Much later, replete from a supper of Adnams beer battered cod fillet, tartare sauce, mushy peas and hand cut chips followed by strawberry ice cream, Beryl and Ferdinand returned to the tent and settled down for the night. Soon after dawn Ferdy was woken by the brass alarm bell and the smell of cooking. The breakfast fry-ups were magnificent, rustled up on a primus and washed down by billy-can tea. But soon it was time for their mission. Ms Clutterbuck settled herself in the pilot’s seat. In the back with Ferdy were bundles of pamphlets tied up with binding twine. With a roar and a whirr the Dominie bumped and bounded along the makeshift runway, lifted lightly into the air, banked in a wide arc and headed for West London. Once in the air Beryl started to laugh, a lighthearted tinkling laugh that persisted almost all the time she was airborne. She had the side windows open and her long blonde hair writhed in the draught. Once off the ground she was a goddess.
“We’ll start over Hyde Park and the festival and then spiral outwards, make sure we cover as much territory as possible. Ferdy, you open up the bundles and begin shoving the pamphlets out as soon as were over the target.” The young bird unhinged the cabin door and placed it carefully to one side, then he cut through the twine on the first bundle with the larger of the two blades on his Victorinox Explorer. As soon as he saw the big wheel and the Steam Fair below he started scattering the flyers.
“Ha ha, fliers eh?” he shouted to the pilot.
These were not Slasher McGoogs’ usual ranting handbills; these were factual and detailed documents. The majority of the bundles revealed the contents of the Fluffy Files – Fluffy Media Inc’s extensive archive – information on the misdeeds and indiscretions of the rich, the famous, politicians, law enforcement chiefs and judges – anyone who might one day be persuaded to do the cat a favour, or be susceptible to blackmail or intimidation. Next came the photographs – telephoto images of peccadilloes and parties, liaisons, meetings and luxury holidays at exotic resorts; fuzzy smart-phone snaps of politicians, policemen, spies, media oligarchs, bikini clad Chattes Souterraines, flauschige kätzchen. Then there were bank statements detailing payments made and received, false and exaggerated claims, frauds and embezzlements. Finally the e-mails – so many e-mails – threats and cajolings, cover-ups and conspiracies, self seeking fawnings, advancements, promises and threats.
Nor were civil servants exempt, nor bank managers, local councillors, traffic wardens, nor swimming pool attendants, anyone whose lust for power had compromised his integrity, smothered any vestige of compassion; all were named and shamed. There was Mr Fluffy laid bare on the printed page – the fantasies and lies, the threats and bribes, and his dealings with Les Chats Souterrains, so tied in with their machinations that he was no more in control of his destiny than any of his victims. And finally, evidence against Slasher McGoogs himself, the catnip scam and so much more. Was this his final joke?
At the bottom of each page was the web address where every revelation could be reread and cross-referenced. Provenances were detailed, sources revealed, and all available on line with a link to Facebook.
As the last leaves fluttered down Ferdy fell back, physically exhausted, but also stunned by what he had read. Was there not one honest soul, good and true, anywhere in this blighted world?