A: Right, that’s it. I’ve just about had it with Cameron.
B: What’s up now?
A: Calling Nigeria and Afghanistan corrupt. He can talk.
B: He was talking to the Queen at the time.
A: No, I mean – it’s hypocrisy, is what it is.
B: This isn’t that Panama thing again, is it?
A: No. All that business about the pig.
A: You know. When he was in that – Billingsgate Club.
B: Bullingdon. Oh that.
A: He’s got a nerve, is all. I mean what’s more corrupt that having – you know – relations with a dead animal.
B: Eating one?
A: What? Oh, I get it, just because you’re one of those nutroast eaters.
B: And halloumi. Never forget halloumi.
A: I mean! Putting his – you know – in the mouth of a – eurgh.
B: I’m not going to pretend that it’s the kind of table manners I was brought up with, but
A: I should hope not…
B: Yes, but that’s not what corruption means.
A: Sounds pretty decadent to me.
B: Anyway, what can I do for you?
A: Oh. I thought we were just abstract characters constructed for the purpose of a slightly satirical dialogue.
B: Apparently not. Apparently you’re actually coming to see me about something.
A: Right. Erm – well, I suppose – oh yeah, erm, I’d like to buy a house please.
B: A house.
B: Isn’t that a bit ambitious? I mean, do you have money, and stuff?
B: Your own, or a mortgage.
A: Erm, a mortgage. It’s number 24 Chelmsford Way.
B: I really don’t need that much detail.
A: All right.
B: Thing is, it’s going to cost you.
A: I know. £250,000.
B: Plus stamp duty
A: Yes, I know.
B: Removal costs
A: I’ve got a mate with a van
B: Ok. Solicitors’ fees.
B: And agency fees. That’s me.
A: Yes. I think they’re a bit high, but okay, if that’s the way the world works.
B: Well, it is the way the world works. But since you seem to think that this country is so damn corrupt just because the PM once stuck his willy in his dinner and the Queen is richer than some other people – all right almost everyone else – if that’s the case, let’s have a bit of corruption. I’ve had someone else come in, and they also like that house, and want me to sell it to them.
A: Yes, but I put my offer in first.
B: I know you did, but er – they er – they made it hard for me to remember that.
B: You know, I’ve completely lost all the paperwork pertaining to your original offer. It’s gone out of my mind, and I really couldn’t be sure that you did put an offer in first.
A: You know I did. It was last Friday.
B: Yeah, but was it, you see?
A: Look, I don’t care if you have lost the paperwork. You gave me a copy. So I can prove it.
B: To whom?
A: Anyone who wants to know.
B: Well, the only person who could possibly want to know is me. And I’ve told you that I don’t believe you. I’m sure you could help me to remember, though. Nigerian style.
A: I can help you remember by bringing in my paperwork, and – what?
B: Sorry. English style, I meant. I forget that all these corrupt countries are the same as each other. Don’t want to go slurring them. We’ll be shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ when we do terrorist exercises next! As if all the terrorist attacks in the world were always carried out by muslims!
A: What do you mean?
B: Look, I told you that buying a house is an expensive business. It really makes no difference to me whether you get it, or that other couple do. That is, it shouldn’t make any difference. But, you know, I have hungry mouths to feed too. They were very generous.
A: Oh, I get it. You want me to pay you even more money?
B: This one catches on fast.
A: How much?
B: Oh, sir, I really couldn’t lower myself to discussing such matters with you.
A: Don’t give me that. How much do I have to give you to make sure you won’t sell it to someone else.
B: Well, that depends.
A: What does it depend on?
B: It depends on how much someone else is willing to pay me to make sure I don’t sell it to you.
A: But that’s not fair.
B: Fair? Who said anything about fair? This is about me, a person in a position of some modicum of power over you, making as much money as possible out of that fact.
A: So it doesn’t matter how much I offer you, there’s always the chance that someone richer will come along and pay a bit more.
B: Er, yes. Think of it as a bit like market forces.
A: I’ve had it with this. I’m going to complain.
B: Oh that’s quaint. To whom, might one inquire?
A: The police.
B tilts his head with a wry smile.
A: All right, well I’ll take you to court.
B: Well, your success will very much depend upon which judge you get.
A: You’ve got them all in your pocket too, then?
B: Oh Lord no, I’m not that well off.
A: That’s a relief.
B: But the listings clerk of the court certainly does benefit from my largesse, and so he’ll always be able to make sure I get someone favourable to me.
A: Oh. So I can only get what I want by making sure that I pay you more than anyone else will.
B: Yes. Even when you take into account that they will be going by the same logic.
A: This is shit.
B: This is fantastic corruption. Now would you like to have that nice man who fucks dead pigs back?