By Philip evans, 2021-03-10
“What time is he coming?” questioned retired nurse, Hannah Philatic.
“For the third time this Morning… 11.00 am!” replied her Partner-in-Crime, Joe Boxer.
“ I am the one that suffered multiple blows to my head not you!” he said hands shaking violently.
“Sorry, but it’s this Long-Covid…it’s a bugger with your memory!” said Hannah.
“ And I am nervous too!” she continued.
Hannah checked the letter headed by a green Westminster Portcullis.
“I never thought that I would get to meet the Health Secretary, Mr Handjob, in person!” she squealed excitedly.
“It’s not Hand-job -It’s HanCOCK !” scolded Joe “And don’t call him that for F***’s sake or he will definitely stop our funding!”
Following his retirement from the ring, due to the early onset of Parkinson’s disease, Joe and his business partner, Delroy Boyd from the house clearance business, they had turned into a pair of entrepreneurs.
Movers AND shakers if you like.
Their latest venture had been to turn the former Green Boxing Hall at Eighth Avenue into a vaccination centre for the local population on the Galon Uchaf Estate.
It was known locally as Jabber the Hut.
The Secretary of State for Health was so impressed with their reported performance levels in administering the vaccine shots that he wanted to see the place for himself.
Wales was ahead of England yet again and not just in terms of Six Nations Rugby and he wanted to understand why.
It was also an opportunity to turn yet another traditional Labour heartland into a Tory Blue voting area.
After all, Merthyr Tydfil had voted on a majority basis for Brexit – principally because they believed the Conservative lie that they would be able to stop immigration.
If there was one thing the residents of the Estate did not want, it was Foreigners coming over here and taking THEIR benefits.
Considering there were only a thousand residents within Motability scooter battery distance, they had done very well in their returns to the Department of Health.
Especially as there was only 500 people actually living on the Estate.
To ensure they were AL L inoculated within a week was extremely impressive and worthy of praise from Central Government.
After all, large swathes of the Country were misled into believing that the vaccine was made up from a combination of dead baby stem cells, Bill Gates Spunk, Arsenic and a tracking device.
Certain sections of the great unwashed didn’t believe that there was in fact an invisible germ that was killing them just because they were all obese.
Besides who wanted to live to the age of 35 anyway?
These people didn’t want any microchips, unless of course they were from McCain that is.
Nor did they want anyone checking on their every movement, whilst they were on Facebook or their Mobile Phone.
How else could they moonlight as a window cleaner, painter, hairdresser or nail beautician otherwise?
Their employee-Hannah was a large lady indeed.
Like most ex-nurses that had actually survived the pandemic, she was grossly overweight.
Her arse was so big that you could balance a cup of coffee on it without her knowing.
In contrast, Joe being an ex-pugilist was built like a split-pin.
His body was his temple and his claim to fame was that he had once had a part as body double for World Champion Merthyr boxer Johnny Owen – in the film ‘Snitches get Stitches’.
Both Joe and Delroy had been forced to live by their wits.
Dodging and weaving in the Business World just as they had in the ring.
It was strange how close the two former boxing rivals had become after retiring from taking low blows, and had both come up with joint ventures that had kept them one step ahead of the local rent collector.
After throwing in the towel, they had become designers of men’s underwear- and marketed a brand of men’s underpants that stretched automatically as they bent over.
It was named after a ‘left/right combination’ of famous people.
A Labour politician and a millionaire boxer.
It was goodbye to Builder’s cleavage when you owned a pair of ‘Wedgie Benn’s’.
Facebook had afforded them the business opportunity their parents and grandparents never had.
But the pair never rested on their laurels.
They were always looking to their next big venture and they realised that the time was right, just like everyone in the Government to cash in on the Tax-Payer during the pandemic.
They saw it as a way of getting some tax money back from Central Government -even if they hadn’t actually paid any themselves.
It was surprising what a bout of hysteria in the media could do to drum up business.
They had tried their hand at creating PPE out of old boxing head guards and gloves, but found that no-one in the local Queen Camilla hospital wanted to go into work looking like Muhammed Ali.
Not even Doctor Muhammed Ali.
The next best thing was to create their own supply of vaccine to the Third World – or Galon Uchaf- as it was known locally.
They had an insider in the hospital- a friend of Hannah, who was happy to smuggle a phial of the experimental Oxford Vaccine out and a Sixth- Former in the local Penydre School with a C at O Level in Chemistry to create their own knock-off version.
They could then undercut the competition by reducing manufacturing costs and jump the waiting list by purchasing directly from the pair under their Company name of Jabber the Hut Limited.
The advert on Facebook for their product boasted of a special ‘Happy Hour’ deal.
They had even added their own ingredients to help fight off the different variations of the germ that had developed in the former United Kingdom.
The Government recommended that a person be given a first shot of the vaccine which could provide up to 75% cover for six months and a further jab within twelve weeks to bring up immunity to 93%.
With the Jabber the Hut vaccine- which contained coffee and diet-coke and crystal meth- two shots was never enough.
Some people just coming back for more as they had become addicted.
Now in Galon Uchaf money had gone by the wayside.
They had reintroduced the barter system, as it didn’t affect their state benefits.
There was no Universal Credit level cut-off when it came to the number of chickens that you kept in the garden.
Outside the hut, queues were starting to form- all two metres apart that had been spray painted onto the pavement like a Premiership referee marking a wall from goal.
The fear of the Kent variant, meant that long queues just like that of the HGV lorry drivers near Dover were forming all the way down First Avenue.
A black limousine, now missing one of its wheel trims, arrived at the Hut and out stepped a weasel looking man surrounded by more bodyguards than Maria Carey.
He was ushered into the Hut to meet the owners but obviously to avoid shaking their hands.
‘Good Morning….said Hancock swiftly changing into a white lab coat for the photo opportunity before adopting the Tory Power stance which made him look a politician desperate to hold onto his deposit.
“Welcome Matt!” said Joe hands already shaking but not making contact.
Hannah curtsied and the sound of ripping of material could be heard in the street.
“I always wanted crotchless panties Mr Cock…!” she blurted out without thinking.
The glare from both Joe Boxer and Delroy Boyd was worse than the face-off at the Nigel Benn and Cwis Eubank fight.
Hancock then point up at the Price Tariff Board and enquired if it was a joke designed to raise spirits.
He read aloud:
‘One shot of Astra Zenaca for £3.00 or two for a Pfizer’.
He was surprised to also see a list of vegetables underneath and their vale on the Galon Uchaf equivalent of the FTSE index.
He then enquired as to where the vaccine was stored as it had to be below minus 80 and minus 60 degrees.
Joe opened the door and proudly displayed his storage area.
It was a former ice-cream van marked on the side as ‘Crony-Bell’.
“If you are a good boy you can have a ‘Moonshot Rocket Ice’ with it in exchange for one turnip- thanks to you we have lots of lolly!!!!” said Anna trying to be helpful.
“What about people who do not possess green fingers?” chuckled the Health Secretary.
“Then we have a watered-down version of Astra Zenaca for them…in Wales -we call it the ‘Poor Dab’!” replied Del.
“We do however warn them that there are some potential side effects- such as not being able to ever work again but strangely enough most people in this area are happy to accept such a risk!” interjected Joe.
“Who administers the vaccine?” asked Hancock.
Hannah stepped forward wearing a pair of Alan Titchmarsh gardening gloves and a phantom of the opera mask autographed by Michael Crawford covering her eyes only.
“Me!” she said proudly.
“I used to be a nurse and I had the pleasure of training under my good friends Baroness Munchausen Beverley Allitt and Dr Harold Shipman in Manchester!” Hannah continued.
“So that is how you got on the approved supply list….a Baroness!....of course!” said Hancock.
“Of course, I only put this gear on not to frighten the kids, as I tell they that I am really the ‘Masked Syringer’ off the Saturday Night Show of the same name!” continued Hannah.
“Although a lot of them already know how to find a vein, lots of them have seen their parents chasing the Welsh Dragon!” she continued in a matter of fact fashion.
“That was why we set up this Gym in the first place…interrupted Joe Boxer…to teach the females in the families how to dodge punches in the ring….otherwise it would be a bloodbath in this pandemic!”
“ A regular Quentin Quarantino!” if you like!” interrupted Del pleased at his comedic ad lib.
“Do people REALLY live like this in the 21 st Century?” asked Hancock of one of his aids horrified at the prospect.
“Never been to Merthyr before then Butt have u?” said an elderly woman sticking her head around the door.
“Who the Hell are you?” asked one of the Bodyguards from Serco.
“Mrs Paula Grady!” fired back the resident.
“Who wants to know?” she spat back with all the viciousness of a cat in the middle of a cat fight.
“Her Majesty’s Health Secretary” came the reply.
“Look…replied Paula….I queued up overnight to make sure that I was first in line for the jab…to give you an idea of what it was like - imagine the queue for Wimbledon or outside Harrods on Black Friday before Christmas….except with more Police sirens and Fire Fighters being pelted with stones!”
“Or in Merthyr the queue for the Dole Office!” she continued.
“Please let her in Officer….she has been outside since 5am in sub-zero temperatures…she will be our first guinea pig of the day!” said Hannah.
Joe tried to distract the Health Secretary from that comment.
“Before we inject them with the vaccine…we try to put the patient at ease by asking a few simple questions!” Joe said showing his authority.
“Name?” asked Joe shaking whilst holding the clipboard giving the appearance of the former football scores vidiprinter.
“Paula Grady!” replied the elderly woman.
“Address?” asked Joe.
“53 Thirteenth Avenue!” she replied.
Joe raised an eyebrow suspiciously as the Avenue count only went up to Twelve.
“Age?” Joe questioned further.
“Eighty years of age!” replied the old crone.
“Date of Birth!” he continued left eyebrow raised higher than Everton manager, Carlo Ancelotti.
“01/04/1991…sorry I meant 1941!” said Paula.
Joe reached across and snatched at the elderly woman’s beard sharply.
It revealed a much younger woman in her early thirties.
“Well Mrs Doubtfire…where do you think this is?..... America?” he said booting the woman up the arse out through the door of the hut.
“I thought it was suspicious….no-one has all their OWN teeth at that age on this Estate!” said Joe triumphantly.
“When can I have my vaccine? Because I am in category Ten!” moaned Paula (whose real name was Dani La Rue).
“Come back after Meghan Markle gets accepted back into the Royal Family with open arms!” said Joe.
“Come back any sooner and you will get a different jab!” shouted Delroy, as the attempted fraudster slunk down the street.
“So near…. so Spar!” Paula moaned shaking her head to the next imposter in the queue.
“I think we have seen enough!” said Hancock signalling to his lackies.
“What about our licence….will it be renewed?” asked Joe nervously.
“Can you make a donation to the Conservative Party?” asked the Health Secretary.
“Will a sack of turnips, some prizes from Castle Bingo and a chicken do?” asked Hannah.
“ I think we already have enough vegetables in the Cabinet already!” came the reply.
By Philip evans, 2021-03-05
“ When shall we three meet again?” asked Daniel Druff dramatically.
The remaining two members of his drama group at Merthyr Tydfil Technical College stared back from their online Zoom meeting and shrugged their shoulders.
“I think it best if the ‘Read Brigade’ meet in person to discuss our proposal, in order that no third party can infiltrate our Group or stop our plan…agreed?” continued Daniel.
His fellow Brigade members of Grant Aide and Douglas Deep nodded their approval from their respective bedroom laptop computers.
“5.00 am at the statue?” he suggested.
Daniel was the ringleader of a plot to get even with society over the issue of the unfair treatment of Black & Asian people caused by the British Empire and all it stood for.
His lecturers (when he saw them on the Merthyr Tydfil equivalent of the Open University) called him Danny Boy.
Post-Brexit English Nationalism was on the rise and like everything in this World this was the check and balance.
Danny Boy was the antidote to fascism.
He wanted to push back.
Daniel was so incensed after watching the 1970’s Alex Halley mini-series ‘Roots’, that he felt that he should make his stand with his Bristol brethren, who had demolished slave trader and capitalist Edward Colston’s statue and thrown it into the harbour.
Daniel wanted to do the same with other forms of slavery- just like the 19 th Century English Ironmasters, Crawshay, Guest & Homphfrey had done to Dowlais, Cefn Coed & Merthyr Tydfil but couldn’t find any statues to tear down of these evil tyrants.
The ‘Read Brigade’ decided that they would have to make do with the former Coal Mine- Owner Eddie Thomas statue in Georgetown- on the justification basis that he was always surrounded by people with black faces which were beneath him.
They felt that miners should be included in the definition of BAME- Black and Mineral Extracts- after all the history books showed that the members of the NUM had taken ‘Rodney King-style-beatings’ from the Police at Orgreave Colliery and other places around Great Britain in 1984.
There was no doubt that Daniel Druff had rebellion in his blood.
His family had descended from Irish immigrant ancestry that had come to Merthyr to work in the Ironworks after the terrible Potato Famine that had hit Ireland.
He was fed up of decades of Tory Rule and was particularly incensed, as the current Government had taken away his one chance of going abroad by removing the Erasmus Programme Post-Brexit.
No longer could he or his fellow students have the freedom to roam Europe or have roaming data but the inept handling of the coronavirus issue by the same Eton Mess, had meant that a visit to the European Continent was now out of the question for the foreseeable future.
He was determined to follow in the footsteps of the Chartists, who had met at the nearby Cambrian Arms Public House (currently closed in its modern- day form of the Lantern) and raise his own ‘Read Flag’ of defiance to the powers that be.
5am was a little early but if he wanted his disciples to be ‘Woke’ then this the appropriate time.
Besides, they would get a march on the Police at that time in the Morning, who were probably dozing in their vehicles on night shift.
Z ZZ- Cars most likely.
The call sign of the Read Brigade was that of an owl.
They really did give ‘two hoots’ to make sure their subversive agenda was met.
They had all agreed to dress the same.
Balaclava Road black ski-mask and khaki camouflage coats with tracksuit bottoms for warming their hands down the front- in true Gurnos tradition.
They wanted to give the appearance of Irish Terrorists but not too fashion trendy-they didn’t want the Sun newspaper to refer to them as the ‘New Look’ IRA.
Daniel was first on the scene and had brought with him the tools for the job.
His neighbour’s van had a sticker on it saying that no tools were left overnight in this van.
Daniel had made sure this statement was true by pinching them.
If there was one thing young Daniel had taken from his schooling at Penydre High School, it was his ability to break into vehicles.
He had a jack-hammer, sledgehammer (once registered to one Peter Gabriel) and a series of guy ropes.
He stood next to the tall figure of Eddie Thomas former boxing promotor, mine-owner and former Mayor of the Town.
He stood hands out as if sparring in the air.
Daniel was determined that this stand would make a show that the underclass of Merthyr Tydfil had risen again, once more against their puppet masters in Westminster and Cardiff.
They no longer spoke for him.
Talk and debate never got anywhere- it was time for direct action.
Grant was second to arrive and hooted loudly before he emerged from the thick bushes on Avenue De Clichy, left to go wild after the initial landscaping budget had run-out.
That was the way with Merthyr.
Nothing was ever maintained the way it should be.
Always cutting corners and opting for cheap rather than quality.
Grant had his own hidden agenda.
He wasn’t as committed to the cause of his fellow students as Daniel was.
His plan was to achieve notoriety and achieve a career path of his own.
Reality Show influencer.
Strictly Come Dancing.
I’m a Celebrity get me out of here.
Welcome Break Magazine Cover model.
Retire to Emmerdale.
Unlike Norwich Union- Grant really wanted to make a drama out of a crisis.
With that, forgetting to hoot came Doug Deep.
But then again there was little need -as you could hear him coming from a mile away, after all it is difficult to silent pushing five stolen Iceland trollies.
“ It’s no wonder Peter Andre is ripped….pushing this bloody lot uphill from Town!” he said gasping for breath like an asthmatic smoker with one lung.
“That Long- Covid really takes it out of you!” he rasped noisily.
“What’s that Gibberish written on the front handlebar?” asked Grant.
“Bee Gee language of course from the Isle of Man!” replied Danny Boy pulling their legs.
Grant and Doug looked blank.
“Welsh…c’mon boys it’s your Mother tongue!” said Daniel.
“What does it say then?” asked Doug.
“I have been trying to read what it says while I was pushing them!” he continued.
“May contain horsemeat!” stuttered Daniel trying to convert it into English for the pair of numbskulls.
“That’s not horsemeat!” proffered Grant as he pointed into the final ‘fifth columnist’ trolley.
“What the F*** is that!?” asked Danny.
“It’s my Jamiriqui hat for the start of the Friday, Bloody Friday rebellion….I bought it on e-bay for £5.00….only cost me £40.00 in postage too….bargain…!” replied Doug.
“Besides, you told me that you wanted us to get on national television and what better way than wearing a Red Indian Buffalo Hat?” Doug replied.
“Didn’t you think we would lose the support of the vegetablists?” said Danny wisely.
“Most of Merthyr is now vegan after seeing the looks on the faces of the sheep and cattle being transported up the Slip Road to Cowsvitz in Pengarnddu!” agreed Grant.
“Any way, no time to lose, the sun is coming up and we need to separate the statue from the Plinth of Wales before the Cunstabulary release what we are doing !” ordered Danny.
As he unloaded the jack-hammer, Grant – the electronics wizard- began to patch the power supply into the adjoining traffic lights shorting them out.
Just like the film Ocean’s Eleven, another Danny had a masterplan to help their cause by creating mayhem with the traffic in Avenue De Clichy which would prove even worse than the existing confusing road layout.
Ocean’s Eleven had nothing on River’s Three.
As Doug Deep dug deep, it came as a shock to the three would be rebels that the ground around the statue was so soft it took minimal effort for the statue to resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa or the Merthyr equivalent- the mining subsidence hit Edwardsville Swimming Baths where the shallow end was now 45 feet deep.
“Stop!” warned Danny, as the statue began to list at a 3.99 degree angle.
Both of the others ran into position to support the statue and were shocked to see how light it actually was.
“It’s hollow!” declared Danny surprised- noticing a tracing crack around the neck of the former Mayor- where his goldie looking chain would have been.
“A bit like Nigel Farage’s life is after achieving Brexit!” he continued.
“Bring the trollies around to the front!” ordered Danny, just like a foreman of the Council watching others toil away filling the potholes in the road with fairy dust.
Grant manoeuvred the Iceland metal carts with a mind of their own under the structure and lowered the statue onto them to take the weight.
“Take the knee!” shouted Danny back straining under the weight.
Doug immediately dropped to the floor like a Pre-Match Premiership footballer.
“No….you dopey bastard…HIS knee!” screamed Danny to avoid a sucker punch from the Welsh Muhammed Ali.
There was no cheer like the fall of Saddam Hussain in Baghdad, just a few grunts that would turn into full-blown hernias in 20 years time for the foot soldiers of the Read Brigade.
Now controlling one Iceland Trolley with a wonky wheel is hard enough, but attempting to guide five of them downhill on a slope towards the Civic Centre is a Herculean task best left to Greek hero of the Underworld Sisyphus.
The runaway train of carts began to pick up pace with the incline and like most drivers in Merthyr refused to stop at the junction with Avenue De Clichy.
There was a massive ‘wind rush’ as the students flew pass the Council Offices and out onto the Fire Station Bridge without stopping, mounting the pavement and finally only coming to a halt when it bashed into at the metal bridge railings- leaving the statue teetering like the van in the 1968 Italian Job film over the edge of the parapet.
“Oi…what are you bunch of teenage delinquents up to?” shouted local Official, Hectorz House, who appeared to be cleaning peanut butter off the outside of the windows of his office attached to what looked like a bungee chord.
“I may be suspended but I am not having that….Not In My Back Yard!” he screamed at the trio.
The volatile situation was bad enough as the three students had to use all their puny muscles to keep the statue from going over too early.
They wanted maximum publicity and the arrival of local ITV news correspondent, Hanna Barbara to film the event.
She had received a tip-off to be at the bridge at 5.15am for some excitement which would go far beyond the usual local news stories such as a goat being born in Vaynor with the face of Jesus Christ.
As she arrived the bridge, the Mexican stand-off with Hectorz and the Fire Brigade, just like the River Taff was in full flow.
“What are your demands?” asked Hanna pointing a microphone in the face of Doug, still partly covered in goatshit.
Doug just smiled weakly, as the cannabis from Amsterdam he had smoked early that morning to give him Dutch courage kicked in, as he tried in vain to hold onto the feet of the deceased boxer.
The Fire Brigade had already worked out a plan to defuse the situation and Fireman Sam ‘Sparkes’ Toomey was busy twirling a lasso around his head.
Its purpose to ‘rope a dope’ if he had too.
Hectorz House too was closing in on the students from the other side of the road.
“That’s close enough!” warned Danny, reaching into his pocket with one hand and producing a neatly typed list in Gaelic Font.
“The demands of the Read Brigade are as follows:
One : the immediate demolition of all statues of slave traders and Ironmasters in Wales.
Two: A declaration that Winston Churchill and Tony Blair be deemed War Criminals.
Three: That all student loans be wiped and replaced by Student Grants – except for those doing a degree in David Beckham Studies.
Four : The release of all political prisoners currently held on Gogglebox.
“ It is Merthyr Council Policy not to negotiate with Terrorists or Blackmailers!” replied Hectorz.
The crowd suddenly gasped as the Official had used the B word in public.
A Note was immediately added to his extensive Personnel File by a member of the Council CIA (Council Interview Associate).
“Now if you drop that Statue into the River Taff you will never get that job at the Guardian Newspaper as a Fifth Columnist and will be in big shit!” Hectorz continued.
“ I will see to it that you lot get more F’s on your college report than if it was marked by Gordon Ramsey!” hectored Hectorz.
The flooded River had turned black from the overflow of 58 unsafe spoil tips that still blight the Unitary Authority Land.
It was also receiving raw sewage from the Morlais Brook outlet , with turds now racing the squadron of plastic bottles dumped on the steep side of Abermorlais Tip.
Daniel was not an easy one to imidate.
He decided to fight fire with fire.
“Very soon we won’t be the only ones!”- he said pointing the boxer in the direction of Cardiff Bay.
As he did so, the top of the Boxing Promoter suddenly fell off into the raging River below.
Miraculously, just like a miracle of Fatima, the gathered crowd watched as Eddie Thomas face did a reverse Michael Jackson and turned from white into black.
Some began genuflecting.
Then even more miraculously for Merthyr, a series of Ten Pounds Notes began shooting out of the head of the statue like a broken cash machine.
“Well, I’ll be blowed!” said Hectorz, trying to hold onto his trousers- as the Monica Lewinsky career following female assistants from the Council surrounded the Dreamboat.
“I think you have discovered the fabled Reddy Money from the Atlanta Match in 1987!” he continued.
“Quick Fireman Sam….jump in and retrieve the monies we could plug the Gap in the Council Budget with that lot!”
The three students in a pre-determined plan all smiled at the ITV Camera, produced their mobile phones and shouted ‘Selfie!”
As they did so, gravity took effect and the remainder of the headless statue toppled into the fast-flowing Taff waters, before landing upright on a small island- standing there stranded just like Robinson Crusoe.
The Iceland Trollies, one by one, tried to follow the statue into the raging black waters as if drawn in by some ghostly invisible drunken hands on a night out at Koolers.
Just like the three students- they had to be forcibly restrained.
It was just another Black, Black Friday in Merthyr alright.
By Philip evans, 2021-01-31
There is a strange order of hatred on the motorways, highways and by-ways of England & Wales these days.
HGV Lorry drivers hate white van drivers, white van drivers hate slow moving buses, buses hate tail- gating BMW and Audi drivers, BMW and Audi Drivers hate Citroen Picasso Mobility car drivers that hog the middle lane.
But they only have one thing in common that unites them all.
All road users hate cyclists.
And today on a Sunny Autumn day of 2020, in the sleepy former Mining Town of Merthyr Tydfil there was to be no exception.
Cyclist, Hal Ford, had all the cycling gear on that made him look like he was busy competing in the Tour De France.
Yellow jersey, green lycra suit, last seen in a fitness video worn by TV Green Goddess, Diana Moran, and of course the obligatory state- of- the art cycling helmet.
As he came to a stop at the Taf Fechan Pontsticill reservoir, he dismounted his trusty Raleigh steed that had served him well for 150 miles.
He needed to stop not just to take in the beauty of his natural surroundings, but to give his meat and two veg a rest after the intensity of the journey too.
He looked down and did a quick tally- unlike American cyclist Lance Armstrong, they were all present and correct.
He then lit his roll-up cigarette with his 2014- Leeds Tour de France Souvenir Lighter.
He looked around at the trees still in leaf- red, yellow, brown and green of all different hues – he asked himself ‘why did people bother to fly to the West Coast of the USA -New England especially- to become ‘leaf peepers’, when they had this artist’s pallet of colour on their very doorstep in Old Wales.
Hal was now in his late Seventies and was always being stopped for photographs by people who thought he was former Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.
In the beginning, he had pointed out the error of their ways, but now had endorsed his new celebrity status by smiling for ‘selfies’ with his new- found fan base.
He sighed, as he lifted the lid of his cycle seat and produced his packed lunch.
In lockdown Wales, everything was closed – pubs, restaurants and even shops alike.
A bit like it had reverted to its’ natural state in the 1970’s.
Before Sunday Opening Hours came into effect and Chapels were the only place left open on a Sunday.
Legally speaking, as he had cycled down from a Tier Five Covid-19 area- he was not supposed to even be in the Principality at all, but he didn’t’ see the harm in it, as most of the youths in his native Liverpool Dock area were massed up closer to each other than a Ryan Air Economy Flight to Majorca.
The arrogance of youth.
Hal himself had suffered from it once but that was long ago- way before his testicle sack had dropped and he was forced to tuck them in the tops of his Liver-bird emblazoned football socks for safe keeping.
Unlike the Conservative Government, who had adopted a Laurel & Hardy approach- he had his own UK- wide Coronavirus strategy to survive the pandemic.
He would take a leaf out of Thomas Hardy’s book and head ‘far from the madding crowd’ and take sanctuary in the sparsely populated rural upper highland communities of the Welsh Valleys.
Exercise, good eating, and plenty of vitamin D sunshine would stand him in good stead, while the rest of the Country, spread the disease like a pre-potty-trained toddler left without a nappy.
The noise and vibration of bass music pounding broke his idyllic bucolic existence, as an overloaded Tory blue Vauxhall Corsa pulled up alongside him onto the reservoir road bridge.
For a minute, he thought he was back on Merseyside.
No sooner than the car had stopped, then four baseball -hatted youths tumbled out of the back seat of the car.
“What’s ‘appening Gramps?” nodded the first youth approaching the geriatric septuagenarian.
“ Two metres please!” countered Hal.
The youth had an unusual swagger about him like he was carry a rolled- up carpet under each arm.
“Steady on ‘Puff Daddy’!” sneered a second youth, whose bumfluff moustache and blackhead pimples made him look like a hyena pup.
As he approached the stone reservoir wall that had been raised up by the Private Utility Company (somewhat bizarrely advertised as being ‘not for profit’) to the height of four feet in case of the risk of a thousand- year flood.
The Hyena youth then openly produced a small clear bag of white powder and laid it out on the wall in a line before snorting it up through a McDonalds milk shake straw into his broken nose.
“That Devil’s Dandruff will kill you!” warned Hal.
“No! HE will kill you!” said Hyena.
“Do you know what a tear tattoo means?” said the first youth-as the driver of the car- Swastika, also sporting a blue Nazi emblem on his far right of his cheek close to his ear.
“He is an Everton fan?” asked Hal sarcastically.
Hyena ignored the remark as his head was buzzing with more Charlie than the Vietnamese Jungle in the late 60’s.
“It means he has killed a man!” Hyena boasted proudly.
“Good for him!” said Hal at the first sign of danger mounting his Raleigh bike.
“Now if you don’t mind, I must be on my way!”
“Oi Corbyn, ain’t you gonna have a selfie with the Crew then or what?” demanded Swastika.
“No!” said Hal pushing off from the kerb and pedalling away from the Corsa, as fast as his plastic hip replacement would allow.
“Oi Corbyn…I thought you were a man of the people?” protested Hyena.
As ‘Corbyn’ disappeared around the bend of the road heading towards Taf Fechan Houses, Hyena was not a happy bunny.
“I thought HE was supposed to one of us lazy lot, supporting the people that don’t want to work and cop handouts from the English for free?” said Hyena.
Out of the car appeared four more of the great unwashed.
From a safe distance away hidden by the tall deciduous pine trees, Hal thought it reminded him of a Roy Castle’s Record Breakers attempt to see how many people could fit into a Mini.
Completely pointless but compelling 1970’s children’s TV.
He looked back to see if he was being following by those ‘Woollybacks’.
That was an abusive term for Welsh people but specifically for louts like the ones he had just encountered.
Every City, every Town had its fair share of scum- and clearly Merthyr Tydfil had theirs.
It was such a shame that the great beauty of the Welsh Countryside was being ruined by the likes of this kind of people.
Halford recoiled in horror, as he witnessed the car being cleared of rubbish at the expense of Mother Nature, as out of the Vauxhall Corsa was dumped a brown MuckDonalds bag, week old KFC buckets with chicken bones and of course used Lottery Scratch-cards.
He wondered what sort of upbringing these youngsters had received and what the future held for them.
With almost all manufacturing jobs now all transferred to Child Labour in Asian sweatshops by ‘British’ Entrepreneurs- there was little or no-hope for this generation of rebels in finding work even if they wanted to.
Most of their families were third generation that had not had a working parent.
An endless cycle of ever-decreasing circles of poverty, food banks and alcoholism.
His home- town of Liverpool had suffered under decades of Tory rule- as if still being punished by the Government of the day for the stubbornness of Derek Hatton and Co in the Eighties.
The Welsh Valleys - strong Labour heartlands too- were no longer the last great bastion of the working man and trade unionism- there were precious few still employed and with the inequality of the Council Tax funding system they were rapidly turning into Rotten Boroughs.
Hal Ford still saw a glimmer of hope for the upland Town- it was perched on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park and the future -once the Covid-19 Pandemic was over- then the Town had a chance to remarket itself as a Tourist Town.
The reason he had decided to come to South Wales was the lure of the clean air, the open road, the Taff Trail and a chance to visit Bike Park Wales.
Whilst all the jobs had gone to Asia on the plus side, so too had the pollution.
Halford decided he had better get on, as the Scummy Six were all re-entering the car and that meant they would soon be behind him on this B-road in a few minutes time.
He started to pull away on his bicycle and soon realised as he began to slow, that the road would lead to a sharp incline after a series of bad blind bends.
Inside the Corsa, the four that were jammed onto the back seat were busy fighting for whatever space their different body shapes would allow.
Pencil was fine- he was so thin from malnutrition -he could fit anywhere.
The object of most complaint was the room that supersized ‘Jack the Lard’ was taking up and that he was becoming a little too handy with ‘Easy Rider’.
The complaints only subsided after Stinkbomb did what he was famous for and a dropped a silent but deadly chapel fart that not only stopped the car mid-acceleration but also created a mass rush to open the windows.
Both driver Swastika and Hyena in the shotgun position were fine but trapped in the back of the tiny car with child-locks on – the smell malingered in the back- causing each of the trapped occupants to gag and retch- whilst Stinkbomb sat proudly savouring his own faecal aroma.
“Why is it that a fart only smells bad to those that didn’t do it? He pondered the age- old question aloud.
“You are only one fart away from a shit!” complained Pencil.
“You better not stain my seats again Stinky or you will be the second victim killed by me!” warned Swastika.
Stinkbomb went quiet both ends, as he shivered at the prospect of such a threat.
He knew that Swastika had a violent temper, which he had inherited from his abusive Father- a former amateur boxer that had taken one too many punches to the head.
In a Town like Merthyr, one of the few paths out of the gutter was the ancient gentleman’s art of pugilism.
Swastika had killed a man in only his second fight in a bout at Rhydycar Leisure Centre- hence the tattooed teardrop on his face, which was in fact a boxing glove gone wrong.
He didn’t deliberately set out to kill his opponent, but he was caught up in the legalised violence of the moment and with the furore of the crowd egging him on he just went for it.
Stinkbomb had the capability of killing people with his ring too- if only someone had informed the Bio-Weapons research facility at Porton Down in Berkshire, then they wouldn’t have had to engineer the Covid-19 virus in the first place.
Front windows down, the Corsa made its way along the length of the reservoir road with driver Swastika trying desperately to pick-up speed with the weight in the car in a car fitted with a 50 MPH speed limiting device.
Up in the distance, Hyena could just make out the lycra- clad rear end of Halford, as he struggled up the steep incline.
As he got closer, Hyena was puzzled as to what was going on in the outfit that ‘Corbyn’ was wearing.
Standing up off the seat trying to pedal hard, Hal Ford had developed a tear in the material over his long journey.
Clearly his testicles had gone South for the Winter and surrounded by a mound of white pubic hair it was quite a revolting sight.
Hyena asked Swastika – “Is that old geezer smuggling a nest of baby swans?”
Hyena loved birds.
So much so, he was always stealing eggs from nests in the Spring and after watching the plethora of cookery shows on television, made a fine Tree Sparrow Omelette too.
He used to trap ‘Greenies’ -Greenfinches and Siskins in his nets and sell them on to International Traffickers via Swansea Market.
Well -he had to find a way of sourcing his drug habit somehow.
As the car eventually drew alongside the puffing pensioner, he snorted in a deep breath and from the back of his throat compiled a huge ‘Greenie’ of his own and let fly with a loogie that struck the glasses of Hal Ford with some force.
Blinded by the snot, Hal Ford careered off the bend and into some old buddleia bushes which thankfully broke his fall.
“This is OUR turf!” shouted Hyena as the car chugged up the road as if powered by kangaroo petrol.
After checking he was uninjured, Hal Ford wiped the phlegm off his glasses and shaking with rage he set off furiously after his assailant.
“Doesn’t that scumbag know there is a pandemic on!” he fumed as he set his bike to automatic battery power.
As he caught up with the struggling car towards the prow of the second hill, he held out his right hand which contained the corkscrew of his Swiss Army knife (which he had obtained free with a Year-long- Subscription to Reader’s Digest) and proceeded to scrape the full length of the car with the point.
“Have a taste of your own medicine!” shouted Hal Ford, copying pensioner vigilante Harry Brown, as his light-weight bike flew past the overladen Corsa.
Inside the car, the sound of metal on metal was met with horror by the driver.
“Look what you have done!” screamed Swastika at Hyena.
“ You have started another Turf War over a couple of baby swans!”.
“There is no need to have a Cob on!” sulked Hyena at his admonition by the Gang Leader.
Hyena knew he would have to displace the anger onto Corbyn otherwise he would feel the wrath of Swastika.
A bit like what the Mainstream Media had done with foreigners before the Brexit vote.
Hal Ford felt great.
The worm had turned- all his life he had shied away from conflict situations but now in his Seventies, he no longer cared about his own life.
How much time did he have left anyway?
He was only a short bike ride away from the Nursing Home after all.
Those scumbags had started it and he was determined to finish it.
It could have been the onset of early dementia, but he now saw himself as Don Quixote and his trusty steed- his Raleigh Chopper – that of Sancho Panza.
As he chuckled maniacally to himself, Hal Ford reached yet another crossroads in his life.
Did he turn right through the village of Ponsticill or left towards the Dolygaer Outdoor pursuits centre?
“Which way did the old bastard go?” said Hyena as they reached the same crossroads.
“Ask that bloke in the Beanie Hat!” suggested Easy Rider from the backseat.
“Oi Butt...have you seen a pensioner on a weird bike?” asked Hyena of the village simpleton, Paul Henry.
He stared back at them for a minute before coming closer to the car.
The Village Covidiot stuck his face in through the open window and began to count the occupants.
“One...two...four...three!” he said.
“Never mind!” said Hyena.
“It’s Corbyn....he must have gone to the left!” suggested Pizza-Face.
“Left Turn Clyde!” ordered the runt not realising it had a film reference.
Hal Ford now had a five- minute head-start on the Hyena Pack and was determined to make it count.
He knew he could outrun his pursuers going uphill but not on the flat or going downhill.
As he left the village of Ponsticill, heading towards Pontsarn, he lifted his legs up off the peddles and free-wheeled, just like Paul Newman in Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid.
Very soon raindrops were falling on his head too, as the grey Autumn sky decided to add some more profit to Welsh Water plc.
He flew down the hill slowed only by the Meredith Lake near Bragdy Cottages, Vaynor, out of the thin mist appeared a semi-derelict Spanish Villa and decided he would hole up in its grounds until danger passed.
Sure enough it was a wise decision, as the Corsa suddenly passed the front gate at speed, taking the corner on two wheels with only gravity and the weight of Jack the Lard-Face bring the car level again.
Fortunately, there was no car coming the other way on the bend.
Swastika clearly hadn’t passed his driving theory test studying the correct Highway Code Manual, but from hours playing the video game ‘Grand Theft Auto’.
It was an uncomfortable ride for the front seat passenger, but in the back of the car it was terrifying, as they were thrown this way and that.
Stinkbomb was the only unmoveable object and that was because he had followed through and was now stuck to the seat.
He was now subject to a flurry of arm punches from Easy Rider, as the loose woman joined him due to seepage.
“Open that window for F**** Sake!” pleaded Pencil.
“I could chew that one!” he protested giving his fellow gang member an evil look.
The Corsa now reached another Crossroads.
“Did Corbyn go left up the Sanatorium Hill or on and up through Trefechan?” asked Swastika intent on revenge now that his car had been scratched AND his back leather seats ruined.
“Perhaps we passed him?” suggested Easy Rider.
“He can’t have got THIS Far without us catching him!” said Swastika punching the dashboard angrily- almost setting off the passenger side airbag.
“We could stop, wait for him and get out of the car?” pleaded Stinkbomb sitting in a puddle of his own shit.
“Senor Corbyn....so what do I owe this great privilege ?” came a Spanish Voice from behind him.
Hal Ford looked up and noticed a pug-ugly dark- haired woman, high up on the veranda of the building.
“I last saw you at Glastonbury when we all sang O Jeremy Corbyn!” she continued.
“I will be down now!” said the only European still left in Britain.
In the distance, Corbyn could hear the sound of a labouring Corsa engine getting closer.
He hid his trusty steed in the bushes out of sight of the road.
The door was opened and Corbyn stepped inside without invitation.
Unfortunately, he was spotted by Hyena entering the Villa, just as he rounded the bend.
“The canny old bastard just ducked into the old Addams Family House!” Hyena raged.
“What do we do?” asked Stinkbomb, desperately hoping to be allowed home by the gang leader to ‘clean up in aisle one’.
“Just like we always do with the grannies on pension day, we wait for them to come out and then mug him!” suggested Hyena.
“I’ve got a better idea!” said Swastika, der Fuhrer of the self-named Cyfarthfa Corsa Crew, eyes rolling black like an epileptic Great White Shark.
“We dump one or two of the foot soldiers off to stand guard, while we nip to the petrol station to buy a can of petrol and burn the bastard out in true Gurnos-style!”
Each of the ‘foot soldiers’ shit-welded together in the cramped seat, glanced nervously at one another.
It was one thing being involved in deep shit for the gang that controlled their activity, but this kind of arson was a whole different ball game.
“Out Jack the Lard...you’re on first watch!” order Swastika.
“Why me?” protested the obese sixteen- year- old, whose age had now been surpassed in stones on the weighing scale.
“Because the car will move faster without your weight- you great fat lump!” cackled Hyena- who had earned his nickname from the sound of his evil laughter.
Since he had teamed up with Swastika, the two had developed a reputation locally as the evilest duo since Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.
In their Pen-y-dre End of Term School Report, Swastika was described by his frustrated teacher as being the most likely pupil to commit a McDonald’s massacre.
After much struggling out of the Corsa tumbled Jack with a huge sigh of relief from the other three who no longer needed to take turns to buddy breathe.
Swastika before setting off, opened the glove compartment of the Corsa and reached inside.
He then boastfully produced a gun and waved it in the air just like he was part of the overthrow of an African Military Dictator.
“What are you going to do with that?” asked Easy Rider nervously.
“I am going to pop a cap in his wrinkly ass!” he said with all the nonchalance of Woody Harrelson in the film Natural Born Killers.
She gulped with fear.
Stinkbomb was a little less concerned, as he recognised that the gun was in fact a Diana SP50 slug-gun.
It also explained the mystery of who had been responsible for the recent spate of cats on his local estate that had died from constipation.
The car sped off in search of the closest petrol station.
Inside the Spanish House, Hal Ford was sat on the sofa holding a fine bone- china cup of tea.
“Please tell me Mr Corbyn, did you come down here on a rally?” questioned the Spanish Senorita.
“Well- a Raleigh...yes!” said Hal Ford trying not to lie by referring to his bike.
“I am Barca Loner and have been a big fan of the Hard Left for a long time!” she said putting her hand on the knee of his lycra-clad outfit.
Hal looked at his temporary host and realised he was in trouble.
Hal had jumped out of saucepan straight into the fire.
Did he remain in the house at the mercy of a local ‘cougar’ or take his chances outside with the pack of hyenas stalking him.
He felt trapped.
“So, what brings a European to come and live in Wales -especially after Brexit?” asked Hal trying to change the subject.
“My Family originally came to Merthyr from Toledo, Spain to work in the great Steelworks here- along with many other families- we were trying to avoid the clutches of General Franco and the Far Right-and Merthyr with its left-wing leanings seemed the perfect place!” said Barca.
“I have heard you are a lover of your allotment and am interested to discover what size Marrow you have?” asked the desperate Widow.
“Is that Picasso Cubist painting an original up there?” enquired Hal once again trying not to be drawn into a conversation about a bodily function that his body no longer had any relevance for.
“That is a portrait of my family!” said the surprised Senorita.
That figures thought Corbyn.
“Do you think it is well hung?” asked Barca moving her hand up closer to his crotch- but unwittingly further away from Hal’s genitalia.
“So, tell me Barca how long have you been a Labour voter?” asked Hal.
“For decades now- I was drawn in by the dashing good looks of Harold Wilson in the 1970’s and have long had the urge to be a real supporter of a good union....I love a Red Wedge me!” she said pressing her body against Hal seductively.
“Could I use your bathroom?” said the nervous pensioner.
“Dodgy Prostate!” he said dragging himself up off the sofa.
“Third door on the left!” said Barca frustratedly.
Outside the Spanish Villa, Jack the Lard was struggling to read the name of the Property on the dilapidated name plate- ‘Hy Brazil’ he concluded.
“Sounds like a made-up place!” he thought to himself, as he sat down on the wall of Dol- Y- Coed House close-by.
No sooner than he had done so than he heard a frail voice from the side entrance.
“Oi, Humpty Dumpty get off my wall now before I call the police!” said the voice.
Jack turned his head only to see a male pensioner on a walking-frame in a dressing gown and slippers despite the fact it was nearly 2pm.
“F*** Me....if it’s not Captain Tom!” said Jack unperturbed by the threat.
Even so he stood up off the wall.
“What are doing hanging around here?” queried Jerry Attrick, the original founder of Vaynor Neighbourhood watch.
“Would you believe admiring the architecture and history of one of Merthyr’s Historical buildings?” replied Jack.
The pensioner softened his tone.
“Not for one second!” said Jerry.
“Are you casing the joint?” he continued.
“No...said Jack the Lard....I am no burglar....but I AM hungry!”
The pensioner disappeared for a few minutes and then returned with a plate of biscuits which he left on the wall six feet away from the teenager.
“Here you are then but be warned if you try and break into my house, I will set my dog on you!” threatened Jerry pointing into his garden before returning into his house.
Jack could see a huge dog standing upright was attached to a chain.
An attack dog that is silent and doesn’t move?
That’s odd thought the teenager digesting his third digestive.
I wonder what breed of dog it is?
Perhaps it was a ninja?
Or it was stuffed?
After all you had to be very strange to live out in the Country.
Back inside Hy Brazil, Hal Ford was stuck in an uncompromising position.
One leg inside the bathroom and one leg outside reaching for the external window ledge.
His lycra suit was not the best material in the World for climbing.
His ‘Beth N Gallows’ was scraping around the metal catch.
He was determined to get away with his dignity intact.
“Are you okay in there?” shouted Barca through the locked door.
“Fine....just waiting for the engine to start!” he called back trying to sound calm.
For a brief second, he just hung there like the last turkey in the shop, before thankfully the lycra material finally gave way and gravity took effect and aided his great escape sending him tumbling towards the floor into the rear garden of the Villa.
He was soon surrounded by a colony of huge Black Celtic Rabbits- a strange sight even for Hy Brazil.
He blinked his eyes and they all magically disappeared.
He raced towards his Chopper with his own chopper hanging like a limp game bird on a poacher’s belt.
Retrieving his bicycle from the front bushes, he set off past the heavyweight schoolboy who was busy devouring the last of the biscuits and too stunned to react swiftly.
As he sped around the corner, he was pursued on foot by Jack the Lard, who suddenly disappeared from the bike’s rear-view mirror.
As the gabion wall reinforcement for the tarmac road gave way, Jack the Lad tumbled down the Pontsarn Viaduct embankment doing the ultimate roly-poly.
Hal sped on towards the Pontsarn Inn and as he rounded the corner was horrified to see that the Vauxhall Corsa was coming in the other direction.
He swerved away from the oncoming car, who had tried at the last moment to run him over.
Like a modern- day joust, the car did a doughnut turn in the former car park of the Inn before chasing after the pensioner on the bike.
Hal knew had a split-second decision to make.
Did he turn sharp left passed the Aberglais Inn or continue on towards Trefechan.
He decided that the sharp bend would be more difficult for the heavily laden car and opted for the direction towards the Blue Pool and the steep Sanatorium Hill.
The narrowness of bridge might also cause the car difficulties too.
He sped on around the bends at ridiculous speeds skidding on fallen wet leaves as he went.
He knew he would have to get across the ancient bridge first, if he was to have any chance of escape.
The car had to do a nine-point turn at the Aberglais crossroads sign, which slowed up its’ high -speed pursuit significantly.
Hal Ford could hear the Corsa Engine closing in behind him but could sense victory as he reached the narrow bridge.
He was however startled when he heard the loud bang of the car colliding with the bridge wall and wedging itself sidewise in the structure.
So much so that he wobbled on his bike, losing his balance and struck a rusty metal signpost warning of the narrow bridge- sending him flying over the handlebars and buckling his front wheel in the process.
When Hal regained his senses, he suddenly realised that the driver, Swastika had managed to free himself from the car wreck and was standing next to the wedged vehicle pointing a pistol at him.
He also noticed that there was a liquid leaking from the car spreading out onto the bridge road surface from an open cannister.
Hal reached into his belt before putting his hands up in the air in an act of surrender.
“Give me a sporting chance!” pleaded Hal of the cold- blooded murderer, as he stood there defencelessly with his bollocks hanging out of the enlarged hole in his undercarriage.
“Okay!” said Swastika, enjoying the power trip and finally having his nemesis at his mercy.
Looking down at his human cat’s cradle, Hal still had one trick up his sleeve.
He struck the lighter flint and flung it at the car.
Almost as if in slow motion, the metal slug projectile passed the lighter in mid-air as it lodged in the left gonad of the pensioner.
Hal hadn’t had any feeling in his numb nuts for years.
The lighter too found it’s target.
It ignited the fuel pool and the subsequent explosion blew the car and its occupants apart, sending Swastika high into the air and off the bridge towards his death in the Blue Pool below.
Hal was once again knocked to the ground.
When he came around some 20 minutes later, he suddenly realised he was being shaken by a masked policeman.
“What the Hell happened here?” PC Wise questioned.
Hal just shrugged his shoulders and pleaded ignorance.
“Sir, Name & Address?” asked the Copper.
“Jeremy Corbyn- Islington North!” replied Hal in a posh London accent.
“Okay....on your bike!”
By Philip evans, 2020-10-14
“Wake up, you selfish bastard!” said his wife pouring a cup of cold water on her husband’s face.
There was still no movement from her Spouse.
Shelley Jones was beside herself with emotion.
It was a combination of anger and worry, but mostly fear at the situation she found herself in.
She had a bad feeling about booking her holiday on the Cassandra Line Cruise Ship, the Corona Vires, but now her premonition was coming true.
She had checked his wrist for a pulse and even put her make-up mirror under his nose to see if he was still breathing, but there was nothing-no sign of life from the love of her life Davey Jones.
The pair had been married for over 60 years and her spouse had promised her for decades that he would one day take her on a Mediterranean cruise around the Amalfi coastline of Southern Italy and now reality was hitting home that that he would never take her anywhere ever again, let alone on holiday.
Worse still she was frantic, as the pair had taken a chance by going on the trip of a lifetime without travel or life insurance.
It had not been economically viable, as with all their ailments, the cost of insurance was more than the actual cost of the cruise.
A gentle rap of knuckles on the cabin door broke her thought pattern and put her into even more of a panic mode.
“Mrs Jones, it’s only the Ship’s Steward, Camp David, checking you are both okay, it’s just that your husband looked a little peaky last night at the Wild Weekend 1970’s Strictly Come Dancing show!” said the crewman talking through the door.
“Everything is fine, thank you David, my husband was sitting next to the that John Travolta tribute act last night, so I guess he probably caught ‘Saturday Night Fever’ off him!” said Shelley trying to joke and sound as normal as possible in the circumstances.
“Good one…. replied the concerned Steward “Is he with you now?”
Shelley had to think on her feet.
“He said he was going for a walk on the deck earlier!” replied the troubled woman.
‘Strictly’ speaking, it was not a lie as Davey WAS no longer with her.
Camp David thought this was odd, as for the entire journey Mr Jones had been confined to a wheelchair.
He decided he would check with the occupier of the next cabin instead.
The steward rapped on cabin door number 12 and a friendly face appeared.
“Sorry to bother you Mrs Sun but do you know if everything is okay with the Jones’s next door?” asked Camp David.
“Well I think so…. said the North Korean….I am sure that I heard Mrs Jones giving orders to her husband about an hour ago….so I think everything is normal!”
Camp David left the corridor and went back to his job preparing for tonight’s extravaganza in the Ballroom.
As the sound of the footsteps faded in the corridor, Mrs Jones let out a huge sigh of relief.
So did Mr Jones too, but unfortunately his was a death rattle, as the remaining oxygen left the deceased’s body.
Shelley was in a difficult predicament.
What did she do?
She had heard rumours of a possible viral infection on board ship, which led to whispers of a pandemic, which could lead to quarantine and an inevitable lockdown on the Cruise Ship.
At that point, her biggest regret was not being able to afford a cabin on the outside of the ship, so she could have disposed of her husband’s body neatly.
She didn’t feel guilty about the thought, because her husband had always reminded her of the saying ‘See Naples and Die’ but she didn’t think it was his intention to follow orders, after all he never listened to any of her commands over the last six decades, so why would he start now?
Besides, he was as much of an old trout as she was, as he loved his swimming and spent more time at his local swimming baths than Coronation Street’s Len Fairclough.
Whilst she didn’t want to ‘go overboard’ but she knew that her late husband would have to do a Robert Maxwell, otherwise she would be in real trouble.
As she sat on the bunk bed next to the corpse of her late husband, she knew deep down that he would understand and do the same for her in the circumstances.
She looked at the bag of bones that her husband had unfortunately become.
He had not quite reached his 80 th birthday but had less meat on him than a vegan sausage.
Even during his lifetime Davey Jones had never been heavier than seven stone and people reckoned that he made his fellow hometown boxer Johnny Owen look fat.
Shelley was two years his junior and at nearly 78 was nearly double his weight.
Davey had one of those magic metabolisms that he could eat anything he wanted but never put any weight on, whereas she would only have to look at a mars bar for the calories to register on her childbearing hips.
That’s why he always looked so dashing in his bowtie and evening suit, whenever he played his violin at the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea.
He was proud of the fact that for nearly 50 years, he had been a paid professional musician, playing second fiddle only to his Wife.
Davey Jones was not quite a virtuoso, but he had supported the best that Welsh talent had to offer including Katherine Jenkins, Charlotte Church, Aled Jones and of course Maggot from Goldie Looking Chain.
But now Shelley was worried about a different kind of maggot that was appearing beneath the skin of her dead partner.
She knew that very soon the corpse would begin to smell, as just like his favourite conductor, Andre Previn and his favourite classical musician Mozart he too would soon start to ‘de-compose’.
“Roll over Beethoven!” she said aloud, as she pushed his tiny skeletal legs further back on the lower bunk, as she wondered how she could get away with disposing of the body without being put into the frame for his potential murder.
She hadn’t killed him of course, but she had threatened to do so on many occasions during their marriage, especially when he had farted under the bedcovers waiting for her to detect its unwholesome aroma, before collapsing into fits of laughter.
Even now in death she could smell his unique odour- albeit strangely more palatable than his usual brand.
The alarm clock next to the bed sounded shrilly and Shelley jumped nervously.
Unlucky cabin 13 almost claimed another victim, as Shelley hadn’t taken her heart tablets with all the events of the early morning.
She remembered then that both her and Dave had booked earlier in the week to go ashore together and visit the ancient Roman site of Pompeii & Herculaneum.
It was a must for history lovers to go and witness the unlucky people in 79AD, caught in a pyroclastic flow whilst eating Anno Domino’s Pizza.
Dave particularly wanted to go as he had heard that one of the dead bodies frozen in volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius had had his boner preserved for over 2000 years.
He always said that the fellow should be recorded in the Guinness Book of Records for such a feat, as he himself couldn’t last much longer than 20 minutes.
What a way to go he had marvelled.
Shelley now faced a difficult choice.
Did she fold her late husband up like a medical student’s anatomy chart and hide the remains under the bed and tell everyone truthfully that her husband had ‘done a bunk’ or did she dress her dead husband up and try and pass him off as a living corpse?
After all she had been a talented ventriloquist back in the days when she had trod the boards of the old music halls.
It was how she had first met Davey Jones backstage waiting to go and perform her act with a camel puppet called Hump-Free.
His compliments had ‘resin-ated’ with her, and soon after, he played with the strings of her heart too, as the couple got married with their respective parent’s permission at the tender age of 18.
Most people said it wouldn’t last, but they were all now dead, so they never got to see the longevity of their marriage, principally down to the intake of secondary smoking which was prevalent in the theatres at that time.
Shelley used to have to wash her puppet weekly as it stank of cigarettes -a different kind of Camel smell.
The puppet eventually died too of nicotine poisoning.
After years of puppeteering, Shelley’s next logical move was as a prostate examiner at her local hospital, she did this for two years but she then had to give up the job as it was costing her too much by way of lost jewellery.
All this time, Shelley had wanted children of her own, but as Dave was now earning more from his musical tours of Great Britain and the occasional trip to the continent, it was put on the back burner.
The road was not the place to bring up a child.
And all of a sudden at 40 years of age her body-clock had stopped ticking and that was that.
They still enjoyed practising of course, but her ovaries no longer bore neither eggs nor fruit.
“Are you ready?” asked a female Korean voice in the corridor.
Shelley knew she had to act quickly and decided to lift her husband into his wheelchair, dress him up in a carnival mask, acquired a couple of days ago on their stop in Venice and prop him up with pillows to keep him upright.
She opened the door and the suspicious Mrs Sun suddenly gagged at the smell.
Sensing the fact that her new neighbour was close to vomiting she bluffed the stink off.
“That’s the last Gwyneth Paltrow candle I buy from Goop…does something smell fanny to you too?” said Shelley fronting up.
She quickly shut the door but being extremely careful not to push the corpse forward and out of the wheelchair.
They walked in silence for a few floors until they reached the lift.
“Is there a reason why your husband is wearing that mask in this heat?” asked the Widow Sun.
Shelley wanted to punch her, but didn’t want to start World War 3 with Asia.
“That’s private!” snapped back the newest member of the Widow Club.
Shelley tried to distract her fellow tourist with small talk until they reached the gangway ramp.
“Are you looking forward most to seeing Pompeii or Gracie Field’s holiday island?” asked Shelley.
“Capri… Sun!” said Shelley taking an orange squash from a waiter holding a drinks tray for those tourists embarking on the day trip.
Now came the tricky bit.
Keeping her dead husband upright on the slope.
She couldn’t bring him down backwards, as it would be too suspicious- so she plonked a rucksack in front to wedge him in.
“I always take supplies with me when I go ashore!” she said to Mrs Sun as looked on at the roughness and speed that she did so.
There was no reaction from Davey Jones.
“Your husband is a bit quiet? …. isn’t he?” said Mrs Sun.
“Are you OK indy chair Mr Jones?” she continued in broken Eeenglish.
The Welsh Widow then came out with the internationally recognised phrase used all around the modern World.
“F*** Off ….!” before adding “Short Round!” said Shelley out of the side of her mouth make it sound like it had emanated from beneath the Venetian Carnival mask.
Mrs Sun was taken aback at being sworn at and mistaken for the Asian boy character in the film Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom.
“Sorry for that!” but my husband helped build the bridge over the River Kwai in the Second World War and as you can see, he wasn’t ever able after to put any weight back on due to the trauma!” said Shelley talking and lying through her back teeth at the same time.
“This way to the mini-bus for Pompeii & Herculaneum!” interrupted handsome Italian tour guide, Toni Belle.
Shelley fiercely resisted any attempt to help with her husband and motioned to Tony that she wanted a private word in his ear.
“My husband is a very private individual and is deeply embarrassed that he has developed late in life a flatulence problem- it is so bad he cannot stick his own smell- hence the Venetian Mask-he asked me to ask you if he can travel in the trailer instead!” said Shelley.
“This ees no possible Madame…the Polizia would… how you say pull me ….if we didda that!” replied the Italian Stallion guide in pidgin English.
“I’d pull him!” offered the frustrated Widow Mrs Sun.
“Mrs Sun would you be kind enough to tell Mr Belle what my room smelt like this morning!” countered the North Korean.
Mrs Sun did a Princess Diana mime of placing her two fingers down her own throat.
“If you don’t believe me sniff him yourself!” said Mrs Jones in an assertive way.
Tony Belle did what he was told and lowered his head above the Welsh version of Ironside.
“F*** Off!”….” Mussolini!” said the ventriloquist.
Tony Belle recoiled not only in shock but also due to the deathly aroma of the corpse.
“Vecchia Scoreggia” he said in Vulgar Latin to the mini-bus driver.
“Okay….but only if you sitta wiv heem….I will tell the Polizia that you must have jumped on board without my knowing!” said the Italian using his Roman Nose discretion.
“What did he say?” asked Mrs Sun.
“Old Fart!” replied Mrs Jones.
“Was he referring to him or to you?” said the Korean.
“Both!” said the Welsh woman.
Having loaded both her husband and herself onto the back of the trailer and applied the brake on the wheelchair, the mini-bus set off with the other twenty tourists for the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the distance, the passengers could see the shadow of the volcano Vesuvius – the fiery mountain that had caused the tragedy nearly two Millenia ago.
The driver then put on his Phil Collins CD from the eighties and started singing….
”Oh oh oh… VVVV Vesuvius…. “
Mrs Jones could hear the Latin Lover’s wailing from the back of the trailer and was now grateful she had chosen to be outside the bus instead.
Her husband was now literally buzzing, as lots of flies were following and landing on the dead body- just like they automatically radar in on fresh dog shit.
As the bus swung its way around the narrow streets of the Italian Riviera, it was all Shelley could do to keep her husband upright and stop the masque of red death from slipping.
It was even worse when they arrived at the main street of Pompeii, the Via Dell’Abbondansa, as it was made out of cobbles of Roman marble.
Fortunately, the way ahead had been barred by stepping stones from that classical period to stop chariots from striking civilians on their way to the Forum or to pray at the Temples of Jove, Isis or Artemis.
Shelley let out her own silent prayer to Jupiter.
Perhaps with all these dead bodies around preserved in ash one more might not make much difference?
Shelley suddenly felt homesick for her hometown of Merthyr Tydfil, as she wheeled her departed spouse around ruined buildings, surrounded by graffiti and plastered bodies lying prostrate on the floor covered in ash.
She marvelled at the Gladiator Amphitheatre and the writing and the names of the authors from 2000 years ago.
‘Vibius Restitutus slept here alone and missed his darling Urbana’
‘Commodus era qui’- Russell Crowe
‘Titter Ye Not’- Frankie Howerdus.
She parked the wheelchair and it’s decaying occupant in Casa di P Casca Longus and sidled out of the ancient but restored Roman Villa.
“I say….. you slinking out ……you can’t leave him there…..it’s not an OAP creche you know!” shouted a visiting History Professor from Oxford University.
Ashen-faced, Mrs Jones turned around and felt obliged to go back to reclaim her excess baggage.
What was she going to do for two hours with a dead body?
In the heat, the smell was starting to get worse and she had a number of evil looks off a variety of Europeans and not just because of Brexit either.
They suspected that her husband’s colostomy bag needed changing.
As she wheeled her departed husband around, she marvelled at the splendour of the buildings.
She had been to the Roman Baths in Bath before but this was nothing compared to the size and layout of an entire city frozen in time.
A snapshot of living history albeit a dead one too.
Reading the graffiti and looking at the nature and layout of the buildings- little had in reality changed over the 2000 years of humankind.
There were still bakeries, public baths, independent local shops and of course amphitheatres and Forums.
The only difference was humans could frequent all of these places without fear before the Coronavirus came.
“Gottle of Geer?” said Mrs Sun offering her new friend a cool refreshing drink.
This had a sobering effect on Mrs Jones who wondered if her ventriloquist act had been rumbled by someone who looked like Eve Polastri.
“How is your husband feeling now?” asked Mrs Sun looking down on the motionless figure of Davey Jones.
Mrs Jones wanted to blurt out ‘Still dead’, but she knew she had to continue with the charade in the hope that the politeness of strangers would win the day.
“Better aren’t you?” said Mrs Jones gently tugging on the back of the corpse’s hair to give the appearance of a nod.
“Amazing place isn’t it……like the land of living dead…!” said Mrs Sun.
“Yes, a bit like B&Q Store on a Thursday afternoon!” replied Mrs Jones still wondering if her North Korean shipmate had smelt a rat.
“I dumped my husband at the local refuse tip!” said Mrs Sun suddenly revealing her hand.
So did the corpse- as one of his lifeless fingers chewed off by a hungry maggot dropped onto the floor.
“Different rules in North Korea…..people disappear all the time there!” said Mrs Sun.
“What do you want?” asked Mrs Jones….”in return for your silence?”
“What do all us Johnny Foreigners ever want?…..a blue passport….NHS Health Tourism….not to have to queue for a single brand of foodstuff on a supermarket shelf…. !” replied Mrs Sun.
“How would that work….I can’t get you and HIM back to the Britain through Customs now can I?” said the frustrated Mrs Jones.
“Well for starters I can help you to dispose of the body!” said Mrs Sun going from Eve to Villainelle.
“Then you report him missing and in seven years’ time and we in clear!”
“Next you have to get one of your friends to marry me…Male or Female… I don’t care its only one night….of course it will be a sham marriage and only until I find my feet!” she said kicking Mr Jones’ left foot under the wheelchair, so that it was not spotted by any nosey third party.
Mrs Jones knew now she was out on a limb.
She wondered what the Hell disease had now killed her husband.
Was it not the coronavirus but leprosy?
If she had told him that he would die in this fashion on one of their many Poker nights, he would have thrown his hand in before laughing his head off.
Either way she suspected that she would be quarantined for two weeks- time a 79 year- old woman could ‘ill’ afford to spend.
Looking up at some grey smoke puffing out of the top of Mount Vesuvius, realised she had to get a move on.
Shelley didn’t think it was a sign of them electing a new Pope in Rome.
“Let’s get out of here Mrs Jones….this living cemetery gives me the creeps….!” Said Mrs Sun.
“I agree… let’s go find the gift shop to buy some tape to put his foot back on and get him back on the ship!” suggested Shelley.
“There is Gift Shop?” said Mrs Sun excitedly.
“You haven’t seen MUCH of the Western World have you?” replied Mrs Jones.
Back inside Cabin 13, the scheming pair had managed to avoid the gaze of Camp David on return to the cruise ship, but he had knocked on the door once again but this time with an invitation for Mr & Mrs Jones to dine at the Captain’s Table.
Shelley knew she would have to find a place to store her husband until after dark, when she could help Mrs Sun to dispose of the body into the Briny Sea.
Mrs Sun was concerned as her preliminary enquiries of the crew seemed to point to the fact that the ship had CCT cameras and the latest on-board Norwegian technology which could detect a body falling overboard into the sea.
An alert would then be sent to Captain and their plot would be uncovered.
Mrs Sun had noticed that the crew stored their shiny uniforms in full size lockers on the same floor and close to one of the stairwells.
There was also an empty one with a rusty key in the lock that the sailors seemed to be reluctant to use.
It might prove a good hiding place until they could pretend that Mr Jones had been lost at sea but cause doubt over the accuracy of any technology.
Her plan was to use the locker to hide ‘Jones the Bones’.
Observation had shown the on-ship stewards to be busiest between 5.30pm and 7.30pm in preparation for the evening’s entertainment.
That was the optimum time to move the body.
“It is best if you do not know where I hide him, that way, any suspicion that falls on you will enable you to pass any lie-detector test!” said the North Korean.
On checking the corridor for people, Mrs Sun had to move fast like an Asian version of grave-robbers Burke & Hare as she single-handedly carried the sack of bones and fly magnet towards the locker.
She bundled the bony remains inside, only for it to collapse like a Ray Harryhausen skeleton warrior in the film Jason & The Argonauts.
Mrs Sun forced the key in the lock to turn with all her might and fortunately it closed shut with a clunk.
She snapped the rusty ‘skeleton’ key in half and look around nervously to make sure no-one had seen her doing so.
When Mrs Sun returned to the cabin not having been spotted by either crew or guest, the pair of Widows were ecstatic, hugging each other as if they were already Wife & Wife.
The finishing touch had been for Mrs Sun to place the Venetian Mask up on the top deck in one of the CCT camera blackspots, near where the sun loungers were stored overnight.
That way any investigation would assume Davey Jones would be just another statistic of a person missing from a cruise ship as the result of a freak wave or had been standing too close to the railings with sea-sickness.
After all, how much investigation would follow after the disappearance of an 80 Year- old Man missing from a ship registered to a sandbank off the shore of Bermuda?
The Alfred Hitchcock ‘Strangers on a Train’ plot might just work after all.
Looking like Old Rose in the James Cameron film Titanic, Mrs Jones sat at Captain Birzai’s top table.
She was dressed to in the nines and wore her fake costume jewellery bought third hand from a Merthyr Charity Shop.
She was expecting quality gourmet food but was disappointed to see the appearance of fish fingers yet again.
But then again what did she expect from a budget cruise.
She was sweating uncomfortably but couldn’t be sure if it was the SARS-CoV-2 virus or her guilty conscience at handing her late husband of 60 years’ body to a total stranger for disposal.
“My husband’s late!” she said to Captain Birzai trying to cover her tracks.
Her dinner companion was dressed all in a dark blue uniform and peaked cap with a white beard and had a tendency to wink a lot- which , a hangover from his TV advertising days.
“Where is he……in the cabin?” asked the seasoned sailor.
“He was but he said he wanted to go onto the deck to smoke one final cigarette….I didn’t even realise till I came on this ship he still smoked to be honest with you!” lied Shelley.
“Do you want me to ask the Steward to look for him if you are worried?” replied the Former King of Breadcrumbs.
“David would you mind checking the top deck for Mr Jones for me?” ordered the salty old sea dog.
“Aye, Aye, Cap’n!” said Camp David hamming it up.
Shelley sat nervously, picking at her food and expecting at any moment an alternative cry from Camp David of ‘Man- the Lifeboats’.
She assumed that was where Mrs Sun had hidden him.
She was glad she didn’t know.
Camp David returned some twenty minutes later looking all flustered and this time whispered in his Senior Officer’s ear.
“Speak louder man, all I can hear in my ear is the sound of the sea!” said Shelley.
“I can’t find him, I have checked everywhere, the Top Deck, the Lower Deck even the Poop Deck just in case he was busy having a shit!” said the Sailor.
“What about the Cabin Man?” asked the Captain.
“Sir, I used the skeleton key to get in but there was no sign, sorry Mrs Jones but it still smells a bit funky in there, so I only had a cursory glance!” reported Camp David.
“This Corona Vires cruise ship is not the Marie Celeste ….nor are we anywhere near the Bermuda Triangle now is it?” said the Captain asserting his authority.
“Take two of the crew with you and comb the ship again and ask the Bosun to check the cameras for any suspicious events!” ordered the Captain.
“Do you think he has killed himself after years of my nagging?” asked Shelley putting on her puppy dog face that she usually used to use on her husband in the days of terrestrial television, whenever she wanted to watch Coronation Street at the same time when the FA Cup was live on the BBC.
“Now there is no need to worry just yet Mrs Jones we’ll find him!” said Captain Birzai reassuringly…”Or I’ll ‘batter’ the entire crew!”.
Fast forward to 2027 and the Cruise Ship was finally being decommissioned from the fleet.
It had sailed the World over many times, and after the acceleration of Global Warming had been even become a rescue vessel on a number of occasions, as sea level had risen to engulf large parts of London, Cardiff & Dublin.
One such mission rescued people from their passenger capsules on the London Eye in a flash flood after the Thames Barrier gave way.
The leaky Cruise Ship was now in the Mid-Atlantic heading for Northern Ireland.
It’s final destination was Belfast, the port that had once been home to the ill-fated White Star ocean liner the Titanic.
After the respiratory plague that had wiped out a quarter of the Earth’s population, the Corona Vires Cruise Ship had been renamed in 2020 the Black Pig.
It’s last voyage had been a pleasure cruise of the Caribbean in a reverse ‘Windrush’, taking rich white Caucasians overseas to visit their tax haven savings.
“Have you finished clearing out those staff lockers yet?” shouted the First Mate, Seaman Staines.
“Not quite -just the rusty old one on the end left to go!” shouted back Roger the Cabin Boy.
“Slide me the hammer and a flat head screwdriver please!” the youngster shouted.
The metal tools slid along the ship’s floor and clattered into the now empty locker bases.
Roger, placed the flathead of the screwdriver inside the lock and hit it hard with the hammer.
The rusty old lock mechanism refused stubbornly to budge.
It hadn’t opened for over seven years.
He hit it again harder this time but still the locker refused to give up its grim secret.
He angled the blade again and hit it diagonally this time.
The lock popped and the young boy was rocked by the smell that left the airtight cubicle in a rush.
“Jesus!” he said as the putrid air flew past him.
Inside the darkened recess, he could make out the shape of a skull and cross-bones.
“Look at this!” he called to his mate.
“Do you think this is real or just a Pirate Prop?” he continued picking a bluebottle out of the gap between his front teeth.
“I don’t know!” said his colleague looking at the full skeleton as it emerged from its confines.
“What shall I do with it?” asked Roger…
”Do we tell Cap’n Pugwash?”
“Do you really want to spend an extra couple of days unpaid explaining to the Port Authorities where that came from?” replied the more experienced crewman.
“F*** No!” said the youngster
“There is only one thing for it then…Davey Jones’s Locker it is then!” replied Staines.
By Philip evans, 2020-08-09
The camera pans to the grey-haired Welshman sat behind his desk.
“Good Evening and welcome to this special BBC edition of Celebrity ‘Evil’ Mastermind!” said presenter John Humphreys.
“On tonight’s edition – my last ever for reasons that will become apparent later – we have a special show lined-up for you and in order to show balance we have three Right Wing narcissists and one Commie here to answer a series of questions in the allotted time of two minutes!”
“Let’s meet them!” continued the former newsreader.
“From the USA- President Donald Trump!”
The POTUS turns and smiles at the wrong camera.
“From Islington London – former Leader of the Opposition – Comrade Jeremy Corbyn!” said the presenter.
The Cameraman adds a special Newsnight filter to make it look like he is wearing a Red Ushanka hat complete with hammer and sickle on the front.
It is plainly visible as an add-on- as Corbyn nods towards the viewers at home.
“Liberty Peace Prize Winner and former Prime Minister Tony Blair!” announces Humphreys.
His Royal Tonyness, smiles cheesily, just like a ‘Cheshire Pony’ at the little screen whilst looking around for the autocue.
“And last and by all means least- current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom but mainly England- Boris Johnson!”
Boris is slouched in his chair, dishevelled blonde hair pointing in all directions, just like a schoolboy who hasn’t been dressed by his Mother/Nanny that Morning.
“Who Me?” replies Johnson as the studio goes quiet – all the time looking around for Dominic Cullings.
“So first up, we have the Leader of the Western World, President of the United States of America, Donald John Trump- if you would like to take the chair?” invited the presenter.
“Take it where?” replied Trump.
“It looks GREAT (showing all of someone else’s teeth in his mouth) but I have better one back in the White House in Washington back home in the US of A- it is probably made in China anyway….!” He continued unabated.
After a hand gesture from Humphreys towards the Hot Seat- Trump made his way slowly – just like a bear nurturing a ten pound turd but unable to find any woods close by- .
No sooner than he had sat down heavily breaking the thing than he uttered –
“Definitely China… look how easy it broke under my nine stone frame- Do I have to raise my right hand for the Holy Book like the Grand Jury?” asked Trump.
“‘No-there is no book for you to swear on!” replied Humphreys.
“Good-not a bigly fan of books anyway-don’t colour or read them anymore!” replied the President.
“So, your chosen subject is?” asked Humphreys.
“Me!” replied Trump
“Okay -you have two minutes on your specialist subject starting now!” said the Presenter speeding up towards the end of the sentence.
“ You were born on 14 th June 1946, what sign are you?”
“Cancer!” replied the POTUS.
“Incorrect- you are Gemini- the Twins” said the Presenter.
“Fake news….there is only one Donald J Trump!” replied Trump.
“What number President are you?” asked Humphreys.
“Number One- better than Osama- less impeachable than Nixon!” said the Don.
“Incorrect- 45 was the answer!” continued Humphreys.
“Fake news- 45 was the answer I gave to the N.R.A to stop the school shootings- I told them to arm the teachers and the children too, that way they would have a fighting chance if the terrorists attack- it’s the in the American Constitution – the pursuit of happiness- Will Smith or Kayne West told me- I can never tell them apart-!” replied Trump.
“Are you referring to the second amendment and the right to ‘bear arms’? “replied the quiz host getting all confused by the replies.
“Who wants bear arms?- there’s nothing wrong with these human ones I got!”
Humphreys shook his head- half of the allotted time was up and he had concluded that this President’s head was more shot than JFK.
“Which political party do you represent?” asked the interviewer.
“Is this a trick question? Oh KKK… because I am tempted to say I was ‘Putin Power” by my good friend and good friend to America….to help turn back the clock…return to the use of fossil fuels and that fake global watering ….install coal burning fires and surrounds and make America ‘Grate’ again!”
Humphreys just shook his head and ploughed on.
‘So, what excuse did you give to dodge the Vietnam War Draft?” asked Humphreys.
“It WASN’T an excuse… said Trump glaring at the Welshman….”I had bone spurs…if you don’t believe me ….ask Stormy Daniels ‘She will confirm… I had them on when riding her dressed as a Dallas cowboy!”
“‘I’ll accept!” said Humphreys.
“What did you claim was your favourite rock album on Radio Station Minneapolis Burning?” asked Humphreys.
“Houses of the Holy by Led Zeppelin!” replied the Orangeman.
“Incorrect- it was the Wall by Pink Floyd!” said the presenter.
“Fake news- I don’t like any rap music by protesters from Dixieland or is that Disneyland?” replied the walking Tango Advert.
The end of round claxon sounded.
“Congratulations Mr Trump you scored one and pissed on two -Russian Prostitutes that is-!”
Trump smiled to himself- remembering that experience warmly- whilst sleeping in the shallow end of that impromptu Moscow waterbed.
He had beaten his own high score and now deserved a UK tax-free Costa Cofefe for his efforts.
As he had been sat in the Hot Seat under the BBC studio lights- there was a pool of orange liquid underneath the chair and a familiar stain on the back of his fawn golfing trousers.
“Second Contestant would you please come to chair!” asked Humphreys.
‘Please state your full name for the record….I would remind you that anything you say will be taken down and used in evidence against you probably out of context and to our own ends…do you understand?” asked the BBC Griller.
“I understand…Jeremy Bernard Corbyn… but known to my followers simply as JC!” said the former Leader of the Opposition.
“ Bernard!” sniggered Humphreys.
“As in Bernardo O’Higgins, the Chilean Communist Guerrilla Leader?”
“Yes but No but he was a Freedom fighter!” replied Corbyn made to sound like Little Britain character Vicki Pollard.
“And your chosen specialist subject is?” asked the questioner.
“Allotments that changed the World” replied Corbyn.
“Okay!” sniggered Humphreys once again.
“You have two minutes starting now!”
“How do they arrange the ‘radishical’ movements of root vegetables in the Moscow State Allotment Society?”
“In Red Squares!” replied Corbyn.
“Correct!” announced Humphreys.
“Which vegetable was King of the Hippies, John Lennon promoting with his bed lie in protest with Yoko Ono in Amsterdam in 1969?” asked the presenter.
“Peas!” – replied Corbyn.
“Give peas a chance!” he said quoting the dead Beatle.
“Correct!” said Humphreys.
“He is giving him the easy ones!” moaned Trump as he put his tiny ‘GI JOE’ sized hand up and whispered behind the back of it at the other two contestants.
“What luminous vegetables did the Conservative UK Government import in bulk from Mother Russia in 1986 because they were cheap to supply to the poor?” asked Humphreys glaring at a different kind of luminous vegetable for the interruption.
“Chernobyl Carrots- they came with a ‘glowing reference’ and a shelf life of 1-5 years!” replied Corbyn.
“Correct!” said Humphreys.
“A bit like his chlorinated chicken then!” said Corbyn nodding at the Political Oompa Loompa.
“Fake News!” came the broken record reply.
“What was the name of your Palestinian cook book about your fresh allotment produce penned in 2016?” asked Humphreys.
“From Hummus to Hamas!” replied the weirdy beardy.
“Which record did you say you would take with you if you were castaway on a deserted atoll off Cuba on Radio Four’s Desert Island Discs?” asked Humphreys.
“Rhapsody in Blue by the Gershwin Brothers” replied Corbyn.
“George always stole the limelight from his elder brother so I felt a little sorry for him!” he continued.
“Correct-so, we can confirm on the BBC that you are now an admitted IRA sympathiser?” said Humphreys seizing on the slip.
“Do you know -there are thousands of women in this Country on NHS waiting lists and I am always the first to get smeared!” replied Corbyn- red smoke then liquid emanating from his ears- just like a poisoned Communist Pope.
“What group are Angel of Islington blood oranges?” asked the interviewer.
Corbyn shook his head and looked doubtful for the first time.
“Blood Group A Positive- as they contain a red wedge?” said the fairest Prime Minister this Country never had.
“Incorrect- it was O-Jeremy Corbyn- O- Jeremy Corbyn!”- sang Humphreys in a Pre-Covid-19 Glastonbury 2017 White Stripes tune….”But your Trotskyist Red Blood Group is noted!”
As the claxon sounded- Humphreys announced that Corbyn had scored 5 out of a possible 6 and not passed on any questions- unlike the current Prime Minister Boris Johnson in his time at the Despatch Box in Parliament.
“Fair play- the many and not the few!”
Corbyn flicked a V at Humphreys before turning and heading for his vacant seat.
“Next up- we have former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Anthony Charles Lynton Blair!” said Humphreys.
The darkened BBC studio was lit up by the most enormous set of gnashers to grace the place since Esther Rantzen had a ‘sausages’ face- off with Theo the Poodle.
“Hi, I’m Tony!” announced the politician.
“Well would you like to tell the audience at home what your specialist subject is tonight?” asked Humphreys.
“Spin Doctoring, manipulating the media and how to win elections!” replied the former PM, whilst continuing to smile at the camera the whole time just like a ventriloquist dummy.
“Okay , Mr Blair you have two minutes on the subject starting….NOW!” Said Humphreys.
“Can’t I have three?” asked His Royal Tony-ness.
There was a pregnant pause before John Humphreys replied
“Okay- because you put it so nicely, you can have three!”.
There were howls of outrage from the previous two contestants who were busy muttering the phrase ‘BBC Bias’.
“That’s spin for you!” Blair said smiling all the while.
“Question one- Who did you recommend to be your successor in the Labour Party in 2010?” asked Humphreys.
“Anyone BUT him!” said Blair pointing a manicured finger with painted nails with a red rose on each one in the direction of Corbyn.
“Correct!” said Humphreys to howls of protest from his Left Wing.
“The Momentum is really with you now Tony!”
“Who do you think will lead the party to victory in the 2023 General Election?” asked Humphreys.
“Someone in my own non-spitting image- a fellow barrister- someone with a Christian Name of a famous Labour politician to sound like a convincing socialist but in actual fact is further on the right wing of the party than Charles Lindbergh!” continued the Blair Rich Project.
“As a politician are you going to give me a straight answer or what?” asked Humphreys.
“Keir Starmer!” announced Blair.
“Correct….at least he can eat a non-antisemitic bacon sandwich correctly!” replied Humphreys.
“What is the difference between WKD and WMD?” continued Humphreys.
“They found WKD in a bar in Iraq- but no WMD?” replied the Blair faced bliar.
“Correct!”- said the presenter.
“Phew….!” replied Blair with a noticeable single bead of sweat added by the BBC make-up department to give the impression he was under pressure.
“What is the difference between Bosnian Serbian leader Dragomir Milosevic, Rudolf Hess, Hermann Goring and Tony Blair?”
“Pass!” said Blair as quickly as possible.
“Who was responsible for securing the Belfast Agreement ‘Good Friday Peace Process in Northern Ireland?” asked Humphreys.
“It was me- I should have got a ‘Tony Award’ for it!” Blair said modestly- nose enlarging slowly.
“Fake news!” came a shout from the dark- but not from the USA Orange State but from Corbyn instead.
“It was ME that met with Sinn Fein over a couple of McGuinnesses!” protested the Allotment King.
“John Hume would be turning in his grave if he heard THAT!” replied Blair.
“Conveniently- you would have to EX-HUME him to validate that- and that would take some special SPIN DOCTOR to boot!” said Corbyn.
“I Trimble at the very thought!” replied Blair.
“Correct!” said Humphreys much to the bemusement of Corbyn.
“It would appear for a man who believes in unilateral disarmament, you have a strong militant tendency -any more interruptions Mr Corbyn and I will have you removed from the studio and your gulags sent to the four corners of the former United Kingdom!” threatened Humphreys.
“I will have you know that Saint Blair of Edinburgh here has a history of receiving Peace Prizes- he won a Liberty Medal for his ‘commitment to conflict resolution’ in 2010.!” Said the BBC presenter.
“Which immigration barrister is set to defend the Shamina Begum appeal case?” asked Humphreys.
“My Cherie Amour!” sang Blair just like Stevie Wonder.
The Claxon sounded and the presenter announced.
“At the end of that round Mr Blair, you have scored five and passed on one-what is the difference between Bosnian Serbian leader Dragomir Milosevic, Rudolf Hess, Hermann Goring and Tony Blair?”
“The answer to that is you were all born under the star sign Taurus and capable of talking a lot of bull!”.
“I can think of a different one!” shouted Corbyn- as he was dragged away with his arms restrained by two burly undercover policemen wearing Rachel Riley tee-shirts marked ‘Taking the Countdown!’
“And to think you Guys are part of the same Labour Movement!” chortled Humphreys.
“Of course- we are!” smiled the Grinch that stole a Party.
“Next up we have Prime Minister Johnson!” announced Humphreys.
Boris was slumped in his chair, lolling like he was Jacob Rees-Mogg, lying across the front benches of Parliament.
At the sound of his name, Boris put on a smirk across his face that Stephen King Horror Clown character IT would have been proud.
As Bozo the Buffoon, slid his way towards the chair Humphreys’ manner seemed to change somewhat.
“Please would you fasten your seatbelt Mr Johnson- it is a conditional requirement by the BBC Director General in your case!” ordered the wily Welshman.
“Bloody EU Health & Safety!” mumbled Johnson under his alcohol enhanced breath.
Boris did as he was told.
No sooner than the seatbelt was clicked shut- Humphreys ducked down behind the desk just like the bar tender in the custard pie throwing scene of Bugsy Malone.
And in his place appeared BBC News Presenter Andrew Neil.
“Crikey….I have walked into a giant elephant trap!” Boris spluttered.
“Good afternoon Boris….it seems like you won’t get away from me after all!” said Neil.
“Yikes- why do I get the feeling I am about to be scoured by a Brillo and his I-Pad?” gulped the PM.
“So, please state your full name for the audience and chosen specialist subject!” asked Neil.
“Boris Johnson….sex. lies and the odd videotape!” said the blonde former Etonian whose hair made him look as if he had been dragged through a hedge fund backwards.
“Incorrect!” said Andrew Neil.
“It’s Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson!” came the reply.
“I say old boy that’s a bit below the belt!” mumbled the man of the people.
“So why did you give the home address of a journalist from the News of the World to your friend Darius Guppy in 1993?” asked Neil.
“Uhhh….I thought he wanted to send him a ‘Get Well Card’…!” stuttered Boris.
“But he wasn’t unwell at the time- now was he?” countered Neil.
“Well he was about to be- I was just a little ahead of time on that one!” said the PM.
“So- an easy one next- How many biological children have you spawned so far?” asked Neil.
“Pass!” said Johnson.
“When you were Mayor of London you made more U-Turns than Dick Whittington but did you try to erect your own version of a ‘garden’ bridge whilst trying to ‘remain’ at the top of the poles?” interrogated Neil.
“Let’s just say it is not just Britain and America that has a special relationship!” replied Bojo.
“Unless you give me a straight answer… I can’t award you the point!” said Neil.
“Granted!” replied the PM.
“I’ll take that as a different kind of ‘pass’ then!” replied the interviewer.
“ Can’t I get Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby instead?” asked Boris trapped in the hot seat like an inadequate stunt man in the movie Fifty Shades of Grey.
“Wrong channel!” replied Brillo off the top of his head.
“Nigel Farage keeps going on about that!” replied the Eton Mess trying like all politicians to witter on about nothing to run down the airtime.
“Tubby, what Planet are you on?- You can’t hide in a fridge this time!” replied the former Hard Times man.
“Zanuzzi?” mumbled the buffoon.
“So, why did you grant permission for Dominic Cullings suffering from the coronavirus to drive five hours to Durham at the height of a pandemic?” barked Neil.
“Or allow Pa Churchill to fly off to Greece when everyone else is stuck with quarantine?
Boris placed his fingers in his ears and started to make ‘la- la noises’ to override the tough questions.
“This isn’t PMQ’s!” shouted Andrew Neil as he administered a 15- volt electric shock direct to the PM.
Boris’ eyes widened for the first time and his blonde hair suddenly went like it had been combed and immaculately groomed- just like Max Headroom or the new Keir Starmer look.
“You can’t torture people…. this is England not Saudi Arabia!” protested Boris.
“Don’t you remember your 60 MP majority voted through to repeal the Human Rights Act when you left the European Union!” replied Andrew Neil evilly.
“I don’t remember that!” said the shocked laboratory monkey.
“It was just after Christopher Chope vetoed the up-kilting mobile phone ban in Scotland !” recalled Brillo.
“Is that the one that upset Nicola Sturgeon and made her a little Krankie?” asked Boris horrified.
“Here is a Presidential Order signed by Donald Trump that as part of the US/UK trade deal negotiated by Pork Baron Liz Truss that this studio is now controlled by the Walt Disney Corporation of Florida and thereby all Federal Laws of that Orange County State now apply in this Studio!” continued Neil.
“To include the electric chair and death penalty for failure!”
“So Boris, you REALLY are in the Hot Seat!”
“But answer me one last request before you push that button and fry my brain what did the UK get in return?” asked Boris.
“Silk stockings and chocolate!” came the reply.
By Philip evans, 2020-07-21
Robert Godber was the last Punk left in the South Wales Valleys.
It was nearly 43 years since the Sex Pistols had shocked the Rock N Roll Community with their slogans of Never Mind the Bollocks and God save the Queen.
How times had changed.
So had the slogans too.
Never Mind the Botox and God shave the Queen was more relevant to 2020.
However, strangely enough he was still Public Enemy No 1 in the little valley Town of Merthyr Tydfil, as despite the health warnings of Covid-19, the dirty bastard still insisted on spitting on the pavement everywhere he went.
All the colours of the rainbow- but mainly shades of yellow and green paint you could only find on a B & Q paint chart.
In fact, the streets around where Rob squatted on Brecon Road were so full of spittle, most visitors thought that Merthyr had seen an influx of Premiership Footballers.
At 56 years, Rob the Gob, as he was known locally, had become quite an accomplished shot with his mouth.
He put it down to a misspent youth and his upbringing in the 1970’s as a latchkey kid, developing his oral skills, by using his pea shooter and box of hard- boiled Leo peas to take out the bulbs on the top of the wooden lampposts.
His Norwegian music teacher in school, Mr Per Cushion, had noticed that Rob had both strong lungs and a powerful trachea and therefore had him marked his strong voice out in his class as a potential trumpeter, nicknaming him the ‘new Sachmo’.
Rob thought to himself ‘What a wonderful World he lived in’ back in his halcyon schooldays, when all he had to worry about was avoiding his drunken Father’s fists and how much ‘bingo’ money he could steal from his Mother’s coat pockets before she noticed.
Now being a rebel all his life, hadn’t helped him one iota.
He had no job, he lived in a squat house that was overdue demolition, with no means of heating or lighting or mains sanitation and worse still, his advanced hair-loss had meant his green and blue Mohican/Stegosaurus had gone the way of the dinosaurs too.
His foray into the World of Punk Rock, busking outside train and bus stations under the band name of ‘Dogs die in Hot Cars’ had ended prematurely, after his backing vocalist, Flob the Dog, had been bitten by karma and died in his former mate’s hot car.
Rob the Gob didn’t care for anyone anymore- human or animal, especially after another traumatic event in his sad existence.
He was nearly 30, when his 16 year old running mate, Rusty Pinn, had died at the Reading Festival in 1992 at the Carling ‘Monsters of Rock’ Festival, whilst watching Nirvana- drowning in the Mosh Pit in a sea of what smelled like Teen Spirit and he had a held a ‘grunge’ against the World ever since.
He was the only person to cheer at the TV, when he heard that Kurt Cobain had blown his own head off with a shotgun.
There wasn’t much Love lost.
Rob the Gob didn’t have many material possessions but he was quite a follower of fashion with his proudest possession being a pair of Vivienne Westwood trousers from the Punk era with 40 different zip fasteners sown into them.
Which was great when you are 17 years of age but not so good when have a dodgy prostate at 56 with a failing memory too.
To add to Rob’s woes, he had also had an unfortunate accident whilst off his head glue-sniffing in Aberfan Cemetery.
Whilst listening to the Punk Band ‘The Skids’, he had pogoed himself into an uncharted mine entry inadvertently going ‘into the Valley’ in a totally different way.
His dyslexic sniffing mate, Alf Abett, would have saved him but unfortunately, he was arrested for importuning after he was caught ‘sniffing aerosols’.
When the rescuers found him three days later, he had to have an emergency operation to remove three days build-up of mucus, which equated and weighed three Pounds in weight from his throat.
He was given an emergency tracheostomy and had a tube inserted into his windpipe.
He was only capable of communicating with hand gestures or by placing a kazoo next to his larynx, making him sound like an effeminate Darth Vader.
Strangely enough, it didn’t stop him spitting.
Perhaps it was because of his past addiction to Camel cigarettes, but he could still produce more Phlegmish works of kerbside art than Belgian painter Peter Paul Rubens.
But when life gives you lemons, I suppose you have to do something with them.
And in this life, when one door closes a new airway opens.
Rob’s tracheostomy was to hand him an unexpected lifeline.
After the local pub, the Catholic Arms had reopened its’ doors to a limited number of visitors due to the new social distancing provisions, by accident Rob had discovered a strange new talent.
Whilst sitting in the snug, a fellow drinker, Ystradgynlais’ own Rory Railtrack had complained to the barman about the smell of Rob’s breath and the barman decided to take matters into his own hands by placing a Glade Plugin Air Freshener in Rob’s throat-hole.
It worked for a short time, but Rob suddenly realised this was an infringement of his human rights.
In anger, he thrust down his diaphragm internally with mind control and pumped his lungs with all his might.
Aiming for the sweet-spot between the ‘Neath’anderthal’s complainant’s eyes- just below his unibrow- Rob let fly.
The Glade Plug-in shot out and smacked the caveman right between the eyes and just like the Biblical confrontation between David & Goliath, the giant man of orange apparel dropped like a stone to the floor.
This brought out a loud cheer from the rest of the room, as the dazed railway worker was led from the bar in the direction of the casualty department of the Queen Camilla Hospital.
Rob had never been so popular.
He had rid them of the pub version of Simpsons’ bully Nelson Muntz.
Pints were passed to the Down and Out in Brecon Road Hills and whilst he may have had the dishevelled look about him of Nick Nolte- he no longer felt like a Poor Man but a Rich Man too.
He was even more surprised to be offered a game of darts by one of the regular more sporting patrons, Len ‘The Bull’ Taurus.
Rob felt honoured but his attempts at hitting the board failed miserably despite being given a 200 point head-start by his fellow ‘dartiste’.
He bounced more times off the tyre than Brazilian racing driver Ayrton Senna.
And then Rob had an Epiphany.
By placing the flight in the hole in his throat, he then followed the same diaphragm and throat manoeuvre that he had with the Railway Bully and all of a sudden, he was hitting treble twenty with each ‘throw’.
Len the Bull was astonished.
“Hit double top!” came the request.
Rob concentrated and the repeated the procedure.
The dart struck it’s intended target.
Again and again repeated requests from the bar to hit a certain spot were met by Rob.
He was now more accurate than a US Drone strike over Iran.
The Pub Landlord, Alan Murray, was shocked to see that Rob could hit more doubles than even he could and he was suffering from ‘Publican’s disease’.
However, the entrepreneur realised this was the chance he had been waiting for.
Kismet had ‘thrown’ this golden opportunity his way and he was determined to seize his chance.
He had read in the Industry Newspaper that local businesses were being given a kickstart by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and despite the scientist promised second wave of Coronavirus not occurring, people had changed their habits and were no longer using pubs, inns and taverns with the frequency that they once were.
His Commercial Landlord based in the Tax Exile Cayman Islands, had come up with a series of promotions to encourage more punters to return in numbers by arranging for celebrities to visit their establishments.
But at the same time expected full rent for the three -month period the pub was unable to open.
Who could possibly resist missing a Karaoke Night with Jedward or a Mixed Martial Arts wrestle with Conor McGregor (before the real action happened at closing time) or visiting a newly refurbished Punch Tavern hosting Tyson Fury.
But the one that stood out to him was an evening of ‘Red Arrows’ with Phil ‘the Power’ Taylor, the Stoke-on Trent born, 16- time World Champion.
He was aware that the Olympic athlete was currently touring the UK and was prepared to take on all and sundry with a prize of £250,000.00 to any amateur pubgoer that could beat him over 3 legs.
Alan Murray pulled up the full rules on his mobile phone and began to read them.
If only he had taken this much time and scrutinized his pub tenancy agreement in the same way he wouldn’t be in this predicament.
His Tenancy Agreement with no Coronavirus provision meant he was still liable for full rent during the pandemic, and worse still he was obliged to buy his beer from the tied brewery at inflated prices, despite not having anyone to sell it to for over four months.
He now had more barrels than the Great White Shark in Jaws.
He scanned the rules in depth:
No Professional Players.
No discrimination- Male or Female players or combinations of both were eligible to enter the Contest.
B.A.M.E players to be given a discount off the entry fee.
DISABLED PLAYERS TO BE ENCOURAGED TO TAKE PART.
No re-throws allowed.
Only one entry per person allowed.
Referee’s decision to be final in all circumstances.
Free Goldfish to be given to all participants.
One phrase that jumped out at him was that of encouraging the disabled to take part.
Surely, Rob the Gob would fall into that category?
So what that he would have to spend thousands widening the doors, put in ramps and an mechanical lift near the dart board in the main bar- but IF an agreement could be reached with Rob and THEY won that prize then it would be the solution to their problems and they could BOTH breathe easier.
Not only that there would be a book in it and the spin-off film rights too.
Go ahead Punk and make my day!
Alan Murray the Pub Landlord was on his own self-induced Flight of Fantasy.
He decided the best course of action was to run an internal darts contest to test Rob’s new found ability.
The Evening of the Warm-up started well and despite a mere sixteen entrants turning up Rob had won the contest hands down.
So much hands down in fact, it was almost like the first ever live darts and ventriloquist act ever performed.
Come the final against Len the Bull, he was so confident of hitting his intended target that he had shouted the phrase ‘a gottle of gear’, as the dart made its way towards double top.
As Rob was crowned Catholic Arms Pub Champion much drunken celebration took place, with celebratory Covid-19 hugs all round.
Alan was now happy to submit the application form for entry online and provide a £500.00 bond.
The Bond was too ensure that the former World Champion would not turn up to an empty pub with few punters present to the embarrassment of Phil Taylor.
They didn’t want a Power Shortage or a Blackout like had previously happened at a Jim Davidson gig.
Due to the size of the bar, only 100 people were allowed as this was the maximum capacity for Health & Safety purposes.
In recent years, this had never been a problem but Alan had to take precautions and had charged £10.00 per punter entry fee to come in.
Rob was allowed one free ticket and had chosen to invite his fellow homeless friend, Pierce Head to the gathering.
He wanted Pierce to bear witness to his big payday by beating the Power in his own back yard.
Rob also had a grudge against the local electricity company, who had discovered his abstraction of electricity and shut the Power off at his squat.
His mate, Pierce Head, had already hit the jackpot by being temporarily rehoused in the 3star Castle Hotel for the period of the pandemic.
Very soon, he was being turfed out onto the street by Central Government immediately once the subsidy stopped.
In the meantime, Pierce was making merry lying on the floor in a pool of his own alcoholic vomit and piss.
Rob was getting nervous as the Competition was due to start at 7pm and it was nearly 6.15pm, as he stood outside the hotel trying to waken his friend who was busy doing an impression of the late Keith Moon of WHO fame.
Rob called up from Glebeland Street below for Pierce to hurry up.
He eventually came to the first- floor window, grey faced looking like all the blood in his body had been replaced by alcohol- which in truth it had.
“I am locked in – my religious parents are trying an intervention!” shouted back the living flagon.
“I have an idea!” shouted back Rob.
“Do you remember the Children’s story Rapunzel?”
The other grim brother from above replied “Yes!”
“Step away from the window now!” ordered Rob.
As Pierce did so, he sucked in his diaphragm and hocked a twelve- foot green ‘loogie’ skyward towards the hotel room window just like Marvel character Spiderman firing a web.
“Rapunzel, let down your hair!” shouted the drunken Pierce, as he slid down the impromptu builder’s chute funnel to safety below.
The pair raced their way to the Catholic Arms.
They made it with two minutes to spare.
Pierce was let in first but Rob was held back as Phil Taylor made his entrance from the lounge with dry ice to the song ‘I have the Power’ by Snap.
He looked the business in his flashy satin shirt with ‘The Power’ emblazoned on his back.
Rob hadn’t even chosen a song.
All he could think of was a Marc Bolan and T-Rex hit.
He asked the Landlord if he had ‘’I hock a loogie…jitterbug bogies- on the jukebox- which fortunately he did.
His Sports Direct tee-shirt had Rob ‘the Cuckoo’ Godber written in permanent black marker pen on the back.
As the pub crowd cheered their local hero, the pair went to warm up at the oche.
Rob was under orders from Landlord Alan not to show too much in the warm up, and threw the darts conventionally at the board with his right hand, scoring a composite total of 26 with his first three darts.
Phil ‘the Power’ Taylor rocked up with Shanghai just for openers- single twenty, triple twenty and double top.
The watching crowd went wild.
Rob started to get nervous.
He had never played darts in front of so many expectant people before, nor in a pressure tournament.
The sweat began to roll down from his forehead onto the rusty safety pins that he had inserted many years ago into his face.
He looked like the Mothercare version of Hellraiser.
The decision would go first would be decided by one dart closest to the centre of the dartboard bull.
Phil ‘the Power’ Taylor rocked up and hit the bull with ease.
Rob placed the dart in his neck aperture and fired.
It split the flight of the 14- time World Champion knocking it out of the board before striking the exact centre of the dartboard.
Phil ‘the Power’ Taylor looked at veteran Darts referee Tony Green who was equally stunned.
Neither of the pair had witnessed anything like it in their 40-year professional careers.
After a quick check of the PDA rulebook, Green allowed Rob to ‘throw up’ first.
As he inserted the flights into his neck, the gathered crowd could clearly see the name of the sponsors on display.
Rob fired off his first three darts scoring a treble sixty with each one.
Tony Green announced over his microphone the now familiar ‘180’ to raise the excitement in the packed bar area.
People leaned on their friends, peered under armpits with some stood on tables and standing on the bar area.
All the while, Alan continued pouring pint after pint.
Irrespective of the outcome, he would at least achieve some great beer sales if nothing else.
Phil went up and replied with his first three arrows which brought the house down as another ‘180’ boomed around the room.
Rob then repeated the action.
360 points from 3 darts.
Anything Rob did- so did the Power.
A perfect twelve dart match so far.
Both players were three darts away from a nine- dart finish- the ‘heavyweight’ equivalent of a 147- maximum break at snooker.
Rob wasn’t very good at mathematics but fortunately Barman Alan was good at both doubles and trebles.
He also had to do a bit of ‘creative accountancy’ by using his awful handwriting to blur the figures over the years just to stay afloat, so he wrote the sequence required on the chalk board next to the bar for Rob.
Treble 20, Treble 19 and double 12.
Rob was never very good at following orders being an ‘anarchist and a trainee Anti-Christ’, but follow them he did, as he promptly completed an amazing 141 out sequence.
He turned around to the acclaim of the audience, arms raised aloft so proud at his achievement.
Holding a pint of Strongbow- supplied by his sponsors, he poured the golden liquid into a plastic funnel and let that slide down his tracheostomy.
Phil ‘the Power’ Taylor applauded the actions and skill of his opponent sportingly.
He knew he was in for a real challenge this time and would have to raise his game.
He did so by producing his own 9 darter to level the match at 1-1.
He did the 501 in a different sequence.
Treble 20 x 7, Treble 15 and Double 18 outshot.
The crowd gathered knew they were witnessing something special really special, especially as both players had started the final game with two rounds of treble twenties each.
Both players were on 141 out-shots, but crucially Rob the Gob had first chance.
As long as he held his nerve, he would beat the 14 times World Darts Champion at his own game.
But pressure does strange things to a man and more so to 56 -year old punks with a history of glue-sniffing.
And to Sports Direct Tee-Shirts too in a jungle environment.
The Cuckoo became the Suckoo.
Rob looked up at Pub Landlord Alan Murray, who was willing him on with ever sinew of his body.
The crowd too wanted to see the underdog turn the tables and finally win one for the underclass.
Rob was now sweating more than Liberal MP Cyril Smith in a Rochdale children’s play park.
He had developed a continuous cough and a really high temperature (103) and his throat felt like it was closing in on him.
Was it the pressure of the big occasion or the onset of Covid-19?
His body was all of a ‘quiver’ which normally was handy for someone dealing with arrows.
He looked across at the chalk board by the bar and saw the sequence written down for him.
Treble 20, Treble 19 and Double 12.
The Landlord gave him a cheery second wave.
Three darts in the correct places on the board and he would never have to work again- not that he had ever started in the first place.
He could hear the Mark Knopfler theme tune to the 1983 film ‘Local Hero’ playing in his head.
He knew his opponent was in Dire Straits.
First Dart from the Puff Daddy hit its target.
Treble 19 next.
Rob the Gob set his ‘sights’ on the tiny patch of green separated by two thin metal wires.
Flob- and the missile sailed towards its destination.
He got it.
Only the double left.
He glanced at the chalkboard.
He sent the dart on it’s way and it hit the double.
Rob jumped in the air -the finest pogo he had performed since that Siouxsie & the Banshees concert in 1981.
“Bust!” shouted Tony Green, as he brought the Punk back down to Earth quicker than the NASA Space Shuttle Challenger.
“But I hit the double 13!” protested Rob.
He glanced up at the Landlord who had his head in his hands.
His shaky chalkboard writing looked from a distance just like double 12.
“Unlucky thirteen!” laughed Taylor, as he replaced the gutted Rob at the oche.
“Yet another ‘Choker’....141 eh…I can do that blindfolded!” boasted the Professional.
Pulling up his Coronavirus mask over his eyes, he proceeded to do just that.
Treble 20, Treble 15 and Double 18 out.
“Well normally Rob I would shake your hand but….!” Said the Power.
“Time for a ‘Merthyr Blackout’!” said the Punk.
Rob could take no more -his flights of fantasy was over in true Valleys way, he just lifted his fisted hand to land an uppercut on the fifth chin of his opponent.
Anarchy in the UK soon followed.
By Philip evans, 2020-07-07
Animal Rights activist A.L.F. Egan lay completely still in the long grass, high above the Welsh Valley of Cwm Twp.
He motioned to his 15- year old accomplice, ‘Popeye’ Doyle, to lie still until the factory searchlight had passed overhead.
Once it had done so, the pair all dressed in black and camouflage gear used the wire cutters to snip the perimeter fence.
In the distance was a grey metallic building called Abbot’s Trois, owned according to Companies House by a French Company based in the Tax Haven of Jersey, called Vaches Mort R-US.
A.L.F. & Popeye didn’t call it Abbot’s Trois.
To them it was Cowschwitz.
A place where animals were taken to be slaughtered.
Both A.L.F. and ‘Popeye’ were committed vegetarians – A.L.F. more so than because he had been caught and imprisoned for his strong belief that ‘Meat was Murder’.
As a 3- year old child, he had continually shouted this phrase from his perch in the front of supermarket trolley, innocently mistaking Morrisons for the Smith’s Morrissey.
He was banned for life.
That was nearly 40 years ago now, and poor A.L.F. hadn’t had the more auspicious starts to life, as his Mother had given birth to him on the Greenham Common, whilst protesting at the US Airforce Base in Berkshire in the 1980’s.
His Mother only noticed when others around her pointed out that she had a baby swinging from between her legs by an umbilical cord, such was the cacophony of noise at the protests when the jets armed with nuclear missiles took off.
Having a fanny the size of Cheddar Gorge didn’t help his Mother Gaia either, but it certainly helped A.L.F. come into the World, as didn’t have a difficult birth in that F W Woolworth impromptu water birthing pool surrounded by New Age whale music.
Little A.L.F. never knew his Father, his Mother had always told him that just like Mary in the Bible it had been an immaculate conception.
He was named A.L.F. after the letters on the side of a truck that delivered food to the camp.
The young A.L.F. was raised on a diet of legumes, peas, beans and lentils- so when he was found to be listless and lethargic and taken to the Doctor by a concerned Social Worker visiting Tepee Valley in Carmarthenshire – he was diagnosed as having a high pulse rate.
His Mother was told to feed him red meat to raise the number of red blood cells in the youngster’s body.
The Doctor was told in no uncertain terms where he could put his cold stethoscope by the indoctrinated child.
A.L.F himself never considered the decision not to eat meat during his lifetime to be a missed steak.
He chose to ignore science when it was claimed that plants screamed when being ripped from the ground.
Nature provided a bounty of seasonal treats for the wayfarers of the Carmarthen Tent Village.
He always enjoyed a ‘Hippy Birthday’ with presents including blackberries freshly picked from the hedgerows of the West Walian Countryside.
Gathering nuts in May was always a favoured childhood memory, as was hunting in competition for truffles with his fellow Earth dwellers- the pigs in the dirt.
A.L.F loved the Spring, Summer and Autumn months but hated the cold Wintertime.
Most of the fellow travellers at the commune used to commit minor offences at that time to spend a little time in jail to obtain a warm cell and free hot food from the ‘Man’.
A.L.F. had always been told that the Capitalist system was like a vampire sucking the blood out of its victim- the working man.
That excuse for not working for over two decades, was now framed and on display for all to see in the Carmarthen Job Centre.
A.L.F. was very proud of it – even if he couldn’t read what it said.
He just liked to see the letters A.L.F. up on the wall, meaning that he had left his mark on the Universe, whilst signing the same three letters for his giro cheques.
Popeye on the other hand was much younger than A.L.F.
He should have still been in school if his Local Education Appeal Panel hadn’t barred him- due to his intense love of fire.
It was not like pyromania was a crime now was it?
Born and raised around a campfire, it always transfixed him.
Just like a modern- day Prometheus, Popeye believed that fire was there to be stolen from the Gods and used against ‘The Man’ himself.
If there was one thing ‘Popeye’ loved it was burning a holiday home in West Wales.
He had always assumed he was called ‘Popeye’ because of his love of spinach, but in reality, it was because he had bulging eyes like US actor Steve Buscemi, due to an overactive thyroid gland.
He had never broken into a meat processing plant before so it would be a real ‘eye-opener’ for him.
‘Popeye’ was so excited- as the Adult World opening up to him was completely new and unexplored.
He trusted A.L.F. like the Father he too had never known.
Once through the wire, A.L.F. had timed it so that the pair had two minutes to cross the rear compound courtyard.
There were obviously no guard dogs on patrol- despite the sign stating otherwise.
What guard dog could work all day next to the tantalising smell of meat without attempting to run off with a string of intestinal cow sausages?
There was also a warning sign for CCT cameras, but A.L.F. was an expert in dealing with those.
After all, he had spray painted more ‘Honky’ speed cameras black than the Black Lives Matters protestors.
Honky -not because of the racist term for white people- but honky after the actions of fellow drivers that sounded their horn and flashed their pale headlights to warn other road users of their location.
The silent pair of animal rights ninjas reached the side of the illuminated building.
A.L.F. looked at his wristwatch-his only concession to the 21 st Century- and waited patiently for the big hand to meet the little hand- he knew this to be 12 O’Clock.
Very soon, both he and his pyromaniac friend would be ‘burning the midnight oil’ together.
He had carried out reconnaissance over two nights and had noted that at precisely that time the lone security guard left the near side fire exit and walked around the left- hand side of the building to have a sly cigarette.
Obviously, working in a meat factory he could not contaminate the carcasses with tobacco smoke, otherwise he would be for the ‘chop’ too.
The pair would have to be quick but they would ‘nip in’, set the fire and leave the way they had entered.
With balaclava masks over their faces- no-one would be any wiser on their identities- besides given the coronavirus pandemic there were too many masked people around to pin-point them.
In -out, no trace left behind- just like their biological Father’s had done all those years ago.
The Vegan apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Seen but not ‘herd’ if you like.
Security Guard Peta Plump had eaten his remaining tuna, egg and pickle sandwiches and it was now time for his first fag break of the evening.
He would save his remaining bacon sandwiches for 3.00am when he got more peckish.
He had been warned not to smoke or fart inside the factory because it was both a fire risk and a health hazard to the workforce.
Imagine being told that the smell of your arse was more pungent than dead cattle?
He ambled around the side of the building taking long pulls on his cigarette as if in a state of nicotine ecstasy.
But it was not just the putrid stink of cigarettes that was present.
That other smell of death hung around the place and could not be removed from clothing.
It permeated everything.
His uniform, his vest and his hat too.
It was so bad that he was banned from visiting his elderly Mother at the local Nursing Home, the Gran-Yr-Afon- in case he started a riot.
God his job was boring.
Staring at screens all night and doing word-searches in the low lighting for 8 hours.
Surrounded by fridges containing animal carcasses.
He was awful worried having watched the film Poltergeist a few days ago, if such a thing as an animal ghost existed.
He had heard of the Scottish horse water-spirit called the Kelpie but hoped there was no cow equivalent.
As he looked up into the clear black valley sky above Cwm Twp, he wondered how many thousands of cattle had died at the Plant and figured that with the law of averages that it was only a matter of time before an ‘Ermintrude spectre called’ and put the shits up him.
He wasn’t normally the nervous type but he had his suspicions that something odd was going on in the last eight months he had worked the security.
He couldn’t figure what it was but things had changed just before the New Tory Government had come to power.
Inside the factory, A.L.F. and Popeye looked around them in the half-light.
They had the petrol cans with them a series of long shoe laces as a fuse and a lighter each.
Popeye became even more of a Popeye, as he stared at the topless former Page 3 Model ‘Bappy’ aged 21 on the Calendar in the Security Guard Office.
She was scantily dressed standing next to some livestock with a cattle prod looking suggestively.
“Cor… look at her she is ‘stunning’!” said Popeye.
“Obviously-all I can see is a Murderess!” replied A.L.F.
“I wonder if there is any more below?” said the young teenager hormones raging.
Popeye tried to leaf through the calendar but couldn’t unstick the pages for some strange reason.
It was a long night for Peta.
A.L.F. now entered the office area but was not distracted by the soft porn but more interested in the number of invoices sticking out of an order book on the desk of the Managing Director.
They all bore the heading Max Bygraves- ‘I want to sell you a Tory’.
A.L.F.’s interest was piqued.
He couldn’t read the words but something far out in the Universe was telling him this was important.
He had heard of journalists winning Pulitzer Prizes- although unsung hero Security Guard Peta probably deserved a different kind of one- and slipped the book into his camouflaged trouser pocket.
The sound of the security guard farting outside, shook the pair back to their original purpose.
The bastard must have been done to his last cigarette instead of the usual two, smoked alternately through both hands like an Argentinian Soccer Manager.
As Peta closed the Fire Exit Door loudly, the pair of trespassing burglars needed to find somewhere to hide and quickly too.
A.L.F. grabbed the security guard’ torch as an impromptu weapon.
Popeye, just grabbed a sandwich from the open lunch box and raced to the door.
Look around for somewhere to hide the pair had no option but to dive into the freezer section.
As he ushered Popeye inside, A.L.F. quickly placed the torch on the floor to hold the door slightly ajar.
He knew from experience. if they were to be locked inside such a sub-zero facility then it could be fatal.
Peta ambled back to his office with nicotine level partly restored.
He looked down at his desk and was surprised to notice that one of his sandwiches was missing.
Strange, he thought I don’t remember eating that.
There was no-one in the building at night, so it was a little bit of a mystery.
He looked under the desk for signs of crumbs in case a Herculean Mouse had managed to lift it from the lunch box, across the desk and onto the floor.
Peta was known locally for not being the sharpest tool in the box but now he was also a sandwich short of a picnic.
Perhaps he was losing on himself.
He looked around the rest of the desk to see if anything else was missing.
His torch had gone too.
Peta began to get nervous.
What if it was an animal Poltergeist?
His mind started to play tricks on him in the dark.
A cold shiver ran down his spine.
He felt like a draught of cold air was coming from somewhere.
He looked across at his only companion for the night, the Page 3 model Calendar hanging on the wall- even Bappy looked more pert than normal.
On that evidence, there was definitely a nip in the air.
His mind told him to follow the cold air to its source.
Perhaps he had not closed the Fire Exit door properly behind him?
He walked to the door to check, keys jangling as he went.
Inside the freezer compartment, both A.L.F. and Popeye were starting to get cold.
The area had white walls and in the centre were four racks of carcasses hanging upside down on sharp metal meat hooks from the ceiling.
It was the ideal hiding place for a trespasser or two.
Popeye had never been in a walk-in fridge before.
He assumed Susan Boyle had one this size.
A.L.F. whispered to Popeye to stay down low.
It was so cold he could almost read those words on his mentor’s breath that was left behind.
Popeye had never really had the opportunity to learn to read books.
His late Brother ‘Bulger’ had been his Mother’s favourite- he always got the lion’s share of the Alphabetti Spaghetti, but not enough sadly to stop him falling through thin ice one day three Winter’s back.
The cold always reminded him of his brother.
As did the almost blue carcasses hanging in front of him.
He wondered what sort of animals they were at the cattle plant as he suddenly stopped dead in his tracks, whilst eating the very tasty sandwich he had managed to rob.
“Psst… A.L.F. have a look at this will you?” asked Popeye.
A.L.F. moved a dead cow out of the way and joined his fellow burglar further back into the freezer compartment.
“Look at this one!” said Popeye.
“It looks human to me!” the scared youth continued.
“They all do!” said A.L.F.
“But this one has a mop of blonde hair!” stuttered Popeye.
On closer examination, A.L.F. discovered that his friend was correct.
It DID have blonde hair and more than a passing resemblance to Boris Johnson the previous Prime Minister of the former United Kingdom.
“Bloody Hell Popeye…..it does look like him….and he had a reputation for hiding in a fridge when things got tough!” said A.L.F. somewhat astonished at their discovery.
“Look there are more, here at the back too!” said Popeye moving along the line of fat lardy carcasses.
“I thought he was supposed to be as fit as a butcher’s dog what doing those press-ups when no-one told him that his inflatable woman had been stolen from under him!” said A.L.F.
As Popeye walked through the rows of cadavers, he was shocked to see hundreds of bodies which like ‘Boris’ were almost human.
A.L.F. noticed that none of the carcasses had any internal organs and definitely no heart.
“They look like Tory MP’s!” he said to himself.
Which is somewhat fitting as they have turned the Country into a ‘Right Shambles’.
He examined the cadaver next to ‘Boris’ and wondered what the Hell had gone on.
Had the Russian Mafia who had contributed to Tory Party funds caught up with the Right-Wing Junta, after finally being forced to release the Russian Report into the Autumn General Election?
Who had ordered this massacre and on such a ‘Grand’ scale not seen since the Brighton Conference in 1984.
Was it Dominic Cullings?
He looked at the tag and noted that different cadavers had different coloured tags and extra meat additions.
He checked the Order Book for the colour coding.
The blood coloured ones had ‘Red Wedge’ marked on them and seemed to be all marked for delivery to the North.
They had ‘best before election 2024’ dates marked on them.
The ones with green tags had ‘Washington, the Former Colonies, USA’ stamped on them.
Particularly the ones with four more ears.
A.L.F. saw the flags and pretty colours and figured they were part of a Trans-Atlantic Trade deal in exchange for chlorinated chicken.
Post-Brexit, it would appear that the British Establishment was back to its’ previous jingoistic 19 th Century Foreign policy of ‘Transporting’, so called ‘inferior’ humans to the New World- but this for time for Trump Rallies.
This was clear because the cadavers with the stars and stripes had a battery cavity in their ‘ass’ in the shape of a Democrat Donkey.
A.L.F looked at the opposite page and noted that an order had been placed by one Welsh Tory MP, Neil Hamilton for thirty ‘CHADS’ to be supplied to BBC studios in Greater Manchester for an audience.
It was marked under ‘Cash for Question Time’
A.L.F. had a revelation – he could now see the wood from the trees.
“That explains how the Conservative Party won the last election!” he said.
“ Manipulation of the Main Stream Media, Russian interference, Bots on Social Media, links with the Klan in the US of A and dead voters in the Northern Labour Heartlands….we are the only ones that know where the bodies are buried!” A.L.F. continued to the utter bemusement of his companion.
“This Client book is worth a fortune, almost as much as Epstein’s- it makes it clear that the proceeds of the whole dodgy deal are being funnelled offshore to the Tax Havens in the Channel Islands ……it is the French Connection all over again Popeye…..what legitimate Company has a Frog- faced Director on its headed paper called Sir Loin?” continued A.L.F enraged by the corruption that existed at the top of Central Government.
“Imagine using the Coronavirus Pandemic as a distraction to carry out their undercovid operation?”
“It all makes sense now- WHO would go near any meat processing plants with their reported high infection rates other than the ineffectual World Health Organisation?….they weren’t ramping up the testing but ramping up the exports of cadavers….that explains why the Nightingale Hospital in London and the Millennium Stadium was empty!” continued A.L.F. the ultimate conspiracy theorist.
Popeye was lost.
“But where did the brain cells for the zombies come from?” asked the youngster.
“You are too young to remember this politician but according to the book- they were donated to the Tory paper by one David ‘Two Brains’ Willetts-!” replied A.L.F looking at the photo on the inside cover of Patrons.
“So there never was a real Covid 19 Pandemic then?” asked Popeye.
“An invisible germ that came in from China- that killed only the elderly and the already ill only?” said A.L.F.
“What do you think?”
“I try not to….it hurts too much!” said the easily influenced teen.
Unfortunately, their whispering had been overheard from the Security Office.
Peta Plump wasn’t easily scared but that film Poltergeist had spooked him.
Reading up that child actress Heather O’Rourke had died at age of 12 in mysterious circumstances had frightened him even more.
He didn’t want to mess with the Spirit World.
He was concerned that he could hear mutterings coming from the Freezer Area.
This was one of the ‘Forbidden Zones’ in the factory.
He was warned not to go in there by the Management in case he got locked in and froze to death.
Peta Plump had the Paper Lace Song ‘Billy don’t be a hero’ playing inside his head.
But he was paid £7.50 an hour so he had to pretend he was one.
He listened again and thought he could hear strange whisperings coming from the area.
He peered out of his Office and could see a chink of light coming from the door and lo and behold there was his missing flashlight.
Summoning up all his courage, he walked towards the door, wheeling his office chair as back-up.
The sound had stopped.
He would place the chair in the freezer door and poke his nose in.
Nothing more then he would slam the door shut.
The hackles on the back of his neck were raised and he had goose-bumps but he wasn’t sure if it was caused by fear or just cold.
He was half-expecting something out of a Stephen King book to leap at him from the dark, as he treaded in baby steps towards his torch and the freezer door.
After what seemed like an eternity, he finally reached the door.
How stupid did he feel as a grown man afraid of his own shadow?
He lifted the torch from the gap with the intention of replacing it with the with the chair, whilst he had a quick look around from the safety of the door.
Curiosity had got the cat.
As he started to open the door wider and increase ‘the Shining’- he was stunned to see a frozen Blonde- Haired cadaver suddenly come sliding at him at speed.
Peta heard the words “Here’s Boris!” as he was bowled over onto the floor.
Ironic really, as just before he passed out the last thing he saw was the words hurtling at him from inside the locker room was :
‘Stay Alert’, “Control the Virus”, Protect the NHS!”
A.L.F. & Popeye then rushed passed the stricken guard in a state of semi-consciousness have being body checked by a frozen PM in ‘Tip Top’ Condition.
The Animal Rights Activists no longer wanted to burn down the factory as they had bigger fish to fry.
Popeye and A.L.F. owed it to the dead animals and composite humans to bring the French Connection to justice.
There was also the small matter of an investigative journalist ‘Paul Foot n Mouth’ Award to collect for their efforts and of course lots of people in high places to blackmail.
By Philip evans, 2020-06-13
The reason was the release of Howard Marks new book at the Hay Book festival.The former Oxford Graduate and Welsh mastermind of a European Cannabis Ring sat ‘smug’ly. Who said crime doesn’t pay. The best selling author had released his latest in a series of books with a view to helping his former fellow prisoners bide away their time in jail. Like the author himself, the release date had kept going forward, as the US backed Drugs Enforcement Agency had objected to his books and profiteering.“ Who shall I make the book out to sonny?” asked Marks ‘pen’ at the ready.“ And more importantly which one of my aliases would you like ‘Marked’ on it?” asked the globetrotter with more passports than the entire Newport Office.“ Mr Nice will do!”said the little boy rolling his autograph pen like it was a joint. Marks had over the last five decades seen more joints than most, some with but most without bars.His seven years in the Terre Haute Prison in America, had taken their toll on the face of the Welshman- his once ‘Film Star’ looks had been replaced by that of a roc kstar. Unfortunately, it was a combination of Bill Wyman and Keith Richards.
He was once on a ‘Rolling Stoned’ tour with his idols in Cardiff , where as part of his parole conditions he had to tell the schoolchildren at Cathays High School not to take drugs. One of the children raised his hand up and complained that there were none left in Cardiff as Keith Richards and Howard Marks had done them all already. The other non-criminal writers like Jeffrey Archer and Rupert Allison, at the Times Newspaper sponsored event, looked on jealously as the volumes produced by Marks and publishing stable-mate Boyd Clack were setting new festival sales records. Both Clacks’ book entitled ‘High Hopes’ and the Marks one called ‘Pot Black’ were outstripping demand.They seemed to have a hidden quality that their rival authors did not- besides being well-written that is.
“Howard ....did you ever in your wildest dreams think that this would be such a roaring success?” asked Melvyn Bragg nasally.“ Howard I know ?” said the former prison author, as he signed another book looking Northward, sat in the glorious sunshine on the raised grass platform in the Powys field . “ So you mean...you didn’t expect this kind of ‘South Bank Show’?”said Melvyn.“ I expected a good turnout....I’m not called ‘Mr Nice’ for nothing...but I don’t like to Bragg!” continued the ‘pot idol’ as he signed another volume using yet another alias...this time ‘Puff Daddy’. Boyed by the attention, his fellow writer Clack, a former hippy , was not only signing his books but adding a ‘smacker’ with his own lips to the front cover.“ Kisses are better than Wine!” he declared to the latest in along line of BBC Wales Comedy Fans.“ Howard....how do you think the book will be received around the World...do you have any regrets at all ....shamelessly cashing in on your notoriety as a criminal and convicted international drug smuggler?” asked the adenoid suffering arts presenter.“ None at all....this time I’m making legitimate money...this isn’t a front....even if it appears to be affront to the US....after all they are the ones to put the ‘dope’ into dope smuggling!” laughed Marks with a smile not seen since he was released on bail (appropriately to Hay- on- Wye) .
“ Do you think America will be interested in a book about Snooker entitled ‘Pot Black’.....why would the prison population want to buy (albeit in great demand) a book about the exploits of Welsh World Champions Terry Griffiths, Ray Reardon and Doug Mountjoy from the 1970’s.....I can understand the dynamic and flair of players like Mark Williams and Matthew Stevens.....and even that one that looks like Merthyr’s John Williams-Dominic Dale!” asked Bragg.
“ Have you read the book Mel?” asked Howard.“ Not yet....I have had a bit of a head cold recently....but I will get round to it soon!” said the smooth talker.“ If you are congested try rubbing the front cover on the end of your sinuses....the book has an almost medicinal quality, unsurpassed by other books of its kind!” suggested Clack eavesdropping on the conversation.“ And it tastes almost as nice as a piece of ‘battyberg’!” he said looking skyward to dad.“ These books aregood for ‘Hay Fever’!” said Marks smiling just like a Super Furry Animal.
Bragg began to smell a rat.He was surrounded by people who were the usual suspects at ‘Brecon Jazz’, those who slept in tents in a field, most were from the ‘flower power’generation and wore ‘Bob Marley’ and Jimi Hendrix tee-shirts.They weren’t buying the book to read it.Marks looked at him as the penny dropped.“ Guess how many kilos of books I have sold to the prisons in the USA?” asked Marks.“ Those prisoners have been described as of being of ‘ex-hemp-lary character’....it is after all helping to make the detention centres a much ‘karma’ place.“Personally, Melvyn I don’t think Ihave made a ‘hash’ of my career!...what do you think?” smirked Mr Nice.“ I think you're very clever Mr Marks indeed!” replied Bragg catching on to the three way conversation.“Anything that is manufactured in the UK and exported these days is fine ‘in my books’ too !” agreed Clack.“ We all have ‘High’ Hopes for success ...give this one to Federal Drugs Officer Craig Lovato with my compliments... next time you’re stateside...I’m afraid I can’t...I’m barred from the place!” said Marks.
By Philip evans, 2020-05-17
“ What do you think of the wheels then?” asked Astra the professional car thief from the Gurnos.
“ Nice…!” nodded his hoodie friend Elvi$, as he climbed into the front seat of the mini-ambulance.
The vehicle sped away at breakneck speed on the Gurnos Ring Road heading towards Galon Uchaf.
“ Where did you get it?” asked Elvi$.
“ He stole it from outside the Gurnos Home for the elderly!” said a voice from the back of the vehicle.
Astra broke suddenly and a lady with whiter hair than Philip Schofield shot forward in her wheelchair to join the pair in the front.
“ Who the F*** are U?” asked Elvi$ as he came face to face with the Barbara Cartland lookalike.
“ I am the lady that was being transported to the Gurnos House before this chap here stole the van!” said the octogenarian.
“ My name is Mrs Ryder!” she said holding out a hand with a scented white glove for her abductors to kiss.
“ You have been watching 2 much ‘Downtown’ Abbey Duchess…I wouldn’t kiss my girlfriends ring - so I defo ain’t kissing URS!” said Elvi$.
“ Why Elvi$ ….surely the age of chivalry isn’t dead in Merthyr?” asked the pensioner.
“ How did you know he is called Elvi$?” asked Astra….
” Are you a coppers nark?”
“ It is written all over his face….!” Said Mrs Ryder.
It was really WAS written all over his face …. it was in fact tattooed on his forehead….at the tender age of 14 , to celebrate the birth of his second child, young Elvi$ (real name Wilfred) had got a mirror, some Indian ink and a compass from a set one kids geometry set and tattooed the name of his real father on his forehead.
His mother had copped off at the annual Elvis Weekend in Porthcawl and had her fair share of rock that weekend.
She had been so hammered with drink that she only knew that his biological father had worn blue suede shoes.
She had remembered that specifically, as Elvi$ was nearly one of twins- in the middle of ‘love me tender’ it had splattered all over the suede uppers.
On reflection, Elvi$ himself had regretted using that mirror to permanently mark his forehead, as was the ‘S’ like the boy himself was backward.
“ What do we do about HER?” asked Astra pointing at the old lady with the only thing that had ever worked in his house- his thumb.
“ Don’t tell her your name Astra and you might be okay!” said Elvi$.
“ Shall we kill her?” asked Astra.
“ Is there any point boys….I am half dead already!” interjected Mrs Ryder.
Interjected - as the two heroin addicts were busy shooting up in the front seat.
“ I reckon we take her on the Heads of the Valleys Road … let her brake off and push her out into traffic!” suggested Astra.
“ Yeah…would be fun watching this old dalek hitting traffic!” said the charming Elvi$.
“ Didn’t you have a grandmother once?” asked Mrs Ryder unconcerned with her own fate being more concerned that this lost generation of the workshy had no scruples or sense of decency.
This generation of children who had been ‘dragged’ up on a diet of video nasties and shoot ‘em up computer games.
To them there was no ‘community’ …no thought for others …as they were shunned by society as being lepers….fourth generation scum who had never had a working person living in their houses.
They thought ‘aspiration’ meant sweating in a prison gym.
“ Well gentlemen , I am not afraid to die anymore than I was afraid to be born- if anything, it will save my family the cost of sending me to a Swiss clinic so c’mn …let’s get this show on the road !” said Daphne.
The two scag-heads were thrown by this comment.
“ Come on what are you waiting for?…..like Tom Cruise in Top Gun ….I feel the need…the need for speed!” said Mrs Ryder.
“ Sorry love…we’ll all out of amphetamine…!” said Astra stunned by the reaction of the legless granny.
“ Should we decide not to kill you …Have you got any money Granny?” asked Elvi$ changing tack.
“ I’m a disabled pensioner from Essex way about to go into a Merthyr Care Home….what do you think?” replied Mrs Ryder.
“ I try not to think ….it hurts…!” said Astra …“ Nice wheels by the way!”
“ The metal in the wheelchair has to be worth SOMETHING up the scrappie!” said Elvi$.
“ Probably but you wouldn’t steal from the NHS would you?” asked Mrs Ryder.
“ He would steal from his own grandmother!” said Astra.
“ Do I know her?” asked Mrs Ryder trying a captor/hostage trick to find common ground with her abductors.
“ How old are you?” asked Astra.
“ It is not polite to ask a Lady her age…..but I am 88 this year!” said the Grannie proudly.
“ His grandmother is only 52…!” said Astra.
“ Shut up…!” ordered Elvi$....”….. Just keep driving will you!”
Outside the Gurnos Home for the elderly, the oldest delivery boy in town was scratching his head.
Former Policeman, Alan Flatfoot was puzzled.
He was sure he had parked the ambulance in the courtyard five minutes ago….and he couldn’t find Mrs Ryder the second of his two passengers.
He didn’t think it possible she would go anywhere not having any legs while he wheeled in her friend Daisy to the Centre.
He couldn’t remember if he had left the keys in the ignition or not.
He didn’t want to be charged with the offence of ‘Quitting’ by his former colleagues.
He was starting to worry that delivering all these old people with Alzheimers disease was becoming to rub off on him….like the randy old goat Edna in flat number three.
He decided to do one last lap of the building and car park before ringing his old boys in blue.
Imagine, the stick he would get if they found out.
“ Ever seen the film ‘The Fast & The Furious’ ? asked Astra.
“ Nope!” replied Mrs Ryder.
“ They are classic films about joy riding and breaking the law starring Vin Diesel!” said the driver pretending he was as macho as the Hollywood star.
“Vin Diesel….I have heard of him….said Mrs Ryder…!”
“ I often pretend to be like him!” said Astra.
“ You know he’s gay!” said Mrs Ryder.
“ No way…!” said Astra…slowing down to 60MPH in a 30MPH zone.
“ Diesel …doesn’t like unleaded green hose in his tank…!” said Mrs Ryder hitting the kid where it hurt- in his simple mind.
“ Ever heard of Gone in Sixty Seconds?” asked Elvi$.
“ No….!” gulped Mrs Ryder.
“ Because once we reach the brow of this hill…that is what you will be!” said Elvi$ cruelly.
“ Astra, keep the wheel straight I am going to slide between these seats and unbolt the back door to get rid of that old bitch!” he continued.
“ You have forgotten one thing Sonny…they have speed cameras on the Heads of the Valleys Road…you kick me out…you will be on ‘You-tube’ forever…as the Granny Wheelchair killer….that would go down well in Cardiff Prison!” laughed Mrs Ryder.
Elvi$ hated being outsmarted, even if it did happen a lot.
He had a naturally ‘suspicious mind’ …which he thought was just a by-product of the Indian Ink.
“ They don’t have them on the Glynneath bank…but that is a dual carriageway anyway…the A470 Expressway it is then “ said Elvi$ chucking evilly, like Chuckie the doll from Child’s Play.
Mrs Ryder knew she had about two miles as the crow flew to come up with a plan.
She reckoned that Astra was ‘all mouth and trousers’ but that Elvi$ was much more dark and psychotic.
She tried to remember her Wren training and catching people off guard.
She hatched a plan in her mind that she would grab her attacker with both hands and judo him off the back of the moving mini-bus.
As the bus made its way towards the Rhydycar roundabout and all those clerks sleeping at their desks in the Welsh Assembly Building, there was no chance of jettisoning the old lady and her wheelchair as the road was backed up from the Cyfarthfa Retail Park park roundabout to the Rhydycar Roundabout because of road works.
“ You do realise the bus is facing the wrong way for any delivery into oncoming traffic!” said Mrs Ryder.
“ Wrong ….my boy here has been practising his ‘do-nuts’ and ‘u-turns’ for years around the college and other car parks….all that late night squealing and burning rubber….that’s not just from the back of the Kirkhouse!” said Elvi$.
“ Very soon you… and that Oasis chair will be history!” he continued menacingly.
“ Oasis chair?” asked Mrs Ryder tying herself into the chair in anticipation with her shoelaces….belt strap and M&S Cardigan ….all with a granny knot.
“ You getta roll with it!” said Elvi$ laughing at his gallows humour.
The van screeched around the corner with Elvi$ holding his hand up to the driver as they flew across the road bridge above P & R Motors in Pentrebach.
“ Wait for it!” he said sliding past Mrs Ryder and unbolting the back doors.
“ Now !” he said.
Astra spun the steering wheel wildly.
As he uttered those immortal words….Mrs Ryder pushed at the top of the rubber wheels with all her might.
She crashed into the soft shins of her abductor and he teetered on the edge of the open doors, quiff flailing in the wind.
And then he was gone.
Elvi$ had left the building , falling over the flyover and was lying flat on his back on the bonnet of the tow-truck.
There was no hope for him even if he was in the ‘recovery position’.
He looked like a dying fly legs and arms flailing in the air spine completely shot.
Cars careered across the three lane highway in all directions as the van skidded to a halt and then restarted its acceleration back up the wrong sliproad.
Mrs Ryder rolled about more than an episode of ’Ironside’ in the van with the doors flapping.
Astra was petrified but like a charging bull he had the intelligence to neither stop or to slow down.
Forcing cars off the road, the insurance nightmare raced up the A470, sideswiping cars and barriers alike, as he headed towards Cardiff.
Mrs Ryder knew she had jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire, as Astra was as unpredictable as the out of date box of fireworks he was originally named after.
Centrifugal force was keeping her in the vehicle alone but she knew once he broke, she would be history.
She dragged herself along the metal wall inch by inch and grabbed the little scrote around the throat with all her might forcing the scumbag to choke on his own Adams Apple.
“ Here is a present from ‘Granny Smith’….!” she said strangling the car thief.
Astra was so dull even though he was slowly having the oxygen squeezed out of him , he pressed the brake gently on survival instinct instead of the accelerator.
“ If there is one thing I hate!” she said.
” It is someone sullying my good name…you didn’t even have the courtesy to ask it….I’m Joy Ryder and you are not a joy rider… you are a car THIEF !”” she said as Astra’s face went blue and the car trundled to a stop in the layby .
It was the best vigilante move since Michael Winner had finally had his own Death Wish.
Listening to banned police frequencies, Alan Flatfoot put his foot flat to the floor in his Hillman Avenger, as he gunned down the A470 Expressway in search of his stolen ambulance.
The former prop from the television programme, the ‘Professionals’ had a top speed of 40 mph and had air conditioning in the floor where the clutch pedal had once been.
Letting in the ‘choke’ he spotted his van ringed by police cars in a layby above Troedyrhiw, watching a different kind of choke taking place.
They had retrieved the body of Elvi$ from Pentrebach and had just found the hostage situation much to the annoyance of Traffic Cop Ade ‘Bucket’ Edmondson it was on his watch.
“ This is beyond the pail’ !” laughed Flatfoot as he pulled in to see his old police driving instructor.
“ What you got then?” asked Flatfoot.
“ The usual- an Old woman with no legs holding a junkie car thief by the throat threatening to snap his neck!” said Bucket.
“ Why are you trying to arrest her then?” asked Flatfoot.
“ We’re not….we are trying to give her a Community Action Trust Reward….keep the crime figures down …but she has gone all psycho on us when we are just trying to help her!” said the Traffic Officer.
“ I think I know why!” said Flatfoot.
“ I was transporting her from her stay in the Old Deanery Nursing Home in Braintree Essex!”