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‘Twas once upon a midnight dark,
I chanced to pass by O2 Park.
No stars shone forth to guide my way,
As darkness mocked the far-flung day.
An icy stillness seemed to lie
Beneath the black, unearthly sky,
When suddenly I heard a sound,
Searing from within the ground.
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I froze awhile to ascertain
If that strange noise should come again.
There! I heard it quite distinctly,
Slicing through the night succinctly.
No creature fashioned by God’s hand,
That haunts the sky or stalks the land,
Could have ever made that cry,
Just at the time that I passed by.
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My hair had tightened at the roots,
And urine trickled in my boots.
My face assumed a deathly pallor,
For I am not a man of valour.
But despite my urgent inclination
To run fast from the situation,
That gruesome sound did draw me nearer,
For to hear it’s portents clearer.
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The wooden gate, decayed and rotted,
Badly splintered, fractured, rotted,
Curiously lay open wide,
And so I slowly stepped inside.
That noise again! I gulped and swallowed,
Chose the right hand path which followed
The contour of the old stand which
Stared out upon the football pitch.
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And as I turned the corner lightly,
An icy numbness grasped me tightly,
And pulled me onwards, ever on
To where an apparition shone.
And, as I stood beneath the stand,
The Devil took me by the hand
And pointed at the orange glow
That paced the pitch with howls of woe.
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Encapsulating all my fears,
I slapped my hands across my ears,
But could not block the anguished yell
That seemed to emanate in Hell.
And as I stared, eyes open wide,
My stomach churning up inside,
The ghastly creature seemed to sense
It had a captive audi-ence.
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It ceased its woebegotten pacing,
And turned from where my eyes were facing,
And like a ghoul, intense, unholy,
Towards the stand it floated slowly.
And as I stood there at pitch-side,
Buttock-clenched and petrified,
Its features grew distinct and sharp,
Revealing a large orange carp.
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Its eyes were black like pools of night,
Betraying not a trace of light.
No bubbles from its round lips blew,
Though droplets on it’s scales, like dew,
Shimmered, glistened, danced ablaze
Within the eerie orange haze,
And then, with an unearthly croak,
It paused in front of me and spoke: –
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“I’m not a carp, you stupid turd,
For that is frankly quite absurd.
My name is Fabio and I
Was recently condemned to die.
I am a goldfish. Patently.
Perhaps you might have heard of me.
My life was swum to help the Drogs,
Until I cruelly popped my clogs.”
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I stared hard at his scaly features,
This most unfortunate of creatures,
This former fish with restless soul,
This legend of the goldfish bowl.
“What is this talk of gruesome slaughter?
You died in peace upon the water.
I heard the coroner agreed
Your death was natural indeed.”
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“Peace?” the goldfish snarled with fury.
“I suppose that you were on the jury?
It was an overdose of pills
That stayed my ever-flapping gills.
Murder, foul and unsuspected,
By a man I once respected.
I charge you with my dying breath
To go forth and avenge my death.”
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I let the words swirl round my head,
Digesting what the goldfish said.
Could it really be his wish
That I should murder for a fish?
At last I spoke, with great straw-clutching,
“Your faith in me is very touching,
And thanks for that bizarre request,
But I don’t think that it’s for the best.”
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“Your choice” the fish intoned with rankness,
“I thank you for that well-meant frankness,
But let me give to you the rub-
I’m going to haunt this football club.
They’ll never get a good decision,
The fans will loudly voice derision,
No piece of luck will e’er befall
These masters of the leather ball.
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‘Just when they’re about to shoot,
The ball will bobble on the boot,
Shots will go three inches wide,
Brilliant goals be ruled offside.
No more will their supporters talk
And laugh and jeer at poor Dundalk,
For they’ll be relegated too!
And all of this, because of you.”
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And with a loud and deathly sob,
This unavenged large orange blob,
Turned around its tearful face,
And cursed the evil human race.
I watched him for a while as he
Continued wailing wretchedly.
And then, when I could stand no more,
With gusto through the gate I tore.
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With silver wings upon my feet,
I ran unseeing down the street,
And did not dare slow up until
I’d reached the bottom of the hill.
A curse upon the claret and blue?
But what was I supposed to do?
For like a goldfish out of water,
Wasn’t I a Shels supporter?