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  1. #1
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    Default Brenty Four 2013 - Chapter 20

    It took a while but eventually Heritage got the message and left us alone. It was my turn to tell the others about my dinner with Lola Whitecastle and I wasn’t going to spill my beans with a stranger in our midst. Besides, we’d already established that he was of no use to any of us so his departure was the best outcome for all concerned.

    “I’ll be heading off then” he said with the false cheeriness that only an old person who knows that the second he drops the façade of pleasure, he will start crying and may not stop until he dies of dehydration can have. “Nice to meet you all.”

    “Thank heavens he’s gone” said Francois Devine. “You were lucky, Dennis Brent, to have slept through seven eighths of the awkward silence. Once I had ascertained that he didn’t own anything that might be of value to me… to posterity, I had withdrawn from the conversation. He tried to find topics of mutual interest but failed quite miserably. I think he was on the verge of going home when you woke up and mistook him for a fictional character. You may well have been the first person ever to recognise him from Adventures into Space. Obviously he is well known from his Twix commercial…”

    “Obviously” I agreed. To be fair, seeing him at the age of 87 eating the fingers of a Twix bar in what I’m told was a satirically e-r-o-t-i-c manner was unlikely to be forgotten.

    “…but the bag he wore on his head means he toiled largely in anonymity. Tell me, Dennis Brent, why did you think his fictional alter ego had come to life in this very hospital?”

    “I was on board the SS Pioneer again. Maitland had fitted me with appliances and the only way to get access to NUDE was to bend over and let him plug his foot-long flex into my head.”

    “Well, if you’re going to be silly I’m not talking to you.”

    “It’s true” I protested before reconsidering. “It was just a silly dream. The painkillers you know.”

    “I still maintain that opiates cannot make a man go peculiar – only a defect of his character can do that. They are however highly addictive if one lacks willpower. I was reading a piece in the Daily Mail about drug addicts and I’m afraid that if you become one I shan’t be able to help you. The Mail was quite clear about that – if you help a drug addict it will set off a chain of dominos that will inevitably end with the abolition of the monarchy and the compulsory injecting of laudanum in schools.”

    “I read that article too, Francois Devine, and it chilled me to the bone with its factually rigorous warning of the future. Fear not – if I do become addicted, and I am strong willed enough to resist most narcotics, then I won’t expect any help from you. I shall withdraw to a self-imposed confinement and pull myself together.”

    We beamed at each other.

    “I suppose you two are bursting to know what happened when I took Lola Whitecastle out for dinner” I continued after we’d grown tired of smiling at each other.

    “Ho hum” replied Francois Devine, miming a yawn. “Not especially, since I already have the deal sewn up I’m sure, but why not humour yourself and tell your little story. May I ask just one favour? Kindly don’t talk too loudly – I may wish to take a nap during your recitation and I wouldn’t like you to get in the way of that.”

    I rose above him (not literally) and began my story.

    “Well, I’d been preparing for this all day using secret methods that needn’t concern you. Suffice it to say, while you were only thinking of yourselves, I had invested heavily in this project and was firing at peak performance. Bursting with innovative techniques, physical fitness and mental affirmations, I got to the restaurant in time to be greeted by the waiter.

    “Table for one” I said.

    “Two” corrected a voice from behind me. I turned round to see the ancient if well preserved form of Lola Whitecastle. It took me a moment to recognise her in colour but once I’d twigged who she was I worked out why she’d made her factual correction.

    “That’s right” I continued. “Table for two. I got it wrong first time – force of habit. Table for two.”

    “Very good sir.”

    He showed us to our table and I sat down on the better of the two chairs. I don’t see why I should have to sit in the draught from the toilets. They wanted the vote – now it’s time for them to accept the other side of the coin. The waiter helped her to sit down – out of politeness rather than necessity I think – and asked if we wanted menus.”

    “Unless you’ll cook us anything you want, yes” I said wittily. Whitecastle didn’t laugh. I made a mental note of this as it is as well to know a person’s defects before you really try to work on them.

    The waiter came back a couple of minutes later with menus. Whitecastle attempted to initiate small talk while we waited but I shushed her. I didn’t want the waiter to think we’d forgotten about him. I had my eye on him and wasn’t going to give him the slightest chance to give us bad service. He would, no doubt, expect a tip and if he was to get 0.6667% for his troubles then he’d better do everything to my high standards.”

    “Rightly so” chipped in Francois Devine. “Though I have long advocated 0.75% potentially rising to 0.95% in exceptional circumstances. There was one girl, many years ago, who collapsed with exhaustion after brining me my fifteenth course and I felt she’d gone above the call of duty and had earned my platinum gratuity.”

    “You must be made of money” I grumbled. “I’ll bear that in mind next month when your rent comes up for review.”

    He glared at me through tiny, piggy, bitter eyes. I took his silence as a cue to continue my story.

    “Do you have a children’s menu?” I asked after a quick browse of the one he’d provided.

    “Sir is not a child” replied the waiter.

    “I have a digestive condition” I told him. “I often need to eat from the children’s menu.”

    “Very good, sir” he said with disgust.

    “I never knew you had a digestive condition” interrupted Francois Devine again.

    “It’s called ‘difficulty digesting the prices of adult meals in needlessly expensive restaurants’” I said wittily. We both roared. He roared to such a degree that a tear trickled down his flabby chops and, with both arms in plaster, he could do nothing about it. I watched it fall, milking my excellent joke for all it was worth, before continuing.

    “One of the things my extensive research had taught me is that females like compliments” I told the room. “I’d jotted a few down on my cuff and this seemed like the perfect moment to try one. With all the subtly of a conjurer I gently turned my left wrist over.

    “May I say” I began, my heart thumping, “you’re quite a beautiful woman.”
    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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    A compliment!! From Dennis Brent! To a F-E-M-A-L-E!



    My gast is well & truly flabbered!

  3. #3
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    My suspicions over the banner have been confirmed in the vilest manner. I may have to get someone else to pre-read the rest of the installments, lest I am struck blind by commentary on Dennis Brent's unmentionables.
    Bazinga !

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