The Famous Five: The Next Generation
“What ho, Dick,” said Julian, sucking on a Benson and Hedges. “Things are really quiet around the estate once Mummy took a restraining order against those dastardly hoodie type youths. They brought nothing but trouble.”
Dick looked up from his Nintendo DSlite(TM), his eyes still showing traces of last night’s monster of a party at George’s place. “Far too quiet for my liking, Jules. I reckon we could get bored very quickly. We need to go and have an adventure.”
Julian stubbed out his cigarette in the gold plated ash-tray that was the centrepiece of a mahogany table in the mansion library. “I agree, Dick old chap. Since winning the Euromillions, we’ve done shag all but party. Partying is so last week, I think.”
“We should give Anne a shout. Haven’t seen much of her since she had her licence taken away. Downright unfair, if you ask me. It wasn’t her fault George made her drink those slammers. Bloody policemen, they should be out there stopping the elderly from being beaten to an inch of their lives for their pension books.”
“Society is wasted on the uncivilised,” Julian mused. He patted his pocket, removed his Apple iPhone and dialled Anne’s number. “It’s gone to her voice-mail. Hello Anne, Jules here. Dick and I were wondering if you’d like to go on an adventure. We haven’t had one for years, not since old Enid passed away. If you’re interested call me back. Bye.”
“I hope she calls back,” Dick said. He put the Nintendo on the table and walked to the big bay window. “Do you remember the old days, Jules? When we went down to the coast, sailed to the islands and found buried treasure?”
“I do indeed, Dick. We were stupid buggers giving it all up to the authorities. We should have kept it to ourselves and bought some decent hash.”
“We didn’t have hash in those days, Jules. We drank ginger beer, ate cucumber sandwiches and frollicked in the fields with Timmy the dog.”
They bowed their heads in respect for the passing of their canine friend, run over by an oil truck while being chased by Smithers the gardener. Timmy was a good dog, a bit frisky with Smither’s Border collie Rhonda, but a good dog all the same. He died doing his duty. Rhonda gave birth to some ugly-looking mongrels a while later.
“Here’s George,” Dick exclaimed. “Looks like she’s brought a friend.”
“Male or female,” asked Julian inquisitively.
“Neither. It looks like we have a new Timmy.”
“Flaming Nora! I’m so excited, Dick. Have we any vodka?”
“There should be some left. I hid it behind the Stephen King books over there. Pull away The Shining, Julian.”
Julian went over to one of the bookshelves and took away the King book. Behind was a half-full bottle of Smirnoff. “That’s spot on, Dick. I’ll go to the kitchen to get the ginger beer. You let George in.”
“I don’t think your mother’s going to like a rottweiler in the mansion, Julian.”
“George has a rott? That is so cool. Let them in, Dick. Mummy won’t hear a thing. She’s sleeping one-off, I fear.” Julian cast his eyes to the ceiling, shook his head, and left the library. Dick followed to let George and the rottweiler in.
“George, it’s so good to see you,” said Dick when he opened the front door. “Is that a new nose-ring? You didn’t have that at the party last night. You didn’t have that either.” He was pointing at the dog when he said this.
George barged passed him without a word, dragging the dog behind her. It seemed obvious to Dick that the animal was afraid for his life of the tomboy. So were most animals, except for dearly departed Timmy.
“Blasted social services,” she groaned. “Brain-dead morons.”
“What’s gotten into you?” Dick asked her when they got back to the library.
“They only want me to move back with my foster parents. They don’t like me kipping in with Jimmy Neville.”
“Why ever not? He’s a decent sort.”
“It’s because his dad’s still locked up and won’t be out for another seven years.”
“That’s a sticky point. Oh, there’s Julian now. He’s brought drinks.”
George dashed over to Julian, grabbed a drink from the tray and knocked it back in one gulp. “Not enough vodka,” was all she said.
“I’m sparing it. Mother found my stash and confiscated it.”
“Drank it, you mean,” Dick scowled. He turned to George, “She’s sleeping one off.”
“Again?” George queried.
“Again,” Julian agreed, downcast. “I’ll have to get her into rehab, the one that Winehouse tramp goes to every second week.”
“Why weren’t you at my party last night, Julian? You missed a right old knees-up, didn’t he, Dick?”
“Once the police went away, it was alright.”
“Me and Sam decided to have a quiet night in and watch Big Brother,” said Julian with a dreamy smile on his face. “We shared a bottle of Bollinger and a prawn curry.”
“Very romantic,” George said sardonically. “And how is lover-boy?”
“He’s very well, but he hasn’t told his father yet. He’s waiting until he’s written his will and about to croak it. Doesn’t want to be cut off from his inheritance.”
George took another glass from the tray, but sipped this one slowly. She appeared to coming back to her old self – the impish grin had made a reappearance. “So what are we up to today?”
Just then Julian’s iPhone rang, the theme from The Dambusters echoing around the library. “It’s Anne,” he said. “Hey there, cousin. You’ll never believe what’s after happening. George has a new dog, a rottweiler. What’s its name, George?”
“Timmy? Did you hear that, Anne? George has named him after good old Timmy.”
“It’s a bitch, Julian,” said George.
“Hold on, Anne. The dog is a girl-dog, and you called her Timmy? That is totally awesome…………Anne wants to know where you got her.”
“Jimmy gave her to me as a going away present. I thought I might leave her here. I doubt my foster parents will like her in that dump they call a house.”
“Did you hear that, Anne?” Julian said again. “Timmy’s going to stay here with me and Dick. Are you coming over?………….Excellent! I’ll do a beer run.” He hung up.
“What an amazing day this is going to be, isn’t it Dick? Dick?”
Dick had fallen sound asleep – last night’s revelry had finally caught up with the poor boy. Even the attention of Timmy the rottweiler, who was chewing at his trouser leg, had failed to rouse him.
“Amateur,” spat George. “So what’s the story with Anne?”
“She’s on her way,” replied Julian. “She’s calling a taxi and should be here in an hour. I’m going to the market to get more alcohol.”
“Bring back vodka. Lots of vodka. I’m in the mood to have an adventure, just like in the old days. You can forget getting ginger beer. That stuff makes me puke.”
“No problem, Georgina. I’ll be back in a jiff. See if you can wake Dick up.”
“I’ll do my best, and if you ever call me Georgina again I’ll split your head open.”
“You’re the boss,” Julian said chirpily and off he went, singing to himself, “We are the Famous Five. Julian, Dick and Anne, George and Timmy the rott……..”
Text (c) James McShane 2008
Characters (c) Enid Blyton