Chapter 1: Have we got a show for you!

Caution: This Humor Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Romantic, Heterosexual, Fiction, Celebrity, Humor, Tear Jerker, Incest, Brother, Sister, Group Sex, Harem, Interracial, Black Female, White Male, Safe Sex, Oral Sex, Masturbation, Sex Toys, Foot Fetish, .

Desc: Humor Sex Story: Chapter 1: Have we got a show for you! - Once the dust has settled after the events in 'An Audience With Carstairs', Martin is looking forward to a quiet life with the women he loves. He even has a plan to launch a new company, using his skills in cryptography. When his girls are called away to different corners of the planet, Martin is in no mood to make a choice between them. Hollywood beckons, and Kelly needs her friend Carstairs again: the pressure is on. Hilarious, sexy and MASSIVE: a must-read! 3rd part of trilogy.

One evening I turned on the TV and found nothing to watch. National Geographic tried to get me interested in something called Nazi Megastructures. Who the hell came up with that idea? Imagine voicing the promo for that: 'What's YOUR favourite Nazi Megastructure? Are you fine with the Siegfried Line? Want to get in at Fortress Berlin? Or do you hunker for Hitler's bunker? Tune in to Nazi Megastructures, Tuesdays at nine on National Geographic!'

I considered it to be in very poor taste. Sure, Nazis are very useful as universal bad guys in drama. They're in Casablanca, Raiders of the Lost Ark and hundreds of other movies. There are Nazis in zombie films and in Iron Sky they even made it to the moon. But if I'm honest, I find it hard to go along with all that without flinching. We're not talking about run of the mill assholes, like Scientologists or swimming instructors; these are the people that tried to wipe out Judaism, along with the gays and the gypsies for good measure. I think at that point the laughter stops. And that includes admiring their sodding costumes and whatever buildings they commissioned.

I can't stand 'Allo 'Allo, for the same reason: I know it's all just for a laugh, but these people were rounding up Jews and anyone else who got in their way all day long. Even if they did spend their evenings off in a French cafe, stuffing cheese in their ears and talking about knockwursts with stolen paintings in them, I can't see the fun in that. But that's just me, apparently. Still, I've never claimed to have a developed sense of humour. It's not what I'm known for, is what I'm saying.

The lady on satellite channel Babestation seemed very nice and up for a chat, presumably regarding her lack of a bra, but she appeared to have a malfunctioning phone which she kept waving at me. I gave that a pass, which Melody agreed with. Eventually we landed on Comedy Central.


A spinning globe, bombastic music ... This might be fun!

"This might be fun," said Melody, pulling her legs up on the couch.

"I was just thinking that," I said, turning up the volume. When the globe was finally done spinning (the wrong way round by the way), the host appeared. He was a grey-haired man, juggling a pen and scribbling furiously on his script. He hadn't said a word yet and people were already screaming their lungs out.

"Good evening! Thank you! You're too kind! Hey now, stop it, we've got a show to do ... Boy do we have a show for you, you're gonna love it. Our guest tonight! Comedian Louis C.K. is here ... Yeah, you like that? You like that? Good. Hey, we can't have Doris Kearns Goodwin on ALL the time. We just can't. She has stuff to do."

I had no idea who that was, but the host seemed pleased with himself.

"You know, before we move on to our weekly fare of which policeman shot which unarmed black teenager for suspiciously selling girl scout cookies door to door, or which evil government entity set up a black ops prison facility in which eastern European nation, or what new, treacherous laws that will make us the laughing stock of the rest of the world have been signed into law by congress ... You know, our bread and butter on this show ... We want to tell you a fun story about a fun guy. Just because."

He moved sideways to face another camera and an image of Earth seen from space came up on his left, rotating quickly.

"What country is it, where the weak and downtrodden, the wretched and the poor, the unwashed masses, find a safe haven to start their life anew? With virtually GUARANTEED success?"

The image became larger and seemed to zoom in on the continental US. But then, like the Wheel of Fortune, Earth began to spin (the right way round this time) and a flipper that looked like a polar ice cap landed on the UK, which was now highlighted in yellow.

"That's right, the United Kingdom! Because that's where our story today takes us. The United Kingdom is in Europe, as you know ... if only just. And Europe is where the languages come from! Now here is a guy who speaks a few of them:"

Bloody hell, a picture of ME appeared on screen! Not a bad photo actually; it was me, in a suit, smiling. It looked to have been taken at the press conference at the National Gallery, before that went tits up. You could tell because I was still laughing at that point.

"Oh. My. Dear. God." gasped Melody. I reached for the remote.

"Don't turn it off, I want to see this!"

"Me too!" I said, turning up the volume.

Jon went on:

"He's from Holland, so if he's on TV he's either good at soccer ... or he's got some funny cigarettes to sell ya."

A picture of an irregularly shaped cigarette appeared in the corner of my mouth. You know what I'm talking about: a joint. Which I have NEVER, EVER smoked in my LIFE.

"Or maybe some tulips."

The joint in my mouth changed into a tulip.

"And definitely cheese."

One of those white caps that no Dutch woman has ever worn in her life since 1950 unless she worked at a Schiphol Airport cheese shop, appeared on my head. The audience chuckled.

"But it's none of that. This gentleman is Martin King. And even though he's Dutch, he sounds like he could give elocution lessons to the Queen. And it looks like he actually does:"

A clip from the Three commercial. Me, saying:

"Yes ma'am, I shall be with you momentarily. One begs your forgiveness for just a few more minutes," as I stand behind a massive pile of laundry. Then a shot of me offering Diana a glass of wine. They cut back to Jon, who looked puzzled.

"Is that ... Is that the Queen? I dunno! Is that the Queen? Is that her? They get a new one like every sixty-five years or so, it's hard to keep track! Every time five new generations are born it's like ... Who is she?"

The audience seemed to find that funny.

"Anyway, Mr. King recently made the news, after he made some remarks that ended up in The Sun, Britain's biggest newspaper. Oh yes ... They still PRINT their news! And here is what Mr. King had to say about ... to pick a subject completely at random here..."

Jon produced a big brandy snifter from underneath his desk, with ping pong balls in it. He rummaged around and picked one out, holding it to the camera. It read, and he said:


The audience giggled in anticipation. The screen went blue and there appeared a block of text, unfolding line after line as he read it:

"Bloody thieves, the lot of them. Never trust a Mexican. Especially the banks. You know how they're always in the news because of mass executions? You know what I mean: they find seventeen corpses with a bullet in the head in some village. That's not drugs. That's not drugs at all, those are bank employees. No other explanation. Someone got pissed off at being treated like a piece of shit and killed them."

Back to the host. The audience was stunned. Jon just nodded and smirked.

"You know ... When you say it in a British accent, it's a lot more poetic ... But wait, there's more! John! I'm going to need a little help with this. John Oliver, everybody!"

Now a British comedian was called in. He wore a black cloak, a silly velvet cap with a feather and held up a skull, to which he spoke. A new block of text appeared in an insert and he read it out in a posh accent, which gradually changed into an over the top, thespian tone:

"If you ask them to do something, they don't do it until a Friday afternoon and then fuck it up. Takes you a week to find that out. I'm surprised the people in those mass graves could be bothered to fall over when they were shot. Pretty sure most of them remained standing until Friday afternoon, then fell over the wrong way. Poor Yorick, I knew him well..."

The Brit bowed, or rather he curtsied. The audience went nuts, but then these audiences go apeshit over everything.

"No, no! Don't applaud! It's not funny! Well actually it IS funny but you shouldn't laugh!" said Jon Stewart. The audience obediently began to boo me instead. I was on screen again, in a corner.

"So, what has Mexico..."

That picture of me now sported a sombrero. Very clever...

"Well, that's another country I can't ever visit," I sighed. Melody shushed me. Jon continued:

" ... what has Mexico done to deserve Mr. King's ire? Well, until recently he had a company that sold technology that made it impossible for bus drivers in large Mexican cities ... Go on, name two. We can wait ... Okay, neither can I. But they have them. Really!"

A caption appeared, which read: 'Guadelasomething?'

"And the bus drivers there, they sometimes like to uhm ... How do I put this..."

A picture of a bus. Jon switched to the accent of a New York mobster.

"You know aahhh, get a little bit of a taste! Of the old aahhh ... peso basket! Get their beaks wet, if ya know what I'm sayin'. Right?"

He grinned for a bit as the audience laughed, and resumed in a normal voice:

"And so these bus drivers pressured local governments to stop the introduction of Mr. King's payment system and his business eventually went bankrupt."

Now the audience went 'aaaaaahhh' in mock sympathy. Jon nodded.

"Now, he also loooooves the ladies. John, come back here!"

John Oliver appeared again, bowed and repeated my quote in The Sun:

"And then ... there's all the whores that crawl out of the woodwork once you're famous ... Sending me pictures ... of their tits. Where were they when I was ... seventeen? Women use sex as a currency. They print their own and can get everything for it, from men. We don't have that option. I hope cybersex catches on. Let's hope some day soon women find they've been replaced by computers and 3D goggles. With this regard their currents turn awry, and lose the name of action."

I was pretty sure Hamlet spoke that last line, but the Sun might have made that up, too.

The women in the audience booed and the men actually laughed and applauded. Stewart pretended to be confused by that, by clapping and then looking at his own hands in surprise.

"Charming guy, right? So a few months after his company folds, King shows up in the UK and does a commercial as a British butler. Let's have a look:"

They played a clip, not the whole thing. Of course they showed me falling over.

"Funny!" said Jon. "Then, when he is a guest on a show, he saves a life. For reals, this is not fake. This warm-up guy has a peanut allergy and just had some cookies from a nice lady in the audience. Look at this:"

Footage of me calling out for an epi-pen. Shocked audience members. Me, ramming the pen into Simon's thigh. The audience clapped appreciatively. Jon's audience, that is.

"That's genuine! That man lived, by the way, and King was the only guy who spotted he was choking. But wait, there's more! Up next: he danced with this young girl, who has a medical condition that makes the boys in her class go 'eeeeuw'."

Some shots of me and Kelly, dancing.

"And it also makes grown men go 'eeeeeuw'..."

Some jokes by Graham and Kumquat and me leaping in to defend Kelly. The audience booed. Them, not me. Back to Jon, who addressed a different camera and leaned forward as if he was sharing a big secret.

"Now this guy has a habit of getting himself in the news like you would not believe. Here he is, helping an actor pretending to be a confused, old man cross the street. King doesn't know he's being taped and he is the only one to help out that day."

Some footage of that, which ended with me and 'Abishek' on a bench, trying to figure out where he lives. Abishek was subtitled, because of his Indian accent. The audience applauded me. So did Jon.

"I know, right? For someone who REALLY doesn't like Mexicans or women, he does seem to like a LOT of other people. Although ya never know, if that old man had been wearing a sombrero..."

A Photoshopped picture of me pushing Abishek under a bus. Nicely done.

"And ... and ... I've got more, hang on ... I got more! And if that little girl had worn a piƱata dress ... whoa boy!"

Now we saw a picture of a young girl, not Kelly, in a big dress that was frilly and pink. My head was imposed on a body that was ready to swing at her with a baseball bat. I had to laugh at that one. Actually, I found all of it quite amazing.

"So guess what happened to this guy recently? He was asked to open a new exhibition in the prestigious National Gallery, because he voiced their audio tour in THREE languages and was then spotted showing the featured paintings to a friend."

A paparazzi shot of me and Melody, looking and pointing at a painting. She almost jumped up, not expecting to see herself. But Jon was still going:

"Because the guy actually knows art. And speaks three languages. And helps old people cross the street. And defends girls from bullies. And then takes them dancing ... FEEL BAD FOR BOOING HIM NOW, DO YA?"

The audience just laughed, a tiny bit embarrassed. Or they faked it, who knows.

"So Martin does the speech about the paintings in the museum with the yadayadayada and then ... this happens."

Naked girls on either side of me, screaming, jumping up and down. Their breasts were pixelated. Jon again, smiling and nodding as he waggled his finger at the crowd.

"Oh, you've seen THAT, haven't you? THAT was all over the news. Your MOM saw this. On Fox."

A montage of several news stations talking about that incident, all pretending to find it scandalous whilst putting up screenshots that revealed as much sideboob as possible. Frankly, these girls would have looked better if they had been completely pixelated. And I should know.

"Oh yes. Naked women. Shocking! SHOCKING I tell you! Hey, freeze that frame there, put it up on the big screen behind me. Yeah, that's it. Can we make those blurs just a tiny bit smaller? Tiny bit smaller? Yes? SHOCKING!"

Different camera again. A confidential tone:

"And you know what the guy did? Well, NOT this."

A montage of streakers, male and female, being tackled, assaulted, covered up and dragged off.

"None of that. Instead, Martin King ... did this:"

Me, talking about homosexuality in art and how I saluted those girls for raising the issue of gay inequality. The protesters were seen leaving quietly.

The audience applauded, no doubt instructed to do so by signs or hand signals or whatever works on Americans. Maybe they get colour coded bags of Doritos hurled at them, I've no idea.

"And that's STILL not all ... You may know that the British National Gallery is free. That's why you went inside, didn't you? Because Madam Tussauds is 20 Pound Sterling and you don't know how much that is! But in the National Gallery, you can just go in and look at art because they seem to think that's somehow important. Tsss ... Europeans. We in America, we PAY for art!"

A picture of dogs playing poker, a hideous figurine and a singing fish mounted on a wall.

"But because YOU skipped the donation box on your way out, guess who couldn't afford one of THESE babies?"

A picture of a sturdy nail.

"So someone got out some chewing gum and said:"

He switched to a mock British accent:

"'What ho chaps, let's put up this priceless work of art with a wad of Wrigleys spearmint.' Hang on..."

He mimed furious chewing.

Then came the footage of me, realising something was wrong and saving the painting by Caravaggio as it began to fall. I guess that news hadn't reached America, because the audience gasped and then applauded as I was seen trying to stop it from falling, after which people rushed to steady it and take over. When the clip was over they cut to Jon, who was pretending to wipe sweat from his brow with a big polka dot handkerchief. Then he stopped and pretended to be serious for a second.

"That's one amazing dude. Oh, and he also held a charity dance and raised over a MILLION for research into the disease of that young girl."

A shot of Kelly, Emma, Boris and me on stage, looking at the final amount on that big video display. The audience applauded. Back to Jon.

"So even though he got drunk and was a bit too honest for a moment, which, face it, you did LAST NIGHT ... he more than made up for that. And the world forgave him ... So he f[beep]ed with us again!!!"

Clips of me messing with the Japanese TV-crew by telling them the story of The Mikado, then me telling the American interviewer I was leaving with the words: 'Well, that was emotionally draining. Did Mr. Woodward tutor you? Or was it Edward R. Murrow? Either way, please convey my regards for a job well done. If you'll excuse me, I will now step out for lunch. If you could call the five U-Haul trucks that brought all this stuff to record a thirty second interview and take it all away before I get back, that would be lovely, ' and finally, me singing a very silly song with a German cameraman. You could hear the studio audience laughing their heads off in the background.

Cut back to Jon, who offered the camera a diamond ring in a presentation box.

"Please, Mr. King ... Will you marry me? I've always wanted to honeymoon in Cancun!"

That was his final joke. The camera made a wide shot along a cheering audience.

"We'll be right back! Mr. King? Call me?" He mimed a phone call and that was it.

I could tell Melody was staring at me, not sure how I was going to respond. I just sat there, flabbergasted.

"It wasn't that bad, really..." she said, like someone watching Vesuvius for signs of smoke.

"I ... That ... could have ended a lot worse, I suppose," I eventually said. They were on a commercial break now. We made tea and I found that my phone was beeping and buzzing with messages. None of them seemed urgent. The Daily Show show came on again and told a story about how Ohio had signed a law that made it illegal to document animal abuse. In fact, punishments for torturing animals were now less than those for reporting on it in order to stop it. Par for the course for America, but I couldn't really focus. How big was that show anyway?

"Pretty big," said Melody. "One million Americans watch it."

"Oh. They've got 300 million of them. So that's okay."

"Actually, it's mainly young, highly educated people. The ones who matter."

"Not to me they don't. I suppose the ladies at Keller & Fox that handle my Twitter and Facebook accounts have another busy night ahead of them."

I kept watching to see if they'd take the piss out of me some more and in fact I was mentioned at length during the interview. A big guy walked out, nearly bald but with a red beard. The host hugged him.

"Sit down, my friend. Sit! Sit!"

The man waved at the crowd, who were losing their minds. Both men patiently waited for that to end.

"So that guy from England," said Louis. "Was that real?"

"Oh yeah. Absolutely."

"You're not ... This is not a promo of your movie, right?"

Jon shook his head.

"Oh I wish! Sadly, I'm going to shoot a slightly less upbeat tale about an Iranian journalist who ends up in jail. And that script is paid for, so ... you know..."

"Gotta shoot that," nodded Louis. "Or it will go to waste. Like your grandmother always said: 'Film your script or no dessert', right?"

Jon doubled over, an entirely unsuitable response to something that was barely a joke.

"So this guy," said Louis, clearly not in any hurry to plug whatever he was doing. "He actually said all that when he was DRUNK?"

Jon nodded earnestly.

"Every single word. I mean, it was in The Sun, so..."

"Oh right. That bastion of journalistic integrity," scoffed Louis. Jon laughed hysterically again.

"That's like swearing on a bible," he added. "But yeah, that's what he said."

Louis shook his head.

"You know Jon ... I ... You may not know this about me ... I tell the odd joke now and again."

Laughter from the audience. Jon feigned surprise.

"I did not know that. Did not. Really? You got time for that?"

"Oh yeah. And let me tell you ... That's HARD work. That takes EFFORT."

"Ah-hah," said Jon, now resting his head between two hands, pretending to listen enraptured.

"But apparently what you need to do if you're this Limey bastard is..."

Louis mimed drinking, with two hands in fact.

"And it just ... it rolls off your tongue. Long, fluid lines of perfectly formed, extremely offensive insults."

Jon stepped in:

"Louis? Let me stop you right there ... Not Limey. He's not British. He's Dutch. He's a CHEESY bastard."

"Oh, right. Yeah ... He looks Dutch," said Louis, shrugging and looking at the crowd. "Sounds Dutch too."

"They're a remarkable people," said Jon. Then he whispered: "Call me!" and mimed a phone.

"Now, the reason you're here ... You're shooting a new season of..."

I turned off the television. This was enough entertainment for today.

"Are you okay?" asked Melody, caressing my arm.

"Do you still love me?"

"Absolutely. No matter how many Mexicans you insult."

"Then I'm fine. Screw that guy and his fake news show."

So that was my life. It was May 17th 2013 now, almost a month after my massive, illustrious, not-to-be-repeated thousand pounds a ticket gala, 'An Audience With Carstairs'. Melody was still getting regular physical therapy to recover from her stabbing, which didn't stop her from working on a massive mural in a dull office somewhere in Mayfair. There appeared to be no emotional scarring, I'm pleased to say: she was very happy and content, both with the opportunities opening up for her as an artist and with life on Dallas Road in Ealing. I loved her like crazy (and still do), even though I still can't even say or think that without turning beet red from shame because I had actually picked another woman over her. A married woman, who just wanted me as a bit on the side. The thing is: if someone is near you and actually hops into your bed every now and again, you sort of overlook how much you'll miss them when they're gone. Or at least I did. I honestly believe that the 'I'm feeling in love' tingles I thought I had for Diana were actually mostly for Melody. And if that sounds terribly, terribly stupid, there's a fairly simple explanation: I am an emotionally stunted imbecile who doesn't know a good thing when she steps into his shower and fucks him. It's just that I had never been in love when it was reciprocated. How was I supposed to know what that feels like!? All I knew was what it was like to love someone who doesn't quite feel the same. And THAT is what I had with Diana. That was what I knew.

And then there's my sister, Kate. Sixteen years younger than me and yet smarter, wiser, more mature and with infinitely more people skills. This girl, as close to an angel as I'll ever meet, had practically dedicated her life to making me happy, though she will claim it's the other way around. So much so, in fact, she began to actually love me. Which, as she will be the first to tell you, was a weird and unsettling discovery for her.

I had been oblivious (emotionally stunted imbecile, remember?) to dozens of clues and hundreds of hints, but when she finally spoke out I didn't have to think very long about how I felt. My perspective was a bit different, since I had known her from birth and helped raise her. That installs a lot of safety ... what's the word ... safety interlocks, I suppose. (By the way, 'interlock' is a very old-fashioned Dutch word for underwear, that doesn't help.) But she had been chipping away at those very deliberately and come on, she wasn't a kid any more. She was a grown woman, who travelled the world. She had gotten as intimate with me as she possibly could without actually asking to fuck, way beyond what brothers and sisters normally do. I was certain I wouldn't hurt her, that this was what she wanted. And so, when she told me how she felt, it was extremely easy to roll with it. Took me all of five minutes, if that. Kate, man ... You have no idea. Be glad of that, or you would cry yourself to sleep until death took you in its cold yet merciful embrace. And your last words would be: 'Kate, why not me?'

How I ended up with both of them is quite a story, which I suggest you read at your leisure one day. It takes a better writer than me to explain in just a paragraph how I came to be an incestuous bigamist. It was quite a ride, let's keep it at that.

Kate had a breakdown after the concert. Fortunately my parents were there to take care of her, because I had to divide my attention between Kate at home and Melody in the hospital. It took her a week to get over it, but by now she was back to work, flying around the world to kick superstars up the ass or, if they behaved, to help them do their concerts, promotional tours or whatever else they needed. When she was home, she was my sister by day and by night she was my ... Oh, I can't even bring myself to say it. Look, we had sex, okay? The girl likes sex. I'm not averse to it, either. And yes, I slept with Melody too. But we didn't do threesomes. Because we're not weird or anything! How dare you, Sir! How DARE you!

As far as I was concerned, I was done with show business. It had brought a lot of good things, but also an incredible amount of stress and grief. I had given myself a vacation and so I didn't do anything right now, except some cooking and cleaning. Yes, that was my life: a bit of hoovering, some light work in the garden, washing and ironing, some admin and then trying out a new recipe. You see, Kate couldn't cook at all and Melody had a very limited repertoire which essentially consisted of 'skilfully heating up' rather than actual cooking. And so it fell to me, because I had no intention of eating take-out pizza and Indian food for the rest of my life.

I watched cookery shows and YouTube videos, read books from fifty years ago aimed at young women who needed to be told how to boil potatoes, tried to recreate family recipes, made endless notes and threw away a lot of inedible food. Virtually nothing I tried went right the first time, but I'm a persistent bugger and I am capable of learning from my mistakes. By now I had a little notebook with recipes I could manage. It looked like the scrapbook of a ten year old girl, but I was actually rather proud of it. At the time of writing I can do eight starters (only two of those are soups), 10 main courses and four desserts. And I can bake a cake like my grandmother did. I can do a tomato sauce from scratch and I can do 4 of the 5 'mother sauces' from French cuisine. I'm sure the Espagnole will follow, eventually. It's doing the beef stock from scratch that's holding me back.

My alter ego Carstairs was still around, doing radio ads mostly, but I was told Three was already working on a new campaign. Something with a purple muppet, I'm told. Whatever. I'd also done a series of radio commercials, but whoever listens to the radio these days, right? And occasionally I would do a job that Kate strongly recommended, because the old piggy bank really needed a refill. So I had the odd day out, but by and large I was either in the kitchen or hoovering the massive house the three of us lived in. And I was fine with that. For now, at least.

I wasn't cooking or cleaning right now, however: I was behind an IKEA desk I had assembled myself, in a nearly empty room I called 'my office'. If you saw it you might possibly opt for 'store room' or, if you timed your visit poorly, 'fart collection facility'. The only office-like thing I had to do was running the Kelly Newman foundation, of which I was chairman. Essentially I gave donations to charities and research projects I felt were useful, especially those working on diseases of the digestive system. Not that I think Alzheimer's isn't important, but that isn't what had landed Kelly with a colostomy. Plus, anyone who paid a badly timed visit to my office would appreciate the importance of discovering all we can about the colon. I had skin in this game, is what I'm saying. I always go for extra strength wallpaper paste, because I've found it pays off in the long run.

We had raised 1,1 million pounds, which is a lot for one evening, but at the rate we were going the foundation would be out of money in two years. Which was okay; we didn't set it up thinking it would put the world to rights. It just seemed the best way to distribute the money.

The reason I was in my office was because Kate had called me earlier that day:

"Can Winston from Keller & Fox call you?"

"Well, I have a phone ... Anyone can call me, really."

"Yes, but he's nervous. He's not one of our handlers. Winston is one of the gearheads and he's a bit shy. So I told him I'd call ahead. He wants to talk to you about your ticket system."

"Right. Well, whenever is convenient."

"In five minutes is convenient."

So now I was on the phone with Winston, one of the resident tech gurus at Keller & Fox. It's all very well to have people like Kate on staff, but computers need to work, apps need building, databases need to be linked and Winston was one of the people who made that happen. My sort of people, in other words. I had a chat with him to put him at ease and then he asked me his actual question:

"Mr. King, you built the ticket distribution system for your gala, didn't you?"

"Well, not the whole thing. But I built an encryption module for it, because with tickets at 1000 pounds you don't want someone showing up with a fake or a duplicate and getting in while the real millionaire is left outside."

"Yes, Mr. King," he said, trying to hide the fact he was a bit annoyed. He didn't need to be told the 'why', just the 'how'. Thing is, I've always had to be more of a salesman than a coder, because most of the people I dealt with when I still had my business didn't know what they were buying. It was usually up to me to tell them why they needed what I was selling.

"Do you think we might use it again? It will need to be tweaked, though."

Now, I'm a very nice person and I'll help when I can. But I'm also a businessman and he wasn't asking if my code could be used to cure leukaemia, in which case I'd have said: 'Get on with it, people are dying!'

"Use it for what?"

"We're managing a series of exclusive concerts by ReadySteady. Scalping is getting out of hand; people are paying ten to twenty times the list price. And your system proved to be very effective in stopping that, so..."

See? ReadySteady. That's a band. A very rich band, that I was positively not going to be helping for free. I might do Keller & Fox a favour, but not ReadySteady.

"I might be able to help you out there. How about I pop into the office on Monday?"

"Oh ... I thought, perhaps you could give me the source code and..."

Yes, of course you did. Give him the source code ... As if.

"How about eleven a.m.? And is Caroline available?"

"Uhm ... I ... will ... check."

When I hung up, my smile was so wide I had to make myself think of dead kittens before I could fit through the door.

I had a very productive, if brief, meeting with Caroline Keller, who called the shots at Keller & Fox. That's the agency Kate works for. She came in thinking I needed a pat on the head but left as partner in a new business venture. Or at least a prospective one. We'd do a trial run of my module during the concert, to see if we could keep the ticket scalpers out of the loop this time. If that worked, we'd know if we had something to work with. Something that would make us very, very rich indeed...

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