Time was not on our side as we digested Miles Saragh-Jayne’s threat that he would defeat us in the charity fund raising contest and gain possession of The Memo for person (or persons) unknown.

“I’m fogged as to how Saragh-Jayne knew to put sponges in the freezer last night” I explained.

“It’s confusing – oh – so confusing” agreed Francois Devine, once more slapping his forehead in exasperation.

“I know” added Melba, “I didn’t get the idea myself until I was in the queue in Tesco buying those fiv...three Mars Bars.”

“How did you come by such a potentially good – though ultimately disastrous – idea?” I asked.

“Would you believe genius?”


“Would you believe sudden inspiration?”


“Would you believe serendipity?”


“Would you believe that there was a man in the queue behind me talking on his mobile telephone about what a good idea it was to throw sponges at people for charity?”

“I might” I conceded. “Especially if he happened to look or sound a bit like Miles Saragh-Jayne making mischief.”

“Come to think of it, he did bear a passing resemblance to the man who just taunted us. Do you think he japed us?”

“Japed? Sabotaged is a more apposite epithet” I said wittily. Francois Devine roared, Melba did not. He didn’t go to the Bendaton Academy For Young Gentlemen And/Or The Sons of Gentlemen (the only private school in the country to have “and/or” in its name) – he went to Bendaton High School and was distracted by hemlines while we studied English properly. The only time I’ve ever almost written to a “Doctor Who” writer to praise their work was when Baker and Baker went completely over the heads of the proles and amused those of us who were educated.

“Be that as it may” wheezed Francois Devine after my joke had run its course, “we still need money. Lots of money. I propose we split into three teams – Team A will be I, Team B will be Dennis Brent and Team C will be Melba.”

“Hold hard” I interceded. “I’m not sure I like this team naming system. It seems rather weighted in your favour and ensures you get first say on upcoming inter-team agenda setting and first dibs on the best place at table.”

“Very well, Dennis Brent, if you wish to waste our limited time with trifling points of information then prey hurry along. What would you name our three teams?” asked Francois Devine.

“Hmm” I pondered. “What about Team 1, Team A and Team Melba?”

“Capital” agreed Francois Devine.

“Don’t I get a say?” asked Melba.

“No” we said together. Then we relented, said yes, took a vote (2-1 victory) and it was democratically agreed that he couldn’t have a say. What could be fairer than that?

“Returning to my main point” continued Francois Devine, “I propose that Teams 1, A and Melba begin individual fund raising efforts and that way we’ll pool enough to win control of the memo.”

“Will we?”

“Hopefully. I shall return to the kitchen and bake some more irresistible cakes to sell” he added.

“I’ll go back to the shop and get some more cheap Mars Bars” said Melba. “I reckon I could get 50p each for them on the high street and profit is inevitable.”

“What will you do, Dennis Brent?” asked Francois Devine.

“I don’t know” I admitted. “I was thinking back to an episode of “the Goodies” I saw some while back. It was the only known colour copy of an episode the proles think only exists in black and white so that at least was richly amusing. Their motto was something along the lines of ‘we will do anything, at any point, of any description’. I shall adopt that as my motto for the next hour or so. I will do anything for money.”

Francois Devine made a suggestion.

“But I won’t do that” I told him.

With Francois Devine in contact via our trusty walkie-talkies (purchased many years ago to give us an edge in document vaults when it was a race against time to see if we could secure vital paperwork before those clowns from DWAS got their mucky fingers on it) I went out with every intention of living up to my promise to do anything for money. It went well – Mrs Curtain let me hold her Welcome mat while she beat it with a stick. Her eyesight isn’t so good and she mainly missed the mat and hit me but it was two pounds in the kitty. Mr Bog let me catalogue twenty five years of Readers Digest magazine that had been sitting in his shed. Mrs Lewdd gave me a fiver fetch some ladies supplies from the chemist (I got them from Bargainsave instead and pocketed the difference – she’ll never notice unless she gets them wet). Mr Dimples-Brightly gave me three pounds – one pound a time – to blow on his pipes until his organ got going again. He believed a mouse had nested in one of the valves and needed a good strong puff to clear away any debris, and Mrs Homananway gave me two pounds to write some threatening letters in my handwriting and post them in the box just outside the gates of Brent Towers.

All in all it was going splendidly until I bumped into Jeremy and a couple of his fellow clowns from DWAS.

“Dennis Brent” he said snidely but factually.

“Jeremy Dazzle” I replied, equally snidely and equally factually.

“I hear you’re in a bit of a fix and need money urgently.”

“I am doing my bit for charity, yes” I said.

“Rumour has it you’ll do anything for money.”

“I will.”

He made a disgusting remark.

“But I won’t do that.”

“Good. I don’t want you to do that.”

“Then you have some standards, Jeremy, and I shall be apologising by the second class post for suggesting behind your back that you do not.”

“I shall look forward to receiving it.”

“Receive it you will.”

“Good. Now, about this doing anything for money business...”


“I want you to...” he paused and conferred with his fellow clowns. “I’d like you to get down on your knees and shine my shoes. Yes – I’ll give you a tenner to get on your hands and knees at my feet and polish my shoes while Nigel takes a photo for CT and the web.”

I hesitated.

“Well, Dennis Brent? Do you want our money or not?”