Poet and artist
Sam Wilson Fletcher
Leiden, as you may already know, harbours a large number of secret canals; together these form a hidden subsurface network. Sam Wilson Fletcher lives inside this network. He survives by eating insects, trash, mud, and the occasional crayfish. This might sound a bit sordid and unpleasant. But according to Sam at least, it is ‘a pretty OK life’; he ‘gets by’. And, most importantly to him, he is respected. He is (an official title, apparently) ‘Lord of the Undercanals’. He commands a small army of rats and has ‘adopted’ a number of ‘blind urchins’ who run errands for him throughout the network. (Who are these children? Why are they blind? Are they safe in Sam’s care? We passed on our concerns to the local authorities who responded with the following voice message: ‘Lord Samuel’s questionable adoption practices notwithstanding, he is a key member of Leiden’s ancillary security system. Dark forces have long been brewing beneath the city and Sam’s efforts have been vital in checking their spread… Even so, the mutagenic tendrils of Chaos have successfully worked their way into the highest echelons of power, peverting the minds of our most senior—ach! I’ve said too much! I’m sorry, I must—’ Here the message becomes garbled, the waves of white noise and fragmented speech occasionally reaching a sort of crescendo… like an infernal choir of evil tongues…) Anyway! Local ‘art collective’ / occult circle ROEM have placed Sam on retainer, paying him many thousands of euros every month to communicate their demands to the Dark Lord Who Dwelleth Beneath the City… (The so-called ‘water engineers’, revered as heroes by the general population, paid a heavy price when they pushed back the sea, un-submerging the Netherlands. For unlike King Canute, they were willing to make trade with demons… Nowadays a shiny red-skinned hell-fiend lies under every Dutch city, coiled inside its glittering cave of silicate glass.) Sam is available for weddings and other events.