WILLIAM DONALDSON'S WEEK: Wanna score? Forget your friends

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The Independent Online
I continue to be of some help, I think, to the hard-pressed Mr Rod Ellis of North Street, Clapham, who is toiling away still on 101 Things Streetwise People Do, if not to the BBC's gifted head of entertainment, Mr David Liddiment, who now rings me every day seeking a progress report on El Independo, my satirical soap for BBC2.

I have come up not just with a new entry for 101 Things Streetwise People Do, but with an idea for a whole new toilet book - to be called 101 False Economies and likely to be ready in time for Methuen's Christmas humour list.

It's a false economy to obtain your drugs by waiting for a friend to score, offering to help and then nicking some of his. Given the confusion of indecipherable telephone calls and fruitless rendezvous with other streetwise persons (some with their hats on back to front) it would have been more profitable had you flown to Amsterdam, accommodated yourself at the American Hotel, treated yourself to several fish dinners and a couple of adult entertainments, returning to London with the Bulldog Cafe's entire stock of controlled substances.

That said, it's odd what gets readers ringing up and firing off letters of complaint. This time it's the small reference I made last week to Tugger and to the England selectors' pigheaded refusal to pick both our most talented players, the little lad Catt and the little lad Hull.

First up was Mr Alway, who reads this column for torts and defamation, but who also, and quite rightly, keeps a weather-eye open for editorial betises and faux pas.

"The inference is," said Mr Alway, "that the selectors should play the little lad Catt instead of Will Carling, who, you say, is getting fatter every day, and the little lad Hull instead of Guscott, who, you say, has lost a yard of pace. This would be absurd."

What I had meant, of course (and what I now explained to Mr Alway), was that with Andrew, Carling and Guscott ageing rapidly it was ridiculous to play Catt at full-back - thus keeping Hull out of the side - when, quite soon, both would have to be accommodated. Hull should play at full-back with Catt on the back-burner, ready to take over from Andrew or from one of the fat and slowing centres.

Next up was Isabelle, who, since I introduced her to Mich-elle, has become so streetwise that she has lost three of her properties in a bungled insurance fraud and has been disconnected from the national grid by British Telecom.

"What's the problem?" I said, when she arrived at my place in a frightful state.

"Your piece about the little lad Catt and the little lad Hull was clearly absurd," she said. "What you should ..."

"Don't you start," I said. "Is that it?"

"No," she replied. "I'm pregnant."

Not being streetwise, I walked right into it and asked her who the father was - confident that she'd nominate Fergal, a deranged ex-Provo who is squatting in one of her properties and who, when she tried to throw him out, hospitalised two bailiffs and a social worker.

"Who's the father?" I said.

"Fergal the deranged ex-Provo," she said. "But that's not the problem. The problem is I want to score some grass. Not for me, but for my accountant, Mr Kops. Mr Kops is a good egg, being particularly effective against outlandish Pakistanis who arrive on your doorstep with a writ of distraint. His method is to grab them by the throat and ask them how they fancy being nobbled for incitement to a fraudulent preference. That said, he did once, after a puff, leave me long in Glaxo."

Seeing an opportunity to nick a bit myself, I rang up Tony the Drug Fiend, who, since he did eight years in Maidstone for supplying members of the Royal Family, has been a bit slow on the uptake. If you ask for "chocolate" he arrives with a bar of Cadbury's Flake.

"It's for Isabelle, more accurately, for her accountant, Mr Kops," I said, "so I don't want the stuff which I occasionally - and for purely investigative reasons - used to take. Mr Kops wants the stuff people did in the Sixties."

"I know what you want," he said.

He turned up two hours later with a sackful of cocaine, which, since he'd bruised half way across London, I felt obliged to buy.

"I'm glad," he said, "that you've dropped Andy from the Sixties' fiancee, Michelle, in favour of Isabelle. She's a sensible girl and more suitable in every way."

I was now several hundred pounds out of pocket and, since Isabelle kept on at me not to disappoint her accountant, Mr Kops, I spent the next three days cancelling meetings with Mr Liddiment, and, instead, running after chaps in Brixton with their hats onback to front ("Word up! Your piece about the little lad Catt ..."), at the end of which I'd spent another £100 on a bagful of wood shavings mixed with curry-powder.

This was an emergency, so I rang Michelle.

"Are you sure you understand what I'm talking about?" I said. "Mr Kops wants the stuff people in the Sixties did."

"I know what you want," she said. And you're in luck. I'm on the M4 and just approaching Chiswick roundabout. I'll be with you in 20 minutes."

She arrived two days later with a bagful of Ecstasy.

"What the hell's this?" I said.

"I thought you wanted the stuff people in the Sixties did? Diamonds in the sky and yellow submarines. Sitars and Indians on the Isle of Wight. Fat men and reeking girls dancing through the buttercups. Mr Kops will be well pleased."

"They didn't do Ecstasy in the Sixties."

"I know that, but I couldn't get any acid. They're Smarties anyway, so Mr Kops won't know the difference."

We were unable to put that to the test because Isabelle never turned up.

"I can't stand these streetwise people," said Michelle. "They're so unreliable. What shall we do now?"

Since she was wearing her mad little legs I suggested we cook Tony the Drug Fiend's cocaine, which, disappointingly, turned immediately to treacle.

"Can I have my petrol money?" said Michelle.

It would have been cheaper to fly to Amsterdam.

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