This story

by Robert Williams

Des was surprised to receive an anonymous phone call one morning.

"Ooooooh arrrrrr!!!!" exclaimed the voice on the line, in a strong West Country accent. "This be an anonymous phone call!!"

"Hello Farmer Files," said Des.

There was a pause.

"Oooooh arrrrr!!!!" continued Files. "You be instructed to meet me at the secret 'eadquar'ers of PI6 immediately!!"

"PI6?" said Des. "What's that?"

"Oi'll explain when you arrive!!" said Files.

"Well all right then," said Des. "So where are your secret headquarters?"

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!! Oi can't tell you!! It be a secret!!!"

"Err... so how am I supposed to know where to meet?"

There was a long pause.

"You will be collected from your 'ouse in a secret vehicle in less than seven minutes!!"

Eight minutes later a Range Rover with blacked out windows drew up outside Des's house. Out stepped a hooded figure with an untidy beard, smelling of cider, and dragged Des from his house, blindfolded him, and then dumped him in the back of the Range Rover. Des then found himself being driven a short distance to what was presumably the secret headquarters of PI6.

Once they had arrived, Des was turfed out of the back of the Range Rover, and had his blindfold removed. Des was then intrigued to see that someone else had also just been turfed out of the back of the Range Rover and was having his blindfold removed. However he didn't remain intrigued for long, as he soon found out the other person was only Mick.

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!!" exclaimed Farmer Files. "And welcome to the secret 'eadquar'ers of PI6!!!"

"It's your farmhouse," said Mick.

"Ooooh arrrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files. "Oi be the 'ead of PI6, and moi name be Sir Percival Throwback!!"

"No it's not, it's Farmer Files," said Des.

"And if this is supposed to be your secret headquarters, why has it got PI6 logos all over it?!" said Mick. "Not to mention your 'secret' vehicle!"

"PI6?" said Des. "I thought it said 'PIG'!"

"No it says PI6," said Mick. "It's just an unusual font."

"Font of all knowledge, that's what you are," said Des. "So just what the heck is PI6?!"

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!!" exclaimed Farmer Files/Sir Percival. "What oi be about to tell you both be 'ighly sensitive information!! PI6 be moi new intelligence organisation!!"

Des and Mick started sniggering.

"Oooooh arrrrrrr!!!! And oi be in need of some intelligence!!"

"We could have told you that years ago!!" sniggered Des.

"And there be only two people tha' oi believe be up to the job of gatherin' that there intelligence!!" continued Sir Percival. "Unfortunately, they be on 'oliday, so oi be askin' you two instead!!"

"No thanks," said Mick.

"Oi think you be foindin' you be avin' no choice in the matter!!" said Sir Percival. "Now oi be 'avin' a series of complica'ed and 'ighly dangerous series of missions oi would be loikin' you to undertake for me!! Do you believe you be up to it?!"

"Nope!" said Des. "Let's go home!"

"Ooooh arrrrr!!! You cannot be goin' home now!! Now you 'ave enrolled in PI6, oi cannot allow you to leave moi secret 'eadquar'ers until your foirst mission tomorrow!!! The danger be too great!! So in the meantime you be will placed into a safe'ouse, over there!!"

Sir Percival pointed over at a disused outbuilding on his farmstead.

"Oh great," said Mick. "Just great."

"Yeah," said Des. "What am I going to do about tonight's edition of 'Family Fortunes'?!"

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!!" exclaimed Sir Percival, unhelpfully. "Now you two be gettin' settled down and oi'll be bringin' you some food la'er!!"

"How can he call this a safehouse??" grumbled Des as he opened the door to the outbuilding. "Look, it hasn't even got a lock!!"

"Or hinges," said Mick.

Des and Mick had little option but to comply with Farmer Files/Sir Percival Throwback's instructions. They spent that night in the half-derelict outbuilding, on a couple of manky old beds and no heating.

Early the next morning, Sir Percival visited Des and Mick with their breakfast, and to brief them on their first mission.

"Oooooh arrrrrrr!!! Your first mission be 'oighly dangerous!! Now as you probably be aware, for many years, Mrs Greasy be supplyin' me with pigswill for moi porkers!! But recently, moi porkers 'ave been startin' to act a little strangely!! They be seemin' unusually frisky!!! So oi 'ave this suspicion tha' Mrs Greasy 'as been alterin' the recipe!! So what oi need you to do is to infiltra'e the cafe and foind out exactly what she be puttin' in moi pigswill!!!"

"Why don't you just ask her?" asked Mick.

"Ooooooh arrrrrrr!!! Now of course for this 'ere mission you will be needin' to be changin' your identity!! So from now on, you no longer be Des Wednesday and Mick Woolley!!"

"Owwww," whined Des, "I was just getting used to being Des Wednesday!!"

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!! You will be needin' to put on these 'ere clever but subtle disguises!!!" Sir Percival handed Des and Mick each a Paul Daniels hairpiece and a pair of glasses which Su Pollard would have been proud of. "And of course you will be needin' to be changin' your accents!! From now on you will be adoptin' Scots accents!!"

"How handy is that!!" said Des. "I'm brilliant at Scottish accents, aren't I Mick?!"

"Brilliant," groaned Mick. "So what are our new identities?"

"You Mick, will be known as Jock MacSpock, and Des, your name be now Dennis MacTennis!!"

"Very subtle," muttered Mick.

"Oooooh arrrrr!! That be roight!!" said Sir Percival. "It be very important that the pair of you be blendin' in, that you be 'goin' grey', as they be callin' in!! Although lookin' at you two, you already be goin' grey for years!! Ha, ha, ha!!!" Sir Percival roared with laughter. "Now I will be in moi Range Rover opposite, listenin' in, and feedin' you lines through these 'ere earpieces!!" Sir Percival handed them to Des and Mick. "Now you be puttin' your disguises on, and let's be getting' this 'ere show on the road!!"

Des and Mick did so, and they walked over to Sir Percival's secret Range Rover.

"I see you've painted over the PI6 logos," pointed out Mick.

"Oooooh arrrrr!!!!" said Sir Percival. "That be roight!! 'Aving taken your advoice, oi 'ave removed every PI6 soign and concocted a stunnin', clever front for moi secret 'eadquarters!!"

"Don't tell me - a farmhouse," said Mick.

"Well spotted!!!" exclaimed Sir Percival. "Now let's go!!"

Des and Mick, in their new personas of Dennis and Jock, were shoved into the back of the secret Range Rover, and Sir Percival drove them to Mrs Greasy's cafe. Sir Percival remained in the Range Rover, with his super high-tech equipment, and Jock and Dennis entered the cafe, wearing their earpieces.

"Morning Des and Mick," greeted Mrs Greasy. Then she looked up and received a severe shock. "Oh my goodness!! New customers!! Please, sit down, sit down!! Would you care to browse the menu??"

"Och aye, that would be lovely!" said Dennis in his awful Scottish accent.

"Oooooh arrrrrrr!!" said Sir Percival in Dennis and Jock's earpieces. "Order somethin' from the menu!!"

"Are you crazy?!" said Jock out loud.

"Pardon?" said Mrs Greasy. "Who are you talking to?!"

"Look 'ere, just order somethin'!!" said Sir Percival. "Order some baked beans and sausages!!!"

"That's going too far, you must be out of your mind!!" said Dennis. In the Range Rover, Sir Percival buried his head in his hands. But Mrs Greasy had other concerns.

"Don't I know you from somewhere?!" said Mrs G, squinting at Jock and Dennis.

"Och no!" said Dennis. "We've never met you before in our lives!!! We're a couple of wee bonny Scotsmen, visiting England for the first time!!"

"That's right!!" said Mrs Greasy. "I know who you are!!" Jock and Dennis's hearts began sinking. "You're The Proclaimers!!!" Jock and Dennis's hearts sank even further. "Hey, I've got all your records!! 'Letter from America', '500 Miles', 'Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs'!! Now just hold on there a minute!!"

Mrs Greasy fetched her camera and took a photograph of the bemused duo.

"I'll make that into a poster, that'll get the customers flooding in!!" said Mrs G.

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!!" hissed Sir Percival in Dennis's earpiece. "Dennis, ask Mrs Greasy if you can be 'avin' a look round 'er kitchen!! You must foind out what is in 'er pigswill!!"

"Och aye, excuse me Mrs Greasy!" said Dennis. "Could I have a look round your wee kitchen? I'm very interested in what goes on in wee food preparation!"

"But of course!" said Mrs Greasy. "It would be my pleasure!!"

Dennis followed Mrs G into the kitchen where she started flinging seemingly any old ingredients into a large pot. Dennis watched carefully, noting down each ingredient. Before long, a truly disgusting mess had formed in the pot, emanating from which was a truly revolting smell.

"Och aye, so this is what goes into making wee pigswill?!" said Dennis, holding his nose.

"Pigswill?!?!?!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy. "This is your lunch!!"

Dennis gasped. Before long, Mrs G had finished constructing lunch, and served it to Jock and Dennis.

"That's funny," said Mrs Greasy, looking at the clock. "I wonder what's happened to Des and Mick, they're usually here by now! I'll give them a ring."

Mrs G rang Des's number - and straight away a ringing sound came from Dennis. He started looking embarrassed, while Jock buried his head in his hands.

"He's not answering, that's very strange!!" said Mrs Greasy. But she kept hanging on for an answer. Finally, Dennis/Des took his mobile phone out of his pocket and answered it.

"Hello Mrs Greasy," he said, meekly.

"Des, where on earth are you..." started Mrs Greasy. Then the penny dropped. She slammed the phone down. "Des and Mick, it was you all along!!! Who do you think you are, pretending to be The Proclaimers?!?! I hope you both feel thoroughly ashamed for what you've done!!"

Jock and Dennis chose that moment to scarper from the cafe. They reconvened inside the secret Range Rover, where Sir Percival was not happy.

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!!!!" he exclaimed. "That be a complete botch job!!!"

"Sorry, Farmer Files, I mean, Sir Percival," said Dennis/Des. "Does this mean we're sacked?!"

"Oooooh arrrrrrr, no!!" said Sir Percival. "Oi be going to give you another chance to be provin' yourselves!! Oi 'ave two even more dangerous individual missions for you two!! Foirst of all, you, Dennis. Oi 'ave this suspicion, that the local mechanic, Moike the Manic Mechanic, be a bit dodgy!!"

"No!!" said Des.

"In fact, oi wouldn't be trustin' 'im as far as oi be throwin' 'im!! Last week, he told me moi Land Rover needed its entoire shrankcrift replacin'!!"

"What's the problem, Mike replaced my Fiat 126's shrankcrift last month!" said Des.

"And many other customers 'ave been conned in the same way!! So oi feel tha' it be toime that Moike be exposed to the nation on 'Watchdog'!! Oi be wantin' to compile a dossier on 'im and oi need you to be foindin' as much evidence as you can about Moike's dealin's!!"

"A dodgy dossier," said Des.

"That be roight!!" said Sir Percival. "For this mission, you will be known as Horace Blunkingford, and for further protection, you will be augmentin' your disguise with this 'ere beard!! And you will no longer be a Scotsman, your accent be rubbish!!! Now off you be goin'!!"

Des/Horace donned his beard and headed off to Mike's garage. Meanwhile Sir Percival had another mission for Mick.

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!! Now oi 'ave an even more precarious mission for you, for which you will be known simply as Agent X!! Oi need you to make a rendezvous in the park at 11.30 this mornin'!! You will be meetin' with an individual known simply as Agent Y on the bench next to the swings, be givin' them the codeword, and be 'andin' over this 'ere package. In return, you will be given some negatives!! It be vitally important that you be receivin' these 'ere negatives, for moi reputation be on the line!!"

"Really?!" said Mick. "What's on them?"

"Evidence that oi was once the manager of The Nolan Sisters!!" said Sir Percival.

"Good grief!!" said Mick, shocked.

"So it be very important this mission be carried out with the utmost discretion!" said Sir Percival. "Now here be the codeword, which you will be needin' to give to Agent Y in order to be receivin' the negatives: 'Mickey Mouse has put 'is trousers in the wash so they be ready for Goofy's birthday party, but unfortunately Goofy 'as overslept so it be lookin' loike it be called off unless Donald Duck agrees to be 'oldin it at 'is 'ouse, in which case the place be needin' a hooverin'! Also Pluto be needin' to be defleaed!!"

"I'll never remember all that," said Mick, "I'll just write it down."

"Oooooh arrrrrrr!!! You be a spy, you cannot be wroitin' it down!! You must be memorisin' it!!"

"Oh no," said Mick, whose memory was not what it was.

Sir Percival supplied Mick with a trenchcoat and a trilby, and drove him across to the park.

Meanwhile, Des/Horace was over at Mike's garage, in his beard and glasses disguise, in order to compile the dodgy dossier on him.

"Hello, my name's Horace..."

"Look, it's Dave Lee Travis!!" exclaimed Mike. "Would you like to buy a car?!"

"Ooooh arrrrrr!! Say yes!!!" hissed Sir Percival in Horace's earpiece.

"Erm, yes," mumbled Horace.

"Fantastic!!" said Mike. "Come out to my forecourt, let's see what I can offer you, Dave!! How about this smashing 1974 Mk2 Capri complete with this classy furry steering wheel!!"

"Very nice," lied Horace. "By the way, I've heard you're a bit dodgy, have you any examples of your dodgyness?"

"Absolutely not!!" exclaimed Mike. "All rumours are false, I'm not dodgy at all, it's just my customers are all gullible!! Take that numpty who lives down the road, Des Wednesday's his name! Last week I took his comedy Fiat 126 in for a service, and told him he needed a new cronk spracket!! Now everybody knows there's no such thing as a cronk spracket, and yet I managed to charge him £150 for it!!!!"

Horace/Des was fuming.

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!" said Sir Percival into Horace's earpiece. "Ask 'im to take you for a test drive!!! But you'd loike 'im to droive!!"

"I'd like a test drive," mumbled Horace. "But I'd like you to drive!!"

"Whatever for?!" said Mike.

"Because...I haven't learn to drive yet," mumbled Horace.

"Fair enoughski," said Mike. "Come on!!"

But as soon as they had started to drive off, Sir Percival instructed Horace to leap out of the car and rush back to the garage.

"That's a bit dangerous, isn't it?!" said Horace.

"Pardon?" said Mike.

"Sorry Mike, got to go!!" said Horace. He undid the seat belt, opened the door and tumbled out of the car.

"Fair enoughski," said Mike, who drove off on his own.

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!!" said Sir Percival in Horace's earpiece as he picked himself up off the ground. "Now go and rifle through 'is office, and foind as much incriminatin' evidence as possible!!"

Horace rushed into Mike's office and started looking for papers and invoices concerning non-existent car parts and suchlike. However since the place was so disorganised, and Mike didn't appear to keep his old invoices anyway, Horace had some difficulty finding much that was relevant. Fearing that Mike would be back at any moment, Horace gathered as much stuff as he could and bunged it up his jumper.

At the same time, Mick, aka Agent X, was wandering through the park in his trilby and trenchcoat, repeating the codeword to himself over and over again. When he found the swings he saw there were two benches there - and Agent Y was there already. Agent X checked his watch.

"He's early!" thought Agent X to himself. He sat down next to Agent Y, whose face was hidden by the newspaper he was reading. "I hope I've got this right..." He leaned over to Agent Y and spoke into his ear. "Goofy's trousers are in Mickey Mouse's washing basket, Donald Duck's overslept for his birthday and Pluto's party is cancelled because he's got fleas. Ummm, no that wasn't it..."

"Oi Mick, you've spoilt the ending now!!" exclaimed Agent Y, who in fact turned out to be Wayne, also dressed in a trilby and trenchcoat, but was actually reading a Disney comic behind the newspaper.

"Wayne, what are you doing?!" exclaimed Agent X. "I'm supposed to be making a secret rendezvous on this bench!! Go away!!"

"Naaah, I reckon you're supposed to be makin' yer rendezvous on that bench over there!!" said Wayne, pointing at the other bench where another chap wearing a trilby and trenchcoat had just sat down.

"He's early as well!" said Agent X. As Wayne walked away, he went and sat down next to Agent Y, and spoke into his ear: "Goofy's overslept, Mickey Mouse's birthday is cancelled and Pluto is hoovering Donald Duck's trousers. Or something like that."

Agent X handed over the parcel to him, and Agent Y handed over the negatives. Mission accomplished!! As Agent X walked away, he was surprised to see yet another man wearing a trilby and trenchcoat who had just sat down on the other bench next to Wayne. However Agent X thought nothing more of it, and went to report back to Farmer Files/Sir Percival.

"Oooooh arrrrr!!!" exclaimed Sir Percival, when Des and Mick had both returned to his secret headquarters to be debriefed. "Let me be seein' your dossier, Horace!!"

Des/Horace showed Sir Percival the dodgy dossier he had compiled on Mike. It contained a few copies of Exchange and Mart, some old Euromillions tickets, some fuzzy felt, a signed photo of Tiff Needell and a 1971 Rupert annual.

"Total rubbish!! Mission failed!!!" exclaimed Sir Percival. "Now Agent X, let me 'ave the negatives!!" Agent X handed them over and Sir Percival studied them. "Oooooh arrrrrr!!! These be the wrong negatives!!! These be Wayne Coach's 'oliday snaps!! Oi suppose this means Wayne Coach 'as now got moi Nolans pictures!!! Dear, dear, Agent X, you be makin' one 'eck of a bodge-up!! Now let me tell you two, oi not be 'appy with your progress!!"

"Does this mean we're sacked?" said Mick, hopefully.

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!!" said Sir Percival. "You be 'avin' one more chance! Oi am goin' to be sendin' you on a stakeout!!"

"Oh that sounds nice," said Des. "I fancy a meal out, though I'm really not all that keen on steak."

"Oooooh arrrrr!!! You be misunderstandin'!!! Oi require the pair of you to keep round-the-clock surveillance on one Cloive Kippers!! Oi 'ave information to suggest that is 'e plannin' to reveal to the world a catalogue of lies, ineptitude and negligence when oi was the chairman of PIG!! This could be the ruination of moi career!!!"

"Is it true?" said Mick.

"That be besoide the point!!" said Sir Percival. "Now, what oi require you to do is to place bugs insoide Cloive's 'ouse and then remain insoide the secret Land Rover , monitoring all activity!!"

"For how long?!" said Des.

"For as long as it be takin'!!!" exclaimed Sir Percival.

Reluctantly, Des and Mick parked the Range Rover opposite Clive's house and prepared to plant the bugs inside his house.

"This is ridiculous," moaned Des. "Why do we have to camp out in this thing all day and all night, I mean he only lives next door to me!!"

"Now I'm going to distract him, and you place the bugs inside," said Mick. "But be quick!!"

Mick rang Clive's doorbell, and Clive answered.

"Hello Clive, I want to have a word about your begonias," said Mick.

As Mick and Clive chatted about plants and boring things like that, Des nipped inside and planted the bugs in his living room. Then Des and Mick headed back to the Range Rover where they would be spending goodness knows how long (apart from going to the toilet and Mrs Greasy's cafe of course, the former invariably following the latter).

After three days they were getting rather bored, and they had not managed to pick up any interesting information whatsoever. Sir Percival Throwback, meanwhile, was proving to be elusive.

After seven days they were close to going insane, when Sir Percival finally turned up.

"Where have you been?!?!" exclaimed Mick.

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!! On 'oliday!!!" said Sir Percival. Des and Mick tutted. "Now do you believe you 'ave all the information we need?!"

"Everything we're ever likely to get," said Des. "Would you like to listen to the tapes?"

As they listened to the recordings, Sir Percival grew increasingly annoyed. All they seemed to consist of was non-stop disco music. Any voices were completely drowned out.

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!!" exclaimed Sir Percival. "Where did you put those there bugs?!"

"Underneath Clive's loudspeakers," said Des. "He's got a very neat and tidy room, they were the only places I could find that were discreet enough!"

"Does this mean we're sacked?" said Mick.

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!! YES!!"

"HOORAY!!!!" exclaimed Des and Mick.

"Although, oi must be admittin', the intelligence oi 'ad regarding Clive turned out to be false anyway," said Sir Percival. "And in the end, moi porkers actually be preferin' Mrs Greasy's new pigswill recipe. And tha' Moike the Manic Mechanic isn't such a bad chap, really, is 'e?..."


Copyright © Robert Williams
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