Derring Dos & Don'ts: The Poor - Mustard comedy magazine
Colonel Mustard

Derring Dos & Don'ts
An instructive guide for the English adventurer

Part Five: The Poor

Spmeone once said that "the poor are always with us". Poppycock! I don't know any of the blighters and would snub 'em if I did. Domestics, groundskeepers, beaters, privates and batmen don't count: these I regard more as appliances – pawns to be sacrificed, used as cover in times of war, or dinner in times of famine.

One of my vaguest acquaintances is a poor person

Though come to think of it, I may have met someone poor earlier this year: a chap who accosted me from a shop doorway on a February night so cold that dogs were freezing to lamp-posts. I was on my way back from my son Alfred's – normally I wouldn't be seen dead there, but he was overseas and his new wife's a cracker.

"Sixpence for a drop o' gin," he mewled at me. "Help an old soldier keep out the cold?" This seemed a good price and I was impressed that he'd recognised my military bearing (though the "old" was a touch impertinent). However, upon further enquiry it transpired that he had no gin to sell me at all, which is frankly typical of his sort.

Why be poor?

I mean, all this poverty is so bloody unnecessary. If a chap's on his uppers, there are plenty of avenues open to he upon whom the cocks, dogs, bears, horses, cards, badgers and members of Her Majesty's Constabulary have recently been looking unfavourably.

These so-called 'poor' should get off their rears; they must have some relative to sponge off, surely? I've wrung my folks, in strict rotation, 'til they squeaked.

I suppose one must accept the existence of the poor; those workhouses must house something, or there wouldn't be so many of 'em.

But as I've demonstrated how easy it is to extricate oneself from the situation, one can only assume it's the blighters' own fault. I'm not saying that the poor are lazy, although this is doubtless true. My main contention is that they must be gormless. It is, therefore, in the national interest to eradicate them.

Get them stoned or get them clubbing

I'm all for care in the community, and suggest that the community take care of them via regular public stonings. This may seem extreme – mixing with Johnny Public in a smelly, bloody frenzy – but it's sanctioned in both The Bible and The Origin of Species.

And perhaps the whole thing could be put on a more formal basis with an annual cull? This would certainly kick-start some furious entrepreneurial activity as the date approached.

Anyone, from Land's End to J.O'Gs, who couldn't demonstrate a minimum amount of spondoolicks would be driven into market squares where us decent, monied people would humanely club them to death.

This would serve two vital purposes: first, extermination of the lowest elements in society; and secondly, an instant curtailing of that awful phrase "is he clubbable?" which I've fallen foul of on too many occasions.

This 'national clubbing' would not be as grim as it may first sound. Nippers attending for the first time could be blooded, and points awarded for style.

If we did it in batches, we could even have regional championships and a national final at the end of which we flay the carcasses so everyone gets a nice new belt, wallet or pair of shoes out of it. (I bow here to William Wallace.)

Perhaps little of this is feasible, but a cull is worthy of consideration. We mustn't shrink from things just because they don't find favour with certain Whigs and lefty clergymen.

And, you never know, the 'clubbers' might even come to enjoy being packed into a confined space; to revel in their frenzied movements, dripping with sweat and losing themselves to the heavy repetitive beats (on exposed heads, ribcages and shins).

Perhaps I could even convince them to buy vastly over-priced drinks while they were at it? Possibly, though I'd probably have to drug 'em first.

~ R.A.

Illo: S.C.


More Stories & Characters »

The Complete Mustard

Mustard comedy magazine compendium
Mustard comedy magazine

Get the Mustard  Compendium: 
PDF  ·  Paperback

The complete 336-page collection of all 9¼ issues,
featuring new and updated funny stuff, plus expanded interviews.


Myth Management

Out now: Mustard's first spin-off novel

Myth Management: a Young Adult Urban Fantasy novel by Alex Musson
Myth Management: a Young Adult Urban Fantasy novel by Alex Musson

Paperback  £8.99  ·

Kindle  £2.99  ·