DISCLAIMER

All characters from the Yes Prime Minister series belong to Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn. (I'm just borrowing them...)

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Humphrey and Humility

(The private secretaries' office; Bernard is behind his desk, talking to someone on the phone.)

Bernard:

"No, the prime minister is not available for comment."

(Bernard puts down the receiver, but the phone instantly rings again. He picks it up.)

Bernard:

"I just told you! The prime minister is not… Oh, hello, prime minister. Yes. Yes, I'll be there in a second."

(Bernard leaves his desk and opens the door. Cut to: Jim Hacker's office.)

Jim:

(as Bernard enters) "Ah, Bernard. "

Bernard:

"Is anything the matter, prime minister?"

Jim:

"Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I'm worried about Humphrey."

Bernard:

"He hasn't arrived yet, prime minister."

Jim:

"I know that. That's why I'm worried! It's not like Humphrey to be late."

Bernard:

"No, indeed not, prime minister. Should I phone him?"

Jim:

"Yes. Yes, phone him. From my office. I want to know what's going on straight away."

Bernard:

"Yes, prime minister."

(Bernard picks up the receiver and dials.)

Bernard:

"Oh, hello, Lady Appleby. Bernard Woolley speaking. Is Sir Humphrey at home? Ah. I see. Crikey! Thank you, Lady Appleby." (puts the receiver down) "Gosh!"

Jim:

(impatiently) "Well, whatever's the matter?"

Bernard:

"Well, erm… That was Lady Appleby."

Jim:

"Yes, I gathered that, Bernard."

Bernard:

"When I asked her whether Sir Humphrey was there, she said he wasn't."

(Jim waits for Bernard to say more, but unfortunately, Bernard remains quiet.)

Jim:

"Well, come on, Bernard, tell me more! I'm not a mind-reader, you know."

Bernard:

"I don't like to say, prime minister."

Jim:

"Why not?"

Bernard:

"It's a private matter."

Jim:

"Bernard, Humphrey is late for work. I was supposed to have an appointment with him half an hour ago, which makes it my business to know why he wasn't there!"

Bernard:

"Yes, prime minister, I suppose you are right."

Jim:

"Good. So, what happened to Humphrey?"

Bernard:

"Erm, apparently he had a row with Lady Appleby early this morning, after which she…"

Jim:

"What?"

Bernard:

"…chucked him out of the house."

Jim:

(amazed) "Chucked him out of the house?"

Bernard:

"Yes, she locked him out while he was still in his pyjamas and she wouldn't let him in again." (Jim starts trying to prevent himself from chuckling) "It might take a while before he turns up, and I have no idea where to contact him."

(Jim is half hiding his face, which has turned a light shade of purple from trying not to chuckle, behind his hand. Then he takes his hand away and tries to look serious, which he does not. It takes a while before he says anything, because he is still suppressing the urge to laugh.)

Jim:

"So Humphrey is walking around somewhere in London…"

Bernard:

"Yes, prime minister."

Jim:

(giggling squeakily) "…in his pyjamas?"

Bernard:

(calmly, but smiling naughtily) "Yes, prime minister."

Jim:

"We'll just have to do without him for a little while. Send him straight in here if he turns up, will you, Bernard? And, erm…don't let him know that we know about…you know."

Bernard:

"Yes, prime minister. I won't let him know that you know, or that I know, that is, that we know, about…I know, yes."

(Exit Bernard. Cut to: outside Nr. 10 Downing Street; Sir Humphrey enters the building looking tired, with very messy hair and several price tags still attached to his newly bought suit. Cut to: the private secretaries' office; Bernard is filing documents. Enter Sir Humphrey.)

Bernard:

"Ah, good morning, Sir Humphrey."

Humphrey:

(straight-faced as ever) "Good morning, Bernard."

Bernard:

"The prime minister asked me to send you straight into his office as soon as you arrived, so may I tell him you are here?"

Humphrey:

"Yes, Bernard, you may."

(Bernard picks up the receiver and dials.)

Bernard:

"Sir Humphrey is here to see you, prime minister." (puts down the receiver)

(Cut to: Jim Hacker's office; Enter Humphrey.)

Humphrey:

"Prime minister."

Jim:

"Ah, Humphrey. Please sit down." (Humphrey sits down opposite him) "Now, I'd like you to explain why you weren't here on time for our appointment. You are at least 30 minutes late, and I was worried. This is not like you at all, Humphrey."

Humphrey:

"Oh, it was just some trivial little private problem, prime minister. It's all resolved now, nothing to needlessly bother you with…"

Jim:

"Well, if that is how you feel about it, I shall not make any further inquiries."

Humphrey:

"Thank you, prime minister."

Jim:

"Is that a new suit, Humphrey?"

Humphrey:

"Oh, yes, prime minister. I thought it was very nice, don't you agree?"

Jim:

"Indeed, Humphrey. Except for one thing." (Humphrey looks puzzled) "It's still got the price tags on it."

Humphrey:

"Oh, so it has!"

Jim:

"Bought it in a hurry, did you?"

Humphrey:

(turning white) "I…"

Jim:

"Your briefcase looks like it is new too."

Humphrey:

(stammering) "I-i-i-it is."

Jim:

"Could you open it for me, so I can see the lining? I might feel like buying one of those myself, you know."

Humphrey:

(realizing he has been found out) "Is that really necessary, prime minister?"

Jim:

"Yes, it is, Humphrey."

(Humphrey puts his briefcase on the table and opens it. Inside it is only a pair of blue striped pyjamas. Humphrey looks extremely embarassed.)

Jim:

"Just as I suspected. I know what happened this morning, Humphrey, because I asked Bernard to phone you. Your wife answered the phone and informed us of the fact that she had…" (starting to chuckle again) "…chucked you out."

(Jim now starts chuckling uncontrollably.)

Humphrey:

"Prime minister, I must clarify to you the fact that neither my current position nor the events that took place earlier this day ought to be the object, or indeed the central point of ridicule, bearing in mind the nature of my rank and reputation as well as the damage the aforementioned scorn could bring to yours truly, and neither could it be said that my situation might be defined as one which would, under any circumstances, be even the remote causation or foundation of any expression of certain emotions, especially mirth or delight, by a series of spontaneous, usually unarticulated sounds often accompanied by corresponding facial and bodily movements."

Jim:

(puzzled) "What?"

Humphrey:

(out of control) "This is not funny!"

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...to be continued.