“So, Wes, how are you settlin’ into the Old Dart?” Merv drained the glass and motioned to Manne for a refill. “This bloody knee’s still givin’ me curry.”
“Well, I think I’m settling in OK. Walked straight into a job in paediatrics at the local NHS. Of course, havin’ a Federal Pleece paedo check on file didn’t hurt.” Wes polished off the rest of his Yorkshire Pudd, while a very buxom barmaid pushed another pint across the bar.
“Paedo check? If the Federal Pleece can check to see if you’re a paedo, then why don’t they do it for everyone, then round up the paedos and shoot ‘em?” Merv had never heard of such a thing.
“Nah, they just check to see if you’re on any state or Federal pleece data base for anything related to kiddy fiddling. All health care workers, ambos, teachers, volunteers and such forth have to get one.” Wes was wondering what sort of technology was being used to retain so much barmaid bosom in so little blouse.
“Orright, clear as mud.” Merv was thinking that in his day they’d take ‘em out to the bush and shoot ‘em, not put ‘em in a database. “Excellent thinking regarding the paediatric job. I guess that’s where they’d target. Have you had any dealings with Foodge?”
“No, Foodge thought he was onto a paedo ring, so went to Belgium to infiltrate the European Paediatric Society meeting. I think he’s getting paediatricians and paedophiles mixed up.” Wes was getting some promising signals from the buxom one.
“I’ve bloody well explained the differences to ‘im a ‘undred times”. Whoda thought Foodge had been to uni? Merv was propped up on some pillows on the battered old Chesterfield in the Gentleman’s bar. “Any more wedges, Manne?” Manne nodded and disappeared into the kitchen. “What about O’Way?
“O’Way has taken to it like a real private eye. He’s diarised every meeting, catalogued
O’way grows in stature
information, surveillance photos pinned up everywhere, computer logs of recordings. He’s actually having dinner with some high up tyke, a bishop or cardinal or summit.” Now the buxom one was pushing a note across the bar. “How’s everything else going?”
“An agency sent a bloke around because they’d heard that we needed a new character. Dunno his name. Viv reckons Wilma, Hung One On sort of agrees and Big M thought Wilmer sounded more masculine, not that anyone would presume anyone’s gender in this modern world. Granny is pining for Foodge and worried that he might root some European sheila. Manne and O’Hoo are the only one’s workin’, but it’s worrying having a serial masticater or like, Manne in both the kitchen and bar. It’s put me off havin’ sour cream with me wedges.”
Wes couldn’t believe what was in the note. “Ah, oh, we’re breakin’ up…losing the satellite link, feckin’ mobile phone…”
Merv had endured a torrid time with his ‘blown out’ knee. He’d been to the GP, orthopaedic surgeon, MRI, and then physio. He’d hoped that a quick arthroscopy of the knee would fix it, but, no, now it’s all knee brace and physio exercises. Maybe he’d have an arthroscopy when all this fails, he pondered. Just then the phone rang. “Hello Mr Merv.”
“Ah, Foodge, we’re all wondering ‘ow you an’ O’Way were getting’ on in the Old Dart?” Merv bent down to adjust the Velcro on his knee brace.
“Well, it’s all plain sailing over here. I doubt they’ve ever had a paedo here in England, well, except Jimmy Saville and Rolf Harris, and Eric Gill, but he was a famous artist so doesn’t count.” Foodge enthused. “How’s the knee?”
“Painful and tedious. Can’t run or lift. Have to wear a kneebrace and do stupid feckin’
I see the problem with your knee…
exercises. How’s O’Way settling in?” Merv sat heavily into the old Chesterfield.
“I’ll put him on.”
“It’s O’Way here. Can’t talk. Too much going on. Have managed to infiltrate the tykes. They’re a tight bunch. Can’t get a word out of them. Foodge has joined a Gentleman’s Club. He’s hopeless. He’s lapped up all of the usual guff because they have free Scotch and cigars for new members. I’ll pop him back on.”
“Did you hear that? Free Scotch and cigars. How could these folk be harbouring paedos?” Foodge took a drag on a stogie.
“Mate, you don’t think they’re trying to bribe you with cheap booze and tobacco?” Merv took a sip of South Sea Islands Scotch (it seemed to enhance the pain killers).
“No, no-one escapes eagle eyed Foodge. O’Way wants to say something.”
“Merv, O’Way here, Foodge has no idea of what he’s doing. Way out of his depth.The
Oh, book him Danno…
only thing protecting him is his complete ignorance and ineptitude. I think I’m pretty safe, because I haven’t really managed to get anywhere, but Foodge wanders around talking about paedos at the top of his voice. I’m not sure, but I think we’ve been followed a couple of times.” O’Way was nervously twitching the Venetians. “We either need to withdraw or get backup.”
“There’s no-one here we can send.” Merv was secretly pleased that his knee prevented him from helping. “Hey, what about me nephew Wes? He’s built like a brick shit-house, he can fight like a threshing machine, and hasn’t even had a cameo in an episode for years.”
O’Way ruminated for a few minutes. “Yes, Wes, I met him once. Unforgettable. He’s a nurse, isn’t he?”
“Yes, male nurse, can drive just about any vehicle. Used to work in an abattoir, so he’s good with a knife. He’s been to Bali, once, so he’s an international traveller.”
“He sounds like he possesses useful skills, plus we can get him to snoop around some of these London hospitals. Merv, so you feel comfortable with recruitment? Usual deal, Leer jet from Sydney to London. Five thousand pounds a week, plus board. We also provide a very generous hosiery allowance!”
“Granny won’t be what?” Granny (obviously) roared from the landing of the Mary McKillop Memorial Staircase (somehow the naming of things has gone all Catholic).
Foodge looked up and started wringing his plump little hands.” Err, um, ah, um…happy?” Which was hardly a revelation as Granny was rarely happy.
“It was rhetorical!” Granny waved a bony finger at our hero. “Why won’t I be happy?”
“Oh, Christ, I mean, God, I mean Crikey, I’m going to vomit.” Foodge lurched forward, managing to spray his entire stomach contents into the fireplace, which didn’t really help. It’s not like you can burn the stuff.
This time Father O’Way spoke up. “The London trip is being financed by the Vatican, highly sensitive, and they specifically require a single male for the job. When the personal characteristics of the agent were forwarded to me I immediately thought of Foodge. I mean, he’s highly educated, has an encyclopaedic knowledge of criminal law with detective skills that put Holmes to shame. This comes from the Pope himself, with Extreme Unction.” O’Way had no idea what unction was, ordinary or extreme, but thought it added gravitas when working for the tykes.
By this stage Granny had descended the stairs, and stood in front of the Good Father. “So yer sayin’ that this is gonna be a priestly type of excursion, vow a chastity and all that?”
You are kidding me right!
“Err, yep, that kinda sums it up.” O’Way mopped his brow with a linen hanky that the Pope had given him. “We need someone with intelligence and decorum. Someone who can rub shoulders with the common man, chat about current affairs in a Gentleman’s Club, then enjoy theological discussions with the Bishop.” O’Way felt like he was losing his way. For all he knew Foodge could be a Freemason.
“So what youz are sayin’ is that I’m not goin’, but neither are any other sheilas?”
“Absolutely!” O’Way almost heaved a sigh of relief. “No sheilas, I mean birds, I mean ladies at all.”
“So who’s goin’ with him, Merv?”
“I just ruptured an anterio-posterior crucio-menisceal ligament.” Merv gestured for someone, anyone to get another bag of ice.
Granny nodded to Foodge who ambled off sullenly to the ice machine. “Well, we couldn’t send Manne, on the basis of him being a sexual deviant.”
“It was only internet porn, Granny!” A voice came from the kitchen.
“What about O’Hoo, he’s always lookin’ for extra work, unlike the rest of youz, plus he really is a detective.” Granny’s face lit up. “That way youz can try and work out where yer dragon tattoos come from.”
This was an excellent idea, as Big M had forgotten about the tattoos, and, for that matter, O’Hoo!
“The problem with O’Hoo is that he isn’t allowed into England, or, should I say, back into England.” Foodge piped up.
“That’s true, Granny, I can never set foot in England ever again.” O’Hoo was pulling a Piglet Pale Ale. “Well, not since the incident.”
Big M was uncomfortable with the way this episode was heading. Well, more of a
Big M seems upset…
collection of paragraphs, than an episode. Anyhoo.
“What incident?” Granny gasped.
O’Hoo tapped the side of his nose. “Need to know basis.” Enough said.
“Enough said.” Replied Granny, suddenly experiencing déjà vu, or whatever they say in France. “What about you, O’Way?”
“Well, agh, err, um, look there’s a dwarf!” O’Way tried to sprint towards the exit, only to find himself face down on the putrid carpet, thanks to Granny’s almost imperceptible foot work.
“Ah, the jokes on you O’Way, because there’s no such thing as a dwarf!” Granny looked triumphant.
“Actually there is, and plenty of different types; achondroplastic, hypochondroplastic, Laron, Hypophophataemic rickets, there’s a long list…” Merv was warming to his favourite topic.
Anyone for cricket…
O’Way hadn’t realised that Merv had a penchant for dwarfs, or had chosen to forget. Regardless, he’d been hoisted by his own petard, so to speak (Actually he hadn’t but Big M like to get this into conversations, along with ‘damp squib’, and ‘chance would be a fine thing’, which he didn’t understand, either). Petard or not, O’Way sat there rubbing his shin. “I couldn’t go, I’ve got Church business to attend.”
“I thought that this was a mission for, and on behalf of the Pope, hence the Mother Church Herself.” Granny smiled. “No, that’s it, yer goin’”
Merv had endured a shit house morning. He’d run to the gym, full of the lightness of running, or whatever that quote was, hit the squat rack, gone too heavy, too early and had his right knee collapse from under him, which wasn’t the purpose of doin’ squats! He’d bludged a lift from one of the young blokes and hobbled through the yard to the rear entrance, only to hear O’Way’s dulcet tones. “I said it’s a paedo job!”
“Yes, Speedos, everyone should have a pair!” Foodge was just pushing a Cup of Chino across the bar as Merv hobbled in.
“Morning Father, how’s the Church of St. Generic Brand goin’?” Merv tried to push himself in between Foodge and the expensive Eye Tallion Expresso machine.
“Dunno, I’m here on behalf of the Church of Rome, with Extreme Unction.”
Hey man, smoke this…
“Oh, shit.” Merv quickly crossed himself. “Spectacles, testicles, wallet ‘n watch. Now what does Holy Mother Church want with our own Foodge?” Merv had assumed that the good Father was trying to co-opt Foodge into summit. He was clever that way.
“Promoting sales of Speedos!” Foodge piped up.
“Not Speedos, paedos.” The Father gestured for something stronger than a chino.
“So the church is selling paedos?” Now Merv was confused.
“Fuck no!” The good Father downed half a pint of Trotters Pilsener. “They’re forming a special task force of Paedo Hunters to root them out, for want of a better word.”
Merv now had a pool of water forming under his knee from condensate on the bag of ice balanced on top. “Foodge, old son. Can you throw us a towel?”
“Throw in the towel? No, I’ll be a Paedo Hunter until the end!”
Christ, Foodge, why is everything a double entendre for you? A towel, the cotton thing hangin’ up!”
“So, if I’m to become a Paedo Hunter will I get a gun?” Foodge was finally making himself useful and had mopped up the ice water and started to help Merv to one of the lounge chairs where he could elevate the knee.
“Of course you won’t get a fucking gun, you can’t be trusted with tooth picks.” Which was true, Foodge had endured a previous episode with toothpicks. Let’s just say the magistrate was lenient.
“Let’s just say that the London trip has two aspects. You will be on a fact-finding mission as a Private Detective learning about English detection methods. That’s the cover. The other, secret, aspect is looking for paedos. You’ll be liaising with MI5’s Paedo Branch, and no one else. Do you understand?”
“Yes, so I assume that I’ll be getting a special Paedo Hunter Badge, or MI5 Paedo Officer ID?”
Merv has a fag…
“No, Dopey Dora, it’s fucking secret!!” O’Way had ducked behind the bar to pull a second pint. “Oh, and we expect you to travel alone. You need to maintain the façade of the swinging PI, man of the world, type of presentation.”
A small smile crossed Foodge’s pale lips. “So Granny can’t come?”
“Of course she can’t come. She’ll fuck the whole thing up!” Father O’Way finished his second pint. He certainly wasn’t used to drinking this early. Normally he waited until nine, or even ten.
Hi, Merv here, I fink like, you know, I wanna go to school, just so I can say smart arse things at the bar when I’m working. Like you know if some gezza comes in and orders two pints of Special, I can turn around and say “I think therefore I am”. Whadda ya reckon, sounds good to me. But education is shit so I talk to my good friend Foodge(FOO), who is my legal adviser and any direct questions from this article should go directly to him via the Fictional Characters Union, 000, at your nearest capital city.
FOO: So what’s in an education for you. Let me ask you this. If you have nothing to start with and nothing at the end what do you have?
FOO:1 take away 1
FOO: Two hungry navvies arrive at the bar and order a pint and a pie. What’s left?
“Thank Gordon we have turned that interview technique off, so Merv you don’t need school” says Foodge reverting from FOO.
“Well I did have to go to the doctor” says Merv, “hey why can’t we go back to that old interview technique, boy, is this eating up the word limit and it’s good fun”.
FOO: What did the doctor say?
Merv: He said I was sick and that I should go home.
FOO: So what’s wrong with you?
Merv: I don’t know. He said it would be a breach of privacy.
FOO: But it’s you and your health.
Merv: Yes, he said I’d need birth certificates and affidavits from my parents just to prove that they were there at my birth so he could go ahead and release the information. Shit happens as they say.
FOO: I’m ringing your lawyer right now, we’ll get you out of this.
“Yer goin’ where?” Granny pointed a gnarled finger in Foodge’s face.
“Lunn Donne.” Foodge retorted.
“Lunn Fucking Donne!”
“No, London England.” Foodge wasn’t comfortable with this sort of swearing before lunch, or at least before a few beverages.
“London Fucking England!”
“No, just London in England. I don’t think London copulates with England.”
“Don’t get smart with me, Boyoh!”
“I’m not being smart, or even half smart.” Foodge replied, which was true, Foodge was neither smart nor half smart. Half measures worried Foodge. One could be a wit, which was thought to be a great thing, whereas a half-wit was a pejorative word for idiot. Describing someone as smart was high praise, but half smart implied cheekiness, not half wittery.
Trotters Ale cures all ills…
Emmjay, Hung and M hadn’t accounted for Granny’s reaction when they’d decided to send Foodge to Britain to be Special Envoy, or Chief Photographer or whatever the fuck they’d planned.
“Well, it’s by special request, from…you know, certain people, well connected people.” This wasn’t completely true, but the invite involved a firm of solicitors.
“Special Fucking People! Royal Fucking People. What about our relationship?” Granny had let go of her aggressive tone and had moved into the looking crest fallen, just about to cry stage of the argument.
Foodge started to panic. Are we going to have a long chat about our relationship? Is she going to expect me to talk about my feelings? He suddenly realised that Granny couldn’t have a passport because she’d never travelled further than Milson’s Point. “Granny, I may have failed to convey all of the, err, ah, implications of the invitation, I mean, as my, err, partner, I mean, love of my life, you are, um, my plus one, my, other half…”
“Oh, Foodge, that’s a different matter.” Granny was suddenly coquettish. “When’s this trip takin’ place?”
“Soon, my love, very soon.” Foodge’s voice had taken on a soothing quality. “It may be difficult to organise during the Lock Down, but there are always strings that one can pull.”
Just the two of us…
“Oh, goody, I’ll have to get all new underwear and nighties. Shoes..no, leave room for purchases. I guess I can always use the empty space in Foodge’s port. Oh, and I better get my passport out of the safe…”
“Passport?” Foodge gulped and had become noticeably pale. “Won’t it need to be renewed?”
“No, I’ve always kept it up to date, just in case. Don’t you?”
Foodge thought for a second. His passport did need renewal. He was well and truly hoisted by his own petard. Granny had already raced up to her room. Merv’s disgusting visage suddenly appeared across the bar. “Sounds like you need a drink, old son.”
Make it a double!” Foodge collapsed onto a stool. “You won’t believe what I’ve done.”
“I do believe what you’ve done, you was ‘opin’ that Granny wouldn’t have a passport an’ you’d get away to the Old Dart for an ‘olidee.” Merv was already sounding like a Cockney Publican.
“Was it that obvious?”
“I don’t think she knew, but you was ‘oisted by yer own petard.” Merv was unaware that the narrator had just said that on account of him not being part of the last scene.
“What will I do?” Read a few lines ahead sounds good.
“Well, aside from killing yerself…”Merv was already pushing a second canoe across the filthy, stained bar. “Nah, only jokin”, I reckon you’ll ‘ave a hard time getting’ outta the country at the moment, plus the Poms won’t be real welcomin’.”
“No, Mr Merv, it’s official business, you know, top people involved, movers and shakers.” Foodge drained the second pint of Trotters Best. “ This will involve intelligence, planning and courage.” All three were on short supply at the Pigs Arms. “There is one urgent matter to attend.”
He seems to be wandering aimlessly through his life.
Rudderless, said Big.
I think we have to find him some … ah…. outlet, said Big.
Maybe we should ask him, said Emm.
Do you think he might, ah, have a clue ?
I suspect not, said Big.
Something with travel involved ? I think the readers would love to see Foodge take a break from private eye work.
What about travel and private eye ?
You mean … say an upper class paparazzi / royal watcher / gossip uncle ?
How the hell are we going to sell that one to Foodge ? said Big.
Watch this ! said Emm.
The envelope read “Mr F. Oodge, 1/23 Rutland Court, Knightbridge, London SW3”.
Foodge always smokes to the end, dunno why
Foodge could hardly believe his luck. The phone rang. Foodge here, he said. Good morning Mr Foodge, welcome to London, said a cultivated voice that Foodge pegged as a cross between Eton and Drinkin’. Mr Foodge, I’m Carstairs from Farkim Anisorss, solicitors to the newly fabulously wealthy and influential.
Well, is it car or stairs ? asked Foodge. I’m a man going up in the world. Carstairs laughed obligingly. May I ask you if you’d grace us with your presence in Chambers this afternoon, Mr Foodge ? Go ahead and ask, said Foodge. Carstairs suppressed a small exasperation sound. Will you please come own to Chambers this afternoon Mr Foodge, I will send a car.
At this stage, Big frowned at Foodge because he could see Foodge extending the Carstairs joke one bridge too far. So lets call him Catdog suggests Emm or what about RoadRage.
Certainly, said Foodge. May you ask the purpose of my visit ? It’s because Emmjay has a hankering to write “wood-panelled chamber”. Well, far be it for me to disappoint Uncle Emm, said Foodge[ Editors Note Bhwhahahahawhha, hysterical]. It’s meaningless by the way but true.
I think I have the right side…
Impressive, said Big. Now he’s moved on from a mild mannered faux private dick. Now what ? Well, said Emm, we’ve got the choice between launching a relocated and more textured adventure, and covering the back story.
New adventure, said Big, who drew out his imaginary Olivetti Lapwriter and began tapping away like a man possessed.
Emm, said Big. How did you come up with Foodge’s London address ? Well, there was this show on SBS about a department store in Knightsbridge and I googled flats for sale in Knightsbridge. How much did Foodge’s flat cost ? said Big. Nothing too flash, said M. About 1.7 million pounds. It’s a 2 bedder, but UK real estate advertisements, for some reason are not too particular about bathrooms, said Emm – unable to resist a good stereotype when he could see a gap for one.
Merv was feeling quite unrestrained. He’d read an article in the newspaper that said “nothing is good for your health…”, wow, how powerful is that sort of shit. What he didn’t read was the next paragraph which just happened to say “except for a Trotter’s Ale”, don’t just some facts interfere with a good way of living, I think so and I’m not even Merv, just the low grade author.
Merv is standing behind the bar, index fingers and thumbs clasped and eyes closed, thinking of nothing he nothingly thinks when in walks Father Sandy O’Way, you know, our parish priest from the Church of St Generic Brand.
“Hi Merv, pint of the best , granny’s special and a cone of the good stuff, nah, only kidding, on the wagon this week. Nah, Triple bourb’ instead.”
“Sorry Sandy but I’ve read that nothing is good for your health and from now on I’m going to do nothing as much as possible to keep in good health.”
“Yessss Merv but what you are now doing now is something because you are talking to me.” Sandy’s starting to have some second thoughts about this whole conversation.
“ Yesss but Sandy, I’m really worried, if I have nothing in this hand and nothing in the other hand surely this gives me nothing.”
“Um,er, yessss. You know, we need Foodge.” Foodge is the local private detective and barrister that drinks down at the Pigs Arms. He also smokes to much, eats too many wedgies and is a terrible punter so he tends to need the wealth to flow to the needy lawyers so this episode can run for a little bit longer. Let’s go to court, yee ha.
Foodge has a spiv
Well the court session has been called and unfortunately we have landed the hanging judge, Sir Suppository.
“All rise…” dribble. The judge has been asked to rule on a definition of nothing versus something.
“I sentence the defendant to death by hanging” states Sir Suppository.
“But Me Lud, no evidence has been stated” says Foodge for the defence. Anyhoo,
“Oh, shit, what about the prosecution?” barks the aperient of knobility, Sir Suppository, pretending he knows what’s going on. And look I say good luck to him because I’m writing this and I don’t know what’s going on.
“This is an arbitration matter Me Lud, two bits of nothing equals nothing. We argue that if you have nothing in one hand and nothing in the other hand then at the end of the day you have nothing” says John Citizen of your local Credit Card Legal Firm.
“I interject your suppository, if I have nothing in one hand and nothing in the other I therefore have two bits of nothing therefore I have something”[Geeps, just what I need now is a Donna Summer song] asserts Foodge.
Go Foodge otherwise Merv will be hanged and someone else will have to pour the beers, poor us.
“Me Lud, I will present a case that will irreparably oops I mean irrefutably resolve the whole issue.” Oh Gordon[the inventor of the universe], I love spinning out a story. Have I mentioned hanging Merv yet, hmm, just asking, for a friend like, you know.
“What’s this Me Lud shit?” says Me Lud.
“It’s a minced form of My Lord and it’s found in the No Idea Major Crossword Me Lud, August 2017, Edition 4, Pages 121-122, 389 and 392 Across, two words, minced form of legal brownnose, just sayin’ Me Lud.”
My darling, I have a case to hear
“Oh FFS, lets get on with it and that’s coming from Me Lud.” Don’t know whether I should say Me Lud or not at this point, I mean all that extra typing. Lets face it, typing prevents so many good stories from being told as I would be flat out typing about them.
Foodge rises to the stand “ I call Pythagoras Me Lud” as the court gasps.
Foodge pushes on. This is mind numbing stuff, one of those events when people will sit around at parties in the future saying, where were you when Foodge called Pythagoras to the witness stand so that Merv didn’t get hanged for saying that two times nothing is something. Wow man, this is unbelievable and I make this shit up.
“Now Pythagoras can you recall to the court your early life and the effect that it had on you?” pleads Foodge.
“Well, yeah, like, it was shit, like yeah, you know, shit yeah like you know, then this geeza hits me right, with a stick right, and it breaks right, I arrange it in different patterns then this gezza , Socrates was his name, smart geeza always wanting
Yes a2 +b2 = c2
someone to think for themselves, I mean, ever heard of anything more stupid then that, you know, so I arranged it like you know, drink hemlock, gets ya pissed, you know, like and den all of a sudden I writ this book, Equilateral Triangles for Dummies, den you know, the rest is history.”
“The witness may stand down. Mr Foodge I suggest your witness should indeed consult an encyclopaedia before telecasting Socrates. Anyone else?” says Me Lud.
“Yes Me Lud, I call George Boole.”
“Anyone else alive Mr Foodge?”
“No Me Lud. Liveliness tends to get in the road of a good story.” Foodge pushes on, again.
“So Mr Boole, is it possible for nothing to have a value?”
“Well, um, er, um, ah, um I sorta don’t know, yes, no, maybe.”
“But Sir, you are an architect of the modern age of communication, I put it to you Sir, has nothing got a value?” asserts Foodge.
“And what is that value?”
“Me Lud, I rest my case. If my client has nothing in one hand and nothing in the other then therefore he has something.”
The roar from the gallery was amazing…
The court erupts with joy. Complete strangers hug and kiss, TV presenters pretend they like each other, cameramen take photos of men and women rejoicing in confetti lined streets so that in 50 years time we can all try and guess who they were, oh yes isn’t living in Inner Cyberia just wonderful, isn’t it?
Big M awoke in a narrow little bed that seemed to be in a tiny room. There was a tremendous knocking. ‘Oh, Christ’. He thought.’ Not Foodge and Granny again?’ The knocking seemed to continue, and, this time wasn’t associated with cries of pain, or ecstasy, that seemed to emanate throughout the upstairs rooms of the pub at intervals through the night. He suddenly realised it was coming from the door. “Please come in and stop that infernal knocking.”
A very ebullient Manne bounced into the room. “Have yer worked out a plan?”
“What, to get rid of this headache?” Big M had probably imbibed a little too much IPA, and had had very little sleep.
“Well, with a head like that, why wouldn’t it ache?” Manne cheerily replied. He didn’t really know what it meant, but his father used to say it to him when he was a kid.
“What time is it?” Big M shovelled a couple of panadol into his mouth.
“Sparra’s fart”Manne grinned.
“Why so fucking early?” Big M was searching his toiletry bag for some Zantac.
“Early, no I’ve been doin’ some jobs for Mr Merv, getting’ the kitchen ready for Granny.” Manne absent mindedly picked at a dirty fingernail. “Anyhoo, I reckon we need to get some sheila, I mean, lady to impersonate a Lady in Waiting on Foodge’s phone. You know, to explain the blood test.”
“Fiendishly clever, Mr Manne, he would see straight through a letter, but a phone call would instantly appeal to his Royalist tilt. He’ll probably think he’ll be getting a knighthood!” Just then their conversation was interrupted by a tremendous knocking, each knock accompanied by cries of….you get what I mean. “Oh shit, let’s go and have some breakfast.
A couple of hours later Big M sat back in his chair, having consumed multiple cups of black coffee, a Thai omelette , wedges with sweet chilli sauce, and Atlantic salmon. “Manne, when did the menu become so, um, er, international?”
“Well, Granny needed a break, so I’ve been doin’ some of the cookin’ You know that I grew up in Thailand, and me Dad was a chef? Manne cleared the table. “Do you think you may appreciate the hair of the dog? I mean, you look a bit peaky.”
“I was about to say that I didn’t realise you had grown up, let alone in Thailand. Excellent idea, young Manne, I mean about the beer, and the cooking.” Big M had loosened off his belt a tad, but left his button done up. ‘I mean, Christ.’ He thought. ‘Yer not on the Newcastle train now!’
Manne appeared with a pint of Granny’s Best as Foodge seemed to emanate out of nowhere. “Ah, Foodge, good to see you, Old Son!” Big M enthused as he struggled to his feet to shake our Dear Boy’s hand. “How the hell are ya’?”
“Fabulous Uncle M. You look well, how is Aunty M?” Foodge sat opposite Big M and motioned Manne to pour a second canoe. “Manne, would you be kind enough to prepare a six egg white omelette on sourdough, mushrooms, tomatoes and a side of chipolatas?”
“So, the usual Mr Foodge?” Manne shuffled off to the kitchen.
“Big day today, M.” Foodge eagerly drank the first half of his pint. “Off to the cordwainer.” Foodge motioned to the shopping bag on the floor. “Might have a poke around the Queen Victoria Building while I’m there.”
“Cordwainer, what’s a bloody cordwainer?” Big M shouldn’t be surprised at Foodge’s outlandish pronouncements.
“A cordwainer is a shoe maker. These brogues aren’t going to resole themselves!” Foodge skulled the last of his pint, and was already eagerly looking around for someone to proffer another.
“Oh, so you mean a cobbler?” Big M was also looking for another pint.
“No, I mean a cordwainer. A cobbler is simply a shoe repairman.” Thankfully Manne had placed two pints of Granny’s Pale Ale in front of them. “Besides, I think my left foot may be changing shape, so may need to have my last adjusted, or even remade.”
“Last, what fucking last?” Big was lost in the discussion.
“You know, when the cordwainer makes a shoe he makes a wooden model of your foot called a last. What does your cordwainer do?” A plate of eggs and mushrooms had appeared at his elbow. “Ah, eggsellent!” Foodge never tired of this little joke.
“I don’t have a cordwainer. I can’t afford custom made shoes.” Big M was growing exasperated, but his headache had settled.
“Don’t have a cordwainer? Next you will tell me you don’t have a tailor! Although you do have that off the shelf look about you” Foodge was searching the table for some Tabasco sauce. “Ah.” It was right there with the salt and pepper. Just then Foodge’s phone rang. “Hello, yes, Foodge here. Yes. Lady in Waiting to whom? …You want to what? ….Family tree? ….What?… Present from my pals at the Pigs Arms? …You want to what? …Blood taken?” Foodge was suddenly sitting up very straight. “I could be a Minor Royal? …Yes, of course, I’ll get the blood taken…Thank you, Your Majesty. No, Oh, thank you, your Lady…I’ll get it done today..” Foodge put the iPhone away. “Big M, you’ll never guess…”
Big M already had a syringe and needle in his hand. “Which arm. Foodge?”
“What the hell are you doing Merv?” asks Foodge as he enters the bar and pointing at the beer tap. “Make it a canoe of Special there’s a good chap.”
“I’m staring out into space” replies Merv, adjusting his gaze to pour a beer. “Some bloke on the telly said staring into space is a good thing to do, especially in retirement.”
“What’s this retirement rubbish Merv, who will pour the beers if you retire?” barks
A cat waiting for a car
Foodge, cutting to the chase. Lets face it, pouring beers is the best skill someone else needs to have.
The noise awoke O’Hoo who had been catching a bit of a nap, leaning semi-fatally across the bar. “When I retire I’m gunna get pissed every day” says O’Hoo.
“Nothing has changed then” replies Merv. “What about you Foodge?”
“Well, I’m gunna drink, smoke, gamble and chase wild women”
Nothing has changed then thinks Merv. Boosh goes the dishwasher as Merv ponders other things.
Seems like all of us need some sort of advice about what we are gunna do when we retire. We need to talk to Gordon, he’ll know.
Merv calls Gordon on his mobile.
“Gordy, it’s Merv. Better get down here, dazes is all talkin re-tyre-meant. The friggin
Hot babe that has no relation to the story at all
union is coming. Ewe no, the FUCU(Fictitious United Characters Union, referred to as the Fark Ewe).”
Gordon appears at the end of the bar. None of the locals notice any more, it’s just the tourists. The tourists run around screaming their heads off like they have just seen an alien, umm, well I guess they just have.
I mean here we are and the creator of the universe beams in for a drink, classic. Does it get better than this.
“So Gordon, what are you going to do in retirement?” pushes Merv.
“Well, I’m gunna watch repeats of BBC crime shows. Either that or take up hurling.” replies Gordon.
Well, nothings changed then as Gordon is already watching repeats of BBC crime shows. Hurling! Are you serious?
“The one thing I do know” continues Gordon “is what’s the one thing we all have in common?” asks Gordon. The issue Gordon failed to grasp was that the audience had a collective IQ of the square root of nothing. Sometimes an artist sees a blank canvas other times sees rivers of gold. Well this was one of dem times when no one had any idea.
Blokes, Pigs Arms patrons, etc., etc., came the cries till Gordon said “We are all fictitious. Foodge, Merv, O’Hoo”.
“I’m real” shouts Merv “Well sort of…” then realising that he wasn’t real.
“Don’t worry about retirement, it’s dem, out there, they age, wheeze are always the same. Anyone had grey hair or arthritis written into their contracts lately? Didn’t think so!”. Gordon’s on a roll and he can’t help himself.
Yes, it’s me too…
“And do you notice that the author always portrays me as an old man with grey hair and a flat cap whose chewing his hands off. Hmm.”
“Well I want to be a ninja that stares out into space” says Merv.
Merv does some kung fu moves and shoop, swah, zonk.
“And notice how the author usually portrays me as Rumpole with cigarette ash on his tie, a beer belly but an incredible sense of the law”
Foodge, with beer belly and ash on his tie, just sayin’
interjects Foodge, feeling left out of this dreary episode, hmm, thinking, 10 minutes of your life that you will never get back.
Look, it’s starting to sound like a character revolution coming so whoever I am I better get going. Let them eat bytes I say.