Written by George Fripley

Monday, 7 November 2011


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Silas Frederick Wilkins was born in Norwich in 1770. He lived there all his life. He was by trade an accountant. He was a conscientious and very diligent operator. Being in charge of company accounts, he believed that it was important to always remain lucid and not addle his brain with liquor.

He did not touch a drop of alcohol until his twenty-seventh birthday, when he was persuaded by some close friends that one pint would do him good. It would relax him on a day that was supposed to be laid-back. He was reluctant, but decided to give it a go.

After drinking his pint he made the comment that the drink was 'pretty average' and that 'he could certainly do better if he put his mind to it.' Being a man of his word, he gradually found that he was spending more time in his small brewing room trying to live up to his statement, than on the accounts he was charged with overseeing. He eventually employed another accountant to fill in the gaps while he concentrated on what had quickly become his passion in life.

He turned out to be a very good brewer. From early on in his quest, beer connoisseurs regarded his ales as excellent and began to pay him very well for his recipes and methods. This eventually enabled him to give up accountancy altogether and become a full-time brewer. Some would say he became a full-time drunk.

He never stopped trying to produce the perfect beer and became obsessed, spending most of his waking moments either tasting beer or refining recipes. He had so many brews on the go at any one time that he often found himself tasting a sample every hour, on the hour. He felt that to taste beer properly you needed to savour at least a full pint. This steady consumption of beer was the reason he was often seen wandering unsteadily up the street muttering, 'Jush one morebeer, thash all it'll take. I'malmostthere!'

Strangely, no matter how shit-faced he was, he never stopped being able to do his accounts and see straight through any potential con artist. He is rumoured to have accumulated vast personal wealth in royalties from his recipe collection, however his fortune was squirreled away, never to be found. It is widely rumoured to have been donated to research into hangover cures.

Shit-faced Wilkins died a happy man during a rare trip to London on 17th October 1814. He spent a great deal of time sampling beers and then staggered, pint in hand, into the path of a mail coach travelling at full speed. He felt no pain and was heard to say to nearest mail-horse staring down at him, 'Oi! Did you spill my pint?'

The injuries he suffered in the crash were not fatal. However, he was just about to visit the Meux and Company Brewery, and while he was lying prone on ground outside the building, the vats gave way, swamping him in over one million litres of beer. He was not impressed and the last words he was heard to shout were, 'You call this filth beer, I'd rather drink my own ur....' before he was washed headfirst into the side of the nearby Tavistock Arms pub. These words became his epitaph and were inscribed on his tombstone.

Shit-faced is said to have brewed Wilkins' Unsteady Ale, Wilkins' Old Urinator, Wilkins' Spotted Horizon, Wilkins' Summer Hangover, and Wilkins' Spinning Ceiling. Tragically, all of these recipes have been lost.

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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Topics: History
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