Gimme your body
Gimme your mind
Open your heart
Pull down the blind
Gimme your love gimme it all
Gimme in the kitchen gimme in the hall
Art for arts sake
Money for Gods sake
Art for Arts sake
Money for Gods sake
Gimme the readys
Gimme the cash
Gimme a bullet
Gimme a smash
Gimme a silver gimme a gold
Make it a million for when I get old
Art for arts sake
Money for Gods sake
Art for Arts sake
Money for Gods sake
Money talks so listen to it
Money talks to me
Anyone can understand it
Money can't be beat Oh no
When you get down, down to the root
Don't give a damn don't give a hoot
Still gotta keep makin the loot
Chauffeur driven
Gotta make her quick as you can
Give her lovin' make you a man
Get her in the palm of your hand
Bread from Heaven
Gimme a country
Where I can be free
Don't need the unions
Strangling me
Keep me in exile the rest of my days
Burn me in hell but as long as it pays
Art for arts sake
Money for Gods sake
Art for arts sake
Money for Gods sake
Art for arts sake
Money for Gods sake
Art for arts sake
Money for Gods sake

'Art For Art's Sake' - 10cc (1976)

Chapter 1

"Good morning, Billy-boy!"

Paul Masters breezed into the small, untidy studio carrying two freshly made cups of tea. The ever-present acrid smell of iron solder filled his nostrils. Not unpleasant exactly but not conducive to the artistic flow as far as he was concerned.

"Alright, Paul?"

Billy Higgins was the youngest in their group at just twenty three. Six foot two and thin as a rake with a mop of shaggy blond hair that set him apart from others of his age group. He wasn't interested in fashion trends nor the others in his age group for that matter. Billy was a bit of a loner; a lovely lad but completely and utterly absorbed in his work.

Paul handed him one of the mugs. "Don't suppose anyone's heard anything from Charlie this morning have they?"

"Nope. Not a dickie bird." Billy offered him a packet of dark chocolate digestive biscuits.

Paul raised his hand to decline. "Bit early in the day for me thanks."

The kid lived on chocolate biscuits.

I'm worried to be honest," he continued. "Not a word for over a week. It just isn't him. I went round to his flat last night on the off-chance. No answer of course.

Billy shrugged. "Is he a missing person now then? Do we tell the police?"

"I'm just wondering if we should speak to that guy who's renting the spare unit. He's a friend of his, isn't he? He might know something."

"Dunno." Billy shrugged again and slurped at his tea. "S'ppose the landlord will have a telephone number or something."

"Yeah, I'll give him a call later on today."

Paul eyed the piece Billy was currently working on appraisingly. "That's really taken shape, I like it, Billy."

"Thanks." He grinned shyly.

It was a sailboat, roughly two feet in length and including the dramatically sweeping steel sail, two feet in height. Sunlight from the one small window streamed across the bench to hit the thing directly and it glowed like pure silver.

Paul nodded. "Beautiful. I really like it."

"Think I'll have it finished by the end of the week."

"Commission piece isn't it?" Paul asked.

Billy reached for another biscuit and gazed lovingly down upon his work. "Yeah. Least I can pay the rent this month. Might even be able to eat too."

Paul clapped him on the shoulder. "You're destined for greatness, Billy-boy. Trust me," he laughed, turning towards the door. I'll give our illustrious landlord a ring then, see if I can get that number out of him.

The following morning began with a slight haze, foretelling a hot and humid day to come.

Sir Malcolm Sachs had breakfasted in the garden, allowing himself a second cup of tea and lingering over it long enough to complete The Times crossword.

By the time he had forced himself to go indoors and so to his small ground floor office next to the reception room it was already a little after nine-thirty.

He had this morning's post to contend with which his wife Valerie had already placed on the desk for him and there was also that damned speech to write for his Westminster visit on Friday.

Taking up the letter opener, he sliced open the first envelope on the pile.

Before he had even had chance to remove the contents, the telephone rang.

"Sir Malcom Sachs, speaking."

"Good morning, Sir Malcolm," came the soft but confident tones. "This is Christopher Montgomery. I don't know if you remember me at all but we've…"

"Ah, yes but of course, Charlie's friend! We met at the gallery exhibition in May if memory serves."

"Indeed we did," Christopher confirmed.

"And your rather lovely wife, too."

"Odette, yes that's right."

The introductions over with, Christopher Montgomery jumped straight in with his question.

"I was wondering, Sir, if you've seen anything of Charlie recently?"

"I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago," answered Sir Malcolm and then with a tiny trace of barely considered concern, "Why do you ask?"

He saw the gardener arrive through the window, ambling up the garden path that bisected the lawns to the back of the house. He looked quite comical dressed in a t-shirt, long baggy shorts and heavy workman's boots. His skinny little legs appeared to dangle from the shorts. Still, at seventy-three, George was no doubt past really caring what he looked like.

"It's probably nothing," Christopher continued, "but nobody's seen or heard from him in over a week. I got a call from someone at the Weathervane Studios yesterday asking if I knew where he was. Apparently they're a bit worried – wanted to know if I knew where to contact him. He isn't answering the phone and isn't at his flat. I tried him myself on Saturday… wanted to finalize things with him before I move into my unit at Weathervane next week."

Sir Malcolm gently pushed the pile of envelopes forward, unconsciously clearing his desk and so his mind of everything else.

"Have you tried any of his other friends?"

"Everyone I can think of but no one's heard a thing. I eventually got your number through a friend of a friend but I was really hoping I would've tracked him down before now."

"Well you certainly did the right thing in ringing me Christopher."

It wouldn't be the first time his son had got himself into a bit of a scrape and Sir Malcolm couldn't help but fear the worst. "I'll ring round the family. There's a family friend in France he might have gone to."

Christopher was sceptical. "Without telling a soul?"

"Give me your number and I'll call you back later on today."

He relayed his phone number. "Look, I don't know if this is at all relevant but his work is going great guns at the minute. He's selling his stuff faster than he can keep up. Why disappear now when everything's going his way? He's been really buoyed up the last few weeks, said he's finally got the break-through he's been looking for."

"Really? said Sir Malcolm. "I didn't know that."

So that was just a bit of scene-setting. If I was you I'd be thinking, 'but I want to read about Dempsey & Makepeace!' ... which is why I'm going to post Chapter 2 later tonight ;-)