A Penny Well Spent
‘Today’s lesson is puns,’ said Cap to his team who were all sat around the table in the centre of their 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.” So, to start off, I’m going to give you each a typical example and you think of a witty one liner. Let’s start with Will. A waiter, go!’
‘Here’s your order!’
‘Good. Nelson, a pirate, go!’
‘Um… Polly want a cracker?’
‘Needs work. Jean, a paramedic, go!’
‘Why am I hitting a paramedic?’
‘No questions. Go!’
‘Oh, I don’t know, uh… clear.’
‘Clear?’ asked a confused Cap.
‘Yeah, you know… the defibrillators.’
‘I haven’t got time for pop music, 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 Cap. ‘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. Will and Mick, can I borrow you?’
Flush and Suds got up and Cap positioned them facing each other. He handed Suds a pad to hold up and then explained the exercise.
‘Okay, so Will, 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, ready Mick? Okay, go!’
Flush started throwing punches at the pad. After a few hits, Cap 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 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, still sobbing a little. HyJean put a comforting arm around him and tried to remind him that the cat never even existed.
‘It never existed? Oh god it gets worse! He was never born and now somehow he’s dying!’
Meanwhile in her office, Mary was busy putting through the purchase order for some new gloves for Cap, who had burnt his last pair by using them to take a pizza out of the oven.
Just then, the phone rang. 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.’
‘Was it you or your husband who was involved in the accident?’
‘It was probably my husband, Mick. He’s got quite a dangerous job.’
‘What job does he do madam?’
‘He’s a grime fighter.’
‘No, GRIME. With a G.’
‘He fights grime?’
’O… kay. Do you remember when the accident took place?’
‘Ooh, I’m not sure. I’ll go and ask him. Hold on a minute.’
Mary pressed a button on the phone and 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 very serious 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. Have I made myself clear?’
‘Yes madam, thank you for your time.’
Mary hung up the phone and returned to her work.
Back in the main room, The Flush had just come up with a razor-sharp quip and everyone agreed that it couldn’t be topped, so they finished the lesson there and then.
As Cap and Suds we’re packing away the giant inflatable banana – which had been used as a prop during the lesson, but nobody could remember what for – one of the computer screens on HyJean’s desk started flashing.
Flush was the first to notice it, ‘Hey guys, it’s a Skype video call from Inspector Spam.’
Cap and HyJean went over to the desk and accepted the call.
‘Hello inspector,’ said Cap.
Chief Inspector Hamm mouthed something, but they couldn’t hear him.
‘Hold on inspector,’ said Cap, ‘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 Cap. ‘We can’t keep having this happen.’
Eventually she got it working and after the traditional back and forth routine of ‘Can you hear me?’ ‘Yes, can you hear me?’ they eventually got it sorted.
‘What’s the problem inspector?’ asked Cap.
‘I think I need to update the Skype app on my computer,’ he replied.
‘No, I mean why are you calling?’
‘Oh right, yes.’ He cleared his throat. ‘What do you know about Walter Crapp?’
‘He’s the owner of Crapp toilets, one of the city’s leading manufacturers of toilets, urinals and bidets. I’ve never met him in person, but I hear his breath smells of urinal cakes.’
‘I’m not sure about the last bit – I’ll have to look into that – but yes. We had a run in with him a couple of years back when he was found to be supplying faulty toilets.’
‘Yes, I read about that. But I didn’t feel the need to mention it, what with it being a police matter and you being the police and all.’
‘Quite. Well, we’ve had a number of complaints from some of Crapp’s competitors, saying that his people have been threatening their people and some of their shipments have been intercepted and damaged.’
‘That’s not very nice behaviour,’ said Cap, who turned to his squad and added, ‘remember guys, you should never threaten others and damage their property without asking them first.’
They all nodded and gave a thumbs up in a kind of “don’t be so patronising in front of a local authority figure” gesture.
‘I quite agree,’ continued the Chief Inspector Hamm. ‘But the thing is, the council recently put out a tender for a supplier of toilets for the new town hall and Crapp’s bid at a ridiculously low price.’
‘That is low,’ said HyJean.
‘Suspiciously so,’ added Cap.
‘Which is why I want you to look into the case and report back to me,’ said the inspector. ‘We reckon he might be up to something, but the mayor is convinced he’s just being charitable. We need to know, with evidence, whether or not he can be trusted. Sadly, we don’t have any of his toilets here, so we’ve got nothing to go on.’
The squad all simultaneously held back a chuckle 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 Cap.
‘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. Leave it to us.’
‘Thank you Captain.’
They ended the Skype call and before Cap 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 Cap with a slight sigh. ‘You go deal with him, I’ll go see Mr Crapp. Mick, can you get in touch with some of his competitors who have been threatened, see what they can tell us. Jean, you can come with me and charm Mr Crapp with your…’
He paused for a second while HyJean looked at him, interested to hear which of her qualities he’d pick.
‘With your… intellect.’
‘Good choice,’ she said.
‘See, you’ve got to know which cases to pick,’ Flush told Faucet as they made their way to Dickens 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?’
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.
‘There he is,’ said Flush. ‘Right, you slow him down with your hose pipe hands and I’ll lasso him.’
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. 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 Flush try a pun.
Flush smiled at the idea and, as loudly as he could, he yelled at the man, ‘We’re here to slay you!’
The old man definitely heard this, and upon hearing the pun, 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.
‘No, it was my pun.’
‘No seriously, it looks like he’s dying.’
Faucet was right. The old man’s afternoon of tyranny had taken its toll, and Flush’s outburst had seemingly finished him off.
‘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 knew it was something to do with bread,’ said Cap.
Cap and HyJean were 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. They were caught out though, when Cap was found cleaning the boss’s office during his lunch break. Cleanliness had often been both Cap’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,’ Cap argued. ‘And plus, how often do you get to go around pretending to be your favourite television presenter?’
Cap called the Driver and they were whisked away to the Crapp Toilets headquarters, dropping Suds off on the way to speak to a Mr Flint Stone of Bathrooms 4 You R Us
‘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.’
‘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 girl sat next to me. Boy, that was fun.’
‘So now what do we do? Should we call an ambulance?’
‘Nah, I’m not keen on ambulances. Whenever I’m in one I‘m always unwell.’
‘Fine. Um… oh, what about that driver guy?’
‘Oh, the Driver?’
‘Yeah, can we call him?’
‘Why, do you think he’ll know how to save him?’
‘No, he can drive us to the hospital.’
‘Oh yeah, duh. Sorry, I’m still thinking about that CPR girl.’
Flush called the Driver, who said he’d be round as soon as he’d dropped the others off. Faucet stood looking over the old man.
‘I’m not sure about taking him to the hospital,’ he said. ‘What if they refuse to treat him?’
‘Why would they do that?’
‘Well he’s dressed as a super villain and he’s been causing trouble all day.’
‘That’s a point. We’d better take his clothes off.’
They knelt down beside the old man, who was now lying unconscious on the floor, and stripped him of his costume, which was a red 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. ‘What an odd fellow.’
‘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.
‘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 and then Flush had an idea.
‘I know, we’ll get him some clothes.’
‘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. ‘I’ll stay here and try to cover him up a bit.’
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 overall over him. He checked the old man’s pulse and was relieved to find that he still had one. He gently patted him 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.
Cap and HyJean – or Clifford and Jean as we’ll call them, since they’re 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. They walked confidently – but not too confidently, because Clifford believed Bob Holness was quite shy – 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 Cap. ‘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.’
Jean had called up straight after the call with the inspector and managed to book an appointment. 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 or 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 rather aggressive when he does something stupid.’
The woman turned back and informed them that Mr Crapp would indeed see them, and that they should head to his office on the 3rd floor. The only-fictionally-married couple thanked her and left to meet Mr Walter Crapp.
‘What do you mean you’re stuck in a clothes recycling bin?’
‘Well,’ explained Flush, ‘I was looking inside a clothes recycling bin and now I’m inside it.’
‘Why did you climb inside it?’ asked Faucet.
‘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 and go help Flush.
He ran down the road and spotted the recycling bin on the corner of the road. He stopped to watch as a few young school kids walked past the bin.
A deep and 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. Faucet crossed the road and knocked on the bin.
‘Hey bin monster, have you swallowed any humans today?’
‘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. ‘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 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. 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 left him right here!’ cried Faucet.
They looked around and, as it on cue, a 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.’
Flush and Faucet ran up 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.
‘Never mind bingo,’ said Flush. ‘You need to come with us to the hospital.’
‘Why, are you ill?’
‘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,’ 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, rather unwillingly, to the taxi. They chucked him in the back and asked The Driver to take them to the hospital.
‘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, like 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 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 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 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 an unpleasant expression.
‘I must say Mr Crapp, 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 and he added, ‘And my enemies.’
‘That must be very confusing for you.’
Crapp ignored the remark and changed the subject.
‘So, what do you want?’ he said.
‘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.’
‘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 to Jean. Sensing his tone, Jean gave an embarrassed little smile.
‘Of course. Downstairs, end of the corridor.’
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 sneaked 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 learnt 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 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, chubby 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.
‘Get rid of our friend here 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 chuckled.
As he was being escorted down the stairs, an idea came to Clifford.
‘So, your boss’s plan to flood the town hall, pretty clever huh?’
‘Flood it?’ said Lew with a look of surprise. ‘I thought we were blowing it up?’
‘Aha!’ cried Clifford. ‘So that’s what he’s up to.’
Lew Roll suddenly stopped with a panic.
‘Wait, you didn’t know that? Oh please don’t tell Bog I told you that, he’ll kill me.’
‘Don’t worry,’ said Cap, ‘I won’t.’
‘Ah, thanks mate,’ said Lew with a sigh of relief.
‘Where am I?’ asked the man formerly known as the Commode Dragon, as he woke up in a panic.
‘Calm down,’ said Faucet. ‘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 The 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.’
‘Pity, I like grapes.’
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. 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 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 looked at the big pile of water on the floor and began to panic.
‘Oh no, I need to get a mop.
‘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. He handed it to the nurse and smiled.
‘Here you go,’ he said.
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.
Captain Clean, HyJean and Sergeant Suds gathered back at the base to swap stories.
‘What was that Crapp guy like?’ asked Suds.
‘I’m not gonna lie, he was a bit scary,’ admitted Cap.
‘He’s so unpleasant,’ added HyJean. ‘And so tall! I swear he was like a giant.’
‘Sounds lovely,’ said Suds.
‘Oh, and he likes to be called Bog as well,’ said Cap.
‘Why? ‘Cause he’s so full of crap?’ asked Suds.
‘Haha! Good one.’
They all laughed and shared some more insults about Walter ‘Bog’ Crapp and then they moved on to what they’d discovered in his factory.
‘There was a good reason why that door was heavily guarded,’ said HyJean. ‘Guess what I found inside?’
‘Bombs?’ suggested Cap.
‘Yeah, how did you know that?’ asked a surprised HyJean.
‘That guy who threw me out, Lew Roll, nice guy, but not the brightest. He told me his boss is planning to blow up the town hall.’
‘Oh. Well I think he’s got another target first. Inside that room, there was a desk with a load of papers on it, all to do with one company… Bathrooms 4 You R Us.’
‘Blimey, what are the odds of that eh? The one company Mick goes to speak to is the same one Bog is planning to blow up!’
‘But why is he trying to blow them up?’ asked HyJean.
‘I think I can answer that,’ said Suds. ‘Mr Stone told me Crapp has forced two other companies to withdraw their bids for the town hall tender, but Bathrooms 4 You R Us is still going ahead with their bid. It’s not as competitively priced as Crapp’s, but the council have used them before, so they could win. Crapp obviously needs to win the tender to go ahead with his plan, so clearly he’s trying to get rid of the competition.’
‘Then we need to stop him,’ said Cap. ‘Jean, have you got any idea when he’s planning the attack?’
HyJean pulled a post-it note from her pocket and placed it down on the table for everyone to read.
Book van for bathroom job. Thursday 29th June. 7am.
‘No lie in for us tomorrow then,’ said Suds.
‘I think we’d better give Mr Stone a call,’ added Cap.
A few hours later, Faucet returned to the base and informed the rest of the squad about what had happened with the Commode Dragon.
‘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.’
‘What?’ asked Cap. ‘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 Cap. ‘Anyway, we’ve got more important things to discuss.’
‘Oh yeah, the Crappy guy. How did that go?’
Cap, HyJean and Suds filled Faucet in on their encounter with the evil businessman now known as Bog, from the Blockbusters-themed undercover story to being thrown out by a man named after toilet paper. Once Faucet was caught up, they then moved on to their plan of attack.
‘Right, so according to Mr Stone, the employees get into work at 8am. Bog’s van will arrive at 7am, it’s a 15 minute drive and then they have 45 minutes to set up the bombs and leave before the employees arrive,’ explained Cap, working out the nefarious plan as he went along. ‘Mick you said Mr Stone gets into work at 8:20am?’
‘It’s likely that they’ll detonate the bombs once he’s in, so that gives us 20 minutes to get everybody out.’
‘Wait a minute,’ interrupted Faucet. ‘Why are we still letting them go into work if we know there’s a bomb there?’
‘Because Bog needs to think his plan is going ahead, otherwise he won’t detonate the bombs.’
‘Isn’t that good though? Then we can go in and disconnect them.’
‘If he saw us going in there, he’d probably detonate them,’ suggested HyJean.
‘Then why can’t we stop him before he delivers the bombs?’ asked Faucet.
‘Because he’s already got a load of bombs in his factory, so god knows what other weapons he’s got stashed away!’ said Cap, getting irate at all the questioning. ‘Look, we haven’t got time to think of another plan, so we’re going with this one. You and Will go to Bathrooms 2 You 4… whatever they’re called, go there and get everyone out. Suds, HyJean and I will go to Crapp Toilets and stop Bog detonating any bombs.’
‘And how do you plan to do that?’ asked HyJean.
‘I’ll talk to him.’
‘You’ll talk to him?’
‘Trust me, I know his type. He’s got a tough exterior, but it’s all just a front. He’s a typical misguided soul desperate to succeed. He’s probably an orphan as well or suffered some 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 needs a bit of therapy.’
‘Look, I know what I’m doing and when we go there tomorrow, you’ll see.’
‘Hang on,’ interrupted Suds. ‘How do you know that’s where he’ll be?’
‘Oh, don’t you start,’ groaned Cap, getting up from the table.
‘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.’
Cap asked Mary to book The Driver to escort them to their relevant destinations in the morning and to call Flush and ask him to be in early so that they’d have time to explain and prepare for the mission. He then retired to his office to rest and prepare himself mentally. Cap had faced many 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 morning would go and hoped his years of experience and loyal team would help him succeed.
‘So let me get this straight,’ said Flush. ‘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?’
Cap 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 checked her pockets to make sure she’d got everything. As they were about to leave, Cap stopped them.
‘Wait. Before we go, Nelson, I have something for you.’
Faucet stepped up to the captain, half excited and half nervous that it would be something to make the mission even more dangerous. Cap presented him with a large badge in the shape of a teal circle with a blue water droplet in the middle.
‘Nelson, you’ve completed your training excellently and proved yourself to be a valuable member of the team,’ said Cap, handing him the badge. ‘You are now officially a grime fighter.’
‘Thanks,’ said Faucet. ‘Although, it’s not a very glamourous title.’
‘It’s not a very glamourous job.’
Faucet attached his badge to his top and 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 badge 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.
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 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.
Faucet and Flush got out of the car at Bathrooms 4 You R Us and the mental countdown started.
‘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 ran into the factory and 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.
‘Hello, can I help you?’ she said in a well-rehearsed monotone friendly voice.
‘Yes, I’m here to save your life and possibly take you out for a drink after,’ Flush 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 Flush and was just reading off a script.
Flush sprang up and stuttered in confusion, ‘Wh… an appointment? No, of course I haven’t got an appointment.’
‘Then I’m afraid you’ll have to ring up and book an appointment sir.’
‘Oh, forget this. You can keep your appointment,’ said Flush, 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.’
‘What? Oh my god, you’re terrorists? Security!’ she cried, and before Faucet could stop her, she lunged for the phone to call security.
‘No!’ shouted Faucet, 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 uniforms… look, just put the phone down and listen will you!’
After much persuading, the girl eventually relented and called some of the offices to start an evacuation. Meanwhile, Flush 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 a picture of a cat on it. His name was probably something like Gerald or Gordon. 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 Flush, ‘now move!’
‘What’s your name?’ the man asked.
‘No, what’s your real name?’
‘Why does it matter?’
‘Well how can I trust you if you won’t even tell me your real name?’
Flush 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 Flush. ‘I haven’t got time for this.’
Flush grabbed up an empty bin from the corner and smacked the man over the head with. The man collapsed onto the floor. Flush picked him up and flung him over his shoulders.
‘Right, anyone else want to stay here?’
‘Sir, you can’t go in without an appointment!’ called the receptionist of Crapp Toilets as she sprang up from her desk and chased Captain Clean, HyJean and Suds, who were all quickly walking towards the stairs.
‘Sergeant!’ called Cap without taking his eyes off the door to the staircase.
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,’ grinned Cap.
Inside the office, Bog stood in front of his desk. This time he looked different. He was wearing a white porcelain suit that covered his whole body, making him look like a ceramic statue. On his head was a porcelain helmet with his face framed with what appeared to be a toilet seat cover. Evidently, Bog had battle armour. Beside him were 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 Cap as the three heroes strode confidently into the office.
‘I warned you before -’
‘And I didn’t listen, never do,’ Cap interrupted. ‘Hello again Lew, nice tie.’
‘Thanks,’ said Lew with a little smile that was clearly a rarity in his life. ‘Nice mask.’
‘Stop flirting,’ grunted Bog, smacking his henchman on the back of his head.
‘I know what you’re planning Bog,’ continued Cap. ‘But you don’t need to do this. Blowing up the bathroom place and the town hall will kill lots of innocent people.’
‘Innocent? Ha!’ laughed Bog. ‘Those council gits have screwed me over too many times. Planning permission, waste disposal, SOMETHING ELSE… it’s time they got what was coming to them.’
‘You don’t need to blow up the town hall to do that. Just file a complaint.’
‘I’ve filed dozens of complaints; they don’t listen! So I’m gonna make them listen.’
‘Please Mr Crapp, just stop and think about this. We can help you get the council’s attention. We can set up a meeting so you can express all 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 Cap.
‘No,’ he replied with a smirk.
Cap and Suds grabbed hold of the henchpeople and threw them to one side. All three heroes ran to Bog, who was retrieving the trigger for the bombs out of his desk.
‘Stop him!’ shouted Cap.
The they lunged at Bog, knocking the trigger out of his hand. They fought valiantly, but Bog’s porcelain armour was impossible to penetrate, and its occupant easily overpowered them with his strength. He flung each of them to the ground several times until his henchpeople had recovered and scrambled over to restrain the heroes.
Bog walked over to the trigger, showing no signs of fatigue.
‘When he presses it, run,’ HyJean whispered to Cap and Suds.
Bog turned to the heroes on the ground and grinned a victorious grin.
‘Nice try,’ he said, and then pressed the button on the trigger.
Suddenly, there was a loud bang and the room shook. It was as if the bombs had gone off in the factory they were in. As it was, that’s exactly what had happened. Somehow, trigger had set off the bombs that were being stored down in the heavily-locked room ready to blow up the town hall.
Flames roared below,
As HyJean had prepared Cap and Suds, they quickly got over the surprise and headed out of the office to find an exit that wasn’t engulfed in flames. However, it wasn’t long before an enraged Bog and his henchmen were following them. Thankfully, a suit made of porcelain is very heavy, so Bog slowly clambered out of his office, with each heavy stomp breaking the already crumbling floor. Within a few steps, the floor gave way and Bog was dragged down into the floor. He clung on and called for his two henchmen to come save him. Instead, they looked at each other, nodded and ran out.
They passed the heroes, who by now were planning their descent out of a window, and ran down the staircase. It didn’t occur to them that they were running further into the explosions.
‘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 the struggling Bog clinging to the floor in desperation, flames coming up through the floor around him. Cap 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 Cap. ‘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.
‘Don’t die,’ said HyJean as she followed.
‘Gee, I thought at least one of them might have offered to help,’ said Cap. ‘Still, no time to monologue.’
Cap ran back to where Bog was still struggling. He had slipped down further and was now barely visible, his arms and head poking up out of the hole. Cap 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.
Cap wasted no time in mourning. He 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.
Back in the base, Suds was filling Faucet in on what had happened.
‘But what I don’t understand,’ said Faucet, ‘is why the bomb went off in Crapp Toilets and not the other place.’
‘Ah, that was me,’ said HyJean.
Everyone turned to her with surprised looks. Cap’s face was the most surprised.
‘I had a feeling your plan of just talking to him might not work,’ she told Cap, ‘so while we were fighting, I switched the trigger with one I found in the locked room.’
From her pocket, she pulled out a trigger that looked identical to the one Bog had used. She placed it on the table and smiled. Cap looked at it, unsure what to feel. On the one hand, she’d saved the day. But on the other hand, she’d had no confidence in his plan and done her own thing without telling him.
‘Good,’ he said, and left to sulk in his office.
Meanwhile, Flush entered the room. He’d just been to the toilet and missed all the revelations. He spotted the trigger on the table and picked it up.
‘Hey, what does this do?’ he said excitedly, hovering his finger over the button that would set off a series of bombs in a nearby factory.
‘NO!!!’ screamed all the other heroes in unison.
‘Fine,’ he said, chucking the trigger back down onto the table. ‘Be like that.’