Fawlty Towers the Documentary, final part
Basil was now busy with the Sunday rush. He needed someone to go to the bookies for him. Ah, there was Polly! 'Polly my dear, Sybil wants someone to pop to the local store to buy more vegetables. Could you do this, and whilst you are out,' Basil's voice lowered to a low whisper of conspiracy, 'Just put a tenner on Germany to win 4-1 against England!'
'Is that likely?' asked Polly, who, whilst being a sensible girl, as a typical member of the fairer sex knew little about the noble game of football. Although, once a top Premier League team had visited the hotel and Polly got to know more intimate physical details about them than most of the male fans! But never mind. 'Why can't you send Manuel?' Polly asked.
'No way, not after the mess that idiot made last time.'
'He did get the right horse!'
'The right horse yes, but the wrong race.'
'An easy mistake to make.'
'The wrong day?'
'Besides, he isn't an idiot, he just doesn't totally understand English. I'd like to see how smart you would be in a hotel in Spain.'
'Whatever. But could you just do this? Don't tell Sybil and keep the change.' Polly smiled and went to do this task. As the day's preparations for lunch went by, with the addition of a football special - burger and chips with Italian dressing - as Basil called it; odd how Basil could get quite European when it came to making his menus up market as he saw it!
'It's only coleslaw!' Terry pointed out.
Stephen Norty was making a pest of himself, as usual, trying to stir up trouble whilst making it look like he was sympathetic. 'You are showing good bulldog British spirit. But how can this continue with the crisis in the kitchen, chronic staff shortages, unreasonable guests, marital strife, after that, after all of that you can still continue as things are normal? Just like the Blitz, eh?' commented he.
'Norty, for the last time there is no crisis. And what marital strife?'
'I think she means your normal marital state. I'm beginning to agree with you over Mr. Norty now that I meet him. Oh, here's your betting slip.'
'Thank you.' Basil grinned like a Cheshire cat. 'I think I might enjoy the game after all!'
Time moved until the time of the big match finally arrived. Excitement was intense. Well, not for everyone perhaps. Sybil was nattering on her mobile phone. In Basil's opinion the invention of the mobile phone had the side effect of giving Sybil the ability to talk rubbish anywhere. 'Oh, yes. Oh, no. Oh, he is! Yes, yes you can, he's such a darling. No, he's not. He's up to something, as usual. I am. I'm not!' Sybil waffled on happily to some unknown person. Though whilst doing so Sybil managed to serve not one, not two, but three customers simultaneously behind the bar without once letting go of her phone. Basil had to be impressed by such an amazing feat of dexterity by his wife!
Who had shown more understanding of technology than Manuel did. He was looking in puzzlement at a credit card machine someone had given back to him to pay a bill. To everyone's amazement Manuel put it to his ear. 'Allo, allo!' he said and randomly pressed some digits. 'I am sorry, Senor, your phone ees not working. I think it ees mute!' Before total chaos reigned in the bar, Basil saw what was happening and snatched the device from Manuel's hand.
'You dago twat, this is not a mobile phone! You give it to the customer whilst he enters his secret number to prevent card fraud. I'm so sorry! he said to the customer who was staring at him in stunned silence.'
'What ees your number?' Manuel asked the customer.
Pointing to Polly to take over, Basil dragged Manuel away. 'Manuel what do I mean by secret? That no one knows it!' Basil glared at Manuel but he stared at Basil uncomprehendingly, a look of confusion on his face.
'Fine, let me show you another English phrase. This hand…'
'That face,' growled Basil.
'Que?' replied Manuel, who always walked into these things.
Now the football was starting. Basil was watching the game on and off, quietly, around the back. 'Two World Wars and one World Cup,' chanted the fans, ignoring the fact that virtually every encounter in the memory of anyone under 60 had actually gone Germany's way.
A goal for Germany dampened the chanting. And a second one. Basil clenched his fists and grinned to himself. Then there was one for England 2-1. Then another for England. Well, the ball had clearly crossed the line, anyone could see. Basil sighed. So much for that. With no more interest in the game Basil went outside to trim the hedge.
'Might as well destroy this!' he thought and began ripping up the betting slip.
'Mister Fawlty, Mister Fawlty, what you doing?' cried Manuel running outside. 'Mister Fawlty stop!' the little Spaniard grabbed Basil's hand. But it was too late. Basil had torn up the slip and was angrily throwing it in the rubbish bin before turning to Manuel. 'But Mister Fawlty, you win!' cried Manuel.
'Manuel, I know you sometimes find simple math difficult. Didn't you once try to boil water at 38 degrees? But even you can understand that if I put on a bet for 4-1 I am not going to get much money if both teams score twice, now am I?' said Basil gritting his teeth at his employee, looking at him, hands on hips, thinking that Manuel was being more confusing than normal.
'But that score!'
'What are you talking about? I clearly saw England score twice.'
'Si! You see, I see everyone see, even German fans see. But referee and referee assistant they no see.'
'What?' said Basil and Manuel told him what had happened, that the ball that was clear to everyone had crossed the line, had, of course, been missed by the two people that counted most. The score was 4-1, Basil would have won his bet. These things do seem to happen to England a lot.
Well, England players might be incompetent when it really matters. The fans might not have much of an idea of what will really happen in an England game. But honestly, all of this pales into insignificance in comparison with the sheer breath-taking incompetence of various officials in charge of British teams in various sporting fixtures when it matters over the years.
One would think that after a history of these things, the Henry handball a few months previous in the play-off between France and Ireland were he handled the ball, not once, but twice, that referees might sometimes believe British sides of events occasionally. But they always refuse to. Everything from Maradona handling the ball to Beckham's sending off to the last person not been sent off for a professional foul. Yep, all against England. Twice British and Irish teams have had a personal apology from Sepp Blatter for official's mistakes. Fat lot of good that is! Why won't officials simply give British teams a fair crack of the whip?
Anyway, Basil wasn't that pleased with the result, nor his reactions. Later, the Major was a bit surprised to see a bush sobbing. 'Strange things happen in this hotel!' thought he.
Once had had recovered himself, Basil meet Nathan again. 'You have any joy?'
'No, I did think of the correct result but not the score. I was bold but not bold enough. I went for 3-1 exact. Had I thought of adding a bet with Germany to go through I might yet have won. I had a feeling this one might go for penalties actually. But it didn't. I didn't check that. Hmmmmph. So much for being clever, eh?'
Nathan was later left on his own with the Major. 'I'm off to Plymouth tomorrow. Let's hope I can find a hotel better than this one. That all-coast one looks good.
The Major looked at Nathan with a little scorn in his old eyes. 'I'm a bit disappointed, young man.'
'I thought you had a bit of originality and drive about you. But you tell me that you would prefer to spend time in what is a hotel equivalent of a burger chain. Those all-coast ones pop up everywhere don't they? All very welcoming all false smiles, but all the same. They have the personality of one of their breakfasts. Speaking of which, try asking for something off their set menu. They go potty. This place is more fun at times.'
This was slightly confirmed as Manuel ran through the bar followed by Basil crying, 'I'm going to get you, you little... European!'
Then by Polly saying, 'Basil, Basil, it wasn't his fault!'
Nathan thought the Major might have a point.
Two weeks later Basil bumped into Stephen Norty again in the hotel. He hadn't seen the annoying git for a while. 'Thought you'd left,' said he.
'No, no, though we have done all of our filming. Just popped back for a few final touches. We have enough material here to make the documentary a roaring success in the ratings.' Even Norty didn't look convinced here. 'You'll be sure to be watching, won't you?' he said, totally oblivious to all of the insults Basil had thrown in his direction in the past couple of weeks.
'You are going to need everyone you can get, seeing as it will be shown on, what was it, "Channel 5 plus 2?"'
'Your lovely lady wife will be watching!' argued Norty.
'Well that's even more reason not to watch the bloody thing,' Basil muttered.
Meantime, Sybil even stopped talking on her beloved mobile to wave at Mr. Norty. 'Oh, yes, I will be watching. I've even made a note of the time, 4:30 Monday afternoon. Absolutely prime-time schedule this program was not going to be put out on!
'Actually, you won't be!'
'Yes, I will!'
'No you won't.'
Decades of married life must bring out this type of intellectual conversation!
'Will! And why not?'
'Because, my little armchair critique of treasure, it will be on opposite, "Cooking by Celebs," and I know for a fact that you would rather put your head in a bucket of raw fish than miss a moment of that classic in the programming schedules!' Basil moved over to the bar. So he missed Mr. Norty leaving, though Sybil watches star-struck. Polly was nowhere to be seen. Washing her hair, probably! Basil took out a glass and poured some Whiskey into it.
Manuel came in in a Spanish football shirt looking happy and singing, 'Ole, ole, ole, we win!'
'Oh, yes! You Spanish just won the World Cup. Congratulations. Not that it was the most exciting game of all time,' Basil said, referring to the rather bad-tempered 1-0 win over Holland.
'No matter, we win, we play good football, you English did well,'
'Did we?' said Basil, not thinking they had.
'As the referee,' laughed Manuel. Months of jokes against his nation made the jibe against England irresistible. And commenting upon the irony that the only Englishman to emerge with any credit at all from the tournament was the English referee.
'Anyway, you're leaving soon aren't you?'
'Si, using my experience here, and skill in English, to work in Tenerife with my uncle. I will be able to talk to any English tourists we get in Playa De Las Americas. It's a little English pub called the Honey pot. I will be doing same job as here in some ways. Multi-lingy, languy, multi... whatever it is! Anyway, you, your lovely wife and any of my friends can stay for a cheap holiday.'
'As long as you don't have to speak to anyone English,' thought Basil.
Still,' that sounded promising, a free holiday.
'10% off for former Employers.' Manuel wasn't that stupid. Or maybe Basil had taught him something about business. Still, it did sound a good deal, Basil might take that up. 'Ole, ole, ole, Espania,' sang Manuel and Basil smiled as he watched Manuel dance away.