“I am really rather miffed about this,” said Tompkins to himself, “bish and bosh – they obviously feel I am a very bad driver, who will, as a matter of routine, during a day’s driving, lose both front and rear buffers, but manage to keep the driver’s door. How dare they imply I am such a bad driver, by the placement of three tracking devices on the one vehicle? What do I do? I have a good mind to put the devices on three separate lorries and let them chase over Eastern Europe after them, but I think the ruse will be better served, if I put them all on the one lorry and let them follow chummy Pole all the way to Danzig.”

This is what Tomcat Tompkins did – three transmitters in three carefully hidden places on the same lorry carrying plastic kitchen trays to the TV-watching people of Baltic Poland. As luck would have it, the driver of the lorry soon appeared from the rest area and climbed aboard. Tompkins powered up his Jaguar and followed the lorry back onto the motorway where he chugged along in its wake for three miles.

“So this is what obeying the speed limit is like,” said Tompkins yawning with the boredom of it all, “well sod this for a game of soldiers, I’ve had enough, I’ll leave the transmitters in the capable hands of the Polish driver and head, unhindered and untracked, down to the south coast.” Tompkins pulled out from behind the lorry and zoomed away. Two miles back down the motorway the Aston Martin and its three occupants noticed no difference in the speed of the vehicle they were now following.     

Tompkins soon arrived at a large house on the outskirts of Chichester. Ten minutes earlier he’d stopped near a field full of bulls and taken the precaution of scanning his vehicle for transmitters again and found nothing suspicious. He hadn’t wanted to lead his enemies to another of his gang’s so called ‘safe’ houses. The one in Clifton would have to be sold, and another one bought in a similar area of the country. His team could take no chances.

Tompkins admired the house which was around three hundred years old and had an ivy-covered exterior The birds were happily chirping in the pale afternoon sun. He strode down the driveway and hammered on the backdoor of the house. A breeze blew Tompkins’s straw-coloured locks as he waited for his compadre, Stalky Stark, to answer his summons.

“Tomcat, how the devil are you,” said Stalky, from an upstairs window. He was tucking his shirt hurriedly into his trousers.

“I say, what, have I interrupted something?”

“Well, yes I suppose, Esther’s gone up to town with the kids, so I was just giving the au pair a good rogering, as she was panting for it, or that’s how I interpreted it, anyway. I will be down in a second. Unless you want to come up and have a go?”

“Well, thanks for the offer, but I have something important to communicate with you, Stalky, so perhaps we could go for a walk, out of earshot of the hoi-polloi?” Stalky Stark climbed out of the window and came down the substantial black drainpipe in a manoeuvre he’d repeated a number of times over the years. As they walked, Tompkins outlined why what Stalky was doing was wrong. It was about a minute before Stalky spoke.