Bard Billot on the First Boyfriend 

Raiders of the Lost Clarke

We sailed up the mighty Aro River

in search of Count Gayfforde, the Royal Consort,

who had vanished like a ghost into the steaming jungle.

The good ship SS FREEDOM OR DEATH chugged along,

poop deck gaily decorated by the bright canvas of twenty tents.

We travelled on and on towards the heart of darkness,

and in the night we heard chanting on the riverbanks:

the fearsome tribe of the Liberal Urban Elite

with their war song MANDATE MANDATE MANDATE.

We gathered around the sausage sizzle

and traded theories on the fate of Gayfforde.

“I heard he was involved in trafficking snuff powder,”

said a turmeric yoga lady as she adjusted her tinfoil hat.

“I heard he and Centurion Andronicus were cousins,”

said the Bosun in his JAIL JABCINDA tshirt.

“I heard he was making an appearance

in the Kekerengu County Magistrate’s Office,”

claimed a man in a wolf fur onesie,

before starting to howl and shed vaccines over the galley.

Lo, the sausages were bad;

and so the crew were confined to their quarters,

sneezing and coughing and wheezing,

which are well known symptoms of sausage poisoning.

So it was we wound further and further upstream,

until we reached the Fake Encampment

of the Red Empress, and could go no further.

But the camp was deserted, save for

a pair of buzzards croaking from a 5G cellphone tower

and a lawn sprinkler sprinkling the mud.

There were only two of us left.

I turned round to this quiet bloke and said,

“That’s it – this is a mystery for the ages,

the villain has eluded us completely.”

Only then did I notice, late, far, far too late,

he was carrying a fishing rod,

and some Technics SL-1210 Mk7 turntables.

Victor Billot composes weekly Odes in ReadingRoom for such luminaries as Centurion Andronicus, the Occupation of the Cenotaph, the Prime Sinister, Brian Tamaki, Dr Siouxsie Wiles, and Garrick Tremain.

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