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  1. #1
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    Default Chapter 6 - 10pm

    SIX

    I don’t mind admitting I was feeling a bit cheesed off with life having barely escaped the stage with my dignity and my head intact. How dare some ner’do’well use my name to sell tickets to his – or, saints preserve us, her – squalid little theatre show. I’d be willing to bet that at least seven eighths of that audience were there because they’ve heard about my witty sense of humour and were assuming my use of comic irony meant I would in fact be starring in the show. What better way to follow up “An Evening with Dennis Brent” than with the jocularly titled “An Evening without Dennis Brent”? It was exactly the same as Nimoy did with his two ghastly autobiographies which I obviously haven’t read as they are about Trek and I leave such mind numbingly banal topics to lesser men. I stood in “the wings” as we say in the theatre and watched the proletariat eating their chocolate raisins and murmuring remarks of no historical value what so ever to each other.

    “Hello Dennis Brent” said Francois Devine from behind me.

    “I thought you weren’t speaking to me” I said wittily.

    “Did I say that? I think I didn’t. I merely said I was expecting an apology – with my mother’s grave CC’d as it is what she would’ve wanted – by return of post. As for hoping not to meet you again, well, I have decided to stretch a point because you are about to witness my victory in this little charity contest. That audience out there – at nine pounds a head, I undercut you as I am a savvy gentleman – is here to see me and their purchases mean I literally cannot lose. There would need to be a disaster of biblical proportions for The Memo not to be residing in Francois’s deserving hands tomorrow.”

    He beamed at me. I felt sick. How could I have been so efficiently bamboozled and outplayed by one so hefty? His physique is literally incapable of subtlety and his mind is too flabby and ordinary to weave the sort of complex patterns needed to outwit or outfox Dennis Brent. And yet the impossible had happened. I gave some thought to his biblical disaster remark and contemplated turning all the taps on in the lavatories and creating a mild flood which might lead to the premature conclusion of his performance but no doubt the building would have insurance to cover such eventualities and he’d still get his money. While that might lead to a few months’ delay in the contest being ratified, the end result would still be the same. I sighed and turned my attention to how I might get hold of The Memo once he owned it. I had long since completed a tunnel into his private archive wing but I feared he would use his newfound cleverness (or luck) to shut me out if I chanced it. No, cunning alone wouldn’t work – I’d have to use low cunning.

    “Ladies and gentlemen” he said into the very microphone I had used just a short time ago. “Would you please give a magnificent round of applause to the star of ‘An Evening without Dennis Brent’, Britain’s pre-eminent telehistorian, Francois Devine.”

    He strode out on the stage to a huge round of applause. My eyes were closed – I couldn’t bear to witness so compete and horrific a triumph – but I allowed one to open slightly when the applause stopped abruptly and quickly turned to booing. Booing turned to vulgar shouts of disapprobation and those turned to the unmistakable sound of chairs being thrown. The people – and this has a double meaning which is very funny – were revolting.

    “Help me, Dennis Brent” cried Francois Devine as he found himself cowering behind a wooden tree left over from the Bendaton Strollers’ unwisely ambitious stage adaptation of Avatar.

    “How?” I shouted back.

    “Distract them” he told me.

    “With what?”

    “Your face.”

    “My what?”

    “Your face.”

    “How will that distract them?”

    “It might draw their fire.”

    “You want me to draw their fire with my face?”

    “Yes.”

    “No.”

    “I’ll withdraw my request for an apology by return of post, thus saving you the cost of a second class stamp.”

    “Done.”

    I poked my head round the curtain and was immediately recognised. I have a quick and nimble neck and was able to avoid most of the missiles aimed at me in those five terrifying seconds. That was all the time Francois Devine needed to scurry from behind his wooden tree and to the safety of the wings. I jogged round the back of the curtain and joined him.

    “I have to say I wasn’t expecting that” he declared. “I had hoped my standing in this godforsaken community was higher than yours but it appears I am very nearly as misunderstood as you are.”

    “That’s a brave thing to say, Francois Devine, and it happens to be the truth. We are misunderstood and envied by the rabble and should stop being so public spirited. Once this fund raising nonsense is over I suggest we withdraw from public life and let them have a taste of what things are like without us to brighten up their dreary and smelly existences.”

    “I concur” he said and we beamed at each other. The crowd, having guessed that there was no one left to throw things at, had been dispersing while Francois Devine and I made our peace.

    “I shall win the contest and then withdraw” he added.

    “I think you’ll find I am going to win” I corrected him.

    “The only way you would win is if we joined forces and won as a team” he told me.

    “That’ll never happen” I assured him.

    “Indeed – I only mentioned it because no power on the planet could compel me to even consider such a pathetically stupid notion” he said.

    “The mere idea is pathet... beneath contempt” I agreed, a little miffed he’d used one of my copyrighted expressions without permission.

    We looked at the empty theatre, devastated by the rampaging mob, now departed, and gave each other a look that said we should leave now before they try to bill us for the damage. But before we could escape I noticed one audience member still sitting quietly. He saw us looking at him and began to applaud.

    “Nice show” he said. “Very funny. They’ll all be demanding refunds of course so you’ve no chance of winning the fund raising contest.”

    “What do you know about that?” I asked suspiciously.

    “I’m taking part. Not for myself – I’ve been hired to win at all costs.”

    “Hired? Hired by whom?” demanded Francois Devine.

    “I’m not at liberty to say” he told us.

    “Why not?” I asked.

    “It’s a secret.”

    “Oh. And is your identity also a secret?” I said wittily.

    “Nope” he replied, standing up and taking his conveniently wide brimmed hat off. “It’s been a while Mr Brent. Must be five years.”

    “Miles Saragh-Jayne” I gasped. My irritatingly good former employee was now standing between me and The Memo.
    Dennis, Francois, Melba and Smasher are competing to see who can wine and dine Lola Whitecastle and win the contract to write her memoirs. Can Dennis learn how to be charming? Can Francois concentrate on anything else when food is on the table? Will Smasher keep his temper under control?

    If only the 28th century didn't keep popping up to get in Dennis's way...

    #dammitbrent



    The eleventh annual Brenty Four serial is another Planet Skaro exclusive. A new episode each day until Christmas in the Brenty Four-um.

  2. #2
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    Coo. Have we met Miles Saragh-Jayne before?
    Pity. I have no understanding of the word. It is not registered in my vocabulary bank. EXTERMINATE!

  3. #3
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    We have - in "Death Becomes Dennis" way back in 2006 when my PC was in for repair and the whole serial was cobbled together on an aging Mac.

    http://www.thevervoid.com/dennisbrent/brentyfour4.pdf
    Dennis, Francois, Melba and Smasher are competing to see who can wine and dine Lola Whitecastle and win the contract to write her memoirs. Can Dennis learn how to be charming? Can Francois concentrate on anything else when food is on the table? Will Smasher keep his temper under control?

    If only the 28th century didn't keep popping up to get in Dennis's way...

    #dammitbrent



    The eleventh annual Brenty Four serial is another Planet Skaro exclusive. A new episode each day until Christmas in the Brenty Four-um.

  4. #4
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    Default

    A tear, Saragh-Jayne?

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