âWhat are you beastly rottersÂ smirking about?â asked Billy Bunter as he stepped outside of the Commons and saw the Bullingdon Boys chortlingÂ over something they were looking at in the newspaper they were all gathered round.
Â Â âOh, terrific news!â ejaculated Johnson. âFor us, at least, though not so much for you, old fat man!â
Â Â Bunter was intrigued, but the Bullingdon fellows wouldnât let him see whatever it was in the paper that amused them so.
Â Â âDonât be such rascals,â he wailed as his fat paws tried to grab the paper and Cameron kept pulling it away from his reach. âThere must be something about me in there and I want to see it.â
Â Â âYouâre going to get booted, you fat, footling, foozlingÂ fathead!â cried Osborne. âAnd the bootfulness will be terrific!â
Â Â The Bullingdons guffawed as one, leaving Bunter even more incensed. His fat face burned as bright as a ripe tomato.
Â Â âYouâre going to get your comeuppance at last, you fat chump,â said Cameron.
Â Â âWhyâs that?â asked Bunter. âDo tell me, you blithering beast!â
Â Â âShall we tell him, chaps?â said Cameron as he turned to the assembled fellows. âDo we think this cough-drop should be told about the caper?â
Â Â âIf we donât, I reckon the swab will burst like a boil being lanced!â cried Johnson, to which the Bullingdons guffawed afresh.
Â Â âOh, blow the lot of you!â yelled Bunter over the chortles that echoed around the memberâs 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.
Â Â âNot so fast, old bean,â he said. âYou should jolly well know whatâs in store for you today.â
Â Â 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.
Â Â âOh, crikey!â he cried.
Â Â âThrashed and booted by an old-boy,â said Cameron with a grin like a darkie. âProctor Major has challenged you to name names outside the Palace â and if you refuse, youâre going to look an even bigger, fatter rotter than you are already!â
Â Â âBut I canât name names,â replied Bunter, who was beginning to look like his own ghost, so pale was his face. âMy 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 Iâve 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.â
Â Â âBy Jove, youâre a packet, Bunter!â interjected Johnson. âThe Dickensâ Dossier was supposed to hold the information youâve now been challenged to reveal.â
Â Â âBut the fact it mysteriously disappeared was convenient for you,â added Osborne. âAnd now you can no longer fall back on that. You have to tell the world who was named in it!â
Â Â âBut Iâve no idea who was named in it, you cad,â replied Bunter, who looked as though heâd gone to the toilet in his trousers. âI never even saw the Dickensâ Dossier, which gave me carte-blanche to speculate on who was named in it.â
Â Â âOnly because it never existed!â retorted Cameron as the Bullingdon Boys guffawed again.
Â Â âCrikey, chaps,â exclaimed Bunter. âWhat am I to do?â
Â Â âYouâve got to name names, old bean,â said Cameron. âIf you canât, then your ludicrous crusade is over. Put your money where your mouth is.â
Â Â âBut thatâs not my job,â replied Bunter. âI leave that to the Twitter fellows â after Iâve 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 wasnât silly enough to do so in public.â
Â Â âOld Proctor has had enough, you fat chump,â said Cameron. âHe recognises a witch-hunt when he sees one, and his nameâs 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. Itâs time to stick your fat neck on the line. Heâs thrown down the gauntlet, fatso.â
Â Â âOh, crikey,â said Bunter again. âIf I canât name names Iâll be reduced to a laughing-stock. And my bid to become deputy head-boy of my house will be in tatters.â
Â Â âYouâre already a laughing-stock,â said Osborne with a cackle. âAnd a blithering little rascal with it. So many distinguished old-boys have had their reputations ruined thanks to your baseless rumour-mongering. Now itâs your turn to face a thrashing, fat head!â
Â Â 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 â 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 couldnât retaliate without bringing the tower of tripe heâd 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 BromwichÂ East, was taken from the pages of todayâs edition of The Westminster Magnet, on sale now price 2d.