The Circular Digital Motion
'Ooo Inspector! Whatever do you mean? Here, love, we've been overdoing things again, hav'nt we? Worrying about your toy cars, are you? Let me give you your massage. You know the old circular digital motion, so soothing…'
'Get off me Argent! Take your filthy murderous- uhm, manicured hands off me! And keep away from this computer. Last time you touched it you pressed delete and nearly annihilated us all! Left me hanging by my belt in cyber-wotsits for weeks.'
'Don't be silly, Inspector. Little me? Annihilate you? All I want to do is give you a little rub…'
Inspector Thumb threw himself over the keyboard, trying to keep himself between Argent and the delete button, and whatever other computer gadgets he might use against him. 'I don't know how you have the nerve to show your face in Slot Car Division at all! We should have an arrest warrant out on you. And what is that smell?'
'Aren't I a silly. You havn't been told, have you sir? You're quite safe with me now, unless you're afraid of a little physical contact. I've had a makeover. Just like Alan Titchmarsh. The writers decided they wanted a new gimmick. Couldn't afford to have a cliched provincial caricature in the story any more, so they reinvented me! I'm so thrilled. All this attention! I'm so much more sensitive now. Wouldn't hurt a fly. Let alone a Ninco. Tee hee. Just my little jokey-wokey sir! I've got some lovely new suits to wear, and oh, the make-up's to die for…'
'I have no idea what you're talking about, Argent. All I know is that the last time we met, you had this mad idea that I was a fictional character, you were the writer, and you had the power to destroy me at the stroke of a keyboard.'
'There are lots of other things I'd rather stroke, sir.'
'Don't interrupt! Well- I've proved that all wrong anyway, just by being here. So I guess I'm safe enough. Here. Show me how to open this message up. And then get the cleaners in to clear up this sickly smell.'
'Budge up then sir. Just rest your hand on my mouse here. Gently- don't grab, you big strong boy. Oh you're so keen. And double click. No. Let me guide you. Like this. Don't you like my 'Spirit of Narcissus' for men?'
'If that's what the smell is, quite frankly no. Now take your hand off my finger while I read this message. What? Good grief! My secret's out!'
'Ooo I never knew! This IS my lucky day!'
'Shut up Argent. I mean my secret frictionless guide flag. My best hope of winning the Cat Ass Trophy! In the hands of the opposition!'
'Frictionless? Now where's the fun in that?'
'For heaven's sake, Argent, I think I preferred you when you were a mass murderer. My working drawings for the guide are in my filing cabinet; bring them over here.'
'Nothing I like better than to run my hands through your drawers, sir…'
'For the love of Pete stop it, Argent, or I'll have you pounding the beat.'
'Just how I like it, sir.'
'Will you stop these ridiculous double entendres, Argent! What on earth's got into you?'
'Nothing that you can't get out again, as my Aunty used to say, you cheeky detective you. Here's your file…By all the seamen in Portsmouth…What is that? Looks just the thing for my massages, with those little rollers…'
'It's my new slot guide design you fool. Nothing whatsoever to do with your preposterous body rubs.'
'But that little downward projection- think of all the little intimate nooks and crannies I could reach…'
'It's only half an inch long you blithering moron!'
'It's not the measurement, it's the motion, as the boys say down at the gym…'
'One more word, Argent, and….oh heavens. I have to get this to the Doowae Miniature Engineering Company by Friday, or we'll not be ready for the race. Get the fax machine warmed up. And what was that you were doing to my shoulders? It was quite nice, actually.'
'Just the old circular digital motion sir. Very relaxing. We'll get your toy cars finished, don't you worry.'
At West Hamley, things had been fairly hectic over the last few weeks. The entire place had been dissolved into non-existence, then just as suddenly reconstituted, with only a few vaguely disconcerting mix-ups. But the Cat Ass Trophy was back on the calendar, the most serious race challenge of the year. Everyone from club secretary Coxie Cooper-Archer, to Incompetant Eric, the habitual tail-ender, had an entry lined up, and more were trickling in from other clubs on a daily basis. Everyone had to relearn the circuit anti-clockwise, one of the mistakes due to the writer's faulty memory, but it meant that some of the home advantage would be dissipated, and the racing would be close, as the three-armed man gleefully anticipated.
It came as no surprise to receive entries as far away as the Yukon, and even less so from somewhere as close to home as Eltham, but both drivers were new to the committee. Inspector Thumb had had his name down since last year, when he was soundly beaten by a chap named Morse driving a nice scratchbuilt Jaguar 3.8, who'd not been seen since. Everyone knew Thumb was determined to win this time, but no-one was prepared for his dramatic entry to the club on race day. As he walked into the club room with a strange and bandy gait, his hat was pulled low and his collar high, as if to disguise the bright red flush in his jowls. Barely a step behind, his much anticipated new car, wrapped in black velvet, was borne aloft on an embroidered red cushion held by his sergeant, who was wearing a pink latex jumpsuit and a short, glitter strewn cloak.
'Walk this way…' said Lil Cooper-Archer, guiding them through the gawping crowd.
'I'm afraid I'd find that very difficult' replied Thumb.