Archivist note: This article is from an older recovered archive and might be obsolete or in need of updating.
Most recent revision is shown below, by Galactic Baroque.
””'(slang)” A person of deceitful or degenerate character.”’
Evastus Artorius Muckberry served as Mayor of New Babbage for precisely one and one-quarter terms, immediately prior to his sentencing and trial for pernicious corruption, in that order.
The career of Muckberry can be rather nicely described as ‘nepotistic’, his rise through the ranks of Crint & Handleton coming via the judicious application of sycophancy towards superiors and corporate sabotage of rivals. From his initial position as a clerk in the Inward Goods department, within four years he was that department’s Senior Manager. Barely two years later he had ‘discovered’ incontrovertible evidence that then chairman George Proxby had been engaged in long-term embezzlement of funds. Despite protesting his innocence, the Proxby family was ruined and the money was restituted to the company in time for Muckberry to re-embezzle it for himself.
Having been so publicly displayed as a paragon of honesty, and the rewards of diligent labour, Muckberry set his sights upon greater things. One such thing (to use his preferred term in his private journals) was marriage to Wendy Louise Handleton, subsequently followed by the birth of his son, Charlus.
The other thing was the position of Town Mayor, for which he campaigned upon the platform of Virtuous Government, a platform whose foundations rested on the demonisation of not only the hapless Proxby name, but anyone else who was or aspired to be mayoralty. Given the average person’s desire to believe the worst of their superiors, it is not surprising that within sixteen years of slow social climbing and council appointments, his persistent work finally saw him swept into the mayoralty in a landslide victory.
Twenty years of amoral social climbing meant that Muckberry now had a council composed of various cronies, and his first term was a steady descent into what could be nicely described as decline. Under the guise of ‘auditing’, a steady haemmorhage of town funds bled into the pockets of Muckberry and his allies, while the town began to ail as various departments began to starve.
Not helping was the behaviour of Charlus Muckberry, who despite being educated at one of the more prestigious academies, was more interested in revelling with loose women and plentiful substances. Given such lavish tastes, and Muckberry Sr.’s tendency to spoil his heir rotten, questions began to be raised as to how such a rake could be supported on a humble mayor’s salary.
The subsequent elections were a master-stroke of vote-buying and intimidation. Subsequent examination of Muckberry’s personal journals show that he had cultivated an increasingly irrational hatred for ‘those below’ matching that he had for ‘them above’, suggesting a highly paranoid mental state with megalomaniacal tendencies.
Shortly after the elections, Charlus Muckberry was seen staggering out of a house of ill repute, fighting off the soiled dove trying to bring him back inside; he proceeded down the street to the harbour, raving insanely and clawing at himself and anyone or anything within reach, before simply falling into the waters. Despite his best efforts rescuers managed to finally bring him onto dry land, but despite attempting to resuscitate him, the younger Muckberry was pronounced dead from drowning at the scene.
The subsequent excitement was fuelled by leaked information regarding the exotic substances found in the young man’s system, along with symptoms of various venereal diseases. Scandal scented, the eyes of the town began to seek further signs of weakness.
It could be said that Charlus’ fall foretold the fall of Muckberry’s little empire. Sensing that their master was ailing, Muckberry’s co-conspirators began to feud among themselves as well as sue Muckberry for additional favours in exchange for continued loyalty. Fulsome details can be found in Gerald Cronk’s meticulously researched if flaccid volume The Fall of the Muckberry Empire.
That year was the worst of Muckberry’s life. His wife, seeing the true face of her supposedly honourable husband, returned to the Handleton family seat and sued for divorce. Despite the best efforts of Muckberry’s paid thugs, public protests became increasingly common and vociferous. By August, Muckberry was barricaded in his house and attempting to run New Babbage from there.
In mid-August Muckberry House was overrun by a mob waving the traditional torches of broken pallet boards soaked in wiggyfish oil, despite the best efforts of those hoodlums who didn’t run away; Muckberry himself did not survive being accosted by the mob. Some believe that the ex-mayor was boiled alive in a vat of wiggyfish oil, others that he was drawn and quartered through sheer mob power. Yet others speculate that he had already died by his own hand before the mob found him.
What is known is that his hidden journals were found, along with damning evidence of his wickedness and corruption; a posthumous trial found Evastus Muckberry guilty of systemic corruption, aiding and abetting ‘immorality’, embezzlement, and sundry other convictions that, if he had been alive, would have brought about his demise in one of the abovementioned fashions anyway.
In common memory, the name of Muckberry has become a derogatory term for a degenerate, untrustworthy fellow. “That lad? Don’t have nowt t’ do with ‘im! A proper muckberry, ‘e is!”