A Penny Well Spent

Inside Filtham community centre, in a little office tucked away, Mary Goldman was busy putting through the purchase order for some new gloves for Captain Clean, who had burnt his last pair by using them to take a pizza out of the oven.

Her work was interrupted though, as the phone suddenly rang in the usual disruptive way that phones do. Mary answered it and, in her usual polite tone, said, ‘Hello, Sanitary Squad, Mary speaking. How can I help?’
‘Hello, my name is Tanya’ said a foreign sounding woman on the other end of the phone whose name clearly wasn’t Tanya. ‘I’m calling from Injury Advice Helpline about an accident you or your partner were involved in at work.’
‘Okay, you may have to be a little more specific,’ Mary said, not realising the type of call this was.
‘Was it you or your husband who was involved in the accident?’ the woman on the phone asked.
‘It was probably my husband, Mick. He’s got quite a dangerous job,’ Mary explained.
‘What job does he do madam?’
‘He’s a grime fighter.’
‘Crime fighter?’
‘No, GRIME. With a G.’
‘He fights grime?’
’Oh, um… okay,’ said the woman on the phone. She’d heard many different job titles in her time, but grime fighter was a new one on her, and it threw her slightly. Still, sticking to the script, she continued. ‘Do you remember when the accident took place?’
‘Ooh, I’m not sure. He gets into accidents all the time. I’ll go and ask him. Hold on a minute.’
Mary pressed a button on the phone and a low-quality recording of When I’m Cleaning Windows played over the phone while she went and asked Suds if he’d been in an accident recently. When she returned, she picked the phone up and spoke in a serious, disgruntled voice.
‘Right, listen dear. My husband said you’re a scam, or possibly some kind of scamola, so I’ve logged your number in the database and tracked your address. If you ever call here again, I will send my husband and his colleagues round to your office to make sure you have a little accident of your own. And then you won’t be talking to anyone for a very long time. Have I made myself clear?’
‘Y-yes madam,’ the woman stuttered. ‘Th-thank you for your time.’
Mary hung up the phone and returned to her work.


‘Today’s lesson is puns,’ said Captain Clean to his gang of grime fighters, who were all sat around the table in the centre of the base. ‘A good pun can be as effective as any weapon. Puns are our bread and butter; without them we’d be toast. Today we’re going to look at attack puns. When you hit someone, you should be able to deliver a witty remark along with your attack to increase the impact. For example, just before you punch a postman, you might say “Special delivery.” This also gives them a bit of a laugh just before they’re hit, maintaining our friendly image. So, to start off, I’m going to give you each a profession and you think of a witty one liner you could use when attacking them. Let’s start with Will. A waiter, go!’
‘Order up!’ Will replied quickly. As the joker of the squad, he was always ready with a quippy response.
‘Very good. Nelson, a pirate, go!’
‘Um… Polly want a cracker?’ he said unconfidently.
‘Needs work. Jean, a paramedic, go!’
‘Why am I hitting a paramedic?’ she asked.
‘No questions. Go!’
‘Oh, I don’t know, uh… clear.’
‘Clear?’ asked a confused captain.
‘Yeah, you know… the defibrillators,’ she explained, miming using a pair of defibrillators.
‘I haven’t got time for pop music,’ the captain said with a roll of his eyes, ‘let’s just move on.’
HyJean turned to the others with a frustrated look, and they gave her sympathetic smiles.
‘Okay, so now you’ve got your puns, you need to think about delivery,’ continued Captain Clean. ‘It is important to remember that you must never laugh at your own pun. They may be hilarious – except for Jean’s, which was just confusing – but for maximum impact, you must deliver them with a straight face. The easiest way to do this is to imagine something sad. Nelson and Mick, can I borrow you?’
Faucet and Sergeant Suds got up and the captain positioned the two of them facing each other. He handed Suds a pad to hold up and then explained the exercise.
‘Okay, so Nelson, you’re going to throw punches at Mick, and to get you to keep a straight face, I will call out some sad affirmations. Right, both ready? Okay, Nelson, let’s see your punch. Go!’
Faucet wasted no time and threw a punch at Suds’s face, hitting him square in the jaw. Suds was tough and merely recoiled a little, but then reacted instinctively and threw a punch back at Faucet, knocking him to the floor.

‘Stop! Stop!’ the captain cried as he stood between them. ‘I meant hit the pad, Nelson! What did you think he was holding the pad was for?’
‘Oh crap, sorry Mick,’ said Faucet, realising what he’d done as he pulled himself up. ‘I don’t know, I… I thought he was going to use it later as a weapon.’
‘Never mind, sit down,’ the captain said, waving him away. ‘Will, get up here.’
As Flush got up to face Suds, HyJean helped Faucet back to his seat and checked he was okay.

Upon Captain Clean’s command, Flush started throwing punches at the pad. He wasn’t the best built of the group, but he was agile and had a pretty strong punch that stood him in good stead. After a few hits, the captain started his heckling.
‘Your phone battery has died!’
Flush tutted and continued punching.
‘Your favourite TV show has just been cancelled!’
‘Aww man,’ Flush said, now punching with a disappointed look on his face.
‘Good, now imagine your cat is dying!’
‘I don’t have a cat,’ replied Will as he almost clipped Suds himself with an impressive right hook.
‘Imagine you do have a cat!’
‘Okay… Oh no, the cat’s dead! Oh my god! Oh fluffy!’
‘Okay, that’s good. Tone it down a bit though.’
‘Oh poor fluffy! You were such a kind cat! Why has this terrible fate befallen you? WHY! Take me instead!’
‘Alright stop,’ said Cap, stopping Flush who by this point was now grabbing the air with his fists, giving a dramatic performance that was almost Oscar worthy. ‘That’s a bit over the top.’
‘Sorry,’ said Flush. ‘I just got into it and now I can’t stop thinking about the poor cat.’
‘It’s fine, just go and sit down.’

Flush returned to his seat, sobbing a little. HyJean put a comforting arm around him and tried to remind him that the cat wasn’t real and had never even existed.

‘It never existed? Oh god it gets worse! He was never born and now somehow he’s dying!’


As Captain Clean and Suds were packing away the giant inflatable banana – which had been used as a prop during the lesson – one of the computer screens on HyJean’s desk started flashing. Flush was the first to notice it.

‘Hey guys, it’s a video call from Dovedale,’ he pointed out.

Captain Clean and HyJean went over to the desk and accepted the call. The Chief Inspector’s haggard face appeared on the screen, jittery at first as the connection was unstable.

‘Hello inspector,’ said the captain.
Chief Inspector Dovedale mouthed something, but they couldn’t hear him.
‘Hold on inspector,’ said the captain, ‘we can’t hear you.’
‘Probably for the best,’ muttered Suds in the background.
HyJean fiddled with the computer and pressed a few random keys, as one often does when trying to fix a technical issue.
‘We need to get this fixed,’ whispered the captain. ‘We can’t keep having this happen.’
After the traditional back and forth routine of asking if they could hear each other and trying the same troubleshooting steps several times, HyJean eventually got it sorted.
‘What’s the problem inspector?’ asked the captain.
‘I think I need to update the software on my computer,’ he replied.
‘No, I mean why are you calling?’ asked captain, trying his best to not sound like somebody trying to get information out of an elderly relative.
‘Oh right, yes.’ He cleared his throat. ‘What do you know about the council’s toilets?’
‘I avoid them at all costs, they’re filthy,’ the captain admitted.
‘Not quite what I meant,’ groaned the inspector. ‘Every year the council puts out a tender for a company to manage their sanitation. The company that’s been the provider for the past two years, what was their name… Trev’s Toilets, has mysteriously gone out of business overnight. The only other two companies left are Bathrooms R Us 4 U and Crapp Toilets, but Crapp is refusing to bid for the tender. Probably because of what happened last time.’
‘What happened last time?’ Faucet asked Suds.
‘He installed loads of new toilets that turned out to be faulty,’ Suds explained. ‘Big controversy, his business almost went bankrupt.’
‘This all seems very fishy,’ continued the inspector. ‘The council have asked me to look into it, just to make sure nothing dodgy is going on, but honestly, I think this is more your department. Can you do a bit of digging, see what you can find?’
‘Of course, I’ll look into it right away,’ nodded HyJean as she made a note of the names he’d mentioned.
‘This Trev’s Toilets, have you contacted them?’ asked the captain.
‘We’ve tried,’ the inspector replied with a sigh. ‘Can’t get hold of them. Their website’s down and you can’t buy their toilets anywhere, so we’ve got nothing to go on.’

The squad all simultaneously turned their faces away a little, sniggering and stifling laughter at the inspector’s unintentional wordplay. Meanwhile, just off screen, someone handed the inspector a note scribbled on a piece of paper. The inspector read it and looked back up to the camera.

‘Also, I’ve just been informed that there’s an old guy in a silly costume riding around on a commode throwing bedpans at people and calling himself the Commode Dragon. I don’t suppose you could look into that as well, could you?’
‘Sure thing, Inspector,’ Captain Clean nodded. ‘Leave it to us.’
‘Thank you, Captain.’

They ended the video call and before the captain could say anything, Flush shouted ‘Bagsy the old guy!’
He gave Faucet a nudge and he too volunteered to deal with the old man.
‘Fine,’ said Captain Clean with a slight sigh. ‘You go deal with him, we’ll see if we can track down this Trev’s Toilets guy. Interesting name, that. Trev. I wonder what it means. Could be some foreign word that might give us a clue.’
‘It’s short for Trevor,’ HyJean said with a roll of her eyes as she got to work locating the eponymous toilet retailer.


‘See, you’ve got to know which cases to pick,’ Flush told Faucet as they made their way to Subplot Street, where the Commode Dragon had last been spotted. ‘This old guy will be a piece of cake. Whereas the toilet bloke will be a lot of faffing about, going undercover, creating an alias, interrogating him… it’s just too much work.’
‘True. But surely the big jobs are more rewarding afterwards?’ Faucet asked.
‘I guess,’ Flush replied with a half-hearted shrug.

As they walked down the road, they suddenly spotted the old man they were there to find, careering down the road on his pimped-out commode. He had created a steering mechanism, added some sort of engine on the back that propelled him forward and painted some dragon-themed decorations on the sides. Despite the mischief it had been created for, the two grime fighters had to admit it was pretty impressive, especially for an old codger.

‘There he is,’ said Flush. ‘Right, you slow him down with your hose pipe hands and I’ll lasso him.’

Faucet nodded and got into place. He was still relatively new to using his powers, but he’d been practicing and was a bit more confident. As the old man sped towards them, Faucet jumped out in front of it and sprayed a jet of water from each hand at the commode, forcing it to slow down to a much more appropriate speed, and simultaneously soaking the poor old man. Meanwhile, Flush tied his toilet chain whip into a lasso, swung it around and flung it over the man, pulling him off his vehicle and onto the ground.

The old man stumbled to his feet in a dizzy confusion and greeted the two heroes.

‘I am the Commode Dragon!’ he shouted in a frail, croaky voice, pausing between words to catch his breathe. ‘Prepare… to meet… your doom.’
‘The game’s up old Dragon,’ said Flush, humouring the man’s senile delusions, ‘we’re here to put a stop to your reign of terror.’
‘Huh? Speak up boy,’ said the old man, whose superpower clearly wasn’t good hearing.
‘He said we’re here to stop you!’ shouted Faucet.

The old man looked at them, still none the wiser what either of them had said. Faucet turned to Flush and, remembering what they’d learnt that morning, suggested he try a pun. Flush was excited by the idea and, as loudly as he could, he yelled at the man, ‘This is the end of your tale, dragon!’

The old man definitely heard this, and upon hearing the pun – if you could call it that – he promptly clutched his chest in shock and keeled over, collapsing on the floor in front of them.

‘I did it!’ cried Flush. ‘It worked! My pun actually disabled him!’
‘Dude, I think he’s having a heart attack,’ Faucet replied, looking down at the man writhing slightly on the floor.
‘No, it was my pun,’ Flush insisted.
‘No seriously, it looks like he’s dying,’ Faucet said, giving the man a little nudge with his foot.

Faucet was right. The old man’s afternoon of tyranny had taken its toll, and Flush’s outburst had seemingly finished him off.


After a morning of research and phone calls, Captain Clean and HyJean had been able to find someone who knew where Trevor of Trev’s Toilets was. He’d abandoned his house and he was currently staying with his wife and kids at his sister’s house on the outskirts of the city. It had taken some convincing, but he’d finally agreed to speak to them. He sat nervously in an armchair, a number of bruises on his face and one on his arm that nobody could see but everyone knew was there.

‘Thank you for speaking to us, Trevor,’ HyJean said as she sat down on the sofa. Captain Clean preferred to stand, as he’d spotted a tiny ketchup stain on one of the cushions and could not be sure that it was the only one.

‘Trevor, we’d like to know why you closed down your business so quickly,’ asked the captain.

Trevor bit his lip, a little unsure whether he could trust these people with the truth. They weren’t exactly dressed like people he would naturally trust. People he could trust usually wore a suit and tie, or a nice floral dress – though never at the same time.

‘Don’t worry, you can trust us,’ HyJean reassured him. ‘We’re here to help.’
‘And if you don’t tell us, we’ll have you arrested and you can tell the police,’ the captain added.

This made Trevor even more nervous, but HyJean gave her colleague a furious glare and calmed Trevor down.

‘I… I had to,’ he said, letting out a deep sigh, as if he’d been dying to tell someone his story. ‘He forced me to.’
‘Who forced you?’ asked HyJean, leaning in and looking sympathetic.
‘Bog,’ Trevor replied quite dramatically, and sat still waiting for a response that didn’t come. Captain Clean and HyJean just looked nonplussed. Sensing they didn’t know who he was referring to, Trevor quickly added, ‘I mean Walter Crapp.’
‘Walter Crapp?’ Captain Clean repeated in the shocked tone that Trevor had expected the first time around. ‘But why?’
‘I don’t know,’ admitted Trevor. ‘He came round in this weird porcelain suit, threatening me. He tried to buy me out, but I refused because his offer wasn’t even half of what the company was worth. He trashed the place and beat me up. Said if I didn’t take the offer and dissolve the company, he’d come after my family. I had to do it.’
‘Why didn’t you go to the police?’ asked HyJean.
‘He said if I told anyone or went to the cops then he’d have me killed.’
‘But why would Crapp want you gone? And why now?’ the captain asked nobody in particular as he paced the floor a little.
‘To try and win the council tender?’ suggested HyJean.
‘But Dovedale said he’s not bidding,’ the captain reminded her. ‘So what would be the point?’
‘Did he say anything to you? Like why he wanted you gone or what he’s planning?’ HyJean asked.
‘Not a sausage,’ Trevor replied sadly. ‘I figured he just wanted to get rid of the competition.’
‘And does he know where you are now?’ the captain asked.
‘I bloody hope not,’ Trevor said, with a slightly worried expression.
‘Well don’t worry,’ said HyJean, standing to her feet. ‘We’ll make sure he doesn’t find you and investigate to find out what he’s up to and get him put away so you can start your business back up again.’
‘Oh, I’m not bothered about that,’ said Trevor, smiling for the first time since they’d arrived. ‘It’s given me an opportunity to pursue my real passion – knitted jumpers for mice.’
He held up an example of one of his tiny jumpers, and HyJean and Captain Clean shared a bemused look, before moving a little quicker towards the door.
‘Uh… right. Well that’s good then. One more thing,’ Captain Clean said, pausing at the door. ‘You called him Bog earlier. Is that a nickname or something?’
‘Yeah, that’s what we used to call him, because his toilets were cheap and nasty,’ Trevor explained. ‘Bog standard bogs, we called them. The name just stuck.’
‘Interesting,’ the captain mused. As they left the house and reached the end of the driveway, HyJean turned to the captain. ‘I think we should pay a visit to the bog.’
‘Why didn’t you go before we left?’ he asked, before suddenly realising what he meant. ‘Oh, I see. Yes, I think that’s a good idea. But we can’t go like this. He’ll know we’re onto him. We’ve got to be a bit more discreet with this one, he sounds quite dangerous.’
‘You’re right. I’ve got something in mind that I think will work.’


‘What are we going to do?’ asked Faucet nervously.
‘Uh… I don’t know,’ said Flush. ‘Haven’t you done the medical training?’
‘No. So far I’ve only done how to fight bad guys, not save them.’
‘Ah, okay.’
‘What about you? Didn’t you go on the course?’
‘I did, but… well, I fell asleep.’
‘You fell asleep during medical training?’
‘Hey, I’d been out drinking the night before and it was so boring! Except for the part where I got to do mouth-to-mouth on the bird sat next to me. Boy, that was fun. Until the teacher told me I was supposed to be doing it on the dummy.’
‘So now what do we do? Should we call an ambulance?’
‘Nah, that’ll take too long. I’ll call the Driver.’
‘Why, do you think he’ll know how to save him?’
‘No, so he can drive us to the hospital.’
‘Oh yeah, duh. Sorry, I’m kinda panicking right now. My first proper mission and we’ve already screwed it up by nearly killing a guy.’
‘Hey, what’s this we business?’
‘Yeah, you’re right. You screwed it up. I was just being polite.’

Flush called the Driver, who said he’d be round as soon as he could. The two grime fighters stood looking over the old man. He’d stopped writing and was now lying completely still, fortunately still breathing.

‘I’m not sure about taking him to the hospital,’ Faucet said. ‘What if they refuse to treat him?’
‘Why would they do that?’ asked Flush.
‘Well he’s dressed as a super villain and he’s been causing trouble all day.’
‘That’s a point. What do you think we should do?’
‘Well, I was thinking we should take his suit off. It’s not good for someone his age to be in wet clothes either.’

They knelt down beside the old man and stripped him of his costume, which was a brown leather overall with the words ‘Commode Dragon’ painted on the front and a matching dragon mask. They were surprised to find under the overall that the man was wearing pink frilly knickers.

‘What the… is he wearing women’s underwear?’ asked Faucet.
‘Yeah,’ said Flush. ‘How bizarre.’
‘But why?’
‘Well, it’s more comfortable isn’t it.’
Faucet gave Flush a curious look.
‘I mean I assume it is… I wouldn’t know,’ he added quickly.
‘Anyway, what are we going to do? We can’t take him to the hospital naked in women’s knickers. That’d be embarrassing.’

They thought for a while, both of them trying not to stare at the pink underwear. After a brief silence, Flush had an idea.

‘I know, we’ll get him some clothes,’ he said as he stood up.
‘Where from? There’s no shops around here.’
‘I saw one of those clothes recycling bins down the road, I’ll go see if I can fish some clothes out of that.’
‘Okay,’ said Faucet. ‘You do that, and I’ll stay here and wait for the Driver.’

Flush ran down the road and found the clothes recycling bin on the corner of the road. It was quite fortunate that it was there, as there’s not many of them about these days. Meanwhile, Faucet draped the old man’s soggy overall over him. Not knowing what to do with himself, he gently patted the old man on the arm, as if to reassure him that they knew what they were doing, which they didn’t.

Flush opened the flap on the front of the large, green recycling bin and peered inside. It was dark and he couldn’t see much, but he could just make out a small pile of clothes at the bottom. He reached down but couldn’t quite get them. Climbing up the grooves on the outside of the bin, he shuffled further in through the flap, which was just big enough for him to fit through. Flush stretched down to try and reach the clothes, and after a few swings he eventually grabbed hold of a jumper. He tugged on it, but it didn’t budge. Instead, it pulled him down and he fell headfirst into the bin. He lay on top of the pile of old clothes, imprisoned inside the dark, smelly metal prison.

‘Ah bugger,’ he muttered.


‘My name is Bob Holness and you are my wife of 20 years, Janet. We’re originally from Leicester but we moved here a few months ago to open up a patisserie, which we’re looking to furnish with some of their toilets.’
‘That’s good,’ said HyJean, ‘except we’re opening up a hotel, not a patisserie.’
‘Ah, I was wondering why a patisserie would need so many toilets,’ said the captain.

HyJean’s idea was to visit Walter Crapp in disguise – posing as local businesspeople looking to purchase toilets – to try and find out information. They were now running through their back story one last time before they left, with Suds posing as the receptionist. They picked up their false IDs and Suds took off the blonde wig he’d been wearing. He was quite the method actor.

They had gone undercover the year before to spy on a company that was selling knock off wet wipes. Whilst working in the factory making them, they discovered that the company had just been using regular cloths, dipped in water and sprayed with air freshener. The grime fighters were caught out though, when the captain was found cleaning the boss’s office during his lunch break. Cleanliness had often been both Captain Clean’s greatest strength and biggest weakness.

‘I’m still not sure about Bob Holness,’ said Suds. ‘What if they used to watch Blockbusters?’
‘Trust me, nobody will remember that show,’ the captain argued. ‘And besides, how often do you get to go around pretending to be your favourite television presenter?’
‘Fair enough,’ said Suds, pocketing his wig for later use.

The captain called their reliable chauffeur, The Driver, and they were soon whisked away to the Crapp Toilets manufacturing plant in the heart of the city.


‘What do you mean you’re stuck in a clothes recycling bin?’ asked Faucet.
‘Well,’ explained Flush, ‘I was looking inside a clothes recycling bin and now I’m inside it.’
‘Why did you climb inside it?’
‘I didn’t climb inside it! I was looking in through the flap and I fell in. Now come get me out.’
‘Okay. I’ll be round in a minute.’

Faucet turned to the old man, still lying unconscious on the floor. He didn’t want to move him, as he’d heard that moving someone when they’re injured can make it worse. Although given that he’d been lying on the floor unconscious for at least 15 minutes, there wasn’t much worse it could get. Still, Faucet decided to leave him where he was. He scribbled a note on a scrap of paper saying “Do not touch this man” and left it on his chest. He then ran down the road in the direction that Flush had gone and spotted a recycling bin on the corner of the road. He stopped to watch as a few young school kids walked past the bin.

There was a deep metal thud and an echoey noise from inside bellowed out to them, ‘I am the bin monster, and I am hungry! Give me your clothes!”

The kids all ran off screaming and the bin chuckled a deep, echoey chuckle. Faucet crossed the road and knocked on the bin.

‘Hello hello hello, what’s all this then? Have you been swallowing humans, bin monster?’
‘Um… no officer,’ came a more nervous booming voice.
‘It’s me, you idiot. Come on, let’s get you out.’
‘Hang on, I think I’m gonna be…’

There was the sound of retching and then a number of articles of clothing shot out the flap in the bin, with a loud, ‘Bleeeeuuurgh!’

‘Very funny,’ said Faucet, pulling a pair of trousers off his head. ‘Now grab my hands.’

He reached in and with a great deal of struggling he managed to pull Flush out. Flush thanked him and as he stretched and dusted himself off, Faucet picked a shirt from the pile.

‘They’re a bit old fashioned these clothes,’ Faucet remarked.
‘Well I’m sorry to disappoint you Gok Wan,’ said Flush sarcastically, ‘but they’d just collected the last of the Ralph Lauren shirts.’

They gathered the clothes and headed back up the road to the old man. However, when they arrived, they were surprised to find that he was not where Faucet had left him.

‘Where’s he gone?’ asked Flush.
‘I don’t know, I told him to stay right here!’ cried Faucet.

They looked around, but there was no sign of the old man. His commode was still there, so he hadn’t driven off, and his costume was in a crumpled pile on the floor, so he hadn’t returned to his villainous ways. As if on cue, a familiar looking taxi pulled up next to them.

‘Alright mate,’ said The Driver.
‘Hey, have you seen a possibly naked old man around here?’ asked Faucet.
‘Yeah, there’s one just up the road there,’ The Driver said, pointing down the road he’d just come up.

Flush and Faucet ran down the road, where they found the old man crawling along the pavement.

‘There you are! What are you doing?’ Flush asked him.
‘I’m late for bingo,’ he said in a frail, weary voice as he shuffled away slowly.
‘Never mind bingo,’ said Flush. ‘You need to come with us to the hospital.’
‘Why, are you ill?’ asked the old man.
‘What? No!’ cried Flush. ‘You’re the one who’s ill.’
‘I’m not ill,’ he said in a very ill-sounding voice.
‘You are sir,’ said Faucet. ‘You’ve just had a heart attack or a stroke or something.’
‘I’m fine. It was probably just indigestion,’ said the old man as he tried to carry on crawling down the road.
‘You’re not fine, look at you!’ said Flush, now getting quite angry at the old man’s lack of concern at nearly dying.
‘Quick, grab his legs,’ said Faucet.

Together they lifted him up and carried him back, with quite a struggle, to the taxi. They chucked him in the back and asked The Driver to take them to the hospital.


Captain Clean and HyJean – or Clifford and Jean as we’ll call them, since they were dressed in everyday clothes to conceal their true identities – entered the lobby of Crapp Toilets. It smelled faintly of disinfectant; a smell that Clifford loved. Jean not so much. They walked confidently – but not too confidently, because Clifford believed Bob Holness was quite shy in real life – over to the reception desk.

Clifford instinctively pulled his sleeve down to wipe the bell before pressing it, but Jean nudged him and gave him a disapproving look. He stood for a few seconds, nervously trying to pluck up the courage to press the potentially germ-ridden bell, but in the end Jean tutted and pressed it herself. A blonde-haired woman appeared, looking remarkably similar to how Suds had looked during rehearsals. Clifford smirked.

‘Hello,’ said the woman behind the desk. ‘May I help you?’
‘Hello,’ said Clifford, pushing the glasses that he’d worn as a disguise back up the bridge of his nose. ‘My name is Bob Holness and this is my wife of 20 years, Janet. We’re originally from Leicester but we moved here a few months ago to open up a patisserie or hotel, which we’re looking to furnish with some of your toilets.’
Jean’s face sunk and she let out a little whimper at her pretend husband’s unconvincing acting.
‘Forgive my husband,’ she said. ‘He’s very excited.’
‘Of course,’ said the woman sympathetically. ‘Men do love their toilets.’
‘Don’t they just,’ Jean replied with a fake chuckle. ‘We have an appointment at 1pm to see Mr Crapp, we’re a little early.’
Clifford had called up straight after the videocall with the inspector and managed to book an appointment under a false name. The woman tapped away at her keyboard and read what was on screen.
‘You’re very early,’ she said. ‘The appointment’s not until tomorrow.’
‘Oh, husband dearest, you really are the biggest moron,’ Jean said as she slapped Clifford on the back of his head.
‘Ow,’ he said, flinching.
‘Not to worry,’ the woman behind the desk said. ‘As it happens, Mr Crapp has no appointments this afternoon, so I’m sure he’ll be happy to see you. Let me just give him a ring.’

The woman turned away to her phone and called her boss. Neither Clifford nor Jean listened to the woman talking, but had they have listened, they would’ve heard her say ‘Hello. Yes, I’ve got a Mr Bob Holness in reception… yeah, I think so… well he looks a lot younger than he does on the television.’

Instead, Clifford turned to Jean and said, ‘That hurt y’know.’
‘Sorry, I was getting into character. See, I imagine Bob Holness is married to a strong woman who gets very annoyed when he does something stupid.’
‘Duly noted.’

The woman turned back and informed them that Mr Crapp would indeed see them, and that they should head to his office on the third floor. The only-fictionally-married couple thanked her and left to meet Mr Walter Crapp.


‘Where am I?’ asked the man formerly known as the Commode Dragon, as he woke up in a panic.
‘Calm down,’ said Faucet, reaching out to settle him back down into bed. ‘You’re in a hospital. You had a stroke, so my friend and I brought you here.’
‘Yes, that’s right. There was another young man, he hit me with his sex whip. Where is he?’
‘It’s not…’ Faucet stuttered, glancing around awkwardly and lowering his tone, ‘It’s not a sex whip. That was Flush, he had to go to work, so I said I’d stay with you.’
‘Oh, I see. Well, thank you, young man,’ said the old man, lying back down on his bed. ‘Did you bring me any grapes?’
‘Um… no, sorry. We didn’t have time to stop for fruit.’
‘Pity, I like grapes.’
‘I can go get you some if you like?’
‘No, don’t bother,’ he said, brushing it away and settling himself down. ‘I’m allergic to them anyway.’

The hero and the old man sat in silence for a while. Faucet watched the nurses walking up and down the room, attending to their patients and chatting amongst themselves. At one point he left the old man to sleep while he went and got a sandwich for himself. As he returned to the ward, a patient bumped into a young nurse, causing her to drop the jug of water she was carrying. Faucet rushed over and helped the nurse up. The patient apologised profusely, but the nurse assured him she was alright and that it was an accident. Faucet helped the nurse up and one of the patient’s family members took him back to his bed.

‘Are you okay?’ Faucet asked the nurse.
‘Yes, I’m fine, thank you,’ she said with a friendly smile.

She looked at the big pile of water on the floor and began to panic a little. She’d only recently started working at the hospital, and was worried about making a bad impression so early on.

‘Oh no, I need to get a mop,’ she said, looking around a bit flustered.
‘Don’t worry,’ said Faucet, ‘I’ve got it.’

He bent down and put his hand on the water. Slowly but surely, the puddle began to shrink as Faucet absorbed the water. He picked up the empty jug and sprayed some water into it from his hand, before handing it back to the nurse.

‘Here you go,’ he said with a proud smile.

The stunned nurse stared at him for a few seconds, then said ‘Eww, get away you freak.’

She rushed away from him and Faucet sighed. He returned to the old man, who had now woken up. Faucet thought he’d try and cheer him up a bit with a party piece he’d been working on.

‘Want to see something cool?’ he asked.

The old man nodded and Faucet turned to face the bed on the opposite side of the room. He shot a droplet of water that flew across the room and landed perfectly in a plastic cup on the patient’s bedside table. The noise of the water hitting the cup caused the man in the bed to suddenly jump.

Faucet grinned at the old man, who just groaned. ‘Bloody millennials.’


‘This is where the toilets are assembled,’ said Walter Crapp as he led Clifford and Jean down a production line.

Walter Crapp was a big man – at least 7ft tall with a big beefy body and the kind of face only a mother could love, and it wouldn’t be his own mother. He looked like someone you wouldn’t want to meet in a supermarket, let alone a dark alley. He walked with a slow stomp, resembling an elephant marching through the African wasteland. And with his huge figure, rippling muscles and aggressive demeanour, Crapp could probably beat an elephant in a fight.

They’d managed to convince Mr Crapp to give them a tour of the factory floor, hoping that they might spot something that could give them a clue as to what he was up to. So far it had all been pretty standard stuff, interesting only to Clifford, who had always had a unique fascination with anything to do with toilets. Jean lagged behind, looking around for signs of anything usual. After a while she found something.

‘What’s behind that door?’ she asked, pointing to a door with several locks and warning signs plastered all over it.
‘Nothing,’ grumbled Crapp in his rough East London accent.
‘Awful lot of security for a door leading to nothing,’ Clifford said, verbally poking their tour guide to reveal more.
‘It’s private,’ he said gruffly and continued to walk.

Clifford and Jean followed. As they walked Clifford gestured towards the mysterious door with his eyes. Jean nodded. She knew what to do.


Walter Crapp’s office was a large room that he probably once looked quite nice. Like its owner, it was bigger than it needed to be, with very little in the way of furnishings, save for a desk, a few chairs, a bookcase with no books and a water cooler that appeared to have been filled with beer.

Clifford and Jean sat in two old chairs facing a desk that had a little plaque on it reading “Walter ‘Bog’ Crapp”. The boss was clearly not in the habit of entertaining visitors, as the chairs were the kind of cheap, plastic seats you keep in the shed in case you have an unexpectedly large party of guests over at Christmas. Walter Crapp sat on the other side of the desk. Clifford couldn’t decide if the businessman was in a bad mood or if his face always had the same unpleasant expression.

‘I must say, it’s a fine place you’ve got here Bog,’ said Clifford, gesturing towards the sign on his desk.
‘Only my friends call me that,’ Crapp grunted.
‘Oh, I’m sorry,’ Clifford apologised, suddenly feeling a little more embarrassed and intimated.
Crapp’s face turned very serious, as he added, ‘And my enemies.’
‘That must be very confusing for you,’ Clifford pointed out.

Crapp ignored the remark and changed the subject.

‘So, what do you want?’ he said without a shred of politeness to his words.
‘Well, we’re opening up a new hotel in the city and we need a number of toilets installed,’ explained Jean. ‘We’ve heard excellent reviews about your products, so we thought we’d come to you direct to discuss a deal.’
‘We were going to go to Trev’s Toilets, but we heard that closed down,’ Clifford added. ‘Very strange how he just went out of business like that, don’t you think?’
Crapp ignored Clifford’s remarks, save for a quick glance, and focussed on Jean.
‘I’m sure we can do you a good deal,’ he said in a well-rehearsed tone that he’d clearly been practicing for years.
‘Also, do you have any toilets?’ asked Clifford. ‘As in… you know… I know you’ve got toilets, because you make them… I mean ones my wife can use.’
Crapp slowly looked at Clifford suspiciously and then turned back to Jean. Sensing his tone, Jean gave an embarrassed little smile.
‘Of course. Downstairs, end of the corridor,’ he said with the faintest hint of… it wasn’t a smile, but more of a patronising look of contentment.

Jean thanked him and left. But she wasn’t going to the toilet. She carried on down the stairs, back down to the factory floor to investigate the secret door. She snuck into the production line room and scanned for any signs of employees. There were a few dotted around, but the big, noisy machinery meant she was able to sneak over to the door unnoticed. She got a little tool out of her pocket to pick the locks. Within seconds she was in.

Back in the office, Clifford sat nervously trying to expand on the hotel story, talking Crapp through their made-up plans for the fictional rooms in the unbuilt hotel. After a while, Crapp gave up the pretence. He leant forward and addressed his guest with a menacing stare.

‘That’s very interesting,’ he said in a calm but sinister voice. ‘Because you see, while you’ve been sitting there wittering on, I’ve worked something out.’
He leant in a little closer and lowered his voice to a threatening whisper.
‘I know who you are… Captain.’

Clifford was stunned. The game was up. Crapp had somehow seen through his incredible disguise and figured out who he was. He said nothing.

‘Now, I don’t know what you and your friend are doing here,’ he said, pausing to turn his computer screen around to show CCTV footage of Jean being escorted off the premises by one of his men, ‘but I don’t want to see you or any of your cleaning friends around here again. Understand?’

Clifford got the message, but he had a message of his own and he wasn’t afraid to deliver it. He leaned in himself to get closer to Crapp’s face.

‘I understand,’ he said. ‘But know this: I will find out what you’re up to, and if I don’t like it, then I will stop you.’

Crapp leaned in further, ‘No you won’t.’
Clifford leaned in even more, ‘Yes I will.’
Crapp leaned in again, so their faces were almost touching. ‘No,’ he said and spat in his face, ‘you won’t.’
‘Yes,’ said Clifford, unsure what to do he licked Crapp’s face, ‘I will.’

Crapp banged his fists down on the desk with an almighty crash, causing Clifford to fall back in his chair and stumble to his feet.

‘Lew, get in here!’ Crapp called out.

A short, skinny man came running into the office. Lew Roll, to give him his full name, looked rather timid, like he used to be an accountant and had somehow been forced into working for Walter Crapp unwillingly. Around his neck he wore a tie that appeared to be made of toilet roll.

‘See our friend here out, will ya,’ Crapp said.

Lew grabbed Cap by the arm. He was surprisingly strong for such a short, pleasant looking man. He led Cap out of the office and into the lift.

‘Ooh, a friend,’ Lew remarked. ‘He doesn’t have many of those.’
‘I can’t imagine why,’ Clifford said with a roll of his eyes. ‘Nice tie by the way.’
‘Thanks, I like your mask,’ Lew replied. ‘Did you make it yourself?’
‘Stop flirting and just get rid of him!’ Bog shouted after them.


Captain Clean, HyJean and Sergeant Suds gathered back at the base to swap stories, sat on the big table in the middle of the main room of their base.

‘What was that Crapp guy like?’ asked Suds.
‘I’m not gonna lie, he was a bit scary,’ admitted the captain.
‘He’s also very unpleasant,’ added HyJean. ‘And so tall! I swear he was like a giant.’
‘Sounds lovely,’ said Suds.
‘Oh, and he goes by the name Bog as well,’ said the captain.
‘Why? ‘Cause he’s so full of crap?’ asked Suds.
‘Ha! Good one,’ Captain Clean chuckled.

They all shared some more insults about Walter “Bog” Crapp and then they moved on to what they’d discovered in his factory.

‘So, what was behind that door?’ Captain Clean asked HyJean.
‘It was pretty surprising, actually,’ she said with a little dramatic pause. ‘It was toilets. Loads and loads of toilets.’
‘What’s so surprising about that?’ asked Suds. ‘I mean it is a toilet factory.’
‘Yeah, but why keep them behind such a heavily guarded door?’ she replied, tapping a pen on the desk as she thought. ‘Does he think someone’s going to steal them? Are they special toilets? He’s not exactly known for making great toilets.’
‘Maybe he’s got a big order with an important client?’ suggested Suds. ‘That would explain why he’s not bidding for the council tender, if he’s too busy.’
‘Hm, I don’t think so. He’s definitely up to something dodgy, I can feel it. But what? What could it be?’ said the captain, staring off into the distance as he wracked his brain. He let out a sigh of defeat and shook his head a little. ‘I need to get a closer look at those toilets, find out what’s so special about them.’
‘I doubt he’s going to let you anywhere near his factory again,’ said HyJean. ‘Let alone give you a tour of his secret stash.’
‘I wasn’t planning on asking for an invite,’ the captain explained. ‘I’ll have to break in while he’s not there. Lure him out somehow.’
‘No, we’re not doing a break in,’ HyJean protested loudly with a slight whine to her voice. This was another of his plans that she knew would not have a good ending and she was fed up of going along with them by now. ‘This guy’s clearly dangerous and he already hates us, we’ll find another way. Let’s get some sleep and we’ll come up with a plan tomorrow.’
‘Fine,’ the captain agreed, although he had no intention of waiting till morning. They said their goodbyes and Captain Clean waited until the others had left and he was alone. Then he went to his office to get a mask from his dispenser.


In the dark shadows of the night, Captain Clean slowly made his way over the metal fence surrounding the Crapp Toilet factory. He managed the ascent with some ease, but he wasn’t so good at the getting down part, landing with a thud like a sack of potatoes falling off a truck.

‘Ow, my back,’ he muttered as he stood up. He crept up to a door at the back of the factory, glancing around as he went to keep an eye out for guards or security cameras. It was pretty hard to see anything in the darkness, so even if there was any kind of security, he wouldn’t have noticed anyway. He successfully arrived at the back entrance door and pulled out HyJean’s lock-picking tools, which he’d “borrowed” when she wasn’t looking.

After a long while of fiddling around, jabbing and twirling the tools around with no idea what he was doing, there was a light click and the lock released. The captain opened the door with a self-assured grin. He slipped inside, closing the door after himself. Inside, the lights were out and the whole factory was filled with an eerie silence. Though he’d only been there once, he managed to find his way around, wandering in and out of rooms until he recognised the factory floor. He slowly made his way through the room, but stopped when he heard a noise. Nearby, he spotted a figure coming out of the very door he’d been planning to go through himself. He hid behind a large metal machine and watched as another figure walked over and met his shadowy companion. As they walked away from the door, they passed a window that illuminated them briefly, and the captain immediately recognised one of them as Lew, Bog’s assistant. He listened intently as they spoke.

‘Alright Jon,’ Lew said as he saw his colleague.
‘Everything ready?’ the other man asked. His full name was Jon Lavvy, the other half of Bog’s trusted duo of henchmen. Captain Clean recognised him as the one who’d ejected HyJean from the building earlier.
‘Yep,’ Lew nodded. ‘Bombs in every toilet ready. Did you put the trigger in his office?’
‘Sure did, locked away in his drawer,’ Jon said proudly.
‘Nice, wanna grab a beer?’
‘Sure, I think we’ve earned it.’

Their voices trailed off as they left the room. Captain Clean kept his eyes on the mysterious door.

‘Bombs?’ he whispered nervously to himself. ‘Oh crap.’

This was all getting a bit much now. The intimidating manufacturer was one thing, but the thought of explosives made him feel like he was in over his head. He decided to abandon his mission and follow HyJean’s suggestion of concocting a plan of action together in the morning. He slipped back through the factory, now with a more urgent gait, and back out of the door. He closed it and made sure it was still locked, but as he tried the handle, he heard a loud clunking sound.

‘That’s odd,’ he thought. He pressed the handle down again and another booming thud rung out. He tried the handle a few more times, but then noticed a large shadow looming over him. He span around and was greeted by a huge, hulking figure towering over him like a very tall tower. At least 7ft in height and glimmering in the moonlight, the beast slowly leaned down. As he moved into the brightness of the security light, the captain saw that it was in fact Bog, wearing a suit that appeared to be made of the same material as his toilets, including some familiar parts, like the seat that was attached to the helmet and framed his face. The porcelain armour glistened, lighting up the face of the very tall and very angry man.

‘I told you I didn’t want to see you here again,’ said Bog.
‘I uh… I left my pen in there… thought I’d retrieve it without bothering you,’ the captain lied pathetically.
‘You were snooping. I don’t like snoops. They make me get all punchy.’

At which Bog lunged forwards and punched Captain Clean in the face with his hard, porcelain glove. The captain fell back against the wall. He quickly pulled out his toilet brush mace and swung it at Bog’s suit, but it merely bounced off with a clang. Bog snatched it off him and snapped it in two, throwing the pieces behind him. The captain tried to escape, but Bog reached out and grabbed the grime fighter, swinging him around and flinging him into a dumpster on the wall opposite, like tossing a ragdoll across a room. Bog was not only very tall and very angry, but he was also very strong. Captain Clean had gone up against many strong, tough fighters in his time, but Bog’s strength was like nothing he’d come across.

As Bog lumbered towards him menacingly, the captain looked around, surveying his surroundings for any slight advantage. There was the dumpster; he could hide in that. There was the metal fence all around; he doubted he’d be able to climb it quick enough. There were a few trucks, most with Crapp’s Toilets printed on the side, but one with Bathrooms R Us 4 U graphics instead. That seemed odd. Why was his competitor’s truck parked amongst his own? His thoughts were interrupted as Bog swung his porcelain-clad leg and gave him an almighty kick, thrusting him back and denting the dumpster.

The ever-resilient captain managed to compose himself, pulling himself up slightly and mumbling a very unconfident sounding, ‘Is that… is that all you’ve got?’
Bog gave a little chuckle. ‘O Captain my Captain, you ain’t seen nothing yet. After Wednesday you’ll see what I’m really capable of.’
‘Why? What’s happening Wednesday?’
‘Uh…. Nothing. Forget I said that,’ said Bog, realising he’d let a bit of important information slip. ‘In fact, let me help you forget.’

Bog then threw another porcelain punch at the captain’s face, knocking him out cold.


Captain Clean stumbled into the base, covered in blood and bruises. Suds and HyJean had already arrived for work and rushed over to help the captain over to a chair, into which he slumped down.

‘Looks like someone had a fun night out,’ said Suds.
‘What the hell happened to you?’ asked a more concerned HyJean. ‘You look awful.’
‘I had a bit of a run in with our new friend Bog last night,’ Captain Clean admitted with a sore twinge in his voice.
‘What?’ cried HyJean. ‘What did I say about not breaking into his factory alone? I swear you never listen to me!’
‘Jesus, what did he do to you?’ asked Suds as he inspected the captain’s wounds closer.
‘Well, he punched me. Then he kicked me. Then he punched me some more,’ explained the captain. ‘I think there was some more kicking at some point, it all went a bit fuzzy after a while.’
‘And did you actually get anything out of your ridiculous adventure?’ asked HyJean, adding, ‘Other than a severe beating.’
The captain nodded, ‘He’s got bombs… I heard that Lew guy talking… and he’s planning something on Wednesday.’
‘Wednesday? That’s tomorrow,’ said HyJean.
‘Which is why we need to be ready,’ said Cap, struggling to stand up.
‘Cap, you’re in no state to go up against him again,’ said HyJean.
‘Ah, I’ll be fine. I just need a few hours is all. Some of my scars will probably heal up by then too so you can’t see them; it’s amazing what a bit of rest can do for you.’

He limped across the room, but as he reached the desk in the centre he could no longer hold himself up and collapsed down into a chair with a breathy grunt.

‘Ugh… it doesn’t make sense though,’ he mused aloud. ‘Why would he make a ton of toilets with bombs in? If he’s going to blow up his own factory, that seems a ridiculous waste of materials.’
‘Maybe he thought he was going to win the council contract and he was planning to blow them up then?’ suggested Suds.
‘But he didn’t put a bid in,’ HyJean reminded him. ‘He knew there was no way he’d win it.’
‘Or maybe he didn’t want to win it,’ the captain said, a lightbulb coming on in his brain. ‘Think about it, he knew the other company would. In fact he made sure of it by taking that other company out of the race.’
‘Maybe he’s setting them up?’ suggested HyJean. ‘He’s going to frame them?’
‘Of course!’ the captain said, banging his hand down on the desk and then wincing in pain. ‘The lorry. The competitor’s lorry at his factory. It all makes sense now.’
The assembled squad members turned to their captain, waiting for him to explain his sudden revelation.
‘He’s going to drive the lorry into his factory, which will set off the bombs and destroy his factory. Then he can claim on the insurance!’ the captain said excitedly, holding his hands up with a look of total pride.
‘What?’ asked Suds. ‘What would be the point in that?’
HyJean shook her head. ‘I think the more likely plan is that he’s going to interrupt the shipment, delivering his booby-trapped bogs in the other lorry instead. They get installed, he sets them off, takes out the competition and causes chaos for the council.’
‘Pffft, don’t be ridiculous Jean,’ the captain chuckled. His laugh soon died down though as HyJean folded her arms and raised an eyebrow. ‘Okay, so maybe that plan does sound more plausible. I still prefer my idea though.’


A few hours later, Faucet returned to the base and informed the rest of the squad about what had happened with the Commode Dragon. Captain Clean had been cleaned up, had a shower and changed into his everyday clothes. He still looked the worse for wear though.

‘They said it was just a small stroke and he’ll be alright in a few days. I would’ve been back sooner, but one of the doctors saw me use my powers and asked if I’d go to the children’s ward and entertain the kids.’ He sat down on a chair and added, ‘Oh and you may get a letter saying they’re suing us for water damage, sorry.’
In the background, a loud groan came from Mary’s office.
‘What?’ asked HyJean. ‘Why? What happened?’
‘It totally wasn’t my fault,’ said Faucet, using a preposition that is very rarely true. ‘This annoying little kid said I couldn’t turn hit the machine’s switch from the other side of the room, and –’
‘Alright, I can see where this is going,’ said HyJean. ‘Anyway, we’ve got more important things to discuss.’
‘Oh yeah, the Crappy guy. How did that go?’

HyJean and Suds filled Faucet in on their encounter with the evil businessman, from the Blockbusters-themed undercover story, to being thrown out by a man named after toilet paper, to being beaten up by a man in a porcelain suit. Once Faucet was caught up and convinced several times that the story was in fact a hundred percent true, they then moved on to their plan of attack.

‘He already knows we’re on to him, but hopefully he doesn’t know how much we know,’ HyJean explained. ‘In any case, we need to get in there before he has chance to move the bombs. I spoke to Dovedale and the council are expecting the first delivery at lunchtime tomorrow, so that gives us a small window of opportunity to stop him tomorrow morning.’
‘Today,’ said Captain Clean wearily.
‘What? We can’t go today, you can barely stand,’ HyJean pointed out.
‘No, I’m fine, look,’ said the captain as he pulled himself up and started doing star jumps, although he only managed one before wincing in agony and falling back down into his seat.
‘Exactly,’ HyJean said, her point proven.
‘We’ll go this afternoon,’ Captain Clean insisted. ‘I just need a bit of rest is all.’
‘Fine, whatever,’ said HyJean, throwing her hands in the air. ‘Cap, Mick and I will go to confront Bog, while Nelson, you and Will get everybody out of the factory, just in case.’
‘I can do that,’ Nelson nodded.
‘And how exactly are we going to stop Bog from detonating the bombs?’ Suds asked with a concerned tone in his voice.
‘I’ll talk to him,’ said the captain.
‘You’ll talk to him?’ said Suds with a hint of frustration in his voice. He’d heard this plan many times before and it rarely worked.
‘Trust me, I know his type. He’s got a tough exterior, but it’s all just a front,’ the captain explained. ‘He’s a typical misguided soul desperate to succeed. He’s probably an orphan as well or suffered some sort of tragedy as a child. You just need to find out where it went wrong and help them to see that they can be better.’
‘Yeah, he doesn’t look like the kind of guy who just needs a cup of tea and a nice chat,’ said HyJean.
‘Look, I know what I’m doing and when we go there tomorrow, you’ll see,’ the captain insisted.
‘Hang on,’ interrupted Faucet. ‘How do we know that’s where he’ll be?’
‘Oh, don’t you start,’ groaned the captain as he slumped down onto the table, the conversation wearing him out.
‘He’ll need witnesses that he wasn’t around when the bombs go off,’ explained HyJean. ‘It makes sense that he’d stay in his factory to give him a good alibi.’

HyJean asked Mary to book The Driver to escort them to factory in the morning and provide a quick getaway should they need one. She also asked her to call Flush and ask him to be in early so that they’d have time to explain and prepare for the mission. Captain Clean, meanwhile, retired to his office to rest and prepare himself both physically and mentally. The captain had faced many mutated individuals, dangerous criminals and dodgy businessmen in his time as a grime fighter, but Bog seemed more intimating and scarier than any of them. He didn’t like to admit it, neither to the team nor himself, but he wasn’t sure how the afternoon would go, and hoped his years of experience and loyal squad would help him succeed.


‘So let me get this straight,’ said Flush, pinching the bridge of his nose. ‘You want me to go into a building that we know will be full of bombs, with a lunatic ready to press the trigger at any moment, and risk my life to save a bunch of strangers?’
The captain hesitated for a moment, only now realising what he was asking of his fellow hero. With a tentative sigh, he replied, ‘Yes.’
‘Bostin!’ Flush smiled. ‘Let’s go then.’

Everybody got up from the table to leave. Suds took one last bite of his crumpet, Faucet finished polishing his gauntlets and HyJean clipped her spray bottles to her belt. As they were about to leave, Captain Clean stopped them.

‘Wait. Before we go, can everyone please gather round,’ he announced.

The squad were all intrigued, so they all stood in an arc around the captain.

‘Nelson Gush, you have completed your initial training to a satisfactory standard,’ said Captain Clean.
‘Just satisfactory?’ asked Nelson.
‘Yes. The only thing left now is to take the pledge.’
‘Okay. What does that involve?
From behind his back, the captain pulled out a bottle of Pledge surface cleaner and handed it to Faucet, whispering, ‘Other brands of surface cleaner are available.’

Faucet held up the bottle and the captain motioned for him to put his other arm across his chest.

‘On the back of the bottle is the pledge – the code that we live by. Please read it out loud.’
‘Um, okay let’s see… hydrochloride benzodiazepines, polysulphate…’
‘No, no, below that.’
‘Oh, sorry,’ he said as he cleared his throat. ‘I promise to make the world a cleaner place and fight against those that attempt to soil it with evil. Clean is clever. Clean is kind. Clean is good.’

Captain took the bottle and presented Faucet with a new belt, with a buckle in the shape of a teal circle with a blue water droplet in the middle.

‘Congratulations, you are now a grime fighter,’ he said proudly.
‘That ain’t a very glamorous job title,’ Faucet responded, taking the belt and putting it on.
‘It’s not a very glamorous job.’

As Faucet put his belt on, he smiled for many reasons. He was happy that he had found a bunch of people whom he could consider friends. He was happy that he’d completed his training and joined their ranks. He was happy that the colours of the badge happened to compliment his suit. But most of all he was happy that he’d found an exciting and interesting job that allowed him to do some real good. The belt buckle may have been cheaply made, but it stood for something special: a promise to keep the city clean, not only of germs, but of crime and evil.

‘Right, now that that’s over with, let’s go,’ said the captain.

The Sanitary Squad suited up and gathered their weapons, heading out to The Driver to try and squeeze 5 people into his car that seated 4 passengers. It was tricky, but eventually they all clambered in, and then they were off. After years of using the Driver’s services, it still amazed the Squad how he could get anywhere in seconds. He didn’t even seem to drive particularly fast; the world outside just seemed to slow down around them, allowing him to spot all the gaps that he could whizz through.


They arrived at the end of the road, away from the factory so they didn’t draw any attention to themselves. As they fell out of the car, they all stood and stretched their limbs, which were sore and squished after the uncomfortable ride. Captain Clean was now in much better shape – the rest had done him the world of good. As they walked down the road together, they gradually separated into their two groups, each with their own mission.

‘Nice one getting the badge cocker,’ said Flush, patting his fellow hero on the shoulder.
‘Thanks,’ Faucet smiled.
‘Right, that’s all the sentiment you’re gonna get from me, let’s go.’

They climbed the fence and slipped into the front entrance of the factory. The two grime fighters walked up to the reception desk, where sat a pretty young receptionist whose beauty was buried deep beneath layers of make-up. She looked like she had been put there as a punishment, as she scrolled through an article about her favourite reality TV show whilst pretending to greet the visitors in a professional manner. Flush picked up a leaflet off the counter and motioned for Faucet to speak to her.

‘Uh… hi,’ Faucet said, leaning in a little to try and catch her attention.
‘Hello, can I help you?’ she said in a well-rehearsed monotone friendly voice.
‘Yeah, I’m here to save your life and possibly take you out for a drink after,’ Faucet said, leaning on the counter and giving her his most charming smile.
‘Have you got an appointment?’ the girl said in the same monotone voice, as if she’d not even listened to Faucet and was just reading off a script.
‘Of course I haven’t got an appointment,’ Faucet said, waving to try and get her attention. ‘This is a rescue mission, you’re in serious danger and we’re here to save your life.’
‘Then I’m afraid you’ll have to ring up and book an appointment sir.’
‘Ah, forget this. You can keep your appointment,’ said Faucet, knocking the little cardboard stand on her desk over and walking away in frustration. He called back to her, ‘And that drink’s off as well!’

The receptionist finally looked up from her screen.

‘Gee, what’s his problem?’ she asked.
‘He was trying to warn you that the building is going to be blown up in 20 minutes,’ Flush said casually as he stood reading the leaflet.
‘What? Oh my god, you’re terrorists? Security!’ she cried, and before Flush could stop her, she lunged for the phone to call security.
‘No!’ shouted Flush, leaning over the counter trying to wrestle the phone from her hands. ‘We’re not terrorists, we’re superheroes!’
‘You don’t look like superheroes,’ the girl argued, still trying to get the phone.
‘We can’t afford proper suits… look, just put the phone down and listen will you!’

After much persuading, the girl eventually relented and put an announcement out on the tanoy system to start an evacuation. Meanwhile, Faucet had found a staff room full of people.

He ran inside and shouted ‘The building is in danger! Quick, everybody out!’

A few people jumped up from their seats and ran out of the room, but others were not so easily convinced.

‘Who are you?’ asked a balding man in thick glasses and a tie with cats printed on it. His name was probably something like Gerald or Gordon or something similar. He was the office know-it-all who thought he was superior to everybody else because he knew how to change the password on the photocopier.

‘I’m the guy who’s trying to save your life,’ said Faucet, ‘now move!’
‘What’s your name?’ the man asked.
‘Faucet,’ he said proudly.
The man chuckled, ‘No, what’s your real name?’
Faucet rolled his eyes and responded, ‘Why does it matter?’
‘Well how can I trust you if you won’t even tell me your real name?’
Faucet was beginning to get fed up of these people refusing to co-operate. ‘I’m a superhero, I can’t go around telling people my real name.’
‘Well then, I’m not going.’
‘For god’s sake,’ sighed Faucet. ‘I haven’t got time for this.’

Faucet grabbed up an empty bin from the corner and smacked the man over the head with. The man collapsed onto the floor. Faucet picked him up and flung him over his shoulders.

‘Right, anyone else want to stay here?’

Nobody did.


‘Sir, you can’t go in without an appointment!’ called a timid young woman as she chased after Captain Clean, HyJean and Suds, who were all quickly walking towards Bog’s office.
‘Sergeant!’ called Cap without taking his eyes off the door to the office.
Suds lifted his gun, apologised to the receptionist and shot a small pink blob at her feet, which fixed her to the ground. She struggled and stumbled over, clawing at the blob of goo, but the unique substance that had come from Suds’ gun was too strong for her to break free. They reached Bog’s office and knocked on the door.

‘Go away!’ came a disgruntled voice from inside.

‘What do we do now?’ asked HyJean.

Suds swiftly kicked the door, his heavy boots smashing through it as though it were made of paper.

‘That,’ said the captain with a smirk.

Inside the office, Bog was midway through assembling his porcelain suit, with only the legs and torso piece on so far. Evidently he had heard the tanoy announcement and was preparing himself for battle, with the help of his two henchmen Lew Roll and Jon Lavvy

‘I thought you might show up,’ grunted Bog with a sneer.
‘You know you’re really taking the phrase “dress for the job you want” a little too seriously,’ said the captain as the three heroes strode confidently into the office.
‘I warned you before -’
‘And I didn’t listen, never do,’ the captain interrupted. ‘Hello again, Lew. Another great tie.’
‘Thanks,’ said Lew with a little smile that was clearly a rarity in his life. ‘It’s double quileted.’
‘Shut up and pass me my helmet,’ grunted Bog, smacking his henchman on the back of his head.
‘I know what you’re planning Bog,’ continued the captain. ‘But you don’t need to do this. Blowing up toilets across the city will kill lots of innocent people.’
‘Innocent? Ha!’ laughed Bog. ‘Nobody’s innocent, Captain. Especially not the council. Those scumbags almost ruined me. They made up lies about the toilets being faulty and put it all over the news. My reputation was ruined. I nearly went out of business. I had to diversify into… bidets.’ He shuddered at that last word, as if it were a disrespectful word that he dared not speak. He shook his head and sneered. ‘It’s time they got what was coming to them.’
‘Mr Crapp, just stop and think about this, please. We can speak to the council, explain your frustrations. You don’t need to hurt anybody else.’
‘Enough talk. Lew, Jon, restrain them.’

Lew Roll and Jon Lavvy stepped out from behind the desk and rushed quickly over to the heroes. Lew grabbed HyJean while Jon grabbed Sergeant Suds.

‘The captain!’ Lew called over to his fellow henchperson. Jon let go of Suds and grabbed hold of Cap who was stood in the middle.
‘What about the army guy?’ asked Jon.
‘I’ll get him,’ said Lew, who let go of HyJean and ran across to grab Suds.
‘They’re really not the brightest are they?’ Suds whispered to the captain.
‘Nope,’ he replied with a smirk.

HyJean quickly grabbed one of her spray bottles and sprayed Jon Lavvy in the face, causing him to stumble back and rub his eyes. This distracted Lew Roll enough for Sergeant Suds to be able to give him a whack and temporarily knock him out. Now free of henchmen, the three grime fighters marched towards Bog, HyJean and Suds flanking him either side while Captain Clean approached him face on.
‘You just don’t learn, do ya?’ Bog sneered as he finished putting his helmet on and adjusted it. He stepped forward and swung at the captain, who managed to dodge his attack. Suds took the opportunity to get a punch in, but his hand merely bounced off the porcelain armour, doing more damage to him than it did to Bog, who kicked him out of the way. Captain Clean pulled out his toilet brush mace, swinging it at the armour but doing little more than leaving a few small dents. Bog needed no weapons other than his fists, which he swung in carefully considered paths to deal blows to both men.

While the men fought, HyJean took the opportunity to sneak behind Bog’s desk to a safe she’d spotted on the wall. She sprayed one of her sprays on the door and made a hole in it big enough for her to fit her hand through. She felt around and finally felt what she was looking for. From the small safe, she pulled out a small rectangular box that had a little clear plastic case covering a red button in the centre. She looked around and saw the captain had been thrown back a good distance from Bog.

‘Cap, catch!’ she shouted as she tossed the device over to the captain.
‘What’s this?’ he called back, holding it up with a confused look.
‘It’s the trigger for the bombs!’ she replied.

This caught the attention of Bog, who threw Sergeant Suds down on the ground and turned to them, his face a mixture of worry and anger.

‘Gimme that,’ he roared and started to walk towards Captain Clean, though his movements were slow, as his suit weighed his already hefty bulk of a body down.

‘Ah ah aaaah,’ the captain teased, flipping the clear case up and revealing the button. ‘Lots of bombs down there, all in one place and ready to blow, I’d stay back if I was you.’

As the captain paced around the room backwards, avoiding Bog, the two henchmen slowly came round and stood up.

‘Hey boss, he’s got the trigger,’ pointed out Jon Lavvy.
‘I’m well aware of that,’ grunted Bog as he continued to edge towards the captain.

Bog knew he had to do something, but he couldn’t risk lunging for the trigger in case the captain dropped it and it went off. He decided instead to try and talk Captain Clean round.

‘Be careful Captain, there’s a lotta germs on that trigger,’ he said with a slight smirk. ‘It’s very dirty. Give it to me, I’ll look after it.’

Suds and HyJean both looked at each other with wide eyes, knowing that Bog’s words would trigger a reaction from the captain. And indeed it did, he looked down at the trigger and gasped. There were indeed a few specs of dust and dirt on it, which Captain Clean could not stand.

‘You’re right,’ he said, pulling out a wet wipe from his utility belt and giving it a quick wipe. It should have been obvious to him what would happen, but his obsession about cleanliness often masked everything else in his mind.

‘Noooo!’ shouted everyone in the room as the captain rubbed the trigger with the wipe. And sure enough, within a few rubs, the wipe hit the red button, which glowed red and started a beeping noise in the device. The captain just looked up with wide eyes and a worried look. ‘Oops.’

‘You idiot!’ shouted Bog as he ceased keeping his distance and lunged towards the captain, his arms flailing around.

‘Run!’ shouted HyJean, running over to help Suds up.

Lew Roll and Jon Lavvy, who were nearest to the door, quickly escaped, fleeing the office as quickly as they could. Captain Clean, HyJean and Sergeant Suds followed, rushing to the exit with a furious Bog stomping behind them. The two henchmen ran through the door at the end of the corridor, but the staircase was engulfed in flames, so they ran around looking for another exit. Suds, however, had a plan. He smashed a large window and aimed his gun down at the pavement about thirty feet below.

‘Okay, I think this should make a thick enough cushion to land on,’ said Suds, upping the setting on his soap gun to maximum thickness. He sprayed it on the pavement below the window and created a big, pink pile of gloop.

Cap looked back and saw Bog getting closer. His suit was his undoing though, as he moved slowly and his heavy footsteps banged down on an already weakening floor. Within a few steps, the floor gave way and Bog was dragged down into a hole as the floor crumbled away. He sank down, clinging onto the floor in desperation, the roaring flames coming up through the floor around him as he roared out himself. Captain Clean wrestled with his conscience and then made a decision.

‘We have to go back for him.’
‘What?’ said a surprised Suds.
‘If he dies, that’s on us,’ said the captain. ‘You two get out, I’ll follow you once I’ve got the big guy.’

‘Good luck,’ said Suds as he jumped out the window.
‘Please try not to die,’ said HyJean as she followed.

‘Gee, I thought at least one of them might have tried to stop me, or at least offered to help,’ said the captain. ‘Still, no time to monologue.’

He ran back to where Bog was still struggling to hold on. He had slipped down further and was now barely visible, his arms and head poking up out of the hole. The captain held out his hand.

‘Grab my hand,’ he shouted over the roaring flames and crumbling structure.

Bog stared at him for a few seconds, weighing up his options. Should he fall to his fiery death or give in to his enemy? What would the captain do if he did survive? Would he be arrested, or could he still complete his plan? He probably should have spent less time thinking all of this, because the floor finally gave way and he didn’t have chance to make the choice. He fell. The flames pulled him down to his fiery doom.

The captain screamed out in shock as he watched the giant of a man fall and disappear into the fire below. He paused for a few seconds, too stunned to move, the rising flames quickly brought him back to reality. He stood up, ran back to the window and jumped out, landing safely on the big pile of pink gloop. He regrouped with HyJean and Suds and the three heroes watched as the building went up in smoke.


‘You didn’t even think to check we were out safely?’ asked a disgruntled Flush as they walked back down the road to The Driver. He had luckily already made it out with Faucet and most of the factory employees before the bombs had gone off.
‘I knew you’d be out,’ the captain said, confidently.
‘No you didn’t,’ argued Faucet.
‘Okay, I didn’t, but I wasn’t planning to set the bombs off,’ the captain admitted. ‘I was just going to use it to keep him back and talk.’

In the distance, sirens were heard as fire engines and ambulances pulled up at the factory. The squad didn’t usually stick around for the aftermath of their victories, mainly because there was usually a lot of damage and chaos that they’d be blamed for. As they walked, one thought lingered in all of their minds.

‘Do you reckon he survived?’ Faucet finally asked.
‘I doubt it,’ said the captain with a sigh. ‘Nobody could’ve survived that. The fall alone would’ve killed him if the fire didn’t.’
‘You tried to save him though,’ HyJean said, stroking his arm comfortingly. ‘There’s nothing more you could’ve done.’
‘Except y’know, not blowing his factory up,’ Flush pointed out.


Later that evening, in a private ward inside Filtham General Hospital, two doctors were stood at the foot of a bed, watching their patient lying unconsciously on the bed. They both looked very concerned and spoke quietly to each other.

‘It’s just impossible,’ the one doctor said. ‘Nobody could’ve survived that. And yet he’s still got a pulse.’
‘It must’ve been the suit that protected him,’ the other doctor said, tapping his knuckle on the still warm material to hear the clink of finger against porcelain. ‘What is this made of? It looks like porcelain, but it’s much stronger. We couldn’t get it off. We couldn’t even cut it.’
‘Whatever it is, he’s stuck with it now. They said the heat has fused it to his skin. Poor guy.’
‘It’s not him I feel sorry for,’ said the first doctor. ‘You’re the one who’s got to tell him when he wakes up.’

He handed his fellow doctor the files and left the room, leaving the doctor to stand alone, looking down at the unconscious man with the burnt face, lying motionless across two beds in his charred, ceramic suit. It unnerved him. It fascinated him. It made him really need to go to the toilet.