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  1. #1
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    Default Brenty Four 2013 - Chapter 24

    TWENTY FOUR

    “I’m not an unreasonable man” I began when D.I. Thomas used his expertise to probe me for information I was otherwise predisposed to hide, “so I didn’t blame the night for being dark. It was just very inconvenient. I was only wearing a dressing gown, remember, so the chill that accompanied the darkness made it even less enjoyable. But I was out and that was the main thing. My honour was safe. Now I could worry about the rest of me.”

    “A tad melodramatic if you don’t mind me saying so” interrupted Francois Devine. “I too had fled the house and you don’t hear me droning on about how dark it was. Wuh wuh wuh – it’s dark outside – wuh wuh wuh. I am impersonating Dennis Brent.”

    This last remark was addressed directly at Thomas who was less in tune with Francois Devine’s pitiful and tiny repertoire of impressions. He does a passable Smasher (don’t we all – hence Smasher being banned from all the fast food delivery outlets in Firkinside after a lifetime of prank orders in his name), a barely recognisable Melba, a dismal Karen Gillan, a borderline offensive Warris Hussain and – as you’ve already heard – a nonsensical Dennis Brent.

    “If I may?” I said, taking back the conversational stick, “I was trying to find the gate through which I was admitted at the start of this fiasco of a social evening. In the distance I heard a howl. It was not the howl of an ordinary dog, Mr Thomas, it was the cry of an enormous hound.”

    Francois Devine coughed.

    “Conan Doyle” he appeared to say as part of his cough. I realised I’d gone a bit overboard with the scene setting and instantly pretended it had never happened.

    “I made my way across the dark lawn, avoiding the croquet pins once I’d worked out what the tiny metal fences were I kept tripping over, and headed towards what my ears suggested was a road. There was a noise in the bushes behind me. I shouted quietly that I wasn’t afraid and that if they didn’t show themselves I would be forced to defend myself. I know that doesn’t make sense but I was in a hurry. A monster leapt from the foliage and flung itself at me.”

    “A monster?” gasped Thomas.

    “Well, I thought it was a monster. It turned out to be Melba.”

    “Ah – that makes more sense” agreed Thomas.

    “I didn’t have time to ask him why he was hiding in the bushes but he told me anyway. He said he’d just been molested by Lola Whitecastle and that he had escaped out of the bathroom window while supposedly freshening himself up. She – it turns out – had invited all three of us on the same evening and tried the same trick on each in turn. And – to our immense credit – we’d all refused to bow down to her seedy requests and made good our escape.”

    “Hardly made good – Dennis Brent – as you two were stuck in Whitecastle’s garden with no plan as to how to get out.”

    “You didn’t fare much better, Francois Devine, as we eventually found you standing at the base of a wall, looking up and pretending to do sums.”

    “I was not pretending – I was working out some important physics which would’ve been necessary to enable my becoming suddenly on the other side of the wall when you two appeared and rendered much of my potentially award winning mathematics unnecessary. I have preserved my notes as they show me to be the polymath my mother always said I would be if I stopped eating and started applying myself. Who has the last laugh now, mama? I have eaten everything there is to eat and still become a recognised or unrecognised expert in many fields.”

    He beamed to the room but got nothing back. Luckily for Thomas his view of Francois Devine’s rotund face was partially blocked by a positioned arm. Speaking of which, a functionary came in and interrupted my story long enough to adjust Francois Devine’s arms into yet another scientifically beneficial arrangement.

    “We decided the best thing to do would be for Francois Devine to give Melba and me a leg up – one leg up each, we weren’t sharing. It wasn’t that sort of escape. Then, when safely on top of the wall, we would pull him up between us.”

    “Pull him up?” gasped Thomas.

    “Funnily enough, we didn’t think of it like that until it was too late. Melba and I were sat on the wall, looking down at England’s heftiest bachelor and suddenly the flaw became only too clear.”

    “These two swines decided to leave me and run” wailed Francois Devine.

    “No – technically – we didn’t. Technically we had only realised that our plan was impossible. Our falling off the wall and landing on the other side was entirely down clumsiness. I was surveying possibly landing sites, lost my balance and fell while Melba found my fall so amusing that he too tumbled down next to me.”

    “This annoyed me” growled Francois Devine. “I am not a violent man but when my dander up I can be a force of nature.”

    “COWABUNGA” he cried from the other side of the wall and Melba and I watched as the wall that had stood for generations was smashed to pieces by an enraged Francois Devine.

    “I sent Whitecastle a note of apology by return of post so my conscience is clear” he explained.

    “Unfortunately, a sizeable chunk of wall landed on top of me” I continued, “smashing both my legs and leaving me in this wretched hospital.”

    “Far more seriously, my own momentum meant I carried on forward and tripped over Dennis Brent which caused me to fall and break both my arms in a bootless attempt to save myself from harm.”

    “What about Mr Melba?” asked Thomas. “Did he get hit by wall or you?”

    “Neither – Melba escaped unharmed until Dennis Brent and I had a scuffle in the ambulance and Dennis Brent accidentally hit him in the face with a stainless steel bedpan.”

    Melba let out a ‘Mmm’ of disapprobation.

    “So you see…” I concluded but before I could plead my case and try to avoid gaol time for whatever offences we had committed we heard a tinkling noise coming from Francois Devine’s bedside cabinet.

    “My telephone” he ejaculated. “So that’s what it sounds like. Would you answer it, Dennis Brent, and hold the receiver up to my face?”

    “Hmph” I swore but did it anyway. Unfortunately I pressed the wrong button.

    “Mr Devine? It’s Lola Whitecastle” said a voice over the loud speaker.

    “Miss Whitecastle” smarmed Francois Devine. “Thank you for telephoning. Over.”

    “I was so sorry to hear about your accident. I do hope you’ll get better soon.”

    “I hope so too. Over.”

    “I’m just phoning to let you know that I’ve considered all my options and – if the archive access administration fee thingumy is still valid – then I would like to commission you to write my autobiography. Your fifty thousand would go a long way to covering my stay in the sex addiction clinic in Switzerland.”

    My heart sank (at the realisation that I’d lost the Whitecastle job, not that her lust for me was caused by a medical condition).

    “You have made an excellent choice. Over.”

    “I’ll call by the hospital in a few days to discuss arrangements.”

    “Do so. Some grapes wouldn’t go amiss. Or a hamper. Whichever. Perhaps the latter would be better. Over.”

    “Goodbye.”

    “Goodbye. Over.”

    She hung up and even though I couldn’t bear to look at Francois Devine I could feel the heat coming from his smug, pompous, utterly unlikeable face.

    “I may make some cryptic remarks about the things I’ve seen” he said when mere facial gloating was no longer enough. “But the details will have to remain between me and my masterpiece.”

    “I’m sending you to Coventry, Francois Devine” I said firmly. “Give my regards to the Leofric Hotel.”

    “Bah” he grumbled. “It’s the Coventry Travelodge these days as well you know but even Coventry cannot contain my joy at such a monumental, magnificent and entirely deserved occurrence.”

    “Well done” said Thomas. “Now that you’ve said all that, I’d like to get round the real reason I’m here. I want to talk to you, Mr Brent.”

    “Who? Oh, you mean the former telehistorian who will shortly be retiring due to lack of work” laughed Francois Devine.

    “Listen, mate, will you shut up for a minute? If I were you I’d worry less about your friend here and more about what those nurses keep making you do.”

    “I’m not with you.”

    “I’ve been sat here for a couple of hours and in that time they’ve moved your arms a few times.”

    “Medically necessary” he assured Thomas.

    “Maybe but each time it spells out a letter in semaphore. So far I’ve see a U a C and a K. I did a quick search on my phone and you’ve become an internet sensation. There is a series of videos of you on YouTube made up of all the photos they take. You’ve been seen about eight million times so far.”

    I couldn’t help but laugh. A lot. Enough to loosen teeth and move my bed six inches across the room. Francois Devine had become an obscene publication. Thomas showed me one of the videos and the bed moved another eight inches. I didn’t understand most of the words he’d spelled out and even I wouldn’t suggest he’d do something like that to an innocent yak but taken as a wholly deserved public humiliation it was hard to top. Francois Devine went scarlet and demanded I dial his solicitor’s number for him and hold the telephone while he issues instructions.

    “And you” he bellowed, turning his fury on Thomas, “are clearly in breach of your oath. Disseminating offensive jokes while on duty is a sackable offence. I demand to see your warrant card.”

    “My what?”

    “Your warrant card. Your police identification. Your badge.”

    “I’m not a policeman” said Thomas.

    “Of course you are” I replied. You said – D.I. Thomas from Q Division.”

    “No no – my name is Dai Thomas – it’s Welsh.”

    “Welsh?”

    “From Wales.”

    “I know what Welsh means” I snapped. “Who are you? Why have you barged in here and probed us under false pretences?”

    “I’m in TV” he explained, handing me his business card.

    Dai Thomas
    Production Executive
    Q÷ Productions

    The name rang a vague bell but I couldn’t draw it up from my formidable memory.

    “What would a television executive want with a doctor of telehistorical research?” I asked.

    “Have you heard of a programme called Knight of Temperus?” he said. I shuddered.

    “I have” I told him coldly.

    “We’re having terrible trouble with the BBC at the moment. Every idea any of our writers have is immediately pounced upon by the BBC’s lawyers who tell us that it’s already been done on Doctor Who and we’re in breach of the terms and conditions of the legal settlement. It’s driving us mad. We’ve got six creative consultants working on the series and they can’t get anywhere without threatening letters arriving on their desks every morning. They’re too scared to think these days.”

    “That sounds mildly interesting” I conceded. “But it’s not fascinating or technical enough for me to write a monograph about it. Perhaps an article for a lesser, slimmer journal but nothing more.”

    “I don’t want you to write about what’s going on – I want you to fix it.”

    “Me? How?”

    “We put our heads together and decided that the one thing we needed more than anything else was an uncreative consultant. Someone that knows everything that ever happened in Doctor Who and who can tell us what’s wrong with the ideas our boys come up with. We need someone with detailed knowledge, a real passion for pedantic detail and absolutely no imagination what so ever. In short, you, Dr Brent.”

    “That sounds utterly ridiculous” I told him.

    “You’d be one of the inner circle at Q÷ and would have to know everything that was going on.”

    “Inner circle?” I gasped.

    “You’d see paperwork that only a handful of other people would ever get to see.”

    “Secret paperwork?”

    “You’d know things months – years maybe – before the public.”

    “Things?”

    “You’d be on the inside, Dr Brent, looking out at everyone else.”

    My head was in a whirl. Knight of Temperus was the enemy. But was it better to be inside the enemy lording over everyone else or outside sneering at those within? Lording or sneering? I looked over at Francois Devine and imagined him rolling around in Lola Whitecastle’s secret papers wearing only his underpants and made my decision. I too would be able (though I wouldn't) to roll around in secret paperwork wearing only my underpants.

    “Mr Thomas” I began, “you have a deal.”

    We shook hands warmly. For a second his featured shimmered into those of Captain Maitland but only long enough for him to say goodbye. He then morphed into Bill Nighy – the actor most strongly linked with Knight of Temperus at the time – and a whole new round of opiate-fueled hallucinations took over.

    THE END~!
    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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    Nice. Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without Brentyfour.


    New adventures of Doctor Brent await as he embarks on a new career.


    I wonder how much paperwork he'll be able to spirit away before getting caught?

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