by Robert Williams

"Ladies and gentlemen!" declared Mrs Greasy in the cafe one warm summer morning to Des, Mick, Mike and Tracy. "I am delighted to announce to you all what promises to be the event of the century! Yes, next Saturday is to be the Golden Jubilee!!"

"Err..." said Mick. "Wasn't that about fifteen years ago? We celebrated it, remember?!"

"What are you talking about?!" said Mrs Greasy. "Saturday marks fifty years since the opening of my first cafe!"

"Fifty years!" said Des. "Can it really be fifty years?!"

"Hard to believe, but true!" said Mrs G.

"It feels like so much longer," sighed Des.

"There is a whole day of events planned," said Mrs G, handing out copies of a shoddily printed programme. "There will be a procession down the road, a flypast by the Red Arrows, and a rock concert featuring the world's biggest artists!!" Mike the Manic Mechanic grinned. Des and Mick raised their eyes to the ceiling. "And the day will culminate in a fantastic street party!!"

"Where's the street party going to be held?" asked Des.

"Durrr, in the street!" said Mrs Greasy.

"Have you obtained permission?" asked Mick.

"I haven't time to deal with red tape, I've got a cafe to run!" said Mrs G. "Now for the biggest announcement of all. For my guest of honour at the street party, I have managed to secure potentially the biggest celebrity the world has ever seen! Someone that, as I'm sure you will be aware, I have been a massive fan of all my life, and have never stopped talking about! Yes, the one, the only, Bruno Brookes!!!!!"

Neither Des nor Mick could recall Mrs Greasy mentioning the diminutive DJ on any previous occasion.

"Who on earth is Bruno Brookes?!" said Trendy Tracy.

"He's a disc jockey who used to present the Top 40 rundown on Radio 1," explained Mick. "And I wouldn't say he's the biggest celebrity in the world, in fact he isn't the biggest anything! (He's very short, you see)."

"Great news, isn't it?!" said Mrs G. "Anyway, I'll go and get you all your lunch."

No sooner had Mrs G disappeared into the kitchen, than Dickie the Vicar had walked into the cafe.

"Greetings!" he declared. "I'm delighted to announce that this Friday is a momentous day! It will be the 1874th anniversary of the consecration of St Malcolm's Church!!"

"1874th anniversary?!" said Des. "Is the church really that old?!"

"Of course it is!" said Dickie. "In fact, it was consecrated in the same year that Cliff Richard was born!"

"I think the church was actually built in 1874," said Mick to Des.

"So to celebrate, there will be a special anniversary disco on Saturday night at 7.30!!" said Dickie.

"No different to normal then," said Des. "Hold on - if the anniversary is on Friday, why is the special disco on Saturday?"

"Because 'Stick Insects Do the Funniest Things' is on Friday evening," said Dickie.

"Oh right, so I take it there's going to be no disco on Friday evening?" said Des, hopefully.

"Of course there is, there will be a disco as usual!" said Dickie. "Mrs Dickie is going to record 'Stick Insects Do the Funniest Things' and I'll watch it on Saturday morning!"

Des and Mick looked confused.

"And I'm truly thrilled to announce a special guest DJ for the anniversary disco!" said Dickie. "Someone who, as I'm sure you will all be aware, I have admired for over 83 years, and have never stopped talking about! Yes, the one, the only, Bruno Brookes!! (For younger viewers, he used to host the Top 30 rundown on Radio 2). It all kicks off at 7.30!! See ya there!!!"

Dickie then left the building.

"Wait a minute," said Des, inspecting Mrs Greasy's Golden Jubilee programme. "That's exactly the same time as Mrs Greasy's street party! Former Radio 3 Top 20 DJ Buno Bookes has been double brooked!! I wonder if he realises?"

"Well, it's not really our problem, is it..." said Mick. But as soon as he said that, he had a horrible feeling it was about to become their problem.

"No matter!" said Mike the Manic Mechanic. "Conveniently, I happen to have former Radio 4 Top 50 host Bruno Brookes's number in my phone!" He rang up Bruno and explained the situation.

"Thanks for letting me know," said Bruno. "I didn't realise my agent had double brooked me. It's such a shame I will have to let one of them down. Hmmm, let me think... I'll do the disco."

"Oh..." said Mike.

Just then Mrs Greasy emerged from the kitchen with lunch.

"Mrs Greasy!" said Mike. "You're not really that much of a fan of Bruno Brookes, are you?! Wouldn't you prefer, um...Kid Jensen, perhaps?"

"Kid who?!" said Mrs G. "As you are all fully aware, I am Bruno's biggest fan, and it's been my life's ambition to meet him. It would break my heart if, for whatever reason, he was unable to make it to my street party!"

She plonked dinner on the table and retreated to the kitchen.

"I've got an idea!" said Des.

Mick's heart sank, as it always did when Des said that. He had visions of someone, probably him, having to dress up as Bruno Brookes.

"Why don't we just put all of Mrs Greasy's clocks forward by an hour?" said Des. "Then former Radio 5 Top 60 DJ Buno Bookes can attend broth events!!"

"Good gracious, that's actually quite a good idea!" said Mick, breathing a sigh of relief.

Mike the Manic Mechanic explained the plan to Bruno, who agreed.

And so Saturday arrived - the day of Mrs Greasy's Golden Jubilee. As Dickie the Vicar sat at home watching his recording of 'Stick Insects Do the Funniest Things', the others were subjected to an array of underwhelming events.

The grand procession turned out to be Mike the Manic Mechanic driving Mrs Greasy up and down the road in an ancient Ford Fiesta, with Mrs G standing up and sticking herself out of the sunroof so she could do the royal wave to uninterested passers-by.

The rock concert inevitably turned out to be Mike's awful band, Mike and the Mechanics X, playing tracks from their new album in Mrs Greasy's backyard.

The flypast by the Red Arrows turned out to Mrs Greasy throwing around some paper planes made out of red paper.

"I think I'd rather have been watching the funny stick insects with Dickie," sighed Mick.

The time grew nearer for the street party that would close the day of celebrations. Mrs Greasy got her underlings, Fred Snarkbucket and Pierre-Jean Verdigris, to carry a load of tables and chairs into the road outside the cafe, and decorate the street with flags and bunting.

"Mrs Greasy, have you actually got permission to take over the street like this?!" said Mick.

"Mick, seriously, it's not going to cause any problems! " said Mrs G. "Anyway, I've heard that apparently PC Plod is on holiday, so we can do what we want!!"

"Umm, I'm not sure it works like that," said Mick.

Mrs Greasy was busy laying out the tables, with Des and Mick just hanging about the place, when Bruno Brookes arrived.

"Excuse me?" said Bruno.

"Yes, can I help you?" said Mrs Greasy, abruptly.

"Hello, it's me," said Bruno.

"And you are?" said Mrs G.

"I'm Bruno Brookes, your guest of honour. I used to present the Top 70 on Radio 6."

"What are you doing here at this time?!" said Mrs G, snappily. "You're an hour early!"

"No he's not, it's 7.30, look at the time!" said Des.

Mrs Greasy looked at her watch.

"What are you talking about, it's 6.30," said Mrs G. "Fred noticed an hour ago that some joker had been round and put all my clocks forward an hour." Fred Snarkbucket grinned (like he always did). "Anyway, it's not a problem, at least it's given us an extra hour to get the street party set up!"

"Oh no, what are we going to do?!" said Des to Mick. "Dickie's going to be expecting Bruno at 7.30 as his special guest DJ!!"

"Des, we don't have to do anything!" said Mick. "It's really not our problem..."

"Luckily we've got an hour to think of a plan," said Des.

He wandered off to think of something, while Bruno was left loitering around the local vicinity.

"Thought of anything?" said Mick, an hour later when Des re-emerged.

"Hmm? What's that then?" said Des, vaguely.

"A plan to sort out Buno Bookes's double brooking!" said Mick.

"Oh gosh, I forgot about that!" said Des. "I went home and got distracted by a repeat of that stick insect programme!" Mick rolled his eyes. "Wait a minute! I've got something! Why don't we just put all of Dickie's clocks forward an hour?"

"Des, that would have been a great idea," said Mick. "If you'd thought of it an hour ago!!"

The guests all arrived at Mrs Greasy's street party, consisting of all the usual gang (except for Dickie the Vicar, of course, and Wayne, who was late as usual), along with the guest of honour, Bruno Brookes. They each sat down at a table.

"Oi, oi, oi!!!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy, furiously. "What do you all think you're doing?!?!"

"We're sitting down for your street party!" said Des.

"You're all sitting in the wrong places!!!" exclaimed Mrs G. Everyone looked bemused. "Didn't any of you look at the seating plan??!! It's printed on the back of your programmes!!" All the participants turned their shoddy programmes over. There was no seating plan shown. "Oh those blooming printers! Right, everybody up!" Everybody groaned.

"Oh does it really matter?!" moaned Des.

"Of course it matters!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy. "This is my Golden Jubilee, everything has got to be just right!! I'll tell you all where to go!"

"I'd like to tell you where to go," muttered Des.

Mrs Greasy started ordering everyone about. It was total chaos as everyone tried to work out where they were meant to be sitting, while Wayne also turned up as well, just to add to the mayhem.

Bruno Brookes was the only one who was already sitting in the correct place, so as this was all going on, he commented on the movements.

"Moving down two places to seat number 10 is Farmer Files. Going up one place to seat number 9 is Pierre-Jean. Trendy Tracy moves down four places to seat number 8, while there's a new entry for Wayne at seat number 7. Fred Snarkbucket moves up three places to seat number 6, and Mike the Manic Mechanic goes up two places to seat number 5. Down one place to seat number 4 is Des, while Mick also goes down one place to seat number 3. The highest new entry is at seat number 2, for PC Plod. And there's no change at the top, it's still me, Bruno Brookes, at seat number 1!"

"Did you just say PC Plod?!" said Mrs Greasy, alarmed.

"At last, maybe this will bring this farce to an end," said Mick.

"Do you have a licence for this street party?" enquired PC Plod.

"Um, sausage roll, PC Plod?" said Mrs Greasy, nervously.

"Don't mind if I do!" said Plod. Mick groaned.

As they all settled down, Mrs Greasy went round and served everyone with their food. Bruno, unsurprisingly, looked distinctly unimpressed with the manky chicken sandwich he had been given.

"Do you know, I think I have to be somewhere else," he said, remembering the disco he was supposed to be DJing at. He went to get up.

"Excuse me, where do you think you're going?!" said Mrs G. "You're the guest of honour, you're not going anywhere."

"Don't worry about Dickie the Vicar," said Des to Bruno. "He won't even have noticed you're not there."

Just then Des's mobile phone rang. It was Dickie the Vicar.

"Hi there, Des! Just wondering if you can make it down to the anniversary disco?!"

"Oh, um..." mumbled Des.

"I'm a little concerned that my guest superstar DJ, former Radio 40 Top 1 host Bruno Brookes hasn't arrived yet!" said Dickie. "I wonder if maybe he's stuck in traffic?"

"Oh yes, that would be it," said Des. "Apparently there's some massive street party taking place this evening that's causing traffic chaos all over the local area."

Mrs Greasy's street party wasn't really causing traffic chaos, as such, though there were a number of bemused drivers who had to keep turning round.

"Okay, I'll give it five more minutes!" said Dickie.

He hung up. Five minutes later, he rang again.

"Hi Des, me again!" said Dickie. "Still no sign of Radio 400 Top 1000 DJ Bruno Brookes!"

"Give it a bit longer," said Des.

Five minutes later, Dickie rang Des yet again.

"Oh, it's no good," sighed Des. "Dickie keeps ringing me every five minutes. We'll have to send Bruno over."

Bruno got up.

"Oi, I told you!" shouted Mrs Greasy. "You're not going anywhere, you haven't done your speech yet!"

Bruno sat down again.

"There's only one thing left we can do," said Des to Mick. "You'll have to dress up as Bruno Brookes and pop over to the disco."

"Why does it have to be me?!" exclaimed Mick, his heart sinking.

"Well..." said Des. "You're fairly bland and tend to blend into the background, Mrs Greasy won't notice if you slip away for a few minutes."

"Des, if you want anyone to dress up as Bruno Brookes, you're going to have to do it yourself, because I'm not!" said Mick, firmly.

"Oh, all right then," sighed Des. He put his hand up. "Mrs Greasy, can I go to the toilet?"

"All right then," sighed Mrs Greasy. "But be quick! I want everybody to be here to listen to Bruno's grand speech!"

Des got up and hurried off. He popped down to the 24 hour fancy dress shop and, confident that Dickie the Vicar didn't really know what Bruno Brookes actually looked like, hired an eighties-style long blonde wig and a sparkly jacket. He then went down the road to the church hall where Dickie's fun-packed anniversary disco was under way. He walked inside, and found it completely deserted apart from Dickie himself.

"Hi there, Bruno!" said Dickie, coming up to Des and furiously shaking him by the hand. "As you can see, the party's already in full flow!! Come over and meet my decks!"

Meanwhile, back at the street party, Mrs Greasy was wondering where Des had got to. Everyone else was getting bored, and Bruno was quite keen to get away.

"Excuse me, can I go to the toilet?" said Bruno, putting his hand up.

Mrs G rolled her eyes. "All right, but be quick!"

Bruno hurried off. They waited for him to come back. They waited, and waited, and waited.

"He's not coming back, is he?" said Mick. "We might as well go." He went to get up.

"And where do you think you're going?!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy. "No one goes anywhere until our guest of honour returns and gives his speech!"

"Don't worry Mick, I've got an idea!" said Mike the Manic Mechanic. "Someone could dress up as Bruno and give the speech. You're rather bland and tend to blend into the background, she won't notice you've gone."

Mick buried his head in his hands. Then he reluctantly put his hand up.

"Mrs Greasy, can I go to the toilet?"

Mrs Greasy looked disapprovingly at Mick, and let him go. He headed off to the 24 hour fancy dress shop, and soon returned, now wearing a long blonde wig and sparkly suit, just like Des.

"Right, is everyone here now?!" said Mrs Greasy.

"No," said Fred Snarkbucket. "Des and Mick aren't here!"

Mrs Greasy heaved a heavy sigh. To recap, Des was currently at the church hall dressed as Bruno Brookes, and Mick was currently at the street party also dressed as Bruno Brookes, while the real Bruno Brookes had vanished.

"For goodness sake, it'll be dark soon, we have to get on!" said Mrs Greasy. "Bruno, get up and give us your speech."

Mick (Bruno) got up.

"Everybody, please give a warm welcome to the guest of honour at my Jubilee street party, the great man, former Radio 140 Top 80 DJ, Mr Bruno Brookes!" declared Mrs Greasy.

Everybody clapped.

"Yes, well," said Mick, trying to think of something to say. "At number" He looked around for inspiration. "...a bread roll. At number 39...a meat pie. At number 38, err..."

Mrs Greasy looked at Mick with a baffled expression.

Meanwhile, over at the church hall, Dickie's thrilling disco was well under way, with Des also dressed as Bruno manning the decks, playing a bunch of Status Quo records to absolutely no one except himself and Dickie.

"I've just had a fab idea!" said Dickie, suddenly. "As it's such a lovely warm evening, why don't we all take the disco outdoors!"

"'All'?!" said Des. "There's only two of us here!"

Des and Dickie picked up the decks and dragged them outside.

"Where exactly are we heading?" said Des, as they heaved the decks down the road.

"Just down to the park!" said Dickie. "A perfect location for an outdoor disco on a summer's evening!"

"Oh dear..." said Des. He realised that going to the park would involve walking past Mrs Greasy's cafe - and hence straight through the street party. And at that moment, Mick was still doing his disastrous speech.

" number 27, a, um, post box. At number 26, a, er, er, manhole cover..."

Just then, along the pavement came Des and Dickie. As they tried to drag Dickie's heavy decks along the pavement, they lost control of them and they crashed into the street party.

"Do you mind?!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy. "I'm trying to hold a street party here, and Bruno Brookes is trying to do his interesting speech!" She then did a double take when she saw Des. "Wait a minute, what's going on here?!"

"Err..." said Des (Bruno).

"Have you got a twin brother?!" said Mrs Greasy to Mick (Bruno). "He wasn't invited!"

"No I haven't," said Mick (Bruno).

"I think someone's trying to pull the wool over my eyes!" said Mrs Greasy. "Neither of you is the real Bruno Brookes, are you?!"

"No," sighed Des, taking his wig off.

"Me neither," said Mick, taking his wig off.

"In which case, would you both care to accompany me to the station?" said PC Plod, feeling Des and Mick's collars.

"Whatever for?!" said Mick.

"For impersonating a disc jockey," said PC Plod. "A very serious offence!"

"But what about Mrs Greasy, blocking the road with her illegal street party?!" said Mick. "Aren't you going to arrest her?!"

"I ask the questions round here!" said PC Plod, taking Des and Mick away for questioning.

"Well that went rather well!" said Mrs Greasy to those that were left. "I'm not sure if I'll invite Bruno Brookes again, though, his speech was rubbish, it was just some Top 40 countdown of all the things he could see around him!"

"No, remember, that wasn't actually Bruno, was it?" said Fred Snarkbucket.

"Oh yes, of course, it had all got a bit confusing by that stage," said Mrs Greasy. "Anyway, let's clear everything away. Tomorrow I shall start planning the next big event - my Diamond Jubilee!!"

"You're starting planning for it already?!" said Fred. "It's not for another ten years!!"

"No, I can't wait that long," said Mrs G. "This time next week, if convenient? I'll get on the phone to Kid Jensen's agent..."

Copyright © Robert Williams

All stories