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Monday, November 22, 2004

Fish License

Praline: (whistles a bit, then) Hello. I would like to buy a fish license, please.
Postal clerk: A what?
Praline: A license for my pet fish, Eric.
Clerk: How did you know my name was Eric?
Praline: No, no, no! My fish's name is Eric. Eric fish. He's an halibut.
Clerk: What?
Praline: He is an halibut.
Clerk: You've got a pet halibut?
Praline: Yes, I chose him out of thousands. I didn't like the others, they were all too flat.
Clerk: You must be a loony.
Praline: I am not a loony. Why should I be tarred with the epithet 'loony' merely because I have a pet halibut? I've heard tell that Sir Gerald Nabarro has a pet prawn called Simon - you wouldn't call him a loony! Furthermore Dawn Pathorpe, the lady show jumper, had a clam called Stafford, after the late chancellor. Alan Bullock has two pikes, both called Chris, and Marcel Proust had an 'addock! So if you're calling the author of 'A la recherche de temps perdu' a loony, I shall have to ask you to step outside!
Clerk: All right, all right, all right. A license?
Praline: Yes!
Clerk: For a fish.
Praline: Yes!
Clerk: You *are* a loony.
Praline: Look, it's a bleeding pet, isn't it? I've got a license for me pet dog Eric, I've got a license for me pet cat Eric.
Clerk: You don't need a license for your cat.
Praline: I bleedin' well do and I've got one! Can't be caught out there!
Clerk: There is no such thing as a bloody Cat license.
Praline: Yes there is.
Clerk: No there isn't.
Praline: Is!
Clerk: Isn't!
Praline: Is!
Clerk: Isn't!
Praline: Is!
Clerk: Isn't!
Praline: Is!
Clerk: Isn't!
Praline: Is!
Clerk: Isn't!
Praline: Is!
Clerk: Isn't!
Praline: What's that then?
Clerk: This is a dog license with the word 'dog' crossed out and 'cat' written in, in crayon.
Praline: Man didn't have the right form.
Clerk: What man?
Praline: The man from the cat detector van.
Clerk: The loony detector van, you mean.
Praline: Look, it's people like you what cause unrest.
Clerk: What cat detector van?
Praline: The cat detector van from the Ministry of Housinge.
Clerk: Housinge?
Praline: It was spelt like that on the van. I'm very observant. I never seen so many bleedin' aerials. The man said their equipment could pinpoint a purr at four hundred yards, and Eric being such a happy cat was a piece of cake.
Clerk: How much did you pay for this?
Praline: Sixty quid and eight for the fruit-bat.
Clerk: What fruit-bat?
Praline: Eric the fruit-bat.
Clerk: Are all your pets called Eric?
Praline: There's nothing so odd about that. Kemel Attaturk had an entire menagerie called Abdul.
Clerk: No he didn't.
Praline: Did!
Clerk: Didn't!
Praline: Did, did, did, did, did and did!
Clerk: Oh all right.
Praline: Spoken like a gentleman, sir. Now, are you going to give me a fish license?
Clerk: I promise you that there is no such thing. You don't need one.
Praline: Then I would like a statement to that effect signed by the Lord Mayor.
(Fanfare of trumpets. Mayor gorgeously dressed with dignitaries enters flanked by trumpeters.)
Clerk: You're in luck.
(In long shot now. The Mayor, who is nine foot high, and dignitaries approach a startled Praline. Organ music below a reverent voice over)

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