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  1. #1
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    Default Brenty Four 2013 - Chapter 12

    “What’s the matter now, Smasher?” I asked.

    “It’s the noise. The sheer level of noise coming from this room is INTOLERABLE.”

    He stamped his foot and accidentally crushed a tomato that had been dropped from one of Francois Devine’s lunch trolleys.

    “How EXASPERATING” he swore.

    “We haven’t been making a lot of noise have we, Francois Devine?”

    “I think not. Dennis Brent and I have conducted ourselves at a sensible and civilised volume, save for any extraneous noises Dennis Brent makes in his drug addled sleep.”

    “All I can hear from morning till night is the pair of you bickering so I thought I’d come in and try to put a stop to it” he explained. I knew this wasn’t a good idea.

    Francois Devine and I first met Sebastian Ganache on his first day at the Bendaton Academy for Young Gentlemen and/or the Sons of Gentlemen. He introduced himself politely, even though he was angry that morning – something about his display case of Dan Dare cigarette cards having been manhandled by one of the porters – and his fury meant we misheard a crucial bit of the introduction. It turns out that for his entire childhood he’d been known as Gnasher (a dog in the illustrated magazine “Beano” apparently) owing to his surname. Francois Devine and I thought he said Smasher and immediately began calling him that as we felt he was a kindred spirit amongst a sea of rough boys. Once the penny dropped it was too late. Either we’d have to admit we made a mistake or we’d have to spend the rest of our lives pretending we believed we were right all along and it is this latter course that we both chose to follow.

    “Francois Devine was just about to tell us what happened when he had lunch with Lola Whitecastle” I explained. “She’s looking to hire a telehistorian as a ghost-writer for her upcoming autobiography.”

    “I am well aware of that, Dennis Brent” said Smasher smugly. “You can’t keep something like that away from me. I have a finger in every pie at the telehistorical picnic and don’t you fellows forget it. Indeed, while the three of you were wasting your time giving her breakfast, lunch and dinner I was playing a clever game by taking her out for afternoon tea.”

    “You were?” I gasped.

    “Mmm – afternoon tea” added Francois Devine. Confusingly he used an inflection which would’ve better suited “You were?” but I suppose he got stuck between two emotions and that linguistic car crash was the result.

    “I was. And I think it went pretty well. Let me tell you about it.”

    “Hold hard, Smasher, Francois Devine is telling us about his luncheon appointment first. You can’t just barge in and upset the agenda with non-chronological anecdotes.”

    “I didn’t realise there was an agenda” he said meekly. “I am FURIOUS with myself for going off the agenda.”

    He banged his good hand down on the nearest table, catching the edge of a saucer and sending an empty coffee cup flying. It narrowly missed my head and I gave him an appropriate look by way of reprimand.

    “I’m so ANGRY with myself for nearly hitting you, Dennis Brent” he apologised. He banged his fist again and the saucer ended up on the floor.

    “I think I shall sit quietly and listen to Francois Devine’s dismal story while I calm down” declared Smasher and he perched himself on the edge of my bed. I glared at him again but he had his back to me and it didn’t work.

    “Where was I?” said Francois Devine once the floor was his again. “Ah yes – blah blah blah Dennis Brent making funny noises. Then I got to the restaurant and was delighted to see that there were some nibbles already laid out on the table. I helped myself liberally as I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. They were delicious. I’ve no idea what they were as they moved too quickly to tell but they were absolutely superb. So much so that I didn’t strictly speaking notice when Whitecastle arrived. I put the bowl down after draining the last grains that gravity tried to keep from me and noticed a female sitting opposite me.

    “Mr Devine?” she asked.

    “The same. Lola Whitecastle I presume. Or should I say Mrs Cheeseman?”

    “Please don’t – that ended several weeks ago and I don’t want to talk about it. Not yet anyway – the details are too sordid to discuss with anyone but my official biographer whose name doesn’t appear anywhere for legal reasons. Suffice it to say that the Earl of Disley – Clarence Cheeseman – and I are no longer talking except through our solicitors.”

    “Dennis Brent and I have weeks like that. It costs an arm and a leg but at least we both know where we stand. Would you care to order? I took the liberty of assuming you would be eating from the lunchtime two-courses-for-ten-pounds menu. Unfortunately, I am unable to join you owing to dietary needs and will order extensively a la carte. I have French relatives so feel entitled to use a little of my family’s first language. Did you...”

    I paused to look at the notes I’d written on my cuff – just a few witty remarks to oil the conversation along.

    “...have a good journey?”

    “Oh yes – the taxi driver was absolutely gorgeous. He gave me an enormous tip.”

    “You mean you gave him an enormous tip” I corrected.

    “I know what I mean” she said with a wink. It must be her age – she’s over seventy you know and that means she’s practically deceased.

    I was enjoying my early courses and she was picking away at a salad of some sort when she asked me what made me think I would make a good author of her life story. I looked at my other cuff upon which I’d written more functional notes specifically for situations like this.

    “My work speaks for itself. Not literally unless an open minded publisher purchases the audio book rights, at which point I would be willing to listen to financial suggestions for me to perform some of my most historically significant papers, monographs and books.”

    “Any other reasons?”

    “I am the finest telehistorian working in Britain today and therefore the world and ever. This is the golden age of telehistorical research and I am one of the gold rush pioneers. I was the first man to estimate the quantity of gaffer tape used by the BBC making our rehearsal room floors in the 1960s, I was the first man ever to put every single BBC serials department memo in alphabetical order, I was the first man to break the half million word barrier while writing solely about Donald Baverstock. I am the leading light in my field and I can promise you that I will study every single sheet of paper in your archive and ensure that your autobiography is 100% factually accurate and that the contents will be presented in your choice of the following orders – chronological, alphabetical, geographical or following a decimal coding system that we will mutually devise which will categorise events into one of up to twenty categories.”

    I was exhausted after all that work and delved into my lobster with the satisfaction of a gentleman who knows he’s already won the game and the remaining sets, hands or rubbers are pure formalities.

    “What about the sizzle?” asked Whitecastle.

    “That is the next course – for me not you – I’m having a pig rendered crunchy in chef’s own special sauce.”

    “I meant the sizzle in the book – the sizzle of my life.”

    “Would you like one of the twenty categories to be events during which you or something else sizzled?”

    “I’m talking about s-e-x, d-r-u-g-s and rock-and-roll” she said but without the sensible censorship.

    “Oh” I said with disappointment. “I thought better of you. Do you really think your autobiography needs such... things?”

    “Oh yes” she leered.

    “I would suggest you leave those... things for volume two. I can recommend a very good – if extremely average – man called Dennis Brent who I’m sure would be only too happy to write a follow up book. He would do an admirable job of being the second man to peruse your archives with a fine toothed comb.”

    “Oh come on, Mr Devine. We both know what the public wants. They want action.”

    “I can assure you I will go into as much detail about the fight choreography on Adventures into Space as time will allow. I believe it was Reg Dinsdale who worked on the series – your archives will of course help to clarify details like that – a man Jon Pertwee once described in a letter to an acquaintance as ‘absolutely smashing’ even in his later years.”

    “I’m talking about bedroom action.”

    “Schematics of the living quarters aboard the SS Pioneer?”

    “Hot bedroom action.”

    “Working under the studio lights at Lime Grove?”

    “I want the world to know about the time Prince Martin of the Netherlands and I swam naked in the sea until sun rise.”

    “I think you’ll find the world would rather hear about Lorne Cossette than Prince Martin of the Netherlands, whoever he might be.”

    “Trust me, Mr Devine, by the time I’ve told you some stories you won’t care about Lorne Cossette.”

    “I assure you I do not currently care about Lorne Cossette. He is just a meat puppet that played the role of Captain Maitland in Adventures into Space. I care about the production of Adventures into Space and – because thus far in my life I have done very little research into either light entertainment or commercial television – to a limited degree ‘I Live in a Bungalow’.”

    “Oh – let me tell you about the week when Michael Elphick was our guest star and he came into my dressing room while I was wearing nothing but my...”

    “Dessert menu, madam?” asked a timely waiter.

    “Mmm – too many nice things to choose from” I said with admirable restraint.

    “Oh – you’ve heard the story before?” she said disappointedly. I had the bottom half of the first page and she had some floating islands. I’ve always found meringue to be a waste of time – you might as well eat a few spoonfuls of sugar and take a couple of deep breaths (which I have done while waiting for the oven timer to ping but wouldn’t choose to do for fun). But each to their own.

    She made a few more suggestive remarks and I batted them away with my customary skill. By the end I think she’d come to realise that a fascinating technical volume dealing with the details of the series she’d worked on would be a much more appealing read than a tawdry collection of unmentionables, unfathomables and undesirables.

    “I’ll be in touch” she said when we’d paid the bill. As I watched her go I immediately started making notes for my upcoming book. As you see, gentlemen, I have it in the bag.”

    Francois Devine looked pleased with himself after he’d finished his little talk. While I could see one or two points that he could’ve done differently I had to concede he’d done very well. He’d managed to steer her off the less seemly subjects and back to matters of interest. My heart sank as I thought about how well he’d done.

    Fortunately Smasher lightened the mood considerably by pretending he’d found the whole talk so boring he’d fallen asleep. He overdid himself with a particularly theatrical snore and toppled off the edge of my bed.

    “Owww” he cursed. “I’m so FED UP with this floor.”
    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

    you might as well eat a few spoonfuls of sugar and take a couple of deep breaths


    How LOVELY to find Smasher is involved as well.

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