I arrive in London in the depth of an icy winter and check into my usual room at Dr Whipnade’s residence. Next morning, I hike across Regent’s Park to the home of Richard E Grant, the actor and substance-sniffer. He arrives at the door in his dressing gown and greets me with a glazed expression on his face.
“Good morning, Richard,” I say. “I have a particularly aromatic specimen for you. It’s from the land of your birth.”
“What?” he mumbles. “Oh, yes, come into the lounge. Don’t mind me, GB, I’m always like this in the morning.”
When we are seated, I hand him an airtight plastic box containing the Purple Pansy of Swaziland. He pulls off the lid, sticks in his nose and takes a deep breath.
“Exquisite, GB!” he murmurs. “I won’t need to use my Vicks inhaler until tea time.”
“I thought you’d like it,” I remark. “So what’s the news, Richard?”
“The news!” he exclaims. “I’ll tell you what the fucking news is! The students have been rioting! Swarms of them took to the streets, defacing monuments and hurling flower pots. Can you imagine wasting good flower pots like that? It’s a good thing it’s not summer, or the streets would be stinking with their horrible fucking body odour!”
“Couldn’t the police control them?” I ask.
“Oh, they arrested a few and whacked a few others on the head, but it didn’t deter them one iota. They outwitted the plods by splitting into hunting parties and running amok in different directions. A particularly vile posse rampaged down Regent’s Street and ambushed the limousine of Prince Charles and Camilla. They forced them out of their car, and one of the hooded ruffians pinched Camilla on the arse. I saw the whole thing from outside Banana Republic – you should have seen the look on her face!”
“Unauthorised contact with Camilla’s posterior is a serious breach of protocol,” I remark. “Even her butler needs a royal warrant to do that. The student who committed the outrage will have to be exiled when Charles becomes the sovereign. You can’t have someone openly boasting that he’s goosed the Queen of England.”
“Well, they’ve hushed it up pretty well so far,” says Richard. “The unofficial cover story is that someone poked her with a stick. I’m keeping my lips firmly sealed so as not to ruin my chances of a knighthood.”
“Very wise, Richard.” I remark. “Speaking of knighthoods, how’s the career going? Seen any good scripts lately?”
“I’ve read a great one for a remake of King Solomon’s Mines that’s true to the original novel. I’ve already turned down the part of Alan Quartermain so I can audition for the role of Gagool the witch-smeller.”
I stare at Richard for a sign that he’s jesting, but his earnest face indicates otherwise.
“You are aware that Gagool is a black woman aged somewhere between 120 and 240?” I say.
“That’s exactly why I should play her!” he insists. “I’ll never broaden my range if my on-screen persona is always some toffee-nosed Englishman who speaks like a 1950s newsreader.”
Unable to refute his arguments, I wish him good luck and bid him a fond farewell. On the way back, I spot a couple of hungry students foraging in the snow for dead rodents. It being Christmas, I invite them home for a bowl of broth and a shampoo. They accept my offer eagerly and walk behind me as a gesture of respect. I tell them to maintain a distance of ten feet and keep their hands in their pockets.
Gorilla Bananas wishes his readers a Merry Christmas. He will a return in the New Year after a two week holiday break.
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