“The nicest word in the English language,” said Dick, “is holidays.”
“Don’t be silly,” said Uncle Joe, “they’re bad for productivity.”
“Well,” said Dick, “by holidays, I meant ours. And the places we can go at taxpayers’ expense.”
“But, only if it’s on official business,” said Anne.
“Pah, you’re such a worrier, Anne. Father Tony said it was ok, as long as we said it was official business. And as we’re always on an adventure, isn’t everything we do official business?” laughed Dick, as he licked the caviar off his fingers.
“Speaking of Father Tony, where is he?” asked Anne. “He should be here and he was bringing George, whose father is one of those silly scientist people and he gets quite cross like George does. It’s probably because she wishes she was a boy, although that’s strange because the only boy she likes is Timmy, her dog.”
“That’s quite enough sub-text for you, my nervous little sister. I just hope that he’s bringing some food, I’d really like to stuff myself tonight,” said Dick.
“Weren’t the sausages at tea-time enough for you?” asked Julian entering.
“You know me,” replied Dick. “I can never get enough to eat.”
“Hang on,” said Anne, “I think that I hear a car.”
The children cheered, but Uncle Joe remained unmoved.
“What’s the matter, Uncle Joe?” asked Julian.
“I expect that Father Tony will prefer to give you the bad news himself,” replied Uncle Joe.
“Bad news, oh no,” said Anne, “I don’t like bad news.”
“Poor Anne,” said Dick, placing his arm round his sister, “you’re such a girl.”
“You better not say that when George is here,” said Julian. “She’s so politically correct!” and everyone laughed, including Uncle Joe.
Suddenly, the door flew open and in bounded Timmy. First, he bounded up to Anne, licking her face, then he moved to lick Julian, and Uncle Joe, before carefully avoiding Dick, because after all this is a children’s story.
“Stop that, Timmy!” yelled George. “I’ve had a perfectly wretched journey. Father Tony has something very important to say to all of us.”
She stepped aside to let Father Tony in.
“What’s the matter, Father Tony?” asked Dick.
Father Tony held up his hand. “It’s the economy. It’s a big mess. And I need you to help save it.”
“Another adventure,” squealed Dick, excitedly, while Anne looked worried.
“You can count on us,” said Julian.
“Right,” said Dick, “what do you want us to do?”
“Well,” said Father Tony, “it’d help if you stopped going to school. That would be a great start.”
“Excellent,” said Dick, “then what.”
“Ah… nothing,” said Father Tony, “that’s as much as Uncle Joe and I have worked out for you. But it’s all right. Just wait here, while the adults work out what’s meant to happen. Uncle Joe, can we talk privately, there’s no need to tell the children any more.”
“Of course,” replied Uncle Joe.
As they left, Father Tony added, “And put that dog outside where he belongs.”
George scowled. “As if those two could fix anything,” she murmured after they’d gone.
Although nobody said a word, even Anne knew that, if the economy was going to be fixed, then it’d be up to the Famous Five, because the adults clearly didn’t have a clue.
(End of Chapter 1)
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