Today was going to be historic, so I thought it was time to introduce my eldest, Tiny Eric, to the domain that would one day be his. We headed for Tarantino's office at 7. 30 sharp.

He was all charm. Of course, in the circumstances, he explained, it was obviously impossible for Professor Cruster to delay his retirement a moment longer. Tarantino went on:

Cruster's office was locked, his car was loaded with his personal effects, his operating list had been cancelled, his secretary had been made redundant - and that was really that, wasn't it?

'Goodbye, old chap. Nice to have known you. '

The black stare turned on Twix. Little problem, better just sort it out. That phone call the other day - the one from Cruster. Strangely, it had been traced to her phone. Any explanation? And any justification for this recording of giggling and triumphant comments in the seconds before the receiver had been replaced? Thought not. Cards and pay in lieu in the post. Have a nice time running the nursing home.

Rosie, by now, was a blubbering wreck. Come, come, Miss Broomstick. Calm yourself. Kleenitkwik would be on-site soon to take over her empire. Sorry, no chance of the manager's job - they already had someone - but they did have a cleaning supervisor's post in Crewe. Was she interested? Well, think it over anyway.

As Rosie dragged herself out my eyes were misting over, but that soon changed. Carla Citrus burst in. What the hell was going on? Twix and Cruster in tears in the corridor, Rosie obviously on the verge of a nervous breakdown. What right had he to sack them all? She'd have his guts for garters.

He fixed her with his very best malevolent stare, and she stopped. Did her husband know of her affair with Ardent?

No? How surprising.

Sexual misconduct at work was a dismissal offence. He was sorry, but he'd have to let Clay go. She fired back at him: nothing had happened in the office. The Terminator smiled. So it was true, then? How sad. Little resignation letter here for her signature, and Clay would go anyway. He could keep her company.

Citrus knew when she was beaten. She signed the letter and slapped it down on the desk.

Postscript from Tiny Eric: when Carla slapped the letter down Dad was underneath, attacking the macaroon crumbs. He didn't make it.