22 January 2001
Tom Henderson and Rodney Bickerthwaite, both bedecked in tuxedos, are discussing disturbing recent events in the City...
Henderson: It's effectively vanished. One minute Biddle was on our radar screens. The next minute nothing... thin air.
Bickerthwaite: Like when satellites went missing in the Bond film Moonraker?
Henderson: That's the analogy we're trying to set up, yes. The only clue to Biddle's whereabouts is a reference in The Lawyer to a new firm that's recently appeared in the City - Pinsent Curtis Biddle.
Bickerthwaite: Is that why we've come to this massive hollowed volcano/secret bunker complex in the middle of Leeds?
Henderson: Quite. For years we've all thought Pinsent Curtis was just some bloody rural firm dealing in pigs and stuff. Maybe we were wrong...
At this moment our heroes come face-to-face with a crack team of paralegals. After a fierce fight involving a writ and counter writ they are taken to the boardroom.
Hedley: Ah gentlemen, we've been expecting you. I'm Andrew Hedley, head of... shall we say "marketing"?
Henderson: And who's that with the cat?
Hedley: Our senior partner, Julian Tonks.
Henderson: Does he? Well, we live a liberal age. Now tell us of your brilliant scheme to dominate the world of law.
Tonks: It began last year with our long-term strategy review. It led to two plans. One - stop being rubbish. Two - take over the world. So we hived off the chaff of our client base. The pig breeders and the like. Then we constructed this office-cum-volcano in Leeds and began picking off City practices. Today Britain - tomorrow, Britain and maybe the Isle of Wight!
Henderson: And all the while maintaining the ingenious cover of a firm slightly floundering. You'll never get away with this, you evil genius!
Tonks: But Mr Henderson, we already have. As we speak my doom-o-matic press ray is preparing to fire.
Henderson: What does it do, you fiendish maniac?
Tonks: It will target every major corporation in the country... with the Pinsent Curtis Newsletter explaining our medium-term strategy and commitment to quality. And simultaneously Mr Hedley will play the press like a piano. Bwah haa haaa.
Henderson: There is just one flaw in your plan.
Tonks: And what's that?
Henderson: Everyone still thinks you're a bloody rural firm who deals in pigs and stuff.
Tonks: Fine words, Mr Henderson. It is a shame they will be your last. No one crosses us. Last year, someone at Pinsent Curtis had the temerity to speak to the press. Let's just say... I sent them a memo telling them not to do it again. You see - ruthless. For example, you are currently standing on a trap door. If I press this button you'll fall into a pit of tax lawyers eager to discuss changes to capital gains thresholds in Latvia.
Henderson: You monster. Quickly Rodney, activate the homing beacon! You think we came alone but reinforcements are on the way.
The door crashes down as Jack Pratchard abseils in.
Henderson: Jack! Hurray! Get your men to tie up Mr Tonks while we attempt ...
Pratchard: What men? I was supposed to bring men? I've got a packed lunch if that helps.
Henderson: Oh dear.
Bickerthwaite: You're a disgrace to Yorkshire. All this obsession wi' London. I've been there. It's full of half pints and rocket salad. What's wrong wi' staying in Yorkshire? God's country. Boycott's homeland. I remember seeing Geoffrey once grace Headingley with a five-hour 18 not out...
Tonks: Does not compute! Too boring! Does not compute!
Mr Tonks' head explodes.
Henderson: Good God! Julian Tonks was just a robot the whole time being controlled by you, Hedley. You're the real genius.
Hedley: My beautiful creation! It's ruined.
Henderson: Come on, we've won. We've just time for martinis and dames...