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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO CLIVE?

by Robert Williams

"Oi, any of you lot seen that Clive recently?!" said Mrs Greasy to the others in the cafe, who evidently did not include Clive.

"Nope," said Des. "But thank you for asking."

"So politely," added Mick.

"Well where is he then?!" said Mrs G.

"Don't know, don't care," said Des.

"I do!" said Mrs G. "I'm missing a valuable customer! According to my register, Clive has not made an appearance here for exactly three weeks!!"

"Register?!" said Des. "You keep a register on us?! This isn't school, you know!"

Just then Wayne came rushing in.

"Sorry I'm late miss!" said Wayne, out of breath. "I've got a sick note from me mum for yesterday, by the way!! Oh, and can I 'ave another day to finish me 'omework?!"

"Dear, dear," sighed Mrs Greasy, filling in Wayne as late on her aforementioned register. "Attendance is getting very poor round here! It's almost as if you lot didn't want to come here!!"

"No!!!!" said Des.

"No, of course not, that's a ludicrous suggestion," said Mrs Greasy. "Anyway, back to the original point, where is Clive???"

"Like I said, I don't care!!" said Des.

"I do," said Mick. "But only because he's still got my hedge trimmer, and I want it back!"

"Pardon?" said Des. "I can't hear you because Mrs Greasy's just turned her television on."

"Mrs Greasy, turn your telly down, we're trying to talk!" said Mick.

"I just want to catch up on the showbiz gossip!!" said Mrs G.

"I see," said Mick. "One second you're desperate to know where Clive's gone, the next you're more interested in the latest showbiz gossip."

"Oh look, they've just said they're starting to make the new James Bond film," said Des, staring at the television.

"Fascinating," sighed Mick.

"Wait a minute...James Bond!!" exclaimed Des. "That's where Clive is!! He's gone off filming his first James Bond film!!"

"What are you talking about, Clive isn't James Bond!!" exclaimed Mick.

"Yes he is!" said Des. "Don't you remember?! I read it in the paper on our way back from Scotland when we helped out Michael Caine!!"

"You mean Sean Connery," said Mick.

"Whatever," said Des.

"This is no good," said Mrs G. "I can't afford to have regular customers disappearing off willy nilly like this just to make some daft film or something!!"

"Who's Willy Nilly?" said Des.

"I need to know when he's going to be back in order that I can balance my accounts!!" said Mrs G. "Des and Mick, I am sending you both on a Mission Possible!! I want you to go and see Clive and find out when he's going to be back!!"

"Oww, why does it always have to be us!" moaned Des. "Why can't you send Wayne?!"

"Because Wayne's got his morning lessons! He's got Double Mashed Potato and Quadruple Black Pudding!" said Mrs G. "And then he's got to stay behind in detention for extra Baked Beans!!"

"Yummy!!!" grinned Wayne.

Des and Mick left the cafe on their Mission Possible, with their packed lunches made specially for them by Mrs Greasy.

"Where are they filming then?" said Des.

"I think they said on the telly it's Notting Hill," said Mick.

"But that's a different film!!" said Des. "You're getting me confused now!!"

"Yes, and it's also a place!" said Mick.

"Didn't it have Huge Grant in it?" said Des.

"The film did, the place doesn't!" exclaimed Mick. "Now come on, let's get this over with."

They dumped their packed lunches in the nearest bin, and Des drove them in his Fiat 126 up to Notting Hill, where filming of the new James Bond film, 'James Bond Visits Notting Hill', was just beginning. A crowd of onlookers had gathered to watch the filming, so Des and Mick had to barge their way to the front in order to see if they could spot Clive. When they got to the front they saw the crew busy setting up some explosions and a car chase with James Bond's Aston Martin.

"This looks like it's going to be great!" said Des. "Hey, I wonder if they'd let me be an extra!!"

"NO!!!!" exclaimed Mick. "We're here to find Clive! Now where is he?!"

They looked all around for Clive who, in theory, should have been dressed smartly in a tuxedo. But he was nowhere to be seen.

"He's obviously not turned up yet," said Des. "Maybe he's still in his dressing room! Let's go and look there!"

They turned round to fight their way back through the crowd when they were surprised to find themselves face to face with none other than Sean Connery!

"Hey!!" exclaimed Des, excitedly. "It's our old mate!! Nice to see you again!! Remember us?!"

Sean looked blankly at Des.

"We helped you out on your tourist information video, remember?!" said Des, grinning.

"I'm sorry, I think you might have me mixed up with someone else," said Sean, with a Brummie accent.

"Eh???" said a confused Des.

"Des, that obviously isn't Sean Connery," said Mick. "It's a man dressed up as Sean Connery."

"That's right," said the imposter. "I'm the leader of the 'Sean Connery Is The Only True Bond' campaign! We're here to hold a protest against the new James Bond, who we believe is being played by an actor who is totally unsuitable for the role!!"

"Oh I see!" said Des. "Quite right too! (By the way, is there any chance you can use your influence to recommend me as the next James Bond...)"

"Des, come on!!" exclaimed Mick.

But just then the crowd starting whooping and cheering (apart from the members of the 'Sean Connery Is The Only True Bond' campaign who started booing and hissing). Yes, James Bond himself had just walked onto the set.

"LOOK, IT'S JAMES BOND!!!" exclaimed Des.

Des and Mick squinted at James Bond.

"That isn't Clive," said Mick.

"Of course it isn't, it's James...oh I see what you mean," said Des. "Who is it then?"

Whoever it was came up to the crowd to sign some autographs. Des turned back to the Sean Connery imposter. "Hey, who's that?!"

"That," said the Sean Connery imposter, "is the new James Bond. An actor who goes by the name of Daniel Craig."

"Never heard of him," said Des. "So it isn't Clive Kippers after all?"

"Who?" said the imposter.

"Come on, let's go!" said Mick.

And so just as Daniel Craig moved along to Des and Mick to sign his autograph for them, the pair of them turned their backs on him and barged back through the crowd to where Des had parked his car.

"You nitwit," said Mick as they got in the car. "Whatever made you think Clive was playing James Bond??"

"I told you, I read it in the paper!!" said Des. "Look, I've still got it!!" Des reached into the glovebox, took the old newspaper out and showed it to Mick. "See the headline - 'Clive Kippers Is New James Bond'!!"

"Des, this paper is all creased and folded up," said Mick.

"I know, I always found those broadsheet papers too big!" said Des.

Mick unfolded the paper, and tutted.

"Des, that was three different headlines!!" he exclaimed. "Look - 'Clive Sinclair Unveils the C6 At Long Last'. 'Kippers For Breakfast Will Set You Up For The Day, Says Jamie Oliver'. 'Daniel Craig Is New James Bond'."

"Ah," said Des.

"What a complete waste of time that was," moaned Mick as they drove off.

"We've got to find that Clive though!" said Des. "Otherwise Mrs Greasy's going to go mental!"

"Go mental?!" said Mick. "Well I don't know, where the heck can he be? He could be anywhere!!"

"Over there!!" said Des suddenly, pointing out of the window.

To Des and Mick's surprise, there was Clive! They saw him walking out of a rundown old Victorian house, which had broken windows and an overgrown garden. Clive himself didn't look much better - he was unshaven and looked tired and haggard. Des stopped the car.

"Oh my goodness!!" said Mick. "What's happened to him? Shall we ask him?!"

When Clive saw them, he gave them an evil glare.

"Umm...I don't think so!" said Des. "Come on!!"

They drove off again, straight back home to report back to Mrs Greasy.

"Good grief!!" exclaimed Mrs G. "So Clive Kippers isn't James Bond after all!!"

"No of course not!!" exclaimed Des. "That would be ridiculous, I'd wouldn't have believed it for a second!!"

Mick glared at Des.

"And you're saying that he's actually fallen on hard times and has been forced to move into a derelict old house in Notting Hill??" continued Mrs G.

"Yup," said Des.

"Well thank you very much for finding out, that's all I needed to know," said Mrs G. "Take a homemade sticky bun for your troubles!"

"Aren't you bothered?" said Mick.

"I am by this sticky bun," said Des, looking at the bun Mrs G had just given him which was so sticky that it was refusing to detach itself from his hands.

"Not at all, Clive clearly isn't coming back any time soon, so now I know to budget for it," said Mrs Greasy.

"But doesn't Clive's plight concern you at all?" said Mick.

"No," said Mrs G.

"Nor me," said Des. "Can I go now?"

"You heartless bunch," said Mick. "Poor old Clive's found himself on the poverty line, and you don't even care!!"

"It's his own fault if his mysterious source of income has suddenly dried up," said Des. "If only he got a proper job like the rest of us..."

Mrs Greasy, Mick and Wayne (who was still there in Double Mashed Potato) all looked very askance at Des.

"Ummm, well, ahem..." said Des. "Anyway, if Clive's on the breadline, how come he hasn't put his old house up for sale or anything?!"

"Obviously it's going to be repossessed!" said Mick.

"Great, does that mean I can have his stereo system?!" said Des.

"No!" said Mick. "Now come on, we've got to help him out! Everybody should make a donation!"

"Oh great," said Des, sarcastically. "Yes, let's set up our own charity - 'Clive in Need'!"

"That's a good idea," said Mick. "(For once)."

Des and Mrs Greasy groaned.

"Well thanks a bunch!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy. "All the times I've been on the breadline, and you've never thought set up a charity for me! And yet here's Clive, the first time ever he's been short of a couple of quid, and straight away you're getting the heartstrings out!!"

Though Des and Mrs Greasy were refusing to have anything to do with it, Mick, with the help of the more benevolent Wayne, Mike and Dickie, was soon setting up the Clive in Need appeal.

First of all, in an unprecedented move, Dickie the Vicar agreed to donate the proceeds from his disco one night to the Clive in Need appeal. However, for this to have any effect, it would require some people to actually turn up to it. So Mick decided he had to take executive control of the disco, and get some more modern music.

"Modern music?!" exclaimed Des. "What do you know about modern music?! I bet the only modern band you've heard of is Mike and the Mechanics X!"

"True," said Mick. "Have you heard of any more, then?"

"Course I have!" said Des. "Um...Herman's Hermits?"

"Anyway, I've just been down the record shop and bought the latest 'Now That's What I Call Music 74,587' album," said Mick. "You see Dickie, that's what you need to get all the young people to come to your disco! Up-to-date music!!"

"I do play up-to-date music!" said Dickie. "Only last night did I have the Quo's latest single on the playlist!! (Well, it was their latest single in 1974...)"

And lo and behold, the disco that night was a massive success.

"I've never seen this place so busy before!!" exclaimed Dickie.

"Told you, didn't I!" said Mick.

Even Des was there, but only because that evening's edition of 'Should I Worry About Carpets?' had been replaced by a boring kicking match.

"What I don't understand, is why you won't let DJ Dickie take to the microphone!!" said Dickie.

"Well..." said Mick.

But before Mick could stop him, Dickie was stepping up on the stage to his favourite place, behind the record decks (even though all the music was coming off a CD).

"Boogie woogie, let's get floogie!!" said Dickie into the microphone. "Get down!!"

So I ought to rephrase that earlier statement: the disco that night was a massive success - until DJ Dickie took to the microphone. In fact, you never saw a disco empty so quickly. Nonetheless, Mick had already collected a considerable sum of money, and that's all that mattered.

Next thing, Mike the Manic Mechanic somewhat reluctantly agreed to raffle off one of his cars, a relatively new-ish Ford Focus RS. Even more reluctantly, he even removed the furry dice in order to make appeal to slightly wider audience.

Then there was a fete in the park, and a sponsored walk, all of which had nothing to do with Des, and consequently were a great success.

"I don't understand this, why are so many people willing to help out Clive like this??" said Des.

"Because most people actually like him!" said Mick. "That's why we are raising so much money for him!!"

"So...how come does everything you organise turns out so well?!" said Des. "I just don't get it!"

"Because I'm not a total nincompoop like you," said Mick.

"Fair enoughski," said Des.

But there was one other person who was not happy with recent events - yes, Mrs Greasy. So she decided to take action.

The next time Des and Mick went along to the cafe, they were surprised to see some large cracks in the front windows and a load of old weeds that had been dumped at the front of the cafe. When they walked inside, they saw Mrs Greasy wearing a Cinderella outfit.

"Oh, woe is me, woe is me!" cried Mrs Greasy. "I've fallen on hard times! My cafe is falling into disrepair, and I have barely two pennies to rub together! What am I to do!!"

"Isn't that the Cinderella costume from Dickie the Vicar's pantomime a few years back?" said Mick. "You know, 'Puss in Boots'."

"Good grief, if Mrs Greasy is Cinderella, I'd hate to see what her ugly sisters look like!" said Des.

"Oh, woe is me, woe is me!!" continued Mrs G. "Will you not help me out in my hour of need?!"

"You're just copying Clive," said Des.

"Oh, woe is me, woe is me!!" cried Mrs Greasy yet again. "Will you not set up a charity to help out your poor friendly cafe proprietor!"

"NO!!" exclaimed Des and Mick in unison.

"Well suit yourselves then," said Mrs Greasy, dropping the Cinderella act. "Because I've done it already! Today marks the official launch of the Greasy in Need appeal!!"

"Oh no," groaned Des and Mick.

"You can help me out by purchasing a Greasy Bear!" exclaimed Mrs G. She took out a teddy bear, which had a spotted hanky wrapped across its head. "Come on, they're only £50 each! And I've got two hundred to get rid off!!"

"Two hundred?!" exclaimed Mick. "No wonder you're on the breadline, if you've just spent your money on all those bears!"

"And coming up this Friday, 'Greasy in Need' night, hosted by none other than Terry Wogan!!!"

"Really???" said Des.

"Well, Terry Greasy-Wogan, actually," said Mrs G, whipping out a Terry Wogan hairpiece and sticking it on her head. "To be sure, to be sure, top o' the mornin' to you, you pair of eejits!" she said in an appalling Irish accent.

"Mrs Greasy, I'm not going to help you out supporting Greasy in Need," said Mick. "I'm busy trying to help out Clive!"

"Pffhh," said Mrs Greasy. "What about you then, Des?"

"Not me either," said Des. "I'm just tight."

"Be like that," said Mrs G. "Pity, because I was going to ask you a favour, Des."

"What's that?" said Des.

"A favour that might earn you a few pounds," said Mrs Greasy.

"You're on!!" said Des.

Unfortunately, Des was not so enthusiastic when he found out the favour involved dressing up in a Greasy Bear costume for Greasy in Need night. Not surprisingly, the event, which took place in Mrs G's cafe, was a complete disaster. The only other participants all night was Dickie the Vicar, who had been banned from his own disco by Mick, and Wayne. It not actually being on television wasn't a great help, either.

And so despite Terry Greasy-Wogan, Greasy Bear, Wayne and Dickie the Vicars' efforts, only 2p was raised all night. And that was what they found on the pavement outside the cafe.

"Grrrrr," moaned Mrs Greasy the next morning in the cafe. "I can't believe the cheek of you, Mick, deliberately organising your second Clive in Need disco to clash my Greasy in Need fund-raising extravaganza!!"

"Grrrrr," moaned Des, who was still wearing his Greasy Bear outfit because the zip was stuck, and he wasn't able to say anything else.

"Who cares about Greasy in Need?!" said Mick. "We've raised a stack of cash for Clive!! And we're going up there today to present him with the money!"

As Des was stuck in his outfit and thus unable to drive, Wayne agreed to drive the others up there in Des's car. Mrs Greasy went as well, mainly so she could be a misery-face.

However as they arrived in Notting Hill, Mick had some trouble locating Clive's rundown old house.

"Des, can you remember where it was?!" said Mick.

"Grrrrr," said Des/Greasy Bear.

"Oh I forgot, you can't speak," said Mick. "What a tremendous shame. Wayne, turn right here, I'm sure it was up here!"

Wayne drove them up and down the street, but there was no sign of any derelict houses. Finally, they noticed Clive walking out of one of the houses, which looked in excellent condition, with freshly painted brickwork, new windows and a garden which appeared to have had the Charlie Dimmock treatment. Clive himself also looked in excellent condition, in sharp contrast to when Des and Mick last saw him.

Wayne stopped the car and he, Mick, Mrs Greasy and Greasy Bear all got out of the car.

"Oh for god's sake," groaned Clive when he saw them. "What do you all want?!"

"Clive, what's going on?!" said Mick. "We've come to present you with some money!!"

"Money?!" exclaimed Clive. "What for?!"

"We saw you coming out of a rundown old house!!" said Mick. "In this street, I'm sure it was!!"

"Yes, it was this house!!" said Clive. "I've just had it done up!!"

"Oh!" said Mick. "We thought you'd fallen on hard times!!"

"You dozy twonks!" said Clive. "I specifically bought this derelict house in order to renovate it, and then sell it on at a profit!! You know, to make money!!"

"Ah, I see," said Mick.

"I've been staying at a hotel round the corner, no point me keep driving all the way up here every day!" said Clive.

"Grrrr," said Des/Greasy Bear.

"But we saw you looking all tired and unshaven!" said Mick.

"Yes, this project had turned out to be somewhat more ambitious than I had initially envisaged," said Clive. "That day I saw you, I'd been up working on it non-stop since 6.00 in the morning! No wonder I looked tired!!"

"The place looks good, you've done a great job," said Mick.

"Of course I have!" said Clive.

"But why on earth didn't you just tell us what you were up to?!" said Mick.

"I've said it before, and I'll say it again," said Clive. "I don't have to tell you lot every single thing I ever do, it's none of your business!! This isn't 'The Chronicles of Clive' you know!!"

"Grrrr," said Des/Greasy Bear.

"Now why is he dressed as a ridiculous great teddy bear?!" said Clive.

"Grrrr," said Des/Greasy Bear.

"Don't ask," said Mick. "So I suppose you won't be wanting this money then."

"No!" said Clive. "I don't want your charity!"

"But I do!" said Mrs G, snatching the bag of money from Mick's hand. "Thank you so much for your generous donation to Greasy in Need!!"

"Grrrr," said Des.

"Actually, I think I prefer him like that," said Clive. "He can't say anything!!"

"So do I," said Mick. "What do you say to that then, Des?"

"Grrrr."


Copyright © Robert Williams
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