The phone rang. It was Limehouse Dick, and he was worried. I could hear him sweating.
Northern Rock, he said. They’re in trouble.
Yes, I said. I know. In fact the entire world knows, you cretin!
No, he interrupted, You don’t understand. I was burgling Alan Greenspan’s house last night while he was out launchin’ his book, wotsit, about how the Yanks invaded Iraq by mistake or something —
Get to the point! I barked. Limehouse Dick needs to be kept on a short leash, estimable fellow though he might be for other tasks of a delicate nature.
Well, see, I was lookin’ through this ‘ere filin’ cabinet, all right? An he’s got all these files in it, right? And they’s all about these banks —
What banks? I demanded, sensing a chance to increase my vast personal fortune.
Well, you got Northern Rock, right? And Greenspan’s got their file stamped FUCKED! And then he’s got lots more. All stamped FUCKED!
Which ones? I could feel my chest tightening.
Consolidated Heavy Metal. FUCKED!
Good God, I ejaculated. Surely not!
Yup And First National Sea Shanty. FUCKED!
I was stunned. FNSS were one of the finest financial institutions it had ever been my pleasure to asset-strip.
Go on, I urged, defeated. Read out the list.
OK, said Limehouse Dick, but you won’t like it.
Read, damn you!
Well, we have ‘ere Southern Folktronica, FUCKED! First European Techno, FUCKED! Trancebank, FUCKED! Blues Group International, FUCKED! First Bank of Bottleneck, FUCKED! HendrixPageClapton GMBH, FUCKED! And of course Allied Alt.Country. FUCKED! too, I’m afraid.
I had to sit down and light a small cigar. Good God. Tell me this, Limehouse Dick, are any banks still sound?
Well, yeah, Mister Bock, but you ain’t gonna like it. You won’t like the takeovers.
Why not, Dick?
Because, Mister Bock, the only banks left are United MOR, Western Easylistening, Nippon Baroque, Federal Light Opera, First Fusion Bank of America and Streisandbank. Oh, and of course, MuzakAssociates.
This was worse than I thought. Surely there’s one, Dick. Surely you can find a single bank with credibility?
Well, there is one more, agreed Dick.
United Bank of Reggae. They’re not marked FUCKED!
No. They’re marked STONED!