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Colin Baker

The boat was called the Santa Maria which was the captain’s joke because he said they had no hope of finding anything new.  It had been on the water for a week and the crew were thinking about home.

“I haven’t had a good shit since we left,” said Bullard.

His name suited him. Bullard was a bull of a man, big and broad and prone to being goaded into violence.  He farted like no one else.  When he farted the smell would linger throughout the boat for hours.  Even when he farted in his bunk the whole crew could smell it anywhere in the boat.

“You’ve farted enough,” said Lewis.

“His farts are shits,” said the boy Rob and Bullard gave him a kick that shook the table and toppled some of the cigarettes they were betting with.

Venk said something in Dutch and Van Der Hart laughed.

“What the fuck are you laughing at?” growled Bullard but Van Der Hart just kept laughing.

“You’re the one who kicked the table,” said Lewis, “now shut up and bet.”

They were playing poker. They’d been playing poker for hours. The boat was lost.  They all knew that but playing poker took their mind off it.  The Captain was in his cabin trying to figure out where the fuck they were but it was no good.  They’d got greedy. Lewis knew that.  They should never have done that last burning but Bullard and the Captain wanted some action.  Bullard’s cock was twitching for a bit of fanny and the Captain was twitching for something more than a bit of rusty old iron to take home.  That’s all they’d managed to get this time, just a load of scrap metal and that’d hardly be enough to pay the whole crew when they got back home.

They were lost and they would all go home, if they got home, poorer than when they left.  Bullard was probably the only one who was happy.  He’d managed to get two lots of fanny.  One mutton and one lamb was what he called it.

“Bet,” said Lewis because he was sick of poker.

“I fold,” said Bullard and he took one of his cigarettes, lit it and blew smoke at Rob’s face.

“Leave him be,” said Lewis and he placed four cigarettes in the middle of the table.

“Four!” gasped Rob, “fucking hell man, are you joking. Ah, screw it.”

Rob folded, Venk folded and Van Der Hart sat there with one of his stupid grins.

“You’re bluffing,” said Lewis but Van Der Hart just grinned.  Venk whispered something in his ear and Van Der Hart looked at Lewis and smiled showing his yellow teeth.

“You a blooff,” said Van Der Hart.

“Do I?” said Lewis and he pushed all his cigarettes into the middle.

“Hoerenjong!” spat Van Der Hart and he threw his cards down.

“Am I?” said Lewis as he collected his winnings.  He knew just enough of Dutch to know what Van Der Hart meant.  If he was Bullard he would have broken Van Der Hart’s nose and probably Venk’s too for good measure.

They sat there then because no one was much in the mood for another game.  Bullard farted and Rob got up and brought back some beers and a plate of cheese.

“Was it mouldy?” asked Lewis.

“A little but I cut the worst off,” answered Rob and they sat there in silence drinking their beers and nibbling cheese, hard cheese.

“Doctor Who,” said Lewis.  He’d been thinking about Doctor Who a lot lately.  He’d been thinking about a lot of things from before, mostly television programmes but Doctor Who was the one that came back to mind most.

“What about it?” asked Bullard and he farted loudly, squelched one out.

“I can’t remember them all,” said Lewis as he lit one of his winnings.

“Which one?” asked Bullard and he farted for a third time.

“Is that a sincere question or are you just being a dick?”

Venk said something in Dutch. Venk and Van Dr Hart were watching Lewis and Bullard’s conversation.

“Doc…tor…who…” said Lewis, accentuating the syllables but Venk shrugged.

“Name the ones you remember,” said Bullard.

Rob was watching the conversation just the same as Venk and Van Der Hart.  He couldn’t remember any of the things Lewis and Bullard would talk about, he couldn’t even remember televisions really.

“William Hartnell,” began Lewis, sucking on his cigarette and Bullard started nodding as Lewis said the names slowly like a prayer, “Patrick Troughton, John Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davidson…”

“He was good,” cut in Bullard and then he farted, a wheezing fart.

“…Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant and Matt Smith.”

Bullard didn’t say anything.

“Well,” said Lewis, “any ideas?”

“It’s there somewhere,” said Bullard, “wait a minute.”

They sat in silence. Lewis finished his beer and shook the empty bottle at Rob who got up and brought back five more.

Bullard’s arse erupted.  It was the loudest fart any of them had ever heard. It stank like he’d shit himself days ago and had been sitting in his own shit, festering in it.

“Colin Baker,” he said when his fart subsided and Lewis slammed a hand down on the table.

“Fucking hell,” shouted Lewis, “you fucking star.”

It was like this heavy weight had finally left Lewis’ shoulders.  It was like something had been stuck in his brain, a tumour, and it had just vanished with Bullard’s words.

“He was shit,” said Bullard and Lewis nodded.  Bullard was right, Colin Baker was shit.

They played two more hands of poker and when they were all pretty drunk, Rob asked Bullard to tell the story of the lamb again, the girl he’d had at the last burning.  Bullard didn’t need too much encouraging to retell his stories.  He loved it.  He had every one down to a fucking poem; they were so beautiful to hear.

“Ah, the little lamb,” Bullard began, a fart sneaking out of his arse, “she was as tight as the Captain’s wallet and she didn’t fight half as hard as the mutton…”

Venk and Van Der Hart grinned.  They couldn’t understand a word of Bullard’s story but they understood the tone well enough.  They could sit there and listen to the sound of Bullard’s story and each of them could picture the women they’d left at home.  Rob got a massive hard on, mercifully concealed beneath the table.  Lewis smoked and when the story was over and everyone was in their bunks he sat at the table and smoked all of his winnings and drank the last of the beer. He thought of Colin Baker.  He remembered a sinister man in a stupid coat with blonde hair that was almost an afro.

“Colin Baker,” said Lewis to himself, shaking his head.

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About michaeleganpoetry

Liverpool based poet and editor. I have had four pamphlets of poetry published, most recently After Stikklestad (Knives, Forks and Spoons Press, 2010). Penned in the Margins published my first collection, Steak & Stations, in 2010.

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