Facts, Figures and Talking Calculators…

What a day!!! I was roused from my sleep at 7am by a telephone call. I tried to ignore it, but it kept ringing and ringing and became hard to ignore. When I answered, I realised it was my old school chum Tarquin. He was rambling and shouting down the line and sounded like he was in a very distressed state. “Come round Nigel,” he begged, “I really need your help.”

I really meant to hurry on over there, but decided there was time to breakfast upon some kippers, smoke my pipe and read The Telegraph. By the time I left the flat, hopped in a taxi and got round to Tarquin’s place, it was nearly 1pm in the afternoon. The door was ajar, and I could sense there was a strange atmosphere in the air. I peeped round the door of the drawing room and was astonished to see Tarquin huddled in a heap on the floor wearing a dress. “What?…Why?… What on earth is going on Tarquin?” I managed to splutter out.

“That is not the worst of it Nigel” he whimpered. He stood up, hiked his dress up and I was astonished to see the words ‘BOUNCY BOUNCY‘ tattooed across his buttocks!!! I was totally speechless. “Nigel”, he whimpered, “I don’t know what has happened. I don’t know what has come over me. I don’t know why I did this. I don’t understand anything any more…It all seems meaningless…I feel very confused…”

I quickly composed myself and responded “Cheer up old chap! It could be worse. I’m going to make you a cup of tea, and we’ll sort this bit of nonsense out like it never happened!!!” I went into the kitchen and made a pot of tea, then suddenly remembered that I had a meeting with my new accountant. I quickly poured Tarquin a cup of tea, walked over and said “Hey Ho Tarkers. I’ve left some tea on the table. Drink it up old man! I’ve got to pop out. I’ll be back later…Hang in there…”

I left the house quickly, jumped in a cab, and headed across town as I had a meeting at 3pm with Robert Silverman, the famous “Accountant Who Can’t Count”. He comes highly recommended to me. After arriving at his offices and receiving a hearty greeting we went into his private office to talk business. “Robert,” I said, “is it true what people say? You are an accountant, but you cannot count?”

“Yes, that is true” he replied and gave me a wink. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a man strolling past the door, and Robert gestured to beckon him in. A burly man dressed in an expensive suit walked into the room and Robert said “This is my brother James. He is a Financial Advisor who can’t advise.” James started to grin like a buffoon and stated “Yes, that is true!!! In fact, I’m a total fucking idiot. I can barely tie my own shoelaces without assistance!!!”

“Well,” I announced, “I know you come highly recommended, but I have one or two very trivial questions. Firstly, if you can’t count, and your brother can’t advise, how are going to handle my affairs. Not that I doubt your competence or integrity, you understand?”

Robert tapped his nose, winked and said “Ah Ha! I thought you may ask that. Come with me!!!” He stood erect, strode out the room, and beckoned me onwards. He walked into another room which was dimly lit and Robert announced “I’ll let you into a little secret. This is the little fellow who does all the complicated work. He is a total genius!!!” He then pointed at a pocket calculator that lay on the desk.

“This is no ordinary calculator. This is Barnaby. He can talk and think for himself. We don’t even need to pay him. How good is that!!!”

I thought that for the second time in one day I was talking to someone who had totally lost their sanity. However, I got a sudden shock when the calculator started flashing and announced in a slightly robotic voice “That is correct. I am a calculator. My name is Barnaby. I can talk. You might find that surprising. People often do. However, get over it and we will get along just fine.”

Robert stood there beaming and said to me “Ask him anything you want!!!”

I thought for a minute and asked Barnaby “How much tax will I have to pay this year?”

“You owe £25,723, but if we deduct your capital expenditure and bring some losses from previous years into the equation, it will be reduced to £7,823. However, I can show you ways and means to reduce this even further.”

Robert stood there with an even wider grin and said to me “I told you! Let’s go into my office and discuss this in more detail.” However, I don’t think he could resist showing off a bit, because he walked over to the calculator and said “Barnaby. Can you make us a jug of coffee?”

“You know I cannot do that.” the calculator retorted.

Anyways, to cut a long story short, I left his office later in the afternoon and remembered that I needed to go back and see Tarquin. However, it had been such a long tiresome day that I decided to head over to my club to see the chaps and have a cigar and a couple of whiskies. I guess Tarquin will be regain his bearings by tomorrow morning. I may go and see him tomorrow, although I do need to attend a meeting at the offices of “Le Noveau Moderne Edwardian” to discuss what sort of tweeds are in fashion this season…