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Robin Redux

by  James Graham

Posted: Friday, January 2, 2015
Word Count: 663
Summary: This is an oddity. Not a great poem, for sure. Let me know what you make of it.

Robin Redux


As soon as he got here
from the thirteenth century
he saw that the big money
is buried on treasure islands,

and to rob the rich
he had to hack.

As luck would have it
he found a merry man
called Spy-Eye Tuck,
a gifted password cracker
and another, Will the Geek,
a whizz-kid web injector

and in fourteen days
they had the hoodware ready.


They tried it on the crisply laundered
assets of the Russian oligarch
Gennadi Chestikoff. The arrows
hit the target: fifty million roubles
(five hundred thousand sterling, give or take
- they took). It worked. ‘Think big’, quoth Robin.
‘Where next, my merry men? The Caymans?
Virgins? Luxembourg? Those three, to start.
You’re the real deal, boys. I’ll leave you to it.
I’m going a-hunting’. So, smart but casual
in his avocado sweatshirt, he took in
the sights of the third-millenium city.

It was there he met young Marion,
an economics graduate from Lincoln who
had worked vacations as a chambermaid.
They got talking. His sixth sense told him
she was the real deal too, smart, honest,
as like to keep a secret as any man
or woman on Earth. He told her all
- well, nearly all – and there and then
she left her former life behind,
vowed never to rest until the harvest
was all gathered in. ‘And when it is,’

she added brightly, ‘you won’t hang on to it.
From all I’ve heard about you, Robin Hood,
you’ll give it to the poor’. ‘Certes’, quoth he
‘- God wot, I haven’t got the idiom yet -
oh, absolutely, give it to the poor, it’s what I do.’

‘You sound as if you hadn’t thought of it.
Or if you had, you never thought it through.
You can’t just call on peasants and give out
a bag of florins. Listen. I will make a plan’.


In the meantime Tuck and Will
had helped themselves to fifty trillion.
‘British reckoning’, said Will. ‘It comes to
eighteen lovely little zeros
after the fifty. Okay, boss?’

‘Not only that,’ says Spy-Eye. ‘They don’t know.
Cos we’ve put virtual figures to the same amount
right where the real stuff came from. Even Chestikoff
thinks he still has his roubles. Now is that smart
or is that smart?’

‘You’re worth your weight in gold’, quoth Robin.
‘You will have your share, but ninety-nine percent
must needs be given to the poor. And this fine lady
will help us do it. This is Marion’

‘It’s no good going the politics route,’ said Marion.
‘The politicians’ heads are full of markets, they’re
Big Money’s little helpers. Do-it-yourself’s the answer.
Set up a charity like War on Want – don’t laugh -
and given our unique fund-raising system
we can work quite unobtrusively. In time
they’ll suss us out. Not yet. I’m confident.’

So the Green Sea Turtle Preservation Trust
was born. (Its title a red herring.) Staff were hired
by Marion and Robin, agents to work abroad,
all sworn to secrecy, while Will and Tuck
accepted kind donations. Then one day

the folks at Water Aid were stunned to find
a hundred-million credit on the books. And the day just after
Médicins sans Frontières were sans souci.


It’s no good. This story’s going nowhere.
Time-traveller Hood takes trillions off the rich
and gets away with it? OK, last ditch:

take out the silliest bits. He hasn’t whizzed
across the centuries from medieval Sherwood.
He’s just a guy obsessed with Robin Hood,
who dreams of taking money from the rich
and spending it on medicines and schools
and water that won’t kill you. He’s unhinged.

Let’s suppose he has some mates
who help him hack. They’re very good.
They even make some dosh and hand it out.

Then they’re arrested. More credible,
but pointless. As pointless as reality:

A fraction of the treasure-island wealth
would end world poverty. It won’t happen.

We’ll see time-travel sooner.