERSE

The thousand injuries of Happosai I had borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult I vowed revenge. You, who so well know the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitely, settled -- but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser.

It must be understood that neither by word nor deed had I given Happosai cause to doubt my good will. I continued, as was my wont to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my smile now was at the thought of his Destruction.

It is impossible that any deed could have been wrought with a more thorough deliberation. For weeks, for months, I pondered upon the means of the murder. I rejected a thousand schemes, because their accomplishment involved a chance of detection. At length, in reading some French Memoirs, I found an account of a nearly fatal illness that occurred to Madame Pilau, through the agency of a smoldering handkerchief accidentally poisoned.

The idea struck my fancy at once. I knew my victim's habit of ironing panties. I knew, too, that his collection was stored around his bed. But I need not vex you with impertinent details. I need not describe the easy artifices by which I substituted women's undergarments of my own preparation for the ones which he recently stole. The next morning he was discovered dead in his bed, and the Coroner's verdict was- "Death by the visitation of God."

Following a vast brawl, it was determined that Ranma Saotome was the new master of `Anything Goes'. Shortly thereafter, Akane married him, and the dojo passed to the two of them. Genma Saotome and my father retired, and only occasionally teach a class. For myself, all went well for years. The idea of detection never once entered my brain. Of the remains of the master's fatal collection I had myself carefully disposed. I had left no shadow of a clue by which it would be possible to convict, or even to suspect me of the crime. It is inconceivable how rich a sentiment of satisfaction arose in my bosom as I reflected upon my absolute security. For a very long period of time I was accustomed to revel in this sentiment. It afforded me more real delight than all the mere domestic peace accruing from my sin.

But there arrived at length an epoch, from which the pleasurable feeling grew, by scarcely perceptible gradations, into a haunting and harassing thought. It harassed because it haunted. I could scarcely get rid of it for an instant. It is quite a common thing to be thus annoyed with the ringing in our ears, or rather in our memories, of the burthen of some ordinary song. Nor will we be the less tormented if the song in itself be good. In this manner, at last, I would perpetually catch myself pondering upon my security, and repeating, in a low undertone, the phrase, "I am safe."

One day, whilst visiting my new fiancee, I arrested myself in the act of murmuring, half aloud, these customary syllables. In a fit of petulance, I remodeled them thus; "I am safe- I am safe- yes- if I be not fool enough to make open confession!"

No sooner had I spoken these words, than I felt an icy chill creep to my heart. Suddenly my own casual self-suggestion that I might possibly be fool enough to confess the murder of which I had been guilty, confronted me, as if the very ghost of him whom I had murdered- and beckoned me on to death.

At first, I made an effort to shake off this nightmare of the soul. I felt a maddening desire to shriek aloud. Every succeeding wave of thought overwhelmed me with new terror, for, alas! I well, too well understood that to speak, in my situation, was to be lost. My fiancee noticed my agitation. I tried to think of anything else. At length, my fiancee took to alarm. I felt then the consummation of my fate. Could I have torn out my tongue, I would have done it, but he held me in his arms, and tried to calm my anxiety. I gasped for breath. For a moment I experienced all the pangs of suffocation; I became blind, and deaf, and giddy; and then some invisible fiend, I thought, struck me with his broad palm upon the back. The long imprisoned secret burst forth from my soul.

He said that I spoke with a distinct enunciation, but with marked emphasis and passionate hurry, as if in dread of interruption before concluding the brief, but pregnant sentences that consigned me to this hell. Having related all that would have been necessary for the fullest judicial conviction, I fell prostrate in a swoon.

Due to his love for me, no one else is ever likely to find out. Due to his new revulsion of me, I shall never be Kasumi Ono.

THE END.