Ten pounds was a lot of money and to take ten pounds from Jeremy Dazzle, one of the most red nosed and trouser dropping of all the clowns in DWAS, was appealing indeed. Especially when all it required was a bit of shoe polishing. I’ve been polishing shoes all my life and can give a satisfactory buffing in less than twenty seconds. I used to shine them so I could see my face in them until Francois Devine loomed over me one day when I was admiring my handiwork and I realised I could also see other people’s faces in them. The curvature of the shoe does Francois Devine’s face absolutely no favours <g>. But I wasn’t at all happy at the thought of being photographed prostrate before Jeremy and having my apparently subservience splashed all over the internet. Relations between DWAS and DWAT have been frosty ever since our joint live-action reconstruction of Story W fell through because we couldn’t find anyone who looked enough like Francois Devine to play the Abbot. Sometimes the obvious solutions are so obvious that higher minds like ours cannot see them. The clowns from DWAS blamed the DWAT exec and the DWAT exec blamed the clowns from DWAS and even though it was the fault of the clowns from DWAS, things remain unresolved. I’m sure relations will thaw next time our joint ownership of Peter Purves comes up as it needs both societies’ signature for him to be activated.

“Very well, Jeremy” I said after deliberation. “But first I must make a call on my walkie-talkie.”

“If you must, Dennis Brent. It will give us time to check our flashes and make sure there is enough film in our cameras.”

“Dennis Brent calling to Francois Devine, repeat, Dennis Brent calling to Francois Devine, do you copy, over?”

There was a crackle followed by a burst of static and then the unmistakable sound of a man who is hard at work but who has already eaten too much cake mixture. What might’ve been another burst of static or might’ve been a burst of digestive gas told me that Francois Devine was reading me loud and clear.

“Francois Devine responding to Dennis Brent, repeat, Francois Devine responding to Dennis Brent, over.”

“Francois Devine – I’m just outside Londis. Code Orange, repeat, Code Orange. Over.”

“Code Orange heard and understood, Dennis Brent. Ten-twenty.”

“Ten-twenty” I replied even though it was utterly meaningless. He’d guessed I was not alone for me to call in a Code Orange and had decided to ad lib accordingly.

“Right, Jeremy, where are these shoes you’d like me to polish?” I asked.

“They are the end of my legs” he said dismally.

He roared but roared alone. He poked his two clown colleagues in the ribs, explained my deliberate error and they roared in sympathy. This was all part of my cunning plan to stall while Francois Devine put the Code Orange into operation.

“Right oh” I said and began a slow descent to pavement level. I took every opportunity to waste time hitching up the legs of my trousers, telling the clowns about my various physical ailments (all fictional – my real ailments are copyrighted to Doctor Flapjack as he intends to write a series of monographs on my bits and pieces once he’s got interest from an open minded publisher) and making more empty chit chat about Jeremy’s shoes.

“Do hurry up, Dennis Brent, or the light will go.”

The clowns from DWAS roared at this remark and I got immense satisfaction from knowing that such a remark would not have earned even a t-i-t-ter from the more intellectual environment of DWAT.

I reached the ground and took out my handkerchief. I spat on Jeremy’s left shoe and began to rub it for money and no other reason. I boiled with shame as one of the clowns began snapping away on his camera. I hoped dearly and deeply that Francois Devine would come along and action the Code Orange before…

“Hello, Dennis Brent” he said warmly and in one fluid movement he’d greeted me, chuckled at my prostrate position, grabbed the camera, smashed it against a wall, returned the debris to the clown from DWAS, deflected a restraining hand from the other clown and given his compliments to Jeremy and any other members of the Dazzle family that knew him. Jeremy’s stunned state meant I was able to grab the ten pound note he’d been waving at me to encourage my supplication and pocket it before he realised what was going on. I gave his other shoe a cursory wipe just to comply strictly with the terms of our verbal contract and stood up to face my nemesis.

“What a beastly thing to do” he spat.

“But necessary – oh so necessary” explained Francois Devine. “Some years ago, the image rights for Dennis Brent’s face, and mine too if you’re wondering, were sold to a mysterious tax haven shell company in the Camen Islands that no one knows anything about called Densois Brevine Limited. We’ve tried – oh how we’ve tried – to find out who owns this mysterious entity but without success. As a result, our photographs can only be taken with the express written consent of Densois Brevine Limited or their local agents. DWAT usage is an exception as they purchased rights in perpetuity for a slightly above nominal sum during Dennis Brent’s and my co-presidency back in ’02 but, alas, DWAS made no such provision.”

“You just made that up” snorted Jeremy.

“Then you are welcome to instruct your solicitor to send my solicitor a letter in this regard but be prepared for some pretty short shrift” I told him. “Densois Brevine Limited – whoever they are – are not to be trifled with.”

“You’ve not heard the last of this” warned Jeremy.

“I look forward to it” I replied wittily. The clowns from DWAS stumped off to bother other innocent gentlemen so Francois Devine and I could pool our resources.

“I made another batch of 200 cakes” he boasted.

“How many did you eat?”


“How many did you sell?”


“How many left overs did you eat?”


“How many are left?”


“How much did you raise?”


“How do you feel that went?”

“They were yummy, Dennis Brent, much too good for the proles.”

“It would’ve been nice to have come to that conclusion myself” I said dryly.

“Then I shall bake again” he beamed. “199 for me, 1 for you and I shall waive any charges providing you complete a feedback questionnaire for the files.”

“I shall.”

“Please do.”

“Hello Dennis Brent and Francois Devine” said Melba. “I’ve made six quid selling chocolate bars for a profit. I may take this up as a living – it’s money for old rope.”

“Turn out your pockets everyone” I said. “We need to check our final total.”

We emptied our pockets – secret, personal pocket aside – and came up with a grand total of £47.89 in funds raised and loose change. It was a shame it would go to the Philip Stiffit Foundation but it put us in with a shot of The Memo. The clock tower felt this was a suitably appropriate moment to chime and the fund raising was over. It was time to go to the Town Hall to either take ownership of The Memo or discover who Miles Saragh-Jayne had been fiendishly working for. Either way, this was it.