by Robert Williams
"As you all know, I am very concerned with your wellbeing," said Mrs Greasy to Des, Mick, Clive and Wayne in the cafe one morning.
"Uh-oh," said Des.
"I'm very worried that some of you are not wearing enough layers of clothing when you go outside," said Mrs G. "You are leaving yourself open to catching all kinds of bugs and diseases!"
"I dread to think where this is heading," said Clive.
"So because I am such a benevolent person," said Mrs G, "I've commissioned, er, I mean made some nice thick sweatshirts for you to wear! And you don't have to pay a penny!"
The foursome looked at each other in bewilderment as Mrs Greasy popped off to fetch their sweatshirts.
"Now everyone try them on," said Mrs G as she handed them out.
"FANTASTIC!!!!" exclaimed Wayne.
"These are enormous!" exclaimed Des as he put his sweatshirt on over his tank top.
"There's room for two in here!" said Mick as he did the same.
"Hmmm," said Mrs Greasy. "Perhaps they are a little on the large size. I never did quite get the hang of metric measurements. Still, it'll make the writing easier to see!"
"Writing?" said Des.
They looked at each other's sweatshirts, and realisation dawned on them. Printed on the front of each one was 'Come to MRS GREASY'S CAFE!! It's FAB!!!' And on the back was a full menu.
"I'm not wearing this!" said Clive, immediately starting to take his sweatshirt off. "I'd never be able show my face in the golf club again!"
"Don't you dare!" said Mrs G. "I'm not having you catch a cold!"
"I'd rather catch a cold than walk around with these lies printed across my chest on a sweatshirt that's ten sizes too big!" said Mick.
"Well I'm not going outside in this!" said Des. "I'll look a right fool!"
"So an improvement on how you usually look then," said Clive.
"I really don't see what you're all moaning about!" said Mrs Greasy. "Here I am, giving you free sweatshirts to keep you warm, and all I get in return is complaints! Now go out and walk around with them on for a bit! By the way, I've installed a system of closed circuit cameras around town to make sure you don't take them off!"
"This is the first time Mrs Greasy has actually thrown us out of the cafe!" said Mick, as the four of them left the cafe.
"Yes," said Des. "At least it means we don't have to eat anything!"
As soon as they were out of sight of the cafe, Clive removed his sweatshirt.
"Hey Clive, Mrs G's gonna spot yer on 'er CCTV cameras!!" exclaimed Wayne.
"Yes, and she'll forcefeed you rice pudding as a punishment!" said Des.
"Oh come on, you don't seriously believe that!" said Clive. "Mrs Greasy hasn't got any CCTV cameras, that's just plain absurd!"
"That's true," said Mick, removing his sweatshirt as well.
When they got back to the cafe to give the sweatshirts back, Mrs Greasy did not look happy.
"Fifty percent of you were not wearing your sweatshirts, were you?!?!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy.
"Huh?!" said Mick and Clive.
"I know, because I've been watching you on my CCTV cameras!" said Mrs Greasy.
Des and Wayne gave a smug look at Mick and Clive, who glared back.
"Rice pudding for you two!" said Mrs G.
"I can't believe you're punishing us!" said Mick.
"This isn't punishment, this is your lunch!" said Mrs G.
"This is a ridiculous and totally ineffective way of advertising," said Des. "For a start, what happens if I decide to put my coat on over my sweatshirt?"
"Well, now you come to mention it, I've also commissioned some branded dufflecoats for you to wear as well," said Mrs G. "They'll be ready mid-August."
"Why don't you think a bit bigger?" said Des. "Why not try advertising on television?"
Clive and Mick raised their eyes to the ceiling.
"What a good idea!" said Mrs Greasy. "But hold on a moment - I'm not made of money! Those advertising agencies cost a bomb!"
"We'll make it for you then!" said Des.
Clive and Mick raised their eyes to the ceiling again.
"Oh good, then you can make it for free," said Mrs Greasy.
"I wasn't thinking quite for free," said Des.
"Why are you so keen to make an advert for Mrs Greasy, Des?" said Mick.
"If our advert works and we manage to fill the cafe with people, we won't have to come in any more!" said Des.
"Because she'll be too busy to notice that we're not there!" said Mick. "Nice one Des!"
"You lot are lucky you know me," said Des.
"No, because I would have thought of that anyway," said Clive. "I'm not stupid! Oh, and by the way, I'm having nothing to do with this advert! I'm going off to play golf for the rest of this story!"
Des and Mick went back to Des's house to brainstorm some ideas, Clive went back to his house to change into his golfing trousers, and Wayne went to Mike's Manic Motors, where Mike the Manic Mechanic was busy counting his money. It didn't take very long.
"Oh dear, what am I going to do?" sighed Mike. "My finances are rock bottom! Even my antiques shop was doing better than this!"
"'Ere Mikey!" said Wayne excitedly. "Mrs Greasy's gonna be on telly!!"
"Oh dear, when should I switch off then?" said Mike.
"No, no, she's makin' an advert for 'er cafe!!!" said Wayne.
"Television advertising, that's a good idea!" said Mike. "Just what I need as well! But I can't afford to make an advert! I'm skint!"
"So's Mrs G," said Wayne. "So she's gettin' Des and Mick to make it!"
"Film-makers extraordinaire," said Mike, sarcastically. "But I suppose if they're cheap...hey, this gives me a brilliant idea!"
"Brilliant!" said Wayne. "You're gonna get them to make yer one as well?!"
"Naaah, that'd still be too expensive!" said Mike. "I've got an idea that will cost me no money at all!! In fact, they'll be paying me!!!"
Back at Des's house, and Des and Mick were sitting in the kitchen, having difficulty coming up with some ideas for the advert.
"The thing is, we can't show any of Mrs Greasy's cooking, otherwise that's an instant way of advertising not to go there!" said Des.
"Yes, and I don't think showing Mrs Greasy herself is going to tempt any customers!" said Mick.
"That's right, only people with widescreen televisions would be able to see the whole of her!" said Des.
"What we need is the kind of advert that doesn't really have anything to do with the product," said Mick. "The kind that leaves you guessing until the very end!"
"We need a really fast-paced, action-packed advert," said Des. "I know! Why don't we show some people racing along the road in some fast cars. The viewers will wonder why they're in a such a hurry, and then in the last scene they draw up outside Mrs Greasy's cafe, and the tagline could be something like 'Everybody can't wait to get to Mrs Greasy's Cafe'."
"Good idea!" said Mick. "In that way, we don't have to actually say anything about the food or the cafe! But where are we going to get some fast cars from?"
"I dunno," said Des. "We could use my Fiat 126 and then run the film at double speed! All right then, quadruple speed!"
Just then Des's doorbell rang. He went and answered the door, and Mike the Manic Mechanic burst in.
"Hi there, I've got a fab idea for your advert for Mrs G!!" exclaimed Mike, barging past Des into the kitchen. "What you should do is show some people racing along the road in some fast cars! The viewers will wonder why they're in a such a hurry, and then in the last scene they draw up outside Mrs Greasy's cafe, and the tagline could be something like 'Everybody can't wait to get to Mrs Greasy's Cafe'!"
"Well, actually, I just..." said Des.
"And I'll supply the cars!" said Mike.
"Ah, yes but..." said Des.
"Is that a deal then?" said Mike.
"Errr..." said Des.
"Great!" said Mike. "We start filming tomorrow!"
"Just a minute, who's the director round here?!" said Des.
"You are!" said Mike.
"So shouldn't I be making the decisions..." said Des.
"Now the next thing we've got to decide is, who's going to be our cameraman?" said Mike. "Not me or Wayne, we're gonna be driving of course!"
"Not me, I haven't got a steady enough hand, especially when I go anywhere near Mrs Greasy's cafe!" said Mick.
"And I can't, I'm supposed to be the director!" said Des. "I've got to sit in my special director's chair, and, um, direct all you lot!"
Just then Des's doorbell rang again.
"Oh who is it now?!" grumbled Des, opening the front door. "Oh, hello Dickie."
"Hi there Des the Dude," exclaimed Dickie the Vicar. "Just to let ya know I'm holding a groovy disco down at the church hall tonight at 7.30!"
"Yes, yes, I know, goodbye!" said Des, going to close the door.
"Hey, but Des, I haven't finished!" said Dickie. "Tonight, for the first time, I'll be filming the event with my brand new groovy camcorder, in case any amusing mishaps occur, in which case I can send them off to 'New New New You've Been Framed'!!"
"Camcorder?" said Des.
"Dickie, you're just the man we need!" said Mike, rushing into the hall.
Mike explained about the advert.
"Gosh, that does sound exciting!" said Dickie. "That's a great idea you've come up with, Mike!"
"Well, actually it was..." said Des.
"We can use my churchmobile as camera car!" said Dickie. "And I'll drive in front of you two and film you out of the back window!"
"I'd like to see you drive your car and film them out of the back window at the same time," mumbled Des.
"Good idea!" said Mike. "But for the final scene we need a wide shot of the cafe, so we'll need to film that from upstairs in the betting shop opposite."
"We'll better get permission from the owner then," said Mick.
"That'll be no problem, me and Keith are the best of mates, I'm one of his most regular customers!" said Dickie. "Look, I won £150 this morning!"
Des, Mick and Mike stared at Dickie in astonishment.
"What?!?!" exclaimed Dickie. "It was a 50-1 outsider!"
"So that's everything sorted then!" said Mike.
"Yes, I just thought that I was supposed to be the director," said Des.
"You are, Des, what's the problem?!" said Mike.
"Oh, nothing, nothing," said Des.
The next morning, they got ready to film their advert. Beforehand Des and Mick popped into Mrs Greasy's cafe to avoid having something to eat, and to let her know that filming was about to get under way.
"That's good!" said Mrs Greasy. "Look, I've had my hair done special for the advert! And I've baked all this food to show off in it!!"
"Oh no," groaned Mick.
"Well, actually, um, Mrs G, the thing is, er...Mick's got something to tell you!" said Des.
"Er, yes, that's right, well, er, we thought that, er, it would be best, er, if Des told you," said Mick.
"But then we thought, it'd be better if Mick told you," said Des.
"Yes, well, er, um, er..." said Mick.
Then Mike burst in.
"What are you two doing, we're ready to start!" he exclaimed. "Hi there Mrs G, see you've had your hair done! By the way, you're not in it!"
"WHAT??!?" exclaimed Mrs G.
"Come on!!" said Mike. Des and Mick hurried out of the cafe.
For the opening scene, Dickie the Vicar stood by the side of Des and Mick's road with his camcorder, and filmed Mike in his Ford Cortina and Wayne in one of Mike's Ford Capris, as they drove like maniacs down the road.
Next, the main part of the advert which would show the two of them rushing to get to Mrs Greasy's cafe. Since Dickie had realised the logistical problems of him filming from his Montego estate and driving it at the same time, it was decided by a public vote that Mick should drive.
"Why me?!" exclaimed Mick.
"You're not doing anything, are you?" said Des.
Grudgingly, Mick got into Dickie's Montego. As Mike and Wayne drove down the road again at top speed, swerving about all over the place as they tried to get past each other, Mick drove along just in front of them, with Dickie filming them out of the back window. Then, for the final scene, Dickie went to the upstairs room of the betting shop to film them screech round the corner, stop outside the cafe and rush inside.
"It's a wrap!" said Mike when they had finished. "Hey Des, can I have the cash now?"
"Cash? Cash for what?" said Des.
"For the hire of the cars of course!" said Mike. "£100, please."
Des grumbled as he handed over the money. He then spent some time editing the bits together, and got Ken, the deep-voiced manager of the Co-op, to record a voiceover. Then that afternoon Mrs Greasy, Des, Mick, Wayne and Mike settled down in front of Mrs G's television set to view the completed commercial. This would be the first time Mrs G would have any idea of what it would be like.
"Hey everyone, I've made you all some popcorn!" said Mrs Greasy.
"Oh...great..." said Des.
"The advert's only 30 seconds long!" said Mick.
"We'll you better eat quickly then!" said Mrs G, handing out the popcorn.
Des popped the video into Mrs Greasy's VCR and switched the television on.
"Oooooh, I like this!" said Mrs Greasy. The scene showed people on a sun-drenched desert island. "Very exotic, very expensive-looking!! Just the kind of impression I want to put across!"
"That's an orange juice commercial!" said Des. "I haven't started the tape yet!!"
Des pressed 'play' on the VCR, and the television now showed Des and Mick's suburban road, deserted on a grey, overcast day.
"Oh," said Mrs Greasy.
Suddenly a Ford Capri and a Ford Cortina came roaring down the road, past the camera. The scene switched then to what Dickie had filmed from the back of his Montego estate, showing the two cars speeding and swerving about the road. Unfortunately since it had been a bit drizzly that morning, Dickie had switched the rear wash/wipe on, and so the picture had the wiper continually getting in the way.
Then the scene cut to the wide shot of the cafe, filmed by Dickie from the upstairs window of the betting shop. The two cars came screeching round the corner, and ground to halt right outside the cafe. Wayne leapt out of the Capri and rushed into the cafe. Then Mike leapt out of his Cortina - but instead of rushing into the cafe as well, he hurried round to open the Cortina's boot. And just as the deepthroat voiceover was saying "Everybody can't wait to get to Mrs Greasy's Cafe!", Mike brought out a massive sign reading 'COME TO MIKE'S MANIC MOTORS WHERE YOU CAN BUY MORE FANTASTIC FAST CARS LIKE THESE!!!' and held it up at the camera.
Mrs Greasy's fast was aghast. But then it got worse. Mike's sign was only in view for a second or two before a shaky hand appeared right in front of the camera and held up a handwritten note which said 'COME TO DICKIE THE VICAR'S FAB FUND-RAISING DISCO!!! TONIGHT AT 7.30 AT THE CHURCH HALL!!!'
Mrs Greasy stared at the television, open-mouthed.
"So, um, what do you think, Mrs Greasy?!" said Des, nervously.
"What do I think?!?!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy. "I've never seen such a load of old tosh!! What's a stupid car chase got to do with my cafe?! Whose daft idea was that?!"
"His!" said Des and Mike, pointing at each other.
"And what do those two nits think they're doing muscling in on my advert!!" exclaimed Mrs Greasy. "I don't know why I ever commissioned you, you never get things right! There's only thing I can do - I'm taking over as director in this advert!"
"Uh-oh," said Des, Mick and Mike.
"And you're all going to do what I say!" said Mrs Greasy. "Now what we'll have, is me with my new hairdo doing a piece to camera, and then you lot tucking into some of my food and saying how delicious it is!"
"You can't do that!" said Des. "We'll get done by the Advertising Standards Agency!"
"Hey you lot, look at this!" said Mike. As Des hadn't stopped the video, it had now run onto what Dickie had been recording the advert over.
"Oh no!" exclaimed Des. "Switch that off!"
"No, let it carry on!" said Mike. "I wanna watch this!"
It was what Dickie had recorded at the previous night's disco at the church hall, and showed some wobbly footage of Des and Mick tucking into some food by the side of the dance floor, while Status Quo music played in the background.
"Hmmm, these sausage rolls are tasty!" said Des on the video, with his mouth full.
"Yes they are, aren't they!" said Mick. "And I like these meat pies!"
"Where did you get all this from?" said Des.
"It was cooked by Mrs Greasy!" said Dickie's voice from behind the camera.
"Ugh!!!!" exclaimed Des and Mick, coughing out their food.
"Ha ha!! Only joking!!!" said Dickie's voice.
"Oh stop messing about, Dickie!" said Des.
"I got it from that new branch of Sainsbury's!" said Dickie.
"That explains why it's so delicious!" said Des. "These cheese sandwiches are really yummy!"
Then Des fell over for no apparent reason.
"This is brilliant!" said Mrs Greasy.
"What do you mean?!" said the live version of Des.
"Cut out that bit where you throw up, and the bit about Sainsbury's, and what have you got?!" said Mrs Greasy. "Real-life footage of people endorsing my cooking!"
"But it wasn't your cooking!" said Mick. "That's deception!"
"That's advertising!" grinned Mrs Greasy.
A few weeks later, Des and Mick tuned into ITV in the middle of 'Celebrity Tonight with Trevor MacDonald' to watch the national premiere of Mrs Greasy's advert.
"Hmmm, these sausage rolls are tasty!" said Des on the television.
"Yes they are, aren't they!" said Mick. "And I like these meat pies!"
"Where did you get all this from?" said Des.
"It was cooked by Mrs Greasy!" said Dickie's voice.
"That explains why this is so delicious!" said Des. " These cheese sandwiches are really yummy!"
The scene then cut to Mrs Greasy in her cafe, with her new hairdo.
"Yes that's right!" said Mrs G. "They're enjoying my delicious cooking, and now you can too! Just pop along to Mrs Greasy's Cafe and you can enjoy all kinds of yummy food cooked by me, like bread pudding, cheese flan..."
"This is a disgrace," grumbled Mick as Mrs G droned on. "She's manipulating the truth! She's edited the tape to make it look like we love her cookery!"
"And she hasn't even paid us!" said Des.
They watched as the scene cut back to the disco, with Des falling over for no apparent reason, and the advert ended.
"Des, why did you fall over at that point?" said Mick.
"Dickie paid me £5 to," said Des. "He was going to send it off to 'New New New New New You've Been Framed'. It's on next, by the way."
"Let's watch 'Celebrity Songs of Praise' instead then," sighed Mick.
Copyright © Robert Williams
Random story: Des Goes on Jury Service