by Mike Harding It was dark as a coal-hole picnic On the day Grandad Akroyd dropped dead; Work was scarce as rocking-horse droppings, Not a church roof for miles had lead. So cold that the flame on the candle, Got frozen one Wednesday night, And we had to warm it up in the oven Before we could get it to light. Some brass monkeys outside sung carols soprano, You could 'ear 'em cursin' and swearin', As they wandered 'round lost in the cold and the frost They couldn't find their bearings. On Sunday our chicken for dinner Was a pigeon from off next door's loft. And me Dad pumped it up with his bike pump, too hard And our Sunday dinner buggered off. 'What would you like to eat now, Dad?' Said our Mam, picking her nose, 'Hard boiled eggs,' our Dad said, 'You can't get your fingers in those.' We couldn't afford to kill t' chicken, So we boiled some water up hot, And with bunches of dried peas tied to its knees, It Paddled about on the top. Me Grandad had mortgaged his pension 'Til 1994, While me Gran in her vest, was outside doing her best, With a red light above t'coal shed door. 'I can't stand't no more,' the old man cried, A mad light shone in his glass eye, 'We'll have to defraud the insurance man Hands up, I want a volunteer to die.' Mam said she would have, but she were too busy, Our Albert said his library book was due back, Gran said she would but her and her mate, Had got tickets for last Saturday's match. So we drew straws to settle the matter, But there was never no doubt, 'Cos me Dad cut me Grandad's in haIf wi't' bread-knife, Just as he was pulling it out. I'm too old to die,' he said, using the cat As a club to belabour me Dad, 'All right,' me Dad says, 'you don't have to die… Just lie down and pretend as you are.' So me Grandad lay down on the hearth-rug, And we called the doctor in. Gran took out a bottle and glasses, And got him smashed on her dandelion gin. He said me Grandad had died of a very rare disease, A bad case of tropical frostbite, Then he staggered off out and we all heard a shout From the street 'cos he slipped in some dog shite. Our Billy ran round for the Man from the Pru, Gran filled him with dandelion gin, He paid £4.10 in used chipshop yen And said, 'When are you burying him?' 'Oh, We weren't thinking of burying him,' Grandma said, 'Thinking of having 'im stuffed meself, Or embalming him in Plasticraft, And keeping him on't mantelshelf.' 'Nay, yon is illegal,' said Man from Pru. 'Grandad will have to be buried, In a box and shroud in constipated ground.' At this Grandad looked reet worried. The Man from the Pru' said he'd come to the burying And see as how things were done quite right, Then he staggered off out and we all heard a shout From the street 'cos he slipped on that stuff that I told you about before. 'I've just done that, 'said the doctor, So the insuranceman rubbed his nose in it. So the pretend corpse now had to be buried Me Dad got an old kipper crate, When the holes got plugged and the wood it looked good With plastic brass handles on - great. 'We'll only bury you just till he's gone, Then we'll dig you up, honest,' Dad said. It took a bottle of gin before Grandad gave in And lay int' box to play dead. Me Gran looked down at the box saying, 'What a lovely corpse.' Tears fell on her dripping and toast, When the body at rest shoved his hand up her vest, saying 'Now then, how's that for a ghost?' So we put the box on big Mabel's coal cart And off to t'cemetery we set, We followed on bikes and all seemed quite right Until another burying we met. A policeman was stood on point duty, 'Cos there was a fault on the traffic lights, But he fell to the ground with his arms flaying round 'Cos' he slipped on the road on another load of that stuff I was telling you about before. 'We just done that,' said the doctor and the insurance man, So the policeman rubbed their noses in it. As he spun on the ground the traffic flew round, And the two buryings got in a jam, Their driver took a poke at me Dad wi' a wrench And got a kick up the shoemaker's off me Mam. When we sorted it out we'd got the wrong box; Grandma said, 'Ee, we won't see no more of him,' When their driver come round our burying we found Had gone to the crematorium. By the time that we got there the service was done, You could hear the organ play. As the congregation wept hankies and sniffed, And our kipper box was on its way. The shutters were open, we all heard the flames, And suddenly Grandad gave a yell, And a coffin with legs and its arse end on fire Ran out on t'conveyor belt! O'er the pews and out through the window, The burning kipper box ran, And we all cheered the crate as it swam through the lake Chased by me Dad and me Mam. 'A blessed miracle,' said me Gran, But the Man from the Pru went quite white; 'Ruined,' he roared, he would have said more But he slipped in the road on some more of that stuff I've been telling you about. 'I've just done that, 'said the policeman, So the insurance man rubbed his nose in it.
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