The Monk… Himself
Snow White… Wol
Doc… Neil
Grumpy… Steve DB
Dopey… Kevin
Bashful… Mark
Sleepy … Jeff
Happy… Graham
Sneezy… Andy
Head Bailiff… Baz
Barney… Himself

The Opposition Team from ‘The Kettle of Fish’

Ladies darts
Auntie Kathleen

Shove ‘happenny team
Peter Pan – Peter Jacobs
Deanos – Himself
Introducing – Gordon Whoppitt
Evening up the sides – Snow White

“What d’yer mean we’ve bin sold?” snapped Grumpy. “Ave we bin taken over or summat? Did any money change hands?”

“Don’t worry, Grumpy, I’m sure it’s for the best it’s just that what with having to replace Grumpy as he’s joined the Styx Float Anglers, and t’other Doc needing to find cure for isself.”

“We’ve had to be relaunched for Christmas,” replied Doc calmly. “You wait till you meet the new Snow White, she’s pretty as a picture – you’ll all get to meet her on Sunday on the Fishing Tragic fish-in on the Copper Bottom lakes.”

“Where the ‘ell are they, these lakes?” muttered Dopey, “Is hemp any good?”

“Leave it all to me,” replied Doc, quietly working out how to win the pools money, “It’s full of stillwater burbot, our favourite species, and I’ve only practiced there a couple of dozen times this week.”

“I thought you were ill in bed,” grumbled Happy, “we’ve been slaving down boilie mine all week, and you’ve skived off fishing.”

“Wonder if those burbot are hybrids?” mused Sneezy, “I’d DNA test ’em but they’re supposed to be extinct, wonder where they got them and who gave consent for the stocking?”

“Stockings, mmmmmmmmmm, custard, stockings, Amanda, mmmmmmmm,” mumbled Sleepy.

“Give Sleepy a nudge, Bashful, we need him awake for the travel arrangements,” ordered Doc.

“Right, listen up. We’ve got a minibus from Monk Tours – the fellow we met on our last adventure burboting on the Trent – at seven o’clock Sunday. We finish at four and Happy is, as always in fiction, buying the drinks. To make the fishing more interesting Snow White has put together a team from her local pub’s ladies dart’s team and some other regulars so it should be a good day out.”

“Phwoarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrh, women!!!!!!!!!!” exclaimed Bashful, gleefully, as he’d never quite been the same since the last fish-in.

The following Sunday morning.

“Where the bloody ‘ell’s Monk?” whinged Grumpy, ” Ah, there he is now, at last.”

“Sorry about that, someone replaced the wheels with bricks when I took a bunch of lads out last night and I didn’t get home till near four,” said Monk, silently vowing never to go to Everton again. “Get yer gear loaded, and mind the ruffe slapper in the back, not sure she’s awake yet.”

“What’s a ruffe slapper?” enquired Bashful, ever hopeful of new carnal encounters.

“I’ll explain later,” replied Sleepy.

A little while later, the merry band disembarked at Copper Bottom, the commercial water of the stars.

“You must be Snow White,” said Doc, extending a hand in friendship, somewhat puzzled by the strange mix of ‘Odour of Bream’ perfume, the three-day stubble and the fishnet stockings.

“What happened to you, Doc; you’ve grown a foot, look ten years younger, and lost your Yorkshire accent.” replied Snow White, by now equally puzzled. “Once you’ve had breakfast we’ll do the draw, fiver for pools.”

“I thought we had a mixed bunch but you’re really scraping the barrel,” confided Doc to Snow White as he surveyed the opposition. “Hopefully there’ll be none of the nonsense we had on the Trent. You’ve only got four; I thought you said you’d got seven?”

“Just waiting for the other three, should be here soon. As for the agro, since the 2005 Trent Peace Treaty, all’s been quiet,” replied Snow White, not entirely sure that they’d seen the last of the wicked king and his evil henchmen.

Berrp! Berrp! Parp! Berrp! Parp! Berrp! Crunnnnnccccchhhhh!

Baz the bailiff could only watch in horror as a large coal lorry backed into the car park, demolishing one of the gate posts.

“What the F…” he interjected, as a huge woman clambered down from the cab.

“Ere get that bloody thing out of ‘ere, an’ you’ll to pay for the damage yer bloody hooligans.” He shouted.

Deanos’ Auntie Kathleen was not easily rattled. “Come ‘ere yer scrawny ferret,” and with that she grabbed Baz by the ears and trapped his head between her enormous bosoms.

After a couple of minutes, she let him go. Red-faced and gasping for air, he knew he’d met his match, but resolved to get revenge later on this motley crew who stood around laughing at him. Gear unloaded, Deanos, Gordon Whoppit and Auntie Kathleen surveyed the astonished crowd and chorused, “we’re bloody starvin’, who’s paying fer breakfast?”

“I’m paying for breakfast!” piped up Happy, glad this is a work of fiction.

With breakfast done and the draw made most of the merry band trudged off to their pegs.

“A Smartie on the first fish, biggest fish, and last fish!” Dopey called out to Doc, two pegs away.

“You’re on – so long as they are Smarties, I had funny dreams last time I tried your Smarties,” said Doc.

Claudia was puzzled. “What method for ze burbot? Nobody had mentioned ze burbot – perhaps it was ze vind-up?” Ze method feeder and ze boilie vood haf to do.

Meanwhile in the car park a heated discussion was overheard.

“I thought you were bringing the bloody bait!” Growled Deanos to Gordon Whoppit.

“Yer said bring plenty o’ snap, didn’t realise you meant for the sodding fish,” Gordon replied.

“Shurrup yer pair o’ wazzocks, afore I belt the pair o’ yer, bloody good job I’ve got yer bait, yer’d forget yer heads if twern’t screwed on.” Snarled Auntie Kathleen. “Let’s get cracking an’ show this shower ‘ow ter catch.” The 1954 Aire ladies (following a debate about her gender) champion was fired up and ready to roll, and if the fish didn’t bite she fancied a bit of rough – that minibus driver for a start.

Ten ‘o clock came round soon enough. “All in,” twittered Doc to no-one in particular, seconds before an almighty fart echoed around the water.

“I didn’t know Barney was ‘ere.” Chortled Happy.

“Aye, ay’m ‘ere olright, somebody’s got ter keep their eye on that tit Snow White.”

Sneezy felt confident. His research on burbot revealed them members of the cod family, and baiting the size 2/O baitholder hooks on his three hook paternoster rig with lugworm made sense. He was just about to make his first cast when he felt a hand planted firmly on his shoulder.

“Read the bloody rules, or I’ll ‘ave yer book!” bellowed Baz, “maximum size 8 and barbless only.” Sneezy meekly complied.

At first, all was quiet, apart from the occasional methane emission from Barney. He let off a particularly loud and smelly rasper as he stood behind Auntie Kathleen.

“Ee lad, you can fart,” remarked Auntie Kathleen, a smile of sheer carnal lust across her jowls. “What yer doing after the match?”

“It’ll be nice to have a duet with you, Auntie Kathleen,” minced Barney, as they both rattled off a volley of noxious gases and left each other sniffing deeply in mutual admiration.

A loud shriek cut through the flatulent atmosphere.

Wendy was playing a burbot. “Everyone gather round and take my picture so I can get another TCF/IYCF award or six. Keef will be really pleased.”

“Outa the way,” grunted the ginger ninja, none other than Gordon Whoppit, “I’ll net it for thee.” And taking an almighty swipe at the fish with the landing net, broke the line and the burbot sank gently back into the depths.

“I got a good shot of the line breaking,” wittered Doc, breathing a sigh of relief.

Meanwhile, the ever youthful Peter Pan was starting to catch small roach on the whip. “Learnt to do this at Trondheim in the early eighties,” he offered to Grumpy at the next peg.

“More like 1880’s,” muttered Grumpy, under his breath.

Happy, on the other hand, was truly happy. Not only had he rearranged the white fivers in his wallet into numerical serial number order, he was also starting to catch bream around the four-pound mark. “Only little ‘uns but they’ll do.” He mused as he wondered whether his wallet would accommodate the winnings.

The trees and bushes between each peg meant that Baz couldn’t see everything that was going on. But a smile lit his face up as he got to Gordon Whoppit’s peg. What was this crackpot up to? Gordon appeared to holding a clothes prop with a washing line that dangled into the water. He just had to be breaking the rules.

“Can yer fetch yer line in a sec. Just need to check yer rig.” Said Baz, confident of a ticket snatch.

A six pack of strong export lager emerged from the water.

“Yer breaking the rules, yer know, I’ll ‘ave to ban yer” started Baz.

“Bollocks!” Said Gordon Whoppit, who was not used to being bossed about, except by Deanos’ Mam and Auntie Kathleen. “That’s me elevenses yer daft bugger. I haven’t even tackled up yet. Now sod off before I stick yer ‘ead down Deano’s kecks after a night on the kebabs.”

Baz didn’t need telling twice and wandered off to try to discover why Bashful’s peg was empty, and a religious meeting seemed to be taking place behind some nearby bushes.

“Oh my God!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh my God!!!!!!!! Yes, Yes, Yes, YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!”

Sneaking round, Baz caught sight of Bashful’s arse, like a brace of pale moons, bobbing up and down. Under him a ruffle slapper, her white stilettos waving in the air. “What sort of crowd are this shower? I’d ban the bloody lot of ’em if I had my way!” he muttered. The ruffe slapper gave him the finger and took another draw on her fag, hoping bashful would get on with it, not realising that by now he’d actually finished and collapsed with exhaustion.

As the match wore on a few roach had succumbed for most. Bashful had an empty net but had filled his boots. Sleepy slumbered on, dreaming of Amanda and muttering something about, “I’d have bagged up only for all the bloody pike, they want culling!” Dopey realised too late that the idea was to catch fish and not just to compare ancient and modern tackle. Happy just got happier and happier, catching bream. Grumpy mumbled to himself, “Not bloody fair, crap venue, I hate fishing, I’ll be glad when it’s all over and I can waste another steak.”

The opposition were faring little better. Wendy had caught an eel and then dropped it back in the water as she stroked it, Claudia was still making journeys to the car to collect more tackle and bait, Deanos had caught a small carp but when someone had called it a pastie he’d taken a bite out of it, Snow White seemed oblivious to all as she concentrated on catching the treble – a bleak and gudgeon were in the net and she was hoping for a ruffe. Somebody had got the message wrong and told the ruffe slapper, but as she approached Barney said, “don’t bother luv, she’s gay.”.

Auntie Kathleen had given up trying to catch Monk as he skilfully eluded her rugby tackles for an hour and decided on trying to catch a burbot – chopping up a bucket of lugworms and dumping the lot in her swim it wasn’t long before the first burbot of around four pounds showed. “Sheeeeeiiiite!” She exclaimed, “I’ve forgot me bloody keepnet; ah knows, I’ll make do with these……..”

An hour or so later and Doc said, “I reckon it’s about time for the end of the match. Let’s get weighed in.”

With most of the anglers just having caught a pound or two (or less in the case of Gordon Whoppit, Bashful and Sleepy) it was down to the last two to be weighed to settle the contest. Happy went first.

His twenty bream went a staggering hundred and five pounds. He beamed, confident that the pile of fivers were his.

The crowd reached Auntie Kathleen’s peg. An enormous pair of bloomers were staked to the bank. The end of the legs were knotted and there were more ominous bulges writhing in them than when she was wearing them. With an almighty heave, Auntie Kathleen hoisted the bloomers ashore. It took five weighs to total up the magnificent bag of burbot and it was a close run thing. Doc totted up the weights.

“I make it one hundred and eight pounds, six ounces, all burbot.” He declared. “Auntie Kathleen is the winner.”

“Look like hybrids to me,” muttered Sneezy, wondering whether burbot could be re-instated on the record list.

In the encircling throng, Monk had crowded round too. Auntie Kathleen grabbed him. There was no escape. “The spoils of victory – Happy can keep the money, weren’t in pools anyroad; now young lad ‘ow about a good seeing to?”

Monk gulped. It was going to be a long night.

Our joyous bunch retreated to the bar where, as ever in fiction, Happy was in the chair. Barney and Auntie Kathleen were ordered to hold their fart-lighting contest outside, where they could blow their not-so-sweet nothings at each other and then cosy up. In the distance you could hear the cries of anguish from the Monk, with Bashful seething in a jealous rage, have fallen in love with the ruffle slapper.

Snow White, jealous of Barney now he had a new love with Auntie Kathleen, made a move on Wendy, but she told him to go away in her own inimitable way. Something like, “F*ck off Wol, you gay tit.”

Baz decided if you can’t beat em then join em and vowed to take up match fishing. Doc pondered on why, despite practicing so much, he never had inspired tactical flashes like a bucket of chopped lugworm and asked Dopey for advice. Dopey handed over his Smarties, and told him to relax. Sleepy snoozed on, dreaming of Amanda, suspender belts and pike culls.

Deanos doled out pies from a giant Santa sack, gleefully calling, “Don’t worry lads, there’s plenty more where these came from.”

Happy Christmas!