by Robert Williams

"So then Des," said Mick. "Where are we all going for our summer holiday this year?"

It was Des's turn to choose the destination, and pay, for their annual holiday this year. In recent years Clive had chosen the Canaries, Mrs Greasy had selected Greece and Wayne had opted for Melton Mowbray.

"Umm...well..." said Des.

"What about the Bahamas?" suggested Clive.

"South of France!" said Mrs Greasy.

"Portugal!" said Mick.

"Tolworth?" said Des.

"What?" said Mick.

"Well actually...I don't really feel like going on holiday..."

"What?!" said Mick. "I don't believe you! You always look forward to going on holiday!!"

"All right then. You see, the thing is..." said Des. "I can't afford a holiday this year!"

"What???!!!" exclaimed the others.

"You've got loads of money!" said Mick.

"I've got to plan ahead," said Des. "I have calculated that I have enough money for chocolate biscuits to last me for the next twenty years - but only if we miss out on our holiday for one year."

"This has got nothing to do with the fact that it's your turn to pay this year?!" said Clive.

"No!" said Des. "It's true! I really can't afford it! Why can't the rest of you club together and pay for it?"

"You've got more money than the rest of us put together!" said Clive.

"You're quite well off, aren't you Clive?" said Mick.

"Of course not!" said Clive. "I have enough money to live comfortably, enough for life's necessities, but that's all!"

"So a mobile phone, satellite dish, BMW 735i and gold watch are all necessities?" said Mick.

"Err, yes!" said Clive. "Now I can't see any reason why Des can't pay for us this year!"

"Oh I can!" said Wayne. "Choccie biccies are mega-important!"

"Yes, that's right," said Mrs Greasy. "Chocolate biscuits are necessary to sustain life, holidays are comparatively unimportant!"

Clive groaned.

"You're supposed to be on my side!" he exclaimed.

"No, I also think Des has a point," said Mick. "Anyway, Clive, why don't you pay this year then? We think you're rich enough! Everyone in favour of that idea, raise their hand."

All raised their hands except for Des and Clive.

"Why don't we just have a holiday at home?" suggested Des.

"What a great idea!!!" said Clive, who was looking for any excuse to get out of having to pay again.

"What do you mean, have a holiday at home?" said Mick. "Most of us lot have a holiday at home all year round!"

"I mean stay at home, but pretend we're abroad! I'll turn my house into a hotel!"

"This is not quite what I had in mind..." said Clive.

The next Saturday the gang readied themselves for their exotic holiday in Costa Del Tolworth. Des had decided to play the part of the hotel manager, and so was to turn his house into a hotel. Meanwhile the rest of the crew were going to go and drive around for a bit in Des's van.

"This is completely absurd!" moaned Clive who, along with the others, had packed his suitcases and locked up his house.

"You always have to complain," said Mick. "Come on, it'll be a laugh!!"

As Des hurried round his house turning it into a hotel, the others set off in Des's van, with Mick at the wheel, Clive in the passenger seat and Wayne, Mrs Greasy and Dave in the back.

"Now very important," said Mick as they drove off. "We've got to find a traffic jam to get stuck in."

"What??!!?!" moaned Clive. "Why can't we just drive round the block!"

"We've got to make this as authentic as we can," said Mick.

"That's right," said Mrs Greasy. "I always say, you can't beat a good jam!"

"Which is totally unlike the jam you make," said Clive.

"But where are we gonna find a traffic jam?!" said Wayne.

"Now there's bound to be hold-ups on the M25!" said Mrs Greasy.

"Good thinking, Mrs G!" said Wayne.

They headed down the A3 and joined the M25 to find it free-flowing and no jams in sight.

"What on earth is going on???!!" exclaimed Mick.

"The road-widening scheme has obviously worked!" said Clive, amazed.

Driving at a steady 65mph (the van wouldn't actually go any faster) they found themselves at the next junction in a matter of minutes compared to a few hours they spent on there the last time they went on holiday.

"This is no good!" said Mick. "We'd better turn off."

They turned off at the next junction, and then drove aimlessly round the country roads and through towns looking for a traffic jam. But there was none.

"I know," said Mick, as they were driving through Guildford town centre. "I'll switch the radio on for the travel news."

"How utterly stupid!" said Clive. "Everyone else tunes into the traffic news to avoid hold-ups, we tune in to find one!!"

"Oh stop moaning!" said Mick. They did so, and learned that the UK's roads were remarkably quiet that day. The only jam was on the M5 in Devon.

"Ah-ha!!" said Mrs Greasy.

"Devon? Oh ,we can't go all the way down there I'm afraid!" said Mick.

"I've got an idea, then!" said Wayne. "If we can't find a traffic jam, let's make one!!"

He leant over to the dashboard, and switched off the ignition.

"What a brilliant idea!!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy. They then sat there in the middle of the road for half an hour while a long queue of traffic tooting their horns built up behind them.

"We'd better not stop here too long!" said Mick. "We might encounter some road rage!"

"Yes, and it might come from inside this very van!!!!" exclaimed Clive, who was as fed up as the drivers stuck behind them.

"Well done Clive, you're getting into the spirit of things now!"

"Come on, let's go now!!!!" exclaimed Clive, red with rage.

"Okay," sighed Mick, turning the ignition key. The engine spluttered, and refused to start. "Oh great. Just typical."

They called out the AA who towed them back to Des's house, which now had a sign outside reading 'Wednesday Towers'. They unloaded their luggage, dragged it up to the front door and rang the bell.

Des answered the door dressed in a waistcoat and was wearing a wig and a daft moustache.

"Oh! I wasn't expecting you yet! I haven't finished preparing your rooms!"

"I'm starting to enjoy this," said Clive. "This is so authentic!"

They walked into the hall, where Des had moved the coffee table to act as the reception desk. They could hear the 'Macarena' playing in the background, and there was an unidentifiable but nasty smell coming from the kitchen. Des rushed behind the table.

"Err...hello friends from Britain!" said Des, having moved into a slightly suspect Spanish accent. "Welcome to Wednesday Towers! I hope you enjoy your stay!! Can I have your names?"

"You already know our names, Des!" exclaimed Wayne.

"Shhh, Wayne, we're supposed to be on holiday, remember!" said Mick. "I'm Mick Woolley, and this is Wayne Coach, Clive Kippers, Mrs Greasy and Dave Presley."

"Ah, lovely!" said Des. "Here is your key!"

"Only one?" said Clive.

"Yes," said Des. "You have to share a bedroom, you know!"

The others groaned.

Des took them upstairs to his spare bedroom, where laid on the floor were five sleeping bags.

"Is this it?!" said Clive.

"You weren't expecting beds, I hope!" said Des.

"Where are you sleeping?" asked Mick.

"In my bed, of course!" exclaimed Des.

"Typical of him," said Clive.

"I know, I'll give you a tour of the hotel," said Des. The others followed him out of the room.

"Here's the bathroom. Downstairs, we have the lounge, the kitchen and the dining room. And through there," said Des, pointing through the back door, "is the swimming pool."

Des had borrowed a paddling pool from five year old Trevor from down the road, and five sunbeds which were placed round the pool.

"Remember to reserve your sunbeds as early as you can!" advised Des. "And that's it!"

"I'm really hungry," said Clive.

"So am I!!!" exclaimed Wayne. "Is it teatime!!"

"Yes, of course!" said Des. "And this week we are lucky to have top continental cook, Madam Greasy!"

"Oh no!" moaned Clive.

"Revolting food," said Mick to Clive. "This adds to the authenticity!"

Madam Greasy cooked up some decidedly ropey spaghetti bolognaise, which they just began to sniff suspiciously when Wayne remembered something.

"Hey, the big match's on now!" He rushed into the living room and went to switch the television.

"Hold on there!" said Des. "Remember you're abroad on holiday!! So you're only allowed to watch foreign language channels on satellite television!"

"Oh no!!!" said Wayne.

"Oh can't we just bend the rules!" moaned Clive, who also wanted to watch the big match.

"No, if we were really abroad, we wouldn't be able to watch the match," said Mick, who wanted any excuse not to have to sit and watch sport.

Des switched on the television. Wayne flicked through the channels, and found that he had a choice between watching an Belgian pop music show, the Italian 24-hour gardening channel or 'Teletubbies' in Portuguese.

"Anyway, aren't we going to the disco tonight?" said Clive.

"Yes! Of course! As soon as Mrs Greasy's cleared away our tea!" exclaimed Des.

Des went into the dining room where Mrs Greasy had finished eating everyone's pasta.

"Okay, Mrs G, well done, now you can relax in the lounge!"

"Thank you, Des," said Mrs G. "The food was delicious, by the way."

While Mrs Greasy forced everyone to watch the Russian cookery channel, Des transformed the dining room into the nightclub by bringing in some coloured lights. He plugged in his CD player into some large speakers and called in the others.

"Hey brillo!!!" exclaimed Wayne, excitedly. "It's disco time!!!!"

The six of them bopped the night away (well, half an hour) to the 'Macarena', 'Agadoo' and 'The Birdie Song'.

"Well how was that then?" said Mick.

"I would have preferred the Bee Gees myself," said Clive.

"Yeah, and I really wanted to hear the latest way-out groove from DJ Serious Steve and the Puerile Penguins!!!!" exclaimed Wayne.

Des had a peaceful night's sleep in his bed, while the others had a restless night in the next door bedroom since Des had stuck on a tape of noises of night time creatures and had locked the windows shut even though it was boiling hot.

The next morning Des made sure he was awake before the others. He grabbed some towels from the bathroom, went downstairs, out into the back garden and laid the towels on the sunbeds.

"Hee hee!" he chuckled.

Not long afterwards, the other began to wake up and sort themselves up. It was then that Clive realised he hadn't brought his toothbrush.

"Hey Des, I'm popping back home to fetch my toothbrush," he declared.

"You can't do that!" said Des. "Your house is a thousand miles away!"

"Oh what?!!" exclaimed Clive.

"You'll have to borrow Wayne's one," said Des. Clive's face fell.

"All right then, I'll just pop down to the newsagents to buy the morning paper instead."

"Can't do that," said Des. "The newsagent's a thousand miles away as well!"

"I suppose this means we can't go the supermarket either!" exclaimed Clive. "What are we going to do about food and things then?!

"There's enough in my fridge to last the next two weeks," said Des. "Anyway, if things go a bit mouldy, that adds to the effect!"

Clive looked at Mick in disbelief.

"He does take this things a bit far sometimes," said Mick.

"Now," said Des, changing the subject. "Don't forget to reserve your sunbeds!!"

They fetched some towels from the bathroom and went to reserve their sunbeds by the paddling pool.

"Oh no!" said Des in mock horror as the others went out to the garden. "The Germans have got there already!!"

"Germans?!!" exclaimed the others.

"Yes, the German guests who are staying with us!"

"But we're the only guests!" said Mick.

Then to their amazement, some of their neighbours who Des had paid to come round, walked into the garden, talking and laughing to each other with German accents, and lay down on the sunbeds.

"Oh what!" groaned Clive.

"Come on, let's have breakfast," said Des.

As they tucked into their Corn Flakes with stale milk, the doorbell rang.

"Oh, who could that be?" moaned Des. At the door was Dickie the Vicar.

"Oh no!!!" he exclaimed.

"I'm sorry?" said Dickie. "I've just come to see if you want to pop along to a fab fund-raising disco I'm holding in the church hall tonight at 7.30! I'm raising money to fix the church roof."

"Um...I'm sorry, I'd love to come, but, how can I put this, we're not here all this week. We're on holiday abroad at the moment."

"Oh...I see..." said Dickie, not seeing at all. "Okay, I'll see you when you come back. Have a groovy holiday!"

Des grinned as he closed the door - at last he had managed to get out of having to go to one of Dickie's fund-raising discos. Dickie went back down the front garden where he met Mike the Manic Mechanic.

"Hi there Dickie, that ravin' mad rev!! How you doin'!" greeted Mike.

"Fab and groovy, thank you," replied Dickie.

"Sponditious!! Hey, I'm popping over to ask if Des wants to pop down to the garage at 7.30! Me and my mates are playing a live set tonight!!"

"Oh, he's not there," said Dickie. "He's on holiday, he just told me."

"Oh well never mind," said Mike. "Hey Dickie, you wouldn't like to come..."

Dickie and Mike walked off down the road. However, one other person had just overheard this conversation. He stood on the pavement and thought carefully. Tonight he would be going on a special outing - and not to either Dickie's disco or Mike's gig...

Meanwhile, the holidaying gang were sitting flicking through the foreign television stations, munching on crisps and slurping soft drinks. They were bored rigid.

"This ain't fair," moaned Wayne. "Why can't you get Tony and that lot to stop pretendin' to be German and let us go out in the sun??!"

"Yes, what's the point in pretending to be on holiday when we're stuck inside like this!" complained Clive.

However, their mood changed when dark clouds came over, the heavens opened and the pseudo-Germans got soaked. The gang laughed as their neighbours walked out of the garden pointing at and cursing Des.

"I'm getting a bit fed up with all of this," said Mick, later that day which continued to be wet and windy. "The novelty's worn off."

"Yes," said Des, was getting fed up with having everyone stuck in his living room all day. "We'll check out early tomorrow and go home."

They spent a second and final night in Wednesday Towers. However, in the middle of the night, an unwelcome guest turned up at the hotel. Dressed all in black, with a balaclava, he sneaked round the back of Des's house, and used a skeleton key to open the back door. With a torch, he crept inside.

"A-ha!" he whispered to himself. "Now I know that idiot Wednesday is safely far away in another country I finally have a chance to get my hands on his fortune! Now where does he keep it..."

He began to search round the ground floor with only his torch to see where he was going, and tripped over the coloured lights in the dining room.

"Ouch!!" he said in a loud whisper. He limped back into the hallway and tripped over a bucket and spade. Upstairs, Des sat up in bed.

The burglar searched frantically round the living room, clattering around, knocking over drinks cans and walking over crisp packets. The burglar was appalled by his own incompetence - he, a master criminal, had never been so careless before.

He limped out of the living room and fell over the reception desk/coffee table which was positioned somewhere no one would ever position a coffee table. As he lay on the hall floor Des switched on the light and stood at the top of the stairs. Both gasped at the same time.

"Fingers Fish!! The dastardly criminal!!"

"Wednesday! You're supposed to be out of the country!!"

"I am!" exclaimed Des. The bleary-eyed others gathered on the landing to see what was going on. "Mick, call the police!"

"Spanish or English?" said Mick. Des gave Mick a certain look. Mick said nothing, and rang the police. Within no time the police had arrived, and Fish was under arrest.

"Well done sir!" said PC Plod. "We've been after that Fingers Fish for years!"

"I thought he was abroad!!" exclaimed Fingers Fish as he was led away by the police. "You said he was abroad!!!" he said, pointing to a confused Dickie the Vicar who was part of the crowd that had gathered to see what was going on.

"Gosh, that was exciting, wasn't it!" said Des. "Things like that never happen back home!"

Copyright © Robert Williams

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