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  1. #1
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    Default Chapter 7 - 11pm

    SEVEN

    The situation was serious – beating Francois Devine would be easy (though I hadn’t yet managed to and had no idea how I would actually do it, I felt confident that I could and would once I really started trying) but Miles Saragh-Jayne was a different matter. It was he that assisted me so ably during that awkward business when everyone thought I was dead and in their state of confused mourning I became enormously popular. With offers and opportunities presenting themselves at hourly intervals, I felt it was worth the expense to hire an employee and in doing so I unwittingly released Miles Saragh-Jayne upon an unsuspecting world. He stabbed me in the back like the treacherous traitor he undoubtedly is by leaving my employ within a day and joining Philip Stiffit’s team but since Stiffit’s mysterious death (I’ve said it so many times I’ve almost started to believe it) nothing had been seen or heard of him. There were rumours that he had gone to Africa to become a mercenary, others claimed to have seen him advising President Obama, yet others swore he reached the quarter finals at Wimbledon last summer. The most reliable sources told us he was taking it easy in Hawaii having invented a reality television format and sold it to Cowell for an enormous sum.

    “What have you been doing with yourself, Saragh-Jayne?” I asked casually.

    “I’ve been on the dole since Phil snuffed it so when this job came along I leapt at the chance to get back to what I’m best at – sorting things out for a while before I get bored.”

    “Could I bribe you to leave your current employer and come and work for me?” I asked in a quiet voice so Francois Devine wouldn’t hear and begin an unseemly bidding war for his services.

    “It's a matter of honour, Mr Brent. I gave the Masked Employer my word and a signed contract and that means more to me than mere money.”

    “The Masked Employer you say” I replied, mentally searching for any reference to this cove in my vast archive of devious people. I’d come up against a couple of masked foes before but neither used the name The Masked Employer. There was the Masked Marvel who collected comics anonymously and hung around with Doctor DC in their own (and deeply tragic) little corner of the Elk and Bush. There was also the Masked Crusader who tried to pin a five pound fine for littering on me after a gust of wind caught the bundle of fascinating technical documents I was carrying across the heath and sent them flying. What was already the worst night of my life became even worse when this vigilante fool arrived and started giving me a ticket

    “Have you run mad?” I shouted. “That’s a first generation copy of Maureen O’Brien’s curriculum vitae. Why the blazes would I want to throw it away?”

    He looked at me sheepishly – probably, I couldn’t tell for sure as he was wearing a mask but who wouldn’t be sheepish when such an obvious mistake is pointed out to them – and told me he didn’t make the rules (I realised later that he did – he was a vigilante) so I paid the fine under protest, wrote a very stiff letter to him c/o The Crusader Cave, Bendaton, and followed it up a month later with a very witty and cutting letter to the Daily Mail about the incident. They didn’t publish it.

    “They’re not really called the Masked Employer” explained Saragh-Jayne, “It was a joke.”

    “Oh” I snapped, “when writing this adventure up I may waste a couple of hundred words giving a bit of backstory that made your joke plausible which I’ll then have to explain.”

    “When you do what?” he said, confused

    “Nothing” I added hastily lest word get round that Dennis Brent has started keeping a journal again. The last time that happened I found my most intimate jottings splashed all over an 18-page special published by those clowns from DWAS. Fortunately, in their haste, they misnumbered the pages so the joke was really on them.

    Miles Saragh-Jayne wished us the best of luck and sauntered off to apparently win this contest at a canter. I turned to Francois Devine who had re-joined us after being convinced he could smell bacon wafting down the corridor.

    “I think we should join forces” I told him.

    “I thought that would be the thinnest end of the wedge, to use the correct version of that clichéd expression” he told me.

    “It would but neither of us – especially you – stands a chance against Saragh-Jayne on our own. The man is devious, underhand and quite the best and only employee I’ve ever had. If anyone can beat me it is him. But together we stand a chance.”

    “Do we, Dennis Brent?” he wailed. “I’ve been turning this whole business over in my mind and I don’t think even the combined talents of me and, to a much lesser degree, you can possibly match the abilities of Saragh-Jayne in this unique set of circumstances. He is more popular than we are.”

    “Superficially” I conceded.

    “He has a better understanding of charity than we do.”

    “Marginally.”

    “He has more ideas than we do.”

    “Potentially.”

    “He has the advantage of having seen us fail so he can learn from our mistakes.”

    “Maybe.”

    “Oh, Dennis Brent, stop being optimistic. The occasionally sunny side of your nature is a blessing of course but it can get in the way when things become desperate.”

    “What are you suggesting?”

    “I’m suggesting we find someone to help us out by doing all the things Saragh-Jayne is good at – meeting the proles, having witless ideas, being a dogsbody, not getting attacked – that sort of thing,”

    “Do you know anyone like that?” I asked, unaware that Francois Devine knew anyone I didn’t also know and his description could only match one person and obviously no one in their right mind would bring Melba on board when the going gets tough.

    “What ho” said Melba from behind a curtain. He’d evidently been hiding there for some time waiting for his cue.

    “I telephoned Melba between wafts of bacon and in a flash of inspiration. He is exactly what we need – I knew it as soon as I thought of it.”

    My point was proven (<g>) but I felt no better for it. We would fight Miles Saragh-Jayne as a trio and almost certainly lose as a trio. Never had The Memo felt further away than it did at that moment.
    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
    Join Date
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    Default

    Those wanting more from Melba can read his first proper appearance (japing Dennis Brent by offering him a lift and driving off many, many times in Brenty Four III aside) in the rarely remembered third segment of "The Secret Diary of Dennis Brent".
    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.

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