William Donaldson's Week: Get me some of that insecticide

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The Independent Online
HONEST John's been potted, thereby, for a while this week, presenting me with a moral dilemma - though not a dilemma in any formal sense. The last time I said here that something was a dilemma when it wasn't, I got a 20-minute lecture from my friend Ted Honderich, Grote Professor of Mind and Logic at UCL. We'll not want another one so soon.

The question was, should I raid the legal fighting fund (in re myself and the little trollop who took me to the cleaners) and stand bail for Honest John, thereby securing my supply of Zimovane, or should I let him stew, thereby keeping the fighting fund intact?

I should make it clear that the Zimovane wasn't for me. I'm fine, at my desk at 8am, mind like an ice pick, invoicing all and sundry for meetings attended, not least with the corpse at the BBC. No, the Zimovane was for Reena the Mad Alsatian, which may surprise you since you thought she'd moved in with Karin, the vicar's Rottweiler bitch.

Well, she disgraced herself, I'm afraid, chewing the cassocks and leaving droppings behind her the size of a circus elephant's, in one of which the vicar slipped just before he buried the mayor's wife. When the mayor arrived, he slipped in it, too.

'I did that,' the vicar said.

The mayor was astonished. 'I'll worship elsewhere,' he said. 'Come along, Claudia.'

The next day, Reena was back with me, which is why I needed the Zimovane. When, previously, I'd given her the whole packet, she'd gone down like a sack of meal, and had been unconscious for a week.

Easy, you're thinking. This was an emergency, so I should have blown the legal fighting fund, you think, and secured Honest John's release. Well, you're missing the nature of the moral dilemma, I'm afraid. Confident that my side (Frankie Fraser and my Uncle John) would wipe the floor with the little trollop's solicitors, McWhirter and Bumscratcher of Bognor Regis ('An ex-Master of the Rolls, eh? One cheese and pickles, please, and a ham and tomato for the lovely Marilyn' - he's incorrigible, is Frank), Roger From Chicago and I had already earmarked the fighting fund for a trip to Ibiza, where we would write our painfully honest novels ('Dos Fundadors, por favor, Pedro, we'll start tomorrow'). Roger From Chicago would never have spoken to me again if I'd blown it on Honest John's release.

Meanwhile, and apropos, if you're off to Amsterdam for some recreational drugs, forget it. The cannabis cafes there are selling insecticide supplied to them by Sue From The Earl's Court Road.

You were wrong about Sue From The Earl's Court Road. Her disorganised state was due not to any inherent flakiness but to the fact that she'd been harvesting her cannabis crop. Indeed, but for her you might not be reading this since I used her mobile phone to file it from the bathroom, where, for a while, Karin, the vicar's Rottweiler bitch, had us cornered.

Let me explain. Sue From The Earl's Court Road rang me on Tuesday to apologise for having been out of touch.

'I've been testing my cannabis crop,' she said. 'I'm off my tits. I don't know whether it's Monday or Friday.'

'I'll have a kilo of that,' I said. 'Not for me, you understand. For Reena the Mad Alsatian.'

'I'll be there in half an hour,' she said.

She pitched up two days later, explaining that she had moths in her wardrobe. 'I've been spraying insecticide,' she said.

'Never mind the moths, start rolling,' I said - whereupon my front door came down. It was Karin, the vicar's Rottweiler, crazed with love and here to recover Reena the Mad Alsatian.

'I hope you know the word of command,' said Sue From The Earl's Court Road.

'A dangerous thing in the wrong hands,' I said. 'When we left the Navy . . .'

'Is this one of them anecdotes of yours?'

'Yes,' I said. 'We were put on reserve and told to report to the nearest battleship if we received a telegram with a coded message. My friend Keith Statham wired the message to all and sundry, thus mobilising the country's reserve fighting force. Keep rolling.'

For an hour we pulled on joints the size of baseball bats, blowing smoke at Karin and Reena, but nothing happened.

'This stuff's rubbish,' said Sue From The Earl's Court Road. 'What was the coded message, then?'

'Bollards,' I said - whereupon Karin, the vicar's Rottweiler, laid her ears back and chased us into the bathroom.

'At least we know the word of command,' I said.

'Plus we know it must have been the insecticide made me lose two days in three. I'll give the brutes a dose.'

I filed this while she went to work with the insecticide. When I came out of the bathroom, Reena and Karin were on their backs with their legs in the air, not knowing if it was Wednesday or Christmas.

'That's solved my moral dilemma,' I said. 'Honest John can stay put.'

'It's not a dilemma. According to Professor Honderich . . .'

'Don't you start. Where are you going?'

'To sell the insecticide in Amsterdam,' said Sue From The Earl's Court Road.