A Christmas Craphole, by Chaz “What the” Dickens.
Chapter one, in which a brush with the copyright laws looms.
A cold wind shook the damp timbers above Bob Crotchrot’s humble desk and he shivered, tightening his scarf about his neck in the hope that it would absorb sufficient filth and flakes of skin from his neck to make a worthwhile stew for the kids that evening. There were no coals in the grate even though his employer, the miserly drug merchant Ebenezer Goode, was the richest man in all of Tower Hamlets.
“Please, Mr Ebenezer, sir, can’t you find it in your heart to pay just a little tax this year? The entire NHS is being run off the wages of the underpaid nurses that work for it. They can’t afford sticking plasters, let alone any of your expensive, fraudulently trialed pharmaceuticals and my poor Tiny Tim has scurvy and rickets and all sorts of other diseases of the poor. Like obesity and ADHD.”
“Ah, well, I can’t you see, young Crotchrot. Terrible name, by the way. I’m afraid that the entire company is in my wife’s name and she’s domiciled in the Cayman Islands. Due to a tax loophole my wages count as a massive loss to the company and I actually claim a multi-million pound rebate. In fact you pay more tax than me, Crotchrot, and I pay you entirely in woodlice. Now shut up and let me concentrate, we’ve been testing new slimming drugs on pregnant women without telling them. They all miscarried and I have to fiddle the trial results so that the miscarriages show up as weight loss and I can have them expensively prescribed on the NHS.”
“But Mr Ebenezer, sir, isn’t that against the law?”
“It’s certainly against some interpretations of the law, young Crotchrot, but some of us can afford enough lawyers to make the case too difficult and expensive for the state to prosecute. Further reasons why I can’t pay any tax, you see.”
“ I’ve a good mind to write to my MP, Mr Ebenezer. Something should be done.”
“Good idea son. Of course, as you’re a product of state education, the chances of you having the concentration span to string together a coherent letter are slim and even if you did, if your MP wants a cosy non-exec seat on our board when he retires he’ll see the wisdom of giving you a polite ‘Fuck off’ and tipping off the local filth that you’re a paedo.”
“Oh, Mr Ebenezer, can you advance this month’s crustaceans? I’ve got to trade them in for an iPad nano for Tiny Tim’s Christmas present; otherwise without his meds he’s going to kick off bigtime and beat up Mrs Crotchrot again.”
“I certainly can’t, you impudent scamp. Fortunately for you, I’ve just bought shares in a payday lending company. You may borrow a paltry sum at ruinous interest with your daughter’s kidneys as collateral.”
“Oh, we shall have Christmas after all; I can buy all that gaudy, pointless tat off the telly, God bless us every one.”
“And phone that dyslexic twat Marley and tell him to get his goat out of the office.”
Yes Mr Ebenezer.”
In the next chapter, Ebenezer is visited by the ghost of Education policy past and gets into a tiresome debate about the value of exam results.