by Robert Williams
The gang were in Mrs Greasy's cafe one morning for their regular daily meeting when it was interrupted by the 'Teletubbies' theme tune. Des sniggered.
"Excuse me," said Clive, taking his mobile phone out of his pocket. A lengthy conversation followed.
"Oh no!!" exclaimed Clive, once he had ended the conversation.
"Have you quite finished?!" said Mrs Greasy, crossly. "This is a very important meeting, you know! We have several topics still to discuss!"
"I'm sorry," said Clive. "Anyway, what were we talking about? The price of self-raising flour has gone up by two pence, wasn't it? Well I think..."
"Oh who cares about that!" said Mrs Greasy, throwing away the agenda. "Who were you talking to?"
"Yes, who's this Eugene person??" said Mick, intrigued.
"Oh...no one..." said Clive.
"Go on, tell us!" said Des.
"Oh...all right," said Clive. "He's my brother."
"You never mentioned you had a brother!" said Mick. "I thought you were an only child!"
"I wish," said Clive. "He's the black sheep of the family! He's smarmy, a creep and right know-all!"
"Nothing at all like you, then!" said Des, laughing.
"No he's not," said Clive. "But the most annoying thing is that he's been so much more successful than me!"
"You can't complain!" said Mick. "You've got a nice house, a nice car, plenty of luxuries! Quite why I'm not sure - where do you get all that money from?"
"None of your business!" snapped Clive. "Anyway Eugene runs a highly successful international corporation. He has a nice mansion in the country and a fleet of expensive cars! And he considers me to be the black sheep, the failure of the family."
Des sat there, nodding his head in agreement.
"Oh shut up Des! The point is, he's doing some business in the area, so he's going to pop down and visit me next week! Cheeky monkey, he hasn't bothered for fifteen years! I didn't want to seem a failure he thinks I am, so I told him I run a variety of profitable enterprises."
"So that's why you were telling him you run a window cleaning business, a cafe and a garage," said Mick.
"Yes..." said Clive. "Oh, please play along, you lot! Go on!!"
"Hmmm," said Mrs Greasy. "What's it worth?..."
"I'll pay you!" said Clive.
The gang had a quiet discussion, while Clive looked on.
"You're on!" said Des. They all agreed.
The following Monday, Eugene rolled up at Clive's house in his Aston Martin DB7.
"Hi there, Clive!" he shouted to Clive out of the car window. "Would you mind moving your car out into the road so I can park in your drive?!"
Clive groaned, and did as he was told.
"I'm sorry about this, Clive, but I daren't risk leaving a £90,000 motor parked on a common street like this! Dear oh dear, Clive, a BMW 735i, is that all you can manage?"
"It did cost me £40,000!" said Clive. "You should see the cars my neighbours drive!"
"Ah yes, I'd like to meet them!" said Eugene. They crossed the road to Des's drive, where Des and Wayne were cleaning his Fiat 126.
"Des, Wayne, this is my brother Eugene," said Clive.
"Pleased to meet you, Eugene," said Des, shaking his hand and giving him a hand full of soap suds. Eugene didn't seem to mind.
"Hi there, Des and Wayne! How you doing?!!"
"We're fine thanks!!" said Wayne. "Didn't yer used to be in Popeye..."
"I apologise for Des's car, it does lower the tone of the neighbourhood," said Clive, changing the subject.
"Not at all!!" said Eugene. "I love these little Fiats, they're so cute and nippy, must be great around town!"
"Yes, they are!" said Des, a little bemused.
"Yes, anyway," said Clive. "Des and Wayne here work for my window cleaning business, one of my many, many enterprises."
"Me?!" said Des to himself. "Work for his window cleaning..."
"They also do car cleaning as a sideline," said Clive.
"Hey, tell you what, seeing what a good job you're making of your little car, perhaps you could give my Aston Martin a going over! It got a little mucky on the A3 underpass, I don't usually drive in such areas."
"We're very expensive," said Clive.
"You bet we are," said Des.
"We're looking at upwards of fifty pounds," said Clive.
"More like seventy," said Des.
"You do me a good job, I'll give you a hundred!" said Eugene.
"Done!" said Clive.
Clive went off to show Eugene his garden, while Wayne and Des set to work cleaning Eugene's car.
"Are you sure about this, Des!" said Wayne.
"No!" said Des. "These things cost nearly a hundred grand! We'd better be careful!"
When Des and Wayne had finished, Eugene and Clive came to inspect the car.
"Hmmm, pretty good, you two!" said Eugene. "Oh!" He spotted a bent radio aerial.
"Oh sorry about that," said Des.
Then Eugene saw a dent in the front wing.
"Yes, Wayne did that when he tried to fix the aerial," said Des.
"Yeah, then I dropped my bucket of mucky water over yer leather seats!" said Wayne.
"Did you have a slight accident with that headlamp as well?" said Eugene.
"Yes... But apart from that, everything's okay, I think..." said Des.
"Hey guys, don't worry, I can get those things fixed!" said Eugene. "Here's the money!"
Eugene handed over a hundred pounds cash. Clive, Wayne and Des then rowed over who got how much - Clive claiming that since he owned the company he should get most of it, Wayne claiming that since he really owned the company he should get most of it, and Des who claimed he did most of the work that he should get most of it.
"Hey Clive, I'm feeling a bit peckish!" said Eugene. "Why don't we pop over to your restaurant, and grab something to eat!"
"Oh...of course..." said Clive, uneasily.
Eugene gave Clive, Des and Wayne a lift in his car to the cafe, where Clive had made a temporary sign reading 'Kippers Cafes'.
"Sounds good!" said Eugene as they entered the cafe.
"This is only one of many branches of Kippers Cafes," explained Clive.
Mick, Dave, Dickie and Files were all there, posing as genuine customers (the cafe was otherwise empty, as usual). They were met by Mrs Greasy.
"Mrs Greasy, this is my brother, Eugene," said Clive. "Eugene, this my chief cook, Mrs Greasy."
"Hi there, Mrs Greasy! Hmmm, something smells good!"
This was Mick's meat pie that he had bought in the supermarket and had absolutely nothing to do with Mrs Greasy.
"Would you like to sit down?" said Mrs Greasy, showing them to a table. "Would you like the menu?"
"Thank you very much, Mrs Greasy!" said Eugene. "This sounds delicious!"
Once Mrs Greasy had taken their orders, and returned with their meals, the regulars were expecting decent food for once (bought from the supermarket, as Clive had instructed Mrs Greasy to do). But they were disappointed to be served the same old rubbish they usually got.
"Pssst!" whispered Clive. "Mrs G! I thought you were just warming up some stuff from the Co-op, not making your own stuff!"
"Of course not!" whispered Mrs Greasy. "I always cook my own food, and there's nothing wrong with it!"
"Oh no," groaned Clive.
"Hmmm," said Eugene, as he tucked into his mashed potato. "To be honest Clive, this isn't the best I've ever tasted!"
"I must apologise, Eugene," said Clive, "but I've only just opened this branch, and Mrs Greasy has never cooked before."
Mrs Greasy looked askance at Clive.
"No, don't apologise!" said Eugene. "For a first attempt, this is pretty good! I'm sure she'll improve in the weeks to come! Well done, Mrs Greasy!"
Once Eugene had eaten his plate clean, and the others had achieved the same effect by chucking their food in the bin, Eugene decided to get his car sorted out.
"Well you must pop over to another of my highly successful and profitable businesses, Kippers Garages!!" said Clive.
Eugene, Clive, Des and Mick went over to Kippers Garages (otherwise known as Mike's Manic Motors) in Eugene's Aston Martin.
"This is only one of many, many, many branches worldwide of Kippers Garages!" explained Clive, as they got out of the car and met Mike the Manic Mechanic.
"Eh?" said Mike. "Oh, you must be Clive's brother!"
"Certainly am, mate!" said Eugene. "And you are?"
"My name's Mike!" said Mike. "How yer doing, mate!"
"How you doing!" said Eugene.
"Yes, anyway, Mike and Mick look after this particular branch of Kippers Garages," said Clive.
"What??!!" said Mick, confused.
"What's it like, having Clive as a boss?" said Eugene to Mick and Mike as they were in the workshop, repairing the car's front wing, headlamp and aerial.
"Oh, well, um, he's, er..." said Mick, not sure whether to make something up or not.
"Actually, when he was a child, he was a right terror," said Eugene.
"Was he really?" said Mick.
"Yes! He was my baby brother, and he used to get up to some right mischief! Like the time I was ten, and he was six years old, and he..."
Clive, in the meantime had been looking at some of the used cars Mike was selling, and putting extortionate prices on them to make 'his' garage appear an expensive, upmarket business. He walked back into the workshop and heard Eugene telling embarrassing stories of his youth, and Mick and Mike in fits of laughter.
"Oh no," he groaned.
"That's a really good job you've done, Mike and Mick!" said Eugene, when they had finished (or rather when Mike had finished, since he had done most of the work, while Mick had merely tried to look as though he was doing some work).
"Yes, it's gonna cost yer though, now let me see..." said Mike.
"I think it's worth two grand!" said Eugene, inspecting his car. Mick, Mike and Clive's eyes nearly popped out, and Clive again tried to claim he deserved the majority of the money.
Later on that afternoon, while Eugene was busy doing whatever business he had come to do, the others had a meeting in the cafe.
"He's being absolutely unbearable!" sighed Clive. "I don't know how much longer I can keep up this pretence! I wish he'd just leave!"
"I don't think so," said Des.
"Neither do I," said Mick. "He seems a thoroughly nice man."
"Quite unlike his brother," said Des. "He doesn't use every opportunity to take a swipe at everyone!"
"Now come on..." said Clive.
"I agree with them!" said Mike. "And I loved those stories about when you were young!"
"Oh dear," said Clive.
"Hey, and he's promised to take us all out to the pictures tonight!" said Wayne.
"What an agreeable fellow he is," said Mrs Greasy.
All but Clive agreed. He was getting a bit fed up about hearing how wonderful his brother was. Then came the bombshell. Eugene was on the telephone at Clive's house to some business associate, and Clive happened to overhear.
"Tell you what, Larry, it's quite a nice area round here. You know I've been looking a town house to save all that commuting, so I'm already looking for a place in the locality!"
Clive was gobsmacked. He could never keep up the pretence of owning Wayne's Winda Cleaners, Mrs Greasy's Little Cafe and Mike's Manic Motors permanently. Unless...
"Now come on fellas, you've got to help me!" said Clive.
"No," said Wayne.
"No," said Mrs Greasy.
"No," said Mike.
"I'd only be a sleeping partner in all your businesses!" said Clive, desperately.
"No," repeated Wayne.
"No," repeated Mrs Greasy.
"No," repeated Mike.
"Be fair Clive," said Mick. "They've put up with enough as it is, with you pretending to be in charge of their businesses!"
"Yes, and how on earth could you afford to buy them all out!" said Des.
"Come on," said Clive, "they can't be worth that much! I could probably buy Mrs Greasy's cafe for a fiver! And what assets has Wayne got? A van, a ladder, a bucket and some rags - his business can't be worth more than about 2p!"
"3p, actually!" said Wayne.
"Oh what am I going to do!" moaned Clive to himself. "And this is as if having Eugene move to the area isn't bad enough!"
Things continued to deteriorate. The next evening Clive listened in to another of Eugene's phone calls.
"Larry, look, there's little point asking Clive to join the corporation. The evidence I've seen shows he has no business acumen whatsoever! All he has is three pathetic small businesses - a window cleaners, a cafe and a garage, of all things! They're all clearly floundering!"
Clive was gobsmacked. Eugene had been going to ask to Clive to join his international corporation! He immediately began to formulate plans to invent more successful businesses. But Eugene's phone call didn't stop there - and it got even worse.
"But listen, Larry, I think I've made a discovery. There's some bloke called Des who works for Clive's window cleaners. He's clearly being wasted - I've spotted some real potential here. I'm going to make him a proposition tomorrow. I think he's the guy we need. Anyway, this deal..."
Clive began working up into an absolute rage. Steam started coming out of his ears, and he turned bright purple. He steamed round his living room, shaking his fists and was trying hard to suppress his anger when Eugene walked in.
"Clive!" said Eugene. "Are you all right?!"
"Err, yes," said Clive, suddenly switching into some disco dancing. "Just grooving to some classic disco grooves!"
"I can't hear any disco grooves," said Eugene. "Look, I'm popping off to sign a multi-million pound deal with my business associate Larry Luddite. Cor, these multi-million pound deals can get so tedious at times! Not that you'd know, Clive! See ya!"
"Right! That does it!" said Clive. As soon as Eugene has gone, Clive dashed over to the telephone, pressed the last number redial and shouted, "LARRY!! THE DEAL'S OFF!"
"I'm sorry?" said an oriental woman on the phone. "This is the Cheap Chinese Takeaway, I think you have wung the wong number."
Clive remembered Eugene had been using his own mobile, while his stomach remembered the dreadful takeaway he had last night.
"Now calm down, Kippers," he said to himself. He decided he needed a plan - to both prevent Des from joining Eugene's corporation and prevent Eugene from buying a house in the area. No point in asking the others for their help - this had to be done solo.
That evening Clive called round at Des's house.
"Hey Des!" said Clive. "How are you doing, me old mate!"
"This is very odd," thought Des. Maybe Eugene's qualities were actually rubbing off on Clive?
"You're not going to believe this, but Eugene's lent me his Aston Martin for the evening! Want to come for a drive!"
"Oh yes please!" said Des, eagerly.
"Great!" said Clive. "Here's the keys!" He handed Des the car keys.
"Me?!!!" exclaimed Des.
"Why not?!" said Clive. He and Des left the house, and walked towards Eugene's Aston Martin DB7, which was sitting in Clive's drive. "By the way, we're only allowed to go up and down this road, no further. But you drive as fast as you like!"
This was all lies. Eugene was in fact currently in the shower, and Clive had pinched the car keys. Clive knew Des was not necessarily the greatest driver in the world, and would be bound to crash sooner or later.
Des and Clive leapt into the car, and Des started to drive slowly along the road, with Clive sitting as far down as he could in the passenger seat to avoid being seen.
"What are you sitting like that for?" said Des to Clive.
"Oh, nothing," said Clive. "Come on, go a bit faster!"
"The speed limit's 30," said Des.
"I don't care, we can do 130 in this! At least! Go for it!"
But still Des continued to drive relatively slowly up to the end of the road, then turned round and drove back. Clive didn't bank on Des being so law-abiding.
They continued to drive up and down the road. Just when Clive was getting a bit bored, and very uncomfortable having virtually sank under the glovebox, he spied Eugene coming to his bedroom window. Without a seconds' thought, Clive, who was completely unable to see where he was going, yanked the steering wheel to the left and they heard a loud crash.
"Clive???!!!!" exclaimed Des. "What was that for?! You made me crash into your BMW!!"
"Oh!!!" exclaimed Clive. He peered out of the windscreen to see the truth. He gasped, leapt out of the car and disappeared behind the garage, just before Eugene came running out of the house.
"Des!!!" exclaimed Eugene. "How dare you!!!"
Des was completely bemused.
Eugene made a guest appearance at the meeting the next morning. Clive rubbed his hands in glee, despite having seen the repair bill for his BMW.
"Right," said Eugene. "Before I go any further, I would just like to clear up something that happened last night. I would like to apologise to Des for accusing him of crashing my car. After examining the in-car security video of the incident, I can declare Des completely innocent, and reveal the true culprit - you, Clive!"
"What? Me??!" said Clive.
"The repair bill is all yours, Clive," said Eugene. "Honestly, he was always like that when we were young, borrowing my things without my permission!"
Clive turned red.
"Anyway, I'll come to the main point of my visit. I was considering moving to the area, but I have now decided against that. However, I have been looking for someone to join my international corporation, and now I have finally found the man. Des!"
Clive's head hit the table.
"Des, how about it?"
"Well..." said Des.
"How do you fancy it? A top job at the head office in London, cleaning the toilets."
"Sorry Eugene," said Des. "I'm committed to windows."
"What a pity," said Eugene. "Clive, how do you fancy it?"
Clive was speechless.
Copyright © Robert Williams