The Trinity Old Boys are attending one of their regular Tipple and Titter evenings in a private room at the Savage Club when Dasher Dalziel rushes in, breathing hard and sweat pouring from his receding hairline on account of the steps and an earlier lunch.
“Lads,” he cries, “Brownie’s been given the bum’s rush!”
“The hell, you say,” mutters Dicky Downer-Howard. “Doesn’t sound like Brownie at all.
Uncompromising blighter. But fair. Very, very fair.”
Murmurs of agreement ripple around the room, and Shagger Shawcroft, pouring himself a stiff one, launches into one of his regularly teary nostalgias concerning Brownie’s fierce but fair use of a sandshoe to keep order on mixed sports days.
“Exactly,” pants Dasher. “Man among men. And now he’s been given the bullet, served his marching orders, shown the plank and told to walk it. Royal order of the boot. The old heave-ho. Monstrous.”
“Great Scott,” breathes Bootsie Bradleigh, hastily fixing Dasher a restorative over shaved ice. “What? Err. Should I ask?”
“Hair. Took the scissors to a boy’s hair.”
“Yes? Well, of course he did. Happened to all of us at one time or another.”
“Remember when your hair got so long you could actually grasp it with two fingers on the back of your head?” chortles Grunter Grimson to his old chum Boof Brenner.
“Haw,” says Boof. “They held me down and took the shears to me. Was that Brownie?”
“Didn’t do any of us any harm,” insists Pimples Peters. “Made us what we are today. Hair weakens a fellow.”
“And so say all of us,” agrees Franger Franklin. “Pull your socks up, straighten your tie and comb a part into your head. That’s Brownie. Should have been the school motto.”
“Question is,” demands Moondance McTavish, whose parents were considered a bit boho and decided against Scotch for their boy because it felt a bit too obvious. “What’re we going to do about it?”
“Pretty simple,” growls Johnno Johnson, so fearsome that no one dared give him an amusing nickname even at the old preparatory school, and who has since blazed through the ranks of the hedge fund business.
“Between us, we keep the joint afloat.
“All those bloody fundraising balls the women like so much and souped-up auctions of signed cricket bats and trips to the Riviera and donations before tax time and stuff. Rowing sheds, the oval, library .. .wouldn’t have any of it without us.
“Brownie gets his job back or we turn the tap off.
“Now fix me a Glenfiddich, Dimwit. Splash of water. Good chap. Just like the old days. Here’s to Brownie. And his scissors.”
The Old Boys raise three cheers for Brownie. And the good old days. And for Johnno Johnson, who still scares the pants off them.