CLOTTS, VT—The residents of Clotts have been getting quite an education in foreign cultures since the recent arrival of immigrant Nigel Edney, a real live Cockney from London, England. And with a colorful accent and a nimble wit to match, this tenacious teabag is fast capturing the hearts of his new neighbors.
"'Elp, 'elp, me 'ouse is on fire!" Edney told the neighbors and members of the news media who had gathered to watch the plucky little gent in his latest misadventure. "I think it started in the gare-age! Please, ring up the fire brigade, me wife and baby grandchild are in 'ere!"
The native population of England, known as the "British," are diverse in class and income, but the most lovable of all is the Cockney, a lower-class Londoner. Known as a drinker and carouser, and frequently out of work, the Cockney greets the world with a smile and a saucy wink, for he knows that life is but an elaborate charade.
That irreverent yet exuberant attitude was well evident as Edney ran about on his stout little legs and waved his stumpy arms frantically.
"Oh, God, 'elp me!" Edney shouted to his neighbors, who couldn't help but chuckle at Edney's beet-red expression. "Edna and the li'l lad is in 'at 'ouse! For the love of God, I'm begging you! 'Ey're goin' t'die in 'ere if somebody don't come 'elp!"
"He's just so cute!" said Harriet Gustafson, one of many charmed neighbors. "He has a little ruddy face and wears his little tweed cap cocked to one side. Just like Andy Capp!"
Not surprisingly, Edney's newfound American friends sometimes have a bit of trouble understanding just what the funny fellow is saying. Just last week, Edney complained to his landlord that the "telly" that came with his "bed-sit" sometimes shot off "sparks" and at one point caused his "drapes" to "smolder."
"I still can't figure out what he meant," shrugged Delmore Properties president Jim Delmore. "He just talks so crazy!"
But even if he doesn't always make himself understood, Edney's hardly one to let that stop him: "'Ere, give us a 'and with this 'ose! No, the 'ose, the 'ose! Oh, dear God, the smoke is just too thick! Oh, poor Edna! And li'l Timmy! 'Elp! Fire! For the love of God—firemen, please 'urry!"
"Look at him," neighbor Nancy Marcus cooed. "With his face all covered in soot and ash, he looks just like one of those chimneysweeps from Mary Poppins!"
But, as always, Edney is ever ready with a snappy answer. "'Elp! 'Urry! You sodding, rotten, bloody, uncaring bastards! Rot, I say! Rot in 'ell, the whole bloody stinkin' lot of you!"