It was mid-morning, so Merv was manning the Gentleman’s Bar, whilst Foodge tidied up the Ladies Lounge and got the urn boiling for the Bowling Ladies’ morning tea. Granny had made some savouries, wedges and so forth, and Beryl had cooked a couple of cakes. The Ladies were ebullient over Mr Merv’s rehabilitation and release from hospital. The electric telephone rang. ‘ ‘Allo, Pigs Arms, Merv speakin’ ‘
‘This is Maria from enduss, are you Mr Merv?’
‘Mr Merv, are you Mr Merv?’
‘Yes, but ‘oo are you?’
‘Yep, I ‘eard that, ‘oo’s enduss?’
‘You know, the enduss, from the gummint.’
‘No, I never ‘eard of a enduss from the gummint.’ Mr Merv was pretty wary after the terror attacks in Western Cyberia.
O’Hoo suddenly burst into the bar brandishing some tools. ‘Can I plug me cordless drill in here, Merv’
‘Not now mate, I’m busy with Maria from enduss.’
‘Enduss? Then where can I stick it?’ O’Hoo was swinging the cord around like a toy.
‘You can stick it up yer Khyber Pass!’
‘Mr Merv, that’s no way to speak to a member of the gummint. Maria’s voice was sharp, even over the phone.
‘Sorry Mrs Enuss, but I’m struggling here.’
‘I’m not disabled, I’m running a pub.’ Merv grew red in the face.
‘No you’re not, you’re in a coma, which we don’t consider to be a disability.’
‘Why wouldn’t a coma be a disability?’ Roared Merv.
‘Well, because technically you are under the care of the local hospital, not the enduss.’
‘Oh, we’re back to the enduss!’ Merv fingers were white from holding the handset so tight.
‘Now that we have dealt with that, we have a Mr Foodge living at your premises.’
‘Foodge, phone!’ yelled Merv.
‘Good morning, Mr Foodge here.’ Foodge, ever the gentleman.
‘Mr Foodge, we are pleased to inform you that your application for a pension under the NDIS has been approved.’ Foodge could almost hear the smile down the phone.
‘I didn’t apply for any pension, besides, I’m not disabled.’ Foodge was befuddled.
‘No, but hospital records show that you have been admitted for alcoholic liver disease?’
‘Yes.’ Foodge was already nervous.
‘You were treated in a previous episode for taking oestrogen?’
‘Yes, but that was a mistake.’ The sweat was pouring down Foodge’s face.
‘Do you live on your own?’
‘No, with Mr Merv and Granny!’ Foodge loosened his Lewisham Men’s Bowling tie.
‘Do you have a job?’
No, not exactly, I run a business.’
‘That’s Foodge Private Enquiries, that hasn’t turned a penny in two years.’
‘Do you have a spouse/partner/significant other?’
‘Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I’m dating Granny!’ Foodge sounded triumphant.
‘So, a grown man with a sham business, who is cared for by others, and thinks he is dating his Granny, of course you deserve a pension!’ Maria was about to close the second case for the day.
‘But I don’t want a pension!’ Yelled Foodge.
‘That’s all right, dear, it’s already going into your account. We just wanted to double-check your details! Bye.’