The oligarchy of Republic/Irecan/Lucid/Exact Domestical (respectively Stevies/FooFoo’s/Mazzer’s and Whiskey Tom’s Companies) could not be found, for a change in the Oxford Arms, but individually were, and collectively was, in a Dilemma. Dilemma are not, at least not yet, new models of Japanese hybrid cars, but are in fact Very Serious Situations.
The problem was rooted in that originally Mazzer and FooFoo had agreed to work at LOPBAMP! for a fixed amount of money – all things being equal. Unfortunately, all things were not equal, and GASTLI had made such a pigs ear of all the doings that needed doing, that the project was incomplete, and the fixed amount of money had been spent ( on wages by Mazzer and FooFoo, although they remained unpaid by GASTLI). The project, which Mazzer now simply called TLN (The Living Nightmare) was either half completed “strong” or remained a quarter uncompleted “weak”. Mazzer and FooFoo thought that GASTLI should find some extra cash to pay for completion, as it was GASTLI’s Bakunin-influenced approach to making things that had led to this Very Serious Situation in the first place. Everyone said so, even the architect, who quite liked RILED.
GASTLI for their part had reacted to this Very Serious Situation by simply stopping paying the newly formed RILED, even for work that had been done weeks previously, and had announced that they would continue to un-pay our hapless quartet unless they agreed to
a) stop laughing at GASTLI’s millwork and custom cabinetry
b) complete the project for the originally agreed price
c) stop helping Marky by telling him mistakes that GASTLI had made. Apparently, things went a lot smoother if you ignored mistakes completely.
The Dilemma that our crew therefore faced was whether to work for nothing until GASTLI actually got anything right, or whether to go and play somewhere else and find another way of getting enough money to keep the Oxford Arms in business, while trying to recover the money GASTLI owed them.
Advice from a Higher Power was obviously needed, but as the group were all atheists, a God substitute would have to do. Around about this time, the financial and political savvy of the mysterious Dr Large had begun to figure in the group’s collective decision making. This shadowy figure had begun to take an interest in the situation because she is what is inadequately described as Mazzer’s other half. Her interest in the events had really been kindled when the amount of treats she had been able to buy for her cats had begun to be limited due to cash-flow problems Mazzer was experiencing. DrLarge, advised from the fastness of her fiendish mountaintop laboratory that a lawyer would be the omnipotent power that RILED needed, and that she would fund the acquisition of same if it meant that at a later date, her cats would be able to eat all the treats Mazzer could buy them. As she was under 5'4" high, Dr Large was undoubtedly possessed of phenomenal powers both of logic and intellect, and Mazzer immediately began consulting the Yellow Pages.
Mazzer and FooFoo knew nothing about lawyers but their choice appeared impressive. “EFFECTIVO THE MAGNIFICENT” his business card exclaimed, “EXPERT IN TRAFFIC TICKETS, INTERNATIONAL LAW, REAL ESTATE AND CORPORATE LAW. HOME TUITION IN GEOGRAPHY A SPECIALITY”. Rod Effectivo himself, was no less impressive – he had no need to write anything down, and was extremely dexterous in re-arranging the cuff-links on his shirt. He obviously showered vigourously and enthusiastically, because he was very clean.
Effectivo the Magnificent assured Mazzer and FooFoo that he could resolve the whole situation within two weeks, and a letter from a powerful lawyer such as himself would do the trick; that everyone would agree it was a terrible misunderstanding and GASTLI and RILED would all be friends.
Unfortunately, since their first meeting, the boys had come to suspect that Effectivo was not quite as brilliant or as powerful as he claimed. For a start, whenever they phoned his offices, the receptionist told them he was making tea for his (or possibly “the”) partners, and would call them back as soon as the kettle had boiled. Effectivo also seemed to have an unconventional approach to law, attempting to pursue their disagreement with GASTLI under the procedures governing unpaid traffic tickets. Nevertheless, our Company Of carpenters continued to work and give Effectivo a chance to work his magic.