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4,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The empty space in the middle of the club where the track should be somehow diminished the 'Slot club' atmosphere of West Hamley. The new bar and restaurant areas still provided a draw for the regulars, but it wasn't quite the same without the constant whizz and swish of tiny cars providing a soundtrack. Bruno's repeated playing of the entire recorded output of the Blue Nile over the sound system was not a satisfactory alternative. In fact it quickly drove many innocent folk into black depression and despair until Eric found an old Leonard Cohen record to cheer everyone up again. According to Cheetah, Sprote wouldn't be back for twenty five years, and even then we couldn't count on him bringing the track back with him. Coxie did his best with the Prudential, but the insurers wouldn't pay up again without hiking the premium up something awful.
So we had to roll up our sleeves and get to work. JP got us some plans from an obscure old slot racing magazine, 'Chips' Channon, the local carpenter and long-standing member, which provided Claudia with some comfort and consolation for the loss of her beloved Sprote, volunteered his expertise and equipment.
The mood was great. Everyone had something to do. Landscape design and painting, buildings, lighting and electrics- static models for atmosphere, armies of little people to paint- the plans were nothing if not ambitious, and brought in the talents of just about every soul in the parish.
But Coxie had an even more ambitious idea. Ever since he'd been a lad, he'd dreamed of West Hamley's own full-sized Grand Prix track, laid out on the old Trolley Bus factory grounds in the fields outside Pendle. A natural amphitheatre, perfect for spectators, set in rolling Middleshire Hills. It had never come to pass, possibly due to a senseless falling out between Mrs Howmet and Bernie Ecclestone over her proposed Hot Irish Pastie stands. Ecclestone- ironically an absolute hog for Mrs H's legendary savouries- demanded that all the counter heights should be lowered to allow access to people of diminished stature, but Health and Safety officials decided that slippery gravy served at temperatures of over 200 degrees could not be safely handled at a distance of less than 1.5 metres from ground level.
The idea still lingered in his mind, however, and Coxie proposed that the new track should be a miniature realisation of that age old ambition. We would build those rolling hills here, in the club room between the Saloon bar and the exclusive Premium Member's 'Privelege+' lounge. The idea had found it's time. The whole club was energised by the new project, and the first thing that was decided was to send a reconnaisance mission to the old Trolley Bus factory to survey and photograph the site, and draw up the proposed track.
And that was how we met Sam Shepherd and Derek for the first time.

The old Trolley Bus Factory had long since become an overgrown wilderness. It was hard to discern the proposed lines of the old track layout beneath sedge and burdock, bramble and clover. An old shed still remained, marking the corner of a lush green field, once in years gone by the Trolley Bus test track. Camoflaged with Russian ivy, it was only by chance we noticed the door, and heard the sounds from within. Two people were deep in conversation, but the heavy, rustic Middleshire accent was hard to decipher. It sounded more like an exchange of gutteral throat-clearings.
Coxie tried to knock gently on the door, but it couldn't take it. The whole edifice creaked gently, and collapsed. There was a howl, a scramble, and an echoing rumble. Dust blew, shards of splintered timber flattened themselves amid the undergrowth, and two figures stood exposed in the debris. Or rather, one man and his dog.
'Oh dear' said Coxie. 'I'm so sorry! I only wanted to introduce...'
'Arrr. That's all they ever say grrrarrr heuchhh. Damn townies. Take your rate demands and your- heeeuuuuch grsssplaagh- tax forms and stuff em. Thats' what I say, don' I Derek?'
'Hrrrrraaaaarrrrgh' replied the dog.
'But we're not from the council, my dear sir. We represent West Hamley Slot Car Club- we came because we...'
'West Hamley- hhhhkaaaack- Slot Car Clubrrrrr? Why didn't you- gggruuuuech- say so? Always wanted to visit there, didn't we Derek? Always had a passion to race a miniature Massey-Ferguson. Before those Common Market- huccchcuuchcc-beggars took away all my sheep.'
'Well! We'd be pleased to welcome you, since it would seem we have inadvertently destroyed your hovel- I mean desirable first-time buyers country property opportunity. Why not come back to the clubhouse- I'm sure we could accomodate you there until we can find alternative housing. I know there are flats available in the Alexander Putin estate in Inner Hamley. We'll get you sorted out sooner than you know!'
'Arr, well. I don't know about that, but me an' Derek would certainly appreciate a glimpse of West Hamley, mebbe a few turns on the old eight-lane before us turn up our clogs. Do us a world of good that would. Never travelled further than this field before. Is it true that them little cars have got full variable speed controllers these days?'
'Well, there is one slight drawback in that the club track has recently been abducted 20,000 light years away by an alien visitor, and we're in the process of rebuilding- in fact that was why we were here in the first place..'
'Alien - sshhhhhjglukkk- abduction, eh? Lots o'stories about that round these parts, lad. That's where we thought all oour sheep had gone, before we heard from those Common Market folk. Poor Derek's never been the same since- not without his sheep to talk to. Still. Rebuildin', eh? Mebbe Derek an' me could give you a hand with that. Some old fool wanted to build a race track round these parts. I still got an old drawin' here. I likes to look at it afore I gets me head down at night. Looks a rare old track, with banking, lots o'different radius curves- lovely downhill run from the start line to a very swift left-and-right- and room for a tractor moto-cross on the infield.'
'Good grief! The original blueprints! That's wonderful! We certainly must work together on this, my dear sir! You are certainly most welcome to our club, as a full privelege+ member with immediate effect. Now, forgive me- what did you say your name was?'
'Hoo-haar! My name? I ain't used it for so long, I'm after forgettin' it meself! There's a thing. You got any idea, Derek?'
'Sam' said the dog, rolling his eyes expressively.

4,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sam turned out to be a great adddition to the club. He worked tirelessly on the new track, his faithful sheepdog Derek at his side. During the day he slept at Clarissa Putson-Weight's house, sleeping in the stables while Clarissa recorded her BBC2 countryside series with her life-partner, Matilda Bodily-Harm.
Each evening, Sam was to be found at West Hamley, lovingly sculpting the landscape of the new track, adding a water-meadow here, a sand-trap there. After a hard session with the Mod-Roc, he could be found at the bar with his faithful collie-dog, enacting his favourite sketch, the dog-at-the-bar routine.
'Aarrr- I've got a right thirst on me this evenin'. A pint of Pendle triple-X for me, and how 'bout you, Derek?'
'Arf' said the dog.
'Yes, 'n a half o'Bishop's Secretion for Derek, if you please!'
Sam would pour the draught bitter into an ashtray and lay it down on the floor for Derek to lap up enthusiatically, while Sam continued to entertain the saloon bar with tales of old Pendle, and the odd folksong. Very odd, in fact. Carnal relations with sheep and violent death figured high in the lyrics of his pastoral ditties, which all had a jolly singalong chorus with fol-de-rols and la-tiddle-eye-dohs about pederasty, incest and magnadhesion.

The track took shape. Sam took great pride in modelling Peggy Mount from plaster of paris and green baize, a favourite resting place of his in the great rustic idyll of time gone by. He lovingly created a 1/32nd scale flock of Middleshire Futtocks, a rare breed of sheep long since vanished from the rolling hills of Pendle. In Penny Hills, a local landmark beloved of randy teenagers overlooking the race track Paddock and the first chicane after the pit lane, Sam placed a miniature replica of himself and Derek, overseeing the flock on one side, and enjoying the tractor-cross in the midfield.
One evening, Bruno took his Blue Nile CDs off the soundsystem- by popular request- and put on a record of baroque violin music. 'What the hell is this?' demanded Clint, busily working on the pit lane of the new track.
'Bach' said Derek. who was resting with his snout laid on his forepaws under the track.
'Quite right' said Bruno. ' The violin concerto in E major, opus 1042 to be precise!' He sniggered at his own cleverness and strolled off to install the new computer lap-timing system, unaware of Derek's toothsome snarl.

All the while, things were going amiss. Small things, but precious things. Clint lost his new hand-carved slot guide- Eric couldn't find his flex-o-bend rubber-composite fat-free lo-cal chassis the morning after he'd spent a long night in the pit lane engineering it with Chips, in preparation for the opening night Crash n'Splash two lap sprint event. Coxie was at a loss to explain the disappearance of his hip-hop ceramic nine-pole armature from the pit-box he had left in the Premium Members Exclusive Privelege+ Bar the night before the marathon lane-painting night. Claudia swore blind she had had her Professor-Motor infinitely-variable trans-ohm hot-box throttle plugged into peroxide lane the previous night, to find no sign of it the following morning. Lil Cooper-Archer complained about her Vac-formed Hoover-Aluminium Special Indy-car vanishing before the first practice laps for the inaugural Semtex Trophy Cup. Day after day these small losses passed almost without comment. People were careless, after all.
It all faded into insignificance when Coxie opened a purple deckle-edged envelope that landed on West Hamley's doormat a couple of days later.
'By heavens!' Said Coxie. 'It's from Buckingham Palace! Libby wants to make a royal visit! She intends to grant West Hamley a BSE for services to slot racing! Spit fire and save matches- recognition at last! Clear the tracks and bleach the facilities- she'll be here on Wednesday! Let's put on a show Her Majesty will never forget!
'But how?' asked Clint. 'The Queen must have been around the slot-clubs so many times by now- they must all merge into one-another. How can we make West Hamley stand out from the crowd?'
It was a good question. A difficult question, even. But a question that was answered when Claudia noticed Derek driving his own car on magnolia lane.
'Do dogs normally drive slot cars?' she innocently asked Coxie.
'No- don't be silly, Claudia.'
Well, what is Derek doing then?'

4,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, Taxi- that would mean back-tracking a little. Where had we got to?

Ah yes. Well, in the intervening days and weeks, we got the legendary Pendle Grand Prix circuit finished and running. Beautiful. Rolling hills merging into trompe l'oeil painted backdrops, fully populated grandstands, pits, press boxes- even miniature Irish Pastie stalls- just to spite Bernie. And a wonderful swooping multi-level race track. Rushing descents into tightening radius curves, motor busting climbs and the longest sustained banked section you ever saw. By Odin and Teutatis, it was the best race track you ever saw. Claudia put the finishing touches into a little ceiling fresco that depicted the hand of God firing a bolt of lightning into the trackside power supply. All this despite the continuing and highly annoying disappearances of little, but vital bits of kit. One day the router cutters had gone. Next day, a roll of copper tape. Eric swore blind he'd got five cans of Sandtex, but no-one could find but two on the following Thursday.
All the while, Sam and Derk kept hard at it. Happy to be away from Clarissa and Matilda's rustic love-nest in the long winter evenings, they worked away in any way they could. When the track was up and running, Sam's old shepherd's crook proved useful in retreiving deslotters in the long tunnel section, and Derek chased flyers at Dead Man's curve with unerring accuracy. Waiting at the turn with thrashing tail and beady eye, he could see the late-brakers coming a long way off, and would seize them safely in his jaws before they could hit the floor. When Eric's painstakingly built Olsonite- Eagle was saved in dramatic fashion, he gratefully ruffled Derek's fur and chucked him under the chin. 'Good boy! Well caught! You deserve a treat. What could I get you, boy?'
'Sausages' said Derek, whupping the floor with his sleek black tail.
'I beg your pardon?' said Eric, before realising he had three seconds to get back on the track for heat four.

'Look' said Coxie one day. 'We've got two weeks before the Queen arrives. We've got to come up with something special for her Maj. And find out where all our bits and pieces are disappearing to. I lost my lube box this morning- I swear it was on the window sill last night when my Rabbit was overheating.'
'Let me take care of that' said Inspector Thumb, who was round on one of his regular club visits. 'Petty crime is my department. I'll get a proper investigation going here. A routine Scotland Yard approach is what's needed. Where's Argent got to?
'Roof; -roof' said Derek.
'Ah yes- his favourite spot since he and Fox got into astronomy. Fetch him down, will you, Coxie. I'll start taking notes. Now. Claudia. What is it you've lost...?
'Ask him who his favourite children's entertainer is, Inspector.'
'Is this relevant, Claudia?'
'No, but it's fun.'
'Alright, Derek. Who's your favourite children's entertainer, then?'
'Rolf. Rolf' said Derek.
'Oh. I see. Rolf Harris. Very clever. Now let's just get on with this shall we? When was the last time you saw your hand controller, Claudia?'

While Inspector Thumb began his official investigation, Bruno and Sam struck up a strange but beautiful friendship. The hardened engineer, long established racer and cynic somehow found Sam a congenial pal. The uneducated, anti-social old rural throwback was a ready receptacle for Bruno's mathematical view of the world. And Bruno decided to get Sam on track. He built him a nice Dodge Ram, having persuaded him that the 1/32nd scale Massey-Ferguson of his childhood dreams would be uncompetitive. So Sam got racing, after a lifetime of sheep. His hardened and horny old thumb, toughened by briar bushes and furze harvesting, began to flex like a young'un, swiftly bringing his lap times onto the map. Any car that Bruno built was bound to be in the winner's circle, but the club members were surprised at how quickly Sam came to terms with it.
So on the night we began this chapter, Sam was racing on marigold lane, when a call of nature caught him short. Rather than quit the heat, in which he was well-placed and heading for a points finish, he wedged his MRRC plunge-throttle in a little split in the timber frame of the driver's podium, and carefully rested Derek's right fore-paw on the button.
'Keep it in the groove, Derek lad. I won't be long.'

And that is how we came to realise that West Hamley was the home of the world's only slot-racing dog.
'That should go down well with the Queen then' said Coxie happily. 'She loves dogs. Problem solved.'

4,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Bruno needed no second bidding. He built Derek a Fox-powered Wolf race car in double quick time- the vintage Terrier motor he had put by proved a bit short of puff- and Clint provided a special paw-adapted throttle. Derek was a natural. Sitting on a high stool at the driver's podium, his tail beating out the rythym of the lap against the back wall, he turned out to be fast- cool, with instant reflexes and a ruthless competitive spirit. He shook that car down like he tore up the old Middleshire Futtocks in his sheepdogging days. With his long pink tongue lolling out of the side of his head, and great pools of drool collecting on the floor, he powered his little black sled to victory after victory in the days leading up to Lizzie's state visit.

'Any luck with the puzzling series of thefts, Thumb?' asked Coxie casually. A large stock of oilite bearings had vanished the night before, and a wholesale carton of STP flavoured Pringles had inexplicably walked away from the Member's Bar. 'I, er, seem to have mislaid my notebook temporarily, so I can't actually say at the moment' replied Thumb. 'I'm sure I had it in my pocket a minute ago.'
'Not to worry, old man. We can cope. And by jove, I think we're going to put on a show for the Queen, the like of which she will never have seen- thanks to Derek!'
Coxie glanced across at the canine slot racer, and was vaguely disturbed to see him wink slowly back at him.

The Queen and her entourage arrived in a fleet of black limousines. West Hamley put on its best suits and floral dresses and lined the High Street from the Pendle turn-off to the new Ikea, before the cavalcade turned down the gritty industrial estate that was the location of West Hamley Slot Car Club- the home of the world's only slot-racing dog.

A surprisingly short and plump lady with a lot of shiny metal in her hair stepped forward and shook Coxie by the hand.
'Hellay. I declare this person well and truly open.'
'I beg your pardon, you majesty?'
'Well- uhm, Arise, Sir... I'm sorry what is your name?'
'No- I'm not due a knighthood, you highness- I'm Coxie Cooper-Archer, and this is West Hamley...'
'Ahh. With you now- I declare this Slot Club well and truly open...'
'Sorry, love- We're open already.'
'Ahh. My mistake. So what do you do, young man?'

'Oh cut the crap, your maj. Do your gig. This is our Slot Club. Come in, shake a few hands, get out and get on with your life.' Bruno, as ever, had no respect for unelected authority. Coxie, anxious to show exactly the opposite, cut in.
'Please- please your highmajestyness- this way. Follow me. We have laid on a little demonstration for you. We are proud to count amongst our members a particularly fine representative of the canine world. Allow me to present Derek- the world's only slot-racing dog!'
'O. How amusing. Do continue.'

As arranged, at the moment the Queen entered the club, a G.P. class heat was started, and seven nervous racers thumbed their cars away from the line in front of the royal party. The eighth lane was occupied by Derek and his Wolf. All eyes were on him. But Derek's eyes were not on the track. He was staring at the Queen like a fox stares at a chicken. And Derek's Wolf stayed on the line. Derek's paw was poised- not over his specially adapted throttle, but over his groin. He was scratching.
'Is this one's famous dog?' remarked the Queen. 'He doesn't seem very.... Awwwwwwwwllkkkkkhuhuhuhn... Fitztightly! Do something! Get me out of here!'

Derek had pounced. His forelegs were wrapped tightly around the Queen's left thigh, and his lower belly was bouncing rapidly against her shin. His tail stood out as stiff as a flag pole, shuddering with every thrust, and his back legs quivering like harp strings, jerking. His back paws pattered on the floor, the claws clattering a cross-rhythm on the lino, and his head turned up to the ceiling, his ears flat against his furry skull. He was panting, hard and fast.

'Eeeeeurghh! The beast! My best Hardy Amies! We'll never get those stains out, will we Philip? Remember how we tried that last time you got squiffy in Balmoral? I'm leaving! And you can forget your BSE you ruffians! I've never been so mistreated in all my life. Goodbye!'
And with that, the Queen and her entire entourage departed.
Coxie put his head in his hands and cried.
'I'll never live this down as long as I live! Derek- Derek- whatever got into you?'

The dog looked up from his grooming. He'd been delving deep into the muddy white fur around his groin with his tongue, tugging at the knots with his teeth, quite contentedly. As dogs do in such situations.
'Arf!' he said 'Blimey. I ain't had it for weeks! She's a cracker and no mistake! Funny perfume though. What you all staring at?'

4,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
'Derek! You can talk! Bless my soul...'
Coxie had stopped sobbing, and was gawping at the dog, who had momentarily stopped licking its private parts.
'Course he can- skwwuuuummmpf- gekaaack' interjected Sam. 'He's been a-talkin' to you all this time. What did you think- I was one o' they dad-blamed ventriloquilists? When you been sharin' a fallin-down shed with no-one but a dog for twenty years, you got to have a way of passin' the time- huuuuuuccckuk- ain't yer? Derek's a much better conversationalist than his Mum was.'
'Absolutely, Sam- Lord bless her soul' said Derek. 'But didn't you all notice? I ordered my 'alf o' lager at the bar- I told Thumb where Argent was- I asked Eric for a pound of sausages, but he never got them for me. And I had a nice chat with Claudia about Rolf Harris...'
At this point he actually broke into song, demonstrating a slightly gruff tenor which nevertheless was pitch-perfect. 'I'm Jake the Peg, diddle-iddle-iddle-ee, with my extra leg, diddle-iddle-iddle-ee' he sang, at the same time hopping around the room with one leg tucked up to his tum and doing a fair imitation of Rolf Harris' legendary stage act. 'Great man. Great, great man.' he said when he finished, and returned to licking his bits in the middle of the clubroom.
Half the club were weeping with laughter, the other half just stood staring in astonishment.
'I can do Coojee bear too...'
'No- stop it Derek, please!' said Coxie who had recovered his composure. 'Sure, we heard you barking the odd word, but never whole sentences...'
'I didn't really have much to say, what with most of you being in the Super-Premium Members+ Executive class Bar- the one with the No Dogs sign on the door, most of the time.' Derek replied.
'But what got into you just now- behaving like that with the Queen! You're obviously an intelligent dog- how could you....?' At this point Coxie's words began to fail as he recalled the humiliation that had just befallen him, and his beloved club.
'Oh come on, Coxie- she's just a woman! And something about her scent drove me wild. I am an animal, you know. Wait a minute! Got it! That smell! Concentrated essence of Corgi on heat! Ahhh! I used to know a right sexy little corgi back in Penny Hills. I wonder what our kids look like?'

It was then that West Hamley's own Two Fat Ladies disrupted the discussion. Bustling into the club in their multiple layers of expensive outdoor wear and dragging mud across the deep-pile shag of our Super-plus members lounge, Clarissa Putson-Weight and Matilda Bodily-Harm were spitting fur.
'You cur!' screamed Clarissa, her hand-carved boxwood shooting stick pointing murderously at Derek. 'We shall never be invited to the Palace Garden party now! We shall be thrown out of the Hunt! The shame, the shame! You foul, foul creature. Men are all the same- nothing but parasites on the body of a good, proud, earthy woman, eh Matilda? Man or dog- the male of the species is unspeakable! You will leave our stables forthwith. You have no home under OUR roof! Muff House is from now on out-of-bounds to you all. Yes! All of you filthy slot racers. We know what really goes on in here, and we shall be speaking to our M.P., won't we dear?'

'Whoops' said Coxie, after the doors had stopped shaking. 'They seem to have taken it rather badly. Still, you're welcome at our place Sam. But Derek might be a bit of a problem. Rover-B.R.M. is very territorial- doesn't like other hounds about the place.'
'I understand, Coxie. I'm the same myself. But don't worry- I'll kip here. Under the track is perfectly comfortable. I shall have pleasant dreams tonight, believe you me! See you in the morning, Sam.' With that, Derek sneaked under the chicane, circled a few times, dropped onto his belly, curled his tail round to his nose and fell asleep.

We all left the club quietly, at the end of a very odd day- even by West Hamley's standards. But unaware that it was only the beginning of an even odder night....

4,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
To recap;
Derek the talking dog has disgraced the entire West Hamley Slot Car Club by shagging the Queen's leg. Everyone has gone home despondant- Derek and his pal Sam Shepherd have been thrown out of their temporary home, and Derek has been locked up for the night in the Club. Meanwhile, the mysterious losses of vital pieces of equipment continue. Now read on... as if you care.

Derek couldn't really sleep. He woke, snuffled about a bit, and was pleased to find his Walter Wolf F1 car still in its pitbox, trackside. He shuffled himself up onto the driver's rostrum, plugged in his special paw-adapted controller, and started a few warm up laps. Nothing quite settled his canine brain like running his car against the clock- well, not since his flock of Middleshire Futtock sheep had been taken away by Euro inspectors all those years ago. He was getting down to the middle 10s when his acute doggie ears detected a disturbance. Pricked and alert, the twin furry cones pivotted on the top of his head like directional radar.
Someone was breaking into the club through the bathroom window.
Derek laid down his throttle carefully and let his instincts take over. He shrank back into the shadows as a torch beam penetrated the clubroom. A lithe, sinuous shape with what appeared to be enormous bosoms glided across the floor, checking the shelves, the cupboards, the pit boxes. The torch beam fell on Derek's Wolf, stranded on avocado lane in dead man's curve. A long, slender black clad arm stretched out, plucked it from the track, and dropped it into a large gunny sack.
It was too much for Derek to bear. He leapt out of his hiding place, teeth bared and claws out. He plunged onto the intruder's back, growling and thrashing his mighty paws. He tasted leather. It was enough to drive him to a frenzy. Barking, snapping, tearing with teeth and claws, he soon had the mysterious stanger pinned on the floor. With characteristic resourcefulness, he ripped several yards of power cable out of the track, wrapped the body tightly and dragged it under the pits. Swiftly, with animal grace, he loped out to the bar, where he found the telephone, and texted Inspector Thumb.
Thumb got the message, and within minutes, sirens were swirling the cold West Hamley night's air into a maelstrom of flashing lights and pressing crowds.

Thumb and Argent marched into the clubroom, followed closely by Coxie and most of the West Hamley Slot Car Club Committee. In the darkness they could make out only two bright white staring eyes, a pair of blood-red gums and two rows of shining wet pointed teeth.
'My Godfathers- it's the Hound of the Baskervilles!' exclaimed Thumb.
Coxie switched on the main lights.
'No it's not- it's Derek' said Sam.
'Yes- and who's that?' said Coxie.
Derek stood, tail erect, straddling a body, bound in mains cable and clad in torn leather, long glossy black hair swept across the floor framing a white, terrified, yet startlingly beautiful face.
Thumb noticed the single lock of pure white filament cascading amongst the shining black mane. His detective's photographic memory whirred briefly, and the full story came to him in one blinding flash.
'Badger! So it's you!' he exclaimed. 'You've been filching stuff from the club for the last six weeks. Only your sleek, athletic and strangely attractive body could worm it's way in through that tiny bathroom window. What were you up to? Sabotage? Or just trying to build up your own rival club?'
'You can't prove a thing, Inspector!'
Badger's wild eyes flashed, her slim body squirmed exotically under the tight wire bindings. 'I was attacked by this wild dog for no reason! There were no witnesses! What are you going to put up against me in court? You think you can convict me on the bark of a dog in the witness box?'
'Au contraire, m'amselle.'
Derek had lowered his tail, and was now leaning against the bar on his hind legs, his front paws somehow encircling a brandy glass and a large cigar.
'I shall not bark, but describe tonights events with precision and accuracy. Methinks your body-hugging leather outfit will make you very popular- in Wandsworth Scrubs women's prison!' Derek's eyes flashed briefly while club members all around him applauded mightily. Then he bowed lightly, and drew deeply on his cigar.
Argent escorted the defeated Badger O'Halloran out to the Squad car, while club members gathered round Derek, the talking dog.
'Well you've certainly redeemed yourself, Derek old lad grwwwluggghuniough' said Sam.
'Yes- I'm sorry we doubted you. There must be something we can do to make it up. We owe you a great deal' said Coxie.
'Yesssss. Well, there is one thing' growled Derek, softly.
'Anything, Derek- anything. Just say the word.'
'Well. Sam and I came along here just a few weeks ago. You were very hospitable. We were very grateful- even though it was you who tore down our old shack in the first place. And within a few days, Sam here was invited into the Members bar. Then he got a pass into the Members+ Privelege lounge. Then he got a place in the Executive Special Members Exclusive Saloon. And after that he got full benefits of the Special bonus points hi-flyers super privelege+ de-luxe membership. Just because he could spin a good yarn about the old days of West Hamley. Me? I was left with a bowl of dusty water outside the vistor's reception area. How about it Coxie? All I want is a Privelege+ members all areas executive pass. Not too much to ask, is it?'
'Not too much at all, Derek dear boy. From now on you are our first canine Privelege+ member. And may you enjoy all the benefits of our club card group purchase scheme to the full!'
A resounding round of applause greeted Coxie's announcement, and Derek's tail didn't stop wagging for three weeks.
The reporters on the local West Hamley Bugle newspaper were just as happy. They'd never had such a headline in years. The next day's paper became legendary in the annals of small town journalism. And quite right. No-one else has been able to come up with a headline to beat;

'Talking Sheep-Dog Races Wolf and Out-Foxes Badger the Cat-Burglar'

4,593 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
And you know how odd things seem to happen at West Hamley over Christmas, Diff?
I have the strangest feeling.....
Get stocked up with some good sippin' whiskey and pull that ol' armchair right up close.
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