This story

DISCO AVOIDANCE

by Robert Williams

"Oi Mick!" said Des to Mick in the cafe one morning. "Where were you last night?! You weren't at Dickie the Vicar's disco, that's for sure!!"

"I know," said Mick.

"It was SO boring last night!!" said Des. "It was just me on my own!!"

"It's boring every night!" said Mick. "That's why I've enrolled at evening class!"

"Evening class?!" exclaimed Des. "What do you want to go to evening classes for?!"

"To learn a new skill," said Mick. "And to get out of having to go to Dickie's discos!"

"You cheeky monkey!!" said Des. "Fancy leaving me on my own like that!!"

"And Dickie doesn't mind?!" said Mrs Greasy.

"Yes!" said Mick. "He knows, and he's fine with the idea!"

"I'm not fine with the idea!!" said Des.

"Well you come up with some excuse to avoid his disco then!!" said Mick.

"I might just do that!" said Des.

"But you're not joining my evening class!" said Mick. "That's the one place I can go to avoid YOU!!"

"What class have you joined?" asked Mrs Greasy.

"Basket weaving," said Mick.

"Oh whoopee doo," said Des. "Don't worry Mick, there's no way I'm joining a boring class like that! I'd rather go to Dickie's disco than learn basket weaving!!"

"That's saying something!" said Mick.

"Anyway, I want to do something where I get paid," said Des. "I'm going to get a job!"

"What?!?!?" exclaimed Clive, who had just walked into the cafe and so had therefore missed all of the preceding conversation.

"I said, I'm going to get a job!" proclaimed Des.

"Oh my god!!" exclaimed Clive. Then he fainted.

"That's funny, he doesn't usually faint until just before I serve him his lunch!" said Mrs Greasy.

"I think he's really fainted this time!" said Mick. "Des, what did you have to say that for!"

"I was being serious!" said Des. "If I'm going to need a rock-solid excuse to miss Dickie's discos, I might as well get paid for it! See you later, I'm off down the Job Centre!"

An hour later Des returned from the Job Centre.

"You're back then," said Clive, who had been revived by being fed some of Mrs Greasy's porridge.

"Yip," said Des. "And I've got myself a job! I'm going to be a milkman!!"

"A milkman," said Mick. "Right."

Clive sniggered.

"That's right, now I'll never have to go to Dickie's discos ever again, because I'll be too busy delivering everyone's milk!" said Des.

"You do realise..." started Mick.

"Don't tell him, don't tell him!!" said Clive, barely able to hold back his laughter.

"You do realise milkmen work in the early morning, not in the evening!" exclaimed Mick.

"Spoilsport," muttered Clive.

"Oh..." said Des. "Whoops... It's a bit late now, I've already signed the contract! I start tomorrow!!"

"Ha ha!!" laughed Clive.

"Hold on a minute though..." said Des. "I have an idea!!"

He rushed out of the cafe.

Later that day Mick was watching some strange goings-on out of his front windows. A large van was parked outside Des's house, and Des and the delivery man were carrying a long succession of fridges into the house. Mick sighed.

The next morning Des was woken up by his alarm clock at 2.30 in the morning.

"Oh no," he mumbled. He stumbled out of bed. "Sorry Buster, for waking you so early, but I've got a job to go to," he said to his teddy bear.

Barely awake, he drove to the dairy, where he was issued with his hat and uniform, and shown to his milk float which, unsurprisingly, was loaded with crates of milk to be delivered.

"Good luck!" said his milk manager, and Des went on his way in the milk float.

But instead of doing his milk round like he should have done, he drove the milk float straight home and parked it in the garage. He then went back to bed.

When daylight arrived, and Clive had finished his usual early morning six mile jog, he was perturbed to find his milk had still not been delivered.

"Oh great, what am I supposed to pour on my Special K now?!" moaned Clive. "I bet this is all Des's fault, fancy the dairy taking on him!"

Later on, when Des woke up, he went straight round to Mick's house and rang the doorbell.

"Morning Mick, do you mind if I have breakfast round your house today?" asked Des, on Mick's doorstep.

"Yes I do," said Mick. "What's wrong with your house?"

"There's no room," said Des. "My kitchen is full of fridges. I can't get to the cupboard to get at my Coco Pops."

"Well you can forget about having breakfast round here, you haven't delivered me any milk! What am I supposed to put in my tea and on my cereal?!?!"

"Ah, well, you see, the thing is..."

Then Clive came storming round.

"I see you're up at last!!" exclaimed Clive. "What is the meaning of this?!?! Where's my milk?!?!"

"All right, all right, keep your hair on!" said Des. "I'll get you both your milk! Follow me!"

Clive and Mick followed Des round to his house and into the kitchen, which was indeed completely full of fridges. Des opened up the nearest fridge, which was crammed full of milk bottles. He took four bottles out.

"Two for you, and two for you," he said, handing them to Clive and Mick.

"What about my orange juice?!" said Clive.

"There's your orange juice!" said Des, handing Clive his orange juice. "Any problems?"

"Yes!" said Mick. "What are you up to?! This can't be right!!"

"I'm going to deliver all this milk this evening, at 7.30," said Des. "When it's time for Dickie's disco!"

"You're supposed to deliver it in the early morning!!" said Mick.

"I don't see that it makes any difference!" said Des. "I'll deliver everyone's milk in the evening, then they can have it on their Coco Pops the next morning!"

Clive and Mick groaned, and went to leave. But then Mrs Greasy walked in.

"Oi Mrs Greasy, what are you doing here?!" said Des.

"The front door was open," said Mrs Greasy. "Now listen here Milkman Des, where's my milk?! I was going to make you all some delicious bread pudding this morning, but I can't without milk!!"

"Hmmm...did I miss you out?" said Des. "Oh well, never mind, better luck tomorrow!"

That evening Des piled all of the milk back out from his fridges and onto his milk float, and true to his word, at precisely 7.30 went on his milk round, leaving poor Dickie the Vicar playing records to himself at his disco.

"Funny," thought Des to himself as he finished his round, "I wonder why everyone kept shaking their fists at me! Maybe it's a special greeting people give the milkmen! Yes, that'll be it!"

Early next morning Des went back to the dairy in his milk float to pick up some more crates of milk. But when he got there all he was given was the sack.

"What job shall I do next?" said Des to the others in the morning meeting. "It's got to be something that requires me to work in the evenings."

"How's your evening classes going, Mick?" asked Mrs Greasy.

"Very well thank you," said Mick. "Clive's joined our basket weaving class now!"

"That's it!" said Des.

"I told you, you're not joining our basket weaving class!!" said Mick.

"No I'm not!" said Des. "I'm going to become a lecturer at an evening class!!"

"You?!" said Clive. "A lecturer?! You don't know anything about anything!!"

"There must be something...something..." Des went deep into thought.

An hour later he thought of something.

"That's it!!" said Des. "Gerbil studies!!"

He rushed off to the local school to offer his services in becoming a lecturer in gerbil studies. To the others' surprise, he got the job.

"Anyone want to join my gerbil class?!" said Des.

"Now let me think..." said Clive. "No!"

In preparation for his first evening class, which was due to take place at the local school, Des got out his old tweed suit with elbow patches that he hadn't worn for thirty years.

"This will look stylish!" he said.

But when he arrived at the school he found it deserted.

"Strange," thought Des. "Where's my class gone?"

He then noticed a sign on the door.

"'Gerbil School is temporarily closed due to central heating failure. Gerbil class will now take place at the church hall'," read Des. "The church hall?!??!? Oh no!!!"

Des went across to the church hall. As he walked up the path he could hear the sound of Status Quo booming out of the hall as it usually would be at this time of evening.

"This can't be true," sighed Des. He walked into the church hall, where Dickie the Vicar was moving and grooving at the decks, playing records to a totally deserted dancefloor.

"Boogie woogie, great sounds there from the Quo!!" said Dickie. "Now I've just had a request in from the floor, Jim wonders if I've got any Status Quo. Well you're in luck Jim, because I have!! So get ready to boogie on down to 'Rockin' All Over the World'!! SMOKIN'!!!!"

"Dickie!!" shouted Des over the noise.

"Hi there Dangerous Des!!" said Dickie. "Got any requests!!"

"I'm looking for my gerbil class!" shouted Des.

"In the back room!!" said Dickie.

"Thank you!!" said Des.

"Boogie woogie woo!!" said Dickie.

Des went into the back room where his three students were sitting, looking rather bored.

"Ah hello there, sorry I'm late," said Des, closing the door. "Is this it?"

"Yes," said one of the students.

"I was rather expecting a few more than this," said Des. "Still, I expect it'll get more popular once word gets around. Anyway, I'm sorry we've been shoved in here for our first class, but I suppose we'll just have to make the best of it."

"Pardon?" said the second student.

"What?" said Des.

"We can't hear what you're saying because of that loud music blaring through!"

Des groaned, and went back out to see Dickie.

"Oi Dickie, can you turn it down a bit!!" yelled Des.

"Okay Des!" said Dickie, turning the volume up instead. "Whoops, never quite got the hang of these controls!!"

Des went back into the back room to continue gerbil class. But after half an hour of droning on about gerbils (a subject which he didn't happen to know anything about anyway) he noticed that the three students were not taking the slightest bit of notice of what he was saying and were instead busy chatting amongst themselves.

"Excuse me, if you have something to say would you mind sharing it with the rest of the class?" said Des.

"We are already!" said one of the students.

"We were just saying, what a boring class this is, and how we'd rather go out there and do some disco dancing instead," said another of the students.

Des groaned.

"Well go then!"

So the three students got up, opened the door and walked out.

"Coming?" said the last student.

"Yes," groaned Des. He followed them out onto the dancefloor.

"Hey dudes, glad you could join us!!" said Dickie. "You're just in time to groove along to the mega sound of Status Quo and 'Down Down'!!!"

"I don't believe this," groaned Des.

The next morning he handed in his resignation.

"What job shall I do next?" said Des to the others in the morning meeting. "It's got to be something else that requires me to work in the evenings."

"Des, you're doomed," said Mick. "Doomed to go to Dickie's disco every single night. It's your destiny!"

"No it isn't!" said Des.

"Why don't you come and work for me?!" said Mrs Greasy. "Evening trade is picking up! I could do with some help! Have you ever fancied becoming a waiter?!"

"Work for you?!" exclaimed Des. "Talk about fighting fire with fire!"

Des mulled over whether spending time at Mrs Greasy's cafe was really preferable to spending time at Dickie's disco. He had almost come to a decision when he happened to glance at an advert in the newspaper Mick was reading.

"Hey Mick, what's that about a new radio station launching?" said Des.

"There's a new community radio station launching in the area," said Mick. "They're recruiting disc jockeys."

"That's it!!" said Des. "I'll get a job doing one of their shows! What's their number?"

Des dialled up their number on his mobile phone.

"He is deluded!" said Clive. "No one's going to give charisma-free Des a job being a DJ!!"

Minutes later Des ended his phone call.

"Success!" declared Des. "I'm doing their evening show! They're going on air on Monday, but they still needed some DJs, so they were getting a bit desperate!"

"Desperate?!" said Clive. "I'll say!"

"My show runs from 7.30 to 9.00 every weekday - exactly the same times as Dickie's disco!!" said Des. "This time, I can't lose!!"

On Monday Mick and Clive had a night off from basket weaving class, so they decided for a laugh to listen to Des's radio show to see how bad it could really be.

"It's 7.30 on Radio Tolworth FM," said the voiceover man, "and now it's time for the Den Winsday Show!!"

"Um, it's Des Wednesday actually, why can't you get my name right..." mumbled Des. "Oh I see...he's on tape...um... well hi there everybody, and welcome to my show!! My name's Den Winsday, I mean Dec Wellsday, I mean Del Wonday, oh here's a record."

The first record started, but Des hadn't switched his microphone off.

"I don't think that went very well, can we do that do that again? What? We're live? You just said it was on tape...oh! I see...well, I don't expect anyone's listening anyway...what's that? Oh, close the microphone!"

Mick and Clive were in fits of laughter. They had barely come round by the time Des opened his microphone up again for the next link.

"That's our first record today which is by, um, Culture Club, who are one of my favourite bands at the moment, because I am such a big fan of rap music, oh yes, dudes. Well anyway, it's 7.35, so, er, that means there's less than an hour and a half to go, but hey, it could be worse, you could be at Dickie the Vicar's disco. Well anyway, here's another record which is by another of my favourite bands of the moment, yes, it's New Kids on the Block!"

"This is hilarious!!" laughed Clive. "I reckon Des is on his way to becoming a cult broadcaster!"

Later on Des launched his phone-in competition, which was to guess the mystery noise.

"Unfortunately we don't appear to have had any calls for the competition yet...told you we didn't have any listeners...what did you say?"

"Try giving out the correct phone number for once!!" shouted a voice in the background.

"Oh yes," said Des. "So anyway, call in on, er, the usual number, and we'll have a chat to you live on air! Whoopee!! Anyway, time for another tune, this is a fantastic number by my all-time favourite band, it's...er.... Mike and the Mechanics X ...what?! Mike and the Mechanics X?!! Mike's band?! What idiot put that rubbish on the playlist?! Oh it was you..."

Despite the awfulness of Des's presentation skills, he was kept on for another day, mainly because the radio station had no one else to present the show instead. But Des was perturbed to learn that his next show was to be an outside broadcast. It was not so much that the fact that it was an outside broadcast that worried Des, but rather the location that the outside broadcast was to come from.

Clive and Mick's basket weaving teacher was off sick that evening, so they had another opportunity to listen in and laugh at Des's rubbish show.

"Well hello again, welcome again to the Den Winsday show, and wow, what an exciting show we have for you tonight. Because tonight's show is coming to you LIVE from one of Tolworth's hottest hot spots. Yes, for the next hour-and-a-half we're going to be broadcasting LIVE from Dickie the Vicar's charity disco to raise funds to fix the church roof. Whoopee."

Yes, Des mentioning Dickie's disco on his first show had given the production team the idea to do the show from there.

"That's our first song tonight, from, er, some band, well anyway, today's show is an outside broadcast from the church hall which I suppose makes it an inside broadcast really, ha ha... Well anyway, let's meet the man behind Dickie the Vicar's disco, yes, it's Dickie the Vicar. Hello Dickie."

"Hi Des!" said Dickie.

"Er, it's Den, actually, I've had to change my name to fit in with the jingles," said Des. "Well anyway, it's nice to meet you Dickie, and what a fantastic turnout you've got at your disco tonight."

"That's right Den!" said Dickie. "There's you...and your producer..."

"Well anyway, tell me what your charity disco to raise funds to fix the church roof is in aid of," said Des.

"It's in aid of funds to fix the church roof..."

Des handed in his resignation the next morning.

"I knew it," sighed Des at the cafe. "I'm doomed! Doomed to go to Dickie's disco every single night. It's my destiny!"

"Told you," said Mick.

Just then Dickie the Vicar burst into the cafe.

"Hi there everybody!" exclaimed Dickie. "Hi Den! Great show from the disco last night! Drummed up lots of publicity, I'm expecting a massive turnout tonight!!"

"It won't make any difference, no one listens to Radio Tolworth FM," said Des.

"We used to!" said Clive. "But we won't any more, because you've left!"

"Never mind Den, still it means you can start coming to my charity discos again!" said Dickie.

"Dickie, I'm not called Den, my name's Des!" said Des.

"Well I wish you'd make your mind up!" said Dickie. "Des, then Den, then back to Des..."

"By the way, does anyone want a spare fridge?" asked Des.


Copyright © Robert Williams
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