Mic: I knew a fish counter once, used to tot them all up down and around Newlyn when the fishing fleet came in. A lady named Molly Malone, sister to a brother who shared a mother with another. She wheeled a real barrow through the streets broad and narrow crying: ‘Grockles, I’ve Brussels’ as she attempted to flog stale vegetables to the tourist trade. She had seven different barrows, or barras, as she called them, one named for each day of the week but her favourite was Barra Monday. Oh, honestly, she was a dab hand at the fish counting but she gave it all up when she’d reached a total of 2013 on the musical scale and then lost her plaice. An odd looking lady she had a bottlenose and a full and generous mouth with luscious lips that looked for all the world like two fat peeled prawns. She had an odd way of sidling up to you; she walked like a crab because of a precariously balanced red mullet hanging over her eyes, and two huge pollacks which she used to juggle whilst racing round on a pair of skates, without a flounder, squatting on a perch and whistling ‘My Ting-a-Ling’ (though from a distance, and that was always the best option with Molly, it could sound more like ‘Why-ting-a-ling’) She performed this musical rendition a whole tone and three quarters above pitch and would fiercely screech: ‘What Char!’ or ‘On yer pike’ at anyone who complained. She married a Piscean, a German Cockle Fancier (Herman the German Merman) who quaffed gills of anything spirit based, so she was always ‘Herr-ing’ him and he’d be fiddling with her fillets. He, Herman the German Merman, it must be stated, was a gifted fiddler too; he could fiddle with fish fingers, a strange congenital abnormality he suffered with, wherein his fingers, seen from above, (reminiscent of a scene from ‘Above Us The Waves’) resembled nothing less than some several skinny deep fried and battered slices of mechanically recovered fish meat in breadcrumbs. Yet they were exquisitely and delicately arranged in a fan like flourish. He absolutely adored soul especially that of Lemon Louie the brown and pinkly striped man who used to sunbathe behind a slatted wooden pallet at the back of Mallets in Truro. (Although to be fair, at a pinch he’d do it wherever the mood took him and conditions were collectively conducive). Herman, the German Merman, could play all sorts and not just Bassett’s mind you in spite of a speech impediment which caused him to add a ‘Chrissie’ sound to his words. To hear him help Molly with the fish counting was extremely amusing on a wet Wednesday as he’d be uttering ‘1-ch, 2-ch, 3-ch, 4-ch, 5-ch, 6-ch, 7-ch, 8-ch, 9-ch, 10-ch! They lived happily just off Cod Row near the harbour and he, Herman the German Merman, used to carp on about how he could sleep anywhere any time; he claimed he was a natural kipper you see. All was well until she fell under the spell of a well endowed sardine squasher and debonair de-boner, who’d perfected a natural style of smile. This he applied to his mouth at any and all opportune moments thus ensnaring the yearnings and desires of any young fish orientated females. He, a young Finn called Pil Chard, late of a small village called Dor Salle processed selected sea-harvested items for Shipham’s Fish Paste Products and she lost her heart, lungs, liver, kidneys and spleen to him and left Herman the German Merman squirming with a sermon which he’d deliver at the river where he’d shiver and quiver crying: ‘I’ll never forgive her.’ Sadly all without effect or authority. He got himself a dog, a coley I think, then later joined with a canny Scottish lady, a mother of four called Ma Kerrel and together they made a recording of ‘Salmon Chanted Evening’ on which Herman played bass and it did well – somewhere.
Oh, oh, it’s time for my medication, must go; I have to have cod liver oil on my cornflakes.
A.H. Game, set and match… Enjoy the cornflakes.