The Lawyer is banking on the kids to come up with a killer dotcom concept. They are obviously so much better at spending money than he is at earning it that he figures they will know by instinct how to suck the disposable income of the UK’s 5 to 15-year-olds out of their piggy banks and into his ISA portfolio.
Over the last few weeks he has been goaded to near frenzy by the fortunes being made and lost in cyberspace, and finally snapped on Saturday, when he sat the children down with some felt tips and a pile of old letterheads and said that they were not having tea until they came up with a concept that could float before the summer. Liability, bless her, thought it was an art competition and drew Betty Spaghetti going for a swim, while Subjudice came up with a plan to auction computer game secrets on the web. But she was admonished by her father when it transpired that she planned to kidnap games programmers and keep them in the cellar until they coughed up the location of the secret key to level 32 on Sellafield Meltdown, or whatever.
Five-year-old Deminimus, to my surprise, came up with a fully costed plan for supplying organic lunch boxes to school children. No more battling for the last withered carrot in the tiny organics corner of the supermarket, I mused. No more buttering bread at 7am, more to the point. Instead, Deminimus’ scheme could guarantee delivery of a freshly packed brown paper bag, bursting with natural goodness, to your child’s school on receipt of an email the night before.
Actually, Deminimus and I have been held to ransom by the organics brigade at school, who are lobbying hard to have organic milk at breaktime and chips that have never tasted the chemical kiss of pesticide at lunch. It is all down to the persistence of Sue Carstairs, who has taken up the banner of the convert and will not let her daughter Chloe ride in the back of the Lawyer’s car because it has got leather seats, knowing what horrid substances might rub off on her tender, five-year-old’s thighs, although I am fairly sure it would be nothing more dangerous than Toothkind Ribena.
Chloe has been known to turn down the apple turnover at school lunch on the grounds that the apples were not peeled, which Deminimus thinks is frightfully rude to the nice dinner ladies who work so hard. Chloe has also recruited her little friends as organispies to check out all lunch boxes. They have been known to throw away chocolate bars if they do not have “fair trade” written on them. Deminimus had the humiliation of seeing his cheese dippers stamped into the asphalt of the playground last week, and his crisps shaken out into the bitter spring winds.
On the premise, therefore, that it is better to beat them at their own game, Deminimus has come up with a real web winner. Unfortunately, the Lawyer does not see why anyone would pay for sandwiches when it is the job of people like me to stand at the kitchen counter every weekday morning and make them for free. And I can tell you just how much I appreciated that sentiment.
Chastened, Deminimus retired to the sitting room to watch telly, but I picked up his drawing of a little van painted with happy bananas and smiling apples, bearing the name “organimum.co.uk”, and put it thoughtfully in my bag. He is my darling boy, but he would never get a loan from the bank. I, on the other hand…