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Lunchtime with Lenny - version 2

by Heckyspice 

Posted: 02 November 2004
Word Count: 2971
Summary: What if a caller to a radio show took the DJ banter to heart. Bernard's next steps have finally been plotted.

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Content Warning
This piece and/or subsequent comments may contain strong language.

“It’s lunch time with Lenny, who is this on the line?”

“Hello Lenny, this is Bernard.”

“Hey Bernie, howya doing today? Boss working you hard?” Lenny leaned forward to look at the caller information on his screen. It said Bernard from Leeds.

“Yeah, really hard today.” Bernard’s voice was watery inside Lenny’s headphones.

“We’ll have to do something about that,” Lenny giggled, “I’ll tell your boss that you need a pay rise. Does that sound good? What’s the name of your boss?”

“Oh, um, it’s Helen, Helen Gibson at Silverpoint. Can you really do that? Get me a raise?”

There was chuckle in Lenny’s voice, “Sure I can. Hi Helen Gibson at Silverpoint, Bernie deserves a pay rise. How about that Bernie? It’s all part of the service on Radio Flash. Your better music mix, today!” Lenny sounded like a television evangelist.

Dead air, then Bernard said, “That’s great. Thanks Lenny.”

“You got it, now what would you like to hear.”

“Have you got the Black Eyed Peas? I like them.”

Lenny set the request up from his database and then in textbook style finished, “Good choice, the Black Eyed Peas just for you Bernie. Have a great day now, see you later.” The voice of Fergie sparked into life as Lenny cut the phone call from Bernard and took another bite from his O’briens sandwich.

Elsewhere Bernard was thrilled to hear his request being played and he turned up the radio volume in his car. It was a smart idea to make sure his radio volume was down when he made the call otherwise Lenny would have cut him off before he even got a word in. DJs did that sort of thing all the time. He was even more thrilled that he was getting a pay rise. He toyed with his mobile phone, imagining what he could spend his extra money on.

Lunchtime over, Bernard returned to the Silverpoint office. Strolling back, he looked about to see if anyone was eying him up. They may have been listening, perhaps trying to spy on him. It seemed that most of his colleagues were engrossed in their own lunches or surfing the internet for sport or insurance deals. No one seemed to know what was happening. That was good, thought Bernard, it’s going to be just for me.

He settled back in his chair, and then peeked over the top of his monitor to watch the corner office where his supervisor, Helen, was engrossed in a telephone call. She could be talking to the HR department right now arranging his pay rise. How much would it be? 4% 5%, perhaps even 10% if the influence of Lenny was thrown into the pot. A whopping 10%. Helen could be seen writing down something then she looked straight at Bernard. His heart did cartwheels. Helen nodded her head toward the chair in front of her desk.

This is it, he told himself, this is it.

He gulped before entering her office. Helen was putting the phone down as he walked in. “Hello Bernard, can you sit down please.”

Bernard sat down; he quickly scanned the papers on her desk to see if there was any mention of his pay rise. He could not see anything but then again if the word had just come through perhaps there was no need to have it written down. He looked again and thought he saw the letters LNY on her desk pad.

Helen leaned forward, “Now I have just received word from Beakey, the returned boxes from Archers have no paperwork. It’s missing.” She handed Bernard a copy of an email. “That’s the contact name at Archers. Can you get to the bottom of this, thanks.”

Bernard took the printed out email. He wanted to ask about the pay rise but held back. Obviously there was more to sort out, so he would just have to wait. He went back to his own desk to deal with the question of missing paperwork. No doubt a letter from HR would be on his desk before finishing time today. He just had to wait.

5 pm came and no letter had arrived. It’s only been 4 hours considered Bernard. He consoled himself that it would be there in the morning.

The next day the letter had not arrived. Bernard kept his mouth shut. Perhaps it was going to be a little slower than usual. After all the office might get upset if they discovered he was being singled out for a reward. He just had to sit tight, keep his head down, do his work and it would all be just right before the end of the week.

By Friday morning there was no letter. The truth was very plain in Bernard’s mind. DJ Lenny had lied. The same as everyone else in Bernard’s life that made promises, it was all a lie. He had been turned into a laughing stock that the whole world could giggle at. It was about time Lenny was paid back for the hurt that he dished out, not only to Bernard but undoubtedly to other people he had lied to on his radio show. Lenny needed taking down a peg or two.

And Bernard was just the man to do this.


Lenny was halfway through his show. “That was the latest one from the Stereophonics. You know, if they had been around in the sixties they would have been called the Monophonics. It just doesn’t have the same ring to it does it.” A poor joke considered Lenny. It had been in his head for weeks and now it had proven to be worthy of some dire sitcom. If he ever got the breakfast show he was going to have a feature called; ‘We love CARP TV’. It was his dream idea. You had to be clever with the words, just as Jakki Brambles did when she ran the ‘Richard Head’ awards at Radio 1. Old TV shows were DJ gold. Just ask Chris Moyles, Lenny would explain, he had made his living out of that.

He saw on his monitor the next caller was Ben from Leeds. He punched the mike button to connect the call. “Hi, it’s Lunchtime with Lenny, who’s on the line?”

“It’s me. Bernard.”

“Hi,Bernard. Now then I am going to have a word with producer Diane, she wrote ‘Ben’ on the computer.” Then in a weak impression, “Ooh Betty, the cat’s done a whoopsie That’s a slap on the wrist for you Diane.” He tapped the desk, “I think she loves it really, cheeky!” A muffled giggle filled the airwaves.

Bernard was not impressed by this pantomime. “No, no, that’s what I told the girl. That my name was Ben.”

“Huh,” Lenny pinched his nose, what was this guy going on about. “Why would you want to give the wrong name?”

“So you would not cut me off the air, you lying creep.”

“Hey now, what kind of a joke is this?” The mike was dead for a second. “You put someone up for this Diane?” He switched the mike back on.

“No joke,” Bernard suddenly growled, “I did not want you to ignore me, because that is what you would do. I want to know why you did you not get me that pay rise. You promised me.”

A key opened the lock inside Lenny’s head. “Oh yeah, I remember that. Come on now mate that was a bit of radio banter. It’s what I do. It’s not serious.”

“It is serious, you promised. You told everyone you would.”

Lenny cradled his head; this was getting messy. “Come of it Ben or Bernard. I think you may have had too much of a liquid lunch.” That was enough of this guy. Lenny killed the phone call. “Sorry about that folks, all part of the job on the cutting edge of radio. In honour of the last caller, here’s Busted! And you certainly were Bernie, Ben or whatever your name was.”

The bouncy opening chords of the song could not sooth Bernard’s anger. He sat in his car squeezing a mobile phone until his fingertips looked like matchsticks. How could Lenny treat him like that, the way he had spoken confirmed what a cruel person he was. It was another slap in the face and this time the sting was harsher. Bernard looked into the rear-view mirror as if trying to spy a way to sort this out. He would find it.

Returning to the office, he had found an unopened email waiting for him. It was from Helen and entitled: Private meeting. Clicking on the envelope graphic, Bernard saw a terse email open up. PLEASE SEE ME WHEN YOU GET BACK IN. From inside the glass brain of the office, Helen noticed Bernard reading his email. She nodded at him. It was a crumpled penny for the guy wearing a Bernard mask that shuffled toward her office.

“Hello Bernard,” Helen wished to be cool but a fragment of a smile betrayed her. “Close the door and sit down please.”

“What is it?” Bernard sat down, his hands clenched.

“Well now, this is quite unusual. I have received a phone call from Radio Flash. Apparently they say you have been pestering one of their presenters.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about.” Bernard gulped. Helen did not miss the guilty movement.

“Well as I say, they seem to think you have been harassing someone. Got it on tape and all that.” She leaned forward, “Listen Bernard, even if there is nothing in this, I have to be seen doing something. Just take the rest of the day off and think about what is going on.”


“Just do it, OK.” Helen turned back to her computer. Despite knowing how well she ran the office, Bernard really hated the off hand way she dismissed people. He knew that his time was up. It was all so clear now. Helen was going to sack him! That creep Lenny had done this to him. He could not move from the spot, the thought of what was happening just froze him.

Helen looked up from her monitor and sighed, “Bernard just go. Come back Monday when you are sorted.” If there was sympathy in her voice, Bernard was too isolated to realise this. He turned toward the door. It seemed to be the only thing he could see, everything else was smoke.

And then he went home.


Lenny was quite angry about the phone call from Bernard. Crank calls were an occupational hazard in radio but this one had a little backbone. Something in the manner of this Bernard character made Lenny think that he would soon receive another call. A matter like this had to be nipped in the bud and this was exactly the sort of job for his producer Diane. She was supposed to take care of things and so what if Bernard was on the receiving end of bollocking or warning. It would serve the little prat right.

Diane did recall Bernard’s first call, so she reviewed the recordings of last weeks show to get enough information about the caller. Bernard had mentioned the name of his workplace and the name of his boss. One quick phone call was enough to put a stop this sort of petty harassment. Diane was not too keen on this sort of action. She felt that Lenny was over reacting but he was the talent and in that respect he had to be kept happy.

So Lenny finished his show and after a quick meeting to flesh out the next day’s broadcast, was soon driving home. The latest CD from Razorlight was playing on his car stereo. Through the windscreen the bottom of clouds glimmered with pink threads, all set above a great blue wall. It was a glorious hour. He flicked the volume button as his foot pressed down. The sound of an anthem matched the engine roar as the needle soared into the red.

He had a personal appearance to make that night at bar specialising in shots. The bar was called Shot City which Lenny thought the owners had spent all of 2 minutes dreaming up or had paid over the odds for some dull PR guru to suggest. Tonight was non radio work, so Lenny would not be throwing out t-shirts into the crowd. He was going to be there running their wheel of “SHORT-une” gimmick. Spin the wheel and whatever shot the arrow stopped at, it was buy one get one free.

But first there was time to stop off and buy some new clothes for the evening. There was a decent shirt that he wanted to get from the Victoria quarter and if he was lucky, he would get celebrity discount. In other words, a freebie.

When Lenny arrived at Shot City he was wearing his new shirt. It had cost him the best part of £100 and the only discount he had received was a feeble 10%. The manager had proven to be a brickwall. Lenny was already plotting how to give the shop a slew of publicity that would make them grovel for his patronage. It annoyed him when the “don’t you know who I am” card was handed to a jobsworth. Well that was for later, now he had to kickstart the party.

The crowd were up for it. The house DJ was playing the right tunes. The shots were being served up by the best coyote ugly look-alikes the bar could hire. Lenny was in heaven. He spun the wheel. “Hey it’s now BOGOF on Peach Schnapps.”

The crowd cheered. Lenny was standing on the bar, he pushed his microphone out. “Let me hear you say, BOGOF!”


“Oggy, Oggy, Oggy !!” screamed Lenny. The return of “Oi, oi oi” was better than any 10% discount.

A man at the front of the crowd shoved a piece of paper a pen into Lenny’s hand. “Hey, Lenny mate,” the man shouted, “Give us your moniker?”

“Sure,” said Lenny and he scribbled his autograph down. He gave the pen and paper back to the man. “Now BOGOF!”

The man clutched the paper as if he was squeezing the last drops of toothpaste from a tube. “Yeah, BOGOF yourself you bastard.”

Lenny would normally have flown into a rage but he let this go. He was not sure why. The man had scurried away no doubt to show his mates the signature and boast about his bravado. It was too good a night to let some drunken punter ruin. There was a corking blonde and her mate waiting by the wheel for Lenny to show them a bit of razzmatazz. And if he was lucky a blow job in his car after chucking out time.

Outside the bar, Bernard was sweating. He looked down at the paper with Lenny’s signature. He was amazed that he had gotten it. Lenny had no idea who he was, which possibly Bernard should have expected. He was lucky not to have been given away when he blurted out the bastard comment. Must have been the adrenalin or something like that. Thankfully the elephant ego of Lenny had not seen spotted this. Bernard was thrilled; he had just pulled off Mission Impossible part 1. It was time to start part 2.


Lenny had collapsed like a Jenga tower. In his mind he kept replaying the meeting. The Station manager calling him to discuss his latest ideas, of which Lenny had a suitcase full. Except the only thing the Station manager had in mind was to grudgingly accept Lenny’s resignation. Lenny asked if Jeremy Beadle was in the room, surely this was a joke. The Station manager said that if Lenny was having second thoughts he should not have made the request in writing.

“What do you mean in writing?” Lenny had said.

“This,” replied the Station manager. He gave a Lenny a letter that said he was bored with the lunchtime slot and wanted to develop more a more risqué style and the only way to do that was to leave. Lenny could not make sense of the words; they swarmed like tadpoles in front of him. The only thing that was unmoving was his signature.

“I didn’t write this,” said Lenny.

“Lenny, you have asked to resign. I am sorry if you thought that it was a way of getting a raise.”

“I didn’t write the bloody thing!”

“Lenny, this letter makes it quite clear what you think about the staff and the program policy and what you want to do about. If this station is not good enough for you then I am sorry.” The Station manager took the letter back from Lenny’s shaky grip. “What choice do I have?”

Lenny sighed and locked the memory away for another day. He was due a time check. “It’s late night with Lenny here on Radio Dales. The time is now quarter past one in the A.M. Here is a sleepy number from REM to help you through the night. Man on the moon.”

His mobile vibrated on silent alert, he had a new text message. It was from Helen, his latest girlfriend. They had got together by accident. She had phoned him to apologise about the behaviour of one of her workers. They had met for a drink and things went on from there. So far, Helen had been very willing.

Lenny looked at the text message. The address that he wanted was there. Poor Bernard, he should have left things alone instead of upping the stakes. It was now Lenny’s turn. There was plenty of time to plan the next move, at least until the change over at 4 AM.

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Comments by other Members

Salty at 21:18 on 02 November 2004  Report this post
Hi David,

I really enjoyed this. I am very interested in who Bernard is. Who is this simple souls who feels a radio DJ can get him a raise via a casual remark over the air? Perhaps a tad of an insight on how he dresses, a simple sentence, rather than a Gucci catalogue, and how he lives. Whatever you think. He drives…what sort of car?

Loved this line, That was the latest one from the Stereophonics. You know, if they had been around in the sixties they would have been called the Monophonics. Brilliant, even if Lenny does think it is only worthy of CARP TV, or probably because of this.

The transformation, in a single paragraph, of Bernard from trusting soul to revenge wrecking sprite felt a little too sudden for me. Perhaps some reference earlier in the work to previous disappointments… I don’t know, just a suggestion, but I did not see this coming at all.

I enjoy the dialogue a lot, but I think it needs to be trimmed, especially Lenny’s. The guy would be wanting to spare every word, he is punching words out. Expansive additions to sentences such as I think , Now then , Hey now It is serious – we know Bernard thinks it is serious.

Bernard’s voice was watery inside Lenny’s headphones

There was chuckle in Lenny’s voice

These sound a little clunky. There must be a better way to get this across than using the ‘was’.

radio volume

only ‘volume’?

It’s only been 4 hours considered Bernard. He consoled himself that it would be there in the morning.

a comma after ‘hours’

And perhaps a choice; does Bernard console or consider

It’s only been 4 hours, Bernard consoled himself. It would be there in the morning.

I thought the ending strained credulity slightly, that they would release Lenny on the say-so of a letter he claimed not to write, especially after The man clutched the paper as if he was squeezing the last drops of toothpaste from a tube. and then he was sweating, but that is just me. I thought this was bags of fun, and a good read, and I loved the fact Lenny and Helen ended up together.

Cheers and look forward to reading more

Nell at 08:35 on 03 November 2004  Report this post
Hi David,

I remember Bernard from the first version - a seemingly isolated and disturbed character with the potential to create a tension-filled story. I can't remember the ending of version 1, but it seems that in this version Lenny is set to get his own back when the story ends. Like Ian I thought that the twist of Lenny and Helen ending up together was neat, and seemed to suggest that the story will continue to end up who knows where, which gives this almost the feeling of the beginning of a novel rather than a short story. The story seems divided between Bernard and Lenny; I was more interested in Bernard, who seems a complex and interesting character, and my feeling is that he could be developed more. (Just my opinion, see what others think.)

There are a few missing question marks, words and hyphens, capital letters needed for proper nouns etc., and in places I felt that you told the reader too much. For example the sections beginning 'Lenny was quite angry...' and 'Diane did recall...' feel like explanations that the reader could well assume for themselves. Likewise part of the para dealing with the buying of the shirt and part of the description of Shot City. A little editing would tighten the piece and make it flow more smoothly.

IMO Bernard is an enigmatic character, whose psyche could form the pivot of the story and make for a fascinating and creepy read, but see what others think. And of course it is your story after all.


Heckyspice at 10:18 on 04 November 2004  Report this post
Hi Ian and Nell,

You both raise some good points. In particular about tightening up the langauge. I think a little more backstory for Bernard would make us understand his beliefs.

The shift from Bernard to Lenny was something that just happened. I finished the story while I was off work and it just went in that direction. Sometimes it seems right to go with the flow. What I do think about now is why is Helen helping Lenny plot revenge.? It seemed like a good twist for the end and I am glad that you like it. Is there scope for a before story that give us an insight in Bernard and Helen's relationship? This would offer more of the mind of Bernard and take the characters onto a whole new level.

Thanks for all the comments.

Best wishes,


Nell at 15:24 on 04 November 2004  Report this post
David, I'd be careful of developing Helen unless you're thinking of making this into a novel. I think we can all identify with that feeling of being harassed by a superior, whether justified or not, so for a short story she probably appears for long enough. I'd be inclined to centre the story on Bernard and his odd mindset, and the effect of his behaviour on Lenny.


Heckyspice at 16:35 on 04 November 2004  Report this post
Nell, I am not sure if this is a novel so your comments about Helen are welcome. Her character would then be key to the story which clearly she is not meant to be. Bernard should be the focus.


Hamburger Yogi & PBW at 02:45 on 05 November 2004  Report this post

I thought the initial dialogue was very true-to-life and that pulled me in as an interested reader. The buildup to Bernard's revenge is a good hook and keeps the reader at the screen. The subsequent development of this also holds the readers's attention. Your subject-specific knowledge was impressive throughout. 'Tightly plotted' as the reveiw writers would say - the reader's mind is constantly guessing at what happens next.

The descriptive paragraph on the pink thread clouds gave me a lift - hey, that's poetry!

No problems with the form, from my point of view; my guess is a lot of readers at WW would like this story.

Hamburger Yogi

Heckyspice at 11:42 on 05 November 2004  Report this post
Hi Hamburger Yogi,

Thanks for your comments. The dialogue in the opening was based on a real radio phone call. Local radio is packed full of gems like this. A person answering a quiz question by saying they had a flash (of inspiration) is enough to send a Lennyesque DJ into a fit of giggles.

The spur for the story was this type of comment. Would somebody beleive this sort of nonsense? I have an idea that maybe Bernard had been trying to get through to Lenny for ages.

Best Wishes,


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