“Yes, that person, the Catholic – do you know anything about this repatriation of my friends?”
“I am sorry, Vasek, I don’t understand why that’s happening – do you think they’re just going on a coach tour, drinking too much, and then forgetting to get back on the coach to come back to jolly Old Blighty?”
“I don’t believe so, as they are looking for work all the time and wouldn’t go on a free coach trip. They wake up and find themselves back in their own country, where they don’t want to be.”
“Well, I’m not sure what to say, other than people should try and make the most of these opportunities to travel and see foreign climes, especially if they’re not having to pay.”
“I thank you for your information,” replied Vasek, “and now I must leave you to your fish and porridge breakfast.”
“Thank you and have a splendid lunch yourself,” replied Tompkins and strode back into his house thinking Vasek was a good man to know.
“Cripes,” said Tompkins to himself, when he got back into the kitchen, “are my cooking skills so bad that Vasek could smell my breakfast from out there? That’s an awful thing to have said to you, y’know, bish and bosh, Tomcat get a grip on things.”
Once he’d devoured his breakfast and swilled it down with a vast mug of coffee, Tompkins checked his new Jaguar to make sure Vasek had removed all the signs of the showroom.
With great care, he inspected the tyres, the boot, and the glove compartment, placing a few ‘personal’ items in their proper places, to show any interested parties that the car was his. The only problem was the number of miles on the clock, which stood at a paltry 171 though Tompkins knew this would soon change with his imminent trip to the south coast via Bristol, to see his pals.
Before he zoomed off, Tompkins attached suitable replies to the three pigeons and released them from his modest rooftop garden, modelled on Kew Gardens, where he did his gym sessions and weights routines. He made one more visit to the bedroom.
“Let’s get this show on the road, shall we?” said Tompkins, putting on his white driving gloves and yellow scarf, before bounding down the stairs and closing the front door behind him with one mighty swipe of his arm.
He started up the Jaguar and smiled at the familiar tone – it was sounding like his own car already. He slammed down the accelerator, avoiding a school bus and a fire engine, and made for the motorway.
First, out of a sense of guilt, he drove past the car showroom and saw a dramatic scene. The police were inspecting a damaged Jaguar in the centre of the showroom. All the sales people were lined against a wall and being shouted at by a large man in an expensive off-the-peg suit.
Amongst them was the friend of the family, who was looking somewhat perplexed at the turn of events. Tompkins made a mental note to make sure the man in the off-the-peg suit would soon have an unplanned holiday in the outer recesses of Romania, along with nine Romanians, who wouldn’t be happy at his presence amongst them.
Tompkins filled up the car at the next garage and headed down the motorway towards the south-west, zipping along the outside lane, middle lane, and inside lane, when it suited him to do so. In just over an hour, he parked outside a large house in the Clifton area of Bristol.
Tompkins opened the car door, leapt out, and did 50 press-ups on the pavement, just to get the stiffness out of his back and neck. Having completed these, he jumped over the garden gate and slammed his large hand against the black-painted front door of the house a few times. The birds stopped singing and next door’s cat, sleeping in their lounge window, opened an eye just to see who was shaking the house.
The door was opened by a man of about 40. He was about six feet tall and smoking a cigarette. His green jumper and yellow corduroy trousers didn’t match, but he didn’t care a damn what other people thought.
“Tomcat,” he shouted, “how the devil are you, I knew it was you, everyone else either uses the front-door bell or the knocker, but only dear old Tomcat tries to knock the door down with his bare hands.”
“Just one hand, Tiffkins, who’s in with you today?”
“Well, let me see, pretty much everyone you asked, Squaffy Jones, Berty Bertram, Teddy Smethurst-Pugh, Father Brown, Father Black, Father White, Reverend Green, Colonel Mustard, Noddy Houghton-Smythe, Cuthy Cuthbert, you know, those sort of splendid chaps, all of your acquaintance.”
“Yes, all are splendid chaps’ Lets get in there and see what we can do; I have to be quick, because I should be down near Chichester in two hours, y’know.”
“New car, Tomcat?” enquired Tiffkins.
“Well, yes and no, I had a smash yesterday, so I had to replace that motor with another auto, which was undamaged,” replied Tompkins, “and I need to drive it around a tad, just to get the mileage somewhat believable, just in case anyone asks, y’know.”
“Well, I’m sure you’ll manage that Tomcat, you could get a few Bulgarians in there by the looks of it. Anyway, in we should go.”
Tompkins stepped through the door and was greeted by a chorus of “For he’s a jolly good fellow” from the assembled white men.
“Hello Tomcat,” said Father Brown, “how is my splendid friend, today?”
“Very well, thank you,” replied Tompkins.
“Hello Tomcat,” said Father Black, “how is my splendid friend, today?”
“Very well, thank you,” replied Tompkins.
“Hello Tomcat,” said Father White, “how is my splendid friend, today?”
“Very well, thank you” replied Tompkins, thankful that the triplets hadn’t brought their five half-brothers along.
“Ay, Ay,” said Berty, “is that a Tomcat I see?”
“It is, woof woof,” replied Tompkins, “Berty, you will shortly receive a visitor, a winged messenger with some instructions for the lads here in Bristol. The 28th is the day and Harwich is the place where our esteemed enemy will arrive to pay his henchmen and cronies a visit. Organising their trouble for Old Blighty, but we will be there to stop them, and to divert their plans elsewhere.”