Afternoon Tea (pt1)

Yolanda, peering through window, “It looks like the Furnisson’s are going out again Morris.” “What? I’ll have Coke Shovelling Johnson’s hide for this, what am I going to do with all those campanologists now?” “Not furnaces Morris, Furnissons, you know the new err… people from across the road, they’re always going out in that fiat panda or theirs.” “Oh yes, something strange about that lot if you ask me, eighty three bottles of milk on the doorstep every morning. Not natural is it? And Convinced He’s A Mouse Johnson won’t go anywhere near them. Excellent judge of character is CHAM Johnson, something amiss there you mark my words.””Maybe we should invite them round for a cup of tea, you know break the ice, be neighbourly?” “Maybe I should burn them to death. I do not cotton to them Yolanda. No indeed I do not. I do not like thee Dr Furnisson, the reason why I cannot tell, but this I know, and know full well, I shall exult on the charred and blasted ruins of your house before the day is much older.” “Morris! Stop it! They seem very nice. Mrs Furnisson works at the health centre. I often see her there when I pop in for my prescription.” “How about this then my little trestle table, me and Johnson will pop over with a few cans of lubricant and burn the place to the ground whilst they sleep?” “Morris! No that’s the same suggestion as before. No burning houses down on the street. It was bad enough when you burnt the Hobsons shed down, definitely no houses!” “Hobson was asking for it, after they bought a new mower when I had already fixed the old one, the cheek of it, I am not the lord of all lawnmowers for nothing. Still, as you desire my little Kettering traffic light system, I shall refrain from razing the house to the ground. As you suggest, we can have tea party instead, I shall invite Johnson and maybe Herbert Jackson too.” “Who the fuck is Herbert Jackson?” “He is the nephew of the deliciously departed Albert Jackson. He popped round to borrow a spanner the other day and we engaged in a reverie upon his late uncle, though I naturally refrained from mentioning his uncle’s comestible properties. He is particularly fond fine teas and no doubt will bring a selection with him for us to try. You had better get baking some scones, and potatoes for that matter. Eh Johnson!” “Mwaaerk!” pipes up LD Johnson and Dr VS Johnson (from behind his curtain) in agreement. “Ooh you’re right, I can try my new recipe book out ‘Scone! How to makes Scones vanish from the table’” She says it with the intended comedy intonation but Morris looks non-plussed. “How to make scones vanish from the table? Why would they vanish from the table? Unless of course I disappeared them, or burned them, though the latter would not be commonly considered a mode of vanishing. Please elucidate the matter!” Morris has pronounced scone to rhyme with bone as opposed to Yolanda’s ‘gone’ rhyme which clearly isn’t helping. “No Morris, Scone! Like ‘it’s gone’, as in people have eaten them!” “Already? But you haven’t made them yet?” “No that’s the name of the book! It’s a joke, that the scones have vanished, because people have eaten them because they were so good.” “I’m not sure about this Yolanda and I am unable to vouch for how good they were as I didn’t get a look in, secondly, just as with burning things, eating things does not constitute the usual rendition of vanish. ‘This’ is vanishing things.” And the recipe book disappears from the table. “Morris bring my fucking book back!” “ho ho Yolanda, I’m afraid its scone for good!”


Published in: on January 20, 2017 at 4:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wildfire Watch


Morris and Yolanda are sat in their living room. Les Dawson Johnson is sat on cushion, shuffling uncomfortably, occasionally Yolanda looks slightly disgustedly askance at him but the back at the television. Morris is fiddling with a small plastic bag of nuts bolts and washers when she taps his arm “Morris, ooh look at that, ‘Wildlife Garden’ a new magazine for people who want to know more about the wildlife around them, that sounds good doesn’t it, and if you buy the first one it come at an introductory price of just £1.99” “Sorry my little wildlife magazine, what were you saying? I was just adjusting this bag of items to the correct geometric order.” “The wildlife magazine on the telly Morris, there was an advert for it, it looked really good” “I do not think that can be correct my whistling sandpiper, the television clearly shows an afternoon detective show, the name of which eludes me” “Mwaeerk!” Johnson interjects “Ah yes, the inspector Johnson mysteries, thanks Johnson” “No Morris, in the adverts just a minute ago” “What adverts I don’t see any adverts?” and he winks at Johnson “Maybe you mean…” “Not that shit again Morris, look its cold in here which makes a fucking change.” “It is because it is nofirelighteranuary my fish cutlet, I am surprised you haven’t heard of it, apparently its all the rage. Likes a cold house Johnson persuaded me of its virtues, hence we have no fire atm.” “Well I’m freezing and I want that wildlife magazine, please pop down to the shop to fetch it for me and pick up some sodding firelighters whilst your at it!” “Very well my little tripe pancake, I have seen this run of ‘Inspector Johnson’ before anyway. Let me just get my wellies on.”

As Morris vacates the seat, LD Johnson leaps into it, leaving the cushion on the floor in a bad state of repair. As he opens the front door she shouts after him “Wildlife magazine! Firelighters! Got it?” “Yes my sweet, most definitely.” Morris walks out of his front garden and turns towards the newsagent, already a thousand pressing tasks weigh upon his various astral selves and the matter in hand becomes slightly obfuscated. “Chickens to school, books to market…” he mutters to himself before setting of in the wrong direction. At length he finds himself walking past the the local nature reserve. Something chimes in his mind about what he is supposed to be up to, something to do with ‘wildlife’ and ‘firelighters’. “Ho ho now we’re onto it Johnson!” to a helpfully appearing Johnson, lets get the firelighters, and with a spring in his step he makes a topsy turvey way through the village towards the newsagent.

Yolanda, initially pleased to get a bit of peace and quiet, is curled up on the settee with the current book club novel, when she is struck by a sudden thought. “Wildlife. Firelighters. Oh god.” Memories of Morris’s charred cooterie and the image of Terry Nutkins’ hideous death dance through her mind. She shakes her head and tries to ignore her fears, but soon enough the novel lies ignored beside her as she monitors the BBC wildlife website on her phone, ears straining for the sound of fire brigade sirens. So it is with more relief than is usual that she hears the front door open and slam shut and sees him reenter the living room. Trying to keep her voice level, she sniffs surreptitiously, seeking the reek of burnt flesh. “Oh, I’m glad you’re back dear. Did you have a nice trip to the shops? You didn’t er, burn anyone or anything to death did you?” “Ho ho certainly not ‘Landa, ho ho what do you take me for? Some kind of lunatic incendiarist?  No Johnson and I had a most agreeable stroll down to the stream, where we watched the tiny sticklebacks disport themselves in the crystal waters, then we dropped by the low meadow and had a stroll down to the old Horse Chestnut and admired the early periwinkles. Most pleasant I assure you. Perhaps we should take a picnic down there when the weather is a bit warmer my little dehumidifier?” He cracks open a can of Hofmeister, then raises a hand, “Ho ho, nearly forgot dear, here you go, your wildlife magazine and firelighters. There’s also a box of maltesers in there I think, although they might of melted a bit when I burned the entire cast and crew of “Springwatch to death down by the little copse on Oldshaw Lane, you know the one, where the rooks nest every year.”

Published in: on January 19, 2017 at 6:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Most Unlucky Man in the World (2)

Hamilton was furious, forgetting for a moment his curious string of misfortunes, the sight of this odd looking tweed clad stranger rifling through his briefcase, disarranging his painfully prepared profit projection presentation filled him with outrage. Perhaps a little unstrung by his awful morning, his voice is louder than he had perhaps meant as he shouts to the stranger in what had been his seat. “Hey you! Get your beak out of my bloody briefcase!” Even as he shouts, a momentary perception flits across his mind, “Beak? Slang for nose of course, but wasn’t there something else, another one of those things?” Other passengers, hearing a raised voice have turned to look. The individual addressed, looks at him mildly. “Blplplp! Your briefcase? Really?” “Well of all the nerve! Yes it’s my briefcase!” “Blbplplblp! Sure about that now?” Hamilton feels himself growing red faced with anger, “Yes! Yes I’m sure! I’m positive! That’s my briefcase! Give it here!” “Blblblbp Very sure of that are we? Wouldn’t want any mistakes would we?” “Yes! That briefcase, and all the things in it are mine!” Hamilton yells, losing all control. Every head (except two, which are too busy kissing one another passionately (insofar as a beak can kiss anyway)) in the carriage is by now turned to see what the cause of all the shouting is. “That is my briefcase! Mine! Give it here! It’s got my important things in it!” “Very well then. Blplplp. If you insist!” So saying, he proffers the case, Hamilton grabs at it, but the other does not seem to want to let go. He yanks at the handle angrily, just as the tweed clad gentleman relinquishes it. The briefcase flies open, showering it’s contents all over the floor of the carriage, but instead of his carefully crafted notes, the case is filled with filth encrusted sex toys, postcards depicting a wide range of jaw droppingly filthy interspecies sex acts and a number of charity collection tins, most of which seem to be from agencies specialising in the care of terminally ill children, and which have been clumsily prised open. A shocked hush falls upon the carriage, Hamilton is the cynosure of every eye. The silence is broken by a disdainful “Really!” And then a tumult erupts, cries of disgust and anger engulf him. “Shame!” “Fucking sex case!” “Call the police!”  In vain he tries to protest, “Not mine…” he stutters, “never seen these things… wrong case…” The crowd are having none of it, and of course the Turkey is quick to remind him of his angry insistence upon the very fact of ownership which he is now trying to dispute. The crowd are growing aggressive, causing him to back away down the carriage. A voice cries “Blplplp! Trying to run! Get him everybody!” Panicking, he turns and flees into the next carriage, and then attempts to continue into the next, but the automatic door fails to open in time, catching him a nasty blow on the side of the head. Desperately he wrenches it open and tumbles into the next carriage, where through the window he gratefully sees that the train is pulling into a station. The angry hubbub of outraged commuters grows louder, terrified, he pulls the emergency exit handle and tumbles from the still moving train. Hitting the platform awkwardly, arms flailing, he lands among a group of elderly people awaiting their train for an outing to the seaside. Unable to control his momentum, he plunges through them, scattering them like ninepins. His first instinct is to stop, apologise, and explain, but the shouts of anger from his erstwhile fellow passengers, and the cries of alarm and pain from the pensioners leave him little choice but to flee. Fortunately for him, his pursuers are held back waiting for the doors of the train to open, and he manages to escape from the station with no other mishap than sending an unsuspecting big issue seller flying as he races down the concourse.

Two or three streets away, he stops running and leans against a wall panting. What a dreadful day! He tries to pull himself together. “Meeting.” He mumbled to himself, “Must get myself together for the meeting. Whole career depends on it.” Looking round, he realises that the wall he is leaning against is that of a small, decent looking pub. Perhaps a quick drink will help, give him time to calm down? Accordingly, he enters the pub, and orders a small whisky. The barman goes to serve him, but slips and pours quite a lot of the drink down his shirt. Apologising he ineffectually dabs him down with a bar towel, and gives him another drink on the house. Hamilton sits down at a table, and tries to remember as much of his presentation as he can. He finds it difficult to concentrate however, as the TV above the bar is quite loud, and keeps distracting him. Irritably he looks up and sees that it is displaying a local news broadcast, and he listens as the presenter reads out the headlines, “…and fire crews have given up on their attempts to extinguish a blaze in a house in Lincoln, which has now completely destroyed the property…” There on the screen, wreathed in flames and smoke, is his own house. Appalled he stares open mouthed. His home, his car, all the things he had worked so hard for… destroyed! “Get a hold of yourself Conrad, you still have the insurance at least, yes it’s a tragedy, but with the money, you can rebuild, start again!” The presenter continues, “…dozens of jobs lost, and thousands of policy holders left with no insurance as local insurance company Johnson and Co announce shock bankruptcy…” Hamilton sags, speechless. “No insurance? But… what Will I do now?” The tone of the announcer changes, becomes grave. “And members of the public in the Sheffield area have been asked by the Police to help catch this man, whose image was captured on CCTV at the train station…”

There on the screen is Hamilton, in a grainy, but instantly recognisable image, his mouth open in what looks like a brutal snarl, his hand connecting with an old lady’s face. “The man, in his mid forties, is wanted for questioning in relation to a series of shocking assaults on the elderly and vulnerable, as well as a number of thefts from children’s charities…” Wildly, he looks round the sparsely populated barroom. Nobody appears to have noticed him yet, but it can only be a matter of time. He sits there, rocking back and forth, “God, what am I going to do?” He repeats to himself over and over again. “You all right mate?” He looks up startled, it is the barman. “Think that youhave had enough mate, talking to yourself, best be on your way.” The barman pauses, peers more closely at him, “Hang on a fucking minute! You’re him aren’t you? The Sheffield Granny Basher!” Hamilton screams and leaps to his feet. Avoiding the barman’s clumsy attempt to grab him, he bolts out of the pub, followed by a resurgent hue and cry. Again outdistancing his pursuers, he takes refuge in a dark and gloomy alleyway, where he collapses against a wall, weeping with shame and frustration. He jumps, ready to flee again as he hears a noise behind him. Standing there, looking concerned, is an elderly and kind faced clergyman, about whom however there is something familiar. “Poor man! Seem troubled? Perhaps can help?” At these kind words Hamilton’s last reserves of self control give out and he collapses sobbing into the clergyman’s arms, gasping out the whole story between blubbering. “Blplplp! Poor fellow!Most unjust! Sure when dust settles, explain everything. Blplplp! Problem is of course, wanted man yes! Public enemy number one! Blbplplblp! What you need is disguise! Wait moment!” The figure rummages in a bag, and emerges with a large permanent marker. Suddenly seizing Hamilton’s nose, he draws a splendid lion tamer style moustache on his upper lip. He cocks his head to one side and admires his handiwork. “Blplplp. Not bad! Problem is. Those trousers! Most distinctive! Dead giveaway! Never mind! Soon fixed!” There is a whisking noise and Hamilton feels a cold draught round his legs. Before he can question what is happening, he feels a powerful shove in the small of his back, and is propelled, blinking back onto the main street. “Blplplp! There he is everyone! Granny Basher! No trousers!”

Looking behind him in confusion and shock it appears that there is now no alleyway from whence he can have come. But the breeze round his legs is real enough and so he presumes is the splendid lion tamers moustache. People are pointing and shouting now, a policeman has been alerted; the situation looks hopeless. Hamilton, a man who thought himself made of quite stern stuff, looks plaintively towards the approaching lawman, trying to convey nothing but pure submission. Yet somehow this not what the officer sees and with a sudden cry of “Everyone down, he’s got a gun!” he raises his hands up in the air as he calmly approaches Conrad, with no little fear showing in his own face. “Look mate, you don’t need to do this, we can talk, just put the gun down, nice and slow, nice and calm” Horrified, Conrad looks at his gun wielding limb which is indeed pointing towards the officer and utters the words “I don’t know what’s going on, I’m putting the gun down” but as he goes to put the gun down, his finger spasms and the trigger pulls, the policeman’s leg gives way and he falls to the floor screaming and clutching a wound on his thigh. Immediately he’s on his radio trying to call for help through the pain. Hamilton thinks he must help, he manages to drop the gun and goes to make amends “I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” he wails as he reaches his hands towards the felled man. “You keep away!” the officer screams “back up I need back up now!” The horrified onlookers watch Hamilton’s zombie like grasp reach for the policeman, at last a local lad can stand it no longer and hurls himself at Hamilton, crashing him to the floor, but the young hero misjudges the interception and whilst he does knock Hamilton down, in the process overshoots and badly bashes his head into a nearby lamppost, going limp almost immediately. Hamilton pushes the body off him, sirens are now screaming in the background, wary onlookers back away quickly, a nearby car incomprehensibly explodes, injuring a couple of people and filling the scene with smoke and debris. Hamilton just stands there, seeing no point in running, there is nothing to do. The police reinforcements arrive and he makes his way towards them with as much dignity as he can manage only to slip on a well placed banana skin and smack his head so hard on the pavement everything goes black.

When we wakes, he is in a hospital bed with an awful headache and a sense of an awful dream. But then the slow realisation comes that it is no dream. He tries to move only to find one hand is handcuffed to the bed. Blearily looking around he notices a policeman is half slouched in a chair next to him, noticing his awakeness the officer eyes him warily but severely “So you’re awake Mr Hamilton, my oh my are you in a lot of trouble chummy” Hamilton has no retort and slumps back into the bed. Time passes in the hospital, nobody talks to him and he has no words for his sentinel. More time passes and a man in a suit and a man in a doctor’s coat arrive. The two figures stand at the end of the bed, the suited one addresses the doctor clad gentleman “so he’s fit to leave now yes?” “Yes yes, he seems to be, quite what his psychological condition is I couldn’t say, but physically, a bump to the noggin but that’s it inspector.” The inspector turned to Conrad “Right Mr Hamilton, you’re coming with us, get out of bed and put your clothes back on.” “Smithers, unlock Mr Hamilton please” So constable Smithers unlocks the padlocks and Conrad slowly puts his clothes back on, a pair of black jogging trouser have been supplied to replace his old ones. When the last shoe is tied, he is handcuffed again and led away. Down through the hospital corridors, to the exit, into a plain police car and away. A grey uncomprehending despair fills his mind as he harks back to just this morning, his poached egg, the telegraph, a dog walk, just pop in for ‘What HIFI’ and a can of Goose boost then off for a career defining presentation… all now in tatters.

“The most unlucky man…” he mumbles, but the police don’t respond. The car pulls up at the station and he is lead out and into the station. At the reception desk there seems to be some discussion as to where they should put him, all the holding cells are full. Then the desk sergeant suggests the old toilet might be used. The inspector looks doubtful that this is allowed, but the others urge him to remember this is a police shooting, moral reprobate they have on their hands and a spell in the old toilet won’t do him any harm. The inspector smiles benevolently and his underlings and gives his sympathetic blessing. Thus Hamilton is lead to what seems to be small toilet cubicle that the police can lock from the outside. He is rudely shoved into this tiny space with the words “don’t be fooled, the flush doesn’t work!” then the door is closed. He sits himself down on the seat in the dark and continues his ruminating numb despair.

As time passes, his mind begins to assemble itself somewhat and he comes to tell himself what is essentially true, that he hasn’t really done anything wrong, that British justice is the finest in the world. That he of course never did steal those charity boxes or engage in any of those acts in the pictures and as for the policeman well, that clergyman must have put the gone in his hand and nerves had done the rest. The clergy man he thinks, the tweedy man on the train, yes that was who it was like, they were?? The same man? He must tell the police all of this when they come to ask him. This is no time for blubbering and apologising, he must fight these forces whatever they are. Maybe its Morrison from sales, he was set against the project, it would be just like him to sabotage me. But to this extent? Really? The word ‘really’ plays horribly through his mind as he hears the tweedy gentleman saying it as the briefcase falls open in the train and all the incriminating things fall out. Knocking the old people over? Just a man fleeing a mob, a terrible accident but nothing more malicious. Stand your ground Hamilton, we’ve got to figure out Morrison and the tweedy man’s plot and then… But the stream of consciousness is interfered with by the door opening. “Come with me Mr Hamilton” says an officer. Not waiting for him to answer he is roughly grabbed and ushered through the stations corridors. This goes on for some time until he is shown into what is clearly an interview room. The plain clothes inspector and another officer are seated and there is some kind of tablet on the table in front of them.

Conrad is seated and offered a tea or coffee which he gratefully accepted. After a moment of silent sitting, the inspector addressed Conrad “Now Mr Hamilton, do you know why you’re here?” “Yes, well no, you see I haven’t done anything, I’ve been thinking it through, we need to go over the train footage, there was a tweedy gentleman and a vicar, they’ve done it you see.” They eyed him wildly “What have they done sir?” “Planted the whole thing, charity boxes, the pictures everything” “Charity boxes sir? Pictures sir? I don’t know what you’re talking about. Perhaps sir things will become a little clearer after you watch this. Barraclough, the footage.” Barraclough fiddles with the tablet for a moment before setting it in front of Conrad. The footage shows a train exit, seconds later the orange lycred Johnson ushering a recognisable Angela off the train with a slap to the behind, his trademark string bag by his side. “That’s my wife!” Shouts Conrad at the screen, “What’s she doing with that thing!? Is he in on it? Is it Morrison?” “Calm down now sir, that’s not all” Next the scene cuts to a hotel lobby. Angela is looking round the lobby, whilst Johnson leans nonchalantly against the reception desk talking to the receptionist, who giggles and hands him a key, he then extends a flipper to Mrs Hamilton who follows him off camera “What are they doing? What’s all this about?!” shouts Hamilton “That’s not all sir.” Comes the calm reply. The scene is now a hotel bedroom in which can be clearly seen Johnson and Angela, she is half undressed and Johnson has already slipped out of his one piece lycra, bottles of liquid line the bedside cabinet one of which is in his flipper and is being poured over the enthusiastic Mrs Hamilton. “What!!! What is this??! Angela get that thing off you!!!” Clearly distraught, Hamilton looks up from the screen to the police and then back in horror “Why are you showing me this?” he says unable to avert his gaze “That’s not all sir.” Comes the same reply as more extreme footage follows which goes on for an interminable length of time leaving Hamilton fried and horrified beyond his possible comprehension. The radio goes in the inspector’s earpiece. “Yes sir, you want to see him now, right, ok, yes he’s seen the footage. Ha ha yes sir.” A pause and he looks at Hamilton. “The chief inspector wants to see you matey, to get to the bottom of all of this” The door opens and Hamilton freezes suddenly  to hear a familiar tone “Where’s the man inspector? Blblblbp? This one here?”







Published in: on January 13, 2017 at 4:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Most Unlucky Man in the World (1)

A drear and overcast Tuesday morning sends its dispiriting grey light through the large windows of a branch of a regionally known chain of Newsagents, rendering the brightest and best arranged window displays somehow cheerless and unalluring. A short queue of people are waiting in line at the till, where the tall angular man with very short reddish hair and a scratch beard of a similar hue behind the counter appears to be in dispute with a couple of strangely dressed customers. “H’dot h’likely! H’dot chadce! Dow leave be h’alode, h’I’b at work.” The couple with whom he is arguing are a skinny pair, with dark tousled hair and vacant expressions, and are dressed in what appear to be builders overalls, one red and one blue. These are accessorised with wellington boots which have been painted white and hi vis cycling straps arranged diagonally across the chest. Each is also clutching a brightly coloured cycling helmet. “Uh huh huh huh. Oh go on Simon, join our team of uh huh huh superheroes.” Says Red overalls. “Uh huh huh yes go on Simon. We fight uh huh huh crime.” Chips in Blue, before they both continue in unison, “Uh huh huh huh, with our tools.” The shop assistant shakes his head in exasperation. “H’do do do! H’and for de last tibe, do! Dere is do way I’d hell dat h’I ab gettig idvolved wid ady of your dodsedse. H’I dod’t do thigs like dat h’adybore! Dow if you’ll h’excuse be dere are custobers h’waitig!” The tall man is telling nothing but the truth. The line of customers has grown in length, and is showing signs of growing impatient. After a bit more to-ing and fro-ing, the two oddballs storm off, muttering”Uh huh huh didn’t want you in our team anyway, uh huh huh, with our tools.”

The tall fellow shakes his head again, then turns to the next customer. “H’sorry about dat h’sir, dow how cad I help you?” The individual addressed is another tall and wiry chap, rather scruffily dresses in jeans and an old rather oil stained plaid jacket. A vaguely conical and equally vaguely hatlike object, to which a couple of tarnished stars still halfheartedly adhere, is perched atop his rather pinched face. “Ho ho good question SB, and yet, in another sense, not a very good question, as the notion of a squalid and inconsequential deviant and water boiling enthusiast such as yourself being of the slightest utility to a peerless manipulator of the mystic forces of the cosmos such as myself is ludicrous, and frankly a trifle insulting. Indeed upon sober reflection I am not sure that I would not be well within my rights to burn you to death.” SB/Simon does his best not to betray the fear which he feels, “H’oh h’indeed h’sir, berely a h’figure h’of h’speech, I beadt to say is dere adythig dat h’I cad get you today?” “Ho ho, I’m not sure about that either, except for inasmuch as you have already got my goat!” “Your h’goat h’sir? H’I’b dot sure dat h’I follow you? Dis is a Dewsagent, dot ad h’agricultural h’ebporiub!” “Are you trying to be funny ball bag? I would advise against it at any time, given that you are I’ll equipped for such a gambit, but especially at this point in time, when as previously mentioned you have already irritated me by your mere presence, let alone your attitude, and furthermore, when my temper, which I will be the first to admit, is not always what it could be in terms of patient tolerance of any form of interruption, opposition, hesitation or repetition, is already tested by the lamentable but unavoidable fact that I am currently in a state which might be referred to as being in want of certain consumables pertinent to the enjoyment gained by the inhaling of the fumes of tobacco in a state of active combustion…”At this point in Morris’s monologue,  the man standing behind him, who has been exhibiting unmistakable signs of impatience for some time, sighs in a theatrical manner. SB attempts frantically to signal to this man to be patient, but fortunately Morris, lost in his own ramblings does not appear to notice. Via subtle pantomime SB attempts to get across to the man that his very life depends upon remaining quiet and waiting patiently for as long as it takes. Unfortunately SB having what is undeniably an irritating face to begin with, his eye rolling, gurning and mugging merely serves to anger the man even more.

But Morris goes on “… anyway, so as I said to Dennis afterwards, you know over a can of that Yellow Lynx, not a bad beer that incidentally, eight for a fiver, and actually imported, can’t go wrong can you? Well I’m confident you could to be fair, probably miss your slackly gawping mouth and pour it down your shirt or fall over a discarded sofa cushion and smash your own face in or something, not that I wouldn’t enjoy watching that of course, in fact have you got a minute? I don’t have a sofa cushion about me person mind, but I’m sure Haberdashery And Soft Furnishings Johnson could oblige…” and on and on until finally, the man can stand it no longer. With an audible”Oh for heaven’s sake!” He steps around Morris, and there is the merest, the very merest suggestion of an elbow getting applied. SB looks horrified, through his head dance visions of incineration, fire alarms, panic, and perhaps worst of all, having to explain things to Mrs Sullivan the supervisor. Ignoring Morris, the man places a magazine and a can of drink on the counter. “Look here, I’ve been standing in this queue for what must be twenty minutes now, and all I want is this Goose Boost and this copy of What HiFi magazine. Now I’ve got a train to catch, and a very important business meeting to get to, and at this rate I shall be lucky to not miss my train…” Morris turns slowly and deliberately to face him, and SB ducks down behind the counter, desperately trying to remember his induction and where the fire extinguishers are located. Morris looks the man up and down. “You’ll be lucky you say? Ho ho, I am afraid that I will have to contradict you there sunshine, in fact, as of now, you are in fact THE UNLUCKIEST MAN IN THE WORLD. Well you are aren’t you? Look! Now sorry to have kept you waiting, please allow me to apologise for any delay you may have experienced, I will gladly pay for your beverage and your publication,  now you’d best get a wriggle on if you want to vainly try and escape your certain and implacable doom, I mean catch your train, here you go then, have a nice day, not of course that you will, rather the opposite in fact…”Somewhat confused, and not really listening, the man mutters something, grabs at his magazine and can of GB and turns to go. As he does so, he tells and clutches his finger. “Ow! Blast it, a paper cut!” In grabbing at the injured digit,  he fumbles and drops his can, which hits the floor and bursts open, showering him in a foamy gout of Goose Boost. He steps back to avoid the spray and stumbles backwards into a display of spiny cacti, which SB doesn’t remember seeing there a moment ago. With a cry of pain he clutches his behind and runs from the shop. Morris turns back to the counter and smiles pleasantly at SB, “Ah, there you are! Half ounce of Amber Leaf and a packet of Red Rizla please.”

“Ho, h’with the gentlenban’s goose boost h’and h’periodical that’ll be £12.97!” “£12.97 for that! You must be joking! Well you are joking aren’t you, laughingly suggesting an outrageous price to a disapproving customer who looks upon your inflated prices with a sense of dismay and arson like intent, thankfully the joke was well taken and you will accept the £2.52 I rather had in mind, well you have done haven’t you look. Cheers moon face, thanks for nowt.” and Morris leaves the shop. Next in line is a familiar tall figure in a smart black cloak, long black hair, smart tight black jeans and t-shirt with a decidedly belaboured look upon his face. At his shoulder is a similarly heighted goofy companion who seems to be wearing an old curtain as a cloak, a fireman Bikle t-shirt and some green tracksuit trousers. The goofy one looks around with childlike wonder at the various things in the shop and seems to have some particular excitement about the fridge area. “Stop sayig dat!” the smarter one exclaims “It’s always de sabe bloody lide!” “Ho what lide is dat Bickle?” “I’b dot beig drawd by dat, look we’re beig served fidally.” He approaches the counter and SB looks across peevishly by greeting “Hello there h’sir. Cad H’I get you h’anythig? Dewspaper h’perhaps?” “Dot likely, I just want sobe cigarettes please Sibon?” “Ho certaidly h’sir, let be just check” and SB looks around at display before turning back to Bickle “Sorry sir, I can’t h’see any cigarettes, h’adythig h’else?” “Dose cigarettes right dere you ditwit!” SB looks around again in feigned confusion “H’what cigarettes? I don’t’ see ady cigarettes? Badybe you bean the h’alleged cigarettes ehh  Bickle?” “Do look here give be dose cigarettes dis frinstant?” “But H’I can’t see h’any sir, you bust be bistaken!” At this point Buckle sides up to the counter “Oh hello dere Sibon, do you  have ady cigarettes? I do Bickle would like sobe” “Ho of course Buckle, h’adythig for a chum! And whilst you’re here, you h’bight want to check out our dairy section!” At which Buckles eyes immediately go back to the fridge “Oh I thought there’d be cheese!” “H’and dere is, frole!” “Ho by god dot agaid! Just give be de cigarettes or I’ll frangle you!” “H’whats that sir? Just wait od a bobent, h’I’ve other custobers to serve!” Curiously the two clowns from earlier are not back at the front of the queue “Uhuhuh yes, we’d like some cigarettes, with our tools!” “Uhuhuh yes me too uhuhuh, with our tools” “Ho there you are sir and you sir!” and he hands more packs over, after this follows Sigmund Freud “Kann Ich zigarreten kaufen bitte?” “Ho h’naturlich h’mein Herr!”, Mr Cutler, the Comte de Gaulois, the duke of Croy, the Comte de Bersierneaux, heavy smoker Johnson, Captain flint, Koth Hotep and an endless parade of other minor characters all pass by in a search for cigarettes until there are truly none left. Bickle, who owing to  various joke constraints has, been standing there watching this spectacle, tries once more in vain “Please Sibon, don’t you have ady cigarettes left adywhere?” “Ho can’t you see sir, we’ve quite h’sold h’out! Try h’again h’another tibe!” Bickle suddenly realises that of course Buckle did manage obtain a pack and that probably he can get those, sadly for him though, whilst this fiasco has been going on Buckle has been doing crafts near the counter and has made a hedgehog by unwrapping a block of cheddar and sticking the cigarettes into it to make the spine, at which Simon quips “Ho it’s a Benson and Hedgehog! Frole!” This does not amuse Bickle, who storms out of the shop, cursing his existence.

To return to Mr Hamilton (for this was the man who bumped into Morris earlier’s name) we must rewind a little. Clutching his backside owing to the unpleasant sensation of the cactus incident he reemerged outside to where he knew his wife would be waiting for him. Mrs Angela Hamilton, an attractive woman in her mid-forties, was outside still and seemed quite not to notice her husband’s return despite the amount of time in which he had been in the shop. For engaging her in some incomprehensible yet seeming fascinating anecdote was one of those bird things one sometimes sees around town. The curious, goose, penguin duck, man combination was wearing some beige to orange lycra dungarees and holding a string bag which contained 3 large bottles of olive oil. All Conrad could here was a noise like “Mwaaerk! Mwaeerk mwaaerk!” yet clearly owing to Angela’s enraptured face it was quite a different story. He looked briefly at his watch then went over. “Darling! We have to go, my meeting, the train, your meeting Silvia in Sheffield today” Looking vaguely flustered she turned to him “Oh Conrad, there you are. You were such a long while and then Mr Johnson here started talking to me. Do you know him?” “No I don’t, Yes nice to meet you” He shook an extended flipper “Mwaeerk!” “Mr Johnson says he works in Sheffield too and he’s on our train, so he’s going to walk with us. Isn’t that nice? Did you get my goose boost?” Conrad Hamilton eyed Johnson suspiciously but had no time for more, he had to get that train “No sorry my dear, no goose boost, just the hifi magazine!” “Honestly Conrad, you can be so selfish, you were in there for ages and you still forgot” Johnson looked sympathetically at Mrs Hamilton and shook his head slightly before mwaaerking that they had better get a move on in they want to catch the train.

As they hurried along the path, Conrad clipped a paving slab and fell forward, only just putting his hands out to stop a worse injury “oww! damn and blast!” he exclaimed, but rather than sympathy, his wife just exchanged a despairing glance with Mr Johnson and he was left to catch them up. Finally they reached the train station, with just moments to spare, Johnson exhorting them to move quicker the whole time and it was with some relief that Hamilton boarded the train as the strange man’s words of ill luck were beginning to play on his mind. It seemed to him though, that missing the train would be such clearly obvious instance of bad luck that the fact he was on it proved the warning nonsense. The train was busy and there were few seats left, Angela had gotten on first, followed by Johnson with Conrad last and as they went down the central aisle Johnson finally found two seats free. He paused and indicated that Angela should sit down, as she squeezed past Johnson –a little too tightly Conrad thought- to get to the seat, he assumed Johnson was giving them both the seat. However, once she was sat next to the window, Johnson took the aisle seat next to her, put his string bag of oils on his lap and then mwaaerked and pointed to a single seat further down the train that was still vacant. Angela seemed to offer no defence for her husband, so in defeated silence he traipsed to the single aisle seat. The window occupant of this seat was a scruffy, slightly dirty smelling man who was eating a banana and wearing a t-shirt with the curious logo ‘unlucky you’ and a pair of old brown jeans. As Conrad sat down the man looked at him and began to talk “Well if hapenny conkers were ten a barrel, the pillars of salt would chime! Woof! Woof!” and he woofed loudly at Conrad Hamilton, who tried to look away and look back down to where his wife was, but all he could see was Johnson’s head turned towards his wife and part of his avian leg and torso. He turned back to his seat to see that now the man was trying to lick at his jeans knees. At his point Conrad knew he had to move. Attempting to gesture to Angela that he was leaving the seat he got up and  looked back down the aisle, only to see that now it was standing room only and the space of standing near Johnson and Angela was now occupied obscuring all view of the couple. Furthermore no sooner had he vacated the seat than it was quickly taken. Remembering he hadn’t taken his briefcase from the departed area he reached back for it only to find that the new occupant of the seat had taken the briefcase and was now rummaging through it…

Published in: on January 13, 2017 at 10:44 am  Comments (1)  

New Year Johnson

And here we are in 2017. “Same shit, different box!” as Morris once said to me in some liminal state, he was talking about some poor quality boxed product that contained a selection of nuts, bolts and washers, a small plastic trumpet and a pink wafer, but the same logic might be applied to the new year (well it is isn’t it look!).

A new sketch is being produced even as I write this and this time rather than present a mammoth finished product in one go, my colleague and I will be publishing sections as they are written. The first instalment will appear some minutes after this post and celebrates Friday the 13th by means of its title ‘The Most Unlucky Man in the World’. Scholars of this business will recognise this title from the earlier audio formats which featured a sketch of the same name, the echoes of which will no doubt manifest herein.


Published in: on January 13, 2017 at 10:21 am  Leave a Comment