“We interrupt this programme to bring you an important news bulletin. Reports are coming in of a further escalation in the Gnome crisis.
The Gnomish leader, captured by police in a daring simultaneous dawn raid on 47 garden Centres on Friday, has been snatched from police custody. Initially it was thought that this was a daring rescue by gnomish extremists hell bent on saving their leader. However, as details have emerged it now seems more likely that the gnome was kidnapped by one of the groups of vigilantes who have been roaming the streets all night despite the pleas from Chairman Tenji for calm and restraint.
A police spokestypeperson agreed to talk to our reporter.”
(Scene changes to outside broadcast from New Scotland Yard)
“Hello London, this is Kate Adie wearing baggy combat fatigues for no readily apparent reason. I have with me Chief Inspector Rod Slipper. Chief Inspector, I understand it was from your station that the gnome was abducted.”
“Yes, that’s right, one minute he was re-potting a large yucca and the next there was nothing left but his ‘keep off the grass’ sign.”
“Re-potting a yucca, inspector? Is that usual?”
“Chief Inspector.. Well, yes miss, every 12 to 18 months it is a good idea to open up the root ball and move the plant into fresh compost.”
“Mine has got a bit of yellowing around the leaves, do you think it needs re-potting?”
“Well, Katie, how long has it been in the current pot?”
“Must be six years since I bought it—so since then.”
“Yes, I would certainly suggest you try re-potting. You need to give it a good drink afterwards but then continue to avoid over-watering, as I am sure you have been.”
“You don’t think there is a danger it will out-grow the room, Inspector?”
“Not, normally. It is probably prudent not to increase the size of the pot—just replace the compost.”
“Thanks Ins—er, Chief Inspector, I’ll try that.”
“No problem Katie, can I buy you a drink?”
“Well, perhaps it’s a woman in combat fatigues, but I have always found you very attractive.”
“Well now you mention it a man in a freshly pressed uniform with lots of shiny bits can be very...but perhaps we should return to the gnome, Chief Inspector."
"Do call me 'Rod,' Katie."
"OK...um...Rod, why was the gnome doing odd jobs around the police station?”
“Right, its part of our new drive towards better customer focus. We let all the prisoners—sorry, I should say ‘guests’—opt for productive improving activities during their visit. The gnome mentioned his interest in things horticultural and one thing led to another. Before the yucca he had dug us a nice ornamental pond outside the canteen, would you like to come and see it? Other guests are currently decorating the chief constable’s office. We did have some joy-riders in who offered to road test all the police patrol cars—that wasn’t such a success.”
“But isn’t there a danger that the guests may leave, or even be abducted—as seems to have happened here?”
“Yes, Katie, but there is risk in everything you know. Just standing here in the street talking to you is a risk. If my wife had been watching just now when I asked you to come for a drink things could have got very nasty—sleeping in the spare-room until Christmas I shouldn’t wonder. Or a large piano could fall on us in a freak accident spreading tragedy in our respective families and leaving us never knowing whether, had we gone for that drink, things might have been so very different. Not that it would bother us much—after being crushed by a piano—a man is not going to have much time to think about loosely fitting combat fatigues which subtly hint at the voluptuous curves beneath...unless he was only maimed I suppose. Hideously disfigured but still adored by his new-found love…”
“But wouldn’t it have been better to have had him locked up?”
“Well we did think about that but I had a call from Chairman Tenji’s office early this morning insisting that the gnome should be given the full benefit of our new enlightened miscreant hosting policy. In fact it was Mr Tenji himself who mentioned the need to re-pot the yucca in the reception area of the station at about 11.42 – he was quite insistent on 11.42.
Anyway, as chance would have it, at 11.44 three masked satirists rushed through the door and assured us—with what we now think was heavy irony bordering on sarcasm—that they were ‘definitely not here to abduct this gnome.’ Well this reassured the desk sergeant who dropped his guard for a moment, and when he looked up again from page three of The Sun, the gnome had gone. We did give pursuit and briefly recaptured it as you can see from this security camera still, but Gerald—that's the gnome—not sergeant Gerry Clough—who you'll see has his quarry securely by the foot, was snatched back by the satirists in the ensuing struggle.”
(Scene changes back to the studio)
“Sorry to cut you off there Katie but there has been a serious new development. We have just received a video which appears to be from the kidnappers. We are going to play this now, gnome lovers amongst our viewers may find the content deeply disturbing.”
(Grainy picture of chained gnome, struggling defiantly. Camera pans shakily to a fat bald man.)
Bald man: "Not yet you prat I haven’t got the mask on..."
(Camera points hurridly away and focuses on a gas bill showing an address in Purley.)
Bald man: "OK, Tenji I’m ready now."
(Camera, pans shakily back again, bald man now wearing a fishnet stocking over his head.)
Bald Man: "Hello, we have a simple message for you all. This tolerance to gnomes has gone on long enough. We want them out of the country, back where they belong in the grottos of Norway. No discussion, no argument. This little (expletive beeped out) will be liquidated in ten days time unless our demands are met."
Cameraman: "I thought we were going to kill him, Tree?"
Bald man: "Don't tell them my name! Look you idiot, I’ll do the talking. Liquidate is posh for killing all right?"
Cameraman: "There’s no need to get stroppy."
Bald man: "That’s it—turn the (expletive beeped out) camera off."
(Film ends, white noise on tape, then the Christmas 1993 episode of Only Fools and Horses starts at that really funny bit where Del-boy calls Rodney a plonker. Return to studio.)
“Well there we have it, a truly shocking development. I don’t think any of us had much sympathy for the gnome after recent events but nonetheless it is very disturbing to see the rosy cheeked little chappie in such dire straights. We will bring you a further bulletin in our regular news programme at 7 o’clock.”
(A technical error jumps the broadcast back to Kate Adie and Chief Inspector Slipper who are clearly in the process of exchanging telephone numbers.)
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