Ritual Roast of Keith Dunn (on his 40th birthday) by Andy Simpkins

Published: 13th October 2004 one Keith Andrew Dunn enters his 40th year on this planet of ours, I would just like to set the record straight and lay to rest any rumours and unsolicited mutterings about this fine upstanding person.

I first became aware of his existence when I entered the employ of the company where I am working now some several years ago. Upon my travails as a member of the temporary staff, I noticed a gentleman, wild of hair with a beard framing his face and with a mad glint in his eye, occasionally dropping off stock that us unwashed members of the proletariat in the despatch department were honour-bound to pack and send out to our dealers.

As time went by and I began putting names to faces within the department, I found out his name was Keith and he was happily ensconced in the town of Crawley with an adoring wife and two children. From conversations with other members of staff, I later gleaned little nuggets of information, first and foremost that he had an undying and pathological hatred of that well-known and talented actor of many faces;William Shatner (yes, he of Star Trek, T. J. Hooker and a singing career of some repute) and has had this well-spring of loathing of the aforementioned actor and balladeer since the mid 1980's (cue angelic chorus for the benefit of Tony Gallichan...) since the sketch on the American TV comedy show "Saturday Night Live" where William Shatner is up on stage in front of a small and motley crowd of Star Trek fans who are continually asking him questions about his role in the original series of Star Trek. He loses patience with the audience and tells them all to '... get a life!..'He then exasperatedly asks members of the audience how long it has been since they got drunk and how long it has been since they kissed a girl to which they all dolefully shake their heads as either they do not know or they have never experienced that pleasure.

Needless to say, Keith took extreme umbrage to this and has harboured a simmering resentment of 'The Shat', as he unaffectionately calls him, since that time.

Coming back to the present day, this was further reinforced one day. During a slack period at work , a collegue and myself were idly browsing through the various software options on one of the PC's at work and come across a function that enables the user to produce and print out commendation certificates that one can custom-make as appropriate to the situation. A certain devil-may-care feeling came over us at that particular moment and we proceeded to produce a certificate proclaiming that Keith was an ardent and loyal follower of William Shatner and the certificate stated that '...he has show unflinching and ever-loyal devotion to the cause of Shatner and is to be commended for his actions. We made the certificate as gaudy and heavily decorated with filigree'd edges as possible, printed it out and left it in a prominent place so that he could find it easily.

Approximately fifteen minutes later, I was out in the lorry yard tending to some work out there when I heard a faint but unmistakeable bellow of '...SIMPKINS!!!... ' coming from inside the building. Smirking inwardly to myself, I sauntered inside to see that the aforementioned certificate was pinned to the desk with a craft knife and Keith was standing by the desk, glowering mightily and looking like all hell was about break loose...

This incident was only one of many and another one that sticks in my mind was when my supervisor made the grave error of calling Keith 'William Shatners love-child'. The sight I was greeted with next was Keith pinning my supervisor to the ground and gently trying to bang his head into the concrete by way of exacting revenge. I could come out with other examples but I would probably be hung up by my feet Predator style, skinned alive and have salt rubbed into my wounds by a giggling Dunn-ster.

Looking on the brighter side, one good thing that has come of my acquaintance of Keith is the fact that approximately 4 years ago, he introduced me to the world of science-fiction role-playing games and from there onwards to the Mad Hatters Tea Party that is the website known as 'Staggering Stories' and some very good friends who I might not have know otherwise if our paths had not crossed.

So on this joyous occasion, raise a glass or cup of your favourite beverage and toast the oddity that is Keith Andrew Dunn. Long may he reign...