THE MERCHANT BANKER or The Charity Sketch
scene: a somewhat simple-minded, but well-meaning collector for a charitable
society (Cockney accent, or similar) enters the office of a rather condescending
merchant banker (posh voice). Collector: C, Banker: B. [[The
sketch has been very slightly rewritten so as fit the CHRI$TMA$ spirit; these
alterations have been put in double brackets.]]
Come in! (Mr
Ford enters, he is collecting for charity with a tin.) Ah,
Mr. Ford, isn't it? [[Ah,
Mr. Cratchit, I believe.]]
How do you do? I'm a merchant banker.
How do you do, Mr. ... ?
Er … I forget my name for the moment, but I am a merchant banker ...
Oh, I wondered whether you would like to contribute to the “Orphan's Home”? (he
rattles the tin)
Well, I don't want to show my hand too early, but actually here at Slater Nazi
and Marlowe Money-Grabbers Ltd.]]
are quite keen to get into orphans, you know, developing market and all that ... what sort of sum did you have in mind?
Well … er … you’re a rich man ...
Yes, I am. Yes, yes. Very, very rich. Quite phenomenally wealthy, yes. I do own
the most startling
quantities of cash. Yes, quite right. [[
I'm one of the filthy rich, I'm glad to say.]] You are rather a smart young lad, aren't you? We could do with somebody like you to feed
the pantomime horse. [[ We could do with somebody like you to decorate our Christmas tree.]] Very smart!
Now, you see I'm very, very, very, very, very etc. rich …
… er …how about a pound?
pound, yes I see. Now, this loan
would be secured by the …
It's not a loan.
It's not a loan.
C: You get one of these, sir. (hands
him a little sticker or badge)
B: (examines it doubtfully)
It's a bit small for a share certificate, isn't it? I'd better run
this over to our legal department. If you
possibly pop back on Friday? [[I think I better had the chaps in the legal department take a look at this. What with CHRI$TMA$
and the season of good will - hahaha - ,we are very busy here at Scrooge and Marlowe Money Grabbers Ltd. Believe me,
money-grabbing and ripping people off round the clock is a full-time job. So, couldn’t you pop back some time next year?]]
(pleading) But couldn't you just give me the pound?
Yes, but you see I don't know what it is for?
It's for the orphans.
Yes? (waiting for a better answer)
It's a gift.
B: A what? (completely
C: A gift. (shakes
his collecting tin to drive home the point)
B: Oh, a gift!
(his face brightens) A tax dodge!
C: No, no, no, no!
No? Well, I'm awfully sorry. I don't understand. Can you just explain
exactly what you want?
I want you to give me a pound. And then I'll go away and give it to the orphans.
Yes? (waiting, as above, absolutely baffled)
Well, that's it.
(shaking his head in utter disbelief) No, no, I don't follow this at all, I mean, I don't want to seem stupid,
but it looks to me as if I was
a pound down on the whole deal.
Well, yes you are!
I am? But what is my incentive to give you the pound?
Well, the incentive is to
make the orphans happy.
puzzled) Happy? Are you quite sure you've got this right?
Yes, lots of people give me money.
What, just like that?
must be sick! I don't suppose you could give me a list with their names and
addresses, could you?
I just go up to them in the street and ask.
lord, that's the most exciting new idea I've heard in years! It's so simple it's
brilliant! Well, if that idea
of yours isn't worth a pound, I
would like to know what is. (grabs the collecting tin) [[The ending of the CHRI$TMA$ version follows below!]]*)
Thank you, sir.
only trouble is, you gave me the idea before I'd given you the
pound and that's not good business.
I'm afraid it isn't. So off you go! (he pulls a lever opening a trap door
under C’s feet and C falls through with
*) [[ And now for W.E.P.’s- slightly more conciliatory CHRI$TMA$ ending :
Good lord, that's the most exciting new idea I've heard in years! It's so simple
it's brilliant! Well, if that idea
of yours isn't worth a pound, I
would like to know what is. (gives him a pound)
C: Thank you, sir, and a merry
Christmas to you!
B: It may be merry for you, but I have to think up a new charity
advertising campaign. So if you would kindly excuse me. Time is money. Money
grabbing is hard work. So, good-bye!]]
herablassend; posh: vornehm, (piek)fein; merchant bank: Handelsbank
(ohne “normalen” Publikumsverkehr, gilt als besonders exklusiv); orphan:
Waise(nkind); to show one's hand (IDIOM): seine Karten aufdecken;
to get into (a market): (in einen Markt) einsteigen; startling: überraschend,
erstaunlich; to pat: tätscheln; loan: Darlehen; badge: Abzeichen,
Plakette; share: Aktie; share certificate: Aktienzertifikat;
to pop back (informal): (wieder/noch einmal) vorbeikommen, -schauen;
what with ... (informal): [etwa] “bei all’ der Hektik, die
mit dem Weihnachtsgeschäft verbunden ist ...“; to rip off (informal):
schröpfen, ausnehmen; [noun: the rip-off: Wucher, Schwindel,
Nepp] pleading: flehentlich; collecting tin: Sammelbüchse; to
drive home (sth./a point): etw. klarmachen, unterstreichen; tax dodge: etw.,
womit man sich am Finanzamt vorbeimogelt, um Steuern zu sparen [to dodge: ausweichen];
to be a pound down on the deal: bei dem Geschäft ein Pfund Verlust machen;
incentive: Ansporn, Anreiz; trap door: Falltüre; conciliatory: versöhnlich;
back to "CHRI$TMA$" for another version of this sketch see RAZZAMATAZZ, #8
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