As the car pulled up outside the cottage, Peter Perkins heard a loud bark followed by a series of growls that drew steadily more sinister.
“We have no time to lose,” he said, as he climbed out of the vehicle.
“But what about the dog you told me about?” Claire asked.
“Leave the dog to me. I’ll use my Voltaire Voice to calm that savage beast while you get Jim, Wulf and Miss Yip out of there.”
They ran to cottage and found that the front door was unlocked but the door to the room in which Derek was pacing menacingly about in was locked. “Stand back!” shouted Peter as he ran at the door. His bulky frame smashed against the wood and door flew open.
Inside the room Jim, George and Miss Yip were backed into a corner with Derek closing in on them. As the door crashed open Derek turned around to see what it was that had disturbed him from his next meal. He saw Peter on the floor on his hands and knees and recognised an easy target. He turned his attention away from his intended dinners and started to move towards Peter.
But Derek was not prepared for what came next.
Peter got on one knee and held his hands out and said in a soft voice, paraphrasing the words of Voltaire (1694 – 1778), “Oh the dog that has lost his master has come into this room troubled and restless – he needs love, and betokens his gladness by soft whimpers, frisks, and caresses.”
Derek stopped in his tracks. At first he seemed confused but as I-Think-Therefore-I-Am-Man’s soft, soothing voice began to take effect his features changed and started to visibly soften. His tail began to wag and his tongue lolled out of his mouth. Then he bounded playfully over and nuzzled his head under Peter’s arm and rolled over onto his back.
“Who’s a good boy then,” said Peter, stroking the dog’s belly, “who a good boy!”
As he was stroking and praising the dog, Claire led Jim, George and Miss Yip out of the house and into the garden, where she handed Jim a piece of paper.”
“What’s this, darling?” he asked.
“It’s the menu for tonight. What do you think?”
Jim unfolded the A4 sheet of paper and looked over the carefully typed menu. “Mmmmm,” he slavered, “Fray Bentos pie and Jar Cheese. You really are spoiling me.”
“Only the best for you, my love.”
“You know much I’m turned on when you talk about tins and cheese,” said Jim.
“Oh my,” said Claire.
Jim turned to his dad and Miss Yip and said, “Excuse us for a few minutes will you, we just need to get something out of Peter’s car.”
Fifteen minutes later Peter came out the cottage with Derek walking happily next to him on the end of a lead,. “Everyone needs to get in the car,” he said. “We have to catch up with those villains before they leave the country for Egypt.”
“What?” said Miss Yip. “How do you know they’re going to Egypt?”
“Derek pointed me to a pile of Egyptian holiday brochures in the bedroom upstairs.”
As he approached the car he wondered why all the windows were all steamed up and when he opened the hatchback door he saw that Claire and Jim were already waiting inside. “That was quick,” he said, referring to the speed at which they had reached the car.
“Not really,” said Claire breathlessly, looking flushed.
Derek just about fitted into the back and Peter climbed into the driver’s seat. Miss Yip got into the back of the car and Jim’s dad in the front next to Peter.
“What now?” George asked.
“We need to inform the authorities,” said Peter.
“Quick,” said Jim, “let’s find the nearest phone box.”
“No need for a phone box, Jim,” said Peter, as he reached into the glove compartment and pulled out an object the size of a shoe box.
“What the hell is that?” George asked.
“It’s my mobile phone.”
“My mobile phone. I can carry it anywhere as long as I have a battery charger the size of a large suitcase somewhere nearby. Luckily Derek is sitting on one in the back of the car.
“Wow,” said George incredulously, “This is just like being in an episode of Star Trek!”
“I’m going to phone 999 and tell the police to be waiting for those villains and stop them from boarding a plane out of the country.”
Two hours later they met two policemen at Heathrow Airport. Mrs Smedley and Mr Smith were both in custody but there was no sign of the mysterious third man they had spotted in the car when they had arrived at the cottage.
“Well done lads,” said the police sergeant who had made the arrest. “We’ve had our eye on these two for quite some time now.”
“Yes Mrs Smedley,” said Peter, “and I’ve tamed that brute of a dog of yours.”
“Oh no,” said the police constable, “this is not Mrs Smedley.” He took hold of Mrs Smedley’s hair and gave it a sharp tug. Jim, George, Peter and Miss Yip looked on in horror as he lifted her entire face away to reveal a grizzled old man with a red, blotchy face.
“Old man Jackson, the toilet cleaner!” declared Miss Yip. “But, why?”
“Because I hate Frontiere; I’ve worked there all my life and never risen above the rank of toilet cleaner. I dreamt of being a cheese sniffer and having the respect of the people around me, but no, the organisation chose to ignore me and promote other, less worthy people in my stead. There was only one thing for it and that was to destroy the Frontiere organisation . . . and I would have got away with it if it hadn’t been for you pesky interfering kids!”
Abdullah Fahad Achmed Al Mohammed bin Abdul Faisal Muhammed Fuad Abdullah Aziz Smith looked at old man Jackson with disgust and said, “You mean all this time when we were . . . you were really . . . ?”
Old man Jackson shrugged his shoulders and gave Mr Smith a sly wink.
“Take them away, officers,” said Miss Yip, “and I hope they get transported to Australia – it’s the only punishment they deserve.”
Three days later Everard Hinchcliffe arrived in England to congratulate the team that had defeated the evil Cheesefinger.
He offered Jim the job of General Manager of the Braintree works with Miss Yip as his deputy and George as his operations manager. Peter was promoted to Head of the Computer Geek Department, whilst Claire accepted the position of Creative Chef for Frontiere (England).
They bought themselves a camper van and at various times of the year they went away on holiday, usually to somewhere creepy, with Derek the dog (who they had now renamed Deggy-Doo), where they had many adventures.
HERE ENDS PART ONE OF A LIFE IN CHEESE.
It would be a year before the team bought the camper van; their life in England up until then was one boring meeting after another until everything in the factory was sorted.
Rather than waste your time describing one tedious meeting after another, when A Life in Cheese returns in the New Year the action will move back to New Zealand for The Exciting Adventures of Sir Crispen Fotherington-Smythe!
DON’T MISS CASINO ROYALE-WITH-CHEESE!