William Donaldson's Week: A bullet for the fat benefactor

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The Independent Online
I'VE BEEN off the rails a bit this week and the fault, I think, is Mary Kenny's. Every Sunday, Penny, my beloved, used to read Miss Kenny in the Telegraph with tears of laughter pouring down her cheeks. It was one of the things that most endeared her to me.

Last Sunday, Miss Kenny told the story about the Jewish mother who bought her son a red tie and a blue tie for his birthday and who, when he came down to breakfast in the red one, said: 'So, you don't like the blue one?' Fair enough, but then Miss Kenny added - incredibly, you may think, but you can check it if you like: 'There's no pleasing some people]' (and the exclamation mark is hers).

Reading this, I wondered whether Penny, my beloved, was rolling around on the floor of her executive bungalow in Cornwall while her fat regatta man examined his cheque stubs in his 'den'; and the thought of this caused me such a spasm of white-hot grief that I went out and bought a bottle of Fundador, which had made me happy once in Spain.

I drank the whole bottle at a sitting and nothing happened, so I went to bed, but the next morning various friends rallied round, not least Lord Longford, who supplied me with a gun.

No he didn't. He merely suggested that I get in touch with Honest John, a mutual friend whom I hadn't spoken to in years. That's a good idea, I thought. I'd get a gun from Honest John, pop down to Cornwall and shoot Penny, my beloved's, fat man up the arse. Not hurt him, you understand, merely liven him up a bit, cause him to hop around the marina ('Hold hard here] You've shot me up the arse'), cannoning off other fat men and their common wives.

'Have you got a gun?' I said to Honest John.

'Why?' said Honest John.

'We're off to Cornwall,' I said, 'to shoot Penny, my beloved's, fat man up the arse.'

'I haven't got a gun.' said Honest John, 'but I've got pounds 800's worth of first-class postage stamps.'

I ask you. 'Great,' I said. 'I'll write him a letter. That should shake him up.'

Then Jillypoo rang and suggested that, like her recently widowed mother, I take up ballroom dancing, and this depressed me so much that I bought another bottle of Fundador.

I drank it at a sitting with no noticeable effects, but it must have softened me up a bit because when Abby From The Eighties rang and suggested that I do a trick with Brian The Banker - a former client, she told me, of Penny, my beloved's - I agreed. When a working girl finds a mug who'll book her out for life, it's customary, it seems, for her to pass on, for a down payment and residuals, the goodwill of her business to the highest bidder - in this case, Abby From The Eighties.

'He's the chairman of one of our leading merchant banks,' said Abby From The Eighties. 'He wants to sample the low life, be taken to a dingy room where he'll be insulted by a crack fiend in a dirty raincoat. Your flat seems ideal, and there's a monkey in it for you.'

Times are hard, and if I couldn't shoot Penny, my beloved's fat man up the arse, I could at least kick another of her clients round the room, so I took the booking. Further, and if I did well, I might in time meet all her former customers, might even find one I kicked so hard that he set me up in a hideous Cornish bungalow next to hers.

I rang my man, Lancelot Bunce, and told him to be at my place as soon as possible with a rock of crack the size of Winchester Cathedral, but Brian The Banker and Abby From The Eighties turned up first. At which point, I quite forgot the role I was meant to play and, instead, warbled on about the weather ('Warm for the time of year'), earning a dirty look from Abby From The Eighties, who looked so handsome in a basque a size too small that I fell upon her, earning a second and more severe rebuke.

'The artistes,' she said, 'are not meant to fall on top of one another. You're doing badly even for a new girl.'

Then Lancelot Bunce pitched up, and he'll not call again, I think, since by now Brian The Banker was trussed like a turkey in the hall, having various humiliations visited on him by a large lady in a basque.

'I'll not stop,' said Lancelot Bunce.

And the rest, you'll be glad to hear, is more or less a blank, though there was an awkward moment at the end. Brian The Banker picked up a proof copy of Root Around Britain, which has a picture of me on the back, and then he noticed a copy of the Independent open at last week's column. He looked at the picture and then at me and then at the Independent, and then his brain dropped out. He turned as white as herring roe and wandered off into the night, muttering to himself.

'You've lost me my best client,' said Abby From The Eighties. 'A distinguished banker, of a mind to disport himself innocently after 9pm, doesn't expect to be reprimanded by Henry Root, still less by the Independent's top investigative reporter.'

I was so depressed I rang up Penny, my beloved, who sounded even more depressed.

'I've just read out Mary Kenny's column to my fat benefactor,' she said. 'The one with the Jewish mother joke. I did the punchline - 'So, you don't like the blue one?' - and what do you think he said? 'There's no pleasing some people]' '

'You've had enough? You're coming back to London?'

'No. I'll stick it out.'

'She's a good worker,' said Abby From The Eighties. 'Which is more than I can say for you. You'll not get paid.'

I blame Mary Kenny.