“Blame it on the Grange!”


It was all Tom-Tom’s fault. A cunning setup, that’s what it was. I’m sure of it. For years, they’ve been looking for a challenger. You want to find out what happened? All right; sit back, it’s quite a story.

I noticed something was wrong the moment I walked into my chambers; my colleagues were looking at me in a weird kind of way. Smirking, sniggering, shaking of heads with a little finger pointing, raised eyebrows; you get my drift? Confirmation came soon enough. Marcus, our head of chambers, slapped me on the back and said: ‘Well done! Very courageous!’ I had no idea what he was talking about; something wasn’t right. Needless to say, I was intrigued and wanted to find out. On our floor, there was only one person to turn to: Tom-Tom.

Tom-Tom was at her desk as usual, and I walked over to her. ‘What’s going on?’ I asked.

‘What do you mean?’

‘Everyone is acting a little strange this morning …’

‘You find that surprising?’

‘Should I?’

‘Come on; after last night…’

‘What are you talking about?’

‘You agreed.’

‘Agreed? Agreed to what?’

‘You don’t remember?’

‘No idea!’

‘The challenge?’


‘Floor dinner; Brothers Grimm challenge; next Thursday. Ring any bells?’

‘Oh my God!’ I was almost shouting by then. ‘There must be some kind of misunderstanding here; surely!’

‘I don’t think so. You’re due in court in half an hour. Better get cracking!’

‘You were there!’ I croaked.

‘Don’t look at me like that. Blame the Grange.’ With that, Tom-Tom turned away and answered the phone.

I hurried back to my room and closed the door. The cleaners haven’t come around yet, I thought. Good. I headed straight for my wastepaper basket behind my desk. Empty bottles of Grange; Jesus! Slowly, it all began to come back to me …

The day before, Marcus had a great win in the Supreme Court. Because he stored his wine in my room and had taken a shine to my old leather furniture which reminded him of his club, my room had become a kind of common room/ bar for my neighbours. ‘Time for celebration, chaps,’ I heard him say, ‘we’ll open the Grange.’ After that, things became a little blurry, but I do remember that the topic of the Brothers Grimm challenge had come up. I think it was Tom-Tom who suggested that it was time that someone took up the challenge. I don’t remember how it happened, but somehow my name was put forward. I can vaguely recall it was Tom-Tom, but I can’t be sure.  However, I do remember the Grange. It was superb! Marcus had been given 6 bottles of 1997 Penfolds Grange by a grateful client. At $ 500 bottle, that was quite a thank you. The bottles used to reside on my bookshelf, but when I looked up I saw that there were only two left! Four of us had happily consumed a bottle of Grange each the night before! No wonder things were a little fuzzy …

After court I cornered Tom-Tom in the corridor. ‘What happened last night; I need to know,’ I demanded.

‘You agreed to challenge Marcus at the floor dinner.’

‘I did? I must have been out of my mind!’

‘Don’t look so glum. You can do it!’

This was bad news. No one had challenged the Brothers Grimm in years, and to do so at the floor dinner in front of everyone was madness!

‘Jesus, Tom-Tom, why didn’t you stop me?’

Tom-Tom began to laugh. ‘Stop you? That’s a good one. You were in great form!’

‘I was?’

‘You were the one who insisted on challenging Marcus. You threw down the gauntlet! The whole floor is talking about it.’



Backing out wasn’t an option; so much was clear. I had to come up with a winning story, that’s all. I had 3 days. You want to know what happened? You will. In next week’s post.


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