As the delicious aroma of brewing Blue Mountain peaberry coffee wafted into the library or the Emerald Victorian, Laetitia was already deep in thought. She and her groups had been touring London, where the difficulty was not in finding interesting places to visit, but rather choosing from a multitude of options. In situations like this she usually spent some time scanning the library’s collection of books, looking for an idea that could become the day’s tour.
As she scanned, she was surprised to find Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales in the collection. “I suppose it is a sort of mind-travel book,” she thought. When she pulled the book from the shelf, she found an even bigger surprise. It was bookmarked. “Obviously,” she thought, “This must mark the favorite passage of the Emerald Victorian’s librarian, whoever that is.” She began reading the bookmarked passage. It turned out to be The Miller’s Prologue and Tale. She was about to put the book down and search elsewhere when she came to the disclaimer at the end of the Prologue, where the miller warns the readers that the tale is bawdy and that if they are easily offended they should skip to the next tale. As one who wrote bawdy text herself, she wasn’t easily offended, so she continued reading until the end of the tale of the cuckolded carpenter, the young wife, the student, the moonstruck suitor, and the hot poker.
Still searching for the day’s destination, she found Pert Close in Rude UK and decided to go there. Pert Close is about a block off Pinkham Way near the Muswell Hill Golf Club. The day’s tour group, as it turned out, consisted entirely of golfers who had joined the tour because they wanted to play the Muswell Hill course. Laetitia made the necessary arrangements, and they made a brief stop at Pert Close on the way. Laetitia wasn’t a golfer, so she decided to have a Pimm’s Cup at the clubhouse while the golfers were on the course. The bar wasn’t busy at this hour, so she had an opportunity to listen to several stories from the bartender, who happened to live on Pert Close. One of his stories had several elements in common with The Miller’s Tale, and it became the basis for the multiple-verse limerick of the day.
On Pert Close lived Patricia and Curt
Now young Pat was decidedly pert
And prone to be saucy
Or forward and bossy
And a lady who tended to flirt.
Her mood often tended toward festive
While cavorting in poses suggestive
Outside on the lawn
Just a bit after dawn
Before breakfast of biscuits digestive.
So the neighbors of Pat on Pert Close
Watched each morn as she bent to touch toes
Suppressing their snickers
When she forgot nickers
And they laughed when she’d no pantyhose.
But Norman, the lad ‘cross the yard
Who of common sense, hadn’t a shard
Was a lad who would swoon
At each glimpse of the moon
And considered himself a fine bard.
He saw Pat as a woman quite glamorous
And each night would avoid being clamorous
As he carefully crept
Near the room where she slept
To recite for her his verses amorous.
And he thought he’d be sadly remiss
If he failed to plead for just one kiss
At the end of each night
But sad was his plight
For the closed window thwarted his bliss.
Said the neighbors, “That Norman’s a nut
For he nightly seeks to kiss her, but
Despite how he pleads
He never succeeds
And his life seems to be in a rut.”
‘Til one evening awhile after dusk
Norm smelled the strong odor of musk
From the window gapped wide
And he rushed right outside
And his timidness sloughed like a husk.
His face moved in a narrowing arc
Through the window ‘til lips found their mark
But, he couldn’t tell whether
They were oral or nether
The lips that he kissed in the dark.
But the aftermath of osculation
Filled Norm with such wild jubilation
That he loudly did brag
And was heard by a wag
In a pub where he had a libation.
On Pert Close, Pat and Curt had a laugh
About what they viewed as Norm’s gaffe
Saying, “He did not know
A bum from an elbow,’
Writ in stone will be his epitaph.”
Over drinks at the bar in their basement
They conspired to extend Norm’s debasement
And the gist of this farce
Was to present Curt’s arse
In the dark behind the open casement.
T’was a trick both embraced with élan
And all seemed just according to plan
Except for the wag
Who hid with his bag
In the back of a nearby parked van.
Just before Norm could venture outside
Through a van window now opened wide
The wag did let fly
With luminous dye
That struck Curt right on his backside.
For the instrument brought by the joker
Was not a Chaucerian poker
As the wag had his fun
What was aimed at Curt’s bun
Was a new modern-day Super Soaker.
Bum aglow, Curt ran off in the night
As it lit his way with eerie light
Pat entered a nunnery
And the wag practiced gunnery
And young Norman moved to Isle of Wight.
The neighbors all thought they were winners
For they hadn’t been fond of those sinners
And ‘twas an oft-told tale
One that took long to pale
As fine gossip recounted at dinners.