The Jester and the new refugee

I met an interesting fellow in the Mountains of Frustration, that remote but beautiful part of northern England, who told me he was a court jester, and proved it with a barrage of jokes and magic tricks, confessing, ‘I like to keep my hand in.’

‘You have a look of a chap I met,’ he said,
‘whose disappearance fascinated the nation,
that of the missing Match Of The Day TV presenter, 
Harry Shootitin.

‘What!’ I exclaimed, ‘He’s my brother.’

Seeing my shock, he declared ‘I shall tell you of the greatest man I ever knew, who, like me, was condemned as a fool.

‘People say I am a silly man, so I am left alone at my refuge high in the peaks at the rock pool.

‘One day my seclusion was broken by a depressed TV celebrity seeking solace.

'He was so stressed I couldn’t get a word out of him,
but he came to life after my magical pet curlew sang its mating call.

‘He told me how as a child, eating his dinner, his mother would tell him off for dribbling – then he made a fortune doing it with a ball.

‘Now people pay to hear him, while they quaff £100 bottles of wine.

'But one day, listening to a member of Parliament,
the much-loved star got into trouble for speaking his mind.

‘You see,’ he almost sobbed, ‘I suddenly had a

Damoscene moment, and was compelled to speak out, from the inner depths of my soul.’

‘I’d reconnected with it, apparently, it was on some social media platform.’

‘Your brother talked with pride of his working-class fandom, who loved him as a player but noted a reluctance to pass, which might have been a metaphor for his current predicament, and suddenly the conversational floodgates opened, and how time passed.’

Curious, I asked him ‘Do they still follow you?’

‘But he replied, looking shamefaced, ‘Who, the fans? No, they can’t afford it.’

‘Then he talked about his boyhood, running up the fells around the village of Mechanfaackit,
where he felt really at home, which he never did in fact ront of the cameras and adoring footie fans,
and now he longed to return to the solace he’d found on those hilly runs.

‘I discovered I’d something in common with my new pal.
For we were both out of fashion, he for annoying the ‘yes men’ at The Beeb, and I with my out-of-date comedy act comprising slapstick and silly puns.

‘So, I decided to help him cheat the circling pack of reporters, who had to report that the tabloid press’ new object of scorn had suddenly disappeared.’


Well, you can appreciate that I was dumbfounded by the arrival of the his chap.

‘What happened next,’ I nervously enquired.

‘My mountain pool was disturbed by the circling media pack.'

‘They were hot on your brother’s trail, but found only leaping frogs, practising a card trick, involving the Ace of Hearts and the Joker.

‘They looked high and low for the missing celebrity, your so talented but disturbed brother,
but if they’d visited those little music festivals like Cambridge and Cropredy, and even that vast commercial enterprise, Glastonbury,
 would have found him with me, his new friend the jester, under the guise of a theatrical ensemble called Hocus Pocus.

‘When the reporters returned empty handed,
all they could plead was
' That Match Of The Week guy’s gone.

They’ll have to replace him with Becks, on tonight’s Football Focus.’

'But old age slows even the fittest, and our act eventually retired, with the older man bidding farewell to his sidekick, who vowed he’d return some day to the jester’s rocky pool.

'The following day the jestfull fellow received a letter saying, 'I’ve left my homeland seeking refuge from intolerance, now I’m no longer regarded as 'cool’.

‘I never meant to offend, and didn’t even know how to spell ‘political correctness.
But I’m now one of those I spoke up for, a refugee.’

'The envelope contained a newspaper article by a tabloid columnist, who’d written,
‘The sea is full of them, like an invading army, as far as the eye can see.’


◄ Little Rob


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