by Robert Williams

Mick was watching an extremely interesting documentary on the television about Renaissance architecture when his doorbell rang. Mick looked at the clock - it was 7.30pm.

"Oh I wonder who that could be," said Mick sarcastically to himself. He went to answer the door, knowing full well who it would be.

"Hi there, Dickie the Vicar here!" said Dickie the Vicar, standing on Mick's doorstep.

"Hello Dickie," sighed Mick. "Is it all right if I don't come to your disco tonight, I'm watching this extremely interesting documentary about Renaissance..."

"Just wondering if you're going to be popping along to my groovy disco at the church hall tonight!" said Dickie.

"Well no, like I said..." said Mick.

"It's to raise funds to fix the church roof!" said Dickie. "I've got some great tunes lined up! And sausage rolls!"

"I've got sausage rolls here," said Mick.

"And Des is there!" said Dickie.

"Is that supposed to be an incentive?!" said Mick.

"So let's go!" said Dickie, dragging Mick out of his house.

When they arrived at the church hall, Des was nowhere to be seen.

"Where is he then?" said Mick.

"Over in that chair," said Dickie. "Must say, he was keen tonight! He was already here when I arrived!"

Mick walked over to the chair.

"That's not Des," said Mick.

"Yes it is!" said Dickie. "Who else dresses like that in the 21st century?!"

"It's a dummy," said Mick.

"There's no need to be rude!" said Dickie. "Remember what the Good Lord preached, everyone should be kind to his brother!"

"He's not my brother!" said Mick. "It's a shop dummy, dressed in Des's clothes! He's trying to pull a fast one on you!"

"Are you sure?!" said Dickie, staring at the dummy. "He's not acting any different to normal! Although I must admit, it is taking him a long time to eat that sausage roll! But I can't believe he would do a thing like that, would you Des?!"

"I'll go and get him," said Mick.

Mick went to Des's house and rang his doorbell.

"Oi Mick!" said Des, answering the door. "Leave me alone, I'm trying to watch 'Paddington Bear'!!"

"You've been rumbled!" said Mick. "You can fool Dickie by putting a dummy in your place, but you can't fool me!"

"Oh darn," said Des. "Why can't you just play along?!"

"No, if I have to suffer, so should you!" said Mick, dragging Des out of his house.

"At least give me a chance to set the video..." said Des, but to no avail.

When arrived at the church hall with Des, Dickie was still trying to talk to the dummy.

"How bizarre!" said Dickie, looking up at the real Des and then back at the dummy. "It's The Two Deses!!"

"And it's good night from me..." said Des. "And it's good night from him! Goodnight!" He turned to leave.

"You're not going anywhere!" said Mick.

"Have you been cloned, Des?!" said Dickie.

"No," said Des. "That's a dummy."

"Are you sure?!" said Dickie. "Why did do you this Des?! Are you trying to say you don't want to come to my discos?!"

"No!!!" said Des sarcastically. "Of course not!!"

"Ah, sorry for doubting you!" said Dickie. "Now have a sausage roll, and I'll go and slap some Quo on! They're the gear, man!!"

Des and Mick had another thoroughly boring evening at the disco, while Dickie spent most of it trying to convince the other Des to join them on the dance floor, despite having already been informed that it was in fact a dummy.

The next morning Dickie met the others as usual in Mrs Greasy's cafe.

"Hi there!" said Dickie. "Thank you to Des, Mick and Des for attending my disco last night. Sadly though, it wasn't the huge success I was hoping for, but never mind there'll be another one tonight, 7.30 at the church hall! So I hope to see you all then! Ta-ra!!"

"This is getting ridiculous," said Des, once Dickie had left.

"Getting ridiculous?!" said Mick. "It's been ridiculous for the past ten years, ever since Dickie became our vicar!! He's held a fundraising disco every single night!! And he still hasn't raised enough funds to fix the church roof!"

"It's time we came up with a plan to rid ourselves of those boring discos once and for all!" said Des.

They sat in silence for a bit as they tried to think of a plan.

"Maybe he should increase the entrance fee!" said Des, suddenly. "So he actually raises enough money to fix the roof!"

"Get real," said Mick. "Just remember who would actually have to pay those increased entrance fees!!"

"Oh yes..." said Des. "Then again, half the time he forgets to collect our money anyway!"

"Which doesn't help matters," said Mick. "Perhaps all Dickie needs to do is revamp his disco! Make it appeal to the kids! He should get some more modern music, like um....well I don't know! And Dickie himself should stand down and get a trendy DJ instead!"

"Great idea!" said Des. "This must mean it's time to get my DJ Rick Metal suit out!!"

"Umm, I wasn't thinking of you," said Mick. DJ Rick Metal was Des's rubbish DJ alter-ego - basically, Des in a sparkling suit.

"Hey, what about DJ Wayne the Rave?!?!" exclaimed Wayne, bursting into the cafe.

"I wasn't thinking of you either!!" said Mick.

"You can hardly be thinking of yourself!!" said Des. "MC Mick in the Mix?! I don't think so!"

"No, I wasn't thinking of myself," said Mick. "I wasn't thinking of anyone in particular! Just some trendy DJ, like they have at the local nightclub!"

"To be honest, I don't think your plans are very well thought out," said Mrs Greasy. "You can't think of any modern music, and you can't think of any trendy DJs!"

"Well can you?!" said Mick.

"Yes!" said Mrs Greasy. "For modern music, what about the Village People, the Flying Pickets and the Nolan sisters? And as for hip happening DJs, look no further than Tony Blackburn or Dave Lee Travis!"

Mick groaned.

"I actually think your idea's a bit rubbish now," said Des. "But don't worry, I've got a better one!"

"Which is?" said Mick.

"We fix the church roof!"

"Right," said Mick, sounding a little unimpressed.

"Oh come on, isn't that the best idea you've ever heard!!" said Des. "If we fix the church roof, then Dickie will never need to hold another disco ever again!!"

"I don't think I've ever said this before," said Mick, "and I don't think I'll ever say it again, but that's actually quite a good idea!"

"Thank you!" said Des.

"I'll just go and have a look at the Yellow Pages and find a builder to carry out the work!" said Mick.

"No, you misunderstand," said Des. "We don't get a builder to fix the roof. We fix the church roof!"

"Ourselves?!" said Mick. "Why?!"

"It'll be much cheaper!" said Des. "It can't be that big a job, surely! I've never seen what's wrong with the roof anyway!"

"Been up there to have a look, have you?" said Mick.

"Well no," said Des. "But I've never noticed it leaking inside the church!"

"You wouldn't have done, you never go in there!!" said Mick.

"This is true," said Des. "But have you?"

"Come to think of it, no!" said Mick. "Not that I go in there much either!! Are you sure the church roof actually needs mending?!"

"If it doesn't, then why on earth has he spent the last ten years holding discos to raise money to fix it?!" said Des.

"I wouldn't put it past him," said Mick. "Oh all right then, let's go ahead with your plan. I'll go and tell Dickie."

"No, don't!" said Des. "It'd be better if it was a surprise! Anyway...I'm worried he might not agree to us fixing the roof ourselves!"

"Whatever," sighed Mick.

Later that day, Des and Mick took a ladder across to St Malcolm's church, to investigate what needed fixing.

"Okay, I'll hold the ladder and you go up and have a look at the roof!" said Des.

"Not likely!" said Mick. "This is your ridiculous scheme, you go up and have a look!"

"Oh all right," said Des. He climbed up the ladder and onto the roof. Slowly and carefully, he moved round the roof, inspecting the tiles.

"I'm no expert!" called Des down to Mick, once he had finished inspecting.

"You can say that again!" called Mick.

"I'm no expert!" called Des. "But I can't see anything wrong! Do you want me to say that again?!"

"No!" called Mick.

"I can't see anything wrong!" called Des. "Pity it isn't raining...I know! Go and get a watering can! And fill it with water!"

Mick did so, and passed it up to Des.

"I'll water the church roof, and you go inside and look for any leaks!" called Des.

"Right," called Mick. "But who's going to hold the ladder?"

"Oh, good point," called Des. "Look, here comes Dickie, he can hold it!"

"Dickie?!?!" exclaimed Mick. He hurried inside the church.

"Hi there Des, what are you doing on the church roof with a watering can?!" said Dickie.

"Hello Dickie!" called Des. "Well, the thing is, you see, um, I noticed some of the daisies in the churchyard were wilting a bit, so I decided to give them a bit of a water! And then I thought, if I come up here onto the roof, I'll be able to save time by watering them all at once!!"

"Good thinking Des!" said Dickie. "I wish I'd thought of that!!"

"Now could you just hold the ladder for me?!" said Des.

"Of course!" said Dickie.

Des started watering the church roof with his watering can, while inside Mick checked for any leaks.

"I don't like to criticise you Des!" called Dickie. "But you seem to keep missing the daisies - in fact you only seem to be watering the church roof!!"

"Oh, whoops-a-daisy, silly me!" called Des. He gave a quick water to the daisies on the ground, but succeeded mainly in watering Dickie.

Once Des had covered the whole roof, he carefully walked back down the ladder.

"Thanks Des!" said Dickie, leaving. "I must be off now, I need to take a shower!"

"But you've just had one!" said Des. He walked inside the church. "Spotted any drips, Mick?!"

"Other than you, no I haven't," said Mick. "But this church is so big, it's difficult to tell!"

"Probably not enough water in that can," said Des. "I expect it only leaks when it rains!"

"That's a reasonable assumption to make," said Mick.

"There's only one thing for it," said Des. "We'll have to take all the tiles off!!"

"Oh no," groaned Mick. "I thought this would be a quick job!"

"So did I," said Des. "But we have to do this properly!"

"But it'll take ages to get the roof re-tiled," moaned Mick. "And Dickie's bound to notice!"

"Good point," said Des. "I'm sure we can come up with some lie to keep him away from the church for a while! That Dickie the Vicar will believe anything you tell him!"

"That's true," said Mick.

The next morning, Dickie made his regular visit to the cafe to plug the evening disco.

"Hey Dickie, do you like my new mirror?" said Des. "Have a look!"

Dickie took a look at Des's new mirror. He had painted red spots all over it.

"Oh no!!" exclaimed Dickie. "My face is covered in red spots!"

Des gasped and whipped the mirror back. "Dickie, you've got chicken pox!!"

"Oh no!" said Dickie. "Have I?! I'd better get home and get to bed straight away!!"

"No you can't do that!" said Des. "Supposing you give it to Mrs Dickie?! You must go into solitary confinement for at least the next week! Mrs Greasy, have you had chicken pox before?"

"Yes, when I was young!" said Mrs G.

"That's all right then," said Des. "Dickie, you'd better stay here in Mrs Greasy's spare room."

"Thank you Mrs Greasy!" said Dickie.

"Thanks a bunch, Des!" said Mrs Greasy. She took Dickie upstairs.

"Great, now Dickie's out the way!" said Des. "Now we can get the church roof re-tiled without any problems!"

"Oh goody," sighed Mick.

"Look on the bright side Mick!" said Des. "Dickie's gone sick! No more discos!"

"Hooray!!" said Mick.

Straight away Des and Mick set to work stripping the roof of St Malcolm's church of its tiles.

"By the way, this is the easy bit," said Des. "You wait till we start putting the new tiles on."

"Where you are going to get them from?" asked Mick.

"I expect Mike the Manic Mechanic will be able to get some for us cheap," said Des.

"But he's a mechanic, not a builder!" said Mick. "Hence his name!"

"He's a manic mechanic, remember!" said Des. "I'll ring him now."

Des was about to ring Mike on his mobile phone, when Mike rang him.

"Hello Mike, I was just about to...oh...oh...halfway up the church roof...I'll tell you later...oh...oh...oh no...oh no! Tell you what...we'll come on one condition...can you get us some cheap tiles?... Fantastic! Ta very much! Bye!!"

"One condition," said Mick, once Des hung up. "What was the condition?"

"Dickie's asked Mike to do his disco for him," said Des.

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

"We're getting some cheap tiles in return!" said Des.

"Whatever," sighed Mick. They got back to removing the church tiles.

That evening, Des and Mick reluctantly went to the church hall as usual, where Mike the Manic Mechanic was filling in for Dickie at the disco.

"Hi there dudes!" said Mike at the mike. "Bit of a change to the usual disco tonight!! Because tonight we've got live music!! So give it up for Tolworth's biggest band, yes, it's Mike and the Mechanics X!!!!"

"I THINK IT PREFERRED IT WHEN DICKIE DID THE DISCOS!!!" shouted Des to Mick over the noise of Mike's band playing their usual tuneless racket.

"PARDON?!?!?!" shouted Mick.

After a couple of days, Des and Mick had stripped the church roof of its old tiles, and were busy fixing the new tiles that Mike had delivered. They were close to finishing when Des received a phone call. It was from Mrs Greasy.

"Des! Bad news! Dickie's up and about!!"

"What?!?!" exclaimed Des. "Why?!?!"

"He caught sight of himself in my bathroom mirror!" said Mrs G. "He thinks his chicken pox has gone!!"

"Oh no!!" said Des. "Thanks for telling us! Mick, we've got to finish this roof, and quick!!"

They quickly, and rather haphazardly, nailed the last few tiles to the roof. They were climbing down the ladder when Dickie turned up.

"Hello Dickie, feeling better?" said Des.

"Oh yes, much better now Des!" said Dickie. "And thank you for asking! So, have you been busy watering my daisies again?"

"Well yes, kind of," said Des.

"Where's your watering can?" said Dickie.

"Oh! I forgot it!" said Des.

"Silly you!!" laughed Dickie.

"Silly me!!" laughed Des.

"Oh look, it's starting to rain," said Mick, as a few spits and spots of rain started to fall. "Let's all go inside the church!!"

"I don't want to go inside the church!" said Des.

"Yes you do!" said Mick. "This is the perfect opportunity to show Dickie that we've mended the roof and it doesn't leak any more!"

"Oh yes, of course!" said Des.

But Dickie was already leaving.

"Hey Dickie, come back!" called Des. "Come inside!"

"What for?!" called Dickie.

"Erm...Mick wants to make a confession!" called Des.

Mick tutted and raised his eyes to the sky, as Dickie came rushing back. They all went inside the church.

"Come on Mick, let's pop inside the cool confessional box!" said Dickie.

"Tell you what, let's not!" said Mick. "Look Dickie, there's something we have to tell you! Some good news!"

"Pray tell!" said Dickie.

"You know for the past decade you've been holding endless discos to raise money to fix the church roof?" said Mick.

"Yes, yes!" said Dickie.

"So we decided it was about time we did the decent thing, and fix it for you!!" said Des. "So we have!!"

"Well done!" exclaimed Dickie. "I'm so pleased!!"

"I accept cash, and all major credit cards..." said Des.

"I'll go and have a look now!" said Dickie. But to Des and Mick's astonishment, Dickie walked right out of the church.

"Where are you going?!" exclaimed Mick.

But Dickie ignored them. He hurried out of the churchyard, got into his churchmobile which was parked outside, and drove off.

"I don't understand it!!" said Des.

"He's finally lost the plot," said Mick.

Des and Mick were back at the cafe when, sometime later, Dickie walked in.

"Gosh, it's tipping down outside!!" exclaimed Dickie, wiping the rain off his cassocks.

"Dickie, where have you been?!" said Mick.

"Down to look at the church!" said Dickie. "And, not meaning to be rude to you two, I didn't notice any difference! The roof was still leaking as much as it was before!!"

"But...but..." said a confused Des.

"Which church did you go to?" said Mick.

"St Darren's church, in Catford!" said Dickie. "In the parish I used to work for before I moved here!!"

Des and Mick groaned.

"Let me explain!" said Dickie. "That church has been leaking for as long as I can remember! I spent 27 years holding discos to raise funds to get the roof fixed! And even when I got the job here, I promised the new vicar I'd carry on holding discos until enough money had been raised!!"

"So it's not St Malcolm's church that needed its roof fixed?!" said Mick.

"Funny you should mention that!" said Dickie. "I popped back there just now, and you'll never guess what?! The roof's leaking!! All over the place!! Much worse than St Darren's!! Strange how I've never noticed it before!!"

Mick gave Des a foul look.

"So you know what this means?!" said Dickie. "That's two churches I need to raise funds for now!!"

"Fancy fixing two church roofs?" said Des to Mick.

"Get lost," muttered Mick.

"Oi Dickie, what you are staring at me like that for?!" said Des.

"Des, your face is covered in spots!!" said Dickie.

"He's right!" said Mick.

"I am so sorry!" said Dickie. "I've given you my chicken pox!!"

Copyright © Robert Williams

All stories