Naming Names, Savant and Prom Queen

Naming Names, Savant and Prom Queen
The jacket pics I designed for my completed novels

Extended Jokes

Extended Joke: Farmyard Tales V



So, it’s her birthday then? You could have reminded me,” she said.
“No, it’s not,” he said.
“Yes it is... She’s a hundred, isn’t she?”
“Well... no... not actually,”
“I thought she said it was her centenary. That’s a hundred, isn’t it? Or it’s a smell... I do have trouble remembering the difference.”
“No, you’re right, for once, that is a hundred,” he said.
“Isn’t a hundred pretty old? A hundred what, anyway?”
“Blogs,” he said.
“How long’s a blog?” asked Miss Pig. “What’s that in hog years?”
“About 300 to 500 words,” he said.
“How long’s a word?” she asked, puzzled. “Is it anything like a week... Can’t be, no one gets to 500 words times a hundred blogs... Is it like furlongs or knots or something?”
“It does appear to be tying you in knots,” said Bo.
“So how old is she?”
“It’s rude to ask a lady her age, and it’s not about that, anyway,” he said. “She’s posted one hundred blogs in one hundred days.”
“She’s walked all the way down to the village to post what?” asked Miss Pig. “Why didn’t she just collect them up and post them all at once? And what’s a blog, anyway?”
Bo shuffled slightly from one hoof to the other, turning his head in a thoughtful gesture. If he’d been human he would have whistled nonchalantly, indicating to the World that he had about as much of a clue as did Miss Pig.
“You know,” he finally said. “It’s on the web.”
“What do spiders have to do with it? She hasn’t been sending spiders in the post, surely?”
“No,” said Bo, “The net!”
“Butterfly or fishing?” asked Miss Pig.
“What are you talking about?” asked Bo.
“That’s it!” said Miss Pig. “She’s going fishing!”
“How did you work that out?” asked Bo.
“She’s collected 100 flies from 100 spider webs and she’s taking her fishing post and net down to the river to catch some fish.”
“Pole,” said Bo.
“No,” said Miss Pig, “I’m pretty sure she’s as British as you and me.”





Extended Joke: Farmyard Tales iv


“So, about the fete...”
“The fate of what? Whose fate? What’s happening? It’s like lambs to the slaughter around here.”
“You’re a pig,” he said.
“And you’re a cow, but that’s not my point,” she said.
“Bull.”
“It’s not bull, it’s a perfectly valid point. It’s spring, we’re all having babies, and how long do you suppose it’ll be before they start taking them away.”
No... Bull... I’m a bull,” he said. “Cows are always girls. I don’t know why you have so much trouble remembering that.”
“You just called me a pig.”
“So?” he asked.
“No... Sow... You see?”
“But I didn’t call you a boar, now, did I?”
“You wouldn’t dare,” she said. “You’re the bore, keep reminding me your a bull, but it’s all the same in the end, isn’t it, especially when your fate is beef?”
“I do plan to be best in show,” he said, making cow eyes and preening.
“No! You don’t?” she asked, shocked. “They’ll butcher you.”
“You have too little faith,” he said. “I’m a fine specimen of a bull, the fete will be glad to have me.”
“What are you talking about?” she asked.
“The fete,” he said.
“Whose fate?” she asked. “Whose turn is it to die. It’s like lambs–”
“No... Fete!” he said. “Village fete, with the vicar and the cream teas, and prizes for the best new potatoes and tulips.”
“I was always told I had a pretty mouth, perhaps I should go in the two lips contest. Is there a one lip contest, though? It makes you wonder.”
“Everything makes you wonder,” he said, “but, who knows, you might make pinkest pig or biggest litter."
“But I haven’t had them yet,” she said, “can’t you tell?”
“May,” he said.
“There’s no may about it,” she replied. “There’s plenty of must, though. I really  must have this litter in the next day or two, otherwise, I’m going to burst.”
“No... May. The fete’s in May.”
“Do you think I could get my figure back by then?”
“You weren’t exactly Victoria Beckham to start with, were you?” he asked.
“Victoria Beckham? Who’s she when she’s at home?” 
“Oh never mind,” he said, “but no one’s ever going to kill her for her meat, for her frocks... maybe.”
“Are you insinuating I’m fat?” asked Miss Pig.
“You’re a bacon-maker, you’re supposed to be fat.”
“In that case,” she said, “I shall take my plumptious mouth and enter it in the two lips contest, and I’ve only got one thing left to say.”
“What’s that?” he asked.
“Frock you!”












Extended Joke: Farmyard Tales iii

“You know what the source of all my troubles is?”
“No... No, wait, gravy?”
“Gravy? Why gravy?” asked Bo.
“Well, it’s a sauce and you’re, you know, meat, so I’m thinking gravy would be a problem to you. With me it’d be apples, probably, apparently pork is good with apples. I like apples.”
“What about horse-radish, or mustard?”
“I suppose you might eat mustard with pork, but I’m probably safe from horse-radish,” said Miss Pig.
“I was being sarcastic.”
“Why?”
“The root of my troubles is going to turn out to be you, isn’t it?” he asked.
“I like a good root, myself, snuffling about looking for the good stuff. I wish I was a French pig.”
“Why?”
“Truffles,” she said.
“You’re fat enough without chocolates. Besides, you can get them here, you know, you don’t have to be French to eat chocolates.”
“No, you know, those funny mushroom things,” she said.
“Steak Diane, now that’s something to be afraid of,” said Bo.
“You couldn’t hold a stake, and who would ever name a fence? They didn’t name us, why would they name a few sticks in the ground?”
“Rump,” said Bo, choosing to ignore the sow.
“Now you’re just being vulgar,” she said.
“It’s a steak. A piece of meat, you know, for eating.”
“I prefer not to think about it.”
“So do they.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“Meat-eaters prefer not to think about it. They don’t eat pig or cow, or sheep.”
“Yes they do. I know they do. I’m not stupid.”
“They don’t call it that, though, do they?” asked Bo.
“Don’t call it what?”
“They don’t call it pig or cow or sheep.”
“They don’t?”
“You know they don’t. They call it steak or a joint, or a chop,” he said.
“They do do that, don’t they?”
“It gets better than that, though.”
“It does? You mean, vegetarians? I don’t understand it myself. I know you’re a vegetarian, and everything, but I never feel satisfied if there’s no gravy in my swill. That’s the worst.”
“No, not vegetarians, although, if it’s good enough for me...”
“Look, we can’t all be perfect,” she said.
“No indeed. My point is, they don’t call it pig or cow or sheep, because they call it pork or beef or mutton,” he said.
“Yeah... Why do they do that? Do you think it’s guilt? Do you think it’s so they can look us in the face?”
“Stands to reason.”
“What about chickens?” she asked.
“What about them?”
“They call meat from chickens, chicken. How do you explain that? 
He thought for a moment.
“No, that’s wrong, they call them hens or pullets, or fowl,” he said.
“I never did like them,” she said, “Squawking creatures.”
“What are you talking about?” he asked.
“You called them foul. I was just agreeing with you.”
“I meant,” said Bo. “Oh, never mind.”
“Or fish?” she asked.
“They call fish cod or trout or salmon. ‘I’ll have a nice bit of salmon’ they say.”
“They call it fish, sometimes, though, don’t they? They call it fish pie, don’t they?” she asked. 
There was a long pause.
“Trawler pie,” Bo finally said.  “The missus calls it trawler pie.”
“Isn’t that made out of trawlers?” asked Miss Pig.









Extended Joke: Farmyard Tales iii

“Life is just a Bowel of Cherries.”
“I think you mean bowl.”
“I wish I meant bowl. That’d be nice, wouldn’t it, ‘Life is just a bowl of cherries’. Sounds nice, but I’m not sure what it means,” he said.
“It’s an expression, Bo.”

“What is?”

“Life is just a bowl of cherries is an expression. It means that all’s right with the world, things are good and jolly, and without... you know... pain and misery,” she said.

“It’s a lie.”

“What’s a lie?”
“Cherries,” he said.
“Are.”
“Thank you.”
“What do you mean, thank you?” she asked.
“You made a sympathetic noise at me. You said, ‘Ah’.”
“No I didn’t. I said ‘are’. Cherries isn’t a lie, cherries are a lie. I still don’t know what you’re talking about, though.”
“Bowels. My bowels are griping me something awful, and it’s all because of those cherries,” he said.
“The bowl of cherries.”
“Well, to be honest, it was more like a pail, a bucket.”
“Why should it matter whether the bucket was pale or dark, or somewhere in between? What effect did the hue of the bucket have on the cherries?” she asked.
“Hugh? Whose Hugh? I’m Bo, you’re Mrs Pig, so who’s Hugh?”
“What... What are you talking about? You ate a pale bucket of cherries, and now your bowels are messed up.”
“Exactly,” he said.
“Do cows have bowels?” she asked.
“Bull.”
“It was just a question.”
“No,” he said. “I’m a bull.”
“OK, do bovines have bowels? I know they have like eight stomachs, but bowels?”
“Doesn’t matter how many stomachs you’ve got if your bowels are messed up,” he said.
“It begs the question though: I’ve got one stomach and I can eat any old pigswill. You’ve got umpteen and a few cherries upset your bowel.”
“Bucketful,” said Bo.
“Still, I’d kill for a pail of cherries,” she said. “Or even a handful of pig nuts. I’m sick of swill.”
“I should’ve stuck to the grass. It’s all your fault, talking about food all the time,” said Bo.
“Where were you, anyway?”
“They put me out in the orchard,” said Bo.
“That’s my treat,” she said. “I get the windfalls, not you!”
“Well if you ask me, a bucketful of cherries will give you the windfalls,” said Bo, “and you’re welcome to them.”
“What’s that awful smell?” she asked. “Was that you, Bo? Was it?”
“Windfalls,” said Bo. “I did warn you.”









The Hairdresser's Apprentice



“Do you know any words with no vowels in?” asked the hairdresser’s trainee. He spent half of his time washing hair and the other half sweeping it off the floor.
 “Why,” I said.
 “That’s your thing, isn’t it?”
 “Sort of,” I said, "although I’m not likely to make a lot of money out of knowing lots of words without vowels, and I’m not a scrabble champion or anything... The answer, though, was ‘why’... Get it?”
 “I hadn’t thought of that,” he said. “I’d thought of ‘gypsy’. Is that right?”
 “Good one,” I said, “dependent on the arcane spelling of course.”
 “Arcane?” he asked.
 “Old,” I said. “Lots of people spell it with an ‘i’ and a ‘y’ now.”
 “And that’s right?” he asked.
 “It is if it becomes commonplace enough to find its way into a dictionary,” I said.
 “Huh,” he said.
 ‘Huh’ is right, I thought.
 “They call it a variant,” I said. “Then again, ‘sometimes y’.”
 “Sometimes why, what?” he asked.
 “The letter ‘y’,” I said. “Some people say there are five vowels and then ‘sometimes y’... Americans, mostly.”
 “Huh,” he said.
 I wondered if he found my name in the appointment book and went looking for things to entertain me with. That’s pretty dedicated for a hairdresser’s trainee, unless, of course, the hairdresser put him up to it.
 “I know,” he said, beaming. “How do you spell blond?”
 “That depends on whether you’re talking about a man or a woman,” I said. “It ends in ‘d’ for a man and ‘de’ for a woman. It’s one of the few words in English that has masculine and feminine versions.”
 “I thought I was going to get you with that one,” he said. Then he thought about it. “Are there any more?” he asked.
 “Any more words that have masculine and feminine versions in English?” I asked.
 “Yeah,” he said.
 “There’s only one that I use regularly,” I said.
 “What’s that, then?”
 “It’s not really an English word, but I use ‘Bravo’ quite a lot, except it’s ‘Brava’ if you’re talking to a woman.”
 “OK,” he said.
 He was quiet for a moment, perhaps he’d run out of things to talk about. I wondered whether he’d mention the weather or ask where I was planning to go on my holidays.
 “Do you say ‘different from’, ‘different to’ or ‘different than’?” I asked.
 He looked at me hard for a moment, and then said, slowly, “It all depends,” as if he was asking a questions.
 “On what?” I asked.
 “I’ll have to think about it,” he said.
 “Two, three letter words that sound alike but have none of the same letters?” I asked.
 “You’re better at this than I am,” he said, smiling.
 I smiled back.
 “That’s why they pay me the big bucks,” I said.
 I was handed off to my hairdresser, who talked about his mother and his son, and answered his trainee’s questions about whether he’d cut a bob differently back in 1980 from the way he’d cut it now. He didn’t ask me where I was going for my holidays. In the thirty years he’s been cutting my hair, I don’t think he’s ever asked me where I’m going on my holidays.
 One hour and one haircut later, I paid the trainee, and, as I was leaving, he called out to me.
 “You!” he said.
 I turned.
 “Me?” I asked.
 “No, ‘ewe’,” he said, “and ‘you’.”
 “Bravo!” I said
 “No, madam,” he said. “Good question... Brava! to you.”







An extended joke for Leap Day
“Apple,” he said.
“Pear.”
“Couple.”
“What do you mean, ‘couple’? I said, ‘pear’,” she said.
“Well, two of something is a couple, isn’t it?”
“I didn’t say, ‘pair’, though. I said ‘pear’!”
“Well, how am I supposed to know the difference? Go again,” he said.
“Pear!”
“Couple.”
“Grrrr!”
“Oh... Oh... Bear!” he said.
“What? You’re insane! I growled. What does growling have to do with nudity?” she asked.
“Not ‘bare’, ‘bear’, as in Teddy.”
“Well, I suppose it makes some sense to go from nude to underwear, but we’re supposed to be playing word association, and I’m beginning to think your mind is in the gutter.”
“Teddy bear! As in Theodore Roosevelt,” he said.
“Flower.”
“Biscuit.”
“I’m sorry, I’m going to have to stop you there. Of all the things you could have said when I said ‘flower’, you come up with ‘biscuit’. What’s wrong with ‘rose’ for goodness sake?”
“We can do that if you like, but I like biscuits, and they are made from flour after all,” he said.
“Flower, idiot. Flower!”
“Go again, then.”
“Rose!” she said.
“Fell.”
“Really? You’re doing it on purpose, now aren’t you?”
“I swear, I’m not,” he said.
“So what’s wrong with tulip or daffodil?”
“Yeah, but then we’d just end up doing flower names, and that’s no fun.”
“OK, what about thorn or bud, or leaf, then?” she asked.
“Leaf.”
“Book... See, two can play at that game.
“Couple,” he said.
“Pair.”
“Apple.”
“Adam.”
“Eve,” he said.
“Morning.”
“Dead.”
“Grave,” she said.
“Funny.”
“Valentines.”
“Massacre.”
“Massacre? That’s not the way it was supposed to go. How can word association have a happy ending if you use a word like ‘massacre’? What sort of mind comes up with a word like ‘massacre’ after ‘valentines’? Nevermind, don’t answer that... I do know. Anyway... I’m going again. Do better,” she said.
“Go on then.”
“Thank you, I will. Valentines.”
“Day.”
“February.”
“28,” he said.
“29.”
“Leap year.”
“Marry me.”
“What?” he asked.
“Marry me... And you’re not allowed to say no on February the 29th. It’s the law in Scotland.”
“We’re not in Scotland.”
“Like that matters right now,” she said.
“Do another one.”
“What?”
“Word association; do another one,” he said.
“No.”
“Yes.”
“What? I wasn’t doing one,” she said.
“I said, ‘YES’ for goodness sake.”
“You said, ‘yes’?” she asked.
“Yes,” he said.
“Good then, because if you hadn’t I’ve got a Scottish mate who’s a policeman.”
“Yeah... right, and I'm marrying a mad woman."
"Serves you right." she said.
Rather than wonder why no one seems able to spell or punctuate any more, I thought I’d address the question in a series of very short bits of prose. This is a beginning. It’s a bit of fun about typos and literals; the next will be a bit a more sophisticated, I hope.
Enough is Enough.
“How now brown cow?”
“Sow.”
“What?”
“I’m a sow: porcine, not bovine... And I’m not brown.”

She said it with a frown and a groan.
“Red leather, yellow leather.”
“I am NOT a cow!”
“Peter piper picked a peck of pickled pepper.”
“What are you on about?”
He looked at her and lifted his nose a little higher in the air.
“I’m pronouncing... Words.”
“So?”
“I’m bettering myself.”
“You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.”
“Well you’d know.”
“The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.”
“What rein?”
“Rain.”
“I mean, who’d put reins on a cow?”
“You said you were a pig, sow, porcine.”
“I was talking about you.”
“The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.”
“Reign? Who are you, King Cow?”
“Bull.”
“Don’t be rude.”
“No... Bull. King Bull! You can’t be King Cow, you’d have to be Queen Cow!”
“No need to crow.”
“What do birds have to do with it?”
“No... Crow, as in boast. Don’t you know anything?”
“I know you’re going to go hungry today.”
“What?”
“There’s a plough share up against your trough. You’ll never reach your lunch. Tough luck.”
She frowned and groaned again.
“Mea culpa.”
“What? You’ll never manage a cup. It’s a trough or nothing for you.”
“No... My bad.”
“That should be, ‘I’m bad’, surely?”
“No... I mean that  it’s my fault. If wishes were fishes.”
“What do fish have to do with it?”
“If wishes were fishes, beggars would eat.”
“What? Fish?”
“I’m bored with swill, and was hoping for something off the fields, or pig nuts at least.”
“Sows don’t have nuts... just rows and rows of–”
“Enough... That’s enough. I can’t talk to you any more.”
“Fine, I was off to ruminate anyway.”
“You? Think? That’ll be the day.” 









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