Column #244 A Brief History of Darts
April 19, 2006
A Brief History of Darts
(The idea for this story was inspired by a little post that darts star Dave Whitcombe made at the popular Superstars of Darts website at http://superdarts.resourcez.com. So I made a similar post to another website, the home of SEWA darts at http://www.sewa-darts.com. After stealing the idea from Whitcombe, I then ripped off the Bible to create the first “chapter” of the story and invited SEWA forum members to take it from there. What follows, slightly edited, is therefore the product of more than just my demented mind. No offense is intended to God, Noah, Jesus, Caligula, King Arthur, Chairman Mao Tse-tung, Ghengus Khan, Lord Cornwallis, Adolph Hitler, the Death Eaters, Eric Bristow and anyone else British, or the GEICO lizard.)
A Brief History of Darts
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty; darkness was over the surface of the deep. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Then God did some other stuff. For example, He made plants and animals, like whales and some that looked like the GEICO lizard. After a week, God sat down on a rock and looked at all that He had made. It was very good and the lizard was really cute. So he created man and then woman, Adam and Eve, and Eve played with the lizard. But all was not perfect. There was boredom in the Garden of Eden. So on the seventh day God took a nap. When He awakened He invented darts.
The original game of darts was quite destructive and involved hurling bolts of white light at the stars that God had made just a few days before. While it was great fun watching the stars explode into billions of bits against the black of space, God was not stupid and He quickly realized that destroying everything He had just created was pretty but counterproductive. God sat back down on the rock that he had created for sitting and contemplated the new game he had created.
“Hmmm,” thought God, “It is so much fun blasting the starts with shocks of light and fire, but so destructive. What am I going to do?” Then like a bolt of already proverbial lightening an idea came to Him. “Wait a minute! What am I doing? I’m God for crissake! All I have to do is command the heavens and the Earth.” God climbed upon the rock, which He had only created for sitting but which proved to have multiple functions over the ages, such as for the construction of pubs, raised His arms to the sky and commanded the following: “I am God, the Creator of the heavens and the Earth. I want a kick ass game to play.”
The Earth trembled, the skies parted, a huge wind blew God’s hair back from his eyes, and the gecko tumbled into a palm tree knocking himself unconscious. Eve began to cry and Adam commenced to stomp his feet and wave his arms at God, about to demand from Him what in the hell He thought he was doing when a box fell from the sky and hit him on the head. Stunned, as nothing like this had ever before happened before, Adam sat in the garden, rubbed his head and looked at the box.
Adam could not read because the unconscious gecko had all the intelligence – but on the box Adam saw some shapes that looked like this: M-O-N-O-P-O-L-Y.
God stepped from the rock and picked up the box. It was very light. He opened the box and noticed that there was a flat piece called a board and lots of little pieces called houses and hotels and some other pieces. There was a car, thimble, shoe and top hat and some others. God fancied the top hat.
God sat in the foliage opposite Adam and opened the board. It was then that He noticed the stuff called money. The money was blue, green, yellow and white. Adam seemed to think it was delicious. God sighed. He was going to have to give this man-creature some intelligence if they were to play Monopoly together. So He did.
As Adam could now count, reason and read, he promptly spit out the money and selected the shoe. Three hours later, as Eve was hand-feeding butterflies to the gecko, Adam and God were still negotiating real estate deals.
Suddenly, God stood and said, “This game is lame! I want to throw something. What in the hell is the matter with all of creation? I want a game like the stars with round things surrounded by planets, against the black of space, with explosions of pretty colors. And I want to play it without destroying all that I have created!”
Earth moaned, the oceans roared and the gecko ran for cover. The little reptile was really quite intelligent, and if one could have seen through the stampede of crazed kangaroos running for their lives, one would have observed Eve begin to sob again and Adam bury his head in the dirt with his butt in the air.
God raised his arms to the heavens, which he seemed to love to do, and bolts of white light shot from his fingertips. The skies opened and a circular disk fell from the sky. It softly tumbled end over end and came to a rest between God’s open hands. God looked at the disk and recognized it at once as a dartboard. A smile came to God’s face as He examined the board.
It was round like all the planets and stars of His creation. In the center was an ample red spot like the molten core of a planet. Around the red was a lovely field of green that seemed to represent all that was good and growing. From somewhere the descriptive word “bull’s-eye” popped into God’s head. Surrounding the bull-eye was an explosion of colors depicting the destruction of a planet in space by the white light of God with the fiery red molten cores and all that was green and good exploding against the blackness of space. It was beautiful and powerful and it was totally non-destructive for children ages twelve years old and above.
On the face of the board were the paths of moons around a planet – two paths to be exact, an inner ring and an outer ring, both quite wide across. “Ah yes, this is perfect,” thought God, “but what am I going to throw?” Adam and Eve were too big and the white light would destroy the board completely. “Hmm,” thought God, “where is the gecko?”
The gecko, in his wisdom, had crawled under the Monopoly game board. Unable to find the lizard and losing patience, God looked to the heavens again and yelled, “What the bloody ‘ell am I supposed to throw?!”
Somewhere in far off space, three rocks of hardened titanium began hurling towards the blue-green planet Earth at unbelievable speed. The friction of the air was such that it tore chunks of the titanium from the rocks and by the time they hit the atmosphere of the Earth they were completely aerodynamic. Unfortunately, since the atmosphere slowed their speed they began to tumble uncontrollably.
The first rock wobbled from the sky and landed on the Monopoly board. This of course awakened the gecko from his nap. When the second rock hit the board all that the gecko could think to do is RUN! He dashed from underneath the board just in time to be struck on the head by the third rock, which God now knew were darts.
The stunned gecko stumbled to the left just as God said, “Oops, sorry.” “That’s okay,” replied the wise lizard, “at least they did not have tails on the ends of them. With a tail they would have flown straight and I would have been pierced by one of those pointy tips.” God looked at the gecko and then one of the darts, and He smiled. The gecko passed out. Eve cried yet again as women are prone to do in such situations. Adam, on the other hand, as men are known to do in the midst of any commotion, ignored the chaos and calmly studied the directions to the Monopoly game. He was about to accuse God of cheating when God grabbed him by the arm. “Come on,” said God, “we’re going to play darts!”
God dragged Adam to the palm tree and managed to stick the dartboard to the tree using a hammer and nails that He created for the task. God then made little slits in the back of the darts and slipped small wedge-cut palm leaves into the slits. Then He stepped to a line that He had drawn in the sand. He called this line an “oche.” He faced the board and threw the darts. They all hit the red center. It was fun. God pulled the darts from the board and handed them to Adam.
Adam stepped up to the line. He aimed at the board and tossed a dart. The dart struck God in the arm. God was not a good sport and threatened to smite Adam and three generations of his children. Adam was about to tell God that he did not have any children when God pulled the dart from his arm and said, “Try again.” Adam let the second dart fly. It hit the palm tree and bounced off, hitting God in the foot.
Somewhere in the distance a volcano erupted and the sky began to darken. For some unknown reason the words “Wrath of God,” kept repeating over and over in Adam’s head. Another stampede of kangaroos bounced by but this time they were moving backwards. Something was very wrong. God smiled as he warned, “The very existence of mankind hangs on your third dart. Try again.”
Adam took aim with the third dart. The gecko awakened from his unconscious stupor. Eve thought the hammer was tasty. A silence fell over the Earth. Birds froze in mid-flight. The wind stopped blowing. Leaves remained half suspended in air on their decent to the ground from the trees. Adam closed his eyes and let the dart rip.
Naturally one must assume that Adam hit the bull dead center and saved mankind forever, but this is not what happened. Lucky for mankind though, Adam did manage to hit the board. God saw this as a sign of hope and told Adam to practice. God was not stupid so He gave Eve intelligence as well so that Adam would have someone to practice with. God then left Adam with the dartboard and darts with a promise to return at some point in the future for another game.
And behold ye the great first pub of early time, with God’s light a shining down upon thine board and virgin callers awaiting each dart with the fever of a new volcano! But alas, the competition at the Garden of Darts Tavern – the place where Adam and Eve went for their first date – would become the root of all evil.
Soon after God departed, Eve challenged Adam to a leg of darts but Adam was confused and thought Eve spake of her own leg and he were to take it.
Snake, the Garden of Darts Tavern barman, slithered up and offered them both some meade and after drinking the meade Adam was even more certain it was Eve’s leg that he wanted. Adam tasted freely of the bitter fruit. And they played darts, but Adam was want to think of Eve’s leg so Eve won the first match. Thus, women first began to advance in the world of darts and were paid little for their effort.
Bright lighting then smote the sky and both Adam and Eve were afraid! The Lord had awakened, learned that Snake had fed Adam and Eve the strong mead and that Adam was preoccupied with Eve’s leg and that Eve had won. So God returned and called Satan on his mobile. Satan arrived promptly in a burst of smoke and flame.
The game of darts that God had invented was pure like the sky and oceans and simple enough that even the gecko could play. The circle in the center was very large and worth one hundred points. Outside of that was a larger area worth seventy points. Beyond that was a still larger area worth fifty points. When God first spake the rules he said, “Ye shall take alternate turns throwing three darts at the board. The first person to get a score that adds to more than 1,000 points wins. And the second person to get a score that adds to more than 1,000 points wins too.”
And God continued, “All ye creatures of the Earth behold this most holy game! This gift of darts I give to thee so thou might pass thine leisurely hours furthering joy, brotherhood and goodwill. Those among you who may have the physical form to hurl the darts with accuracy shall have dominion over this world and command of all other creatures within My mercy.”
“Surely my people will worship me for this,” God said.
“Bollocks!” said Satan. “You’ve made it too easy. Let me screw with it a bit and then see who worships you.”
And God said, “Okay, but don’t make it impossible. Soon there will be Americans and British and I wish for the Americans to have a fighting chance.”
So Satan set about the new design.
The Devil approached his task with an evil smile. Fire shot from his pitchfork, licking at the board and divided it into twenty sections. A second jolt of fire divided those sections into even smaller sections and reduced the areas God named the bulls-eye to the size of small coins.
“There,” said Satan with a grin, “now the board is more challenging – you have much smaller targets to hit. The larger target areas are to be counted singly, outer target areas shall count twice, and the inner thrice. The center target shall count fifty, if you can hit it.” God was intrigued.
“I am not finished,” said Satan. He then numbered the segments. The top he called twenty. To cause anguish for all eternity he placed a one and five on either side of the twenty. He followed this evil design for all of the sections of the board, surrounding the higher targets with lower numbers until he was finished. “Now you have a board that is worthy,” said Satan before disappearing in a ball of fire and brimstone.
And God took another long nap.
Of course, Eve being as fond of the lizard as she was, she and Adam did more than play darts. In due course, they begat three sons and one daughter – Cain, Noaba, Abel and Seth.
The day came to make an offering to God and Cain and Abel brought their tribute. Abel brought some of the very finest spinning shafts, while Cain deliberately brought an average-quality set of flights with silly cartoons printed on them. Cain could have done better, but he chose not to for reasons he kept only to himself. Perhaps he thought that the all-knowing God would not notice or already had bookmarked the best darts supply links on the Internet.
God accepted Abel’s offering with favor, the spinners suited his set of Widows well, but He rejected Cain’s offering. It wasn’t due to a preference of nylon or vector flights, but rather that Abel had brought the best that he possibly could, and had done it willingly. Cain knowingly brought cheap crappy flights, and even then brought them grudgingly.
Cain and Abel eventually got into quite a heated argument over a 501 match when Abel hit a stunning 156 finish. Cain allowed his jealousy to turn to anger, and then his anger to hate. Instead of bringing himself up by doing better next time (as God plainly explained to him in Genesis 4:7), he chose to take Abel down. Cain committed the premeditated murder of his own righteous brother.
Others found that no matter how hard they tried they could not hit the dartboard. So they invented other sports like synchronized swimming and ballroom dancing to pass their time and with Satan’s guidance successfully lobbied the International Olympic Committee to have them included as official sports.
God looked down and was displeased so He rang his mate Noah and said, “Build a ship and in this ship take two of every kind of animal – and make sure you don’t forget the dartboard or the gecko.”
For forty days and thirty nine nights (yes, it was only thirty-nine) nights it rained and Noah and his family played darts to pass the time. Eventually the palm leaves that they were using for flights broke to pieces and they looked for other things to use. Noah’s wife found some dove feathers on the floor, leftover from a cookout the night before, and she tried these and they worked better than the palm leaves. Thus feather flights were born.
Then one fateful day (the thirty-first day to be exact), with dove-feathered darts in hand, Noah’s young, pretty, and extremely buxom wife was on her way to meet him and show him her fine, smooth, silky, um… flights.
As she turned a corner, just past the orangutans on the boat, the sky grew dark and a shadowy form raced across her path. She felt a stinging sensation in the hand that held her darts and when she looked down her hand was missing. Blood spurted from her arteries. Cradling her own wrist against her ample breast, Noah’s wife opened her mouth to scream but her shock was so great that no sound came out.
The only sound that filled the air was an evil shrieking cackle. Noah’s wife’s eyes followed the evil cackle and there in the shadows amongst a heap of garbage and dung she was shocked to see the deformed shape and piercing red eyes of the leader of the Death Eaters, the one – the only He Who Must Not be Named.
The Dark Lord collected Noah’s wife’s hand, which was still clutching the darts with the lovely white dove feathers, from the deck of the boat and thrust it high in the air and waved it about in a trophy-like gesture. Blood from the severed hand dripped darkly down his forearm. In his other hand, clutched close to his waist, was the blood-stained butcher knife that glowed green with the evil magic that sliced neatly through flesh and bone.
The last thing Noah’s wife saw and heard before slipping into unconsciousness was the toothless face and mocking cackle of You Know Who as he faded for centuries into the shadows. Noah’s wife was left to die, soiled by orangutan poop mingled with her own blood.
Noah eventually remarried the great-great-great-great-great grandmother of Mieke de Boer and Lord Voldermont was not to be seen or heard of again until J.K. Rowling reinvented him in 1997.
Years passed and then one glorious night as Jupiter and Venus drew close together, appearing to fuse as a single bright star, Jesus was born and the sport of darts really began to take off. Of course, it is well documented by religious scholars that Jesus never married, opting for a life of peace at the oche without a wife complaining about his late nights out with the Prophets.
Over the next hundred years or so, the sport began to find life in all corners of the planet. From Dujiangyan in the Tibetan highlands to the Plain of Jars in Laos to the Myan city of La Milpa darts was embraced by all cultures. Indeed, paintings recently discovered on rock surfaces in the central mountain ranges of the Baha Peninsula confirm that darts was a popular past time of the Kuczynski Indian Tribe in southwest America.
However, it was during the early days of the Roman Empire, shortly after Tiberius was chosen by Augustus as Emperor, that the sport really hit its stride. While some of the Romans were terracing the steep slopes of the Mosel River to cultivate grapes, others were gathering in the pubs to enjoy the intoxicating fruit of their labors while tossing a few. It has been proffered that Tiberius’ successor Caligula went MAD after missing multiple attempts at tops in a friendly match at the Coliseum Red Lion.
But the critical turning point for the developing sport came in 43 CE. This was when the Romans conquered Britain and introduced the game there.
Now, if the Brits had had darts beforehand, the Romans would have still been in Rome. This is just a damn frickin’ fact. But as all the Brits had was a strong meade and a weak will, the Romans conquered them very easily. So the Crafty Cockney’s came up with a plan. They thought long and hard over many a pint and decided, when conquered by Rome, to do as the Romans do. Hence, they took up darts.
Because they were conquered and left only with a strong meade, all they could do was throw darts and drink the meade. As time went on, they became extremely adept at throwing darts under the influence. As it turned out, they could throw better after several grogs, than the Romans could without.
So the wily Brits challenged Rome to a match. The winner would retain the rights to England. This match of course is chronicled arrow by arrow in the now famous Tale of the Trojan Grog, required reading for all British school children. The condensed version is that the Brits showed up and drank their meade in large quantities as the Romans looked on thinking “we can take these drunkards.” Much to the Roman’s surprise and demise the Brits threw with deadly precision and handily won back their country.
This brings us to that wonderful chapter in history set in the beautiful forest of Dartitus. King Arthur ruled. There was his chief Knight Sir Dartsalot and of course, Robin the Hood.
Now Robin the Hood went about playing darts in pubs for grog and winning rounds for all the poor serfs that would stop by to clean out the stables. The serfs became rather fond of Robin who stole from the rich (in the form of beating them at darts) and gave to the poor (grog for them to drink). Robin was most famous however, because he would throw each dart in such a way, perfectly, as to have them land one behind the other so only one point touched the board. This was quite acceptable in those days, according to the Commissioner of Darts at the time, Olly Croft, and those who could throw with such accuracy were thought of very highly indeed.
One evening King Arthur of Dartitus stopped by to challenge Robin the Hood to a match. The match would either end in Robin being exiled to the forest and having to live with a drunk monk, or his earning enough grog to give all the poor folks a good time forever. Robin immediately accepted the challenge.
However, in his haste he forgot to ask the rules of the game – assuming that he already knew them. The king crier began to read the rules and stopped to emphasize one in particular: “All dart tips must land IN the board.” Robin was stunned! The king smiled as he was a mediocre arrow man. His stroke was not fluid and his eye was not true. He often lunged at the board and short armed his throw. Seldom did his style suit close groupings. The rules were to Robin’s disadvantage.
At the end of the day – despite tremendous effort at stacking, reverse stacking, and even Waddell zig-zag upside down stacking – Robin just couldn’t prevent his darts from hitting each other and sticking together end-to-end like a couple of Nancy’s at rest stop. Robin was just too good for his own good. And he didn’t write the rules. So King Arthur won the day with his less-than-professional effort.
From then on Robin the Hood was banned to the forest where he took up archery and drinking. Landing one’s second dart into one’s first dart was forever known as “Robinhooding” and considered a bad thing because it won’t win the grog.
As the dart prowess of the Brits became that of which legends are made, a challenge went out across the oceans of the world that whoever could best the Brits at this devilish game would achieve wealth the likes of which had never been seen before.
A young lad from far across the sea in the Land of Brooklyn heard of the challenge and, knowing himself to be of the clever sort, vowed to put the Brits to the test. Upon arriving at the local British pub, he challenged all present to a new game that would test the mettle of their very finest. Upon hearing that the game was called “cricket,” a name dear to all their hearts, the Brits readily accepted, thinking, “Blimey, how bloody hard could this new game actually be, anyhow?”
After explaining the rules, the challenger won the diddle, and opened up with a flurry of darts ending in trebles all ‘round the board, not giving his opponent a moments respite until the chalk lay smoking on the scorer’s table. A truly terrifying number indeed lay beneath the Brooklyn challenger’s name.
Not having understood or agreed with the concept of “pointing,” the angry Brits had the challenger flogged and banished from the island. To this day, the word “cricket” whence applied to the sport of darts sends a chill down every Brit’s spine, and the game has been officially outlawed. Further, as if to spite the challenger and the land from whence he came, the Brits to this very day hoard their wealth of dart stuff, and only give up occasional arrows, flights and other accessories to the Land of Brooklyn and beyond.
While not commonly known today, it is important to note that historical annals have it recorded that as darts popularity grew in the Roman Empire and Britain, half way across the world in China the game had already found its roots and had grown into a pastime for the Imperial Order. Emperor Qin Shihuang during the Quin Dynasty (77 BC to 476 BC) decided to survey the boundaries of his great empire. This meant traveling along what we know today as The Great Wall of China.
Little is actually known about the Great Wall as the Communist propaganda machine of Chairman Mao Tse-tung, in addition to killing off all of the educated population of China, fabricated a wonderful tale about the wall being constructed to keep out the Mongolian hordes. This is not quite the whole story. As China has become more “democratic” and as they began opening their borders to economic and scientific development, researchers studying the Great Wall and its construction began telling a story with a different twist.
It seems that before the Qin Dynasty each township in China had an official wall. Old cave drawings suggest that dartboards were hung on these walls and that every Saturday night the people of the townships gathered and over cups of rice wine participated in blind draw tournaments.
To make this even more interesting, the great hordes of Mongols would travel back and forth between these townships participating in the draws. Having no other source of income, as they were nomadic, the Mongols became very good at the game of darts and would frequently enter betting competitions with the Chinese population. The result of this was that it created a bit of hostility between the Chinese people and the Mongols as they competed for wealth at the line. Nevertheless, harmony reigned. Possibly due to the consumption of large quantities of rice wine all usually had a good time. It was understood that the game of darts began and ended with a bow.
Now, getting back to Emperor Qin (no relation to the Mighty Quinn) and his trek along the now famous Great Wall, it seems that Emperor Qin was an avid darts player who dutifully practiced eight hours a day, every day. Emperors in ancient China were considered equal to gods, but as even Phil Taylor the Great is prone to remind us mortals, in interview after interview, practice helps even gods keep up appearances.
As Emperor Qin made his trek across China, first visiting one township and then the next, his slaves and servants hastily constructed a wall each day so that the Emperor could practice his darts. When the townships heard of his arrival, they too extended their walls to meet the great Emperor. So as the Emperor traveled, the construction of the wall traveled with him. The end result of this is one of the greatest wonders of the world today, The Great Wall of China. However the harmony was not to last.
Remember the Mongols? Well, by connecting the wall, Emperor Qin inadvertently cut off Mongol access to all the blind draw dart tournaments. This significantly affected the Mongol economy. While China prospered and the game of darts continued to flourish, the Mongols were left out in the cold. Eventually war broke out.
The dispute ended in May 1215 as Ghengus Khan’s general Mu Hua Li breached the Great Wall and entered into the township of Zhongdu to participate in a blind draw. At the time Zhongdu (not Beijing) was the home of the central government of China. The great general shot darts with the then Emperor Jin. In the final match, and over much rice wine, they played for the rule of China. Emperor Jin lost. Ghengus Khan was the new ruler of the central government of China. China continued to unravel and then in one final significant match in 1279, Khubla Khan stroked an incredible winning 170-finish and promptly established the Yuan Dynasty.
China, now under Mongol rule, united the Chinese people and the Mongol people and opened Saturday night blind draw dart tournaments and excessive consumption of rice wine beverages to all.
Evidence continues to surface daily supporting these claims so one can’t help but wonder, what happened to darts in China? Why is it that the game is relatively unknown to modern Chinese people? Was the communist propaganda machine really this successful in brainwashing the entire population of a country? What happened to darts in China?
As it happens, all the evidence points back to the bloody Brits. While Britain attempted to make the entire world its province, it was thought to have occurred over financial considerations, where in actuality it was once again powered by their greed and obsession over dart stuff. They wanted it all!
Enter again the gecko, that perseverant Biblical lizard from the family Gekkonidae. With his tiny feet padded with setae containing numerous suction cups, he managed to survive the ages.
As we already know, he survived the trials and tribulations in the Garden of Eden by seeking refuge under a Monopoly board. Being so small, the gecko was almost missed as Noah gathered up elephants and chickens and other animals. Only at the last minute, as the first raindrops began to fall, did Noah find him and hand-carry him onto the boat.
He hid under a bush to avoid the slings and arrows of Robin the Hood’s outrageous meanderings in the Dartitus.
When the gecko found himself in China he had the presence of mind to scamper up the Great Wall and nestle in a crack to survive the wrath of Ghengus Khan.
Understandably, after all of this the little reptile was just plain knackered. So, he found a small pillow and a blanket and settled in a box he discovered in the tall bamboo for a long night’s sleep.
He was startled awake by the unnatural sense that an object was being stuck into his little lizard arse. Being of sound and heterosexual mind and body, he squeaked loudly and tucked his thumbs into his tiny fists, readying himself to defend his manhood. But alas, the object was not, well… THAT, but rather the end of a small projectile, one among hundreds that, as his eyes adapted to the morning light, he discovered were packed along side him in the box in which he slumbered. Naturally he recognized them
Fully awake now, the gecko hopped out of his box to survey his surroundings. He saw a small round window. Quickly, he used his sticky feet to climb up a high wooden wall to reach the window, and peered out. He was astonished to see WATER. How long had he slept with the darts, he wondered. But then the answer was obvious, as far in the distance, over the slowing undulating waves, a sliver of green land emerged – and a small sign.
“Welcome to the Land of Good Indian Cooking” the sign read. A frown crossed the gecko’s face and tears welled in his eyes because he now knew – he was just miles from his new life in England. He would just have to make the best of it.
Generations passed and the lizard married and had children. Slowly his family evolved. As his children had children and his children’s children had children, gradually they took on human features, or at least the semi-human features of the British. One of the lizard’s descendants became quite famous for commanding the British forces at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. Unfortunately General Lord Charles “Little Lizard Boy” Cornwallis was forced to surrender, causing the British government to negotiate an end to the American Revolutionary War and give up forever the chance to experience the joy and wonder of blowing people up with fireworks on July 4th.
One day, long after the great-great-great grandfather of the British Royal GEIKO Gecko Dynasty had passed on, one of his prodigious offspring was playing hide and seek in his parent’s flat with a mate. As his mate covered his young eyes and counted down from one hundred, the lad with the slight reptile-like profile raced to find a hiding place in the attic. In his haste he accidentally tipped over an old box, filthy from the ages. From the box poured hundreds oddly shaped 24-gram objects unlike any the little boy had ever seen before.
Despite being quickly discovered by his mate and losing the game of hide and seek, Eric Bristow was not gutted. To the contrary, he was quite pleased.
Now this was not the Eric Bristow that the darting community came to know and love and love to hate, but in fact the father of the now famous five-time world darts champion. He was known as Klutzy Cockney.
Klutzy Cockney traveled throughout Europe attempting to flog the little projectiles that he had happened upon, but absolutely no one was buying. Frequently in his pub demonstrations, he would end up breaking a pub owner’s favorite mirror, stabbing a patron in the side of the head, or short circuiting a fruit machine. Mind you, there were more than a few rows and how Klutzy survived is anyone’s guess.
But he did and in 1937 he was making the rounds in Poland. One night he was doing an exhibition and in the tavern was an Austrian man. The fellow was an angry little pisser, a sweaty bloke with an ugly little moustache that wiggled when he spoke, who kept shouting racial and anti-semetic epitaphs as Klutzy demonstrated the game.
Klutzy was unnerved as tensions mounted in the pub but did his best to maintain his focus on trying to sell this man and others some darts. Despite his effort and perhaps forbearing the tendencies of his prodigious son, Klutzy came to a point where he could take no more.
Klutzy drew back his arm and with his pinky finger pointing outwards, let one of his darts rip. The dart flew true and found its intended mark, nearly lobotomizing the Austrian wanker. When the dart struck, an evil glaze crossed the man’s beady eyes. He waved his arms wildly and threatened to kill everyone in the room. “Mien name are Adolph,” he screamed “and you am snotmuffins. I shall get you.”
The pub erupted in hearty laughter. Bloody ‘ell, who did this bloke think he was?
The nasty man stormed from the pub threatening revenge on the entire world.
Adolph formed an army. He then conceived the idea of making bigger explosive-filled projectiles and dropping them on other countries. With his newly formed army and his bird Eva Braun cheering by his side, he began to drop his giant darts from airplanes to seek his revenge. He dropped them on Poland, where he had been laughed at in the pub, and he dropped them all over England near Klutzy Cockney’s home. Needless to say, the bastard pissed off a lot of people.
The incident in the pub escalated into a major world event and became known as World War II. Countries around the globe banded together. They developed giant exploding darts of their own and began dropping them on the nasty man with the little moustache.
Eventually of course, good overcame evil and Adolph committed suicide by stabbing himself with of all things, a dart. Unbeknownst to anybody, he had lifted it years before in the bar in Poland and kept it in his pocket. It was found beside his body in the bunker where he took his life. Wrapped around it was a brief note that read, “Tell Klutzy I wish for him to have a son and I wish for his son to go down during the Reign of Taylor.”
Back in England, somehow Klutzy Cockney survived all this but after the War he was forbidden by Parliament from ever playing darts again. So Klutzy settled down, married, opened a small pub of his own and never touched another set of darts. Soon he had a son, Klutzy Junior, who grew to become one of the greatest darts players of all time.
The next century passed amidst great turmoil. The Reign of Terror, which commenced in the Middle East during the Reign of Taylor, eventually relegated the sport of darts, unifier of all cultures, to distant memory.
Behind the façade and famous black door Prime Minister Moqtada al Salami sat on a large Persian rug with his young son Jawad, quietly flipping pages in a history book. The sweet smell and smoke of incense wafted through the residence at famous Number 10. “Ah, me boy, see there – that is photo of Edrogen, your uncle. He last man to win Olympic darts medal in 2048. Ah, what a day, praise Allah.”
“My wish for you is to someday follow in your uncle’s footsteps, to bring love and peace back to world by going forth as Uncle Edrogen once did, before he blew himself up. I wish for you to be like him, honorable and great and master of the Big Mullah, the elusive ‘one ‘undred ‘n eeeeighty.’”
“Yes daddy,” replied the boy. “But how might I achieve this?”
“You must practice, little Jawad.” Then from underneath his turban the Prime Minister withdrew four small objects and lovingly placed them in his son’s hand. “Take these me son and go forth. Make Allah proud.”
“But what are they daddy?’ the little boy asked.
“They are called Unicorns, me son. They were Uncle Edrogen’s.”
The lad gently grasped the slender objects and turned them over in his hands. “But one of them is not the same as the others, daddy. What is it? What is it for?”
“Me son, me pride and joy, it me hope and dream for you to someday be great like Uncle Edrogen. But all wishes not can come true. Not all young lads can grow up to be great darts players.”
“But what is it, daddy? What is it for?
“Ah me son, it fine writing instrument, a fountain pen. If you find you love darts but can not hit Big Mullah, it for you to use.”
“But daddy, what is it for?”
“Me son, me inquisitive lad, you ask many questions…”
“Me son, me young Jawad, praise Allah, but god damit, it’s a PEN! Practice your darts. Practice hard. But if you find you throw shite give the frickin’ game up. Save yourself great heartache. Store Uncle Edrogen’s arrows in a safe place. Then use the pen to write crappy-ass stories and post them on the Internet.”
From the Field,
Dartoid (with special thanks to Karl Hartman, Erik McVay, Paul Boddington, Paul Stivers, Jimidfish, Ramses, Pauls, Dartnut, Doobler, Rags and String)
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