Dr Bloodwort's Nefarious Medicine Show

ONCE UPON A RHYME…


These kinds of stories usually begin with Once Upon a Time
As openings go, that’s ok for some, but for this tale it feels benign
So, let me begin in a different way, and then we’ll be good to go
Read on at your peril, the twisted tale of a nefarious medicine show


It was an average day in a sleepy town, when his wagon rolled into view
Confusion ensued and the townsfolk they wondered what in the world they should do
It didn’t feel normal, it didn’t feel right, something was definitely wrong
Excitement was in the air that day, but that wouldn’t last very long


The wagon pulled up, folks held their breath as a figure stepped off the running board
Dressed in fine clothes from head to toe, the best that money could afford
The Doctor smiled and announced to the crowd that he could cure their ills
With a tap of his cane on the side of the wagon, he began to explain his skills


A hatch then unfolded mechanically, in a ballet of fluid motion
Revealing a sign emblazoned with details of his miraculous potion
With an eloquence so remarkable, he began his superlative spiel
Dazzling with wordplay poetical, listing ailments of which he could heal


He held them in the palm of his hand, the crowd they were enthralled
But if they’d have known his true motive, I’m sure they’d have been appalled
For Bloodwort had a secret so foul, it would have made your blood run cold
We’ll get to the details later, but for now other truths need to be told


He professed that his Elixir was a universal cure all tonic
But really it was just alcohol, how deliciously ironic
The magic was in the lies he told, in his deceitful salesman’s patter
The fact he was a spurious fraud, didn’t really seem to matter

He sold his elixir by the crateful and the crowd they lapped it up
They would drink it out of the bottle or pour it in a cup
Everyone seemed rather happy, if suspiciously a little tipsy
He then revealed the Ballyhoo, the first act a fortune telling Gypsy


Next up were the acrobats, what a sight they were to behold
Finally, a banjo virtuoso, playing songs from days of old
The crowd they were ecstatic and thoroughly entertained
Meanwhile Bloodwort surveyed the scene to see what more could be gained


That’s when he spied Eliza, the heroine of this tale
At once he knew what he wanted, and he knew he could not fail
It was infatuation at first sight, Eliza certainly was a beauty
To woo her, to entice her, to have her - would be his solemn most duty


As I said before dear reader, Bloodwort had a terrible secret scheme
And his intentions towards his new-found love were really quite extreme
He had a dark soul beneath the façade, an alter ego if you will
He liked to befriend pretty woman, and with poison he would then kill


Bloodwort was a serial killer, of that there was no doubt
He kept it very well hidden, and rarely let the demon out
It was when he spied a special girl, and the blood lust reared its head
After meeting with the malodorous fiend, girls would always end up dead


Eliza was a loving girl, who’d had her share of strife
She’d run away some years ago, in search of a better life
After travelling for many a year, she’d settled in this town
For once in her life she could honestly say her roots were firmly down


She sold fruit at the market and was liked by everyone around
She always wore a comforting smile, and very rarely frowned
Intelligent and resourceful, she was certainly nobody’s fool
In the most difficult of situations, she always kept her cool

So, there she stood on that day, framed in Bloodwort’s gaze
Innocently stood watching the show, oblivious to his cruel ways
It was at that moment the fortune teller caught Eliza’s attention
Cautiously she walked on over, with a feeling of slight apprehension


What transpired was a brief exchange that ended with a prediction
A situation of life or death, fate decided through hypnotic conviction
A prophecy so ambiguous, she left pondering those words bemusing
Surely, she could decide her own fate, it was totally of her own choosing


That was when Bloodwort made his move and swooped down on his prey
Obsequious and charming at first, as usually was his way
To worm his way in through flattery, then extend an invitation
If the mark refused he had other means of more unconventional persuasion


Eliza declined politely to meet later in his wagon for drinks
Bloodwort smiled and thought privately “Yes well, that’s what she thinks”
Luckily for Eliza, the Doctor’s assistant then interrupted
For they’d run out of Elixir, and the crowd had just erupted


Bidding farewell to Eliza, the Doctor left to calm the crowd
But he thought “We’ll meet again, my dear”, this to himself he vowed
So now you know the awful truth, we can continue with this story
But be warned from this moment forth, the plot gets a little bit gory


Daylight turned to dusk quietly in that oblivious sleepy town
The gloaming hid shadows of sinister things lurking all around
Eliza walked down the cobbled streets not knowing she was being stalked
Hiding just outside her view Bloodwort followed everywhere she walked


When he was sure she was all alone and no one else was around
He sprang forth from a hidden nook in a single purposeful bound
He startled Eliza for a moment, then she looked deep into his eyes
Falling into a hypnotic trance, she was totally mesmerised

For the Doctor had a trick up his sleeve, one learned in a foreign land
With just one look from his mesmereyes people’s actions he could command
Eliza didn’t stand a chance, she was completely under his thrall
He escorted her off to his wagon, she had no say in it at all


Bathed in the glow of the wagons lamp the Doctor offered Eliza a drink
Knowing she had no will of her own, her own thoughts she could not think
She sat there so obediently as the Doctor flitted around
Pouring liquids from vials so diabolical, and Eliza she made no sound


“What’s your poison my dear?” he exclaimed, and gave her a wry half smile
But he wouldn’t poison her immediately, he wanted to talk for a while
He sat a glass on the table, not far from a glass of his own
He said “that’s yours, but not yet my dear, first tell me why you’re alone”


They talked for hours under duress about Eliza’s life
A woeful tale of heartbreak and sorrow, and how she escaped all that strife
Bloodwort was so caught up in his scheme, he didn’t notice his thrall was waning
Eliza slowly regained her clarity and now his hold she was cleverly feigning


She knew that if she wanted escape she’d have to think on her feet
She bided her time patiently, waiting for her chance to retreat
That’s when she had a bold idea, their drinks she would secretly switch
Waiting until his back was turned, she switched with nary a hitch


“Drink it cruel fiend” she thought to herself, as Bloodwort picked up his glass
Time seemed to slow as the beverage was raised and between his lips it did pass
With a terrible crash the glass hit the floor and he began to foam from his maw
He clutched at his throat and fountains of blood ran in streams down his jaw


The Doctor collapsed in a quivering heap his life force was nearly spent
Contorted in spasms of blistering pain, Eliza was now totally hell bent
She picked up a knife from the table and thrust it repeatedly into his head
She wanted to make doubly sure that the monster would soon be dead


The body was now lifeless laying mangled on the blood-stained floor
It was a grisly scene but had to be done, to make sure he couldn’t kill anymore
Eliza departed the wagon, shaking from the gruesome ordeal
Her dress was covered in blood and brains, which was very hard to conceal


Quickly she ran back into town, to tell of what she had done
The people agreed it was self-defence and were glad that she had won
The Doctor had been defeated, he would trouble nobody no more
Eliza breathed a sigh of relief, peace of mind she could now restore


Now, these kinds of stories normally end with a Happily Ever After
And yes, the people were happy, the town was filled with laughter
But this story isn’t quite over yet, we’ve one tiny little detail
Ladies and gentlemen let me reveal, that there’s a twist in this mysterious tale


Years had passed since that fateful night when Bloodwort met his maker
The town had all but forgotten about that malodorous no good faker
Then rumours spread of strange happenings, in the woods nearby
Voices and lights deep in its bowels, of ghostly ethereal cries


If anyone had ventured to the woods, deep in the dead dark night
They’d have stumbled on something ungodly, they’d have gotten an awful fright
On his demise the fiendish Doctor hadn’t gone down to the depths of Hell
He’d been doomed to haunt those woods, in this personal Hell he would dwell


A prisoner for all eternity, just waiting for someone to come
Pleading Roll Up! Roll Up! - I’ll sell my ghostly wares to anyone
Now this is the end my dearest reader, and now you all do know
The fantastical tale of Dr Bloodwort and his Nefarious Medicine Show!

Dr Bloodwort's Nefarious Medicine Show

Half Deaf Clatch

"From the very beginning - the irresistible invocation to “Roll Up, Roll Up” I feel as if i am about to be entertained, amused, and maybe fleeced too - if not physically harmed!
With typical Clatch invention, both musical and lyrical, the show unfolds before our very ears. There are scary moments, inspiring and poignant moments, and, finally, we feel as if we have cheated death and have been cured - though cured of what, with what, by whom, we may never know!
By the end of my visit, i felt dizzy, disgustipated, a little hysterical and very relieved - of my ills - and my cash" - Gary Grainger, DJ on the Award Winning Blues Show on Bishop FM
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