Tuesday, December 11, 2012

26. Metal Gear Wobbly


A dark character stood with his back to the wall, hidden carefully down a small side-street, peering out round the corner. He was dressed from head to foot in a black, and wearing black framed sunglasses that screamed 'I am up to something'.

It was 11.25 in the morning, the high street was busy with shoppers making use of the bright sunshine and unusually warm temperatures.

As the target moved away, the man spotted a bus stop about ten metres ahead. He checked for obstacles and then stealthily moved over to behind the bus shelter, peering out again to check if he had been spotted. He had of course, but he wasn't bothered about the old ladies busy doing their shopping and sitting outside of caf├ęs.

After twenty seconds, the man looked for his next cover and eyed a folding shop signboard that was advertising today's sandwich specials. He checked the coast was clear and quietly sneaked out from the cover of the bus stop. Had this been a cartoon, each of his footsteps would have been soundtracked with the single plonk of a xylophone, played with the verve of the late Patrick Moore.

Midway to the sandwich board the man realised he looked too suspicious, so to stay less visible he adopted the first rule of stealth video games, no one sees you if you do a forward roll. However, The man was not what you might call an accomplished gymnast. He crouched down, and hesitantly moved into a wonky forward roll that promptly veered off to the side, resulting in him kicking the sandwich board with his feet as he finished rolling.

The thud of the man's feet against the board caused everybody in the near vicinity to turn around and stare in bemusement. A second later the board fell on top of the man's head, causing him to yelp out loud in pain.

A brief moment later he shook off the injury and quietly ran ahead to behind the postbox up in front of him, staring firmly at his target to ensure he hadn't been seen.

Nigel had heard the crash, but the board had hidden his follower. He carried on walking down the busy street, weaving between old ladies and occasionally glancing to the shop windows, however he had the unshakeable feeling that something was amiss.

It was, that something was Steve.

Steve realised there was no further cover, so decided to run to the nearby music shop about 100 metres ahead, just behind Nigel. He started to run as quietly as he could, he got to a point equally ten metres from Nigel and ten metres from the shop, at which point he caught his shoe on the pavement and fell sprawling over. The noise made Nigel turn around and leap out of his skin as he saw the suspicious character behind him.

“What the fuck are you doing?!” Nigel exclaimed.

Steve stayed silent.

“You looked like a bloody mental case dressed like that.”

Steve took off his glasses, before realising a split second later that this was the only thing preventing him from being recognised. He winced in irritation at his mistake.

“Steve? What the bloody hell are you doing following me?”

“Pardon? Non Englische, er, gesprechen.”

“Steve. Stop being a cock.”

“I er, no understand.”

“Steve!!”

Steve sighed. “I was trying to find out who planted the terrible guests onto Tony's show. I was trailing the suspects for evidence of wrongdoing.”

“I'm in town buying a new jacket Steve.”

“I see.”

“How long have you been following me?”

“Well...” Steve counts on his fingers. “Six, maybe seven... no, six. Six minutes.”

“Ok, well stop it. If you want to talk to me just ask.”

“Not much of a secret investigation if I just ask you is it Nigel?”

“Why does it need to be secret?”

Steve thought for a second. “Because someone was acting on behalf of Gerald, and I want to expose them.”

“Have you thought about involving Tony?”

“Well not yet.”

“You haven't got him as a suspect too have you?”

“No. I ruled him out in the first week of enquiries.” Steve remarked proudly.

“Good work Officer Dibble.” Nigel replied sarcastically.

“Thank you.” Steve replied with no realisation of the real meaning.

“Can I suggest you meet up with us and we discuss this properly?” Nigel pleaded.

“No can do.” Steve answered boldly. “I'm going to crack this case myself if it's the last thing I do.”

“Steve, if you keep falling over like that it may very well be just that.”

Steve ignored this and pointed at Nigel. “You better not be behind this, I will catch you if you are.” At which point, Steve turned and ran off, a few seconds later he collided with an old lady's shopping bag causing both of them, and the contents of the bag, to eject all over the pavement.

Nigel looked confused, before remarking to himself. “He really needs to stop watching those American cop dramas.”

Steve picked himself up, helped the old lady to her feet, and carried on walking away with a slight limp.

Nigel shook his head, turn back around and walked off humming the theme tune from The Bill.

Monday, December 10, 2012

25. Oh What a Night (Part Two)


The inside was decorated largely in black, but with bright red and purple patterns on the wall. The flames, stripes, and swirls contrasted with the dark aesthetic and made the venue feel modern and stylish despite the initial impressions given by the wailing grungy guitars. In addition, the bar walls and ceiling were covered in rock memorabilia and what looked like pieces of abstract social commentary in the form of art hanging down. In particular, a battered disco ball covered in razor blades caught Tony's attention as he queued at the bar.

After a few minutes Tony reached the bar, only to catch sight of Sarah turning around from using the cash register. She grinned and pointed her finger towards him as she walked over to him. The music made it incredibly difficult to hear clearly, but he just about made out what she said. “Tony! I looked for you after the show, but I couldn't see you.”

“Sorry, I had to leave in case Charlie came back to stab me.” He replied, truthfully.

“What on earth are you doing here?!” Sarah enquired. “I didn't think you'd actually visit a place like this.”

“My friend Patrick recommended it.” Tony answered. “He likes all sorts.”

“You mean that guy there?” Sarah pointed to Patrick, who was stood a few metres behind Tony, talking to Abbie.

“Tony turned around to see who she was pointing at. “Yes. You know him?”

“I met him after your show. He said he liked my t-shirt, we got chatting and we went for a drink.”
“How strange!”

“Isn't it just! What are you having?”

Tony tried to remember the order he had taken a few moments earlier. “Three large rum and cokes, and, er, and a vodka and orange please.”

“Of course.” Sarah smiled and went to pour the drinks. She came back over shortly afterwards with them, as Tony went to hand her the money she waved him away. “These are on me.”

“Thank you Sarah.” They both smiled, and Tony walked over to Patrick and Abbie. “I didn't know you knew the girl who was on my show yesterday Patrick?”

“Nigel told me you'd met her before, and she loved Zombie Grave Diggers. It took him a lot of work to find her.” Patrick explained.

“Oh wow. I didn't realise.”

“I thought I'd go meet her and see if I could find a way for you two to meet up again.” Patrick thought about what he was saying, looked over at Abbie, and back to Tony. “Er, you know, celebrate the new more exciting Tony James Show!”

“Sounds like a lot of effort, but thanks!” Tony laughed and looked over at Abbie, who was happy smiling and bobbing along to the music.

As he looked around at the people dancing, Tony smiled. Once he had got over the volume and noise of the place, Tony was starting to feel quite at home in The Pit. It was full of people who didn't care about fashion, celebrity or trying to fit in, people who were expressing themselves and getting deeply involved in music they were passionate about. Tony couldn't bring himself to try head-banging just yet, but over the course of the first hour he gradually nodded his head more and more.

The four of them walked over to a space nearer the dance floor, when all of a sudden the music stopped. Patrick looked up and to the left where the DJ was playing from the raised booth. As he did, the DJ picked up his microphone and started to talk.

“Ladies and gentlemen. We have a special guest with us here tonight.”

Tony, Nigel, Abbie and Patrick looked around to see who had arrived.

“I don't know if any of you have been watching the Tony James Show, but if you haven't you have been missing out.” The Dj said as he pointed to Tony, who froze as two hundred intense and slightly sweaty rockers on the dance floor looked towards him simultaniously.

“This guy put Zombie Grave Diggers on LTV. Then yesterday he tore that dickhead from Chillgame apart.”

A huge cheer rose up from the dance floor.

“Tony James, you fucking legend. This is for you.”

The DJ put down the mic and hit the button to start playing Entrails of a Virgin Queen.

Tony laughed and lost his nervousness as the two hundred black clad rockers started to dance as if their lives depended on it. Except for a few who were stood looking at Tony, trying to beckon him to join them.

Patrick nudged him. “Just nod your head in time with the music, look intense but happy, and move around with them a bit.” He then shoved Tony towards the dance floor. Tony stumbled a few steps before stopping, stood right in the middle of the dance floor. Tony shrugged and started nodding his head vigorously, which caused about fifty people to roar in delight and do the same thing.

Several hours, many drinks and much dancing later, Tony, tired from dancing and a little worse for wear, took a break and wandered into the smaller quieter room adjacent to the main dance floor. He sat on a soft black square stool. A few moments later Abbie came over too, sitting on the stool just next to him. Although still decorated largely in black, the little room had tiny star like lights all over the walls. It gave the space a slightly romantic feel. “Worn out?!” she asked.

Tony nodded, catching his breath.

“You've made a good attempt at joining in, nine out of ten I'd say.”

Tony smiled.

“I'm proud of you, you know?”

Tony cocked his head in surprise. “Why?”

“For standing up for intelligence, and for defending your reputation whatever the cost. For not pandering to the lowest common denominator.”

“Thank you. That means a lot coming from you Bea.”

Abbie smiled. “No matter what happens, you can hold your head up high.”

Tony glanced into Abbie's eyes and smiled. She did so in return. For a few moments they stayed in silent comfort, happy to absorb the moment.

Abbie moved forward slightly to kiss Tony, who pulled back sharply and nervously.

“What's the matter Tony?” Abbie replied, surprised at his reaction.

“Sorry, that was just unexpected.”

“What were you expecting?”

“I was hoping, but I never... jeez.” Tony couldn't quite let the words he was thinking escape, and had to make do with a few dishevelled syllables.

“I didn't realise it could get so complicated kissing someone.”

“I just, I didn't think you would actually want...”

“Why on earth not?”

“You're beautiful. You're so pretty.” Although he hadn't made his point particularly well, Abbie couldn't help but reveal a little bit of a smile as Tony said this.

“And?”

“I'm not.”

“Tony. I would be rather worried about you if I thought you looked pretty.”

Tony's half inebriated brain giggled. “Why would someone as pretty as you kiss someone like me?”

“I'm not sure I actually need a reason Tony.”

“No, but...”

Abbie interrupted. “Do you think if you weren't worth kissing I would have done it?”

“Well, no.”

“So what's the problem Tony?”

“You are so...” Perhaps Tony's brain was more than half inebriated. He looked at Abbie as he started the sentence, and as he couldn't find the words he looked down in slight shame.

Abbie's eyes flickered with empathy for the usually confident and articulate man beside her. “You silly thing Tony.” She put her hand on his cheek and he looked up. She stared gently at his eyes, he went to speak, but she put her finger over his lips for a second, before moving it away and kissing him softly on the lips.

As she pulled slowly away a few seconds later she saw a flurry of intense emotions run through Tony's face. As if he was experiencing huge pain, pleasure, happiness, sadness and confusion at the same time. She put her arm round him, he reciprocated, and as they embraced they gently rested their foreheads against each other. “It's ok.” She whispered.

From across the dance floor, Nigel saw the two of them together. He tapped Patrick, who was dancing near him. Patrick looked at Nigel, then over at Tony and Abbie, then back to Nigel, before exclaiming quietly. “Awwww!”

Saturday, December 8, 2012

25. Oh What a Night (Part One)

Tony sat in bed for a little while contemplating the news. In a rare act of intrigue he read the stories about his TV performance, and was surprised by how undecided they were. He got out of bed, eventually, having sent a message to Alison, apologising and asking her to come back and talk, as of yet he had heard nothing.

Tony made breakfast and wandered into his lounge. The white walls and black blinds went crisply with the dark red sofa, and made the room a pleasing mixture of cosy and stylish.

Tony sat on the sofa and tried to remember what had happened the night before.

Tony and Nigel, fresh from the meeting with Gerald had parked the car and wandered into the city to share a drink with Patrick. The soft furniture and warm colours of The King James had felt like a more attractive option than the flashy bars full of suited bankers and PR managers anyway.

Sitting on the soft barstools, Tony and Nigel signalled their arrival to Patrick with a quick salute. Patrick, always keen to up the ante proceeded to carry out a full naval salute to full attention. He remained totally static.

After about ten seconds Nigel clicked, and in his best Sergeant Major's voice bellowed. “At ease gentlemen.” Patrick dropped the salute and stood quietly.

“That sounds like Gerald.” Tony remarked as he nudged Nigel.”

“You alright Patrick?” Nigel asked.

Patrick stood still and said nothing.

“What are you... oh. Very good. Permission to speak.” Tony laughed.

“Thank you sir.” Patrick smirked. “I'm fine thanks Tone.”

“It was me who asked, I find it rude that you addressed a lesser ranking officer instead of me.” Nigel added in his newly discovered Gerald voice.

“Sorry sir.” Patrick said with faux remorse.

“Did I say you could speak, private?” Gerald, I mean Nigel snapped back.

“No sir. Oh bugger.” Patrick laughed.

“Okay okay, I get it.” Tony interjected. “Can we stop the military talk and get down to military style drinking please?”

“Two very large Navy Rums coming up... SIR!” Patrick bellowed.

With the first sip of the outrageously toe curling rum, the night had begun.

As Patrick's shift finished shortly after Tony and Nigel has arrived, he soon joined them on the other side of the bar, placing himself onto the bar stool at a moments notice of clocking out.

“I've been watching Tone, I love what you are doing.” Patrick explained. “The whole show now has a dangerous air around it, I never know what is going to happen next. It's compulsive viewing.”

“See, that's because you haven't taken it far enough yet Tony.” Nigel remarked. “People haven't been put off the show, we need to get the idiots who watch it, no offence, to switch off.”

“Some taken.” Tony offered an amused glare to Nigel.

“I just mean the idiots who watch for the stupid guests Gerald keeps bringing on.” Nigel clarified.

“I know... I know.” Tony smiled. “But I went for the jugular with Chillgame and people still seemed to enjoy it.”

“Yes but Chillgame are shit.” Patrick added.

“Yes. But the idiots we want to turn over love them, and yet they seemed to like the show!” Tony exclaimed.

“I think you have to keep at it. If you are rude to everybody then surely people will get sick of it eventually.” Nigel insisted.

“I bloody well hope so.” Tony sighed.

As Patrick hopped round the bar to pour the next shots of rum, Abbie walked through the door of the pub and waved to Tony, smiling as her face lit up. Tony waved back and got off of the bar stool to go and greet her.

“Patrick.” Nigel whispered. Patrick didn't hear, he had his back to Nigel, pouring the rum.

“Paaattrrriiickkk.” Nigel half whispered half shouted. Patrick didn't hear.

Nigel pick up a coaster and threw it at Patrick.

“Ow.” Patrick exclaimed as the coaster hit him squarely on the back of the head. “What?”

“Is it me, or is there something happening with Tony and Abbie?” Nigel asked in as much of a whisper as he could manage whilst being heard by Patrick.

Patrick looked across to Tony, who was stood just in front of Abbie, both of whom were smiling. As Tony said something unintelligible from the bar, Abbie laughed and flicked her flame coloured hair. Shortly afterwards the two of them shared a hug, which looked extremely comfortable, and went on for maybe a second longer than you would expect from most people.

“Who is she?” Patrick remarked. “I think you may be right though.”

“She's a friend of ours. Do you think we should say something?” Nigel asked.

“Maybe, let's play it by ear.” Patrick shrugged.

“Okay. Makes sense.” Nigel nodded.

“Hi guys, Abbie has come to join us for a bit, is that ok?” Tony asked

“Of course Tone.” Patrick replied. “I'm not sure I've been introduced though.”

“Oh, sorry Patrick. This is Abbie, she is a brilliant hairdresser. Abbie, this Patrick, the son of my former manager, and reasonable impersonator of a naval officer.”

Abbie looked a little confused, but gave a little laugh and waved. “Nice to meet you Patrick.”

“Likewise miss. What can I get you?” Patrick enquired.

Noticing that all three of them had what appeared to be glasses of the same drink, Abbie questioned. “What are you guys on today?”

“Naval rum. It hits you like a torpedo.” Tony replied.

“Ahhh, I see. Well I'll have the same then please private.” Abbie giggled and sat on the bar stool to the left of Tony.

“Yes Ma'am.” Patrick answered.

“Word in your ear private, don't ever call me ma'am, it makes me sound about fifty years old.” Abbie replied with the mocking sternness of a headmistress.

“Sorry, er, sir?” Patrick shrugged.

“Miss will do, thank you private.” Abbie glanced over to Tony for a split second, he caught her gaze and smiled.

“Yes miss.” Patrick saluted and went to pour the rum.

“If I'd have known this was going to carry on all night I would have borrowed some marine hats from the props department.” Tony laughed.

“I can give you all naval haircuts if you like?” Abbie added.

Nigel posed thoughtfully. “Tony won't need much help if you keep putting all those colours in his hair.”

Tony scowled mockingly at Nigel and sipped his rum. “So what's the plan from here gentlemen? Oh, and er, girl.”

Abbie raised a single eyebrow, looked inquisitive, and followed it up with a cheesy grin.

Patrick jumped in. “I know a great place a few streets down, judging from the past few weeks of shows, I think you'll love it Tony.

Nigel looked inquisitively at Patrick, who nodded and looked slightly smug.

“Sounds good to me.” Tony replied.

A couple of hours later, and they were ready to leave the pub. Nigel and Patrick walked on ahead towards the next destination. Tony and Abbie walked behind, side by side and a little slower, talking about her week.

“Have you been okay Abbie?” Tony asked with genuine kindness.

“Still not great to be honest, but better than before.” Abbie replied honestly.

“Sorry things aren't great, you deserve to be happy.”

“Thank you Tony. As do you, I hope you can be soon.”

“Me too.”

“I hope it doesn't take too long though.”

“Hang in there Bea, you'll be ok.”

“Bea?” Abbie enquired.

Tony laughed nervously and put his hand over his mouth, replying. “Sorry, for some reason that seemed a nice way of er... I'll be quiet now.”

Abbie put her hand on his arm. “It's ok Tony, it's nice.” She smiled.

Tony smiled back, they shared a brief glance and Tony put his arm round her waist as they walked along together.

Just in front Nigel and Patrick were discussing what was going on behind them.

“She clearly likes him Nigel.”

“Yes, and he clearly likes her.”

Patrick thought for a moment. “What about Tony's partner?”

“Last I heard they were going through a rough patch.” Nigel replied. “Besides, those two look so comfortable together it would seem rude to interfere.”

“Can we interfere in a nice way?” Patrick asked back.

“Oh, of course we can do that.” Nigel laughed. “I already have a little.”

“How do you mean?”

“Well, I made sure that she would be around when he needed a new haircut for the show.” Nigel explained.

“Good work sergeant.” Patrick replied.

“Let's not start that again!”

Ten minutes later and the four arrived at the next destination. As Patrick led through the side street to the nightclub, each of the other three gradually noticed the venue in turn, and gave Patrick a quizzical look.

“Lady and gentlemen. Welcome to your new favourite nightclub.” Patrick announced, and walked to the queue.

Tony, Abbie and Nigel looked up at the bright neon sign and wondered what to expect.

'The PIT.' London's Heaviest Rock Club

The exterior was black all over, except for the white neon light of the sign. The queue was made up of people dressed largely in black band t-shirts and what looked to Tony's untrained eye like mild fetish wear.

“This is just a music club right?” Tony enquired.

“I sure hope so.” Abbie replied. “Only one way to find out.”


They walked into the queue, and listened to the rumbling sounds coming from inside. It was hard to pick out what was playing, but it definitely included loud distorted guitars and louder drums being hit with the force of a shotgun bullet. Whatever speakers were being used sounded as if they had been rejected from a Motorhead concert for being too noisy.

As the three reached the entry desk, the girl behind the glass recognised Tony. She gave him the devil horns with each of her hands and nodded her head in respect. “No charge for you and your friends Tony.”

Tony nodded, said thanks and walked through to the club with Abbie and Nigel.

Friday, December 7, 2012

24. The Sun Always Shines on TV


After his past experiences with the press, Tony very rarely bought newspapers, however the comments surrounding his recent performances had started to get quite noisy.

While he hadn't yet been faced with doorstep reporters, it was very clear from conversation taking place online and from what he had heard was in the newspapers that his actions were being discussed.

If there was one good thing about his show being slagged off, it was that it seemed to stop them talking about him and Abbie, which helped at home.

“Tony. What the fuck is this?”

Shit.

“Tony?!” Alison was serious.

Tony's head was pounding, so he simply looked sluggishly towards Alison with an inquisitive look. The large fluffed up pillows and soft yellow quilt cover were not going to make this comfortable he thought.

“Do we even need to talk about this?” Alison's voice was slightly muffled as she was trying to hold back from crying. “If you don't want to be with me then just tell me Tony.”

“Of course I do.” Tony replied. “I don't even know what you are talking about.”

“You never do Tony. Yet every couple of weeks it's put in front of my face again.”

“You shouldn't read the papers, they print anything they can get their hands on that looks like it might cause scandal.”

“Tony, I know you've had trouble with them in the past, but you cannot use that as an excuse to get me to ignore something that appears to be pretty clear.”

“I really don't know what you mean.” Tony really didn't, but as a hazy memory of the night before cam back, he was worried he might soon.

“Tony, how many times do I have to see pictures of you with this girl before you either tell me something I don't want to hear, or I find it out for myself?”

Tony sat in silent, doubly painful contemplation.

“We agreed remember Tony. We sat and we agreed that we would never do anything like this to each other.”

“I know. I haven't...”

“After your past and my past Tony, this is not something I want to deal with.” Alison really was crying now.

“”I know.”

“So why are you making me have to deal with it?”

“There really is nothing going on.”

“So why does it look like it, and why are you always out with her, and never out with me?”

Tony thought for a second. “She just happens to be where I go, and we are just friends. If something were to happen I would tell you, I really would.”

“Would you Tony? I love you but I am starting to get the feeling that maybe you don't feel the same way.”

“Of course I love you.” Tony tried to article the debate that was going on in his head. “It's just that...”

“Oh fine. Fuck you Tony.”

That was not what he intended to say.

As Alison stormed out of the bedroom she threw the paper at Tony, which landed open on the half page picture of him with his arms wrapped around Abbie. Apparently it hadn't stopped them.

Tony looked at the picture and thought to himself. Part of him wanted to go and chase after Alison, while his more analytical side was wondering why he was even in this situation. He liked Abbie, of course he did, but he had never set out with any intention of doing something wrong. Or had he? No. No. He wasn't like that any more, even though it had taken a long time he had grown up.

Tony hit his stumbling block, the question over what would happen if faced with a choice. While he was many things, he was not the sort of person to carry on an affair. He may make mistakes in how he deals with things, but he is not that kind of person. He doesn't ever want to be that kind of person. What's the point in being credible in his work if he couldn't be credible in his own personal actions? Besides, it wasn't his fault that his work credibility was being damaged, he had acted in good faith at all times.

Maybe that was it. He had acted in good faith, but the situation had developed in a way he wasn't expecting. Bloody hell, where now?

Monday, December 3, 2012

23. Peace


Tony didn't bother to knock for the following morning's meeting with Gerald. He walked with Nigel straight up to the big oak door, turned the handle and pushed it open.

“I don't recall saying you could come in gentlemen.” Gerald boomed.

“I don't recall you saying we couldn't.” Tony snapped back.

“Very true, I shall amend your contract to clarify.” Gerald smirked.

Tony walked in and sat down onto the shallow mahogany coloured sofa with a vigour that belied his years, Nigel followed with a slight awkwardness.

“Excellent show gentlemen.” Gerald started. “I thought it was wonderful, the series is starting to hit it's stride.”

“Don't play that bullshit game with us. We know you saw it, and we know you saw last weeks too so quit the act.” Tony gesticulated his arms wildly, had he been acting he would have been ashamed.

“I have no idea what you mean. Our audience loved it. Our online surveys suggest the highest enjoyment of any of the shows so far.”

“That's ridiculous.”

“I'm afraid not, I'll send you the data tomorrow.”

“There is no way that mess of a broadcast was more popular.”

“It was.”

“No way.” Tony was even more dismissive.

“It was.” Gerald looked as if he was enjoying this.

“Not a chance.”

“Fraid so.”

“Whatever.”

Gerald smiled. “Keep up the good work gentlemen, but please, knock next time.”

“Can we not find some solution to this problem?” Tony asked, attempting reason.

“No.”Gerald replied abruptly.

“But this is..”

“..is the best ratings the show has got so far.” Gerald interrupted. “We'd be mad to drop it now.”

Tony sat staring at Gerald, his face contorted with contempt and rage.

“You may leave gentlemen.” Gerald pointed to the door.

Tony, still piercing through Gerald's flesh with his eyes, stood up abruptly, walked aggressively to the big oak door and slammed it as hard as he could. The door slammed onto the similarly hefty frame and cause the entire office wall to ripple, sending the pictures of historical LTV stars that hung there toppling from it to the floor in a cascade of broken glass and silver plastic.

Nigel, still stood the other side, crept carefully up the shaking door frame, opened it gently, tiptoed out, and gently shut it again. “That went well.” He said sarcastically to Tony.

“How can he want us to carry on ruining the show?” Tony asked helplessly as he and Nigel walked through the bright reception area to the car park.

“He must think that everything going on will make people tune in.” Nigel guessed. “People love watching a car crash.”

Tony sighed. “Well I'd rather 20 million people see a car crash than a few thousand see me forced to humiliate myself and blow my hard earned reputation by taking those idiot non celebrities seriously.”

Nigel smiled. “If it's car crash you want Tony. It's car crash we can do.”

Tony's spirits lifted a little as they got into his car. “So how did you know I'd met the girl Sarah yesterday on that god awful quiz?”

“I didn't, but I saw the t-shirt and thought you would enjoy seeing it.” Nigel explained. “When do you meet her?”

“I saw her on the train, she told me how people like her, who listen to unusual music or dress differently never get to see people they admire on TV. I think if I ever get out of this stupid contract I'd like to do something that appeals to intelligent people like her.”

“Sounds brilliant. I hope you do.” Nigel nodded. “Oh and, don't worry about the wheel, I've added a control so I choose where it stops from now on.”

Tony smiled. “Thanks Nigel.”

“Not having some wealthy banker taking Gerald's …” Nigel's eyes lit up, and he paused in thought.

“I thought the money came from the sponsor?” Tony enquired.

“Either way, if we keep giving away tons of money, Gerald will want to stop it, or the sponsors will get fed up and quit.”

“We can but hope my friend. We can but hope.” Tony shrugged, slightly disillusioned that anything would ever end the Tony James Show. “Pub?”

“I thought you would never ask. Crank up the A-Ha.”