by Robert Williams

There was an unusual absence in the cafe one morning. Mrs Greasy was there, obviously, and so were Des, Wayne and Clive. Dickie had popped in to plug yet another of his boring charity discos, and Mike the Manic Mechanic had popped in because he also had something to plug - but he needed some of Mrs G's rice pudding to plug a hole in the front wing of a 1979 Ford Capri with only 25,000 miles on the clock, honest guv. But one of the most regular regulars was missing.

"Does anyone know where Mick is?" asked Mrs Greasy.

"He's not coming today," said Des.

"How do you know? Has he told you?" said Mrs G.

"Well no," said Des. "It's because he's not here."

"That's very helpful Des," groaned Mrs G.

"Good grief, I could have told you that!" exclaimed Clive. "Is this national 'state the obvious' day?! Let's carry on then! The sky is blue. Grass is green."

"I am a highly talented and intelligent individual," said Des.

"No, I don't think you've quite got the hang of it," said Clive.

"It's a bit annoying Mick not being here," said Des, standing up. "Because I'm about to make a ground-breaking announcement which will have an enormous impact on all your lives."

"Oh brilliant!!!" exclaimed Wayne.

"Today is a momentous day, a day that will be remembered for generations to come!"

"That's right, I'm getting a new microwave," said Mrs G.

"Oh brilliant!!!" repeated Wayne.

"Not that!" exclaimed Des. "It's much more important! For today marks the formation of a new breakaway independent state! The Kingdom of Desonia!!"

There was a long silence. No one looked particularly enthralled.

"I'm getting some spark plugs today," said Mike suddenly.

"Well?" said Des.

"Fine thanks," said Clive.

"What do you think?" exclaimed Des.

"Are they new spark plugs or second hand?" asked Clive.

"What do you think of my plan to declare independence from Britain?!" exclaimed Des.

"It's rubbish," said Clive.

"So where is this Kingdom of Desonia then?" asked Mrs Greasy.

"My house," said Des. "That means from now on you will all need a passport to gain entry. But first you will all need to fill out application forms," said Des. "And, how handy is this, I've brought some with me!"

He handed out the application forms.

"Clive you don't get one, by the way," said Des.

"I don't want one!" exclaimed Clive. "Why would I possibly have the slightest desire to go round your house?!"

"And even if you did try to enter Desonia you would be breaking the law," said Des, "since in my independent state it is illegal to own loud Hawaiian shirts, be a BMW driver or be called Clive."

"Don't care," said Clive.

"I ought to point out there may be some delay in processing your applications," said Des. "I hope to have issued you all with your passports by early next year."

"He does talk some bilge, doesn't he," said Clive.

"By the way, as I have officially proclaimed myself King Des I of Desonia, from now on I would like you all to refer to me as Your Majesty," said Des.

"In your dreams matey," said Clive.

"Majesty, not matey, stupid!!!" exclaimed Wayne. Clive stuck his tongue out at him.

"So what's going to be different about living in Desonia?" asked Mrs G.

"No one has to pay taxes," said Des.

"I never pay taxis!" said Mike. "Just jump out and scarper!"

"But you're the only resident," said Clive. "Have you informed the authorities about this?"

"Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Britain and Mr Blair, Prime Minister of Britain, have been notified by letter," said Des. "So there's no excuse."

"Can I come and live in Desonia?!" said Wayne. "It sounds FAB!!!"

"No, go and declare your own independent state," said Des. "Anyway, there are some more new laws. Residents will no longer be compelled to go to Dickie's discos."

"Oh botherations," said Dickie, who had been rather quiet up until now. "That's a bit of bad luck!"

"There goes half the usual turn-out!" exclaimed Mike.

"And residents will no longer be compelled to go to Mrs Greasy's cafe," said Des.

"Get real!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy.

"I've filled me form in, can I come to Desonia now?!" exclaimed Wayne.

"Yes, you can," said Des, taking the form. "Ugh, what's that horrible sticky stuff?!"

"Sorry, I spilt a bit of Mrs G's custard on it!" exclaimed Wayne.

"Oh dear," said Des, putting on his protective mask and gloves to handle the contaminated form. "I'll issue you with your passport later on. Oh yes, and I'll need you to provide me with a passport photograph. That goes for everyone else, by the way."

"Whaddya want a photo of a passport for?!" said Wayne.

"No no, I mean photos of yourselves!!" exclaimed Des. "Now get to it!"

So the hapless foursome of Wayne, Mrs Greasy, Mike and Dickie went on a group visit into town to get some passport photos done.

"Now can we get a move on, I need to get these spark plugs!" exclaimed Mike as they walked through Woolworths to the photo booth.

"Oh look, someone's already in there," said Mrs Greasy.

"Oi, get a move on mate!" exclaimed Mike, banging on the side of the booth.

"Err, why don't we just go for a quick look round the store and come back in a minute," suggested Dickie.

They decided that would be a better idea. Just as they walked off, a big fat ugly man with unkempt hair opened the curtain and got out of the photo booth. He waited for his photos to come out...and waited...and waited...and waited... But there was no sign of the photos. Eventually he got fed up waiting, and walked off. At that moment Wayne, Mrs G, Mike and Dickie came back.

"This is the last time I come to Woolworths," moaned Mike. "No spark plugs anywhere!"

"Yeah, but they do big inflatable yellow 'ammers!!" exclaimed Wayne, hitting the others over the head with the big inflatable yellow hammer he had bought from the children's section.

"Oh look, it's free now," said Mrs Greasy. "I'll go in first, I've got a cafe to run you know!"

She put her money in, sat inside the booth and closed the curtain. The flash went four times and then Mrs G emerged from the booth. Almost immediately the photos popped out.

"Gosh that was quick!" said Mrs Greasy. She stared at the photos. "Oh dear...did I forget to comb my hair this morning?"

The other three looked over Mrs G's shoulder at the photos and sniggered. They weren't her photos at all - they all showed the fat ugly man with unkempt hair.

"That's always the way with these photo booths," said Mrs Greasy. "They always make you look like someone else. Oh well, got a cafe to run, see you later!"

She walked off with the photos. Dickie was next to go inside the photo booth. The four flashes went, and then he emerged, just as the photos came out. He squinted at the photos, and then felt his pockets for his glasses.

"Oh dear, I've left my glasses behind," said Dickie. "I can't see a thing without them. How do I look, Mike?"

"Ha, ha, Dickie, you're looking more and more like Mrs Greasy every day!" laughed Mike.

They were, of course, Mrs Greasy's photos.

"Mike, you're such a joker!" laughed Dickie. "I'll see you at the disco tonight then. Ta-ta!"

"Dickie, you're such a joker as well," said Mike as Dickie walked off.

"My turn!!" exclaimed Wayne. He put his money in, and dashed behind the curtain. "Hey Mikey, I like this chair!!" He immediately started whizzing round and round on the adjustable seat. "Wheeeeeee!!!" Suddenly the first flash went off.

"Oi!!" exclaimed Wayne. "I weren't ready!"

Then the second flash went off.

"Slow down mate!" he exclaimed. "I can't stop goin' round on this chair!!!"

The third flash went off.

"Oi Mike, can yer tell that geezer who's taking the pics to give us a chance?!"

The fourth flash went, and Wayne dropped out of the photo booth and landed on the floor. The four photos popped out immediately.

"Well they seem to have come out all right!" said Mike, taking the photos out. They showed Dickie the Vicar. "You're going a bit grey though..."

"That's all right then!!" Wayne scrambled up off the floor, grabbed the photos off Mike and dashed off, without even looking at them.

Finally Mike took to the photo booth. When he had finished, four blurred pictures of the back of Wayne's head popped out.

"That's funny," said Mike. "I could've sworn I was sitting the right way round! Oh well, no one ever said it had to be the front of my head..."

Mike walked off. Seconds later the fat ugly man came back, and some photos popped out of the photo booth. He stared hard at the photos which, of course showed Mike the Manic Mechanic, and smiled.

"I've lost more weight than I thought!" said the man to himself, grinning.

Back in Oakleigh Avenue, and Clive was practising a round of golf in his garden. Bit of a daft place to play golf, perhaps, but he still hadn't had his application to join the golf club approved yet.

"Oh bother!" he exclaimed as the golf ball went further than he intended, and landed right in Des's bird bath next door. So he climbed over the low level fence to retrieve it. He fetched it and hopped back to his garden.

But Des, who had just finished adjusting the cardboard crown he had made, spotted him. Seconds later Des was outside dragging Clive back towards his house.

"What on earth do you think you're doing??!!" exclaimed Clive. "I'm trying to play golf!!"

"Even worse!!" exclaimed Des. "Golf is an illegal activity in Desonia! And you obtained entry to my independent breakaway state without a passport! You are an illegal alien and must be locked up!"

Des dragged Clive inside and upstairs, and threw him in the bathroom.

"Don't you think I'm enjoying this!" said Des. "But it's necessary! I'll bring you some custard later."

"Custard?!" said Clive.

"Well you are in custody," said Des. "Don't worry, it's not cooked by Mrs Greasy, I'm not that harsh."

Just then the doorbell rang. Des locked the bathroom door, and went downstairs to open the door. It was Mike, Mrs G, Dickie and Wayne with their passport photographs.

"Ah thank you very much," said Des. "If you'd just like to wait there, I'll just go and process your applications."

"Can't we wait inside yer majesty?!" said Wayne. "It's cold out 'ere!"

"I'm afraid I can't let you enter Desonia until I have your passports done," said Des.

"Fair enough," said Mike. "What's that banging and shouting?"

"Oh that's just Clive," said Des. "He's been locked up after obtaining illegal entry to Desonia."

"Quite right too," said Mrs Greasy. "It's about time he got what he deserved."

Des went into the kitchen with their photographs and completed application forms.

"I can't trust that lot to do anything right," said a bemused Des to himself as he looked at their photos. "They've all mixed them up!"

He switched round Wayne, Dickie and Mike's photos.

"At least Mrs Greasy got the right one," said Des. He got busy filling in their passport details. Upstairs in the bathroom, meanwhile, Clive had an idea.

"I bet he hasn't locked the window," he said to himself. He tried the window - and it opened. He looked out and the drainpipe was right next to the window. "Hmmm..."

Back downstairs, Des finished filling in the passports and went back with them to the doorstep where the others were standing, shivering in the cold. "There you go!"

"Oi Des!" they said in unison as they looked at their passports. "You've mixed our photos up!"

Des tutted as they switched their photos back.

"Right, now before you come in, you need to pass through customs," said Des. He sat down at the table he had placed in the hallway.

"Customs? What are the customs?" asked Mrs G.

"Errr...well instead of shaking hands, in Desonia, you, um, put your thumbs in your ears and er, wiggle your fingers."

So one by one as they went inside, Mike, Mrs G, Dickie and Mike put their thumbs in their ears and wiggled their fingers.

"Now hold on a minute!" said Des. "Before you go any further I need to make sure you're not smuggling anything in! And remember, Mrs Greasy, anyone caught in possession of anything cooked in your cafe could be locked up for up to ten years!"

"That's all right then, because I baked these tasty scones on my portable kitchen while we were waiting outside!" said Mrs G.

"Curses," said Des. He lifted out his metal detector and passed it over the foursome.

"How is that going to detect dodgy cookery?" asked Mike.

"It doesn't, it doesn't even work at all. But at least I'm making the effort! Right, everything seems in order," said Des, checking their passports even though he had only just written them out. "Now what does everything want?"

"Nothing," said Mike. "Ta-ta!"

So Mrs G, Dickie, Mike and Wayne just left, although Dickie did mumble something about a charity disco he was holding that evening.

"Hmmm... Clive's gone rather quiet," said a suspicious Des. He went upstairs, unlocked the bathroom door and found Clive halfway out of the window. "Clive!!!" He pulled Clive back inside. "You were trying to escape!"

"No I wasn't! I was, er, just having a look at your gutter, I think may be, um, some water in it..."

"Yeah right," said Des.

"Look, how much longer are you going to lock me in here?!" said Clive.

"Ooooh...the penalty for illegal entry to Desonia is one week locked up," said Des. "The penalty for looking at my gutter to see if there's any water in it is three months locked up! And the penalty for being called Clive is six years locked up!!"

"Oh for goodness sake!" exclaimed Clive. "I'm supposed to be going to a pop concert tonight! If you don't let me out now, I won't make it in time!"

"Sorry," said Des. He walked out and locked the door. Immediately he unlocked it and walked back in. "Who were you going to see?"

"ABC!" exclaimed Clive.

"I see," said Des. Clive made for the door before Des locked it again. But Des was too quick for him. But once again, immediately he unlocked the door and poked his head round the door.

" do you spell that?"

Clive gnarled. Des quickly shut the door again. A few seconds later he opened it and popped his head round yet again.

"I don't know any ABC songs, will the Bee Gees do?"

"What???!!!" exclaimed Clive.

"Okay then," said Des, closing the door again.

One hour later Des, Mike and Mrs Greasy were jiving about in Des's bathroom wearing wigs, flares and false teeth.

"Ha-ha-ha-ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive! Ha-ha-ha-ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive! Ha-ha-ha-ha, stayin' alive, stayin' alive..."

Clive held his head in his hand. Suddenly Des's mobile phone rang. They stopped their performance and Des answered it.

"'Ere yer majesty!" said Wayne who was on the line. "Lionel Blair's round me 'ouse asking for yer!"

"Lionel Blair's round your house?!" exclaimed Des.

"Lionel Blair????!!!" said an astonished Clive, Mike and Mrs G in unison.

"He's gone to the wrong house! Wait there, I'll come and get him." Des finished the call. "Mr Blair's on a state visit to Desonia this afternoon," he explained to the others. "I tried to get the Queen, but she was busy, so I went for second best!"

Des threw off his Bee Gee costume and dashed off out of the house, across the road to Wayne's house where Lionel Blair was standing on the doorstep. Mike and Mrs G also threw off their Bee Gee costumes and went after him, along with Clive, since Des had carelessly left the bathroom door open.

"Mr Blair!" said Des, out of breath. "King Des here!"

"Well I'm rather confused!" said Lionel.

"Really?" said Des. "There is only one breakaway independent state in this street!"

He then looked round and was surprised to see a sign in Wayne's garden which said 'WELCOME TO THE KINGDOM OF WAYNEONIA. Population: 2.5'.

"Well yer did say to set up me own independent state!" exclaimed Wayne.

"Who's the other 1.5?" asked Lionel.

"The mouse who lives in me kitchen and me teddy bear who's lost 'is ear and 'is leg! That's why he only counts as a half!" said Wayne.

"Yes well, let's come away from here and welcome you to the Kingdom of Desonia," said Des, taking Lionel across the road. "I am the esteemed ruler of this land. Please step this way."

Mrs G, Mike, Wayne and Clive stood in line along Des's garden path. Des gave them each a small flag of Desonia to wave, which depicted a chocolate biscuit on top of a Fiat 126 with a green and purple striped background. As Lionel came up, they clapped and cheered, and waved their flags.

Wayne was first in line. Lionel went to shake Wayne's hand, but instead Wayne stuck his thumbs in his ears and wiggled his fingers. Lionel looked bemused, and Des groaned.

"Ignore him, he's a foreigner," said Des. Lionel moved up the line.

"Good morning Mr Blair, would you like a sponge cake?" said Mrs G, handing Lionel a rather manky looking excuse for a sponge cake.

"Err, maybe later," said Lionel.

"Right, I'll remember that," said Mrs G, making a note. Lionel moved onto Mike.

"Hi there Lionel, I really liked that series you did, you know, that quiz show, now what was it called, um..." said Mike.

"Give Us a Clue," said Lionel.

"I would, but I just can't remember what it was called," said Mike.

"And finally," said Des, "this is Clive...hold on a minute! You're supposed to be locked up!"

Clive stuck his tongue out at Des and ran off down the road. But he didn't get very far, as he ran right into Mick who was walking along the road carrying bags of shopping.

"Oi watch it Clive!!!" exclaimed Mick. But the two landed in a heap on the ground.

"Hey thanks Mick!!" called Des. "Anyway Mr Blair, please step inside and take a tour of Desonia."

Des showed Lionel round his house which took all of five minutes. They then emerged from the house, where Wayne, Mike and Mrs G were still standing, now joined by Mick.

"Was that it?!" said Lionel.

"Yip," said Des. "Well from one leader to another, I'd like to say what a great pleasure it has been to have to visit our kingdom, Prime Minister."

"That's very kind of you, but I think you've mixed me up with someone else," said Lionel. "Goodbye!" He walked off.

"Tony Blair's the Prime Minister, not Lionel Blair!" exclaimed Mick.

"Oh botherations, I'm always getting those two mixed up," said Des. "Anyway thanks for catching the most wanted criminal in Desonia - Clive!"

"Desonia?" said Mick.

"Yes, didn't you see the sign?" said Des. He looked round, but the sign had fallen down. "Oh...well anyway, for your act of courage and bravery I'd like to award you the freedom of the city."

"What city?" said Mick.

"Oh um...London?" said Des.

"I've been in London all day!" exclaimed Mick. "And I had the freedom to go in all the shops and buy things! Anyway Clive's gone, he had to get off to some pop concert."

"Oh you nitwit!" exclaimed Des. "Anyway, I'd better issue you with your passport..."

But somehow King Des couldn't be bothered any more. He decided to abdicate and passed an Act of the Desonian Parliament reintegrating Desonia with the United Kingdom. But as for Wayneonia - well, technically it's still there...

Copyright © Robert Williams

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