Scene: Two men sit at shabby desks in a leaky portakabin at the edge of a railway station car park. One of the men is reading Anna Raccoon while the other struggles to wrap a sizeable parcel, surrounded by rolls of brown paper, strips of sticky-tape and unravelled balls of hairy string.
Ernst (for it is he): At bloomin’ last! The next time we’ve got a 2kg lump of rock to parcel up, it’s YOUR turn! I’ve dropped it on my foot twice and if my toe isn’t broken I think I’m at least going to lose the nail. Are you even listening to me, Young?
Young: (for it is he): Ah, yes, I’m just reading all about when the very same lump of rock was purported to be a priceless ruby known as The Gem of Tanzania. It’s quite a tale, isn’t it Ernst?
Ernst: Sure is! Those Wrekin people claimed it was valued at £11m, didn’t they Young?
Young: Sure did, Ernst, eleven million pounds.
Ernst: And £11m in interest-bearing preference shares were issued on the strength of forged valuations, weren’t they Young?
Young: Sure were, Ernst.
Ernst: Strange that the reputable auction houses wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole when it came to be sold isn’t it Young?
Young: Not really, Ernst, once it turned out to be nothing more than a toe-crushing lump of anyolite.
Ernst: Just remind me again, Young – precisely how much did it sell for recently at auction?
Young: £8,010 Ernst.
Ernst: Crikey. Who bought it, Young?
Young: A company called Pertemps Investments Ltd., Ernst.
Ernst: Oh. OK. Chuck me that marker-pen will you Young? Thanks. To Gem Dept, Pertemps Investments Ltd.,….
(sound of squeaky marker pen on brown paper followed by long and awkward silence)
Young: Since you’ve got a broken toe, would you like me to pop that parcel into the post for you Ernst?
Ernst: That’s very decent of you Young.
Young: See you at The Feathers later for a pint Ernst?
Ernst: Not tonight Young, I think I’ll be getting my toe x-rayed.
Young: Right, I’ll be off then Ernst.
Ernst: See you tomorrow Young.