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  1. #1
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    Default Chapter 14 - 6am

    FOURTEEN

    The fire bucket proved a loyal and sympathetic companion as I showed my disgust at Melba’s pathetically stupid - and dangerously anarchic - suggestion that I sell items from my unique and priceless collection at a car boot sale. I’m not averse – under exceptionally specific circumstances – to selling an item through discrete specialist channels for enormous sums of money. Financial gain is one of the main reasons to be a collector of valuable objects. I made a 307% profit on Frazer Hines’s dirk in ’99 and still smile at the memory. But to part with items at a squalid public event like a car boot sale made my stomach churn and my blood feel like gravy. Just for that sickening moment I felt I knew what it must be like to be Francois Devine. I was appalled.

    “Pull yourself together, Dennis Brent” urged Melba. I could barely hear him in my bucket.

    “Pardon?” I cried. A mistake as the bucket amplified my voice and threw it back tenfold at my fragile and confused head.

    “I said pull yourself together, Dennis Brent” he repeated. I lifted my head from my home away from home and gave him the sourest look I’d given since the DWAT senior exec made us have minority representation on the Firkinside DWAT exec and annulled our choice of Grantham because being 1/16th Montenegrin apparently wasn’t minority enough. Surely, I said at the time, the smaller the better where minorities are concerned but I was given a sheet of foolscap which listed appropriate minority groups and was told to vote for someone that met at least one of those. I let my feelings be known with a sour look that made Haribo look like a fruit pastille <g>. Thankfully, Francois Devine had the splendid idea of making Nelson Mandela our honorary vice president and that satisfied everyone. He’s never been to any of our meetings though which I do think is a bit rude of him.

    “I’m not doing it, Melba” I said firmly.

    “It’s the only way, Dennis Brent” he replied. We stared at each other. “What are a few trinkets compared to a one-third share of The Memo?”

    I chuckled inside, remembering Francois Devine’s and my plan to out-vote Melba on everything including access to The Memo. My one-third share was in reality a 50-50 share. We could then put this de facto ownership in writing and if anything happened to Francois Devine - tragic though that would be - the memo would be mine. I was disturbed from my machinations by Melba tugging my sleeve and urging me to hurry up.

    “The car boot sale opens at 7 and we have to get there as early as possible to secure a top notch plot.”

    “Who is hatching a top notch plot?” I gasped. “I’m not. Definitely not. Telling Scotland Yard about Francois Devine would be the actions of a swine.”

    I realised I hadn’t been listening and may have given the game away.

    “I’m not with you, Dennis Brent” said Melba.

    “I think we should start looking for things to sell to the proles” I replied by way of a distraction.

    “That’s the spirit” he enthused. We wandered into the deepest, darkest and least important corner of my museum vault and tried to find something – anything – that wasn’t far, far too good for the ignorant rabble.

    “What about that?” suggested Melba as we passed the Master’s tape recording device from Story 5V. “I think this could be vital to the future of us all.”

    “Have you run mad?” I scoffed, ignoring his joke but filing it away for future use as my own material. “I think not.”

    “Well what about this?” He pointed to Baker’s umbrella from Story 7A.

    “Pah” I said dismissing him utterly. I picked up something that might just about be disposable. “I suppose I could part with that” I offered.

    “What is it?”

    “What is it? Call yourself a telehistorian? It’s quite clearly Cornish’s pen from Story CCC. You’ve made a bit of a fool of yourself, Melba, and when I tell Francois Devine about this we will both roar.”

    “Don’t be beastly, Dennis Brent, I’m still wet behind the ears you know.”

    “Ignorance is no excuse. We give no quarter. You have been found wanting and we will laugh at you. A lot. We may laugh behind your back or we may laugh in your face – as the mood takes us – but we will laugh long and we will laugh hard.”

    “Rotter” he said sulkily and he stumped off somewhere that his lack of detailed production knowledge wouldn’t be so expertly satirised.

    I managed to fill a small Bargainsave carrier bag with items I could just about bear to lose but it was the worst 15 minutes I’ve spent since the “Just a Minute” panel at Panopticon ’88 when I was japed by my fellow contestants – and the man standing in for Parsons – who let me talk for a full quarter hour on ‘What I’d have for breakfast if I was Christopher H Bidmead’ without challenging me despite several minor rule infringements on my part. I found Francois Devine sitting on an absurdly small milking stool, dabbing his brow and recovering from his early collapse.

    “Have you…” he began but I held up a hand to selflessly stop him having to say the words that might buckle his legs a second time.

    “I have” I said, patting the carrier bag.

    “Was it…” he attempted to ask.

    “It was” I confirmed.

    “Funny – it didn’t look like rain” he said. I realised I’d mis-completed his question and jotted a note of apology.

    “Are you going to bring some items to sell?” I asked. He wobbled.

    “I?”

    “Yes – we’re partners in this absurd venture are we not?”

    “We are but with differing responsibilities. We are going to a car boot sale and I am providing both the car and the boot. My man cruiser will be our showroom for whatever odds and ends your small collection could conjure up.”

    “That’s hardly fair” I protested.

    “If you would prefer to hire a taximetred cabriolet for the occasion I’m sure he’d be happy to accept his fee out of your share of the profits.”

    “Hmph” I said - and I meant it - but my meaning just bounced off his corpulence and he stood up from his milking stood a man who thought he had won the argument.

    “Don’t dawdle, Dennis Brent, the car boot sale starts in a few minutes.”

    I kissed goodbye to my collection – figuratively not literally as I wasn’t selling anything worth being intimate with - and joined them at the man cruiser’s berth.

    We reached the rugby club with a couple of minutes to spare and were allocated a distant pitch. The whole of Bendaton was assembling at this festival of tat and stolen goods. I took a number of photographs and made a lot of notes which were posted anonymously to the police station so my time wasn’t entirely wasted while Melba signed us in and Francois Devine moved the man cruiser back and forth to get it correctly aligned in its spaces. A starter’s pistol was fired at 7am and the sale began. I took each object carefully out of the carrier bag and waited for the first savage to paw them incoherently. Thank goodness I remembered to bring the fire bucket with me. Getting my head briefly stuck in it when a man with an earring handled Benton’s turtleneck was a small price to pay.
    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

    Was getting Dennis to part with some precious artifacts Melba's plan all along?


    And will Dennis or Francois be the first to ask Melba to do the toast?

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