Friday, 5 December 2014

It's Panto time!


 "HOOD ROBIN AND HIS SCARY MEN"

LIST OF CHARACTERS:

Baddies:
Hood Robin The most successful banker of all time
Friar TaxFree The world's biggest expert on tax avoidance
BigBonus John Lives only for his bonus
Allan a Deal An infamous deal-maker.
Much the Hedger's Son The son of the biggest hedge fund trader ever.
Prince WallStreet The toughest banker/private equity manager/ hedge fund   trader/ commodities dealer/ in the whole world.
The Sheriff of the City

Goodies:
An Old Man
Churl.    A hero of the poor
Hack! Another

***********************
A COPSE IN SHERWOOD FOREST. MORNING. Hood Robin and his Scary Men sing and dance.

SCARY MEN
We are the filthy rich;
We're ripping off the poor.
We're leaving them without a stitch,
The bailiff at the door.
We're the golden boys of banking! Oh yeah!
The golden boys of bonuses as well!

We are the filthy rich;
We're ripping off the poor.
We take it all without a hitch,
'cos we're above the law.
We're the golden boys of banking! Oh yeah!
The golden boys of bonuses as well!

Enter Prince WallStreet and the Sheriff.
WALLSTREET
O.K! O.K! Very nice - but quit it! You guys have gotta work a lot harder if we're gonna hit 18 billion in bonus this year. Ya gotta hit the poor harder! Harder, ya hear! That's what they're here for, right? To be hit, right? Our bonus target is 18 billion and I don't mean 17 billion. Geddit?
HOOD
We're working on it WallStreet. We'll get there, don't you worry.
WALLSTREET
There's millions of poor out there! Go out and get 'em! I've fixed everything up with your government so you don't have no issues there, OK?
SHERIFF
Oh, yes. Oh dear me, yes. The Prince did a splendid job. I'm sure we could never have done it without him.
WALLSTREET
So tell the guys what I did.
SHERIFF
Well, after a series of meetings, the government backed down totally on all of its threats. Every single one!

The Scary Men cheer.
SHERIFF
They threatened total transparency.

The Scary Men groan.
SHERIFF
They threatened dreadful regulations.

The Scary Men shudder.
SHERIFF
They said they'd put an extra tax on our bonuses.

The Scary Men suck in their lips.
SHERIFF
They said they would never bail us out again.

The Scary Men make 'ouch' noises.
SHERIFF
But, in the end, they backed off from everything they'd said. Nothing will happen. Nothing whatsoever. It's all absolutely splendid!

The Scary Men whoop and applaud.
WALLSTREET
So, there ya go, guys. The road is clear. And the poor are everywhere. So no delay. Let's do it!
SHERIFF
On the subject of the poor being everywhere, we are very close to completing the wall around the City. It's 25 feet high all the way round! Of course, the police will continue to patrol the City every day, as they always have. So you see, there will be no bank raids in our territory! Tee hee.

The Scary Men laugh and pat each other on the back. Wallstreet and the Sheriff leave.
Enter an old man carrying a bundle under his arm.

HOOD
Hold fast there, old loon!
OLD MAN
Eh?
HOOD
Stop! Where are you going?
OLD MAN
France. If it's any business of yours, young man.
HOOD
France?                            
OLD MAN
Aye, France. It's warmer there and they have baguettes and citizens' banks. And that's where I'm going.
HOOD
Taking all your money with you, are you?
The Scary Men all laugh.
OLD MAN
 I am.
 HOOD
   In that bundle?
OLD MAN
Aye. Although what its got to do with you, I don't know. Who are you, anyway, with all your impertinent questions?

The Scary Men all hoot.
HOOD
I'm Hood Robin. And these are my Scary Men. So hand over your bundle, old loon.
OLD MAN
Dear me. That's bad news.
HOOD
Too right!

The Scary Men all laugh again.
The Old Man walks forward to the front of the stage and addresses the audience.

OLD MAN
Friends. Don't be too worried about me. I've got a little surprise for this rabble, even though I’m very old.
He turns towards Hood.
OLD MAN
Yes. that's really bad news. For you, I mean.
HOOD
What? Don't make me laugh! Hand over your bundle!
OLD MAN
Here you are. But you shouldn't open it.
HOOD
Come on! Why not, eh?
OLD MAN
Because you might not like what you see inside.
HOOD
Then, you open it!
OLD MAN
Are you frightened, Hood? I thought you were a big tough guy.
(To the Scary Men) And he's your leader? How sad.
HOOD
I'll knock your block off, you old loon, if you don't shut up and open that bundle.
OLD MAN
Don't say I didn't warn you.

He puts the bundle on the ground and slowly unrolls it. Nothing happens. Hood approaches the bundle warily and the Scary Men gather round at a distance.

HOOD
Well? Let's see what's in it!

The Old Man picks up something from the bundle and holds it out to Hood.

 HOOD
What's that?
OLD MAN
Bad news for you.
HOOD
Eh?
OLD MAN
My life savings. A five cent Euro coin and a button.
HOOD
Don't mess with me, you old fool. Where's the rest?
OLD MAN
Are you kidding, young Hood? After all the government cuts, and prices going up for everything, food and heating, and heaven knows what else we haven't heard about yet. What chance do we have to save anything? Eh? We get the lowest old age pension in the world, and it's taxed! Do me a favour and go and rob a politician.
HOOD
Come on, guys. We're wasting our time here.

They exit. The Old Man comes to the front of the stage again.

OLD MAN
Clod-poles! That's what they are. Well, between you and me, their time is running out. Their golden days are over. Churl is coming! Remember that name - Churl!

A NEARBY FANCY RESTAURANT. HOOD AND HIS SCARY MEN SIT AT A TABLE. SAME DAY

HOOD
Allan! Order up another six bottles of Krug, will you? And more of the foie gras. I'm feeling peckish. I tell you, I'm sick of looking at the poor. And at their stupid faces when we take their money. They're so boring.
FRIAR TAXFREE
Ah, that foie gras! I'll have a kilo, Allan. Now, Hood, I've been updating on new tax havens. Here are the latest. County Cork, Tijuana, North Korea and Tower Hamlets which has just declared independence from Britain. Of these, I think we can only sensibly use North Korea. Pass the toast, would you?
HOOD
Sounds good to me. How are you doing with your commodities search, John?
 BIGBONUS JOHN
Duh. Good, boss.
HOOD
Well? What did you find?
 BIGBONUS JOHN
Duh. Well, boss. I started at the 'A's and then I did the 'B's. Then I got to the 'C's and there it was, boss. Real cool. Coal mines in Qatar!
HOOD
What?
BIGBONUS JOHN
Duh. You're always saying we should target what's got nowhere and then talk it up. Well, coal mines in Qatar is exackerly that. Innit?
HOOD
H'm. What do you think, Much?
MUCH
Look, Chief. I'm happy to manage our Georgian estates in the Shires, and our chateaux on the Riviera, and our Manhattan penthouse apartments and our air-conditioned yachts and our super-charged Ferrari's, but I don't want to be involved in gambling, anymore. I’m happy just being V.P. Admin.
HOOD
OK. I have no issue with that. Did you research it, John?
BIGBONUS JOHN
Duh. Yeah! It was great. Percentually, coal mines in Qatar is the greatest opportunity since the invention of the credit default swap!
HOOD
Really? I see. Well. Anybody know anything about coal mines?
ALLAN A DEAL
I don't think there are any coal mines in Qatar.
HOOD
Does it matter? OK, John, you run with it, give it the whole algorithm treatment and report back. Looks like another useful instrument to make a few more pennies! Don’t forget to VaR it.
SCARY MEN (dancing and singing)
SPUs and SIVs; SPOs and CDOs;
CDSes and Derivatives;
Illicit credit-based securities,
Commodities and liquidities!
We love them all! We love them all!
'Cos we are the golden boys of banking. Yeah!

 A RAMSHACKLE VILLAGE IN THE FOREST WHERE SOME OF THE POOR LIVE. EVENING.

 OLD MAN
Where's Churl? I must see him!
CHURL
I am here. What would'st thou?
OLD MAN
Hood Robin and his Banker Gang are on the prowl nearby.
CHURL
Is that a problem?
OLD MAN
Yes! They have a huge target for robbing us! They intend to make an 18 billion bonus!
CHURL
18 billion? Excellent!
OLD MAN
What, Churl? Did you say 'excellent'?
CHURL
I did, old gentleman. Hack! and I have a plan and it will work best when they have amassed their 18 billion. Only then can we have our full revenge. Hack! is working on it every minute. The sweat drops off his brow, he will not stop, he will not even take off time to eat. He is a true hero and we must prepare a celebration for him, when we have achieved our objectives.
OLD MAN
Can I sing my favourite song for him?
CHURL
Which one is that?
OLD MAN
"Can't get a educashun; can't get no rotten work.
Every rotten politician is a money-making jerk.
Me muvver's in the hospital; wiv a bloke on either side;
Can't find a rotten dentist wivart a forty minute ride.
Drunks lyin' on the pavement; potholes in the road;
Useless rotten government; rotten billions owed.
Thank you, politicians; and all your clever staff.
Are you working for the working man? Don't make me rotten larf!"
CHURL
Very enjoyable, old gentle. But our first target is the bankers. Politicians are for later. Can you compose a song about the bankers?
OLD MAN
I think I can do that, Churl. Just give me a day.
CHURL
A day is all we have. My latest information is that the bankers are nearing their 18 billion. It will soon be time to act. Ah, Hack! What is it?
HACK!
The connection is not that great just here, Churl. Can we go somewhere where I'll have a max signal?
CHURL
O.K. We'll go the disused abbey, nearby. It's on higher ground.

IN THE RESTAURANT. SAME TIME.

HOOD
How's the Qatari coal mine algorithm coming along, John?
BIGBONUS JOHN
Duh. O.K. Some fiddly problems.
HOOD
I can guess. The markets are not convinced.
 BIGBONUS JOHN
Yeah. Dat's it, Hood.
HOOD
OK. Then tell them if they don't buy we'll leave. Go abroad. Set up somewhere else. That should shift them.
 BIGBONUS JOHN
Yeah, Hood! Great!
HOOD
OK, Listen, guys. I told our runners to report to the disused abbey up the road when we got to the 18 billion. My latest information is that we're getting there. I tell you, that delta hedging is just great to rack up the good stuff. So let's get up to the abbey, right now!



THE SOUTH TRANSEPT OF THE DISUSED ABBEY. LATER.

Hood stands before a small pillar on which he works at his computer while the Scary Men stand about expectantly.
HOOD
O.K. Uh huh. Great! The money's mounting up fast! We're going to do it, my men! We're well up past the 17 billion mark.
The Scary Men cheer.

THE NORTH TRANSEPT OF THE DISUSED ABBEY. SAME TIME.

Hack! stands before a small pillar on which he works at his computer. Churl, the Old Man and the poor folk stand about watching.
HACK!
Whew! A good connection at last
CHURL
Can you do it?
HACK!
Just watch me!

THE SOUTH TRANSEPT OF THE DISUSED ABBEY. SAME TIME.

HOOD
Yeah! Here we go. Look at the screen! Do you see that? Here she comes! Watch this, guys! Seventeen billion, nine hundred and ninety nine million, nine hundred and ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine......... Here she comes! The big number!

THE NORTH TRANSEPT OF THE DISUSED ABBEY. SAME TIME.

HACK!
Here comes their 18 billion.
He raises his hand dramatically, extends his finger, and to
a low rumble of thunder in the background, taps a key on his computer.
HACK!
And there it goes! Bingo! Straight out of their account and into ours.

He taps another key.
HACK!
And on it goes. Back into the accounts of all the poor. Each and every one reimbursed with the money the bankers took from them. There you have it, Churl! The wonders of technology! At your service!  Merry Christmas!

The poor dance and hug each other, tears streaming down their faces.

THE SOUTH TRANSEPT OF THE DISUSED ABBEY. SAME TIME.
The Scary Men are clapping each other on the shoulder and
doing high-fives, except for BigBonus John who is looking at
the computer screen.
 BIGBONUS JOHN
Duh? Boss? Look at this. On your screen. It says 'Balance Zero.' What's that mean? Duh? Now it says 'All Balances Zero.'
HOOD
What?  What?  My bonus! My bonus! It's gone! Where? Where? Aaargh!
(Collapses on his knees, wild-eyed and weeping. The scary men look about them with fear and horror - they panic and run, screaming)
         THE END
The audience cheer and applaud loudly.



Monday, 10 November 2014

Cross-over Character. The Mysterious Dobri Den appears in another John Problem book.....

.......'The Search for Gabriella'.  Here he is.....

I called Dobri Denn who suggested we meet for
a drink up the road from the gallery, in the
Rivoli Bar at the Ritz.
"Tackiest bar in town," he said. "But it's
convenient and it was Edward's favourite."
It was indeed the tackiest bar in town and still
is; gilt everywhere, gilded alcoves with
scalloped ceilings, plus back-lit naked nymphs,
leopard-skin covered bucket seats, huge ugly
onyx vases, plastic chandeliers, art deco barstools.
The only people there when I arrived
were the barman polishing glasses and a man
sat in an alcove, who jumped up and stuck out
his hand.
"Mr. Fletcher? How glad I am to see you. I am
Dobri Denn. Please call me Dobri." And he
motioned me to sit. Dobri Denn had a broad,
honest face, bright blue eyes and a muscular
build.
"I am very sorry about your uncle. Edward was
a fine man and a good friend. So may I
suggest we drink to him? And may I suggest
the cocktail named in honour of the painter,
Giovanni Bellini. Edward's favourite painter.
And Edward's favourite drink," said Dobri.
"I'm

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

What Do the Following Have in Common?

The Great Gatsby
Animal Farm
Peter Pan
A Christmas Carol
Frankenstein
Northanger Abbey
Fahrenheit 451
The Old Man and The Sea
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The Big Sleep
Bonjour Tristesse
Heart of Darkness.                           They are all short novels. About 200 pages.

“Short novels are for busy people, for the beach, for the journey to work, for the weekend. They have no padding, no stuffing, no unnecessary waffle – just the story/the action/the characters/the dialogue. They are for the modern age,” says Professor Tom Ressencourt. “They are for today's reader.”

And what has 'The Government's Top Salesman Tells All' to do with these great works? Well, it's shortish.....


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Tthe Government's Top Salesman himself.....

...is pleased to announce that his 'memoirs' are now available in paperback. 
On Amazon - around the world. 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

This Is My Job Spec....



I am employed by the British government. In an unusual job. Selling off anything that can raise a decent price for a government with an urgent need. The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have decided that almost any of Great Britain’s assets, institutions, famous buildings, whatever, should be sold off to reduce the interest owed on the National Debt, which interest now totals £50 billion a year and growing. 

That's right, £50 billion a year – interest only. Unfortunately, everything in sight has already been privatised or ‘re-engineered’ and they still have a shambles of a financial situation. But, hopefully, I’ll find stuff to sell nobody thought of. Not businesses of course, they’re private, and anyway most of them are foreign-owned now.

I’m not sure there’s going to be much job satisfaction with this assignment, but it will look good on my c.v. In any event, I’m the only one around with any real experience of this kind of stuff. Which I won’t go into right now.

At the final interview I was checked in to Number Ten and presented by a lackey to the P.M. and the D.P.M. (Deputy Prime Minister). The P.M.’s smooth, shiny features wore that false determined look that you see in all the newspapers,
Bryggs,” he said. “It seems you are the man for the job. Nick and I want you to have a go."







Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Jason's Unusual Dinner Experience with Buddy-Jo.

This evening Buddy-Jo announces that she has made a booking for us at 'Paolo and Ortho', a very fashionable, very expensive restaurant in an oblong-shaped basement in Covent Garden. Gets lot of fancy customers.
“Do we have to do that?” I ask.
“Come on, Jason,” she says. “I'm a cordon bleu, remember? I want to check out the London eating scene a little. But I do have a special request.”
“What's that?”
“Well. That you leave everything to me, ordering the food, choosing the wine, and so on. Is that OK?”
“I suppose so,” I say, grudgingly.
“Great! Then let's go. You'll enjoy it!”

As usual, heads swivel when we walk in, Buddy-Jo looking a knock-out in a little black number. The Maitre d. shows us to a table.
“No good,” says Buddy-Jo giving him a sweet smile. “ Too near the kitchen.'
“But, Madame,” says the Maitre d. “This is your table.”
“That table over there will do nicely,” she says, and gives him another smile. He hesitates and then capitulates, leads us to it, gives us the menus and tells us a waiter will be with us shortly. Buddy-Jo studies the menu for a couple of minutes and then sits back and looks around.
“They sure go in for weird décor.” I explain that Paolo and Ortho's décor is supposed to represent old Milan and I point at the small black and white photographs on the wall.
“Terrific,” she says. “Must have cost them a fortune.” She's acting a little forceful this evening, it seems to me. Well, so be it. The waiters – there aren't many – pass back and forth. Buddy-Jo is watching them quietly. There must be something wrong with these guys. If I was one, I'd be here real fast to get an eyeful of Buddy-Jo. She looks at me in a sort of speculative way and then as one of the waiters walks by our table, she says loudly, “Hey!” The waiter stops in his tracks, heads turn.
“We've been here twenty minutes. Would you like to take our order?” He takes our order.
“I'll have,” says Buddy-Jo, with a perfect French accent. “Le Neufchatel Tiede aux Pommes Fondantes, followed by La Brouillade de la Mer au Jus de Betteraves Rouges. My friend will have La Terrine de Foie Gras Maison en Remoulade followed be Le Filet de Boeuf aux Echalottes Confites, Creme de Ciboulette.”
“Certainly, Madame,” says the waiter, tight-lipped.
“OK, Jason?” she asks.
“OK,” I say. “Please continue.” The wine waiter appears.
“Monsieur has chosen the wine?” he asks me.
“We have,” says Buddy-Jo. “A bottle of the Graves '96, and would you bring it right-away, please.?” He comes back surprisingly soon and says they don't have any in stock at the moment.
“Really? Then, the Crozes-Hermitage '98. What do you say, Jason?” I am glad to have only a bit part in this production so readily agree. After that, she continues to look around the place and at the other diners Then she stops the waiter as he passes by.
“I forgot to order mineral water. What brands do you have?” He rattles out a few names looking off to the other side of the room.
“Excuse me,” says Buddy-Jo. “Are you talking to me?” He jerks his head round.
“Why yes, Madame.”
“Oh good. Then I'll have the Mattoni.” After which we sit quietly for a short while.
“Do you like this music they're playing,” she asks.
“Definitely not,” I reply. “You'd think we were in a night club, not trying to enjoy a quiet dinner.”
The food finally comes and she concentrates on it, asking me to switch dishes with her so she can taste everything, to the amusement of the people at the next table. So, what do I care? I'm enjoying Buddy-Jo's performance and the food and the wine are good.
“Coffee?” she asks me and I say yes. Our waiter is summoned.
“Two expresso please and would you ask the Maitre d' to step over ?” The Maitre d' takes a long time to come but finally appears, smiling.
“Would you care to sit down for a moment,” she says sweetly to him. He stops smiling.
“Alas, Madame, we are rather busy. Did Monsieur and Madame enjoy the meal?”
“I had a couple of problems with it,” says Buddy-Jo. “The cheese in the Neufchatel Tiede is definitely not from Neufchatel, the Creme Ciboulette was burnt and the Jus des Betteraves Rouges was stale.” The Maitre d' sneers.
“I regret that Madame did not find our cuisine to her satisfaction. We never have any complaints. We have two Michelin stars, Madame. And Monsieur and Madame have over-run your time here.”
“Shall we go, Jason,” she says. She hands the Maitre d' a small piece of card.
“You have just been visited by complain.com. Whose website will feature a review of your restaurant. You could lose a lot of potential customers. Good night.” And out we go, the Maitre d' shepherding us along in case we embarrass any of his clientele.


“Well,” I say, when we get out into the square. “I hope we don't have to eat out too often! And what's complain.com?”
“Jason,” she says, taking my arm. “Thanks for staying cool. I have a doctorate in Cordon Bleu, summa cum laude, and I spent a year with Maximilien d'Eu and Marcel Bizy in Lyons working eighteen hours a day. So I know about cooking and OK I do get a little concerned about it, once in a while. Complain.com was set up to help the paying customer get the good food and the good service which they should get, especially in view of the prices they have to pay. Members put up on the site a list of good and bad experiences. Neat, huh?”
What can I do but agree?






Monday, 28 April 2014

Another loner.

Here is the blurb from John Problem's thriller - 'The Bankers' Assassin'.

"Someone is assassinating bankers. One by one. And very cleverly.
Is it because the bankers' greed left millions without homes and without jobs? Yet no banker was ever brought to trial; they were never prosecuted. Are these killings revenge? Is there a vigilante who wants retribution?
Someone is assassinating bankers. Firstly in London, New York, Paris and even on a transatlantic flight.....then in Venice and Beirut. Who is the assassin? How is he able to avoid detection? What are his motives?
Bankers are dying. Why?"

Like Jason Bryggs, John Bale is a loner.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Most blogs have some advertising.....

......so here's a little on this one.
If you like action/adventure stories, thrillers and similar, then you might like to try 'The Bankers' Assassin'.
If you like dogs, then you might like to try 'Seven Short Stories for Dogs'.
If you like mysteries spread over time, then you might like to try 'The Search for Gabriella'.
They're all e-books by John Problem on Amazon.  Who hopes you'll enjoy one or more.

Friday, 3 January 2014

A Modern Day Drama. Not about Westminster - but about their friends.


          "HOOD ROBIN AND HIS SCARY MEN"  A MODERN DRAMA.

LIST OF CHARACTERS:

Hood Robin The most successful banker of all time
Friar TaxFree The world's biggest expert on tax avoidance
BigBonus John Lives only for his bonus
Allan a Deal An infamous deal-maker.
Much the Hedger's Son The son of the biggest hedge fund trader ever.
Prince WallStreet The toughest banker/private equity manager/ hedge fund   trader/ commodities dealer/ in the whole world.
The Sheriff of the City
An Old Man
Churl A hero of the poor
Hack! Another

***********************
A COPSE IN SHERWOOD FOREST. MORNING. Hood Robin and his Scary Men sing and dance.
SCARY MEN
We are the filthy rich;
We're ripping off the poor.
We're leaving them without a stitch,
The bailiff at the door.
We're the golden boys of banking! Oh yeah!
The golden boys of bonuses as well!
We are the filthy rich;
We're ripping off the poor.
We take it all without a hitch,
'cos we're above the law.
We're the golden boys of banking! Oh yeah!
The golden boys of bonuses as well!
                              Enter Prince WallStreet and the Sheriff.
PRINCE WALLSTREET
O.K! O.K! Very nice - but quit it! You guys have gotta work a lot harder if we're gonna hit 18 billion in bonus this year. Ya gotta hit the poor harder! Harder, ya hear! That's what they're here for, right? To be hit, right? Our bonus target is 18 billion and I don't mean 17 billion. Geddit?
HOOD
We're working on it WallStreet. We'll get there, don't you worry.
WALLSTREET
There's millions of poor out there! Go out and get 'em! I've fixed everything up with your government so you don't have no issues there, OK?
SHERIFF
Oh, yes. Oh dear me, yes. The Prince did a splendid job. I'm sure we could never have done it without him.
WALLSTREET
So tell the guys what I did.
SHERIFF
Well, after a series of meetings, the government backed down totally on all of its threats. Every single one!
                                                       The Scary Men cheer.
SHERIFF
They threatened total transparency.
                                                       The Scary Men groan.
SHERIFF
They threatened dreadful regulations.
                                                      The Scary Men shudder.
SHERIFF
They said they'd put an extra tax on our bonuses.
                                               The Scary Men suck in their lips.
SHERIFF
They said they would never bail us out again.
                                             The Scary Men make 'ouch' noises.
SHERIFF
But, in the end, they backed off from everything they'd said. Nothing will happen. Nothing whatsoever. It's all absolutely splendid!
                                            The Scary Men whoop and applaud.
WALLSTREET
So, there ya go, guys. The road is clear. And the poor are everywhere. So no delay. Let's do it!
SHERIFF
On the subject of the poor being everywhere, we are very close to completing the wall around the City. It's 25 feet high all the way round! Of course, the police will continue to patrol the City every day, as they always have. So you see, there will be no bank raids in our territory! Tee hee.
                              The Scary Men laugh and pat each other on the back.
                                                 Wallstreet and the Sheriff leave.
                                 Enter an old man carrying a bundle under his arm.
HOOD
Hold fast there, old loon!
OLD MAN
Eh?
HOOD
Stop! Where are you going?
OLD MAN
France. If it's any business of yours, young man.
HOOD
 France?                              
OLD MAN
Aye, France. It's warmer there and they have baguettes and citizens' banks. And that's where I'm going.
HOOD
Taking all your money with you, are you?
                                                     The Scary Men all laugh.
OLD MAN
 I am.
 HOOD
 In that bundle?
 OLD MAN
Aye. Although what its got to do with you, I don't know. Who are you, anyway, with all your impertinent questions?
                                                      The Scary Men all hoot.
HOOD
I'm Hood Robin. And these are my Scary Men. So hand over your bundle, old loon.
OLD MAN
Dear me. That's bad news.
HOOD
Too right!
                                                The Scary Men all laugh again.
                 The Old Man walks forward to the front of the stage and addresses the audience.
OLD MAN
Friends. Don't be too worried about me. I've got a little surprise for this rabble, even though I’m very old.
                                                He turns towards Hood.
OLD MAN
Yes. that's really bad news. For you, I mean.
HOOD
What? Don't make me laugh! Hand over your bundle!
OLD MAN
Here you are. But you shouldn't open it.
HOOD
Come on! Why not, eh?
OLD MAN
Because you might not like what you see inside.
HOOD
Then, you open it!
OLD MAN
Are you frightened, Hood? I thought you were a big tough guy.
(To the Scary Men) And he's your leader? How sad.
HOOD
I'll knock your block off, you old loon, if you don't shut up and open that bundle.
OLD MAN
Don't say I didn't warn you.
                    He puts the bundle on the ground and slowly unrolls it. Nothing happens.
                Hood approaches the bundle warily and the Scary Men gather round at a distance.
HOOD
Well? Let's see what's in it!
              The Old Man picks up something from the bundle and holds it out to Hood.

HOOD
What's that?
OLD MAN
Bad news for you.
HOOD
Eh?
OLD MAN
My life savings. A five cent Euro coin and a button.
HOOD
Don't mess with me, you old fool. Where's the rest?
OLD MAN
Are you kidding, young Hood? After all the government cuts, and prices going up for everything, food and heating, and heaven knows what else we haven't heard about yet. What chance do we have to save anything? Eh? We get the lowest old age pension in the world, and it's taxed! Do me a favour and go and rob a politician.
HOOD
Come on, guys. We're wasting our time here.
                             They exit. The Old Man comes to the front of the stage again.
OLD MAN
Clod-poles! That's what they are. Well, between you and me, their time is running out. Their golden days are over. Churl is coming! Remember that name - Churl!

A NEARBY FANCY RESTAURANT. HOOD AND HIS SCARY MEN SIT AT A TABLE. SAME DAY
HOOD
Allan! Order up another six bottles of Krug, will you? And more of the foie gras. I'm feeling peckish. I tell you, I'm sick of looking at the poor. And at their stupid faces when we take their money. They're so boring. FRIAR TAXFREE
Ah, that foie gras! I'll have a kilo, Allan. Now, Hood, I've been updating on new tax havens. Here are the latest. County Cork, Tijuana, North Korea and Tower Hamlets which has just declared independence from Britain. Of these, I think we can only sensibly use North Korea. Pass the toast, would you?
HOOD
Sounds good to me. How are you doing with your commodities search, John?
 BIGBONUS JOHN
Duh. Good, boss.
HOOD
Well? What did you find?
 BIGBONUS JOHN
Duh. Well, boss. I started at the 'A's and then I did the 'B's. Then I got to the 'C's and there it was, boss. Real cool. Coal mines in Qatar!
HOOD
What?
BIGBONUS JOHN
Duh. You're always saying we should target what's got nowhere and then talk it up. Well, coal mines in Qatar is exackerly that. Innit?
HOOD
H'm. What do you think, Much?
MUCH
Look, Chief. I'm happy to manage our Georgian estates in the Shires, and our chateaux on the Riviera, and our Manhattan penthouse apartments and our air-conditioned yachts and our super-charged Ferrari's, but I don't want to be involved in gambling, anymore. I’m happy just being V.P. Admin.
HOOD
OK. I have no issue with that. Did you research it, John?
BIGBONUS JOHN
Duh. Yeah! It was great. Percentually, coal mines in Qatar is the greatest opportunity since the invention of the credit default swap!
HOOD
Really? I see. Well. Anybody know anything about coal mines?
ALLAN A DEAL
I don't think there are any coal mines in Qatar.
HOOD
Does it matter? OK, John, you run with it, give it the whole algorithm treatment and report back. Looks like another useful instrument to make a few more pennies! Don’t forget to VaR it.
SCARY MEN (dancing and singing)
SPUs and SIVs; SPOs and CDOs;
CDSes and Derivatives;
Illicit credit-based securities,
Commodities and liquidities!
We love them all! We love them all!
'Cos we are the golden boys of banking. Yeah!

 A RAMSHACKLE VILLAGE IN THE FOREST WHERE SOME OF THE POOR LIVE. EVENING.
 OLD MAN
Where's Churl? I must see him!
CHURL
I am here. What would'st thou?
OLD MAN
Hood Robin and his Banker Gang are on the prowl nearby.
CHURL
Is that a problem?
OLD MAN
Yes! They have a huge target for robbing us! They intend to make an 18 billion bonus!
CHURL
18 billion? Excellent!
OLD MAN
What, Churl? Did you say 'excellent'?
CHURL
I did, old gentleman. Hack! and I have a plan and it will work best when they have amassed their 18 billion. Only then can we have our full revenge. Hack! is working on it every minute. The sweat drops off his brow, he will not stop, he will not even take off time to eat. He is a true hero and we must prepare a celebration for him, when we have achieved our objectives.
OLD MAN
Can I sing my favourite song for him?
CHURL
Which one is that?
OLD MAN
"Can't get a educashun; can't get no rotten work.
Every rotten politician is a money-making jerk.
Me muvver's in the hospital; wiv a bloke on either side;
Can't find a rotten dentist wivart a forty minute ride.
Drunks lyin' on the pavement; potholes in the road;
Useless rotten government; rotten billions owed.
Thank you, politicians; and all your clever staff.
Are you working for the working man? Don't make me rotten larf!"
CHURL
Very enjoyable, old gentle. But our first target is the bankers. Politicians are for later. Can you compose a song about the bankers?
OLD MAN
I think I can do that, Churl. Just give me a day.
CHURL
A day is all we have. My latest information is that the bankers are nearing their 18 billion. It will soon be time to act. Ah, Hack! What is it?
HACK!
The connection is not that great just here, Churl. Can we go somewhere where I'll have a max signal.
CHURL
O.K. We'll go the disused abbey, nearby. It's on higher ground.

IN THE RESTAURANT. SAME TIME.
HOOD
How's the Qatari coal mine algorithm coming along, John?
BIGBONUS JOHN
Duh. O.K. Some fiddly problems.
HOOD
I can guess. The markets are not convinced.
BIGBONUS JOHN
Yeah. Dat's it, Hood.
HOOD
OK. Then tell them if they don't buy we'll leave. Go abroad. Set up somewhere else. That should shift them. BIGBONUS JOHN
Yeah, Hood! Great!
HOOD
OK, Listen, guys. I told our runners to report to the disused abbey up the road when we got to the 18 billion. My latest information is that we're getting there. I tell you, that delta hedging is just great to rack up the good stuff. So let's get up to the abbey, right now!

\THE SOUTH TRANSEPT OF THE DISUSED ABBEY. LATER.
Hood stands before a small pillar on which he works at his computer while the Scary Men stand about expectantly.
HOOD
O.K. Uh huh. Great! The money's mounting up fast! We're going to do it, my men! We're well up past the 17 billion mark.
                                                        The Scary Men cheer.

THE NORTH TRANSEPT OF THE DISUSED ABBEY. SAME TIME. Hack! stands before a small pillar on which he works at his computer. Churl, the Old Man and the poor folk stand about watching.
HACK!
Whew! A good connection at last
CHURL
Can you do it?
HACK!
Just watch me!

THE SOUTH TRANSEPT OF THE DISUSED ABBEY. SAME TIME.
HOOD
Yeah! Here we go. Look at the screen! Do you see that? Here she comes! Watch this, guys! Seventeen billion, nine hundred and ninety nine million, nine hundred and ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine......... Here she comes! The big number!

THE NORTH TRANSEPT OF THE DISUSED ABBEY. SAME TIME.
HACK!
Here comes their 18 billion.
                   He raises his hand dramatically, extends his finger, and to
          a low rumble of thunder in the background, taps a key on his computer.
HACK!
And there it goes! Bingo! Straight out of their account and into ours.
                                              He taps another key.
HACK!
And on it goes. Back into the accounts of all the poor. Each and every one reimbursed with the money the bankers took from them. There you have it, Churl! The wonders of technology! At your service!
The poor dance and hug each other, tears streaming down their faces.

THE SOUTH TRANSEPT OF THE DISUSED ABBEY. SAME TIME.
The Scary Men are clapping each other on the shoulder and
doing high-fives, except for BigBonus John who is looking at
the computer screen.
BIGBONUS JOHN
Duh? Boss? Look at this. On your screen. It says 'Balance Zero.' What's that mean? Duh? Now it says 'All Balances Zero.'
HOOD
What?  What?  Show me!  My bonus!   My bonus! It's gone! Where? Where? Aaargh!
                                         Collapses on his knees, weeping.
                      The scary men look about them with fear - they panic and run.
                                                   

                                                                   THE END