To say Tony was nervous about seeing Gerald was an understatement. On the one hand, he knew he had done an awful lot to piss him off, but on the other, he hadn't done enough to actually ruin the show. He figured he was likely to end up in some annoying middle ground where Gerald was angry but not angry enough to fire him and break the contract.
Nigel was also nervous, but secretly was looking forward to the possible showdown.
They walked through the reception to Gerald's big oak door. Tony knocked and awaited the usual call. “Come in gentlemen.” Nigel quietly mocked.
“Come in Gentlemen.” Gerald boomed.
Tony walked in with Nigel following closely behind. Tony's eyes wandered to the big shotguns on the wall. With their gently worn wooden handle and chunky barrels that appeared to go and on like the legs of a tall supermodel. He hoped they were going to stay on the wall, glancing back down to the bullet hole in the floor as they sat down.
“Great show gentlemen.” remarked Gerald. “I think that might be our best one yet.”
Tony and Nigel looked dumbfounded.
“Highly entertaining, and the guests were great if I do say so myself.” he continued.
“But.. what about?” Tony mumbled.
“What about the swearing? It's post watershed, people need to stop being babies about these things.” Gerald explained.
“But surely we can do better? Very true gentlemen, and we shall. Next week I have lined up some fantastic guests, and the public are going to love it.”
Tony looked to Nigel, who looked equally puzzled.
“That is all gentlemen.” Gerald declared, sending them back out before they had even had time to get settled.
Tony and Nigel crept out of the giant doorway, closing the big door behind them while they tried to figure out what just happened.
“I bet he didn't watch it.” Nigel ventured as they walked into the car park.
Gerald leant back in his seat, chuckled, and lit a cigar.
Driving back from the office, Tony and Nigel were discussing their next move in surprisingly good spirits, Nigel seemed to bring out the positive side of Tony more than Steve ever had.
“I know a good pub we can go to.” Tony ventured. “One of the barman is the son of a dear old friend of mine.”
“That sounds good to me.” Nigel replied. “We need to work out our plan for next week, and I have an idea that will see us victorious Tony. Do you have any victory music?”
“Erm.” Tony thought for a moment. “I've got some A-Ha...”
Nigel laughed. “That's not what I was expecting. But sod it.”
For the next three minutes and forty five seconds, a small part of West London looked on bemusedly as a dark red BMW 5-Series passed them with it's occupants singing the work of Norway's finest pop band at the top of their voices, nodding their heads in early celebration.
“Taaaake onnn meeeeee.” sang Tony
“Taake on meee” echoed Nigel
“Taaaake meeee onnn.”
“I'llll beeee gonnnnnnee.”
Tony and Nigel looked at each other for a split second, they both took a deep breath and moved to an alarmingly high pitched falsetto, placing their hands in the air as the car passed a group of little old ladies.
“Innn a dayyy orrrrrrrrrrr twwwooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.”
Just as the high note finished, the left wheel of the car clipped a kerb, and Tony quickly put his hands back on the wheel to correct it.
Tony drove Nigel back to his house, but they didn't venture inside, simply dropping the car off before heading into the city again on foot.
As they walked back to the pub where Patrick Woodward worked, Tony noticed the sign above the door that he had been too angry to see last time he visited. Written in a typical pub style with light silvery yellow letters was the name “The King James”.
The interior was decorated like most traditional pubs, lots of wood and greeny fabrics, but it had a cleanliness and character beyond the old style setting.
“Evening Patrick.” Tony announced their arrival. “How are you?”
“I'm good thanks Tone. What can I get you?” replied Patrick.
“Later, some ideas. But before that, two Merlots please.”
Several drinks later, and Patrick had joined in with Tony and Nigel's discussion on the show.
“Right guys.” declared Nigel. “It's time to hear my idea.”
“Bring it on.” remarked Patrick.
“Tony here.” Nigel gestured with a sense of absurd sympathy. “He is too nice to be rude in front of his guests. But we need him to be rude in order to get his contract cancelled.”
“Everybody loves my politeness you know it all bastard!” Tony laughed.
“What about this?” Nigel continued. “You said your career was ruined regardless of what we do right?”
“Yes.” Answered Tony. “This isn't helping!”
“Patience friend.” Nigel gestured. “So what if we send you out with the finest bit of acting of your career?”
“You want me to present the show dressed as a transvestite with a Scottish accent?”
“Erm... not personally, we'll keep that one in the bank.” Nigel chuckled. “But what if you prove your acting skills by playing a total bastard?”
“I'm not sure I can. I know I'm good, but they don't call me Tony 'Nice Guy' James for nothing.”
“No one calls you that. Not ever.” added Patrick. “My dad called you Tony 'Elvis' James after your white suit phase in 1977, but never that.”
“Come on Tony!” Nigel started to get excited and exaggerate his words and gestures. “We'll create a full rounded character for you to play, a TV show host that is a complete and utter obnoxious prick, who just so happens to share your name.”
“I'm not convinced.” Tony responded.
“Come on Tone! If anyone can act like the dickhead that is Tony James, it's Tony James.” Patrick joked.
“Watch it.” Tony pointed at Patrick.
“You know it's a great idea Tony.” Nigel interjected. “You can wreck the show, demonstrate your acting skills, and still maintain your reputation as a great guy.”
Tony thought to himself for a moment.
“Go on!” Patrick nudged him.
“Ah go on then. I have nothing to lose anyway, and I hate the guests they keep giving me.” Tony explained. “Except for a couple of them who were okay I suppose.”
Nigel looked at Patrick and whispered. “Abbie.”
“Oi!” Tony growled jokingly.
“He's in love!” Nigel remarked.
“I am not! We're just friends. I have a girlfriend for goodness sakes!”
“Me thinks the lady doth protest too much.” Patrick added.
“Bastards... I'm just going to say nothing.” Tony sulked.
“You don't need to say anything, love is an emotional rollercoaster after all!” laughed Nigel.
“It's a bloody good job the other Tony James isn't here, he'd kick your disrespectful asses.” Tony growled slyly.
“That's the spirit!” Nigel retorted.