‘What are you beastly rotters smirking about?’ asked Billy Bunter as he stepped outside of the Commons and saw the Bullingdon Boys chortling over something they were looking at in the newspaper they were all gathered round.
‘Oh, terrific news!’ ejaculated Johnson. ‘For us, at least, though not so much for you, old fat man!’
Bunter was intrigued, but the Bullingdon fellows wouldn’t let him see whatever it was in the paper that amused them so.
‘Don’t be such rascals,’ he wailed as his fat paws tried to grab the paper and Cameron kept pulling it away from his reach. ‘There must be something about me in there and I want to see it.’
‘You’re going to get booted, you fat, footling, foozling fathead!’ cried Osborne. ‘And the bootfulness will be terrific!’
The Bullingdons guffawed as one, leaving Bunter even more incensed. His fat face burned as bright as a ripe tomato.
‘You’re going to get your comeuppance at last, you fat chump,’ said Cameron.
‘Why’s that?’ asked Bunter. ‘Do tell me, you blithering beast!’
‘Shall we tell him, chaps?’ said Cameron as he turned to the assembled fellows. ‘Do we think this cough-drop should be told about the caper?’
‘If we don’t, I reckon the swab will burst like a boil being lanced!’ cried Johnson, to which the Bullingdons guffawed afresh.
‘Oh, blow the lot of you!’ yelled Bunter over the chortles that echoed around the member’s lobby. He was poised to storm off as fast as his fat legs could carry him when Cameron grabbed him by the collar and pulled him back.
‘Not so fast, old bean,’ he said. ‘You should jolly well know what’s in store for you today.’
And with that, he handed Bunter the paper, opened on the page that had amused them all. Bunter carefully studied the story in question and his red face rapidly turned ashen.
‘Oh, crikey!’ he cried.
‘Thrashed and booted by an old-boy,’ said Cameron with a grin like a darkie. ‘Proctor Major has challenged you to name names outside the Palace – and if you refuse, you’re going to look an even bigger, fatter rotter than you are already!’
‘But I can’t name names,’ replied Bunter, who was beginning to look like his own ghost, so pale was his face. ‘My vague references to this house once being home to a ring of Tory kiddie-fiddlers owes its success to oblique hints, nods and winks. To name names would not only lead to me being sued left right and centre, but I’ve no facts to support my conjecture. As long as I harp on about this product of my imagination without naming names, I can spin the yarn forever, thus keeping my mediocre excuse for a personality in the public eye.’
‘By Jove, you’re a packet, Bunter!’ interjected Johnson. ‘The Dickens’ Dossier was supposed to hold the information you’ve now been challenged to reveal.’
‘But the fact it mysteriously disappeared was convenient for you,’ added Osborne. ‘And now you can no longer fall back on that. You have to tell the world who was named in it!’
‘But I’ve no idea who was named in it, you cad,’ replied Bunter, who looked as though he’d gone to the toilet in his trousers. ‘I never even saw the Dickens’ Dossier, which gave me carte-blanche to speculate on who was named in it.’
‘Only because it never existed!’ retorted Cameron as the Bullingdon Boys guffawed again.
‘Crikey, chaps,’ exclaimed Bunter. ‘What am I to do?’
‘You’ve got to name names, old bean,’ said Cameron. ‘If you can’t, then your ludicrous crusade is over. Put your money where your mouth is.’
‘But that’s not my job,’ replied Bunter. ‘I leave that to the Twitter fellows – after I’ve dropped several clues for them, of course, encouraging them to spread the word about the dead and dying. I helped throw the name of dead head-boy Heath in the ring only a few weeks ago, but I wasn’t silly enough to do so in public.’
‘Old Proctor has had enough, you fat chump,’ said Cameron. ‘He recognises a witch-hunt when he sees one, and his name’s been dragged through the mud thanks to your beastly, unsubstantiated yarns. Your pals in the press and police have done your dirty work for you for far too long. It’s time to stick your fat neck on the line. He’s thrown down the gauntlet, fatso.’
‘Oh, crikey,’ said Bunter again. ‘If I can’t name names I’ll be reduced to a laughing-stock. And my bid to become deputy head-boy of my house will be in tatters.’
‘You’re already a laughing-stock,’ said Osborne with a cackle. ‘And a blithering little rascal with it. So many distinguished old-boys have had their reputations ruined thanks to your baseless rumour-mongering. Now it’s your turn to face a thrashing, fat head!’
Bunter was then deafened by a chorus of chortles from the Bullingdons. He had his fat paws over his ears and then abruptly ran off down the corridor towards the tuck-shop. He needed food for thought – e.g. twelve pork pies, apple crumble with custard and half-a-dozen bottles of Vimto. He was up shit creek without a paddle and he knew it. An old-boy had called his bluff and he couldn’t retaliate without bringing the tower of tripe he’d spent years building crashing down around him. Whichever way he looked at it, his career was over. As was his tuck-shop feast. Cripes!
This final episode in the adventures of Billy Bunter, Honourable Member for West Bromwich East, was taken from the pages of today’s edition of The Westminster Magnet, on sale now price 2d.