This is another poem that was written for reading out aloud. I’m not exactly certain why, but it always makes me think of Jake Thackray. It’s silly and pointless and just the way it should be…
I was in the checkout queue at Tesco’s – Friday last
When the Devil approached me and said,
“Before the die, for your future is cast,
Let me give you an option instead.”
“I will give you three wishes, with a full guarantee
Not to limit your statutary rights.
I’ll throw in a bottle of egg-nog for free,
If you order by Saturday night.”
“I just wanted a small tin of tuna,” said I.
“And a few custard creams for my tea,
But I can’t help myself and my trolley’s piled high
So I don’t think I’ll manage your fee.”
“I don’t want your money,” Beelzebub said.
“Your soul is the normal receipt.
Most people I speak to don’t need to be led,
So come on now, don’t drag your feet.”
Well, I have to admit, the temptation was great
‘Cos I never had much time for soul.
To tell you the truth I always preferred
Some reggae or plain rock & roll.
“Buffoon!” cried the horned one. “You great stupid prat!
We’re not talking Diana Ross.
It’s your spirit I’m after, so make up your mind –
Tell the truth, I just don’t give a toss.”
Well, the checkout girl had started to sigh
She was filing her nails with a will.
When the Devil ate up my pre-packed Birds-Eye extruded fish crumb and dehydrated potato meal in a pot for one with individual sachet of tomato ketchup,
She stretched for the bell on her till.
The security man made a big, big mistake
Well, you don’t push the Devil around.
He just tapped his trident on the mock parquet floor
And opened a hole in the ground.
The guard and his cap just plummeted down
And were braised in the fires of Hell.
Then the Devil turned round and he grinned when he said
“Those Hob-Nobs would go down quite well.”
He said, “It won’t take long to finish this pack
So please make your mind up by then.”
Three wishes were quite a temptation to me,
But really I needed about ten.
I wish that I knew all the lottery numbers
An hour or so in advance.
I wish I could dance without looking just like
A hedgehog has died in my pants.
I wish I could cook a soufflé
Or whip up a sex on the beach
I wish I could fly, I wish I could draw,
I wish that success was within reach
I wish I was taller, with much longer arms
So my hands reached the end of my sleeve.
I wish that I didn’t have the sneaking suspicion
That people cheer up when I leave.
I wish that I wasn’t the sad kind of person
Who finds falling over funny
But most of the time, I wish most of all
That I had an abundance of money.
So I turned to the Anti-Christ, prepared to say `Yes’,
But he’d gone with my Dairylea spread.
He’d decided he didn’t have use for my soul,
But the girl at the checkout instead.
By now there was no way to reach her conveyor
So I wandered on out through the aisle
And walked past another security guard
With what I hoped was a confident smile.
If the point of this story is hard to decipher
I’m sorry, you see I’m not sure,
But a sixteen stone, 6 foot 2 inch store detective
Arrested me outside the door.
So, if you meet the Devil in Tesco’s
And this offer to you should be made,
The only advice I can give you
Is to make sure the shopping’s been paid.