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Ash: A modern folk tale.

by on March 6, 2017

As a few of you may recall, I’ve a gig at the Llandeilo Literary Festival on 29 April. So yes, I am preparing some new material that might be suitable, and here as a taster is something that I might perform as part of the set. Or maybe not, if the mood takes me, we artists are capricious people, are we not?

Anyway, here it is.


There was a widow with two pretty and sweet tempered daughters in their late teens (we will skip over the obvious logical impossibility) who remarried. Her new husband was a duke, also a widower, who was in possession of a large fortune and a daughter in her early teenage years who was called Ash. Actually she possessed a long and rather beautiful and exotic African Tribal name, granted to her at birth by her father who at the time was off his face on an exotic powder he had been given as a present during a Save The Children Fundraiser, but she preferred to shorten it to Ash.

Now, shortly after the wedding the Duke died, from an unfortunate overdose of that same powder, before he had had time to visit his solicitor and remake his Will and accordingly the new Duchess got the lot. Because she had, in addition to the beautiful daughters and the newly acquired enormous fortune, a strong Social Conscience, she naturally intended to treat Ash as part of her own family and rather than ship her off to some fiendishly expensive Swiss Finishing School to try and catch the heir to a Russian Oligarch fortune, bring Ash up herself.

Ash however was unimpressed, considering this a waste of all the time she had spent learning Russian and showed it in many little ways, but chiefly by playing Slayer and Queensryche at 3 am with the volume turned up to 11 in her bedroom until even the sweet tempered older teenagers had had enough. Ash was moved from the light, airy bedroom with the view over the homeless in the Park to the entirely empty old Servants Quarters on the top floor which she promptly repainted black and installed extractor fans in all the rooms, along with Mega Death and Slipknot posters.

The final straw for the Duchess was Ash’s acquisition of two quite terrifying tattoos on her forearms, and her habit at the expensive Charity Parties they all attended of sitting in a corner playing Death Metal through her individually designed Bluetooth earphones so loudly that even the CIA agents trying to get financial backing for their latest Regime change plans began to complain. Accordingly, when the gold encrusted  invitations to the Annual Famine Relief Ball at the Dorchester arrived, the Duchess quietly dropped Ash’s invitation in the bin – where Ash found it an hour or two later during her regular inspection of the Duchess’ waste bags in an attempt to hack her Stepmother’s identity and gain access to the enormous fortune (she had listened to more than just Slash Metal at the Charity Events, you see). She laid her plans.

So at the appointed hour the Duchess and her daughters, in their best finery, departed for the Ball. An hour or so after they had arrived, and the Royal Guest of Honour was trying to breach the solid wall of eligible daughters surrounding him in order to reach the comparative safety of the Bar, the part was disturbed by the roar of massed motorcycle engines from outside. Ruching to the windows they saw a Hell’s Angel cavalcade draw up out side the Hotel, escorting a large Hearse. The Undertakers climbed out of the Hearse and took out the coffin, which they brought inside the Hotel. The angle of the windows prevented the party-goers from seeing the coffin lid open, and a somewhat creased Invitation be presented from within the coffin to the Security Staff on the door. Presuming this to be just another publicity stunt for the massed paparazzi, the staff let the coffin in and the escort roared away with the massed ranks of the Metropolitan Police in luke-warm pursuit.

The coffin was placed in the middle of the dance floor and the lid removed. A vision in an expensive dress arose. This was Ash, who had carefully concealed her face and identity by smearing makeup over the tattoos and ‘borrowing’ her late father’s leather BDSM mask from the Duchess’ bedside cabinet where it was kept it for sentimental reasons.

She danced the night away with the besotted Prince. Not to the expensive orchestra, but to the strains of Slipknot, Slayer and Metallica through her expensive designer earphones, embellished with a Death’s Head symbol. As the Prince had forgotten his, she lent him one of her own.

But alas, the appointed time for her departure arrived too early. The Hearse was needed for a funeral at 10am, and Ash had to suddenly flee as the Undertakers reopened the coffin and beckoned her urgently. In her rush, she forgot to reclaim her earphone.

All were left, asking: Who was that mysterious Girl? And what time does the free bar close?

The next day, the besotted prince began by searching the internet images from the paparazzi for the mysterious girl who had claimed both his heart and, in an unguarded moment, his wallet. He called for the Royal Protection Squad, who had a list of all the attendees and quickly worked his way down the list. He then visited the most likely suspects, crying: Match this thing that she left behind last night, and you will have verily won my heart! But none could do so.

Finally, the prince arrived at the Duchess’ house and repeated his plea. The Duchess had no idea what the thing with a Death’s Head upon it was, and looked pleadingly at her daughters. They searched their collection of earphones desperately, hoping for a match, but sadly none was available. The Prince decided to leave, exiting through the kitchen for discretion.

“Has no one such an earphone?” he cried in despair.

Ash was sitting at the kitchen table, for she had recently awoken and was afflicted with the munchies as a result of taking some of the enormous cache of stuff she had found in a concealed pocket within the coffin the night before. “Hey,” she shouted. “That’s mine! Give it here!” and she brought out the twin to the earpiece the prince held.

There was much rejoicing, especially by the Duchess who was addicted to smooth jazz and didn’t really care for Mega Death and Slayer, and the Prince duly married Ash.

They lived happily ever after.  Well, they did after the eventual divorce and Ash was able (on the proceeds) to set up a small promotional company allowing her to tour the world with up and coming Thrash Metal bands, and the prince to spend his time in his LA Playboy mansion with a continuous supply of porn movie stars.


The  End.    for more details of the Festival.



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