Readers will recall that previously Wilson had witnessed the rather mediaeval termination of Bentine’s employment by Brian Boru. He is now charged with the task of ‘writing it up’.
Part the Second – In which our hero is concerned with advice and consent.
Back in his office, Wilson decided that a visit to The Holograms was required. Blinds down and lights off, a reproving Cyrano de Bergerac was the first to appear.
A wasted opportunity, young sirrah, to have impressed your perspicacity and wit upon that roseate ruffian, Boru. You may have offered: Sports commentary – Bentine was a man of two halves; Philosophical – He always believed that the whole was more than the sum of the parts; Portraiture; Odd how the left and right profile look quite different; Political – This one’s too close to call, split right down the middle; Riddle – How many Bentines make one? Macabre – His favourite ale was a half and half; Proverbial – Two heads are better than one; Rueful – He always said not to do things by halves.
Wilson did not feel that any of this was helpful and – avoiding staring at the great swordsman’s proboscis – ushered him away.
Then in quick succession came Ry Cooder singing ‘Slap Dab in the Middle’, Paul McCartney warbling ‘I’m not half the man I used to be…‘ and an excerpt from Brian De Palma’s ‘Body Double’. But eventually Wilson got lucky when Niccolo Machiavelli turned up and together they produced a statement that concluded; Michael gave his all to the Company and often did the work of two men. But following the re-structure, he just fell apart and had to split. Wilson thanked the wily Italian for his help and watched him fade into the ether before sending off the draft to ‘BB’, as he now termed Brian Boru.
Up, up in the glowering sky, the executive pagoda was teeming with prematurely-waistcoated directors, their pneumatic assistants and an assortment of journalists – easily distinguished by their ever-present intravenous alcohol drips and plastified bibs – all gathered to celebrate the latest Company triumph. As was the custom on such occasions, captives from the victory were serving their captors with petite fours and champagne.
The atmosphere was particularly jubilant tonight as Matthew & Son had long been an obstacle to the far-reaching ambition of Rolling Fork Traders. Now, old Matthew himself grimaced as he offered to refill the crystal flute of Sir Basil Basilisk, Principal Person and founder of RFT.
Mmm. Thank you Matthew. This profile please! he barked to the press photographers as he turned half-left and raised his glass. From his position by the balcony, Wilson kept an eye on proceedings as he skimmed the press release. RFT had acquired, amongst other things, The Financial Times, Playboy and The Beano. Tomorrow would herald the first edition of a new organ that combined all three into a daily glossy tabloid known as Money, Honey and Funnies. Sir Basil had written the leader himself and now saw a brilliant headline opportunity in the crumpled person of old Matthew. Beckoning the reporters, he tapped his champagne flute, called for silence and then – when the room fell silent – he threw his arm around the old man and drew him close.
Stay tuned to this channel for the further misadventures of Wilson in Wonderland.