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The Iron Warriors by Philip 'Boz' Evans


By Philip evans, 2019-01-24


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“ What’s their pool team like then boyz?” questioned Fast Eddie Felson dressed in his white hat and black and white brogues as he sat in the back of the minibus.

“ Not bad- they have a few Welsh players but nothing we can’t handle on and off the table!” said Bobby Mogzy cricking his knuckles.

The boys in the team minibus, had set out from the Iron Horse Public house in Galon Uchaf Road ,Merthyr Tydfil at 6.00pm to arrive for 8.00pm.

They knew if they arrived late, they would be docked a frame every twenty minutes.

It was a best of nine pool match in the South Wales area ‘Rhymney Brewery’ sponsored cup knockout competition and the two teams had more scores to settle than just the outcome of this grudge match .

Both the Iron Horse Public House and the Eden Bush Inn in Cwmaman were both featured in the television mockumentary on Sky TV as being two of ‘Britain’s Hardest Pubs’.

There were however, no prizes for finishing second.

There was also a bit of a personal too as two of the boys had a had a ‘two’s up’ with the pub landlord’s wife around the back of the Kooler Nightclub two weeks ago.

As the six Merthyr boys got down out of the clapped out minibus last used for transporting flying pickets in the 1984 miners strike- they sensed that they were on forbidden territory.

Mogzy stopped pissing through the hole in the floor of the rust bucket as they hit Aberdare’s Sobell roundabout.

Snake Valley…. home to the River Cynon….and Valley rivals of Merthyr since the 1926 General Strike when the blacklegs (with no legs) slithered back to work on their bellies.

The contaminated ground upon which they stood seemed to ‘hiss’ defiantly at the Merthyr Iron Warriors- or was that just the pollutants from the nearby Abercwmboi phurnacite plant.

As they arrived at their destination there was an air of trepidation.

From the outside the Eden Bush Inn, Cwmaman looked like a dive.

From the inside it looked worse.

As ex- army man and veteran of the Falklands Island War pushed open the door of the Pub - the entire region became ‘ a silent valley’.

Only the sound of a single stereophonic album being played on a cassette tape could be heard in the distant still air of a Valley that once was full of noisy heavy industry but now no longer had any work.

Mogzy was joined by Jim Remploy from the Gurnos , Richard ‘Hannibal’ Stevens- a known face and ear biter from Galon Uchaf and three other likely lads, as they passed in single file through the narrow entrance to the Inn.

The Dowlais Boxer, Jezzie Jones carrying his metal cue case slammed it down on the bar sending some of the alcoholic crowd and more timid creatures scurrying for the shadows.

Kellog Scalper was next replete in waistcoat, metallic chalk-holder stuck to his belt and matching knuckledusters on both hands.

“ Six pints of Snake-Bite-Bow and Lager and do you do any food my good man?” asked Fast Eddie politely to the slob behind the bar dressed in a grey string vest that had at one point been white.

Three arrows thudded into the bar as he said so.

The barman threw a packet of pork scratching onto the bar and asked for £2.00.

Fast Eddie thought that was a bit steep but handed over a £2.00 coin anyway.

“ We don’t take ‘forged’ Merthyr money….there ain’t no thing as a two pound coin!” said Bob Slobb, landlord of the Eden Bush Inn tossing it back at Fast Eddie.

The bar went silent again as Fast Eddie weighed up his options carefully.

He knew if there to be a fight BEFORE they had won the pool match his team would be thrown out of the competition and the £5,000.00 prize money disappear in a flurry of fists.

“ Sorry, my missed snake…mistake !” …..he said putting four old style no longer legal tender 50p pieces on the counter.

Bob seeing real money instead of IOU’s and giros for a change grabbed greedily at the coins.

“ That’ll be £1.80 for the six pints too!” Bob demanded with menaces.

“ Great to be outside civilisation sometimes….at these prices!” said Remploy.

“ Now where’s the pool table at?” asked Jezzy.

Over by the toilets, the Iron Warriors Pool Team caught sight of a huge blue pool table with a Simonis – no nap cloth- new back in 1981- the last time the place had been cleaned.

There was no baulk line or D….only three rings where pint glasses had marked the cloth.

“ Whose your Captain?” roared Mogzy.

“ It is 7.30pm and the game must start on time!” demanded the ex- Welsh Guardsman drummed out of the army for cruelty to the Argentine prisoners.

He was seen planting the British Flag on Goose Green in the eye socket of one of the conscripted kids singing ‘Don’t cry for me Argentina!” as he did so.

He was hard….Merthyr hard.

“ Me….!” said a barrel-chested ex Tower Colliery Miner stepping out of the dark shadows of the pool table lit by a 15 watt bulb.

“ Bryn Pica is the name….you may have heard of me!” said the bruiser face filled with scars from fists that had cut him on many a Friday and Saturday night.

He slung a white card contemptuously at Mogzy with the names of the pool players written in blood red ink on the card.

Mogzsy had heard of Bryn Pica and was aware of the fact he was the leader of the notoriously violent gang the ‘Cwmaman Cobras’ but wasn’t going to admit the fact or be intimidated by it.

“ No…never heard of you…!” he spat back with more venom than his Snake Valley Rival.

Mogzy picked up the card and wrote down the names of his six players in the order he felt best with a miniature blue betting shop pen.

He would play Jim Remploy first, as he lived on the table.

He played six nights a week – hadn’t had a job since he left school at 14 and made his living hustling pool and gambling on horses or dogs to supplement his invalidity money.

He like most men in Merthyr had a ‘bard back’ ….it was nothing to do with Shakespeare….he could bend over the table alright with it…but when it came to doing an honest day’s work for a decent day’s pay he suddenly became like the Daily Mirror cartoon character - Andy Capped.

Jim had actually been found abandoned, having been born under the pool table of the ‘Matchstick Man’ Public House in the Gurnos and had been adopted by the Landlord as one of his own.

He did literally LIVE on the table….having been conceived there to….with the stain mark still visible on the baize cloth where his twin brother had just missed out.

When the landlord registered his birth of the pool prodigy , the first name that came to mind for his father was Riley….and little Jim had lived the life of Riley ever since.

After winning the toss of the coin, it didn’t take Jim long to break and ‘swish’ the balls from the break .

As he set himself up to pot the black into the top pocket – with his opponent not having had a shot- he could hear the crowd trying to put him off by farting, belching hissing and dropping loudly coins into the jukebox.

None of the above bothered Jim as they were all familiar pub sounds to the potting machine…so much so that he sited the black 8 ball before potting it with his eyes closed to the dismay of the other team that their underhand tactics had not worked.

His show of arrogance however, had lit an already tense atmosphere and the slow burning of the touch paper didn’t take long for the bar to ignite.

No sooner than a Billy Ray Cyrus song had started up than it kicked off as the bar turned Cuntry and Western .

“ Cocky bastard!” said skinhead Bavo Stock, as he struck Jim from behind over the head with the bottom of a pool cue from the rack.

Jim not expecting this treatment from the ‘referee’ , slumped unconsciously to the floor where he was booted unmercifully by the pub regulars.

Jezzie was the first to react, as he raced to the table and picked up the still spinning white ball and slung the heavy ivory object at the skinhead.

The ball slung with full force , hit the venomous reptile in the chest just as the Country & Western ballad picked up speed.

“ Don’t break my heart….my achey snakey heart…!” warbled Fast Eddie as his team mate Richard ‘Hannibal’ Stevens, as he leapt onto the closest person and sunk his teeth into the fleshy part of the ear of local head-banger Plisskin.

He hung on for dear life, teeth clamped like an aural version of a Calgary Rodeo rider as he rode the punches of his opponent who was in complete agony.

Plisskin would soon need to adopt a new nickname of ‘Eighteen Months’ as he was left with a ear and a half by the Merthyr biter.

The landlord joined in, shouting and whooping like a red Indian, as after six cans of red bull his adrenaline was so pumped, he leapt clean over the serving hatch and swung a long thin metal object towards Fast Eddie’s face.

“ Your ‘barred’ !” he said -expecting to see some teeth come flying through the air from the man that had knocked out his wife’s teeth a very different way previously .

But they don’t call him ‘Fast’ Eddie for nothing, as he dodged the iron bar heading his way and stuck the head into the landlord with all the crunch of an Ibex goat hitting a love rival .

Fast Eddie and co being from Merthyr were used to getting their ‘retaliation in first’.

Fists flew and cowboy boots were bloodied, as the five remaining Merthyr Iron Warriors fought against the usual Aberdare odds of three to one.

They were however forced due to sheer weight of numbers backwards through the front door they had originally entered.

It was like a scene from an Indiana Jones movie, as the snakes covered the floor of the public house….with Bavo Stock in a serious condition-- as the pool ball had smashed his ribcage and damaged his heart.

Alongside him , lay the equally mortally wounded Jim Remploy , his head and shoulders sticking out from under the pool table that now served as his blue coffin lid.

The Iron Warriors knew that they had to get the door of the pub shut -as their only advantage was to keep their attackers in as narrow a place as possible- to prevent being surrounded and overwhelmed by numbers.

Smacking heads with his metal cue case Jezzy- looked to anyone passing- like Luke Skywalker, as he wielded his ‘light sabre’ as the Warriors forced the door shut and jammed the pool case across the handles stopping it being opened from the inside.

“Kellog …..barked the leader- go and get the petrol can from the bus….lets teach these Snakes how he do things Merthyr-style!” said Mogzy…still pumped up with adrenaline from the fight…his black eyes rolling like a great White Shark about to strike.

“ The bastards have smashed the bus windows and knifed the tyres!” replied foot soldier Kellog.

“ Never mind that now...toss me that petrol can!” Mogzy ordered remembering his army days aged 17 creating Molotov Cocktails in Port Stanley.

Pouring some of the red diesel through the letterbox, he set about lighting the rag on the top of the canister as a fuse…leaving it in the doorway he glanced up at the double glazed window to see one of the rival Cwmaman Cobras taking his and the other Iron Warriors photographs on his camera-phone.

“ Let’s watch these heat loving reptiles really hiss!” he said as the flame started to engulf the door.

He nodded his head in triumph and made a throat slitting gesture at the young hooligan sat in the window.

He turned his back and walked away with his Gurnos-style pit bull terrier bollocks swinging from side to side.

The explosion thirty seconds later -sent bricks and wooden splinters flying - over 200 feet in all directions.

All five remaining Iron Warriors were deafened by the blast.

How was Mogzy to know the whole of Cwmaman was built on landfill tips full of methane- at least over in Merthyr they were put on the side of the mountains where the leachates , could harmlessly enter the water table and drinking supplies.

But one thing Mogzy did know, was that they were trapped ten miles inside enemy territory in Snake Valley - were there were most hostile reptiles than the cast of the 1970’s sci-film ‘V’.

He would have to get the Iron Warriors back to Merthyr on foot and evade patrols of rival street-fighters with such colourful names as the Mountain Ash Moccasins, Robertstown Rattlers , Aberdare Asps and the Hirwaun Slowworms.

Some of the Cynon Valley equivalent of the Bloods and the Crips were all talk…or in Galon Nouchie speak ‘all mouth and trousers’ but Mogzy knew that with only five men collectively against the numbers of the ‘Gangs of New Fork ’- it would be a real hard task.

After a brief silent minute riposte for their fallen comrade, Mogzy rallied F- troop … five men in the late forties and early fifties…men who had all been street fighters …hard as nails….men that always had his back on Soul Crew visits in the late 1970’s and 1980’s to place like Millwall, Chelsea and Manchester United.

His job was get these boys back to Merthyr alive to tell this tale.

“We need to get off the main roads as there will be people out there looking for us and baying for our blood!” said Mogzy.

He went into Falklands survival mode as he led his ‘platoon’ into the roadside bushes and ditches.

Richard ‘Hannibal’Stevens said what everyone else was thinking.

“ How will they know it was us?” he asked.

“ Well you still have a bit of that bloke’s earlobe stuck in your teeth for a start …but seeing five men with tattoos on their faces spelled CORRECTLY is a bit of a giveway….!” said the smartest one of the bunch Kellog- himself a tattoo parlour owner and hairdresser who had invented the ‘Number one down to the bone’ haircut.

Jezzie replied innocently but dimly to great amusement from the rest of the tribe.

“I didn’t know snakes had ears!” .

As they headed through the outskirts of Cwmaman, the Abercwmboyz stopped dead in their tracks.

Mogzy made hand signals to indicate silence and to drop down as two cars – a Dodge Viper and a Shelby Cobra- sped passed on the road full of men who appeared to be part of a gang of Teddy boys.

Fashion was so far behind in the Cynon Valley that it was now trendy again….and the gang known as the Abercwmboi Asps…were number one with a bullet.

The Rock-a Bully rebels complete with ducks arses , black bootlaces tied around their necks with way too short drainpipe trousers and luminous green or shocking pink socks and loafers looked menacing tooled up with bicycle chains and flick knives.

They were indeed looking for the Merthyr Iron Warriors, as the in-car radio confirmed - as the cars slowed down scanning the road-scape for signs of life.

Booming out on Viper Valleys Radio was the Martha Reeves and the Vandellas song – “ Nowhere to Run to – Nowhere to hide!”

It was ‘dead-icated’ to the Merthyr Iron Warriors as a message of intent from the Tower Colliery ‘Underground’ Movement.

The young man in the pub window had in his final moments on Google Earth, taken a photograph of the Merthyr Mob and uploaded it to Face-book.

The video of the pub burning was there too, seconds of panic before the explosion took hold and then the screen ominously went black.

Not surprisingly there was now a bounty on the heads of the Iron Warriors.

The cars seemed to stop instinctively as if the Asps had a sixth sense that the Merthyr Warriors were hiding in the undergrowth on their turf.

Their leader , Adder Jacobson - a huge man with black rings around his eyes from years of ingrained opencast coal dust- poked his tongue out on the night air as if trying to locate his prey with his sensory organ.

He pointed in the direction of the ditch the five were in fact hiding in.

Mogzy whispered to his friends to stay down, but that if they started to approach they should use their usual scatter technique – the way they evaded police- where they all run in different directions- every man for himself and they meet at the next available road underpass they found on the main route.

‘Black’ Adder had a ‘cunning plan’ to flush his foe into the open.

He got four miniature beer bottles and placed them on the fingers of his right hand and began to clink them rhythmically while uttering a terrifying ‘Iron Warriors come out to play…..Warriors….come out to plaaaaay!”

Never one to run from away from a fight- always towards one- the five Merthyr boys were sorely tempted to emerge from the ditch and give the car occupants albeit only outnumbered two to one a good hiding.

Mogzy biting his lip warned his fellow ‘Merthyr Rats’ to stay hidden until the very last moment.

They were unarmed , whilst the Asps had bicycle chains, baseball bats and flick-knives at their disposal.

The two vehicles reversed slowly back around the S bend snake valley road towards the hiding men.

“ Wait for it!” whispered Mogzy.

The five Iron Warriors all crouched like a gathered clan from the film ‘Braveheart’ awaiting the signal.

The codeword as always was ‘Malcolm Price’.

The second car – the Shelby Cobra- stopped six feet away from the European funded undergrowth concealing the Merthyr Mob.

As one, F-Troop emerged, slinging rocks, stones and empty bottles that had been tossed into the roadside verges by passing traffic.

The element of surprise was their only weapon, as they raced passed the shocked Asps and out onto the railway line on the opposite side of the road.

The Warriors scattered like Gurnos tenants on rent day , as they appeared and disappeared in a flash….becoming invisible again as they leapt fences and ditches in a desperate attempt to get away.

They all manage to do so , except for Jezzy, who unfortunately caught his shiny snooker waistcoat pocket on the barbed wire fence.

Before he could undo the final third button, the Asps were on him…all five of them beating him senseless with the bats …giving him a good kicking with their blue suede shoes.

By the time the ex- Cardiff prison veteran had received his third strike to the head, Jezzy was deader than the corduroy trousers worn by his murderers.

Mogzy sprinted on…he went back 30 years to his basic training in the army…in his mind, he was still clad in a backpack containing three house-bricks, running the
‘fan dance’ and three peaks challenge on the Brecon Beacons mountains.

The combination of extreme discipline and extreme violence that he had learned in his basic training had served him well, to survive in the mean streets of a town like Merthyr.

It has not just been the birthplace of Iron and Steel for Lord Nelson’s cannons at Trafalgar but also the forge for some of the hardest men in the World.

Their codeword of ‘Malcolm Price’ was used in reverence to Merthyr’s own beserker warrior who once riled wouldn’t stop until everything around him was horizontal.

Mogzy ran on…lungs straining from years of smoking 60 a day, his heart struggling after binge drinking to excess for over 40 years (since he was 8)….as he ran for his life across the train tracks and fields towards Robertstown .

The shouts of ‘Cwmbach you cowardly bastard ‘ were hissed at him as he legged it cross country.

Mogzy had a built in fight or flight mode and on this rare occasions he ignored his rage and took to his heels…discretion was the better part of valour and he had won enough combat medals in his lifetime.

The plan to scatter was working even if it had cost him his ‘lance corporal’.

The other three rendez-voused at the concrete underpass on the A4059 near the Tesco roundabout.

They were all out of breath but more importantly still alive.

“ Where are ?” gasped Stevens…finding it harder than the others, as the wind was whistling through his ear….not his own but the partially digested one that was still stuck in his gullet.

“ We are not far from Aberdare Town Centre…up the road to Robertstown…!” said Kellog checking his app on his mobile phone.

“ What gang runs this area?” asked Fast Eddie.

“ The Robertstown Rattlers….!” said Kellog.

“ Small but vicious….big fans of that 1970’s film ‘Quadrophenia!” he continued….beware of anyone dressed as a Mod for the next three miles!”.

Mogzy had ducked out of sight amongst the multitude of furniture warehouses in various stages of closing down….to him it was like being on a different planet….being in Snake Valley ….like Jupiter or something.

He knew it would be going dark in the next half hour and his chances of hiding and evading capture would improve significantly.

He had spotted a couple of likely lads hanging about messing around on a small motorised vehicle .

It had been made out of bits salvaged from the local scrap-yard and looked like a cross between a scooter and a quad bike.

Mogzy knew this could be his big chance, as with his poor chest that if the snakes didn’t get him then that big hill at Llwydcoed certainly would .

At least if he failed , it would be handy for a cheap cremation but Mogzy planned on outliving the rest of his old school mates and being the first one to reach 50- ten years more than the average life expectancy of a Gurnosite.

There were about half a dozen of them in total and were distracted and busy bullying a disabled kid and his friend who had been on their way to a kiddies party dressed as Harry Potter and Professor Dumbledore.

As he crept around the back of the warehouse, he could see layer after layer of polythene sheeting on the floor.

“ Shit….these Aberdare Snakes do really shed their skin!” he said to himself.

He knew he had to work out a way of stealing that vespa scooter without being detected.

He noticed that the youth in the parka jacket with the mod ‘target’ on his back every ten minutes did a lap in the scooter- cum- quad bike between the two factory buildings.

He decided to sneak over into Philip Street and pinch a clothes line from one of the gardens.

He tied one end to the building around four feet off the ground and let his end drop.

He hid behind the edge of warehouse and awaited the return of his quarry.

With five anxious minutes hoping not to be spotted from the road the mod rider started back.

As he built up speed to show off for his mates Mogzy lifted the rope and
clothes-lined his victim knocking him clean off the scooter by the throat in the same way our Army Operatives took out German dispatch riders in the Second World War.

Mogzy grabbed his helmet off the unconscious youth and legged it after the driverless scooter in the direction of Aberaman.

The rest of the Robertstown Rattlers could not believe the ‘balls’ of the Merthyr man…they all suddenly turned their attention away from their disabled sorcerer victims…towards the Merthyr Man.

The problem for Mogzy was that he had no other option than to drive back through the pack of snakes the way the bike had come.

Like Steve McQueen in the ‘Great Escape’…. he paused looked at the crowd of six or so nutcases who were baying for his blood pushed down the mask on his helmet three sizes too small for his huge ‘Rocky Dennis’ head, revved up the engine and sent the vehicle spinning towards the gang at its top speed of 5 mph.

He rode straight at the centre of the gang who all parted for fear of collision with the quad bike as ‘Quad-rophenia reigned’.

Mogzy would have probably made it too, if he hadn’t collided with the poor disabled kid who refused to get out of the way.

Mogzy hit him full force and the bike bounced around like a metal ball until he crashed head first into the solid breezeblock building that was
‘Reptile House Interiors Furniture Showroom’.

Poor Mogzy was decapitated by the flagpole and his head -still in the crash helmet -bounced around the yard spinning wildly and head-butting the gang.

In truth, the same thing would have happened had Mogzy been alive .

That wizard- , the deaf , dumb and blind kid sure played a mean pinball - with Mogzy’s head.

*******************************************************************

To Fast Eddie , Richard Stevens and Kellog it was just another day at the office.

They had been detected by a small but vicious gang of ‘Hirwaun Hissers’ and a fist fight had ensued near the Petrol Filling station near Gamlyn Terrace and had spilled over onto the nearby Hirwaun roundabout.

Richard ‘Hannibal’ Stevens had been slugged with a sneaky shot from one of the petrol hose pumps , as he passed through as ‘tail end charlie’ and both sides had retaliated by spraying petrol over each other – to the horror of the garage attendant who was too frightened to intervene.

Thankfully, the fumes overpowered Kellog’s diesel aftershave.

The fight raged on, as the trio fought a brave retreat against the odds.

Fast Eddie was busy administering a series of left jabs- Howard Winstone -style to an overweight accountant who thought he was a street fighter.

The adder adder had lost count of how many times Eddie had punched him but he still lumbered forward at the smaller Merthyr thug.

Richard ‘Hannibal’ Stevens severed more flesh than footballer Luis Suarez at a PFA awards ceremony- an all he could eat buffet- but the snakes still kept on coming silently through the grass.

Kellog- the karate man, was busy round-housing one big fella-clad in an imitation snakeskin leather jacket bought from Rheola Market- which three sizes too small for him.

Everytime he kicked him in the face -a button would pop and an extra roll of fat would appear.

Blood and earlobes flew everywhere, until the roundabout looked like a scene from the Somme or Bristol Zoo Reptile House, as unconscious bodies lay strewn on the mud and low weeds.

How the Merthyr boys outnumbered three- to one- continued to fight was a mystery to most but not to the boys themselves.

Before they had decided on Custers Last Stand on the Hirwaun roundabout they had all had a head full of white amphetamine powder.

This had the mental effect on them that they were immortal to both fist or traffic…just like most people in Merthyr on a standard Friday night feel.

Having laid out the opposition, the three Merthyr Men decided they should start to run back up the dual carriageway of the A465 (T) and leap any traffic they encountered.

The ‘Invincibles’ raced up the Heads of Valleys oblivious to danger like Greek Warriors on their way to ‘Elysium Fields’.

In triumph, they sniffed more and more quantities of amphetamines on the two mile uphill stretch towards Baverstocks ‘Watchtower’ Hotel and the County Line.

In the distance behind them, the Aberdare Plods had heard about the melee and wanted to catch the Merthyr thugs before they escaped their jurisdiction.

It was neck and neck, as the drug fuelled trio raced passed the Llwydcoed Crematorium entrance towards the roundabout near the crest of the hill.

The blue light flashed above on the state of the art Austin Allegro Panda Car that was the Cynon Valley ‘pursuit vehicle’.

The three coppers peddling as fast as they could up the steep hill.

Standing just inside the Merthyr boundary next to the County Borough sign , the three thugs taunted their pursuers.

But Snake Valley had its revenge on the boys…well on Richard ‘Hannibal’ Stevens anyway.

“ Stop …right there!” said Inspector Gadgett through his megaphone three feet away from the thugs.

“ We didn’t do it!” snarled Richard Stevens, someone else’s nostril part sticking out from the gap in his teeth.

“ We weren’t involved in that fight on the Hirwaun roundabout nor that fire at that pub in Cwmaman !” said Fast Eddie fessing to the fuzz by accident.

“ We caught you on camera boys!” said the three Bow Street Runners that had been in the car.

“ Bollox!” said Kellog.

“ Taking drugs on our turf…!” said the copper.

“ Amphetamine in tablet form is legal!” said Richard ‘Hannibal’ Stevens…

” I know because my granny sells her prescription ones on the estate !” he said swallowing more body parts than a Jordan video.

“ Ah but you took all your drugs in one go didn’t you…there are AVERAGE speed cameras now on the A465(T) ….!” laughed the inspector pointing up at the sign.

“ Your nicked!” he said.

“ You can’t touch us…we’re in Merthyr now!” said Richards ‘Hannibal’ Stevens accidentally spitting a lip out at the Inspector.

“ Less of your lip son….you’ve bitten off more than you can chew this time!” said Gadget as he gave the pre-arranged signal to his men.

“ Fire the tasers!”

The three Iron Warriors convulsed, as they were drawn back over the county line by a combination of the electric wires and involuntary body convulsions.

The three men covered in petrol suddenly caught fire from the spark.

“We are a reasonable force ….using reasonable force!” said the boys in blue.

“ Hard lesson boys…. but you can never beat the ‘man’ …one consolation at least you Iron Warriors went out in a blaze of glory!”

“ It’s my birthday !” said Gadgett waiting for the boys to drop to the ground and roll.

“ Do you want to blow out the candles or me?”

Posted in: Humor | 0 comments

Amber Gambler


By Philip evans, 2019-01-18


slot_machine.jpg



Her long hair flowed all down her back, as should stood next to a fruit machine in Victoria Street, Merthyr Tydfil.

Her doctor had advised her to change her diet and change her habits if she wanted to live past 40.

As the reels on the machine, whirred electronically and stopped with a red cherry icon, two bananas and an orange.

She had lost her money again, even if she had nearly had her medically recommended five fruits a day.

It was Wednesday and teenager Amber Punt was skint.

She had had her state ‘benefit’ and wasted it all on hopeless gambling.

Amber was born with an addictive personality, which meant she never knew when to quit- never learned that there was only one winner with a fruit machine or that odds and cards were always stacked in favour of the ‘House’.

She could never walk past a bookmakers without placing a bet, and therefore living in a first floor flat in the Town Centre in Merthyr above a fruiterers was not the best place to be situated.

In a recession there is only one growth industry and that is gambling and Merthyr Tydfil had been in recession for over 200 years now.

Amber loved them all, fruit machines, horses, greyhounds, bingo, scratch-cards and lotteries.

If ever there was a sucker born -it was Amber.

She had her money on Monday and had frittered it away by Wednesday , leaving her penniless and reliant upon handouts from food banks, wheelie bins and friends when she was starving.

By Thursday Morning, she would be competing with the local rodents over empty food containers fly tipped in the centre of Town.

She was often engaged in a life or death struggle with a rat over an empty pack of Cheerios.

She had zero prospects, no chance of improvement and had lived hand to mouth ever since her Mother kicked her out at 16 with her baby due any day.

Sadly, she had lost the baby but in a way it was a blessing in disguise, as what child would want to be born into an endless cycle of poverty, depression and addictions?

But despite her bleak future, Amber was never down- she was grateful to be alive and lived every moment to the full.

They say that the best things in life are free, but they omit luxury yachts, foreign holidays and jet skis from that list and poor young Amber would never experience any of those pleasures during her lifetime.

She passed the remainder of her week walking around the parks, tramping around the beautiful Countryside of Pontsticill, the Brecon Beacons and Pant, walking barefoot in the fields to save on shoe leather and drinking directly from the mountain streams.

To Amber, she lived in the Garden of Eden and as long as she didn’t stray into Cynon Valley or into Sun Valley, she felt free from the temptation of snakes and Fruit Machines.

Her favourite pastime was to sit on the brow of Heolgerrig Mountain and get a panoramic view of the Merthyr Valley in all is glory.

Gone were the black spoil tips, white slag heaps and brown polluted river and its tributaries.

Merthyr had paid a high price for the Industrial Revolution but was now being returned to its natural state before the Rape of the Fair Country, with wildlife and flora restocking the once barren landscape.

Gone were the mines and ironworks, but so too   the cholera and diphtheria.

Nature too was ‘the House’ and despite the pestilence of Mankind, the Earth will always rebalance and restock long after mankind has been forgotten from the history books.

Amber sat making daisy chains for her to wear, as she gazed at how green was her valley.

Her stomach rumbled loudly, warning her she was running on empty.

She glanced across at the Mountainside and wondered, as it was September whether or not there were any blackberries out on the brambles.

The Heolgerrig Mountain was bare – picked clean by straying sheep and birds as it sat high above the treeline-with its bleak barren windswept landscape.

Amber decided to try the Cwm Glo woods lower down , as she heard old wives tales that a witches coven once met there and lived off the fruits of the forests.

As she made her way over the wooden stile, her barefeet sank into the soft grass, as she strolled towards the copse of ancient oak trees, silver birches and rowan that had inhabited the Welsh upland.

Amber could see that nature had provided a bounty for primitive man in the form of fungi.

Mushrooms and toadstools were everywhere- as, in Merthyr, was primitive man.

They were growing untouched out of the remains of ancient trees and were all colours and shapes.

Mother Nature had laid on a banquet for her.

She felt like Eve -except she was fully clothed and thankfully there were no Aberdare people around.

She marvelled at the cornucopia of natural produce all around her.

Amber was a little wary of eating the mushrooms but being a gambler and being starving ,she had no real choice.

The first on her menu was a yellow and orange upright mushroom- it looked safe enough.

She smelled it.

It was divine- like peaches.

Unknown to the little waif- it was a mushroom called Chanterelle and was perfectly edible.

It’s slightly acidic taste was very palatable.

Once she had tasted it – her addictive personality took over and she scoffed the lot.

Amber was the kind of person who could not open a packet of McVities’ chocolate digestives and eat just the one.

She would have to eat the lot in one sitting.

She looked around at several other species of fungi which were extremely large and were shaded   white with a brown flat cap dome.

Unbeknown to Amber these were ‘Cep’ mushrooms or penny buns.

They were highly prized by the Welsh Italian community and used for pastas etc.

They called them ‘porcini’.

They had been transplanted from Bardi in Northern Italy and this particular variety was called ‘Chiappa’- as it tasted of coffee.

They were the ‘Emperors’ of the Forest- with a taste to die for- not die with.

Once again, Amber polished off the whole glade.

She then came across a whole ring of mushrooms in a ring.

They had little wizened faced and looked like Paul Daniels.

Amber didn’t know but these were ‘magic’ mushrooms or shrooms in Gurnos dialect.

She kneeled down, closed her left nostril and snorted around in a clockwise circle.

The thirty or so mushroom she had ingested via her nasal passages were sucked down into her throat and oesophagus and joined their mushroom cousins in Amber’s stomach.

Magic mushrooms are so called because they contain a primitive form of LSD or acid which has hallucinogenic qualities.

Very soon Amber felt nauseous and like she had trespassed into Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland- as the trees looked like they had faces and their long branches like long arms.

There was a red and white spotted fungi which loomed large and bizarrely spoke to her.

It was a toadstool called Fly Agaric and was highly poisonous.

It whispered to Amber to ‘eat me’.

Amber refrained as the remaining conscious part of her brain was still working.

She didn’t like its colours and didn’t fancy shitting out her spleen later.

There was something untrustworthy about it- like the look of a politician after they had been re-elected for another term of office.

In addition, there were some green capped mushrooms and some white capped mushrooms.

Little did Amber know that the green ones were the highly poisonous Death Cap mushrooms and the white ones- the False Death Caps which were nutritious and edible.

The warring Mushroom Mafia families of the Valleys, were very protective of the food sources and didn’t want any members from outside the ‘Five Families’ muscling in on their fungi racket.

So they had planted both varieties to kill off the local opposition.

Only they and the local Coroners Department knew the difference- and they were well taken care of.

If they weren’t Bardi then they soon would be.

The Mushrooms stared back at her ominously and then started to sing a rendition of Paul McCartney’s ‘Frog Chorus’.

Amber was spooked but she was incapable of movement – and just sat like a Red Indian witch doctor transcending to a different astral plain.

Her head was spinning, her sight blurry and her speech was slurred.

Just like Sylvester Stallone in Rocky 6 -the Vampire Rocky Horror Picture Show movie- ‘Out for the Count’.

Then she blacked out.

The next thing, she was conscious of was the wind flying through her hair, as she sat astride her Harley Davidson motorbike.

She felt like she was capable of flight- a real sense of flying- as she flew down the narrow Heolgerrig Road, cornered like The Stig off Top Gear at the ‘Gambon’ roundabout passed the Cyfarthfa Retail Park and headed the wrong way around the roundabout and down the wrong lane of a dual carriageway like a cataract suffering 90 year old pensioner.

Cars flew at her in the opposite direction, as she zigzagged the oncoming traffic like she was a Hollywood stuntwoman.

Finding a small gap in the dual carriageway central divider, she hopped over into the correct lane, sending cars careering into each other for fear of being sideswiped by her Hawkwind ‘silver machine’.

In a psychedelic haze caused by the effects of the psilocybin in the mushrooms, she stared back at the wavy distorted colours of the traffic lights as they changed from green to amber.

She knew from experience on Merthyr’s roads that the sign for Amber was interpreted as ‘go faster’.

So Amber the Gambler went faster.

Unfortunately, in her hallucinogenic state she had stolen a motorbike but a disabled shopping cart with a top speed of 10 miles per hour.

Amber might have been fine if the Nantygwenith Street, Georgetown crossroads had been empty.

Regrettably, there were three other people all trying to beat the lights too.

Dick Scratcher, Merthyr Taxi Driver with his Provisional Licence to kill was the first to collide with the cart.  

Second,   was uninsured Driver, Gurnos Heroin addict, Mac Head in his tinted windowed Vauxhall Corsa.

Finally, came Polish Student Lech Walesa Junior who having worked a night shift of 96 hours solid, forgot we drove on the left in this Country.

He slammed into the side of the cart that had been knocked sideways by the taxi.

His ‘Solidarity-mobile’ made out of a Volvo with internal metal cage adorned with ‘bull bars’ and thirteen spare tyres built for Cross-Border hashish smuggling was the wrong kind of vehicle for barefoot Amber to hit.

He ‘polish’ed her off.

She became concertinaed, resulting in a mash of legs and arms that was reminiscent of back stage in a Stringfellows nightclub.

Her shopping cart was now the same size as an oxo cube and there was not ‘mushroom’ in that for a human being.

Amber Gambler had lost her bet.

And the moral of the tale is don’t drive ANYTHING under the influence of Psilocybin- as it isn’t magic or fun guys.

Phil 'Boz' Evans



shrooms.jpg    

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What the Heckler


By Philip evans, 2019-01-18

Johann_Robert_Schrch_Clown_1921.jpg He was nervous at the best of times but tonight he was positively bricking it.

The lights went down on a hushed audience at the Aberdare Coliseum and the adrenaline rush of the young fledgling comedian intensified.

He waited for the nod from the stage manager before he went out into the Cynon Valley Snake Pit.

He wasn’t being paid he was just volunteering…a YTS trainee comedian …as there were precious few jobs in the Valleys he thought he would give it a go…and his tour of the South Wales clubs was starting to take off.

After all if Rhod Gilbert could make it on television as a comedian  why couldn’t he?

He strolled confidently onto the stage heading for the centre and the single microphone that he was to make his own for the next 30 minutes.

As the initial applause of the twenty people present had died down he adjusted the stand.

As he opened his mouth to start- he heard it.

“ Get Off….you’re rubbish!” came the shout from the audience.

“ Thanks for that vote of confidence!” said the kid with the stage name of Mike Knight.

He tried to start his act.

“ Ever been on an airplane….” he stammered.

“ No…!” shouted back the voice of the female heckler.

“ Well looking at you lady…you don’t need to go on a plane….as you have your broomstick to fly on!” he railed back at his abuser- even though he could not see her.

“ Cardiff Airport…you are waiting to go on a plane…!” he continued.

“ It’s shut….!” said the heckler.

“ I wish your MOUTH was!” spat back Mike.

“ You are standing at the security check-in…waiting to go through to duty free and they pick me to be searched ….why me?” he tried to plough on.

“ Because you look like the type who’d enjoy two fingers up his arse!” said the heckler right on cue.

The entire audience laughed at that one.

“ Listen ….these people have come to see me…not you!” said Mike.

“ Actually, that bloke over there in the raincoat has come for the topless darts…not to listen to your Christmas cracker specials….!” laughed the heckler.

“ So ….the security guard says to me …occupation….and I say I know I’m Jewish but I don’t intend…..!”

“ To pinch another Country…..heard it !” said the Heckler ruining the punch-line for everyone.

“ If you think you are so funny….stop hiding in those shadows ….if you have any guts….you’d get up on stage and do this job yourself!” said Mike.

“ You should be on a stage…there’s one leaving for that Cowboy Town in Merthyr soon…it’s where you belong!” said the heckler.

The comedian novice tried again.

“ Do you worry about flying ….do you get sick?” asked Mike.

“ Only when I watch an act as bad as this…you have less talent than the panel on X Factor!” said the Heckler.

The crowd enjoyed that one too.

“ I’m nervous flying anyway…so why do they reassure you by calling it the terminal?” asked Mike resuming his act.

“ Terminal….I’ve had funnier cancers than this!” said the Heckler.

Mike tried to peer through the blackness to see who his abuser was but the footlights were too strong.

“ Look lady …if YOU are a lady that is….take that mask off Halloween is over… they warned me this place was haunted…!” Mike tried to fight back.

“ As if you are an oil painting yourself….God clearly ruined a perfect bum when he put teeth into your face…! said the unseen witch.

“ Look you women are all the same…never happy with life always criticising others- …I don’t trust anything female…anything that bleeds once a month and doesn’t die!” said Mike.

“ You know all about dying now…you are dying tonight on your arse son!” said the heckler.

“ So the check in lady asks me if I want a special seat…so I say yes on the black box please…the flight recorder to you stupid…!” he said in the direction of his verbal attacker.

“ I want to sit at the back of the plane….!” Mike carried on regardless.

“ Because you don’t hear of many planes reversing into mountains!” shouted the Heckler ruining it again for everyone.

Mike stormed off the stage and complained to the Stage Manager who looked a little like a feline version of Nicholas Lyndhurst.

“ I’ve had enough of this….my first proper gig and I’m having to deal with a heckler who knows all the punch-lines…is funnier than me …either throw her out or shine a light on the woman so I can see who is abusing me!” moaned Mike.

Doing as he was told the lighting man swung a huge ‘Colditz- like’ searchlight beam on the audience until it stopped on a woman in the ‘fringe’.

Mike was surprised to see it was a strangely attractive brunette with a slim figure who was sitting side- saddle on the top of the seats.

Her only blemish was a vulgar tattoo of a flaming battenburg cake on her shoulder.

On further examination it appeared to a drag artist- a man dressed as a woman.

“ Where you from Luv…is it Llanbobl…. with that tattoo on your back…you look like a female equivalent of Robin McBride….you cheap hooker you…come up here and fight me man to man …you granny tranny….I’ll soon have you ‘knocking on Heaven’s Door’….threatened the youngster.

The woman swung her legs over the top in doing so catching her ‘najjers’ in the velvet seating last seen in a 1970’s picture-house.

The heckler had called Mike’s bluff.

As she made her way onto the stage Mike began to get worried but the woman’s five o’clock shadow looked familiar.

“ Why are you abusing me….I’m only on work experience!” protested the kid worried that this was the Swansea Cross dresser on ‘You Tube’ that battered people for fun.

“ You know why ….’Ask Rhod Gilbert’ because you’ve been stealing his act !” said the voice of the Welsh Tourist Board.

“ Every club I have been in ….has heard my jokes before…because you’ve been pinching them!” said the heckler.

“ I keep getting paid off like Tom Jones was!” protested the tranny.

“ But there is no such thing as an original joke….no copyright on gags!” protested Mike.

“ Well…here’s one punch-line you won’t forget !” said Rhod as he gave the fellow a ‘Carmarthen Clout’ and turned the stand up comedian into a lie –down one.

The youngster lay still with an expression on his face like ‘Lloyd Langford’….as blood oozed from the YTS man’s cut face and animated stars around his concussed head.

“ Next time, leave the ‘Open Mike’ nights to the professionals!” said Gilbert

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Merthyr Hex-Periment


By Philip evans, 2019-01-17


AccusedofWitchcraftVolk.jpg



“It is the year of our Lord 1644 and we are gathered at this Hamlet of Gyrnos, to witness a trial to determine the guilt or innocence of Margaret, the straw roofer’s daughter, who is accused of being in league with the Devil!” declared the Puritan dramatically.
The man was dressed all in black from his stovepipe hat down to his cape and trousers, with only a square white frilled ‘ruff’ , adorning the area around his collarbone.
He held a silver-tipped cane in one hand and use it somewhat belligerently to command respect from the assembled crowd.
“ This wretch is accused of maleficium, causing storms which sank Good King Charles ships, consorting with familiars, and putting spells on the good folk of the village!” continued the Puritan.
Poor Margaret was tied up on a wooden stool which was precariously balanced over the limestone outcrop of rocks over the River Taf Fechan in Pontsarn.
She also had a hangman’s noose around her neck to prevent escape.
She may have only been in her forties but with all the outdoor hard work that had exposed to the elements and years of labouring in the fields that surrounded the Gyrnos, she looked more like she was sixty.
Her face was cracked and lined and she had more warts on her face than Oliver Cromwell himself.
“ Behold ….said the man…she bears the marks of a wytch…!” said the Puritan in a strong Suffolk English accent, as pointed with his cane towards her lumpy face.
Most people spoke Welsh in these parts but even they recognised why the oldest woman in the village had been called to the ‘cleansing’ waters of the Pwll Glas to answer for her crimes against God, the Monarch and Mankind.
 
 
It was a time of superstition, a time of ignorance and a time for vengeance.
There was no television, no radio, or internet.
The only entertainment was provided by the local Hangman and Netflix by local fishermen. 
Most of the inhabitants of the sleepy hamlet, lived in simple, white- daubed cottages with thatched roofs and were not literate.
They were God- fearing folk, tied to the Feudal system of their local Lord of the Manor, who lived off the land, defecated in buckets and ploughed the fields just like their fore-fathers had done.
How times have changed.
Margaret sat trembling- she already had a fear of heights and was being held against her will, balancing precariously on a wooden chair with her hands and feet bound by rope, some 40 feet above the raging white water and limestone rocks of the Blue Pool.
“ I am innocent of all charges!” pleaded the woman.
“ Be quiet wretch…ordered the Puritan…it is my time to speak not yours…for it is I Matthew Hopkins -Court appointed Witch Finder General- here on the orders of King Charles I himself to root out the evil that lurks amongst us!” continued the Pilgrim dramatically.
“ I thought you told me you were down here on HOLIDAY!” said Olwen the Cholera, standing on her own away from the gathered throng.
“ Be quiet woman…snapped the Holyman’s sidekick John Stearne not wishing to have his Master’s Pilgrim’s Progress interrupted.
Once again Hopkins addressed his accused.
“We have examined your body and found it to contain many marks of the Devil himself…warts, 
bo-pox, even a Bunyan too called John!” said the Pilgrim.
“ It’s a lie....!”  said Margaret protesting her innocence.
“ AND she has a THIRD nipple!” said a yokel from the crowd called Scaramanga the Titman.
“ I know …because she feeds her familiar with it at full moon on Cilsanws Common!” continued one of her Irish neighbours from the cobbled Street, Betty Lynch who simply hated the old hag.
“ This is just crazy….just listen to yourselves for a moment….who picks the herbs and mixes your potions when your children are ill?” pleaded Margaret quaking in her Boots.   
“ Verily- She condemneth herself with her own words!” whispered Hopkins to his sidekick.
“ Give them enough rope and these stupid, illiterate creatures will eventually hang THEMSELVES!” said the Pilgrim.
 
 
“ She turned all the cow’s milk blue in the village with her witchcraft and grabbed  away from my son the last remaining pail from his hands!” said another villager, Thomas Thomas, the Satellite Navigation inventor’s son.
“ Where’s the evidence for that?” asked Margaret,  amazed at the spurious nature of the claims against her.   
“ I saw her run across my Twynyrodyn field of barley naked,  before she changed shape into a Mountain Hare….!” Said Pete the Pimper.
The whole mob was now in a state of hysteria, making up lies and half-truths, just to get rid of the woman who was disliked by the village and was suffering from a mild form of dementia.
Matthews Hopkins banged the ducking stool impatiently with his shoe like a future Nikita Khrushchev at the United Nations, until the ‘Lynch’ Mob finally quietened.
“ We have heard several testimonies from you good, God-Fearing people of the Gyrnos, which in my eyes condemn this Evil Hag to death….and I Matthews Hopkins -the Hammer of the Wyches will,  once I receive my payment from the Hamlet,  arrange for the ducking stool to be lowered into the water to determine her guilt….I am not Judge Rinder…I do not predetermine this case….but will allow God to do that for me…..if Margaret shall float,  she is guilty of her heinous crimes….but if she drowns….then she is innocent….!” Said Hopkins.
“ What sort of choice is that?” protested Margaret.
“ Either I die by hanging or drowning!”
“ Yes….but if your soul is pure….you shall surely go the Heaven…..or as I believe ….as guilty as the original sin,  then you shall be reunited with your Dark Master for all eternity!” replied Hopkins.
“ This is why I am a Puritan….I can cleanse this Parish of the curse of foul creatures like you and do good by setting up chocolate factories at Bourneville and cereal production at Quakers Yard with the money I receive from the Community!” he continued.
Realising she was damned if she did or damned if she didn’t, Margaret decided to fight fire with fire and spit back at her neighbours, reinfusing their superstitions beliefs, hoping to prick their conscience or at least  make them scared of her vengeance and of course of venturing out at night.
Margaret twisted her head and contorted her face to look as ugly as possible.
Like Anne Widdicombe without make-up.     
“ So you ALL think I am a wytch do you?.....Well let me tell you this…when I meet up with Lucifer later today in Hell…I shall make sure that he knows all of the names of you ‘Good’ Christian Folk who would hang an innocent woman….you Silas Mahoney the Weaver….you Watt the Tyler and you gluttonous bastard- Corden the Smithy!” said Margaret pointing a bony finger at the cringing menfolk . 
“ If you shall murder me in cold blood based on false witness, spurious accusations and religious claptrap be warned this day that the Hamlet of Gyrnos and the wider village of Merthyr Tydfil shall
 
 
see a curse that will not be lifted for over 400 years- till it ends with the election of an Olde Labour Government….your menfolk shall NEVER find work…your children will be born ugly and deformed….and your minors will starve….. I will be reincarnated in many forms and will ensure this accursed place is only home to the illegitimate, the  drunks and the Damned…..cholera, rickets, boils and diphtheria shall infest the land together with vermin and pestilence!” continued Margaret.   
“ Not taking it well is she?” said Corden.
“ Silence WYTCH…!” shouted Hopkins above the furore of the confession.
“ Thou art condemned thyself by thy own wicked tongue!” 
As he said so, his nodded to his assistant John Stearne, who pulled slowly on the rope which tightened around the poor woman’s scrawny neck.
Margaret began to choke, as her windpipe became constricted.
“ Plymouth (Pentrebach) Brethren, we are gathered here today in the eyes of God to rid the Earth of this evil creature who has tempted your children away to her ‘gingerbread’ cottage in the forest, forced the local farrier to perform cart- karaoke with the Smithy, cast incantations and spells on the menfolk so that Dewi the sheepherder was found unconscious but still attached to the back of one of his ewes….and spoken in tongues with the Devil himself!” said Hopkins voiced rising to intensify his statements as fact.
“ Hang the Wytch!” cried Stearne stoking up the crowd.
“ But first….the cost of investigating such crimes against God himself do not come cheap….come all ye Faithful fill this bucket with coins so that I may continue my work and purge these lands of evil!” continued Hopkins.
Stearne having satisfied himself that the woman could not escape went around the crowd for collection.
“ This Parish is poor!”….declared Stearne….after pocketing a few groats with a slight of hand before passing the bucket back to Hopkins.       
From on high, in amongst the oak trees, the entire scene was being witnessed by a man not un’familiar’ to Margaret.
A Nobleman who normally put the liar into familiar.
He had in his possession and bow and from his quiver he took an arrow.
Stretching back his right arm, he took aim – for around these parts he was the ‘first among equals’.
His name?
Why Jeffrey the Archer of course.
Down below, the choking Margaret was turning bluer than a Conservative Party Conference.
 
 
Margaret the Thatcher’s daughter was lost for words- she could not move a muscle- the lady was not for turning even if she could.
Hopkins having counted the money sighed with disappointment.
Was that all the hanging of a wytch fetched in these parts?
Ten groats, three farthings and two buttons?.
Anyway, he had a job to finish.
He gave Stearne a stern look, as he realised that his sidekick had his ‘hand in the tiller’ once again.
He should give him a Suffolk punch one of these days for his acts of dishonesty.
He signalled for the ducking stool to be cut free and the woman dropped into the raging torrent below, only for her to be raised back up to be hung by the neck slowly, thereby prolonging the agony for her and the ecstasy for him- as the Deviant Puritan ‘got off’ by making an example of the poor woman.
His misogynistic ways meant that once he had hung one woman in a given village, what other women would be brave enough to refuse his sexual advances without being accused of witchcraft and risk the same fate? 
Like Margaret -they were Damned if they did or Damned if they didn’t.
Justice 17th Century-style.
As Margaret’s feet touched the water, she gasped for oxygen, taking what might be her last breath.
Her lungs began to fill with water,  as she became totally submerged in the flooded River, coughing and spluttering as high above her ‘good’ Amish-like Christian Folk became her ‘witnesses’ to the acceptable punishment of Man over Women.  
History has shown that for evil to prevail it takes only a few good men to turn a blind eye to it.
Margaret could see her hard life flashing before her eyes- she didn’t deserve this fate.
What crime had she committed in her lifetime other than taking in those stray cats from the village.
After all they kept the vermin problem down in the fields.
True, she did have fourteen of them and one of them just so happen to be name Beelzebub but so what…..he was a horny little devil.
Margaret could feel her soul beginning to separate from her physical body, as she started to feel that she was beginning to rise above the crowd and then the two were reunited in one sudden instance.
Her out-of -body experience was halted by an expertly aimed arrow that had cut the rope around her neck.
 
 
Like a scene from Clint Eastwood’s the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the Good but extremely ugly Margaret threw herself of the stool into the mercy of the raging waters.
Yes, her hands and feet were bound but at least she would have a fighting chance than the slow asphyxiation that was on offer from the Church-appointed executioner.
The crowd and Hopkins himself were in a state of panic…how could God allow a self-proclaimed Wytch to escape the clutches of the Pilgrim….was it Black Magic at work?
Margaret bobbed up and down for a few minutes thanks to the trapped oxygen in her oversized dress moving round the eddy of the whirlpool before being ejected with force like a fallen tree branch downstream with the fast moving current.
Whether it was judgement by God or Man’s doing but 30 minutes later the dead body of Margaret the Thatcher’s Daughter was pulled out of the weir near Taff’s Well to the peel of bells from the local Church.
The sound seemed to say ‘Ding Dong- the Wicked Wytch is dead’.
Fast forward 320 years to 1984 and the Miner’s Strike.
Fast forward another 32 to 2016 when Teresa May became the unelected Prime Minister of Great Britain.
Only another 44 years and the Merthyr H-experiment  400 year old curse will lift.

Phil 'Boz' Evans



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Dipping Your Wick


By Philip evans, 2018-02-01

Dipping Your Wick by Phil 'Boz' Evans



madam_tussauds.jpg



The student rugby player looked around nervously.

He was regretting his bet with his mates already.

Manfred Quinn had never told anyone but he was frightened of the dark.

It was one of the more common phobias that humans suffered from and dated back to the dawn of mankind and the dulling of man’s principal defence of the sense of sight making them more susceptible to attack from a predator.

Standing on a plinth in Madame Tussaud’s wax museum in Baker Street, London, he felt like a fish out of water, but knew that his beloved facial hair would suffer if he did not complete his ‘Mission Impossible’.

He was regretting his boast that he could get a photograph of him kissing Pop Star Taylor Swift without being taking to Court for stalking or accused of being a groper.

The budding Disc Jockey was 48 hours ago sat in his shared student house in Merthyr Tydfil, with a can of Stella Artois in his hand, when a picture of his Pop Idol had appeared on the news.

From his Walter Mitty World existence, he had boasted that he could kiss the American Beauty and get a selfie photograph to prove it.

Unfortunately, two of his fellow students had called ‘Eyebrows’ on him.

Manfred knew that he had walked into a huge elephant trap and was now subject to a student game he himself had invented.

If a fellow student or rugby teammate called ‘Eyebrows’, then the person making the boast had a week to fulfil the promised act or they lost one or both of their eyebrows as a forfeit.

Manfred had taken great delight in the past getting his razor out, when his housemate ‘Haribo’ had failed to live up to his promise of not urinating until completing the ‘Golf Tour’ of Dowlais.

18 pints in 18 separate pubs without visiting the little boys room, was pretty much an impossible task, even for someone with the build of King Kong. Poor old Haribo to his credit had managed 12 pubs before being admitted to the Queen Camilla Hospital with a damaged liver and kidneys and one totally ruined pair of blue suede shoes later, after keeling over in the Morlais Tavern.

Manfred and his mates had taken pity on him by letting him come around from the operation anaesthetic before taking his right eyebrow off.

His other mate Sloth, named after the good-looking guy from the children’s film ‘The Goonies’ had been much more fortunate in that he had ‘forfeited’ his pre-pubescent ‘bum-fluff’ moustache for not completing his naked stand-up car- surf on the Domino’s Pizza delivery car, understandably bailing out just before he hit the overhead bridge, near the Ffynon-Dwn Spring in Pontsticill, and lost not just his eyebrows but his head too.

Otherwise he would have ‘topped’ it.

Despite his protestations to the Rugby Committee that his moustache was NOT an eyebrow- it was concluded that it was ‘an eyebrow that had come down for a drink’ and therefore was fair game.

Manfred knew that if he had not completed his boast of a swiftie with Swifty to the letter, then he was not likely to get any mercy from his team-mates.

His problem was that the Jet-setting singer was based in the USA and not likely to randomly appear in Merthyr Tydfil, nor London without warning.

His plea on her Twitter page had failed spectacularly and he was now being trolled by each member of the Kardashians for his ‘favouriting’ every tweet she sent out.

But like the Tony Robinson character Baldrick, he had come up with a cunning plan to preserve his follicles.

He had caught the £1.00 Megabus to the Smoke, in the hope that Madame Tussaud’s was likely to be open for the shot of her waxen doppelganger.

He knew his mates would rumble any ‘photoshop’ image he produced, so he had to catch the waxwork at the right time and not surrounded by 15 Japanese tourists with Nikons flashing.

He had just made it  inside the door with 20 minutes to spare before closing time.

He knew he had to find the right figure to hide behind – that was outside any alarmed section and was tall enough to conceal him from the security staff.

He knew Lester Piggott and Frankie Dettori were non- starters – as was Ronnie Corbett and Peter Dinklage from Game of Thrones.

‘Think man!’ he muttered,  until he caught sight of the frightening figure of Dracula played by Christopher Lee which unnerved him in the dim, subdued lighting of the museum.

His fear of the dark was once again coming to the fore.

He couldn’t help but think of the ghoulish way that the original Madame Tussaud had come up with the idea of a waxworks in the first place by preparing ‘death masks’ of the high and mighty that had been served up to ‘Madam Guillotine’ in the 1789 French Revolution.

The phrase ‘Liberty, Equality and Fraternity’ should have included ‘Eternity’ too – as her methods had helped preserve many celebrities well beyond their original shelf- life and provoked two questions he wanted to find out the answers to:-

What did they do with the models after they lost their appeal?

And did they have enough wax left available to capture ALL of Bruce Forsythe’s chin?

He had read somewhere that the models were actual life-size,  with the celebrities having to pose for hours so that the sculpting staff at the human equivalent of Yankee candle could get the depictions accurate.

Mannie stood as still as possible, as he waited for the last of the day staff to leave and the night security shift to take over.

He knew instinctively that most security guards were elderly with poor eyesight and wouldn’t exactly check behind any exhibitions for ‘stowaways’.

His mind went back to the process of the destruction of the dummies- he assumed that they would end up like the Terminator in the film of the same name being melted down into a vat of molten liquid once they had passed their sell-buy date.

Whereas Bruce Forsythe would be one figure that would never been retired.

He looked around him and in the half-light could make out shapes and figures from all walks of celebrity life, sportsmen, politicians, television presenters and of course film stars.

It was in effect an upright version of the famous Los Angeles Walk of Fame outside the Chinese Grauman Theatre.

It was in essence the perfect place to snatch a Celebrity selfie.

Now Mannie knew he had plenty of time -as the museum didn’t open until 9am the following morning so he had around 8 hours to play with before he could leave his self-imposed prison for the night.

He knew he had to be careful if he opened or closed any doors, as there was likely to be an alarm on the top- silent or otherwise -and he didn’t want to be thrown out until he had the photograph he had come for.

His plan was that if he was caught he would to pretend that he had fallen asleep in the subdued lighting and had been sleep-walking.

Many a student had used that lame excuse to confuse a Dean or two of a University- who being fellow intellectuals, accepted without question the role of the unconscious mind and got off being expelled from campus.

As he passed through the sporting section, he was astounded to see the size of the fastest man ever on Planet Earth and tried to measure the stride he took.

Usain Bolt or Lightening to his friends was massive in all areas.

He was very surprised that he had chosen to be a sprinter rather than a Pole Vaulter.

If anyone could see him – he thought- he looked like John Cleese doing a Basil Fawlty impression on one of his Ministry of Silly Walks.

No wonder no-one could catch him- just his hamstrings alone were bigger than Mannie’s biceps.

In complete contrast next to him, stood the tiny figure of Mo Farrah- hardly a bag of Quorn in comparison to the full meat package.

Further along, in a riding position, was the tiny figure of the jockey Lester Piggott, who was famous being deaf and for filling his saddle bags with cash and riding off into the sunset away from the tax man.

Across from the winner’s enclosure, Mannie could make out another famous figure who wasn’t fond of the Inland Revenue.

That was the buck-toothed figure of Liverpool comedian Ken Dodd,  who was flanked by two of his Diddy-men shrunken helpers from the tax haven of Knotty Ash.

Diddy Pay and Diddy F***.

It always amazed Mannie how Student Finance would send him a stinking letter when he owed 50p but the likes of famous faces got away with owing the Tax Man hundreds of thousand by ‘declaring’ temporary amnesia about Swiss Bank Accounts or the fact that their mattresses were filled with cash.

He suspected that in Doddy’s case it too wasn’t the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth.

As he strolled through the shadowy wax figures, he suddenly let out a chuckle in that Twitter troll Katie Hopkins had been placed next to both Adolph Hitler & Genghis Khan.

He wondered if they would have objected had they been alive.

Next came the politicians and World Leaders and of course the area contained likenesses of USA President Donald Trump and Former London Zoo inmate Boris De Pfeffel Johnson both with matching natural hair and tiny hands.

This set Mannie to thinking.

If these were scale models then Trump would have to use BOTH of his hands to push the red button on the nuclear switch to obliterate North Korea.

He groped his arse as he passed – to see how he liked it.

How in their right mind had people in a democratic society voted these two buffoons in?- unless of course it was the revenge of the Boaty McBoatface crew. 

He moved on and could see the legendary figures of Elvis Presley & Michael Jackson in the distance and realised his search for the Pop Pixee wasn’t too far from its finish.

Presley had been dead for over forty years but was still as popular now as he ever was.

Would the same status be afforded to the likes of last year’s winner of the X- Factor or Britain’s Got Talent he wondered?

He assumed that the waxen figures of the likes of Gareth Gates and Alexandra Burke wouldn’t have the same shelf-life as their Andy Warhol fifteen minutes of fame had run its course.

No-one even wanted them to open supermarkets or turn on Christmas lights anymore.

Mannie wondered how celebrities REALLY felt when their waxen ‘golem’ was removed from display and headed for oblivion.

He wondered what the back catalogue was like in the stores and did they ever sell off the exhibits to places like Las Vegas or Los Angeles.

Given the excessive vanity of the Hollywood jet set and their constant fear of aging and looking over their shoulder for the time their star dimmed or the next big thing destined to grab the six-figure roles their Agent demanded-  must have made them both shallow and insecure.

The other thing that puzzled Mannie about the cult of celebrity, was why stunning singers and actresses felt the need to enhance their appearance with plastic surgery.

Why would ‘beautiful’ singers like Christina Aguilera have botox or add trout-pout or baboons arse monkey lips to their faces?

Who on Earth would believe this modern- day fiction and enact a version of the Hans Christian Anderson tale of the ‘Emperors New Clothes’.

As he passed the waxen shapes of Britney Spears and Shania Twain, he suddenly had a sense of his own mortality.

Time waits for no man except of course Sir Elton John who was proudly declaring ‘I’m still standing’.

And then he spotted her.

The object of his quest.

The American Country and Western singer Taylor Swift.

The finished article was ever better than he could have imagined.

At the height of her beauty, cast in wax at the prime of her life with no acne or blemish -standing there like the Goddess Venus herself.

A spotlight shone brightly on her craven image and Mannie marvelled that some staff member at Madame Tussaud’s had created a masterpiece.

It could not be more lifelike if it tried.

He was in awe – half expecting the figure to move or speak or even sing into the microphone that she held so delicately in her delicate Trump-like hands.

Her lipstick in a shade known as ‘Regent Street Red’ was in perfect contrast to her pink face- he had never seen such a visage up this close – not that is since he was banned from his local Tesco 24 hour store for stalking the girl on the delicatessen counter.

He reached into his pocket for his camera-phone but the artist he had put on a pedestal was literally on a pedestal.

He looked around for a chair to stand on but there was nothing around.

Taylor Swift was a tall elegant lady anyway, but as she was posed high up on a plinth- there was no way Mannie could get up to the correct angle to plant a kiss on the lips of the model model.

He tried jumping up in the air and taking the shot but every picture looked blurred and he didn’t want any doubt if he was to retain his eyebrows – as his mates were less forgiving than a Sicilian Mafia Don.

No matter how swift he jumped he couldn’t get a Selfie with the Pop Princess.

He tried to lift the figure off the dais, but like the Jamaican Olympic Sprinter she was bolted down.

Being a resourceful student, he decided that he would find an object to lift himself up upon.

He looked around the display area to see if any of the figures were not as secured as tightly as Taylor Swift.

He returned with the figures of Peter Dinklage (Tyrrion Lannister in Game of Thrones) and Ronnie Corbett tucked under his arms.

He positioned the pair in such a way he could stand on their hands and take the money shot.

Whilst these waxworks were hardy- they weren’t as strong and stable as a Theresa May-led Government but they allowed him to climb up into range.

Like he was playing the most bizarre game of ‘Twister’ ever,  the student had one leg on Ronnie Corbett’s horn rimmed glasses and the other on a dwarfen beard, as he inched his way up the miniature  celebrities, until he could lean on the object of his photograph.

As he puckered up his lips, and holding onto the tiny skirt of the songstress, he made the fatal mistake of reaching into his pocket for the camera-phone.

The slender wax ankles of the mannequin gave way and both he and the fake Taylor Swift collapsed onto the floor, with Mannie clinging on like a koala in a eucalyptus tree marked for felling.

There was a loud crash as the pair hit the floor.

Mannie Quinn lay stiller than the mannequin he had mounted, hoping beyond hope that the security staff had not heard the sudden impact.

As he lay with the mannequin on top of him, he suddenly noticed that the sequined top Taylor was wearing now needed a different tailor and her tiny mini skirt that not even Eddie Izzard could fit into had become detached.

He was in a quandary, he had a beautiful naked woman on top- albeit in wax- and he was a red blooded young male whose brain had migrated South in his predicament.

The model was not only in scale but appeared to be anatomically correct in all departments.

The question that raced through his mind was did he?.... or didn’t he?

****************************** ****************************** *******

Security Guard Reginald Richardson-Kray was dozing in the control room on night shift when the sound woke him.

Being 83 years of age but without an occupational pension he knew he had to work till he dropped.

Whilst being in a locked warm office had its creature comforts at his time of life, it usually meant that like his local MP, he was paid to sleep on a bench.

Most sounds didn’t normally wake him, as he was used to the gurgling of the central heating and the expansion of the pipes at Madame Tussauds – principally because he had been doing this job for over a decade he felt like he was part of the furniture.

In fact, on several occasions when he was standing waiting for the last visitor to leave, he had scared people to death when he had spoken to them or moved suddenly in the dimly lit museum.

He flicked the cameras over to scan the place to see where the noise had come from.

With his degenerating eye condition and cataract, he could not easily detect the source.

Suddenly, he spotted the likely culprit in the Pop Section.

He could see that he was in a struggle with one of the exhibits.

He had heard of people spitting in the face of Hitler and Margaret Thatcher but not usually wrestling them.

He decided he better call for back up.

He silently called for two of his family members who were distantly related to two of the East End Gangs that had terrorised London in the 1960’s.

They didn’t believe in calling the Police- they had their own way of sorting things out the old-fashioned way.

As Reginald shuffled his arthritic feet towards the door, with his trusty metal torch for protection, he moved slower than a tortoise with a limp as Old Pop, as he was known, headed towards the Pop Section.

Due to his heart complaint, it took him all of three minutes for him to arrive at the scene of the crime and was horrified at his vision.

“ Halt… who comes there?” he asked as terrified as the semi-naked student.

Mannie stopped who he was doing and stood there like a rabbit in headlights or more precisely like a rabbit in torchlight.

“What are doing you little pervert?” demanded Reg with an authoritative voice.

Blinded by the beam of light, Mannie did not realise that he had been rumbled by a figure with acute angina, whilst being on top of a figure with a cute vagina.

Mannie paused but knew he had to take a camera shot of him kissing Taylor on the lips for his friends but then again had a dilemma…..which ones?

“ You dirty bastard….have you no shame?” screamed the guard at the affront of the student.

What followed could only be described as a Benny Hill chase, as an old man with a heart condition tried to outwit a perverted student, who shuffled along like a penguin with his trousers and pants around his ankles.

In the course of his activity Mannie had acquired had a waxen condom around his manhood, which gave the impression that he was carrying a candle in the same shade of colour as a baboon’s arse.

Reggie had been a big fan of boxing in his youth and was closing in on the intruder, like he was an octogenarian boxing kangaroo.  

Mannie was as terrified as the pensioner and having been caught literally with his trousers down, he didn’t want a blow off that metal torch which Reggie was switching from hand to hand like he was a ninja warrior.

Unbeknown to Mannie, Reggie was trying to back him up to the back door, to which his nephews had an emergency key, which was the one condition they had agreed to before let their elderly Uncle take the night shift job.

Despite being a rugby player, Mannie found it hard to sidestep with his trousers and pants at below half-mast.

He had only one weapon to fend off the security guard and that was his waxen light sabre which was glowing luminescent red in the half- light.

Reggie knew it was only a matter of time before his nephews both called Ronnie got here, as they worked as bouncers or to use the new politically correct term of ‘registered doorkeepers’ in the establishment two doors down on Baker Street.

Dropping their saxophone the pair had answered their Uncle’s call.

With his back to the door, Mannie did not see the Two Ronnies arrive and didn’t realise that they were in the building until the left leg of Nick Clegg hit him from behind.

After the blow, like a Tom & Jerry cartoon, Mannie could see lots of stars swirling around his head in the celebrity museum and they weren’t coming from the Planetarium next door either.

****************************** ****************************** ************

  The next thing that the student remembered, was waking up with a pounding headache and as he opened his eyes he could see that he was suspended, face tied down to a metal cage with a gag in his mouth that tasted suspiciously of Werther’s Originals, which he realised was the handkerchief of the elderly security guard.

He could have done with it to mop his own sweaty brow, as he was stretched out over a hot vat of molten wax.

With the steam rising on his naked genitals he suddenly remembered where he was.

“ How nice of you to join us!” said one of the Bouncers.

“ I am Ronald Kray- Richardson and this is my first cousin Ronald Richardson-Kray!” he continued.

Mannie had difficulty hearing what was said due to the bubbling of the hot wax and of course the broad East End Cockney accent from one of his would-be torturers.

Mannie was helpless, his hands tied behind his back and his feet were bound too.

His trousers and pants were still around his ankles and his old boy still covered in candle wax from the Taylor Swift model hung limply as it protruded through the bottom of the cage.

“No- don’t get up!” said Ron Two.

“ Now than Harvey Waxstein, if there is one thing our East End families don’t like its Welsh Cants taking a liberty on our Manor!” said Ronald One with a calm menace that really scared Mannie.

“We ain’t racist ….our families like the Welsh- in fact good old Grandpa Ronnie gave money to help in the Aberfan Disaster Fund- it’s was legit too-check the records of the Council- but we have a code of conduct in our Underworld – we can’t have cants molesting women real or wax on our turf, as it makes us look weak!” said Ron One.

Mannie couldn’t reply but just kept staring at the grinning dismembered dummy heads of Rolf Harris, Jimmy Saville and Orville the Duck on display on the stockroom shelves.

If he could have removed the gag he would have asked what his captors intended to do about the situation.

He would have preferred them to call the Metropolitan Police but that was not their way.

“ I suppose you’re wondering what is supposed to happen next?” said Ronnie Two, hand on a lever on the wall close to the Vat.

Mannie felt like he was in some bizarre take on a bad James Bond Movie with the heads of several past 007’s lined up on the racking near the vat, unfortunately, he didn’t have any gadgets that Q had devised to help get him out of the predicament.

No laser pens he could operate with his mouth or miniature saw that could be operated from within his watch mechanism.

He tried to move his legs but they were still tied and he heard the ominous sound of something sliding and then a ‘gloop’ sound.

He knew instinctively it was his mobile phone, which was now taking one of his eyebrows with it.

His purpose for being here in the first place was now defunct.

“Well we are about to dip your wick!” said Ronnie One.

Mannie stared at the severed heads of George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton & the very Pierced Brosnan in the hope they could somehow or other help.

He needn’t have worried about his eyebrow being shaved off, as they had now fallen off with the fear as he was lowered to three inches from the surface of the vat.

He looked up at the pair of gangsters who were trying to be like a poor version of Hale & Pace.

“ Well at least he won’t be able to Roger Moore!” laughed Ronnie Two.

Mannie would have laughed too but he wasn’t into ‘Bondage’.

If it hadn’t been for the intervention of Old Pop then Mannie would have been having his front, back and sides waxed at the same time.

He ordered the evil pair to stop as he didn’t want to go back to the old gangster ways – they were in legitimate business now- besides with his heart the way it was- he didn’t want to risk having a

 ‘Sean Coronary’.

With an evil laugh the pair raised up the cage and saved the student from a fate worse than death.

They let him off with a stern warning.

Suffice to say that the alopecia-faced Mannie didn’t do it again.

 

Phil 'Boz' Evans

 

Posted in: Humor | 1 comments

Big Hunt


By Philip evans, 2017-02-20

The man lay silently in the savannah grass of the Ngorongord valley in Tanzania.

He didn't dare breathe or move for startling the Thompson's gazelle that he had tethered to a small Acacia tree.

From his clothing, you would never have guessed that he was Welsh- only his WRU rubber wrist band on his right 'trigger' hand gave it away.

The Blackwood Dentist, Major Orion Jekyll- Hyde-Hunt, was the veteran predator of the Serengeti, as he approached his 75th Birthday intent on giving himself an early birthday present.

He wasn't using the little antelope for target practice- he was after much bigger prey.

During his 40 or so years, since he was honourably discharged from the Army, Major Hunt had spent most of his free time scouring the Dark Continent in pursuit of the 'Big Five'.

Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard, Rhinoceros and African Lion.

His house - called the 'Grange' -was filled with all kinds of 'trophies' of animal heads on his walls, mounted on wooden shields and was testament to the other love of his life- that of the 'dying' art of taxidermy.

To him there was no greater thrill of tracking his victim through the bush, shooting it and then skinning it and stuffing it and mounting it in his study wall.

He would have done that to his women to if UK Law would have allowed it.

He could not describe to an outsider, how big a man it made him feel to shoot a defenceless animal in cold blood.

It was the Major's biggest regret that he had missed the Second World War- on account of being too young- as he would have loved to have had the opportunity to shoot a man or better still a fellow Nazi.

His brain-washed army brain scanned the surrounding Serengeti Plain for signs of the pride.

He was after an African Lion which was on his 'to-do' list before he went to the 'Great White Hunter' in the sky.

The Major believed that all human life on Earth was Alien and came from a place close to the constellation of stars that he was named after.

The only Big Bang Theory that he believed in, was the big bang that came from the end of his hunting rifle.

And then he saw her.

A magnificent African Lioness of around 7 feet from head to the tip of her tail.

Just like in his native Blackwood, it was the women that did all the hard work- hunting and rearing their young- whilst the men laid around in the sun licking their own balls.

The Major didn't want to shoot this perfect evolutionary killing machine- he wanted Leo-the dominant male lion- the inappropriately named King of the Jungle (as Lions do not live in the Jungle but hunt on the open grassland of Central Africa).

The 'Mane Man' if you like- the Major had a vision of Leo, poking his head through the wall above his grey marble Louis X1Vth surround and open fire.

He knew that the lioness would have to kill the prey and then sit back while the dominant male would stroll over eat the 'lions share' of the raw meat and then leave her the leftovers for both her and the cubs.

Once again- like the Blackwood Men on a Friday Night with a kebab.

As in human life, there is a hierarchy or structure into which all animals - human or otherwise- fit- and he- Major Jekyll Hyde-Hunt complete with his high powered telescopic rifle had replaced Leo at the top of the food chain.

The Major wasn't interested in the environment or nature conservation.

He wasn't even interested in eating his prey.

He purely wanted to shoot the beast and brag to his social- climbing friends that he had the money and resources to do something they could not afford to.

When asked by his fellow Monmouth Golf Club members as to why he went to Africa to hunt- he replied arrogantly - because it was 'there'.

He even took in the severed hand of a Mountain Gorilla - an endangered species- so that he could use it as an ashtray for his Cuban cigars.

The Major was loved and loathed in equal measures by the elite golfing fraternity- most of whom secretly despised his opulence and attitude to life- but would not 'break cover' for fear of being ostracised from the 'Club'.

The Monmouth Club was an anachronism in the 21st Century with Members Rules that were a throwback to the days of the Raj in India.

Only the elite could afford its annual membership and green fees - so only the rich used it.

Back in the 21th Century, the Major used his excellent peripheral vision to spot the Head of the Pride, who was sitting in a small clearing of parched grass that he had flattened with his own body weight, casually flicking his tail at the tsetse flies that buzzed his massive bollocks.

He knew that he couldn't hit the beast at this range.

He would have to risk leaving his position and getting closer to the action.

As he did so- he could see the lioness dropping her shoulders and slowly padding forward towards the tethered gazelle- who was just beginning to pick up her scent.

It started to buck wildly and tried to pull herself free from the tree, as the lioness and the rest of the pride began to close in as one on the stricken animal.

Mercifully, the uneven contest was over very quickly, as the Lioness applied a choke hold to the little antelope's neck and the life quickly drained out of the poor creature, whose eyes were the only testament of the pain it felt in its final death throes.

Nature was both wonderful and cruel in equal measures.

The only difference is that animals hunt to eat while humans hunt just for sport.

Major Jekyll-Hyde-Hunt was just such a human.

He was regarded locally as a bit of an eccentric and a lot of a schizophrenic.

Most patients didn't return for treatment to him- as you didn't know which of the dentist's personas would turn up.

The mild mannered one or the raving lunatic one.

He was a nightmare for his nurses to work with, as he would throw instruments at them like he was a Zulu spear-chucker of the highest order at Rorke's Drift, when in his darker moods.

An Assegai from an Asshole Guy.

Yet on other occasions when Dr Jekyll was in the surgery, he could be the most caring, compassionate human being on the Planet.

Then he had patience with his patients.

But when he was in a rage -the only thing that seemed to calm him down was his love of killing innocent warm-blooded creatures.

His nurses would leave Hunting Magazines around the surgery and waiting room in an effort to distract their schizophrenic employer.

The Major, looked through his telescope lens, he could make out the lumbering shape of Leo ambling towards the dead antelope.

There was nothing more than Leo enjoyed than pawing his way through a Thompson Local.

The fact that the gazelle was still tied to the tree made it like a version of leonine swing-ball, as it batted back and for- losing body parts in each successive swing.

The Major held his head still, took a breath and held it without exhaling, as he steadied himself for the money shot.

There were lions all around and a circle of hyenas and other dogs hanging around the kill- waiting for the big cats to finish and take their 'lions share'-so they could scrap over the left-overs.

He was like Lee Harvey Oswald in that Dallas Book Depository just waiting for Jackal O to get its head out of the way so he could shoot the big guy.

As he finally got a clear shot- he lightly pressed to trigger only to hear a metallic clunk.

Something had clogged up the bullet chamber.

Orion could not believe it.

He cleaned his guns more meticulously than a baboon cleaned its red arse.

He inspected the bullet chamber and noticed that there was an obstruction.

As he pulled out the bullet- he could see the smiling face of Nelson Mandela beaming back at him.

There was a tiny African National Congress medal blocking the cylinder.

It was misshapen and bent and had scored the interior of the rifle.

How the Hell had that got there?

In an instant, he realised that last night at Base Camp, he remembered leaving his rifle unguarded for a few minutes outside whilst he used to 'Bush Telegraph' .

"I bet it was that little kid!" said the Major .

He was referring to one of the children of his 'Tour Guides' from the Masai-Mara tribe that had been hanging around his tent- the little disabled one with half a foot from stepping on a landmine- the one that he had clipped round the back of his head.

" I wished that I had hit that little Kaffe harder now!" said Orion.

Suddenly, the Major's blood ran cold.

He realised that the truck that had brought him out to this Protected Wildlife Reserve had buggered off.

What If in Post-Apartheid Africa, the tribespeople no longer had respect for their minority White Rulers and betters?

What if the same thing that happened in Zimbabwe- Rhodesia came to pass and the class structure was upset by revolution?

UDI or You Die?

It meant the same thing to a Great White Hunter with no transport or fresh water in a 300 mile radius.

Surely these people still relied on the illegal revenue that poaching brought to the tribe?

Bob Geldof and Live Aid couldn't have raised THAT much for the local economy?

All these questions started to go through the Major's head.

He appreciated that there were 'no flies on these people' but they wouldn't just leave a white man to die in the Serengeti with all these wild animals running about would they?

After all he would be missed wouldn't he?

The more questions he asked himself the worse his situation seemed.

He HAD been rude to the Guide, Boko Harram or whatever his name was...he couldn't pronounce it so why should he care what he was called.

His money too...surely they would care about that?

He remembered then he had breached his own rules.

His wallet containing his cash had been in the trouser pocket of his khaki shorts and would have been down around his ankles whilst he was distracted using the toilet.

With a ventilation gap under the door and the sides of the kharzi, any little pilfering hands- especially that a child- could have got his wallet out of the pocket.

The Major was in major trouble.

He checked his pocket for ammunition but found only around five bullets left.

He wasn't even sure if his gun would now fire in view of the damage caused by Nelson's Column.

For the first time in his privileged life, Major Jekyll-Hyde felt fear.

He was no longer the predator but was now potential prey and this new realisation brought with it a real sense of genuine terror.

Was Man the only animal intelligent enough to be scared by such a prospect or did that male Thompson's Gazelle killed by the pride early realise what was coming?

Did the animal rank the same as Major Orion Jekyll-Hyde, when it came to God's Master Plan for the Universe and would he get the blame from the Great Creator?

Either way the Buck stopped with him.

For the first time in his life- he felt insignificant.

Could he extricate himself from this life or death situation?

He knew it wouldn't be long before the predators on this vast grassland would pick up his scent- he prayed that they had not lost their fear of man and didn't view him just yet as 'prey'.

With successive holidaymakers and tourists invading this most sacred place on Earth- some of the animals associated human beings with the provision of food instead of actually being food.

But it was only a matter of time before that changed.

The Major decided he would have to be mentally tough as well as physically tough, if he was to survive this ordeal.

He looked at the hot African sun and noted its trajectory in the sky and decided his best bet was to head East towards the border with Kenya, and use the famous Mount Kilimanjaro as a guide.

He knew there were a few freshwater lakes up there in that area and that there were regular charity climbs by the Welsh Rugby Team and other Europeans - so he decided that would be his 'beacon' of hope.

He knew he would have to get rid of his scent to throw off any predators- so the first lump of elephant shit he came across, he would smear his body with as cover.

Lions were wary of elephants.

He decided he would use the long grass to stay out of sight- although it would be a risky strategy as he could just as easily stumble upon a lioness and her cubs which would mean an instant death.

But at least that would be an instant death.

His other big fear was that of standing on a poisonous snake and being bitten resulting in a slow lingering death.

He thought of how babyish some of his patients were in view of the fact they were living in their 'bubble existence' - being frightened of a small injection or a tiny filling.

Out here it was survival of the fittest and a life or death struggle with not just the elements but a lot of the deadly animals, reptiles and other critters found in the World.

He estimated that the journey at its shortest estimate would be at least a week, through some of the harshest terrain on the Planet.

Not like David Attenborough- who had all the creature comforts that the BBC could provide.

The Major cursed his luck and set off rifle in hand ready to make a great trek.

Every step could be his last - so he recced the area carefully before he moved on.

Like a commando, he would run in small bursts, take cover, watch for movement and then move on.

He estimated he had around five- six hours of sunlight left and he would try and find some cover - if possible off the ground to try and sleep.

He was aware that lions and snakes can both climb trees but the way he saw it - gravity would be his friend in that situation - and he needed all the help he could get if he would ever see Wales again alive.

Eventually, the line of tall grass stopped and the Major could see a vast plain of grass that had been grazed flat by the many herds of herbivores that inhabited this area.

Buffalo, antelope, zebras and giraffes to name but a few.

It never ceased to amaze the Major, at this living proof of Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution and the constant change in genetics and mutation that populated this landscape.

He knew that he had little option but to break cover and follow the herd to the nearest watering holes- (again like the Blackwood men) knowing full well that he would not be the only predatory creature doing the same.

In the searing heat, he pushed his safari hat down on his head - being grateful for the limited cover that the wide brim afforded his face.

In the far distance, he could see the heat hazes dancing like genies emerging from some unseen bottle.

Even the metal of his gun barrel felt 'steelworks' hot to the touch, as he slung it over his right shoulder as he began his yomp.

He knew finding fresh drinking water was his priority and also finding a receptacle he could use to carry it in.

Oh what he would give to find an empty Coca-Cola bottle or can, tossed from a visiting Wildlife fan- but there was none.

Just his luck -apart from Blackwood - it turned out to be the only place left on Earth with no litter.

He didn't like being exposed - out in the wide plain in full view of would- be- predators.

He knew he wasn't capable of outrunning them and being in his mid-seventies he couldn't 'stott'- like an antelope to show he was fit and healthy and capable of outrunning the opposition.

He knew full well that in nature it was survival of the fittest- and he was certainly not the fittest.

As he walked along as fast as his blistered feet would carry him, he noticed the giant termite mounds and an aardvark using his long tongue to get a meal in amongst the dust.

The last time he had seen a tongue that size it was attached to 'Kiss' lead singer Gene Simmons.

He marvelled at its ability to adapt to this barren terrain and the delicate ecosystem upon which it depended.

He didn't really care though- he shot it anyway- with one of the few remaining bullets- as he wondered what it tasted like.

Initially, he had missed the target by four feet- like shooting with an air-rifle with dodgy sights on a rigged Fairground booth.

He adjusted and made the appropriate allowance and hit the target right between the eyes.

He dragged the carcass to a nearby bush and began to light a fire by using two pieces of wood and rubbing them today.

The primitive peoples of the Masai Mara call them 'kaambebalongo' or 'magic sticks'.

The equally primitive people of Blackwood call them matches.

He created a wooden spit from some fallen dead branches and toasted the mammal over the fire.

The Major had to take a chance on cooking the creature- as he couldn't eat it raw- and realised that it was a risky strategy, as the smell of the meat cooking would undoubtedly draw attention which is why he had made camp under a small tree with low to high branches.

So when the inevitable predators came, he could merely climb out of danger and leave them have his leftovers.

He just hoped it wasn't a leopard or lion that fancied a piece of ant-eater- as it generally was not on their preferred menu.

Just before dusk- they came in the form of a pack of hyenas.

Each daring the others to make the first move on the Major.

Their black faces and tiny ears making these savage beasts look like soft and cuddly- when in reality they could rip apart a human in minutes.

As they are descendants of dogs - there was a silent mutual admiration for human beings which goes back to primitive times when cavemen first domesticated these canines- but the initial hesitancy and stand-off only lasts for a few minutes- especially when they are hungry.

The Major beat a hasty retreat to the upper branches - not wishing to waste any of his three remaining bullets on these wild dogs.

He grabbed a chunk of aardvark flesh and climbed as high as he could onto the few branches capable of supporting his weight.

He sat still frustrated that these scavengers would eat his dinner at his expense.

It was a similar feeling to that which he held on the subject of 'Family Allowance' payments to people who didn't want to work in his home Town.

From his safe perch, the Major looked up at the horizon and saw two long necked shadows in profile of the setting orangey-red sun - which must have been giraffes- he was surprisingly enchanted by this scene- as he remembered the one he had shot - a few years back- which he mounted and stuck through his conservatory roof- just to piss off the local Planning Department.

Life was so fragile and unpredictable- he could never have imagined this situation a week ago when he sitting in front of his hearth with an open-fire dressed in his bedroom slippers, cravat and 'Hefner' dressing-gown.

He looked in the direction of Mount Kilimanjaro and it looked mystical- the summit surrounded by low cloud.

No wonder primitive people thought mountains were home of the Gods.

He was also surprised that he could hear the sound of the American Band 'Toto' playing the song 'Africa'.

Only to realise that he had left his MP3 player on.

Like an Oscar winning film of the 1980's- Major Orion Jekyll-Hyde just wanted to be 'Out of Africa' too.

He plotted his next move- as the last of the hyenas disappeared into the bush dragging the elongated nose of the dead anteater for them to chew on later.

The Major made himself as comfortable as was possible in a tree, linked his arms and legs around the branches like a sloth, tipped his hat over his eyes and nodded off to sleep.

It had been a long and eventful day.

His subconscious mind was whirring with thoughts, and proposed survival techniques that he was trying to recall from his army days.

He knew he would have to go 'native' if he was to survive this situation.

And boy did he love soft toilet tissue paper.

The Major awoke with the first rays of the sun.

He could feel something warm and sticky hitting his face.

He brushed his hand on his cheek and realised almost immediately that it was guano or bat shit to the uninitiated.

It stank to high heaven and was coming from one of the branches high above him.

It was almost like it was deliberate- that the Universe was trying to tell him something.

Or that the bat was the reincarnation of RAF trained 'Bomber' Harris.

Sonar or radar being their speciality- being used to hit a target in the dark.

The Major as he got over the shock of where he was- realised he would have to get moving soon.

It was much cooler at this time of day -as the Mid-Day sun directly overhead would cook him like a fried egg on this unforgiving Hell hole grill.

He mentally pointed himself in the direction of Kilimanjaro, set his MP3 to the minimal sound to conserve the battery, scanned the area for danger and then climbed down the trunk of the tree towards the ground.

He could hear all sorts of animals waking up- a cacophony of sound hit his ears- as he strained to identify if the noises were friend or foe- food or killer.

The scenery hadn't change much- inedible grassland and rotten trees.

There was no sign of water.

The best he could do was lick the moisture from the night off the tree leaves, before it evaporated and pray that the tree was not a poisonous variety.

He knew giraffes ate them - so logically - he hoped they would not be toxic.

His mouth was more parched than some of his diabetic patients.

He remembered why he had become a dentist in the first place.

He was a masochist not a sadist.

He enjoyed causing OTHER people pain but did not enjoy it himself.

In short- he could give it not take it.

Perhaps that is why he loved hunting so much- he loved the Power and hurt he could inflict on little animals.

Why did his ancestors bother fighting their way to the top of the food chain otherwise?

Rifle in hand, he carefully padded his way through the short grass- keeping a wary eye out for that hyena pack that had 'dogged' him last night.

Once again he yomped his way over the plains ignoring the pain from his blistered feet.

He knew that as the morning went on, the temperature would climb, and he would have to find some cover if he was to avoid heatstroke.

The climate of Central Africa was harsh at best to a pampered safari guest- but to have to revert to behaving like Victorian Explorers - Speke, Burton and Livingstone- as he 'presumed' that it must have been intolerable to have lived in such primitive times- let alone explore this mosquito-infested continent with its multitude of poisonous plants, dangerous wild animals and unfriendly natives must have been a nightmare.

The Major kept himself mentally alert by replaying in his mind- games of golf that he had played and won at the 'Rose' in Monmouth- as if nothing else if he could convince himself that the Serengeti plain was like walking a giant golf course, then he could pretend and ignore the harshness of his situation.

For every 18 miles that he walked- he felt like they were one 'hole' closer to the 19th Hole- or Club-house - that he could take that long awaited cool drink.

Suddenly, the Major made a startling discovery that would change his situation for the better.

No - it was not a 4x4 Range Rover hidden in the long grass.

It was a dead female elephant carcass, with its tusks removed.

Most normal human beings would have been reviled by the sight, but not the Major.

He being an accomplished taxidermist saw this as an opportunity.

He surmised that it had been shot quite recently by poachers for the ivory tusks.

It was covered in flies and had been pretty much stripped by all sorts of scavengers- with this once magnificent creature that was a direct descendent of the woolly mammoth, now just part of the eco-system and another meal on the Serengeti diners menu.

The Major was surprised to see that behind the remains of the fallen creature, was her dead calf too.

He had died standing up - probably from hunger or shock at the demise of his Mother.

In any event, the Major got to work quickly on the carcass with his Swiss army knife, quickly removing the remaining innards of the baby beast and placing its skin and head out to dry in the sun.

Like the flies all around him - the Major was busy 'hatching' a plan to aid his survival.

Within half an hour- he held the complete wrinkled skin of the baby elephant and like a scene from the 'Silence of the Lambs' he proceeded to wear it- trunk and all.

Like he was wearing a pantomime costume from 'Marigolds' in Brynmawr- the sunburned dentist took cover under the cool skin.

He knew that if he could find the rest of the herd- he would stand a greater chance of survival- as the elephants would lead him to water and offer great protection from the plains predators.

Like Lord Greystoke had become Tarzan before him.

Now the Major had transformed into a Jumbo.

He tried in vain to blow down the trunk of the elephant- but he was not musically trained to play the pachyderm.

The best he could do was raise a tiny squeak.

Now given the size of an African Elephant's ears, to Sir David Attenborough it would have come as no surprise that this sound would have been heard one mile away by the orphan elephant's aunt named Nelly.

She had been searching frantically for the 'orphan-ifant' and her sister for hours.

She headed in the direction of the sound before coming crashing through the savannah and light bush only to stumble on the horrific scene.

The Dentist hidden inside the 'Babar- elephant-skin raincoat' knew it was a life or death gamble, he was playing but what choice did he have?

He had to pretend he was a distraught elephant calf and walked about on all fours- raising the front paws by the aid of two tree branches.

Nelly smelt her nephew and prodded and poked him with her tongue and trunk.

She knew something wasn't right but her proboscis senses told her it smelled just like her relative.

She was distracted by the grief of seeing her fallen sister, who less than 24 hours ago was a living, but alopecia version of a Mastodon dinosaur.

She rubbed her sisters back and tried unsuccessfully to use her trunk and lift the fallen creature.

It was like trying to raise a single Blackwood mother from her DFS Sofa during an episode of Jerry Springer-it was completely hopeless.

The Major- like an inverted elephant rider-or inside mahout- all the while shuffled about like he was vulnerable- in the hope of pricking the Cow Elephant's maternal conscience.

He had never seen an elephant cry before- not even Disney's Dumbo- he assumed that they were dumb animals, with no sense of family or emotion.

These animals were starting to get under his skin- in a strange role reversal.

Eventually Nelly gave up the ghost, indicated for 'Babar' to follow her and slowly began crashing her way through the undergrowth in the direction of the herd.

Every so often she would raise her trunk in the air and give a toot for directional advice from her siblings.

When the Major finally caught up with the elephants- he was shocked to see how massive these creatures were and how gentle and affectionate they were towards each other, especially the dominant bull elephant that he christened 'Colonel Harty'

The hard hearted hunter was softening in view of his new experiences.

He knew that if any of his new travelling companions really wanted to they could crush him underfoot or break every bone in his aging body with one clout from their muscle-bound trunks.

He attached himself to the tiny tail of his newly adopted 'Aunt Nelly' and followed closely, as the herd blazed a trail through the jungle, crashing foliage, scoffing leaves and leaving 'behind' massive green 'jungle pizzas' as they went.

Relieving themselves by scratching their wrinkled arse-skin on the bark of trees.

Being at the back of the herd, the Major didn't have the best view of the World, as he stared up at the rump of Nelly, as it waddled and swayed along to the Jungle rhythm.

With all that ageing grey skin and furrowed lines, it reminded him of Helen Mirren on that L'Oreal advert under Brooklyn Bridge.

Not so much mutton dressed as lamb - more like crows- feet walking in play-doh.

The march was nearly thirty minutes long and during that time the dentist amused himself by checking the dead calf's teeth as they went.

" You need to brush those back wisdom teeth more thoroughly and those gums look a bit enflamed...I thought you elephants never forget?" said the Major tripping back onto Mr Hyde mode.

Eventually, the herd stopped at a small watering hole near Olduugi Gorge which had a beautiful waterfall cascading down from the rocks above.

It was really refreshing, as the herd used their trunks like portable shower pipes, spraying each other communally as part of a bathing ritual.

No ticks or insects stood a chance against these pressure hoses- as they were sprayed off into the water pool.

Not on your Nelly.

The Major suddenly noticed that the once sizeable herd had started to disappear.

But where were they disappearing too?

He made his way towards his adopted Aunt who was wading through the shallow water towards the waterfall and what appeared to be on close inspection a cave beyond it.

As he followed, taking a battering from the force of the water overhead, as he did so he was instantly blinded by the darkness of the cave.

As his eyes were struggling to adjust to the new light- he decided to remove the head of the dead baby elephant in order that he could squeeze through a gap to see out the other end of the cavern.

" My oh-my-....this must be the fabled Alley Barbar's cave!" he said to himself.

His voice booming around the walls with an echo.

Head under his arm, the Major walked like the Victorian ghost of John Merrick, as he made his way through the dark recesses of the Mountain.

He was shocked to see that behind the cave was an entire secret valley filled with the remains of generations of dead elephants, hiding amongst ancient African hardwood trees.

He had stumbled upon an elephant's graveyard.

All around him were white bones and yellow tusks that had lain here undiscovered for Centuries.

There was more ebony and ivory than both of Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney's keyboards.

The Major suddenly reverted to kind.

What was the street value of this little lot?

He knew he would have to get out of this elephant costume soon otherwise he felt he would be rumbled.

His plan had worked the elephants had led him to water but also inadvertently to their version of

Nel Dorado.

As he tried in vain, to get the elephant 'wet' suit off- he struggled as he had done too good a job of sowing himself in.

Try as he might, he could get out the conventional way.

He would have to find another means.

***************************************************************************

Kenyan Poachers, Ness Kaffe and D-Caff looked down at the watering hole somewhat mystified.

They knew that the African elephant was an endangered species and were disappearing fast -but not that fast.

Where had the entire herd gone?

They couldn't have ALL drowned in that little pool.

The pair weren't necessarily bad lads but they had to feed their family somehow.

They had tried to avoid the 'gang' culture by being employed by the Kenyan Coffee Company to grow the coffee beans- but it was really hard work.

D-Caff had tried a brief foray into rap music but it didn't pay as well as Ivory poaching did.

It was a return to the days of slavery - only economic slavery this time- ruled over by the white overseers and masters who gave all the orders.

Having to 'complete' with Brazilian and Columbian coffee, also meant that they didn't get a 'Fair Trade' price for breaking their backs in the hot African sun.

They were convinced that the 'white man' was the spawn of the devil.

As the baby elephant emerged from beneath the waterfall, the pair were shocked to see what appeared to show a White Man slowing emerging from the elephants arsehole.

The pair looked at each other like it was a Ju-Ju or curse and fled back towards their battered stolen Mercedes car left behind from the Top Gear African special.

The Major struggled to get out of the wet suit.

He realised that he had done TOO good a job on sewing himself into the elephant suit and the only aperture left big enough to squeeze through was the bum of the dead creature.

He wondered what any would-be witness to the scene would make of it.

However, the Major knew he was now - give or take a deviation- at least 200 miles from any civilisation - the closest being likely to be at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Now - thanks to the elephants - he had a supply of clean drinking water- all he needed to do was to find a receptacle to carry it in.

He hunted the edge of the pool, lifted some vegetation but couldn't find anything to use.

He was just about to give up and try a different tack when something caught his eye- glinting in the sun.

It was a shiny plastic water bottle containing the logo of the London Olympic Games 2012.

As he fished it out it of the water, he could see an inscription of 'Go Mo for Bo Jo' written on the side.

It had also had a mark to show it had come from the Mayor of London's Office.

How could something have travelled this far- end up in an African lake...probably Labour wasting money again on foreign junkets he assumed.

" Livingstone... I presume?" said the Major.

Whatever was the cause, he was grateful for its use.

He filled it up to the brim, sealed off the top and started in the direction of Mount Kilimanjaro.

As he left the safety of the elephant herd behind, he made a mental note of its location - should he return one day to claim the fortune in ivory- hidden in that secret valley.

The Major could see in the distance the reason why the sacred mountain was known as the 'Roof of Africa'- as its summit was shrouded in low cloud and looked like the front cover of 'The Teardrop Explodes' Album.

It was quite an impressive sight, especially as in the foreground you could see animals as far as the human eye could see, as if clinging to the shadow of this monument of nature for safety.

Stripy Zebras- like horses in black n white pyjamas, long-necked giraffes, antelopes of every description and of course- the predators who relied on these creatures to survive.

It was an eco-system with a diverse habitat that was being destroyed slowly by mankind.

The Major marvelled at the scene- and was mightily impressed at the speed of a thirsty Mo Farrah running away from a pursuing cheetah.

This land was the cradle of civilisation.

It was a shame humans had been allowed entry to the Garden of Eden - as clearly they have spoiled it.

The Major stopped dead in his tracks - as an equine creature shot across his path.

Holding a full driving licence -he was programmed by society to stop at every zebra crossing.

He was also instinctively programmed to shoot on sight too.

Whilst he aimed for its head- the bullet ended up tearing a nearby okapi a new arsehole.

It startled him, as even so called 'family animals' in the wild were potential killers too.

He was aware of the fact that the biggest 'initial' killer in Africa - after ISIS, AIDS, and HIV was in fact the hippopotamus.

They, just like crocodiles can outrun a human (Mo Farrah excepted) over a short distance, have a body weight that is the equivalent of Vanessa Feltz standing on your toes in high heeled shoes, and a powerful jaw that can snap a man in half.

The Major staggered on - as the sun blazed down on him- he now had blisters on his blisters and knew that it was only his iron will to survive that was keeping him from being the next meal on the flying vulture menu.

He was thirsty, starving and scared half to death.

Perhaps, it was karma paying the old dentist back for all of those years that -he- the 'driller killer' had caused pain and suffering to other people and defenceless animals.

But there is another saying- 'shit floats' and perhaps this was the reason that he stumbled upon a nomadic member of the Masai Mara Tribe.

It was the first time in his life that the Major looked pleased to see a fellow human being.

The tribesman known as Cowadunga was startled by the 'ghost'- as he had not seen a White Caucasian before, but had heard tales from his ancestors about the appearance of the White Man being associated with bad luck and of course slavery.

"Kanyo Iyesita Oloiborry Endira?" he asked.

Which translated to:-

" What are doing White Devil?".

Cowadunga was frightened that he was an evil spirit come to take him or his beloved cattle away.

Neither man could speak a word of each other's language.

The Major stared at the pearly white teeth of the tribesman and was impressed with his dental hygiene.

How did he keep them that clean without toothpaste or a toothbrush?

What Den-Plan was he on?

He - like all Englishmen abroad- arrogantly expected the tribesman to speak the Queens English- after all it was the language of the internet.

Cowadunga -even if he could have understood him- he wouldn't know what the internet, broadband or a toothbrush was for that matter.

He could see that the Major had a rifle over his shoulder, and he had witnessed first-hand what a bullet could do to him or his animals- so he took several steps back away from the 'Endira'.

As he did so, the Major began to follow him.

He tried to use body language - by offering him the open palm front gesture to show he meant no harm- but Cowadunga had decided he would do a 'Mo Farrah' and put as much distance between him and the 'slaver' as he could.

The Major was shocked at the speed of the tribesman.

He had never seen anything move that fast- not that is -since that time as a kid, when he stuck a red hot poker up the arse of his pet tomcat.

As Cowadunga ran, his feet disappeared in a cloud of dust like he was a modern day roadrunner bird.

The Major thought briefly about shooting him, but decided it wasn't worth wasting a precious bullet.

Instead, he just stole his lunch and headed on towards the sacred Mountain.

He was very grateful for the milky drink, cow cheese and strip of biltong that Mrs Cowadunga had packed her husband that morning.

Further on, the terrain of the ground began to change- as did the animals.

In the rocky foothills leading to Mount Kilimanjaro, the Major encountered a flange of baboons, a couple of chimpanzees and the occasional Mountain Gorilla in the descending mist.

The temperatures in the Third World began to cool to just 96 degrees in the shade.

He laboured on until he was no longer physically able to walk- looking for a safe place to bed down for the night.

Like most humans- he had an innate fear of the dark and the time just before Dawn, he found the blackest.

He looked up at the beautiful starlit sky and once again marvelled at how insignificant he was, compared to the infinite galaxy of constellations that shone down from the Heavens.

There was even a constellation named after him- not Orion the Hunter- but that of the 'Great Bear'.

Just like Jekyll-Hyde- the 'Bear' was split in two personalities:-

Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.

And just like the Welshman you could not predict which one would come out at night.

The Major made himself as comfortable as he could in a tiny Acacia tree.

If only birdwatcher Billie Oddie could see him perched up on the middle branches- he really would 'twitch'- at the sight of this unusual bird.

He felt about as comfortable as Christopher Biggins would be in a thong.

But 'Safari -so Goodie' - he had thus far by some miracle the Bore with the Twelve Bore, had survived his 'Great Trek' across South Africa and reached the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro.

He had a lot of climbing up massive stonewalls tomorrow ahead of him- so he knew he needed to preserve his strength and get some shut-eye.

As he hung his weapon over the tree branch, and then his gun too, he started to drift off.

Every so often his leg would involuntarily spasm in a hypnic jerk, as his daytime motor control of his muscles failed to switch off.

It was a residual reaction left over from mankind's primitive arboreal past to prevent him toppling out of his perch.

The time when the first African man lived in trees- just like the modern-day 'Blackwood' Dentist.

When the Major awoke at first light- he had found that his toes and fingers had instinctively curled around the branches of the acacia- with his nob acting as an anchor too.

As he rubbed the 'eye snot' from his sleepy eyes, he blinked at the new Dawn.

He left off an almighty fart- that startled the Serengeti and sent a herd of rhinoceroses into a crash.

He stretched up with his arms and yawned loudly.

He rubbed a couple of pesky ants off his neck.

He then proceeded mentally to choose the easiest pathway up the ancient grey rocks - selecting to begin his assent up a narrow ravine.

He knew that one like a sewage worker during a 69 session - one slip and he would be in the shit.

But he had precious little option.

He would climb the rocks and then discharge his gun into the air to see if he could attract attention.

He would then wave his arms around and make a stone SOS signal on the ground, in the hope someone could spot it from the air.

As he reached the narrow cleft in the rocks- he proceeded to climb it with his back pressed firmly against the other side.

He knew a few days ago, the fuller figured dentist would not have fitted the aperture, but the newly malnourished African version would.

Ursa Major was evolving into Ursa Minor.

The Big Hunter had lost so much weight- he was now the Big Hunt.

Most of his disgruntled ex-patients had called him a version of that too.

The Major knew that he simply HAD to hold out for the 70 foot 'chimney-sweep-style' climb.

The 'Great Bear' Grylls had to grow a pair, if he wanted to live to see his phoney pals at the Golf Club again and 'brag' about his latest ordeal.

He remembered his climbing technique training from the Army and of course actor Gregory Peck in 'The Guns of Navarone'.

Each foothold and handhold was important.

You didn't release one until the other three were firmly planted in position.

Like a caterpillar version of Chris Bonnington, the gravity-defying inch-worm hunchback, crawled his way up the steep sided rock- carefully selecting his holds as he went.

In that heat, human sweat could be deadly and act as an unwanted finger lubricant.

With his rounded back touching the opposite wall of the narrow crevasse, he climbed up unaided thrown the narrowest point of the gap between the rocks.

His hunchback was hurting him and he also had a lot of cramp in his leg muscles- as his 'Charlie' and his 'Charley Horse' both slowed his progress.

His rifle too slung over his back was another impediment, as it swung violently, as he tried to fight the natural elements.

Once he had passed the point of no return, the Major had a plan to place his hands and feet on opposite sides of the chasm and power himself up the rocks like a star-jumping frog, using his entire body strength and speed to rise to the top of the 'chimney'.

It was a gamble but he had no other option.

He knew it was all or nothing.

He let go of the rock and tried to 'starfish' his way up to safety.

He hoped that once there he could build his distress boulder message in the hope of being rescued.

After all the Mountain had achieved charitable status itself, with everyone from Irish Models in red stiletto heels, to Welsh Rugby Captains and even Lord Geldof of Live Aid Fame raising money by climbing its peak.

As he made it to the top of the opening, the Major was expecting to see hordes of people, walking passed in fancy dress- Bugs Bunny costumes, blue feathered ostriches or Superman outfits- but there was no one around.

He was sweating and straining, preparing himself mentally for the final grab from his X wing position, when out from a small bush came a voice.

" Allo Der" said the African Man.

As he smiled he revealed perfectly white teeth to the sun and dazzled the Major in the process.

Blinded by the Sun God Amun Ra - the Major instinctively raised his right arm to protect his eyes from the glare of the reflected sun.

This move proved fatal, as he then fell face first back down the rock-face- much quicker than he had climbed it.

As he fell he once again wondered who was doing the veneers around here.

He landed with great force face up in the gap in the rocks wedged tighter than a pair of Cyril Smith's underpants.

The African stood on the edge of the vertical drop and shouted down to the Major.

" U' allright down der Man?"

" Not really!" replied the Major.

" Who the Devil are you anyway?"

The African tossed him down a business card which he caught in his open hands.

He read the card aloud.

" Idi Amin Junior- Last Prince of Scotland Tours of Kilimanjaro- Proprietor."

" You gander?" asked the African.

" Yes...but what are you doing in Tanzania?" replied the trapped dentist- ironically performing his last ever filling.

The poor man was trapped with his head facing up - as was his rifle - both pointing skyward like a Grenadier guard on parade.

The Major knew that he was hundreds of miles away from the nearest hospital and the chance of any form of rescue was out of the question.

This cleft in the rocks would be his final resting place on Earth.

And the responsibility for this had to fall squarely on the shoulders of the exiled Dictators Son.

" Sorry about that... but my family has a habit of making people disappear!" said the African peering over the edge tentatively.

" When I heard it was Kilimanjaro ....I didn't realise I had to take the first part LITERALLY!" said the Major.

He tempted the African out of cover by deliberately speaking quietly.

" What did you say Bwana?" asked Idi.

" Is there anybody else up there with sense that could get me out of my predicament?"

" No....nobody on Der Mountain till (he looked at his booking schedule) October...one Month from now!"

At that point the taxidermist knew he was stuffed.

It was now or never if he was to tick his last box on his Bucket List.

The Major fired off his shot which went straight up in the air, just missing the African's ear as it went.

" You nearly shot me then!" he screamed back down the abyss as the bullet sailed on and on up into the air.

The Major was disappointed that he had missed his quarry despite the fact he himself had not missed his.

" One bullet left!" he cursed.

He didn't want to die slowly of dehydration of starvation.

He would save that for emergency.

But there is a saying what goes up must come down, and this equally applies to bullets.

Whilst the bullet had missed it's target on first flight- it didn't miss poor Idi on the way back - as it struck him on the back of the ostrich feathered headdress on the way back down.

He teetered on the edge for a split second then plummeted lifelessly down the chasm towards the trapped climber.

He landed with a thump which knocked the Major free but sent him to a crumpled heap on the floor.

All broken and twisted he lay unconscious and oblivious to pain- a bit like it his old patients were under the old dentists black mask of gas.

But then he came around and realised that he had more broken bones than Motorcyclist Barry Sheen.

He was in excruciating pain- like a combination of all the root canal fillings he had ever given in his life.

Like Karma balancing out all the suffering he had caused during his dental career- which secretly he had enjoyed administering.

He decided that the only way forward was to put the rifle under his chin and shoot himself.

He pointed the rifle up and after a few seconds of deliberation and silent prayer- he squeezed the trigger.

The dodgy sight and bent barrel meant it missed the dentist- only taking off the tip of his nose before hitting an innocent monkey in a tree near the rocks- sending him plummeting to his death.

"Major Mistake!" he said as he collapsed in agony- knowing that he was food for the African vultures flying close-by.

" Orion- you really are a Big Hunt!".

Posted in: Humor | 0 comments

Volume 41


By Philip evans, 2017-02-17
Volume 41

Volume 41 for those for are initiated .

Phil 'Boz' Evans

Posted in: Humor | 2 comments

The Wizard of Boz


By Philip evans, 2017-02-17
The Wizard of Boz

Volume 42 for the Uninitiated.

Phil 'Boz' Evans

Posted in: Humor | 0 comments

Cloggau Gold (Born to Run)


By Philip evans, 2017-02-13

Newly expectant Father Declan Anthony Pod paced nervously in the corridor of the Maternity Wing of Llanelli Hospital.

The Year was 1972 and like every Rugby Union Fan in Wales, he secretly wanted a son to follow in his on-field footsteps and play rugby first for the Scarlets and then for Wales.

The timing of his Wife’s labour couldn’t be any worse, as on this very day, Llanelli were playing host to the International Touring Team New Zealand.

The Grand Stand ticket in his shirt pocket was burning a hole in his heart, as he was caught in the horns of a dilemma.

Did he sneak off to the big match? Or wait in this draughty corridor for the 24 or so hours the Doctor said it could take for his first-born child to enter the World?.

It had been a cruel twist of fate that had led to this situation, as his Wife’s due date had been the following Monday but her water’s had broken that afternoon and all the women of his backward West Walian village of Llareggur (that had inspired Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood) had warned him that the child would be born on the real Sabbath Day.

Times were so different in the early 1970’s for men and the maternity process.

There were no ultrasonic pictures, no amniocentesis or health testing.

No-one except for God knew back then the sex of the baby.

Going in to the delivery room was unheard of and taboo to the local midwives, who considered that ‘real’ men fainting was just another hindrance to their work.

Dec had prayed in his local chapel for a little boy to carry on his Surname, which was dying out in West Wales.

Other than him, the only other Pod was spotted in Carmarthen Bay- so he felt a sense of ‘porpoise’ about the whole issue.

His wife, Blodwen was considered old, as she having their first son at the age of 40, which back then was pretty unheard of.

The idle tongues of the village doorsteps rang with rumours that the Dec was not the true Father of the child, but that the local milkman used to deliver more than milk to that Cuckold ‘Blod Pod’ around the front, with the Coal man using the back entrance too.

Although in Llareggur, the whispers had be kept quiet, as it was still legal in West Wales to use the ‘Scold’s Bridle’ to stop women from gossiping maliciously.

It was hard too for women back then, as there was precious little to do- they only had the Water Mill, the Flour Mill and the Rumour Mill to entertain them.

True, there was sewing, crocheting and of course, the Chapel twice on Sunday, but there was little else for women of the village to do- so they either became a scrubber or cleaned their front step.

Whilst having a dalliance with a gentlemen friend was bad, having a dirty threshold was worse still and considered a sin in the eyes of God.

Was it was pure coincidence that all the other desperate Housewives and Rugby Widows of the village, at 10.00am every morning (save as to Sunday of course)?.

Back in 1972, there were no mobiles, no facebook or twitter, the only way to communicate was over the garden wall whilst hanging out the washing.

Dec the Collier, continued to pace the corridor nervously, waiting for news of his child and Mother which was relayed gruffly by the Matronly Mid-wives, who seemed to hold the man responsible for getting their patients into this predicament.

This whole process reminded him of disasters at the local collieries, waiting for news of which of his Brothers-of the Dust had been taken down to the other Pit.

He knew he was obligated to ring his Father-in-Law on the payphone in the Llareggur Inn Bar to update him as to events.

They in turn would ring the Sub-Post Office in Llareggur with the news, as they were the only one in the village who had a phone and then the ‘jungle drums’ would beat and news of the labour flashed like a ‘wildfire’ from doorstep to doorstep for the women.

If he had heard the word ‘dilation’ once that day, he had heard it a hundred times.

It didn’t help his cause to continually hear how many pints of ‘Felinfoel’ Ale that he had consumed in anticipation of the big match.

He was feeling foul enough already.

Worse still was the drunken singing in the background which reminded him of a scene from John Wayne’s ‘The Quiet Man’.

“ Any news yet?” slurred his Father-in-Law in the request for the hourly update.

“ Ten minutes to go in the Second Half…he said looking at his waistcoat pocket watch …are we still up 9-3?” asked Declan getting his priorities right.

His Father-in-Law nodded which wasn’t much help when he was on the telephone.

He hadn’t got the hang of these new-fangled devices yet in Llanelli.

“ Any news your end?”

“ No… but there are two nurses in there now and both are busy with cold water and flannels!” said Dec.

Suddenly, Dec heard his name being called by the more masculine of the two midwives called Miranda.

“ You can come in now!” she ordered.

Dec said “ Got to go now….something is up or more likely down…I will ring you back shortly!” as he slammed down the receiver in haste and headed for the delivery room.

As he entered the room, he could see that his Wife was holding a little bundle of joy in her arms, all wrapped in swaddling white clothes and from the look of her demeanour, she had been through a real ordeal.

The Midwives had cleaned up all the blood and shit from the bed, so that the physical evidence of the struggle in bringing his child into the World had been hidden.

The only sign was etched on the ashen face of Mrs Blod Pod, which was masked by a smile, as she cuddled the reason for the pain that felt like pushing a coconut out of a hole the size of a walnut.

“ Declan… this is your Son… .meet Trey….!” She said proudly, smiling up first at her husband and then down at the babe in arms.

“ Trey….I wanted to call him Barry John!” said Declan.

The look from the faces of the midwives meant he was outvoted.

It was only fair after all that effort that his wife get to name him.

Even if that name reminded him of the man from the Dairy- Trevor who always seemed to call when he was in work or in the pub.

All he could think of with the shadowy figure was ‘Milk Trey’ but he didn’t want to ruin his Wife’s moment of glory- especially as he wanted to go to the match.

“ That’s for your tea!” she said nodding at the afterbirth.

He ignored the remark- even if he was starving.

“ All your Father wants to know is has he got ten little fingers and ten little toes?....as the entire pub keep singing that song!” said Declan.

“ Well, actually that’s something I wanted to talk to you about !” said Blod.

She peeled back the covers to show that the baby was in fact Male.

“ Look at the size of that thing….he takes after his Father and is definitely my child now!” boasted Declan staring down at the baby.

Hang on he thought….there are more than ten little fingers and ten little toes.

In fact there were 25 digits in total.

“That’s not normal is it?” asked Dec of the midwives- as he had only ever lived in Carmarthenshire.

“ That’s why I decided to call him Trey!” said Blod.

“ Not Jake?” stuttered the shocked Dec thinking subliminally of the Rolf Harris song.

“ No!” spat back Blod.

“ Nor Peter the Metre either because he has three feet!” continued the Wife.

“ How the Hell could this happen?” asked Dec.

“ Is God punishing me for all Triple Crown beer I have consumed on a Sabbath?” asked Dec.

“ No….Dr Ganesha has been sent for and he will explain the situation to you!” said Miranda sounding like she had bollocks.

“Rejoice Dec A Pod…. you have a healthy son …who in time will be able to run faster than

Roger Bannister!” said Miranda falling over the bedpan.

Declan was ushered into a side room so as not to disturb the bonding session between Mother and new baby.

Dr Ganesha sat him down and delivered the news. “Your son has been born with an extra leg and my assessment of how this has happened is that he must originally have been one of a conjoined twin but that the other twin did not form properly when the egg subpided but was fed by the umbilical cord and attached itself to the correctly formed twin!” said the Medic.



“Please be assured that such birth deformities, where I come from make your child special and an object of worship!”

“ But you come from Carmarthen!” said Dec still open-mouthed at the surprise.

“ In my culture, this event is a blessing and will prove to be lucky- as during his lifetime, he will be adored by thousands!” said the Doctor as if he was experiencing a premonition .

“ So he WILL get to play for the Scarlets!” said Declan taking in a huge sigh of relief.

“ I don’t know much about rugby…I am more of a cricket fan but he would make a marvellous wicket!” said Dr Ganesha smirking.

The comment was lost on Declan, who was puzzling about the effect the birth would have on HIS life.

“ But hang on….I have a more immediate problem… where am I going to nappies to fit

Dec had an even bigger problem, as he suddenly realised he had missed the closing minutes of the big game .

He rushed back into Maternity, kissed his wife on her sweaty forehead and the baby and shouted out before she had time to reply.

“ I’m off to the pub to catch the match and to wet the baby’s head!”

The look of disgust on the Midwives’ faces mirrored that of his Spouse but Declan felt that he had been through an ordeal too and needed a pint to restore the balance in his World.

Never the quickest on the uptake, Declan puzzled to himself, as he headed for the local pub with news of the new arrival.

“ What did that Doctor mean by a ‘marvellous wicket’?”



As he reached the Llareggur Arms, in complete contrast to the new arrival everyone was legless.

The Llanelli Scarlets had beaten the All Blacks touring team 9-3 and everyone was elated.

Only Dylan, the Pub owner behind the bar was sober.

“ Pint of beer please Dylan!... I have good cause to celebrate!” said the new Father proudly.

“ Sorry there’s no beer left!” replied Dylan.

“ What do you mean there’s no beer left?” asked Declan.

“ Don’t you know Llanelli beat the All Blacks 9-3!” said Dylan even more proudly.

“ Yes….but you must have some beer…..what about your cellar?” asked Declan hopefully.

“ I have run out….no pubs in Llanelli have any left….don’t you think I have rung around?” said Dylan

“ So what have you got to celebrate my new special baby….born to run on the wing for the Scarlets…not just two legs like everyone else….my son has THREE LEGS….he will be a LEGEND!” said Declan.

“ I have only one bottle of Babycham left, two packets of Leek and Onion crisps and some pork scratchings… nothing else!” declared Dylan.

“ Till is loaded mind you…mostly with IOU notes from your Father-in-Law, that he said you would settle up when you arrived!” continued Dylan.

“ Cheeky Monkey!” he said in a strong West Walian accent last used in Hinterland.

“ Well what did you expect?... this is Carmarthenshire after all !” said Dylan.

Handing over most of his weekly pay packet, Declan sipped on his Babycham, trying to look as manly as a Collier above ground could.

After all years of those of firing blanks, he had finally found one good swimmer in his family.

“ Where is he then? Asked Dylan enquiring after his Father-in-Law.

“ Ty Bach!” replied Dylan.

“ Give me those notes from the till , he might need some paper!” ordered Declan.

“ Nice Try!” said Dylan.

“ Yes….slurred one of the pub regulars…the kick was charged down by Bergiers in midfield and he ped over for the first score!” said a regular who had that afternoon changed his name to Phil Bennett.

Declan just looked at him in horror, as he had just like in the classic Likely Lads episode, ‘Benny’ had just ruined the repeat on BBC Sport for him.

He made his way through a tangle of bodies lying on the floor, that was like a scene from Georgie Best’ bedroom that Morning.

He found his Father-in-Law where all men should be, at the top of the beer garden trousers around his ankles in the outdoor toilet giving birth to offspring of his own.

Declan knocked on the rotten wooden door.

“ Bugger Off…it’s taken!” shouted back the distinctive voice of his Father-in-Law.

He knew it was him anyway by the odour and the green fumes seeping under the door.

“ Dewi….you have a new Grandson called Trey!” announced Declan proudly.

“ Are you shitting me?” came the reply.

Dewi didn’t wait to wipe, but pulled up his trousers and pants and opened the door.

He hugged his son-in-law wildly.

“This calls for a celebration!” said Dewi…” Your round!” he continued.

“ There is no beer left… you lot drank it all!” said Declan

“ All well then home time!”

As the pair walked through the village, news of the three-legged baby had already filtered through to the women of Llareggur, who didn’t raise their heads up from their doorsteps in shame, as the pair walked past.

There was no internet or social media at the time but never underestimate the power of West Walian womens’ tongues.


Forward a decade for Declan and young Trey was now ten years old.

His birth defect was largely now ignored by the village children having grown up with his deformity.

1982 ushered in a war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, which caused a degree of concern for the village as some had relatives in the biggest Welsh-speaking community in the World, including Wales, in Patagonia.

Declan was too young to go but many of the village men had joined up, as there was little work in these parts following the closure of the local creamery due to competition from the European Union.

Declan’s colliery had been put on notice it would be on the rumoured McGregor and Thatcher Pit Closure List- as it was an uneconomic pit.

Trey however, was insulated from the rigours of the adult World, he was just your average ten year old boy with three legs.

It was however, time for the end of ‘tag’ rugby that had been invented by a Merthyr Man with an electronic tag.

It was time for contact rugby- or as Declan put it Man’s rugby.

Sizing up his son, who was smaller than average for his age, he spoke with the coach for the Scarlets youth team who suggested that he would be better placed in the pack with his special ability.

What Declan hadn’t realised was that his three-legged son was a perfect natural hooker.

Two legs to steady himself in the scrum and his middle one to hook back the ball into the pack.

Trey was an instant hit.

“Trey-mendous!” in the words of his coach.

‘Cloggau Gold’ due to its lucky strike abilities.

The Scarlets had never won so many balls against the head and having the lions’ share of possession meant they went on an unbeaten run for three entire seasons between 1982- 1985 which had not been seen in Wales for many a year.

They didn’t even need to nobble the referees for a change.

Trey was also handy in the line- out, being semi-skimmed and light with his extra leg, he could be lifted into the air just like the milking stool he had been conceived upon.

But Trey didn’t only excel at Junior Rugby, he was brilliant at athletics and his ‘Triple Jump’ broke all County records before him, with his landing in the sandpit easily identifiable.

And just like his real biological Father, he was also talented in other ‘fields’.

His speciality was spotted in Junior school and put to good use in drama and dance.

On many occasions, he had his frizzy dyed green and with brown drainpipe trousers, as he was perfect for the background as a copse of trees.

But Trey’s three limbs would not tree limbs for long, as he was destined for greater things.

Out of mighty acorns Oakwood Parks are born.

No sooner than his teacher Miss Fame had realised he could dance too, then he was invited to do the chorus line, and later the Monty Python Ministry of Silly Walks which was followed with great hilarity and eventually a handwritten invitation to join a dance troupe at the forthcoming Eisteddfod.It was then that the Cloggau Gold dance ensemble of ‘Legs & Co’ were formed and named in Trey’s honour.

It was a marvellous site for a proud Blodwen Pod, as her son danced in a production of the ‘Riverdance’ in wooden clogs of all things.

But despite his dancing and sporting accomplishments, life was not all a bed of roses for Trey.

With every growth spurt, he was costing his Mother a fortune in having to buy new shoes and as money was tight in Llareggur- in keeping with the people of Carmarthenshire- his Mother had taken to shopping in Swansea- buying a pair from Clarkes but then pinching the third right, right shoe from the white rack outside the front of the shop.

But it was much harder to swipe rugby boots and therefore Blod was delighted to have come across a single ‘golden’ Gilbert boot sticking out of a landfill tip like it was Excalibur waiting for King Arthur to come along.

It was way too big but Trey would grow into it.

Luckily for her, CCT cameras were not invented in 1985- and not used in Llanelli with the arrival of electricity until 2017.

Trey’s shoe demands were not always down to his adolescent growth.

He was also busy wearing the soles out on his bicycle.

Most children of his peer group in the early Eighties had Raleigh bikes with bold Red Indian names like Chipper and Tomahawk that had stopped selling in the rest of Britain in the 1970’s.

Regrettably due to his extra leg, Trey was unable to ride a convention bike and was forced to stick to the Penny Farthing bicycle his Father had used in the 1960’s to get to work to the Pit on.

He was now using his third leg and shoes as a braking system, much to the annoyance of his parents.

It was from this regular occurrence that an event in 1985 was to change the course of little Trey’s life.

Chasing after the pack of cyclists, as he was unable to keep up on his Penny Farthing and despite being warned by his parents to keep away from it, he foolishly decided to freewheel down ‘Dangerous Hill’ near Tumble.

He found out why the village was so called, as he accelerated downhill to speeds in excess of 60mph with only his middle leg to stop his contraption.

He may have been alright, if he hadn’t collided with that Council Workman cutting the hedgerows.

The Insurance Company refused to pay out too, as they didn’t believe the claim, as they hadn’t heard the words ‘Workman’ and ‘Council’ in the same sentence before.

Trey in the accident lost his leg and despite still having two left, he was unable to regain his balance.

It didn’t help that Declan had whilst his son was still in his hospital bed, told his son to ‘grow a pair’ and that he would now have to ‘stand on his two feet‘.

In West Wales, they were very unforgiving of people who had not suffered their own work experiences.

As Declan had been forced down the Big ‘Cloggau Pit’ since he was Fourteen to feed his Family, he had becomes harder than the seam he cut coal from.

At 13 years of age, Trey’s rugby career was over, as he joined the world of biped after the bicycle crash.

The hokey-cokey would never feel the same to him again.

But the Scarlets Junior Section did him proud.

They set aside a glass cabinet on the portakabin wall for Trey’s amputated leg with a sign which read simply:-

‘Cloggau Gold’- in memory of the ending of the Minor’s Strike 1985’.

As predicted by Dr Garnesha all those years ago, Trey had become a living Leg-End.

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Ewe Tube




“C’mon Mun….it will be an internet sensation!” said 16- year old Brecon Farmer Kane Boddy.

His older brother Abel wasn’t so sure.

He preferred to trust his own judgement rather than his brothers.

The pair sat astride their skidoos on the peak of Pen Y Fan, the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Kane had his mobile phone out ready to film the stunt- if only he could persuade his brother to do it.

“It’s only 886 metres Mun…straight down from the ‘Col’ to Cribyn…it will be Hell of a ride!” said Kane trying to cajole his Brother.

As most people know, when you have a pair of identical twins – one is born usually good and the other evil.

Or as in this case Evel.

The brothers had been out helping feed their Father’s sheep, on the side of the mountains in the worse snowfall in Wales since 1958.

After a week of blizzards, which had swept in from across the Atlantic and down from the Arctic Circle- the highest points of the Welsh Valleys had been covered in nearly six feet or snow and in some places the drifts were as high as ten feet.

Cars were completely buried, with snow ploughs having to be employed for the first time for a number of years.

Once again, the Local Authorities at Powys & Merthyr were caught napping - although in their defence it WAS Early May.

The sight of the Brecon Beacons covered in a white blanket, was the money shot that sold postcards in the nearby Towns of Brecon and Merthyr- but to trainee hill farmers it was a nightmare, as they had to get feed to inaccessible places, so that their sheep would not starve.

Their flock were more like family members than livestock, Kane & Abel saw them more like pets than commodities- each one having a distinctive name and cry.

The brothers having spent all their young lives around the sheep had become very attached to them- in more ways than one.

To be a sheep farmer in the valleys you have to be resilient, strong and resourceful.

Neither Kane nor Abel possessed such wisdom or acumen and their father feared for the future of his farm, as the boys could best be described in farming terminology as a little ‘twp’.

Who else would ride their heavy skidoos so close to the edge of the mountain ridge when the snow had been drifting.

Unbeknown to Abel, whilst he had decided to take the moral high ground from his Brother, he was in fact parked above him on three foot of frozen ice and soft snow which hung perilously over into the Col of the second highest mountain in Wales.

Perhaps, if he had taken the advice of Heavy Rock band Steppenwolf and kept the motor running, he might had stood a chance, but suddenly the floor collapsed below him, the combined weight of one man and his skidoo and of course gravity, sent him flying through the air, like the cartoon character Wily Coyote on a floating rock above a canyon drop.

Abel’s face went a whiter shade of pale and his underpants merged with the skidoo.

Kane suddenly realised what was happening and a look of horror shot across his face, as his chemical sheep- dip damaged brain processed the fact that his brother was in serious trouble- but even so like all youngsters who do not see danger, he kept filming the episode on his camera-phone- then his thoughts turned to his own safety, as the white snow drift he was perched on started to collapse over the edge too.

Luckily for him, he made it back to firmer ground- but only by a matter of inches and he suddenly realised that he needed to send his leather biker trousers to the dry cleaners.

In what seemed like slow motion- his Brother still sat astride his skidoo, disappeared out of sight in a snow cloud and white spray.

Kane was frantic- his Father would kill him-if he found out about his dare.

It was almost like it had been written down somewhere that he would kill his brother.

What did he do?

Go for help or join in his brother’s fate by leaping over the side after him?

As much as Kane loved his Brother- he wasn’t as brave as he thought he was, and staring into the Abergavenny facing abyss- his courage had deserted him.

He decided that discretion was the better part of valour and set off down the Storey Arms side of the Mountain, towards the A470 and civilisation, in the hope that someone could get hold of the Brecon Beacons Mountain Rescue Team and an air ambulance.

Falling through the air at nearly 100MPH, Abel’s short sixteen year old life flashed before his eyes.

He always wanted to get a ton-up on his vehicle but not like this.

Everything around seemed to slow down and blur- with a second feeling like an hour, as he and his skidoo plummeted off the top of Pen Y Fan , partially obscured by a white snow cloud.

Was it his brain preparing him for impact?

Or was there really a God?

Abel ‘s mind raced almost as fast as the skidoo, as he tried to think of a survival technique.

What if he was to time it just right and push his legs up off the skidoo, a split second before impact?…just like the Roadrunner in the Warner Brothers cartoon managed to do?

Abel felt like he was riding a white comet bound for Earth as he pushed with all his might and tried to jump sideways.

He wished he had paid less attention to cartoons as a kid and listened more in his school physics lessons about the effect of centrifugal force, as he was unable to move.

Skidoo and Youth just made a massive seven foot impact crater which was soon covered by falling snow from above.

Abel was knocked unconscious by his own knees and when he awoke in serious pain, he realised he was now in the yoga position of dwi pada sirsasana or ‘the silent frog.

Both his legs had become lodged behind his shoulders and he looked like a lady-boy contortionist on it’s Honeymoon.

He was trapped in a snow prison of his own making, surrounded by soft snow that very quickly would turn to ice.

Whilst Abel was in constant pain and aware that he had broken several bones in the fall, he was surprised to find that like his pet Jack Russell terrier at home, he was now capable of licking his own balls.

He was still Abel Boddy but no longer able bodied.

He looked around him at the air pocket that had luckily formed around him and his bike and tried to think rationally.

What would Bear Grylls do in this situation?

After he had finished panicking- he decided that he must try and reach the roof of the ice ‘cave’ to drill a hole for oxygen to pass in.

He estimated he had a maximum of twenty minutes before the snow solidified into ice and around ten more before the oxygen ran out and he would be found dead by the rescue services.

He needed something to punch a hole in the ceiling with but it was difficult, as he had been concertina'd and looked like a tin can crushed on a road by the weight of a passing car.

The only thing he had in his pocket was a silent whistle that he used to call up the sheep with.

A high pitched frequency only audible by animals- given to him by an award winner Sheepdog Trainer at the Royal Welsh Show- who had warned him to use it sparingly.

He reached it and blew it as hard as his punctured lungs would allow.

 

Kane skidded to a halt outside the ‘Gnat Free Lodge’ and rushed in to use the telephone.

He was picked up by his lapels and booted out.

His ‘sort’ wasn’t welcome at this five star establishment.

His protestations were ignored by the bar staff.

It was an absolute rule- no person was allowed in the building in the afternoon without a cravat.

No one in working clothes or especially Wellington boots were allowed in EVER.

Kane was beside himself with worry – until he remembered that there was a special call box near the Storey Arms for the Rescue Team.

He kick-started his skidoo and made his way back up the A470 towards Brecon.

His young brain was puzzled by one odd event.

Why were there so many dogs heading in the same direction?

 

 

Abel sat hunched on own partially collapsed ribcage.

He was trying to make peace with God- in the belief he was going to die.

He knew that if he slipped back into unconsciousness he would not survive his ordeal.

He tried to think positively despite the fact he had a bird’s eye view of his own bollocks.

He tried desperately to relive the games of snooker in his mind, that he had played out with his brother in an effort to stay conscious and not slip off into eternity.

Suddenly, he thought he heard a sound from above him.

Was it his imagination running riot caused by the lack of oxygen?

He HAD been talking to his own nuts for the last thirty seconds after all.

The scraping sound came again.

It got louder and louder until finally a small hole appeared above him in his ice prison.

A tiny amount of oxygen filtered in and Abel’s damaged lungs let out a sigh of relief.

It was followed by a small piece of woolly tubing.

It was only an inch in diameter but it acted like a chimney.

It looked like a ‘Ewe Tube’.

“Praise be to the Lamb of God!” said Abel suddenly rediscovering his religion.

His teenage mind tried to rationalize events.

Who the Hell could be on the mountain in this weather?

A second hole which appeared above him answered his question.

He looked up and saw a glazed sheep eye staring back at him.

His pet sheep Dolly must have come to his rescue in true ‘Lassie’ fashion.

The hole got bigger as the ovine tried desperately to claw at the ground with her hooves.

Who ever said sheep were stupid animals had clearly never met the indomitable, resourceful Dolly he thought.

“ Well Hello Dolly!” shouted Abel trying to keep himself focused.

He was sure that she answered him back in a human voice muffled by the six inch solid frozen igloo roof.

As the temperature like Dolly dipped suddenly, the snow turned to ice and making the hole larger proved to be difficult for the ovine rescuer.

“ Are you in it?” the sheep bleated.

This was interpreted by Abel as questioning whether he was of Eskimo stock.

“ Inuit?....no… I’m from Brecon mun!” he asked talking to his blue testes.

“ Am I going nuts…nuts?”

He thought the lack of oxygen and the acute pain of his injury was making him hallucinate and hear things too.

Above the warm confines of his igloo, the wind had picked up and was howling like a wolf around the bleak landscape of the Brecon Beacons.

From below Abel could with a squint make out Dolly looking around nervously at the sound, but like Nipper the HMV dog , the Sheep doggedly refused to leave his side or Her Masters Voice.

What Abel didn’t know was that Dolly wasn’t Dolly at all but a lost SAS applicant, that had lost his bearings in the blizzards and subsequent avalanche of snow whilst doing the military version of the ‘Fan Dance’- an Army exercise to determine the physical quality and mental resolve of recruits.

He had witnessed the accident and decided that the life of the young farmer was more important than any Army examination.

His Regiment had decided that rather than risk fatal dehydration again in the Summer Months for squaddies on Penyfan, Cribbyn and Corn Du they would use the Spring and Winter Months instead.

They still had to carry an 18 kilogram Bergen backpack, rifle and water bottle but as an added weight – a proper sheepskin as camouflage.

SAS now stood for Soldiers As Sheep.

Their unofficial slogan to get one up on the Royal Navy was – ‘Be the Beast- and beat the best’

There was much competition between the different arms of the Armed Forces.

It was a handy drill too, as preparation for the soldiers for those long nights in the Northern Iraqi desert, when the temperatures dipped way below zero and with no wife back home in Wales to cuddle up to - it was an essential to slip into a woolly jumper and stay out of sight of the enemy.

The 21 year old hopeful, Monty Redcapp, sighed knowing his act of heroism would be interpreted and punished as a sign of weakness.

Whilst his Drill Sergeant’s may wear the words ‘Help is for Heroes’ on their chests- for this act of individualism -his reward would be peeling more spuds than the Busy Bee Chip Shop in Merthyr did in a year- or cleaning the Officers Mess- which had been interpreted by Army Regulations in Brecon -as licking out with his tongue the Captain’s toilet bowl once again.

The rest of his Unit had carried on regardless- despite the three months of brainwashing – the remainder of his Civvy Street conscience would not let him forget the parable of the ‘Good Samaritan’.

He would not leave an avalanche victim die of asphyxiation or exposure- even if his own life or future career depended upon it.

In the distance, he could hear much barking and howling he could make out black shapes heading at speed towards him.

Now Private Redcapp wasn’t scared of anything in Civvy Street- except dogs that is.

He had developed ‘Cynophobia’ after his Mother had read him a tale from the Mabinogion about Gelert the dog when he was only five years of age.

His soldier Father had died in a football hooligan attack by Blackburn ROVERS at the Wolverhampton Wanderers Ground –Molyneux- in the bad old terrace days of the 1980’s and he had suffered flashbacks ever since.

His psychiatrist had cured him for a while – until his squaddie mates had rented comedy horror film ‘Dog Soldiers’ which had brought back all his night terrors.

The barking got louder as over the snow covered hill like Zulus at Rorke’s ‘Drift ‘- the pack of dogs headed toward the fleece- covered soldier.

It seemed like every dog within ten miles wanted in on the act.

 

 

Down in the ice prison, in an effort to stay awake, Abel blew his dog whistle as loud as he could.

It was silent to humans, but was of such a high pitch it was irresistible to canines.

The power of the patented ‘Wolf Whistle’ was not lost on its Merthyr inventor, but had not been a commercial success, as it turned Man’s best friend into Man’s worst enemy, as the frequency sent dogs rabid with desire to stop the sound .

They acted like moths mesmerised but compelled to put out a naked flame.

In the Cefn Coed Simbec laboratory, the test subjects had been known to kill to stop it.

In addition, seeing a solitary sheep lost on the hillside was too big a temptation for the pack of animals.

Legally speaking, the dog pack was banned from hunting animals on private land but the animals themselves didn’t know or care.

But they were a big ‘worry’ for the SAS soldier.

The big question for Private Redcapp was could he stop enough of the ‘Charge of the Bite Brigade’ before they ripped out his throat?.

He didn’t want to see his own version of ‘pink mist’.

He lowered his rifle and took aim.

He pretended he was back on the firing range at Sennybridge shooting at the enemy insurgent targets, as a burst of semi- automatic rifle fire took out the Dalmatian at the front, adding red spots to his black ones.

Another burst and the leading whippet took a fatal bullet in between its ribs.

The greyhound at the front was moving way too fast, so he concentrated on laying down cover fire at the body of the pack- who collapsed with yelps and squeals, as they ate more lead than a swan on Cyfarthfa Park lake.

As long as the pack stayed together, Private Redcapp had a chance.

Unfortunately for him, the more brighter dogs- the Lurchers and Golden Retrievers- being used to gunfire , as they were GUN dogs -broke from the pack in separate directions to outflank the Ovine Officer Material.

The Jack Russell’s had gone down on their bellies crawling- like they were on the local army assault course- to keep low and minimise the target.

Above the din of the battle, Private Redcapp could hear the distinctive sound of an incoming chopper.

He just hoped that his air support would arrive in time to save him.

The Air Ambulance dispatched from the Queen Camilla Hospital had not witnessed such carnage before.

There was more blood on the ice than a Canadian Seal Pup Clubbing convention.

From above, the helicopter crew was shocked at what was going on.

US Army veteran ,  Pilot Hawke Downe was stunned at the scene below.

He was a veteran of the Somali conflict and had seen some real action.

They thought they had seen everything in the Valleys, but this was their first sheep with an automatic rifle gunning down a pack of mad dogs.

It was Apawcalpyse Now, as ‘Lambo’ sprayed the howling dogs with lead.

They were expecting to aid the search for an injured farmer, not witness the killing fields of Caninebodia.

From the air- they could make out the shape of a Red Setter wearing a blood stained second placed rosette from Crufts Dog Show, no longer moving ‘like Jagger’.

The pack had now completely encircled the sheep who was firing at the closest dog to him.

He kept wheeling in a circle frightened that he would leapt upon and tore to pieces from behind.

The pile of dead Afghans and Russian Borzois grew until the moment the pack had been waiting for.

The click of empty bullet chamber on the rifle.

Private Redcapp now knew he was as good as dead.

“ C’mon land will you….relieve me like in South Africa…or I Mafeking dead!” he said to the Helicopter Pilot under his breath.

Down below in his ice cave, Abel heard the gunfire and the sound of the helicopter overhead but was still unable to move…all he could do was blow hard on his whistle to try and attract attention.

Little did he know that his rescuer needed rescuing.

The Pilot and paramedic were too frightened to land, it was against the rules of their NHS Health & Safety Manual-so decided the best course of action was to film it on their mobile camera-phones and upload it to the internet instead.

The short film ‘Ewe Tube’ had over 100 hits in seconds- as did Private Redcapp.

Ironically, it was the badly named German Shephard, that lunged at the brave squaddie and tore out his throat and the rest of the frenzied bunch ripped him apart like an unlucky fox in the Taf Fechan Boxing Day Hunt.

Normally battle scene bravery is confined to secrecy, but thanks to the action of the Pilot, the bravery of the Private in his last stand was recorded on film on the internet for posterity.

For his gallant actions, Private Redcapp was awarded by the Army not only the Victoria Cross and the Distinguished Service Medal but also Royal Welsh Best in Show.

Unfortunately, the British Government received writs and legal claims from compensation from the dog owners so ‘cruelly’ killed by Private Redcapp.

The redtop newspapers had named Redcapp -as the ‘bone gunman’.

As for poor Abel Boddy, his remains were never found.

His brother Kane inherited the Farm and his Brothers Birth-right.

The Helicopter Pilot made two million pounds from the video and is now working as a Director in Hollywood, California.



Scene of the action - Pen Y Fan in snow by Oakfield Photography

 

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