By Ceri Shaw, 2022-07-14
The young apprentices at Hoovers in Merthyr Tydfil looked on in awe.
They had heard the phrase, ‘necessity was the Mother of all invention’ and this was in fact the ultimate Mother.
Sat in the now empty Pentrebach Factory, that had once employed thousands of local people, was a brand new car- the like of which the World had never seen before.
If the Sinclair C5 Electric trike produced in the 1980’s was to be the saviour of Hoovers- then this new invention was bound to clean up.
It was the brainchild of local man Ian Venter, who had used the discarded scrap parts of old washing machines, tumble driers and vacuum cleaners to create the ultimate ‘Hoovercar’.
The apprentices could not believe their teenage eyes- it was like something from an episode of Futurama.
A vehicle that could hover above ground – just like the vehicle driven by Luke Skywalker on the planet Tatooine in the first Star Wars film – it really was a ‘New Hope’.
A new hope alright to employment in the small but historic, South Wales Valley Town that had been in recession for over two hundred years.
“I don’t believe it!” said local lad Vic Meldrew.
“There is something in the Air!’ expressed open-mouthed Aled Jones Junior- singing out in his dulcet Valley tones.
The car was not surprisingly made up of metal from white goods and had two vacuum hosepipes as the exhaust to filter out the gases.
To limit the effect on the environment, the patent holder, Ian Venter had it linked to a tank of Lenor, which gave it a softness and a freshness that people just couldn’t ignore.
It had a twin tub engine, which was fuelled by a new secret biofuel which Ian Venter didn’t want revealed to the World, unless he was to mysteriously Die Son.
“Does it really float of its own accord?” asked Vic- doubting even more than his mate Thomas standing next to him.
Ian produced to the apprentice a skipping hoop acquired from the local Afon Taf school.
Just like a magician’s assistant, he passed the hoop over the car to show that it was not being held up by invisible wires attached to the Factory ceiling.
“Unbelievable!” said Chris Kamara Junior.
“There is a lot less Bovver with a Hoover!” said Ian proud of his creation.
“When are you going to reveal it to the general public?” asked Thomas sceptically.
“I plan on a big publicity splash soon and seek to recreate the original bet between Ironmaster Crawshay and Richard Trevethick but this time have a sponsored race with an Tesla electric car retracing the original route from the Tramroad at Penydarren to Abercynon- but using the existing road network- I will of course stick to the Taff Trail- so it is a Musk Win for me!” Ian continued.
“Sounds great!” the wide-eyed teenagers felt like they were witnessing an important event in human history.
A vehicle that was not only eco-friendly but might offer one or two of the acne brigade a chance to impress teenage Scandinavian green Viking warrior Greta Thunberg.
“How did you come across the formula for your bio-fuel?” asked Victor.
“My Grandfather was a soldier in the British Army that liberated Berlin in 1945- he came across a famous German Physicist, Otto Von Jizzmark, who had unfortunately just taken a cyanide capsule rather be taken alive by the Red Army- in his laboratory coat pocket was a series of algebraic equations that Gramps had not seen before and which the dead scientist had been testing on a metal bell which apparently floated in the air unsupported- only the Nazi Swastika symbols could he recognise- but when he came home he gave it to Grandmother who kept it safe- it had weird alien spray writing on it too!” continued Ian.
“Do you think it has extra-terrestial origins?” questioned Victor further.
“Either that or my Grandfather found the original ‘Banksy’… Ian replied.
“But first, I need a volunteer pilot to test drive the car!”
All three teenagers shouted ‘Me’ at once.
None of them had full driving licences but both Chris and Vic both had passed their theory driving tests on Glebeland Street and held provisional licences.
Chris had the advantage though, as he was much lighter than Vic and had driven his Father’s milk float around Galon Uchaf on more than one occasion- as his Father needed someone to ride shotgun.
Not to just sit on the front passenger’s seat but also to ward off ‘the Humphries’ or milk thieves that lived near the Frontier Town’s Wild West Trading Post.
The ‘last straw’ for him was watching the Humphries ‘cream’ off all his weekly profits by pinching his ‘white goods and cheeses’ from the back whilst distracting him at the front of the vehicle.
He had got one of them back by reversing over his head whilst he ‘supposedly’ reached under the milk float for his football.
It didn’t kill the young soccer thief but it was very ‘Messi’ and his new triangular shaped head had earned him the nickname ‘Dairy Lee’ locally.
Chris didn’t know it at that juncture but being appointed the first ever test pilot of the Hoover Car would secure his place in history and of course the Guinness Book of Records.
Ian lowered the car to the ground and switched the engine off.
Chris moved quicker than an England Football Fan without a Euro 2020 ticket at Wembley.
As he clambered aboard, Chris was reminded that unlike Princess Diana, he must wear his seatbelt.
Chris looked at the series of dials on the dashboard.
There were red buttons, green ones and amber ones too- but was more scary than the ‘Squid Games’.
“Whatever you don’t press that button with the ‘Red Arrows logo’- or the one emblazoned with the faded words ‘Spin Cycle’….as it turns the car upside-down’ and is only to be used on an official fly past above the Queen of England!”
“Press the circular one to start the engine!” instructed Ian.
“The one marked ‘Up’ is what you press very slowly…if you press it too hard you would shoot up like a Harrier Jump Jet and will be crushed by the asbestos ceiling tiles!” the creator explained.
Chris did as he was told and raised the car three feet up off the factory floor.
All he could manage to utter was the word ‘cool’.
He hovered there suspended in mid-air like a fart in a vacuum.
Whereas he was in fact a fart in a different kind of vacuum.
His pals looked jealously on at the chosen one.
“What is its top speed? Shouted Chris from mid-air of the designer.
“Don’t know yet!” Ian replied.. but I have the ideal test track on the former Hoover’s cricket pitch..I should be able to discover its ‘run rate’ then easily!” he continued.
Schrodinger’s Chris was encouraged to return to Earth and landed like an expert.
“When is the test scheduled for?” he asked excitedly.
“Saturday, so be there promptly for 7am, I don’t want too many of the HGV lorry drivers to see my invention as they should all be stuck in Dover post-Brexit by then!” Ian declared laughing.
The students went home each fantasising about joining the Mile High Club with the young Thunberg for ‘Swede Dreams’.
When Saturday came, Chris was dressed to impress his Teacher.
Dressed in a Second World War jump suit obtained from the Army & Navy Stores bearing the word ‘Stig’ written in Sharpie Black pen on the top he stood with his Uncle’s Helmet ‘borrowed’ from his Vespa Scooter.
In his eyes he felt he was wearing ‘Top Gear’, whereas in fact to all and sundry he looked like a complete pillock, as he ambled down Pentrebach Road past the long red-brick building.
Ian was waiting for him as he entered the ‘Field of Dreams’.
As a child Chris had not been breast-fed but raised on Formula One and felt that this race was his destiny.
His shot to be the new Lewis Hamilton and move all his assets and domicile to Switzerland- where he would live the good life in the land of milk and honey surviving on Milka bars & Toblerones to keep his big race energy up between Groupies.
Chris climbed into the cockpit feeling just like Tom Cruise in Days of Thunder or Steve McQueen in Le Mans.
He was familiar with the controls and upon the lowering of the chequered flag by Ian, he set off in a clockwise circular direction around the field.
His trusty steed handled like a dream.
He felt cocksure with the arrogance that comes with youth that he could beat any mortal in a fair race.
Even a Tesla.
The Morning of the promotional race came around and Chris was sat in his prototype whilst he had learned that his rival was Malcolm Campbell Junior, Junior, from Pendine Sands Carmathenshire- a very religious driver who had christened his Tesla ‘Sunbeam’ in the hope of getting approval from his big boss upstairs.
As everyone knows Jesus loves a Sunbeam.
He genuflected before putting on his helmet, clutching the steering wheel theatrically and revving his silent engine, just like Marcel Marceau would have done.
Chris started to get nervous- looking at the model of Trevithick’s Engine in Pontmorlais he said a silent prayer of his own but given his green credentials to the Greek Earth Goddess Gaia.
The race was on.
Whilst the Tesla sped away silently like a chapel fart, it soon becoming entrenched in Merthyr Town Centre’s demonic one-way traffic system which must have designed by Chris Rea.
Malcolm Campbell didn’t like having to stop at the Pontmorlais ‘Circus’ zebra crossing as high above his head was the red-and yellow brick former Young Man’s Christian Association building once listed now just listing and looking like it could collapse at any moment.
Even the pigeons that roosted there would confirm that it was no longer ‘fun to stay at the YMCA’.
On the other hand, being much narrower and more flexible, the Hoovercar could use all the escape lanes known only to local taxi drivers and car thieves to get ahead as it sped down the Tramroad behind the Red House, Old Town Hall, whilst the Tesla was still log-jammed at the top of Town.
As it sped along, Chris suddenly realised what the environmental benefits the Hoovercar could bring to South Wales.
As it went along it sucked up all the discarded fly-tipped plastic bottles and containers and used them to burn away the air miles.
It was a real shame that Erin Brockovich wasn’t present, as the plastic fumes from the twin tub exhaust filtered upwards and started the fill the hole in the ozone layer as it solidified.
Used discarded syringes were no trouble for the Hoovercar, in fact they gave Chris’ vehicle an ‘injection’ of pace and left the Sunbeam ‘Chasing the Dragon-Park Silver Machine’
Sweeping and cleaning as it went, it would have saved the Council a fortune in street cleansing- if only they hadn’t stopped street cleansing due to austerity measures five years before.
Flying across the junction markings without stopping, just like the average Audi driver, Chris sailed on passed the temporary car park at Tesco that has been up for over two decades.
Using the pavements and side alleys he flew on without impediment as he made much swifter progress than the conventional cars gridlocked and frustrated by streets and lanes designed for horses and carts.
Being faithful to the route taken a few centuries back in Victorian Times, he was cheered on by a time-travelling member of the Conservative Party replete in Top Hat, tails and pin stripe trousers all laid out for the Right Honourable Member for Somerset North by his Nanny that Morning.
He made good time whilst his race rival was trapped in the Wacky Races behind the Merthyr Tydfil version of Penelope Pitstop, busy putting on her make-up in the rear-view mirror.
Sounding his steering wheel horn, Campbell received a dirty look that would have put Medusa the Gorgon to shame.
Chris had now reached the Rhydycar zebra crossing and floated across the road, narrowly dodging myopic pensioners who only passed their tests when accompanied by a leading man with a white flag and cyclists from the Taff Trail who refuse to dismount or slow down.
Complete cycle paths the lot of them.
As he passed over the River Taff, he admired the number of migratory supermarket trollies caught up in the torrent, that hadn’t yet reached the Merthyr salvage yards in Penygarnddu.
Now on the Taff Trail behind the Rhydycar Leisure & Swimming Pool which sadly had built too small to host Olympic Competition, he began to become worried that he would run low on fuel but fortunately there was plenty of nitrogen and methane available thanks to irresponsible dog owners in the form of discarded dog-shit.
Chris had once thought that dogs were dumb animals but realised that he had never ever witnessed a dog stepping in human shit.
His machine, originally modelled on the Sinclair Trike, had a top speed of 20mph and floating above the tarmac he didn’t need to worry about lumps or bumps unlike the Tesla, who had to negotiate the surface roads with less tarmac than the ones in Kiev during the Russian Invasion.
Malcolm Campbell loved a challenge but driving on these Valley roads left him shaking more than Billy Connolly coming back from a wanking contest.
Unfortunately, his progress was also hampered by the knock- on effect of roadworks on the A465(T), the A4060 slip road, the A4102 at Jackson’s Bridge in Georgetown and the A470 (T).
He couldn’t understand why all works were scheduled for the same date- especially on the day of the exhibition race.
The effect was total gridlock on streets designed for horses and carts with only fools and horses driving them.
Even the speed camera van had given up the ghost – there would be no soft motorist targets with cars moving less than 10MPH.
Malcolm Campbell was however, very competitive and even more resourceful.
As new laws had been brought in banning the use of handheld mobile phone devices in moving vehicles- he realised that there was still a loophole in the law, sat in his log-jammed car he googled the sound of an ambulance siren and set his phone to the loudest noise setting.
He knew in a lawless Town like Merthyr Tydfil it was no good calling up a Police Siren, as it was an everyday sound and no-one would voluntarily pullover to assist the Cuntstabulary in the lawful execution of their duty.
He would now drive like he did on Gran Turismo, forcing vehicles off the road in a fraudulent ‘Dai- version’
Using this technique, he soon reached the ‘A470’ at the Trago Mills roundabout glancing up at the grey towers of Merthyr’s version of Cinderella’s Palace.
He was now able to start making ground on the Hoovercar, which was now speeding down the Taff Trail, passed Upper Abercanaid- with hums and arias, as it nodded in the direction of its birth place and the land of its Father.
The Hoovercar was now low on fuel as a local charity ‘Bags under your Ayes’ had been busy clearing the illegally dumped plastic containers, beer cans and soft drink cans tipped merrily down the side of the embankments of the Taff Trail by a local publican enraged at the cost of commercial waste collection by the Local Authority.
The Gethin Woods now looked like it was sponsored by Pepsi to the Max and of course Red Bull.
The Charity collection organised by a group of local politicians to assist with a donation to the MP’s ‘Commoners’ bar at Westminster.
After all, the cost of living crisis meant that the price of alcohol had risen, together with sharp fuel cost rises and with a mere 15% increase on their salaries some MP’s were struggling to heat their stables effectively.
The Hoovercar began to chug and splutter like Boris Johnson at the dispatch box, as the rubbish began to run out.
Chris scanned the immediate location and suddenly struck gold as a local fly by night removal company had tipped a load of unwanted items previously destined for the Antiques Roadshow which had been looted years ago from Cyfarthfa Castle archives.
A signed first edition copy of Charles Darwin’s book the Origin of the Species – previously thought to be a study on the finches of the Galapagos Islands- but was actually about the building of the houses in the Gurnos and the Council policy about bringing up the standard of the poorest by rehousing gypsies and battered wives amongst the managers of the Imperial Chemical Institute (ICI) and their Stepford Wives.
Next came, Lord Nelson’s telescope and eyepatch last used in the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar.
Then to boost the fuel was fed the handwritten missing ending for Charles Dickens’ the Mystery of Edwin Drood together with the ostrich feather used to pen the same.
Dozens of stuffed animals-a taxidermists’ nightmare- ‘stuffed’ into the fuel tank as the Hoovercar regained the initiative on the Tesla.
The Taff Trail ended and the two vehicles came side to side on the Cynon Valley Road as the Mountain Ash Dash intensified.
Who would cross the finish line first?
Rounding the bend serving the Mountain Ash Rugby Club the rivals suddenly realised that there were pedestrians in the road ahead.
Joe Rassic-Park had a chip on his shoulder.
His Mother had in the 1960’s, whilst pregnant, taken a drug to ease her morning sickness and as a result he had been born with two tiny arms but oversized hands.
He looked like a cross between Kenny Everett character Brother Lee Love and a tyrannosaurus rex.
Today, he had a chip on his shoulder principally because that was the only way he could eat his food.
The environmentalist and green campaigner had tried to make a difference all his life raging against Big Pharma and the Multi-National Corporations that were destroying our Planet with their plastic pollution, car fumes and engineered wars.
This is why at the age of Sixty, he had joined the protest group Insulate Britain to become a cool cat.
Money was no longer of any concern to him following his early retirement – as he had just discovered that his occupational pension pot was empty after being looted by the Trustees, and who were now based in the Cayman Islands- so angry that he had just decided his moral crusade was justified for the next generations of children that regional and National Governments were failing.
Despite having a small amount of money, he was in fact insolvent.
Stuck to the tarmac road by his face, he refused to move as he lay right eyelid glued to the road surface of the A4059 Mountain Ash Road.
If only inventor Percy Shaw could see the alternative cat’s eye stuck in the middle of the highway.
Little did Joe realise that today like suffragette Emily Davison, he would literally die for his cause.
The glass of water perched next to him to ease his dehydration began to ripple.
Something big was coming his way- he couldn’t hear it but he could sense it.
Since the introduction of electric vehicles and their silent running, pensioner deaths had trebled.
The Government’s master plan of Covid Herd immunity had saved the Non-Dom Chancellor of the Exchequer at Westminster a fortune in pension pay- outs so much so he could afford tax cuts for the Times Newspaper ‘Richi’ List.
It was now onto the next phase of the cull of the surplus population, the roll-out of fully driverless cars and smart (no- hard shoulder) motorways.
The planned reduction of the number of cars on our roads by lethal but legal means.
Malcolm Campbell’s silent machine of death had already left a trail of dead hedgehogs in its wake.
The poor creatures had merely stepped out from their Chris Packham Springwatch nature-built apartments to meet with their friends for a short time but instead ended up visiting their ‘flat’ mates.
Now it was the turn of the ‘Swampy’ pensioner to fill the potholes.
The Tesla ploughed into the OAP shocking him than a monkey in a test laboratory experiment.
Never mind being tasered by the Met Police- being Tesla’d was much worse.
Chris in the Hoovercar just floated over the human roadblock and crossed the winning line to the sound of a loud cheer from his sponsor- Ian Ventor.
In triumph however, Chris made one fatal mistake.
Glancing back over his shoulder and giving his rival the bird, being a youngster he took his other hand off the wheel for a mobile phone selfie to upload to Instagram and just like 1970’s T-Rex frontman, Mark Bolan ploughed straight into a Mountain Ash tree the village was named after.
That too was to be his biggest ‘hit’.
His car burst into a ball of flame at the edge of the Taff Trail.
To the horror of Ian Ventor, the plastic prototype melted quicker than a Kardashian standing too close to an open fire.
Chris had become a Trail blazer indeed.
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.