8) The Charity Sketch (or: "The Merchant Banker)

B: Banker   C: Collector 

B. Come in! Ah, Mr Ford isnít it?

C: Thatís right.

B: How do you do? Iím a merchant banker.

C: How do you do, Mr ÖÖ.?

B: I forget my name for the moment, but I am a merchant banker.

C: I wondered whether you would like to contribute to the Orphansí Home?

B: Well, I donít want to show my hand too early, but actually here at Money-Grabbers Limited we are quite keen to get into orphans, you know, developing market Ö What sort of sum did you have in mind?

C: You are a rich man Ö

B: Yes, I am. Yes, yes. Very, very rich. Quite phenomenally wealthy. I do own the most startling quantities of cash. Quite right. Iím one of the filthy rich, Iím glad to say.

C: How about a pound then?

B: A pound, yes I see. Now, this loan would be secured by Ö

C: Itís not a loan

B: What?

C: Itís not a loan.

B: Uh?

C: You get one of these. (hands him a sticker or a badge)

B: (examines it doubtfully) Itís a bit small for a share certificate, isnít it? Iíd better show this to our chaps in the legal department. Could you pop back next week?

C: (pleading) But couldnít you just give me the pound.

B: Yes, but you see I donít know what it is for.

C: Itís for the orphans.

B: Y e s. (waiting for a more convincing answer)

C: Itís a gift.

B: A what? (completely puzzled)

C: A gift. (shakes his collecting tin to drive home the point)

B: Oh, a gift! (his face brightens) Now I understand, you mean a tax swindle.

C: No, no!

B: No? Iím awfully sorry. I donít understand. Can you just explain exactly what you want?

C: I want you to give me a pound. And then Iíll go away and give it to the orphans.

B: Y e s. (waiting, as above, and absolutely puzzled)

C: Thatís it.

B: (shaking his head in utter disbelief) No, no, I donít follow this at all. I mean, I donít want to seem stupid, but it looks to me as if I was a pound down on the whole deal.

C: Oh yes, you are.

B: But what is my motivation to give you the pound?

C: Well, the motivation is to make the orphans happy.

B: Happy? Are you quite sure youíve got this right?

C: A lot of people give me money.

B: What, just like that?

C: Yes!

B: They must be sick! I donít suppose you could give me a list with their names and addresses, could you?

C: No, I just go up to them in the street and ask.

B: Good lord, thatís the most exciting new idea Iíve heard in years! Itís so simple itís brilliant. Well, if that idea of yours isnít worth a pound I would like to know what it is (grabs the collecting tin)

C: Thank you, sir.

B: The only trouble is, you gave me the idea before d given you the pound and thatís not good business.

C: Isnít it?

C: No, Iím afraid it isnít. (to security officer who has entered in the meantime) Accompany this man to the exit and make sure he doesnít return.  

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