Tompkins awoke with the sun streaming through the red, white, and blue chintz curtains – it was just after noon, early for him. He looked around the blue-painted room and located his red dressing gown and light-blue slippers, which were under the white 19th-Century chaise-longue, for reasons Tompkins had forgotten.
He romped down the stairs and cooked his favourite breakfast of kippers and porridge. It reminded him of those summers long ago when Tompkins and his pater would walk for miles after a huge breakfast such as this. They’d swim in a few lochs, climb trees, chase deer, run up mountains, carry boulders, and generally have a wonderful time in the Scottish Highlands. The chimes of Big Ben from the front-door bell broke Tompkins’s reveries like cold ice on an aching tooth.
“Bish and bosh, who can it be at this early hour?” said Tompkins to himself as he strode to the door, almost pulling it off the hinges.
On the step was a short man, wearing a deerstalker hat and smoking a cigarette he’d rolled himself.
“Yuri, how the blazes are you?” boomed Tompkins.
“My name, Mr Tompkins, is Vasek, I am not sure where you get the name Yuri from, anyway your car is here for you.”
“Well, that’s quick work, Vasek, my Polish friend.”
“Slovenia, Mr Tompkins, Slovenia,” replied Vasek..
“Well, alright, East European, it’s still quick work, regardless of where you are from in that part of the world.”
“Well, quick work of a kind,” replied Vasek with a smile, “you see your car was, now what are the correct words in the English, a complete write-off, so I swap your car with another car in the showroom, before they open up, as you say in England.”
“You broke into the showroom, drove my car in, and drove another car, this car…” said Tompkins pointing at the shining motor on the street..”out of the showroom, after changing the number plates?”
“Well, yes and no – I wouldn’t say I drove your car, I would say we push your car with considerable effort, but it is now under a white sheet – like a Klu Klux Klan car – and awaits the salesman, who is in for a surprise by what he finds, I think.”
“He will, I hope it’s not Snippy Watson, because he’s a good friend of the mater’s family in Sussex, and has a delicate disposition, as they say, so he might faint with shock. Anyway, how much do I owe you?”
“Three hundred for the manual labour of we six pushing the car and two hundred for cleaning it and making sure it had none of your fingerprints on it.”
“Sounds a good deal, Vasek, do you have the keys?”
Vasek handed them over. Tompkins picked up the Meissen Vase standing in the porch and felt underneath it. He pulled out out a small plastic bag containing five 100 pound notes and handed it to Vasek.
“We always keep loose change hanging around, just in case the cat food supplier needs paying or the milkman wants to settle the weekly bill.”
Vasek smiled and accepted the money with a slight nod of the head.
“I will see you soon, Mr Tompkins. Oh there is one thing. My unfortunate, unemployed friends from East European are disappearing from the streets here in England, only to turn up in their home towns a few days later, wearing cartoon masks of the Bonfire Man…”