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  1. #1
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    Default Chapter 12 - 4am

    TWELVE

    Francois Devine was first to the punch as it were. He stood up in his sheet and wailed at the audience.

    “Woooooo” he cried. There were a couple of gasps from some of the stupider members of the group. One woman fainted but I recognised her as Maudie Rummage, best known in the village for passing out on at least three occasions from terror when she saw her own reflection in a shop window and thought someone evil had cloned her while she slept and was selling the results into slavery.

    “Jesus H” said Miles Saragh-Jayne from the back of the party, “they’ve only bloody gone and kidnapped the moon.”

    I looked over at Francois Devine’s rather corpulent form in his figure hugging sheet and had to chuckle to myself. Miles Saragh-Jayne may be the enemy but if I didn’t know better I’d be checking Francois Devine for footprints and American flags. Sadly, some of the tour party didn’t know better and ran away in terror.

    “I am the ghost of Bendaton Past” boomed Francois Devine, giving himself a speaking part that hadn’t previously been asked for.

    “OMG” said a teenage girl, “I like so didn’t know cheese could talk lol.”

    She reminded me of the late Lolly Tennant – not that I want this memoir to become a pathetically stupid catalogue of people I’ve met in the past. I leave such retrospective, naval gazing nonsense to Steven Moffat and Russell Davies who you’ll recall I briefly met several years ago at a press conference.

    I felt things were becoming a little distracted so prepared to raise myself up in as ghostly a manner as I could and give the peasants something to remember.

    “Wooo” I said with less feeling than Melba would’ve wanted.

    “Oh no” said Miles Saragh-Jayne with feigned terror, “It’s the ghost of Donald Brent – look – he’s risen from his grave to haunt the village he died in.”

    What to Saragh-Jayne was merely a bit of fun at the expense of people less clever than us – something I’m normally strongly in favour of – quickly turned into badly organised chaos as villagers began running in every direction except towards me. The simpletons bumped into each other, tripped over roots and graves, slipped in patches of mud and one poor fool even concussed himself on a famously low gargoyle that protrudes from the church after being installed in the 1980s at the insistence of the council who believed that abnormally short people have the same right to look at gargoyles as those of normal height.

    “Hold hard – it’s me” I shouted after them but some shouted back that that is exactly what Donald Brent used to say and they detested him for it.

    “You appear to have cut short our night’s work” said Francois Devine after disposing of his sheet and joining me on the family plot.

    “Yes – at first I was a bit cheesed off at the rudeness of some people but now I think I did rather a good job considering I didn’t especially fancy spending a whole hour hanging round the cemetery at night. Not after what happened last time.”

    “Indeed, Dennis Brent, indeed” nodded Francois Devine sagely. I was rather pleased with the evening when I noticed Francois Devine had unzipped his trousers and was relieving himself on my brother’s grave.

    “What in the name of Terrance Dudley do you think you’re doing?” I demanded. He looked down, looked back up, flushed a little pink and apologised profusely.

    “I’m so sorry – as you’ll read by return of post – it was done entirely out of habit.”

    “You’ve done this before?”

    “I often do – it’s a useful shortcut from the Elk and Bush to Brent Towers and since your sensible economy in having your brother’s gravestone made out in memory of D. Brent I find it comforting. I couldn’t knowingly micturate on your brother’s grave as he’s dead and that would be disrespectful but if I tell myself it is you I’m relieving myself on I find I can go for ages. It saves much wear, tear and chemical cleaning products to do it here rather that back in my wing of the house.”

    “I’m seeing a different side to you, Francois Devine” I said coldly.

    “You’re quite right” he said contritely but instead of stopping in mid flow he merely turned his back on me and carried on emptying himself. I was too beside myself to say anything witty. I regret that now as a truly cutting barb was just what the situation needed.

    Melba trotted over when I was at the peak of my umbrage and probably saved Francois Devine from a verbal volley if and when I thought of one.

    “Hello, men” he said happily. The one consolation in this whole awkward, embarrassing and slightly urine-scented experience was that we were finally off the mark with our fund raising.

    “How much did we make?” I asked in lieu of small talk.

    “Ah – yes – I was meaning to mention that even though I hoped you wouldn’t remember about it. There’s been a slight small snag, well, barely a snag really, more of an inconvenience that may or may not be sorted out.”

    “The point – Melba – would be very welcome right now” I said, my wit having returned as soon as I saw a fellow human being in distress.

    “I sort of had to agree to letting them pay me after the tour rather than before it or they wouldn’t buy tickets” I he admitted.

    “Oh Melba” I said, shaking my head.

    “An error so basic” added Francois Devine. To my intense delight he slapped himself on the forehead with the hand he’d just used to operate his unmentionable and, since there was nowhere he could’ve washed it, I had one over on him in the hygiene stakes.

    “So we didn’t make any money with this disgusting spectacle” I cursed.

    “We might – if they come round to my house later and give me the money they promised which they might” he said feebly.

    “Another basic error” noted Francois Devine, slapping his forehead again and making me dance with joy inside my clean head.

    “I should probably go after them and see if I can catch the slower ones and get a bit of cash from them. They should be only too happy to pay up – they wanted ghosts and they actually got a bally ghost or at least think they did. Justice is on my side, men, and I am confident I’ll get something for my troubles.”

    “Oh I think you’ll get something for your troubles” I said wittily. Francois Devine and I looked at each other and roared. Melba didn’t get the joke and just scuttled off.

    I began to rub the flour from my face when I saw the worrying sight of a band of men carrying lighted torches coming out way. At the head of it was the vicar – a superstitious man if ever there was one. All vicars are superstitious or they wouldn’t believe in god but this one was worse than most.

    “There he is” he cried. “There be the foul ghostly demon.”

    It was as I’d feared – he’d come to exorcise me.

    “When I say run…” I began but as usual Francois Devine ignored my leadership and sprinted off in the other direction. Which was fair enough as this was technically running for our lives.
    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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    Default

    Good stuff.

    Am I the only one who suspects Melba as being the mysterious Masked Employer?

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