Category Archives: dark humour

Zero Hours Contract

Gawd save us from the clutches of the gory Tory crew.
Britannia boasts of glory but its roots is rotted froo.

They introduced austerity for us wot ‘ad the least,
An’ though suicide was risin’ they still ‘ad cheek to feast;
They stole the rights of workers til they matched the EU low,
But when us leaves the EU, what rights that’s left will go.

I lives from ‘and to mouth and I don’t know what to do
Cos I’m on a zero contract and me hours is far an’ few.
From time tuh time they calls me up an’ asks if I’s free
I jump froo ‘oops to get there when the call centre calls me.

Gawd save us from the reaches of the greedy Tory scum
Who fill their plates with tasty treats a don’t give us a crumb.

I cancels me appointments wiv the doctor and the bank
Me pain and plans for bankrup’sy mus’ take a lower rank.
I tips me scalding slops away into me chipped-up sink
An’ run to catch a bus, cos me moped’s on the blink.

I sit wiv uvver operatives in a chilly room
An’ in between the callers, me mind’s all doom and gloom.
I worry ’bout the NHS, an’ p’licin’ an’ the rest,
An’ the way that education fails at every test.

Gawd save us from the knuckles of the nasty Tory louts.
Whose silver-spoon advantages keep the riff-raff out.

I miss the last bus back an’ ‘ave to walk ‘ome in the rain,
They tells me I is lucky an’ I really can’t complain.
At least you’ve got a job, they says, but what they doesn’t see
Is that them what isn’t workin’ is better off than me.

Me mortgage isn’t paid and they say I’ll be evicted,
I can’t afford the water and a trip to court’s predicted.
I buy short-dated food, and the gluey lower brands
But the council tax is owin’, and I’m gettin’ red demands.

Gawd save us from the bludgeons of the bastard Tory bunch
We subsists on wat’ry soup while they eat steak for lunch.

I’ve only got one light bulb and me oven’s up the creek,
There’s water on me lino ‘cos a pipe has sprung a leak.
Me central ‘eating’s buggered and me bum is blue from cold
I’d go an’ sell me body, ‘cept me mirror says I’m old.

The work’ouses is gone, so that only leaves the street
An’ beggin’ for the stinkin’ rich to give us scraps to eat.
If they ha’n’t taken ev’rythin’ it wouldn’t be this way;
Though Thatchers dead, her policies live on to this day.

Gawd save us from the throwbacks of the lackey Tory pack.
Thatcher’s gang puts paid to all our efforts to turn back.

Soon I’m gonna exercise my democratic right
to say which side I wanna win a parliamentary fight.
Let’s chuck out all the Tories and ignore the libby dems,
whose opportunist antics in’t meant for us, but them.

The single issue Brexit party’s dodgy to the core,
and UKIP’s stingy racism’s a stance that I abhor,
and while I is impressed by our Jeremy’s ideals
them blue-striped Blairites in the pack is jammin’ up the wheels.

There’s several other parties takin’ part in this ‘ere race
from left to right to centre and a heap o’ about-face,
but the planet needs some lovin’ care as we all ‘ave seen,
so on the 12th December I’ll be voting Green.

Gawd save us from the clutches of the gory Tory crew.
Britannia boasts of glory but its roots is rotted froo.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Sweet Annihilation

gingerbreadvillage

Our ancestors were four escapees from a jellybaby factory who persuaded a kindly eagle to carry them high into a distant mountain where they might live in safety. These industious jellybabies immediately set to the task of sourcing ingredients for gingerbread, and built two little gingerbread houses. Jellybaby nature being what it is, by and by baby jellybabies emerged. The settlement was extended to make room for a growing community. It became a thriving village. We jellybabies are sweet, gentle folk. We don’t eat sentient beings, instead relying on gingerbread alone for our sustenance.

The few quarrels that ensued between villagers were generally caused by a naughty jelly-tot taking sneaky bites out of a neighbours picket fence, or a gaggle of jelly-teens dismantling a gingerbread shed in food-fight frenzy.

Aside from that, life was ideal as long as we stayed out of the sun, which tended to make us sticky. That was why the hospital was built. All too often, two jellybabies would adhere to each other and have to be surgically separated. Imagine the embarassment of an amorous couple, the humiliation of struggling – in flagrante – to reach the jellyphone and call up emergency services, the shame of being transported on a stretcher all along the street the the hospital – jelly-neighbours politely averting their gaze or pointing and whispering, jelly-tots sniggering and asking awkward questions.

As you can imagine, during surgery, it was the jellymen who came off worst.

And there was that time when all the grown-ups had a massive party, drank a little too much gingerbread wine and went outside in the heat of a July day to join hands in a circle and do the hokey-cokey.  We kids had fun feeling our feet while our parents were getting their hands freed by the doctor, who had fortunately not attended the party.

No community is perfect, but ours was as close as it comes. We were peace-loving. We trod lightly on the land.

We were happy until the humans beat their way to our door.

Huge fingers grab me, squeezing my waist, winding me. two giant eyes glint, with no trace of hatred, only gleeful anticipation. Acquisition. Satisfaction.

A voice thunders in conversational tone, “Head first. Always.”

Giant teeth bear down on me. Spittle from overblown saliva glands rain from the glistening mouth, drenching me. 

“Please don’t, I’m a…” I squeal.

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Written for The Haunted Wordsmith’s Daily Writing Challenge.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Sweet Murder

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A familiar odour disturbs my peace, awakening my spirit. It floats by, ethereal and evasive; the offensive smell of burnt caramel. My raddled nose seeks it a moment before my bones recoil. This fragrance is not designed to be a comforting reminder of mother, as she stirred creamy desserts, measuring vanilla to drip into the mix, grating nutmeg for my delight. Such fripperies ceased long before my fall. I recognise the intent; this cheeky warning of coming chill is repeated annually

The witching hour is nigh. As Big Ben chimes, the wind attacks, insinuating between gaps in my rotting coffin, blowing away the clods of clay that weigh me down, evicting the insects that dig in vain for vanished flesh, lifting grey threads – the only remaining shreds of my skirt – its cold fingers creeping like a pervert seeking entry.

Neighbouring ghosts begin to whisper. Innocent ghouls float free, while convicts clank their chains. Witches intone spells. Captured frogs screech. I hear the eerie breath of demons as they tread between the shifting graves, mocking my predicament.

The wind builds a bony fist which grabs my feet, dragging me, forcing me back into grim history, back to the workhouse kitchen, where ragged shifts and worn clogs torn from the poor lie defeated beside a giant vat of syrup. Once again I see the faces of the helpless, eyes terrified, lips distorted by agonised screams as their naked skin sizzles. The screams quickly die, leaving only the bubbling stink of boiling flesh, combined with burnt sugar. Once again, I feel my bile rise. I see the ruined remains of women and children floating in darkening liquid as blackened flakes rise from the bottom of the pot, and I weep for the loss, the waste, inconsolable as if I had never before been witness to the scene.

My sweets were famous, eagerly devoured in the best houses in Christendom. I used the finest chocolate, the rarest spices, the freshest fruits. Lords and Ladies sought my carefully boiled and moulded treats, willing to pay any price for the rich flavour and texture that only I could create. Jealous competitors constantly spied on me; some hoping to steal my secret, others planning to contaminate the mix, thereby ruining my reputation. Perhaps I was too sure of myself, but my pride turned to shame the one time I erred. I left the kitchen only briefly,  to oversee the storing of  a consignment of walnuts, delivered to the back door. Since there were thieves and desperados all around me, I trusted nobody. All of my ingredients had to be instantly locked away, and the key secreted on my person. When I returned from my task  it was too late. I confess, the blame was mine alone.

Time has consumed two centuries. Have I not suffered enough for my mistake?

It seems I must spend eternity atoning for the simple error of burning one batch.

.chocolate-mwa3

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Written for Word of the Day Challenge: Atone

With added inspiration from Waltbox: 

©Jane Paterson Basil

From the Horse’s Mouth

gathering

I ‘spect you ‘eard the rumours back then, but you can’t set too much store by Chinese whispers. I know exactly what ‘appened that day, since I was practically there. See, my mum used to chat with Sally, the fishmonger’s wife, when she went to get our lovely fresh cod of a Friday, and Cuthbert – her ‘usband – well, ‘e used to deliver fish, regular, to the Royal Kitchen. He got quite pally with the Royal Cook, Sally’s Cuthbert did. Oh yes, he moved with the cream of society, ‘er Cuthbert, what with goin’ round to all the best ‘ouses an’ mixin’ with all the best cooks in the realm, an’ all. He was a nice chap so they all made allowances for the smell. Anyroad*, the Royal Cook got the story from the kitchen maid who got it from the chambermaid, who got it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. That’s right; the lady-in-waiting ‘erself, who was peaking round the door just after it ‘appened.

So, like I said, I was practically there at the time, and this is ‘ow it went:

The girl ‘ad been tossing and turning all night – couldn’t sleep a wink by all accounts. The palace was getting ready to celebrate since it looked like she’d passed the test, but now she was turning a nasty shade of green an’ ‘aving difficulty breathing. The king ‘appened by, and he saw it and summoned the lady-in waiting, who called for the chambermaid, who ran to find the courtier, who rushed for the physician.

The doctor examined the girl, then wrung ‘is ‘ands, like they does when the king looks at ’em, and mumbled something about balls.

“Speak up, man, and moderate your language, or I’ll order the guards to cut off your head,” cried the king. Just like that, an’ I wouldn’t put it past ‘im. I could tell you some tales would make your hair stand on end, but me lips is sealed.

The physician gathered up ‘is wits and spoke more clear. “Your majesty,” says ‘e, “there hhis no cure for this lady’s hhallergy. I fear the worst. If only Hhi had had been hhinformed, Hhi would have recommended a golf ball and a dozen extra mattresses instead.”

(Physicians is trained to talk proper, for all their funny ideas about leaches and blood-letting. They knows where the aitches is meant to go.)

Just then, the girl sits up like some knight ‘as stuck a red-hot lance up ‘er unmentionables, gives a scream, and collapses as if dead, poor dear. The worst of it was, when she fell back so sudden like, the pile of mattresses started wobbling, and before you know it, she’s rolled out of them and plummeted all the way to the floor like a bloomin’ bag o’ teddies*.

Oh, bless, don’t go upsetting yourself, dearie – I’m sure she didn’t feel nothin’, but like I was about to say, next thing,  all them mattresses got to slippin’ an’ slidin’, and before you know it, the floor’s plastered in ’em. By the time the dust settled, she was buried up to her neck – just lying there underneath those stuffed wodges of striped ticking, with only one pale arm sticking out like the dead end of an amputee party or what-all.

And what did they see but that little green pea, released from its feathery prison, rolling across the floor, like it didn’t have a care in the world. ‘Course, it was quickly absolved of that notion, since the dog – I forgot to tell you about the dog; there was a dog asleep in the corner of the room, an’ it’d managed to sleep through having a mattress land on its back, but it must have ‘eard the pea, makin’ its way across the royal rug, takin’ a straight line between two of them puffy mattresses. The daft dog musta thought it was a rabbit or what-have-you. It was up and on the pea like lightnin’. In a blink, the evidence o’ cause o’ death was down ‘is gullet.

So then the prince come ambling in, with that clipboard they made for him from the last o’ the gold what ‘is previous wife had woven out of straw. I’m talking about his second wife, mind. I ‘spect you ‘eard about the first one, who broke an old glass slipper, trying to prove that her feet were the same size as back when they first started courting. Turned out they wasn’t. She’d bled to death, which was a shame, ‘cos she was pretty, but ‘e married again.

The second marriage had started off awright, what with all them roomfuls of gold and all – bound to make you ‘appy, seems to me – but pretty soon it was all around the palace that his wife was ‘avin’ an affair with a short ugly bloke with a bad temper, who kept comin’ out with strange rhymes an’ wouldn’t tell anyone his name, and if you ask me,  I’d say the rumours was true; she weren’t no better than she shoulda been.

Well, that’s another story, and I’m not one to gossip, but it’s worth a mention since it was ‘cos of ‘er that they weren’t taking no chances this time. The next one ‘ad to be a proper princess – the thing they tried with the glass shoe ended in tears, and they didn’t want any more of that hobnobbing with commoners who makes ‘oles in the floorboards and disappears down ’em before you can cite them as just cause for divorce. See, it’s not like they wanted to behead her – they’d rather have done it the nice way, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Not that they was beggars; they was royals, but still.

Getting back to the prince; the shock of seeing the grisly scene before ‘im give ‘im a bit of a start and his bowler ‘at slid down over ‘is eyes. Did I mention the bowler? ‘E liked to wear it for official stuff like checkin’ for the authenticity of princesses – reckoned it gave ‘im an official air; professional like, along with ‘is important clipboard with its long checklist of names of all the virgins in the realm what claimed to be princesses – or was it all the princesses in the realm what claimed to be virgins?

None of us was sure, but no matter.

Regaining ‘is balance an’ dignity, ‘e slid the bowler back into place an’ stepped over to what he could see of the young woman. Kneeling down, ‘e reached toward her slender ‘and. By all accounts, it looked like a romantic what-‘ave-you, till ‘e pressed a finger to her wrist, where the pulse should ‘ave bin. He looked up at the doctor, ‘oo avoided his eyes, and then at his father, the king, ‘oo rewarded ‘im with a “you win some, you lose some’ kind of a shrug.

Smartly getting up from ‘is knees – princes is good at that kind of thing; standing and sitting and generally moving graceful like dancers, it’s their upbringing, you know – ‘e pulled a pencil from beneath his silk doublet, licked the end and neatly crossed ‘er name off the list.

Written for 3TC: Mattress, Golf ball, Green

*anyroad: anyway

*teddies: a regional name for potatoes.

©Jane Paterson Basil

The Last Laugh

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I got a soggy dog-lick-kiss, breakfast on a tray
with the dreaded birthday sentence: Fifty years today.
Gifts enshrined in angry bills, ring box on a tin can,
and on the bed beside me, my oh, so funny man.

I wouldn’t touch my breakfast; the tea was weak and cold,
the bread was stale, the marmalade thickly furred with mould.
I unwrapped all the presents; fake poo and inked perfume,
I threw aside a birthday card, then marched out of the room.

He chased me to the kitchen; he knelt on knobbly knees
to offer me the ring box, said: Please don’t be a tease.
He looked so hurt and serious I thought he was sincere.
I’m glad I chose to take it, or he would still be here.

I carefully prised it open, expecting glittery bling,
but in that stupid jewellery box there was no diamond ring;
no long-denied proposal, no promise from my champ –
curled amidst the velvet was a grubby postage stamp.

I glared at him in fury, but he waved my rage away,
and laughing shrilly, said to me: It’s for a holiday.
Climb into this box, I’ll add the stamp and the address
of any destination, North, South, East or West.

It might be midlife crisis, but I’m weary of his humour;
I wished a heart attack on him, or a most aggressive tumour,
so feeling thus disgruntled, I shot him through the head.
He’s curled up in an outsize box, not joking now he’s dead.

I’m posting him to Timbuctoo, with no return address,
So I will never get him back, and I’ll suffer no redress.
It’s funny what you think of, when you scrub a bloody floor,
kitchen units and two windows, one kitten and a door:

We met on Friday the thirteenth, an unlucky day for me,
but the thirteenth has returned; how unlucky now is he!
I don’t regret the past, and there’s something I will miss;
I’d like to give him one last breath and see him laugh at this.

©Jane Paterson Basil

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Written for Three Things Challenge: thirteen, midlife crisis, past

©Jane Paterson Basil

Stiff Upper Lip

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This is your conscience speaking;

I know you feel
like flaying the next-door fiend,
leaving her festering in a smelly heap, to the applause
of almost every tenant on these three floors,

and you fantasise
about an unacceptable, inconceivable set-up with the bed-eyed,
dread-locked sex god you’re forever ogling
in the second-hand shop.

I realise you recently considered
ripping off your jeans and summer vest in the hey-day high street,
screaming “ I hear you knocking but you can’t come in”,
then running away, giggling.

and you are tempted
to tell that frosty screw what her silly victim –
her lily-livered excuse for a libertine loser – plotted to do
to you when she was at bingo, sandwiching his confused pseudo-love
between the pages of a detailed medical dictionary, as if
each irritating phrase was a ribbon-wrapped gift, every
trumped-up twitch and flickering heart beat a treat;
and yet he knew you didn’t want to swim
in anyone’s swan song, let alone
sink through his forlorn
funeral tune.

I understand
that – until you did it – you might think it funny
to cut off your extremities and wiggle your stumps,
singing “Look, no hands,
and no feet, either”,

and you have been dying
to tip your wardrobe through the window, crying, “look – it can fly”,
wait for the smashing crash to attract the neighbours’ attention,
then yell, “and so can I”,
and try.

It’s true that their lives are dull,
and it would give those old folks a thrill
to see your blood churning the earth into rusty mud
to feed the geriatric rose bushes,
but don’t.

This
is your conscience speaking, old bean;
don’t do any of the above – let us not forget
one is British; such activities are simply not cricket.
Extend your stiff upper lip; use it
to lift a kettle, then settle down
with a nice cup of tea.

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©Jane Paterson Basil

Red

carrot-33625__340Why do people walk so slow,
Ain’t they got no place to go?
They won’t let me forge ahead –
a mist descends in specks of red.

They strut along with bags and thighs,
then turn and look me in the eyes.
A gap appears, but far too narrow
to fit the smallest autumn marrow.

They gasp to see their small mistake
and every inch they quickly take.
“Let me past,” I boldly cry,
“or face a deadly duel, and die.”

They pay no heed, but mockingly
slow their pace and grin with glee.
I face them with my trusty carrot,
but turnip tops are all they’ve got.

Do you think I have no chance
as I begin my fighting dance?
“Why, two on one?” you brashly say;
I’ll give you two on one today.

They stand their ground, and face me bravely.
My carrot makes them into gravy.
My goodness, what a sorry sight…
I raise my carrot, take a bite.

Rage and vengeance; both are red –
it’s time to hurry home for bed.

©Jane Paterson Basil