The Hunting of the Skrelp
(with apologies to Lewis Carroll)

"Skrelp is a brown aquatic Pokιmon that resembles a sea dragon. At level 48 it evolves into Dragagle."
(No, me neither)

"Just the place for a Skrelp!" The smartphone spake,
With a snatch of annoying song;
Directing its owner straight into a lake,
'Cos the doofus was holding it wrong.

"Just the place for a Skrelp," it told him once more,
"But to find it, please upgrade your app.
"Just the place for a monster, or possibly four,
"But your handset is cheap, old and crap,"

The phone was replaced, costing plenty of dough,
With all its old software improved,
And the latest edition of Pokιmon GO —
With all he'd caught so far removed.


As I sit in the park, from dawn until dark
Each stumbles by with a device,
In a virtual space, with emotionless face:
An invasion of zombified mice

They seek them with tablets, they seek them on phones,
They seek them on Kindle Fire —
They'd seek them with cameras mounted on drones,
If their batteries didn't expire.

Don't think all this nonsense is making me mad:
A curmudgeonly, old-fashioned fellow;
Though I come from a time when the monsters were bad
And a poke stop was just a bordello


But back to our hero, with store set at zero
On a phone that was shiny and new;
He tried online help as to finding a Skrelp,
'Cos he didn't know what else to do

He sought it with tablets, he sought it on phones,
He sought it on Kindle Fire —
He sought it with cameras mounted on drones,
From Devon to Clackmannanshire

Though a Skrelp is quite small and worth next to sod all,
As he blamed it for clearing his decks,
It became his obsession to get this possession:
More important than sleep, food or sex


But the spirit of Turing appeared in a dream
(The Olympian god of computing),
Saying, "Some of these monsters are not what they seem:
"Beware of the Weedles of Tooting!"

"The Digletts in Dudley live secretive lives
"Of which it is best not to speak,
"And the Arboks of Leicester bonk other men's wives
"On Tuesday and Thursday each week."

"But the Skrelp's the most treacherous one of the lot,"
(He leaned forward to seem confidential)
"And will often appear to be just what it's not
"It's a nightmare that's quite existential!"

"But avoid any quarrels and look to your laurels
"If your Skrelp be a Squirtle, for then
"Your circuits will fry and your handset will die
"And you'll never make phone calls again!"

With that warning the vision dissolved into smoke
By some typical dream time magic,
And our man was left thinking, "He seemed a nice bloke;
"What a pity his end was so tragic."

But he woke all a-tremble, he woke in a sweat,
He woke in a temperate zone,
He woke feeling queasy and rather upset
At the risk to his safety and phone


Nonetheless the next day he was soon on his way,
With a step that was springy and light;
And once he'd begun, he declared it was fun,
Monster hunting from morning til night

He sought it with tablets, he sought it on phones,
He sought it on Kindle Fire —
He sought it with cameras mounted on drones,
And an almost fanatic desire

He bumped into lampposts, he tripped over dogs
And stood in the spots where they'd been;
In IKEA he spilled piles of new catalogues,
With his eyeballs still glued to his screen

As he wandered about, he repressed all his doubt,
All the fear at the back of his head,
Of what might ensue and what he could do
Should his Skrelp be a Squirtle instead


Then he found himself back in the place where he started,
And the phone played that song once again;
He danced and he sang, he hiccupped and farted,
With the joy that spilled out of his brain.

On the shore of the lake (there could be no mistake,
Though in low light it might look like kelp)
Just about half way down was the purple and brown
Of a frabjously wonderous Skrelp

His hands they were shaking, his eyeballs were aching,
The pattern drained out of his socks;
He sang a grand anthem he'd once heard in Grantham,
As he pointed his lens at the rocks.

But then something happened, obscure and obscene;
He shuddered with shock, fear and awe,
As the purple and brown turned a pale bluey-green —
And that was the last thing he saw

With a bone-shaking crash and an eye-blinding flash
That burned a huge hole in his chest,
His circuits had fried, as he and his phone died,
For the Skrelp was a Sq———   Oh, you'd guessed.

(August 2nd 2016)