358 • Stocking-filler

358 • Stocking-filler

‘Folk guess I’m a big Dylan fan
From the name on my fruiterer’s van.
But I don’t deal in rumours,
I deal in satsumas,’
Said Hamish the Tangerine Man.

The unfortunate costermonger at the heart of this brief report was assassinated, one Manchester market-day, by a maniac brandishing a knife and shouting ‘Judas’. At the funeral, Hamish’s widow justified an unusual choice of music by reading from his last will and testament: ‘As the coffin sinks from sight, Mr Tambourine Man is the last music I want to hear.’ Such wording, infused with ambiguities worthy of the Pied Piper of Hibbing himself, convinced certain mourners that Hamish had been telling the truth … he’d never been a big Dylan fan at all.Untangle that if you can,’ whispered the priest as we left the crematorium.

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