an original story. Admittedly, it's
over 25 years since my old friend Trevor first told me this true story.
My point is that it is an 'original tale'
from the horse's
mouth.The way that you can always identify an original yarn is the extra detail that you don't
get when people copy or imitate the original story, joke or tale.
Trevor always knows people who are interesting, out of the ordinary, and they always have a tale to tell.
This story goes back to the time when gas appliances in England were being converted from methane
to natural gas. A friend of Trevor's
called Barney had a good job as a fitter of these replacement gas appliances.
It was a lovely job because they were paid on piece rate. The more houses
they could convert, the more they earned.Barney got faster and faster at his job. He was expert at unscrewing the old oven and boiler parts, then whipping in the new fittings. He was so good that he could even convert the
appliances without turning off the gas at the mains. Now to pull off this trick Barney trained his breathing along the lines of those boys who dive for oysters. He would take a huge lungful of air,
take off with the old fitting - O.K. so gas escapes, but he soon whacked in the new shiny new joint, and then gasped another breath from an open window. There was one other proviso for this risky shortcut,
the owner had to be out.One day he knocked on the door, explained to the lady that he had come from the gas board about their north sea conversion. The owner was delighted that she was finally going to move from the smelly old gas
to the new natural gas. She told Barney that she just had to pop to the shops and as her husband was working in the garden, Barney could go ahead with his fitting. Great thought Barney, this will be a quick
job, no need to turn off the gas at the mains. The boiler was no trouble, but one of the jets in the oven was rusty and crusted. Even though the gas was escaping, Barney sprayed a can of WD-40 on the
obstinate fitting and eventually it unscrewed and he whisked on the replacement part.As Barney came up for air, to his horror, he spotted that the budgie in the kitchen was lying on its back at the
bottom of his cage. It was not looking good, and to add to his trouble he could see the lady opening the gate at the bottom of the garden. What to do? Being resourceful, Barney cut a length of
fuse wire and wrapped it around the dead budgie's
legs and tethered him to his perch. As a nice touch he even set the perch rocking, and then turned and met the lady in the door way. 'All done,'Barney said as he sauntered down the path to the gate.'Good grief, my budgie,'
said the lady. Barney picked up the lady's
bad vibes and his chances of legging it were not improved by the sudden appearance of the woman's
blocking his exit. 'Come back here,'
she said, and as his escape was cut off by the husband, he had no option but to turn and face the music.'It's
a miracle', the lady said, 'when I left this morning, my budgie was dead, now he'sjumped up on his perch and is swinging away happy as you please'.Written by Guy Thomas 2005.
True Story about Flash the Entrepreneur by Guy Thomas
Flash and I went to the same school. We were
not close friends, but our paths crossed from time to time. This is the story of how Flash came by his epithet.In 1966, you could buy about 12 packets of flash washing powder for a UK pound. To give the story perspective you could also get 40 mars bars for one UK pound. As a marketing gimmick, flash
offered four UK pounds if your birthday happened to match a date, which they printed on each packet. Each packet had a different date printed inside the lid. As I remember, you had to send in your birth certificate by way of proof.To
digress, the first lesson of this story is that no one suddenly becomes an entrepreneur, you have to serve your apprenticeship. Flash had just taken money from us by betting that two boys in any class
of thirty would have the same birthday. We could choose any class in the school. Many of us lost money, then we foolishly doubled our losses by betting on another class. Flash, even as a
fifteen year old, knew what we didn't
break-even point for this bet is 24 people, over that number the odds are more and more in favour of two birthdays on the same date.Anyway, armed with his winnings Flash hatched his famous plan. He bought 12 packets of flash washing powder, ripped off the labels and carefully noted the birthdays. He then went around the school of 350
boys asking each their
birthday and if any matched, he sold them a flash label with their birthday for 50p down and another 50p when they got the four pounds. He soon sold eight birthday labels for 4 pounds, so making a
profit of three pounds.His next move was smart, he bought up the entire stock of Flash from the only store in town. This tactic prevented copycats from easily getting their hands on the stock.
Legend has it that flash said to the shocked grocer, 'rip me off the labels and give the powder to needy pensioners'
.After a fortnight Flash had made over one hundred pounds. His exploits even
featured on the local news. Moreover, the first boys started receiving their four pounds and thus he was receiving a second 50p not to mention a flood of new orders.Then disaster nearly struck. Flash the powder manufacturer,
wrote to the boys saying that unfortunately they had exhausted their local quota of payouts.
However, by way of consolation, they offered kitchen knife. I say
disaster nearly struck, because the first boy to receive such a letter was Fred, captain of the school rugby team. Fred was not impressed with the kitchen knife, a fact he told to Flash in no
uncertain terms, when he cornered him in the changing room.Flash was the antithesis of a sportsman, and avoided physical exertion at all costs, but he was quick witted, and not only did he give Fred a
full refund, but he made Fred an offer to act as his protector. Fred listened carefully and after folding money changed hands, agreed to protect Flash from the rest of the disgruntled boys.Written by Guy Thomas 2006.Footnote
The above story, I can vouch for as I was there.
Although I did not realise it at the time, I was fortunate that my birthday
did not come up.Unfortunately, I lost touch with Flash shortly after this escapade. Persistent rumours and stories about Flash's
life in the army and an
escapade with an Australian free fall team, have filtered down over the years, but sadly none are publishable.
If you don't see the topic that you are interested in try our 'Search'
box because we have a large selection of amusing yarns, tall tales and
strange but true stories.
Thomas and Olive:
A Tale at the Dentist
Olive, from County Westmeath, Ireland, arrives in England to live with her daughter and son in law. She is moving because of her poor health and brings with her most of her treasured
possessions. These include a small piece of tissue paper in which she has secreted what appear to be five teeth which have broken off her denture.Having settled in she asks Thomas, 'Do you know where I
can get my dentures mended?'
Of course, 'replies Thomas, 'If you give them to me I'll take them to a dental technician.'Olive duly hands over the rather tired piece of paper which contains some very grubby
looking teeth.He drives to Waterlooville to the dental laboratory. 'How long will it take?'
Thomas asks the technician.'Oh, about an hour, 'smiles the dental expert.'
Then I'll wait in the car', says Thomas, 'and read my newspaper.'An hour passes and the technician appears at the car window holding a plastic bag and the piece of tissue paper. 'That'll be £80, 'requests the specialist, 'but I
could only fit four of the teeth to the denture. I'm sorry.''That's a pity', comments Thomas, 'what happened to the fifth one?''I have it here in the tissue', answers the techie, showing it to Thomas.'The thing is, he said, 'it's
easy to fit the teeth but nigh on impossible to fit this peanut.'Footnote
We know this was a true dentist story because Will was there.
Another Free Short Story - By Guy Thomas.
Go and Feed the Ducks....
Here is a true duck story. There is no punch line, no moral, just a captivating account of Pauline and Guy's
experience of Mallard ducks.Neither my wife Pauline nor I are animal lovers. So one of our easiest prenuptial agreements was not to have pets. Mallard ducks are our sort of animal. They need no house room, we can
them for an hour, then ignore them until the next day. We can feed the ducks when we like. Should we miss a day, they can forage, or more likely, beg bread from another duck-loving softie.
Spring - Ducklings are Born
Our duck story begins around the end of May. Just down from our house there is a sizeable pond. This particular spring there were three mother ducks, they had clutches of 5, 6, and 7 ducklings. In
addition, there were three or four '
Aunts'. An Aunt is what we call the older female ducks, who have no chicks of their own, but nevertheless hang around the pond. At this time, the '
ducks - Guy word for drakes -
flew off. A man with a dog said he thought they had flown to a nearby pond for sanctuary. We never knew for sure. Whatever, in about 6 weeks the '
returned to check out their Wives.When the
chicks were small, they would parade in crocodile fashion, their proud mother in the lead. In those early days, Pauline and I just admired the ducks as we walked by the side of the pond. We knew that
neighbours children were giving the ducks bread. However, it wasn't
until our own nephews'
came to stay that we started feeding the ducks. Our first attempt to feed them was not a great success, they turned
up their noses at the Cornflakes, (well they were ancient) however, the dead scones and old cake crumbs were acceptable.
visit was over, but Pauline and I had the taste for feeding the ducks.
We started by just throwing bread into the water. When the slices of bread were finished, and we had no more food to give, we set off for home. When we turned around the ducks came out of the water, and started
following us pleadingly. Well it worked, I looked at Pauline and in an instant, we both agreed that I should run back for fresh supplies.When we went to feed the ducks, we threw the bread on the water.
The ducklings would respond by paddling frantically, this caused their heads moved rapidly from side to side movement. This turbo charged swimming meant the fluffy ducklings could race their parents
to the food. The aloof adults just cruised up sedately and
were content with a few crumbs. Sometimes when we arrived at the edge of the pond there were no ducks. They were at the other end of the pond, or were sleeping under the trees. As we walked towards them, we
heard the mother Jemima 'quack'. It seemed silly, but devilment took over, and we 'quacked'
too, this excited them and they 'quacked'
back. Then suddenly the whole
squadron of ducklings came paddling like fury towards us.While Henrietta and Jemimah, the two older female ducks were identifiable from the other ducks, at first all the drakes seemed the same.
Therefore, I called any drake a 'Daddy'. You can distinguish the adult male drake from the female ducks by the male's
bright green heads and flashes of blue in their wings.At first the
drakes were not interested in our food, either they were not hungry, or they just could not bother with the hurly burly of the youngsters feeding. However, gradually these drakes muscled their way into the action.
Pauline and I were alarmed by the way the Daddies picked up the chicks in their beak and flung them out of the way, as if they thought the youngster was invading their feeding space. Nature in the raw
we mused.Read more about these ducks here....Footnote:
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