Dampatch: 25 – The Last Post


Having given Walter his breakfast and sent him to work without his milky and feathery duffle coat, Riesling started on her busy schedule. She fed the cats and tidied the house. She then sat down and wrote a letter on the solicitors headed notepaper and attached to it a special cheque issued by her bank in the name of Claire Belinda Hiscott for the amount of £10,000. She addressed it to the hotel in Bristol where Claire was staying. She placed Walter’s duffle coat in a plastic bag and went to the shops to post the cheque to Claire and drop the duffle coat at the dry cleaners.

Steve Bawtree woke up with a headache but forced himself to go to the town post office. Using the address he was emailed overnight by Gill Bates’ people, he posted the iBall prototype and the manufacturing specifications to the address in Shanghai, China. He also posted his falsified results of the iBall trials to Gill Bates in Perth, Australia. He felt a heavy load was taken off his shoulders. He decided to go to Gloucester and visit his beloved Sarah in prison to let her know that he will soon bail her out and that he planned to get her the best defence lawyers when she appears in court.

Claire sat down at the desk in her hotel bedroom and wrote a letter to Walter explaining what Gill Bates has been up to all these years and her part in the whole thing. She apologised to him for all the trouble she caused and promised not to be involved any more. She however neglected to tell him about her attempts to kill him; she didn’t think he would be interested in this small fact. She then wrote another letter to the British Serious Fraud Office (SFO) exposing Gill Bates. She explained that he had stolen the latest idea about to hit the market called the iBall. In evidence, she included the iPatch application she had stolen from the Patent Office in December 2007. She neglected to mention the fact that she was party to the theft of ideas committed by Gill Bates or that she twice attempted to assassinate Walter Patch causing the death of two people and eight battery chicken, not to mention hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage to property. She didn’t think they would be interested in these small details either. She signed the letter as Claire without giving her last name or address. When she was ready, she left the hotel and went to the post office in the city centre to post the two letters.

While in town, Claire walked into a travel agents shop and booked a ticket to Perth, Australia to leave in a week’s time. While at the travel shop, she received a text message from one of Gill Bates’ people instructing her to go and check on Steve Bawtree and verify in person that he had indeed carried out field trials on the iBall. Claire’s first reaction was to reply and tell Gill Bates and his people to get lost. He breaks his engagement from her one day and then sends her orders through his people the next; WHAT A DIABOLICAL LIBERTY! Then she remembered Brad’s advice and decided to take a positive perspective on the matter. Normally, she would have called Gill on his private line to talk to him in person but she didn’t want to take the risk of violating her N.O.D order so she answered the text message with a text of her own saying:

“stv bw3 dun tsts vg, iBall proto gr8, thx. CBH”

She hoped to goodness that Steve Bawtree had done a dreadful job on the iBall prototype.

On Friday 25 January, Walter went home after work and said that he wanted to use Riesling’s computer because he was getting close to completing his work on the CarCom invention. Over dinner, he showed Riesling the letter he received from Claire that morning.

Riesling: thank goodness for that. I think we have one person who, if not on our side, then she is against Gill Bates, isn’t it?

Walter: you were absolutely right Advocate of my Affections; you should have trained to be a lawyer

Riesling: do you know, one day, I think I might just do that! Now, tell me about your CarCom and how it works

Walter: basically, a car would have an electronic display band about 10cm wide mounted on the front windscreen, back windscreen and the side windows of saloon cars. For commercial vans, there will be a wider and bigger display system on the sides. Also buses and lorries will have suitable display units in the front and back

Riesling: National Express buses already have these pet!

Walter: I know, my Gorgeous Roadster but this is different

Riesling: okay how different pet?

Walter: This system is interactive. Let’s take an ordinary vehicle first. The back windscreen and the side windows will display ordinary messages. The front windscreen will display messages in reverse just like ambulances have the word “AMBULANCE” written funnily so that car drivers can read the word properly when looking through the rear view mirror. When a driver installs CarCom, he records a small message so the system recognises his voice. After that, when the driver wishes to communicate with another driver, he says: “CarCom” to activate the system, he then says what he wants to communicate and the system prompts him to nominate a display unit, the driver then calls out “front”, “back”, “left” or “right” and the message is displayed to the other driver

Riesling: but this is going to cause a lot of trouble because it will encourage road raging and swearing

Walter: I thought of that, that’s why the system is programmed not to allow certain words and phrases to stop people from using abusive language and make the situation worse

Riesling: but people will always find a way round the restrictions

Walter: we will have to experiment with the system and keep on improving it and adding to the list of ”not allowed” words and phrases

Riesling: that’s good pet, can a man ask a woman for her telephone number?

Walter: I don’t see why not. If she wants to give him her number then she will call out “my number” and CarCom will display her number but if she doesn’t, she just displays “sorry” or something like that

Riesling: what sort of messages will be allowed then?

Walter: anything you like really. The more cars that have the system installed, the more effective CarCom will be. Here are some examples of chats between drivers:

  • Keep your distance, you are too close mate
  • Oops, sorry about that mate
  • Thank you for letting me pull in front of you
  • You are welcome madam
  • You nearly hit me sir, please be careful
  • Sorry about that friend, I didn’t mean to do that
  • Man United 2: Chelsea 0
  • Brilliant! Up the Uniteds!
  • Do you know why we are in a traffic jam?
  • Yes, BBC Radio says there is an accident up ahead
  • I like your car; will you sell it to me?
  • No way mate
  • Have you seen this mad driver in the black Golf?
  • Yeh, shocking isn’t it?
  • The man is a nutter!
  • Must be

Riesling: this is really good pet. What about vans, buses and lorries?

Walter: well, it occurred to me that especially with vans, they are stuck with a few words and a logo on the side which once painted on, you are stuck with whatever is there. But, what if you replace the painted words with living text and pictures which can be continually updated and changed? You can also sell advertising space on the side of your van or lorry for other companies to advertise. Here are some examples I thought of:

  • Tubbs Plumbers – Straight People, Bent Pipes
  • Forrest Wood – Carpenter, Joiner and Cabinet Maker
  • Bun-in-the-Oven Bakers – Squeezable Bread, Lickable Cakes
  • Dove Insurance – for Your Peace of Mind
  • Fly Virgo – We Get You There in Tacto!
  • Fiddlers Bank – Your Money is Safe in Our Pocket
  • National Lottery – Roll Over Week – It Could Be You
  • Shakespeare Removals – We Move You Dramatically
  • Rover Dog Kennels – We Woof You Very Much
  • Bacon Butties – Best Breakfast Food – Oink, Oink
  • Jo King – Children Party Organiser, No Kidding!
  • Pete Marsh – Supplier of Bog Peat

Riesling: I am impressed pet. And have you worked out all the technical aspects of the invention?

Walter: almost, just one or two things which will not stop the application from being accepted

Riesling: how do you plan to have it manufactured?

Walter: I am hoping to convince car manufacturers to adopt it and incorporate it into the overall design of the car, which would make it cheaper to produce

Riesling: okay, you go ahead and start entering the invention on my computer and I will clear the table

The following week on Tuesday 29 January, Claire boarded her Qantas flight to Perth Australia with a four-hour stop over at Dubai International Airport. She was pleased to have received £10,000 from Flaw & Older Solicitors the previous Friday, which she cashed immediately. She was looking forward to receiving her annual £100,000 from Gill Bates, which she intended to use to make his life as difficult as possible.

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