The great day at last; The Brothers Grimm Challenge; part II



I didn’t sleep a wink the night before the challenge. Turning restlessly in my bed, I went over my story time and time again until I was satisfied with every word and every phrase. Tom-Tom and our floor clerk had done a splendid job promoting our floor dinner. Wild rumours were circulating about the challenge, and complete strangers walked up to me at court and wished me luck. What had I done? Additional tables had to be added and a larger room hired at the Tattersall’s Club, our usual venue for the dinner, to accommodate the swelling numbers. Several judges had invited themselves, and apparently the Attorney General, a self-appointed QC, would attend. This was a rare honour, and had only happened on two other occasions.

Thankfully, I had a busy day in court that day, which helped take my mind off things to come. I went to see Archie at lunchtime to make sure he was ready and knew what to do. I got back to my chambers around five and went straight to my room. To my surprise, Marcus, Edgar and Clive — the current Brothers Grimm — were sitting in my room, happily drinking my champagne. ‘Here you are at last,’ said Marcus, handing me a glass,’ we wanted to wish you well; isn’t that right chaps?’ Edgar and Clive lifted their glasses in silent reply. ‘May the best man win,’ said Marcus, reaching for the bottle. ‘Good luck!’

‘Very gracious of you,’ I said. ‘I’m told betting has reached astronomical proportions.’

‘It has,’ said Clive. ‘Your thousand dollar bet this morning created quite a stir, and certainly changed the odds a little…Brave move.’

I shook my head. ‘Is nothing private here?’

‘In this place?’ said Edgar. ‘Are you kidding?’

‘I thought perhaps we should arrive at the dinner together; what do you think?’ said Marcus, opening another bottle of my best bubbly. ‘It would make a good impression.’

‘Fine by me. I have to get changed.’

‘Go right ahead.’

It was obvious that none of my self-invited guests had any intention of leaving my room, and the plan was to continue drinking until it was time to go. I suspected this was a cunning strategy cooked up by my opponent. Make the challenger tipsy before he takes the floor; simple! Well, I was determined it wouldn’t work. I didn’t touch my glass after that, and instead made sure that the champagne flowed freely while I got changed and prepared myself for the showdown. Two can play this game, I thought.


‘Arriving together?’ whispered Tom-Tom, meeting me at the dining room door, ‘you’re a cool customer.’

‘Marcus’ idea, not mime,’ I said. ‘You look stunning, by the way.’

‘Thanks. If I’m to sit next to the winner — you — I have to look the part—right?’

‘You are sitting next to me?’

‘I’m in charge of the seating plan—remember?’

Tom-Tom’s attire had reached new heights that evening. Her low cut, tight-fitting red dress accentuated her voluptuous figure, and her high, needle-like stilettoes made sure her long legs went on forever. But most dazzling of all was her hair. It looked like she had just stepped out of a wind tunnel. However, I must admit the effect was quite stunning. Having Tom-Tom sit next to me would certainly do me no harm. After all, what I had to deliver that evening was a performance. Perhaps the performance of my budding career.

‘Has Archie arrived?’ I asked.

‘Don’t fret. He’s already at your table.’

‘Thanks, Tom-Tom.’

‘Are you ready?’

‘As ready as I’ll ever be.’

‘Can you imagine what this will do for you career if you win?’ said Tom-Tom, squeezing my arm.

‘Can you imagine what it’ll do for my career if I lose?’

‘You won’t,’ said Tom-Tom,’ and just to show you I believe in you, I’ve put $500 on you.’

‘500 bucks? Are you crazy?’

‘My entire Theatre Company is backing you.’

‘No pressure! Jesus!’

‘Here’s my chit; you keep it for me. We’ll collect together.’ Tom-Tom thrust a slip of paper into my hand, turned away and began to show one of the judges to his table.


As soon as I entered the packed dining room, a shiver of fear raced down my spine. Everyone was looking at me! ‘There he is,’ said one of the judges sitting at a table near the door, and began to clap. ‘Good man,’ said someone from behind, and slapped me on the back. I felt like a presidential hopeful entering a rally. ‘This is getting out of hand,’ I said to Tom-Tom, walking beside me.

‘Keep smiling, kiddo, you’re the star,’ she beamed, linking arms with me. ‘Look relaxed.’

‘Easy for you to say.’

‘You call yourself a writer, you have to rise to the occasion.’

She had me there. ‘Thanks, you’re a real mate,’ I said.

‘I knew that would shut you up. Shall we sit down?’


This is as far as we can take it tonight, I’m afraid. Once again, it’s getting late again. There’s just so much more to this story than I could recall at first. But now it’s all coming back to me and it would be a pity to leave anything out. Looking back, these were the very events that turned me into a true storyteller, and as every writer knows, you have to be a storyteller before you can become a writer. Leaving anything out?   No, I couldn’t do that. The price? Patience. Next Friday; I promise!


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