This story

DISCO WARS

by Robert Williams

"Anybody got any ideas how I can get more customers into the cafe?" said Mrs Greasy one morning.

"Oh no, not again," groaned Des. "Surely we've already tried everything by now!"

"I'm sorry Des, but I'm short of cash!" said Mrs Greasy. "I've got to raise some money somehow!"

"All right then...what about holding a raffle?" said Des.

"Done it before," said Mrs G.

"Redecorate the place, make it more inviting!" said Des.

"Done that already," said Mrs G.

"Employ lollipop ladies to direct kids into the cafe," said Des.

"Tried that!" exclaimed Mrs G.

"Hypnotise your customers?!" said Des.

"Tried that as well!!" exclaimed Mrs G.

"Learn to cook!!" exclaimed Des.

"Grrrrrr!!!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy.

"Don't be ridiculous Des, you're getting into the realms of fantasy now," said Mick.

"Watch it Mick!" said Mrs G.

"Why don't you do what Dickie the Vicar does?" said Mick.

"What?! Hold boring sermons every Sunday morning?!" said Mrs Greasy. "Yeah right, that's really going to get the customers flooding in!!"

"No, no, I mean hold discos to raise some money!" said Mick. "(As long as I don't have to go)."

"Good idea!" said Mrs Greasy. "But how will I tempt people away from Dickie's discos?"

"You'll need some more up-to-date music than what he plays," said Mick.

"What, like the Village People's second album?" said Mrs Greasy.

"If you want your disco to be a success you'll have to get with the kids!" said Mick.

"You mean play stuff like 'Nelly the Elephant'?" said Mrs G.

"That's not quite what I meant," said Mick.

"Yer need some bangin' 'ard 'ouse!!" exclaimed Wayne.

"What?" said Mrs Greasy.

"Some banging hard house, he said," said Des. "What's that?"

"Oh I dunno, I don't see what DIY had got to do with this," said Mrs Greasy. "I'll sort the music out later. But I'll need a DJ as well though!"

"You're lookin' at 'im right now!" exclaimed Wayne.

"What, Des?" said Mrs G, for it was he who she was presently looking at.

"That's right," said Des.

"Naaaah!! I meant..." started Wayne.

"I'd like to be your DJ," said Des. "For a reasonable sum, naturally."

"Well I'm hardly going to take you on just like that," said Mrs G. "I want to see an example of your DJ technique!"

"Yo dudes, DJ Rick Metal here, boogie woogie, get down with ma homeboys in a area," said Des flatly (as opposed to Michael Flatly).

"You've got the job," said Mrs Greasy.

"Hey, what about me?!" exclaimed Wayne.

"You can come as well!" said Mrs Greasy. "Everyone's invited! (As long as they pay, of course)."

"Are you going to employ a bouncer?" said Mick.

"Yes I'll need one of those, to keep undesirables out," said Mrs G.

Just then Clive walked in.

"Talking of undesirables," muttered Des.

"'Ere Clive, Mrs Greasy's gonna 'ave a disco!!" exclaimed Wayne.

"Oh god," said Clive, making an about turn and walking out again.

"No, not now!" said Des. "She's looking for a bouncer! (Wasn't Bouncer a dog?)"

"I'll do that," said Clive, coming back in again. "Anything to get out of having to actually go!"

"How can Clive be a bouncer?" said Des. "He doesn't exactly look menacing!"

"You don't exactly look hip and cool, but I'm employing you as my DJ," said Mrs G. "Clive, give me an example of your technique."

Clive held his hand out in front of himself.

"Your name's not Quentin, you're not coming in," said Clive.

"The job's yours," said Mrs Greasy. "Although it would be helpful if people who aren't called Quentin were actually allowed in. Even I'm not that strict!!"

"Yes you are," said Des. "Anyway, I'd better go and rehearse!!"

Des rushed off back to his house and dived into his wardrobe to find his Rick Metal sparkling suit.

"Oh no!" he exclaimed when he pulled it out. "It's full of holes! The moths have been at it!" It had been some years since that suit had been called into service. "What am I going to do?!"

He rushed back to the cafe.

"Sorry I can't do it, my suit's gone holey!"

"What do you mean, your suit's converted to Church of England?!" said Mrs Greasy.

"No, I mean it's full of holes!" said Des. "I can't be your DJ now!"

"Too late, I've already made the posters," said Mrs Greasy. "The first disco's tonight at 7.30!"

She held up the poster, which read: 'DJ RICK METAL PLAYING LIVE TONIGHT AT 7.30 AT MRS GREASY'S COOL DISCO! TICKETS COST JUST £3!! FOOD IS COMPULSORY!!'

"Food is compulsory?" said Des.

"Yes it is, that's the whole point of this isn't it, dumbo!" said Mrs Greasy. "All participants must have something to eat! Otherwise why bother?!"

"I thought the point was to revive my DJ career," said Des, who clearly had already forgotten the original point to all this. "But what am I going to wear?"

"Doesn't matter!" said Clive. "Look at the cool DJs! Like Fatboy Slim!"

"WHOOOO???" said Des.

"And...er...um...er...all the other cool DJs!" said Clive. "They don't wear anything special!"

So Des turned up at the cafe wearing nothing special. In fact, his usual tank top and flares, not looking at all like a hip happening DJ. He walked in and dumped his record player on the counter.

"Oi Des, that's where I'm putting all the food and nibbles!" said Mrs Greasy, who had already moved the chairs and tables to the side, leaving a fairly limited space in the centre for the dancefloor, and had put up a row of flashing coloured lights.

"Well I've got to play my records somewhere!" said Des. "Put the food on one of the tables, no one's going to eat it anyway!"

"Food is compulsory!" reiterated Mrs Greasy.

"Oi! You!" exclaimed someone walking in and pointing at Des. "Who let you in?!"

"Oh shut up Clive," said Des.

"I see the disco's in full swing already," said Clive.

"Don't be ridiculous, it hasn't started yet," said Mrs Greasy.

"Doesn't matter, it's not going to get any busier than this, is it?!" said Clive. "What records have you brought, Des?"

"Mrs Greasy wanted some cool, happening, up-to-the-minute music that'll really connect with the kids," said Des. "So I've bought the latest Status Quo album!"

"Hmmm, Status Quo..." said Mrs Greasy thoughtfully. "Are they a new band?"

"Yes, fairly new," said Des.

"Compared to Mozart!" exclaimed Clive.

"Hmmm, Mozart..." said Mrs G thoughtfully. "Are they a new band?"

Before long, the disco was underway and buzzing with people. Well, four of them actually. And one of those was Mick.

"I must say, I'm surprised this many people turned up," said Mick to Clive, who was standing at the door in his role of bouncer.

"Yes, they really must have been seriously bored," said Clive. "Look at it!"

They peered inside, and saw the three other people on the tiny dance floor dancing half-heartedly to Status Quo, with Des, aka DJ Rick Metal, interjecting now and then with some gibberish, and Mrs Greasy trying to offer them something to eat. Thing is, they had misunderstood the poster, and brought along their own food.

"Boogie woogie, it's time for all you massives and posses in a area to get down to the hip and funky sound of Barry Manilow," said DJ Rick Metal into the microphone, as he changed records over.

"He's not exactly what you'd call slick," said Mick.

"Why doesn't he try some mixing?" said Clive. "Oi Des!! Try some mixing!!"

"I'll do the cooking if you don't mind!" shouted Mrs Greasy.

"Des won't be able to do any mixing," said Mick to Clive.

"Because he's a talentless fool?" said Clive.

"Well yes of course, but also because he's only got one record deck," said Mick.

Despite the apparent lukewarm reception, Mrs Greasy was delighted at the response the next morning.

"And the next disco is tonight!" she announced.

"Oh no," said Des. "That means I'm going to miss 'Greenhouses from Hell'!"

Just then he had a call on his mobile phone.

"Sorry everyone, I've got to go immediately!" said Des, rushing off suddenly. He hurried straight to Dickie's vicarage.

"Des, my friend, we need to talk," said Dickie.

"Do we?" said Des.

"Last night, you did not come to my fab charity disco to raise funds to fix the church roof," said Dickie.

"Uh-oh," said Des.

"Instead, you were DJing at Mrs Greasy's cafe," said Dickie. "And four people turned up."

"Errr, yes," said Des.

"That is twice as many people that usually turn up to my discos!" exclaimed Dickie. "Des, you have managed to no less than double the number of people turning up to a local disco! You are a major success in the field of DJing! So I want to make you an offer! I want you to DJ at my disco!"

"Oh I don't know about that...I wanted to watch 'Greenhouses from Hell' tonight..."

"How much did Mrs Greasy pay you last night?"

"£1.25," said Des.

"I'll pay you £2.50!" said Dickie.

"Done!" said Des. "See you tonight!"

That night Mrs Greasy was very concerned at the no-show of her star DJ.

"Where's that Des?!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy to her bouncer. "It's gone 7.30 and there's still no sign of him! I'll wring his neck when I find him!"

"I dunno," said Clive. "Maybe he's stayed in to watch 'Greenhouses from Hell'. I wish I had..."

"You'll have to DJ instead," said Mrs G.

"Me?!" said Clive. "What's the point, absolutely no one has turned up anyway!"

"I can't understand it," said Mrs G. "I changed the poster to make it clear that is compulsory to eat my food, not bring their own!!"

"Well that explains it then," said Clive.

Next morning, Mrs Greasy was not a happy bunny.

"Des, I know where you were last night," said Mrs G. "You were DJing at Dickie's disco! You traitor! And apparently four people turned up!! Unlike the 'none' who turned up to mine!"

She hadn't considered this may have had something to do with her compulsory eating policy, rather than the lack of star attraction Des.

"Sorry Mrs G, but Dickie offered me more money," said Des.

"How much did he pay you?"

"£2.50," said Des.

"£5!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy. "To come back!"

"It's a deal!" said Des.

"And I'll even get the central heating fixed!" said Mrs Greasy.

That night Mrs G ditched all mention of compulsory food from the posters, and reinstated DJ Rick Metal. Four people attended. Mrs G was delighted.

But Dickie the Vicar was furious. He collared Des - in fact he dog-collared him - as he left the disco at 10.00 that night.

"Help! Help!!" gasped Des. "I'm being mugged!!"

"It's only me!" said Dickie. "What are you doing back here?! You've defected to the opposition! And guess what - no one turned up to my charity fund-raising disco!"

"Sorry Dickie, but Mrs G offered to pay me £5!"

"I'll pay you £10!" exclaimed Dickie.

And night after night it continued. Although attendance figures at both discos resolutely refused to go above four, Mrs Greasy and Dickie had both got it into their heads that their successes were simply down to Des. They had inadvertently entered a bidding war, and Des found himself continually moving back and forth between the cafe and the church hall on alternate nights.

"I'm really enjoying this!" said Des after a couple of weeks. "I'm playing Mrs Greasy and Dickie the Vicar off each other! Tonight I'm getting paid £2560 for playing records to four people for a couple of hours!"

It wasn't long before the local newspaper got hold of the story.

"According to this I'm a 'hit DJ'!" said Des. "Just because I managed to double the attendance figures at a local disco!"

But just as Des was on the verge of signing a £10,000+ deal with Dickie the Vicar, he had a surprise announcement for the others.

"I've had a call from The Cool Club!"

"Good grief," said Clive. "That's the coolest night spot in the whole of south London!"

"They read about my success story in the newspaper!"

"That you managed to double attendance figures at a local disco?" said Mick.

"Yes!" said Des.

"From two to four?" said Clive.

"I don't think they know that bit," said Des. "But they also know that I'm getting paid over 8000 per cent more money than I was when I started!"

"So they've reasoned that therefore you must be quite good?" said Mick.

"Correct!" exclaimed Des. "They've asked me to DJ there!! Isn't it exciting!!"

"Well done!" said Mick, shaking him by the hand.

"There's just one problem though," said Clive. "They've reasoned wrong. You're a rubbish DJ."

"Never mind that!" said Mrs Greasy and Dickie in unison. "What are we supposed to do?!"

"Not my problem," said Des. "I've been poached by The Cool Club! And they're paying me £50 grand! Outbid that!!"

Mrs G and Dickie decided to look around for some cheaper options.

"Mick!" said Mrs Greasy. "How about it? DJ Mick Retal, that sounds quite good - and I won't have to change the posters too much. How does £1.25 sound?"

"No thanks," said Mick.

"That settles it then, see you at 7.30 tonight!" said Mrs G.

"Hey, what about me?!" exclaimed Wayne.

"You can come as well if you want," said Mrs G.

That night DJ Mick Retal played Mrs Greasy's cafe. Dickie played at the church hall (he played cards with himself since no one turned up again). And Des played the Cool Club.

The next morning everyone gathered at the cafe as usual.

"How did last night go, Des?" said Mick.

"Fine, fine..." said Des. "Um, has anyone seen the papers yet this morning?"

"No, not yet," said Mick. "Buying one later."

"Oh good," said Des. "Back in a tick!"

He rushed off to the local newsagents, and bought every newspaper in the shop. He then went down the local tip and dumped them all. He hurried back to the cafe, to find the gang were still there - and they had been joined by Mike the Manic Mechanic. They were all huddled round one table.

"What are you all looking at?!" said Des.

"This newspaper that Mike brought in just after you left," said Mick.

"Oh botherations," sighed Des.

"Would you believe it?!" exclaimed Clive. "This is hilarious!!"

"'RAMPAGE AT NIGHTCLUB'!" said Mick. "That's the front page headline this morning!"

"Oh dear, do you have to?" said Des.

"Thousands of youths went on a destructive rampage at a South London nightclub last night'," read Clive. "'The riots at The Cool Club started when an inexperienced DJ, Rick Metal...'"

"At least they didn't put my real name," said Des.

"'...whose real name is Mr Desmond Wednesday, 55, from Tolworth, Surrey...'"

"55?!?!? How dare they!!!" exclaimed Des.

"'...who was making his first ever appearance at the club, started playing unpopular records by distinctly uncool artists such as Status Quo and Barry Manilow, and talking in a drab, uninteresting fashion between the songs, using such outmoded phrases as 'Boogie woogie' and 'Get down man'.'"

"I thought those phrases were fab and gear!" exclaimed Des.

"'But despite booing and hissing from the clubgoers, Mr Wednesday played on regardless, and what had started a happy, joyful evening turned very ugly as chairs and tables started being thrown around and the clubbers began rioting.'"

"Have you seen that story on page 15?" said Des. "Squirrel got stuck up a tree..."

"'The riots soon moved out onto the streets,'" continued Clive, "'and before long nearby buildings were set alight and hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage was made. Police made over two hundred arrests during the night. But while mayhem raged all around, Mr Wednesday was still inside the nightclub playing Status Quo records to himself.'"

"Yeah, yeah, whatever," said Des.

"'Mr Wednesday was taken on after reports that he had doubled attendance figures at a local fundraising disco in Tolworth. The Cool Club is known as the coolest club in the whole of south London, and since opening ten years ago has never seen anything like the devastating events of last night. It is not expected that he will be asked back.'"

"Ummm..." said Des. "So who wants me back, DJing at their disco then? Mrs Greasy? Dickie?"

"Not on your nelly!" exclaimed Mrs G. "Do you think I want my disco to be associated with a notorious troublemaker like you?!"

"No thanks, Des," said Dickie. "I think I'll stick to doing it myself."

"Tsk," said Des. "One moment everyone wants you, the next you're being shunned from all corners!"

In the next morning meeting Mrs G reported her financial situation to the others.

"I've been checking my finances, and it appears that for some reason I'm now nearly £7000 greater in debt than I was when first started holding these discos! It just doesn't add up! Has anyone any ideas why this could be?!"

"Hmmm, I've really no idea," lied Des.

"Well whatever, I can no longer afford to put on these discos!" said Mrs Greasy.

"What a shame," said Clive.

"So...anybody got any more ideas how I can get more customers into the cafe?"

"AARRRRRGGGHHHH!!!!" exclaimed Des.


Copyright © Robert Williams
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