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Appendix (viii)

Basil Good evening. Is everything to your satisfaction?

Mr Heath Yes thank-

Mrs Heath (interrupting) Well . . . (she turns expectantly to their son)

Ronald I donít like the chips.

Basil Sorry?

Ronald The chips are awful.

Basil (smiling balefully) Oh dear. Whatís er . . . whatís wrong with them, then?

Ronald Theyíre the wrong shape and theyíre just awful.

Mrs Heath Iím afraid he gets everything cooked the way he likes it at home.

Basil Ah, does he, does he?

Ronald Yes I do, and itís better than this pigís garbage.

Mrs Heath (slightly amused) Now, Ronald.

Ronald These eggs look like you just laid them.

Mrs Heath (ineffectually) Ronald . . .

Mr Heath (to Ronald, friendlily) Now look here, old chap . . .

Mrs Heath Shut up! Leave him alone! (to Basil) Heís very clever, rather highly strung.

Basil Yes, yes, he should be.

Ronald Havenít you got any proper chips?

Basil Well these are proper French fried potatoes. You see, the chef is Continental.

Ronald Couldnít you get an English one?

Mrs Heath (to Ronald) Why donít you eat just one or two, dear?

Ronald Theyíre the wrong shape.

Basil Oh dear - what shape do you usually have? Mickey Mouse shape? Smarties shape? Amphibious landing craft shape? Poke in the eye shape?

Ronald . . . God, youíre dumb.

Mrs Heath Oh, now . . .

Basil (controlling himself) Is there something we can get you instead, Sonny?

Ronald Iíd like some bread and salad cream.

Basil . . . To eat? Well . . .(pointing) thereís the bread, and thereís the mayonnaise.

Ronald I said salad cream stupid.

Basil We donít have any salad cream. The chef made this(indicating the mayonnaise) freshly this morning.

Ronald What a dump!

Mr Heath (offering Ronald the mayonnaise) This is very good.

Mrs Heath (coldly) He likes salad cream.

Ronald (to Basil) Thatís puke, that is.

Basil Well, at least itís fresh puke.

Mrs Heath (shocked) Oh dear!!

Basil (indignantly) Well, he said it!

Mrs Heath (loftily) May I ask why you donít have proper salad cream. I mean, most restaurants . . .

Basil Well, chef only buys it on special occasions, you know, gourmet nights and so on, but . . . when heís got a bottle - ah! - heís a genius with it. He can unscrew the cap like Robert Carrier. Itís a treat to watch him. (he mimes) And then . . . right on the plate! None on the walls! Magic! Heís a wizard with a tin-opener, too. He got a Pulitzer Prize for that. He can have the stuff in the saucepan before you can say haute cuisine. You name it, heíll heat it up and scrape it off the pan for you. Mind you, skill like that isnít picked up over night. Still, Iíll tell him to get some salad cream, you never know when Henry Kissinger is going to drop in, do you. (Mrs Heath is silenced; Basil smiles charmingly,looks at his watch and in so doing neatly elbows Ronald in the head) Sorry, sorry! (he moves off)

Mr Heath Nice man.

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