THE BAKED POTATO-MAN'S NARRATIVE
by
Walter Stanford
The potato man looked down at his stock
As they steamed and hissed
He was a man of a garrulous turn
And he thoughtfully reminisced

To the stranger, who stood with his mouthful of spuds
And a far away look in his eye
While the snow filled the space at the back of his neck
As it fell from the storm-ridden sky

'Yes' the 'Murphy' man said, 'It was just such a night,
Some ninety two long years ago
As it 'appened, I¹ll tell you the tale if you like.'
And the stranger said, 'Certainly, do.'

(And with bated breath, he heard the following narration...)

That night, I was standing alongside my can,
When up drives a carriage and pair
Containing a toff and a lady in silks
With diamonds and things in her 'air

And they steps from the carriage, the coachman drives off
And the toff from his pocket 'e drew
Two pennies, a-saying, 'Buck up, we¹re 'ungry
Supply me with 'taters for two.'

And 'im and the lady, they stands in the snow there
A munching away there, all gay
When the bloke starts talking in foreign to 'er
In a insolvent sort of a way.

And, all of a sudden, the woman flares up
And she goes for the toff a fair treat
With 'er 'tater she stabs 'im three times in the chest
And 'e falls down a corpse at 'er feet.

When she sees 'im a-sweltering there in 'is gore
She says, 'Evings, what 'ave I done?'
And the bloodstained pertater she drops from 'er 'and
As the clock booms out twenty to one

'You heard 'im consult me' she says, with a groan
And my nerves they were fairly unnerved
'I¹ve killed 'im, I've killed 'im, but you are me witness
'Twas only the fate 'e deserved.'

Just then, in the distance, we heard the bright gleam
Of a bull's eye approach, and she cried
'Oh look! 'ere¹s the slop coming round on 'is beat
Oh save me! where can I hide?'

Like lightning, I raises the lid off my can,
And the lady 'ops into it quick
And I 'ears 'er inside crying, 'Saved, I am saved'
As I fastens it down with a click.

And I leaves that dead corpse, on its back, in the mud
And I pushes like mad from the spot
And when the passing policeman 'e says, 'Ow is trade?'
And I answers 'im, 'All 'ot, all 'ot'

When at last I arrives down our yard with the can
I lifts up the cover with care
And I says in a soft, sotto-vocical way
To the lady inside, 'Are you there?'

No voice didst reply, so I lights up a match
And my 'air perpendikiler stands
For the woman lay dead, with a smile on 'er face
And a 'tater in each of 'er 'ands!

And the shock, what it gave me to think what I'd done
Made the blood in my arteries chill
My teeth starts a-chattering, my knees knocks together
My 'eart gives a bound and stands still.

The chill what I got then, I never shook off
And whatever the weather may be
My temperature¹s always below 32
And my 'air keeps on end, as you see.

I¹ve tried every medicine what¹s ever come out
And consulted physicians in vain
Since that 'orrible night, on my sivvy, it¹s true
Sir, my 'eart¹s never beated again.'

The stranger looked up at the murphy's face
'Why, your fortune is made, man.' said he
'I want you... I edit the 'Daily Disgrace'
Our reporter in chief you shall be.

Ananias I know of, Munchausen and such
And De Rougemont himself I have met,
But it strikes me that you are the ablest of liars
That I have encountered as yet.'

The end