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The Whistling Oyster

Rushing along Drury Lane, we see the pub signboard for the Whistling Oyster. We are appallingly behind schedule and to stop for any reason would be calamitous, but the Whistling Oyster is such a curious name for a pub that, if we just ignored it and didn’t learn more about it, we would always be puzzled about it, which would be irritating, to avoid the irritation of perpetual ignorance we dive into the pub and order a dozen bottles of Vintage Glencadam Special Reserve and ale for everybody, the barman starts to tell us the extraordinary tale behind the name of the pub, after two or three seconds Fatty says that it is very interesting but, first, he needs something to eat, he asks the barman to whistle up some oysters and we sit down to enjoy the wonderful Glencadam and chat about Rory insinuating himself into hunting society and how he should do it without attracting too much attention.

George says that Russians are interesting, so Rory can’t pretend to be Russian, I agree and add that Rory can’t be Polish either, because he is weak, and he can’t be Bulgarian or German because he is lazy and doesn’t like work, he doesn’t hate the English, so he can’t be Scottish, and he can’t be Irish for the same reason, he is a terrible lover and he can’t cook, so he can’t be French, but he isn’t particularly greasy, so he can’t be Greek. Fatty says that Rory can’t be a North American because he is doesn’t eat enough, he is too quiet and doesn’t like shooting people, and he isn’t rampantly promiscuous, so he can’t be South American. Albert says that, because Rory has no discernible personality, he would be a good Australian but, as Tam reminds us, Rory is also slightly effeminate, bland, insipid and only talks about trivia, so we decide that Rory should be English.

This is a good decision and, to celebrate, we order another crate of vintage single malt and more ale and talk about where in England Rory might come from, I point out that, on the rare occasions when he is partly sober, Rory can express himself clearly and sometimes he is quite clean, so he can’t come from Nottingham or Hull. Juan says that Rory can speak his own language, which means he isn’t Welsh, but he doesn’t have a sense of humour so he can’t say he comes from Liverpool, because you need a sense of humour to live in Liverpool. George reminds us that Rory does not have extremely serious learning difficulties so he doesn’t come from Essex, George says that Rory does not need to urgently cut down on his medication, so he isn’t Cornish, Tam adds that Rory is dull, out of touch, somewhat backward, lives on the periphery of things, and thinks that Manchester is a city of culture, which means that he doesn’t live in London and, obviously, has never been to Manchester. In the end, we decide that he Rory should say that he comes from Birmingham, nobody has any interest in Birmingham so nobody will ask him anything about the place, and, if they do, there’s nothing to know anyway, so all Rory has to do is stare vacantly into the air, which he is naturally good at.

This is another good decision, to celebrate, we buy a crate of vintage Brackla Private Reserve and more ale, then, drinking toast after toast to the pub’s fantastic barman and the extraordinary story behind the pub’s name, whatever it was, we stagger out onto the street and, whistling the Oyster Fisherman’s Jig, we rock back and forwards and sway from side to side, getting our bearings, then jig frantically along Drury Lane, as fast as we possibly can.

Professor Humperdink’s Diary