‘Roll up, my babber!
‘Wanna forget that pox-scarred mug of yours for a time? The face that scares the pretty maids and leaves you thrashing alone in your truckle bed, sweating and wracked with a guilty glow at your own sinning?
‘Wanna leave that slum you call home, choked with jaspers and river stink in the summer, crumbling into the Avon with the black damp in winter?
‘You wanna see a mermaid, my dove, her tail flash with sparkles, head acrowned with abalone shells bright as a rainbow?
‘Wanna see a prince, all ‘andsome, bedecked with spangles, limbs straight at a plumb line, not like mine that’s bent as a sail in full blow.
‘Forget the dog eggs and horse shit, forget the rent’s past due and you’ll soon be toshing to make ends meet. Inside’s love and loss and happy endings ever after.
‘And who don’t want that?’
Written for What Pegman Saw, the writing prompt that uses Google Streetview.
Well, how could I resist this one? I know this fair city rather well, having lived here for the last thirteen years. There are many rundown, twisting alleys to inspire dark tales, there’s the harbour with its seafaring history, local pubs like the Llandoger Trow (supposedly the inspiration for the Admiral Benbow Inn in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island), or the Hatchett Inn on Frogmore Street, where the door is reputedly covered in human skin.
But I chose the historic Bristol Old Vic Theatre. Built in 1766, it’s Britain’s oldest continually working theatre and during recent refurbishments a gutter was discovered down which cannon balls could be rolled to mimic the sound of thunder.
And for those of you not from the southwest of England …
Avon – main river running the centre of the city, separating North Bristol from South Bristol.
Babber – mate, pal.
Brizzle – Bristol
Jaspers – wasps
General and historical notes
Dog eggs – canine faeces
Toshing – searching the sewer for lost valuables.
Truckle bed – low wooden bed, often on casters, that can slide under another bed when not in use. Often used by servants.