In which Sir Fred Godalming is defiant in the face of losing his knighthood.
I was nearing the completion of Sir Fred’s assignment when I heard the news. Clearly, being stripped of a knighthood was not something that happened every day, at least not to me, and I wondered how the failed banker turned criminal mastermind would take it.
“Evening, Fred,” I said with a slight snigger, when he arrived as usual at midnight.
“It’s still Sir Fred,” he said defiantly. “I had my name changed by deed poll some years ago. You think I didn’t see this moment coming?”
“That was good thinking,” I replied.
“Unfortunately, they've also stripped me of my deed poll.”
“However, this is a mere technicality. Under Scots Law, all that’s required for a name change is to be registered with a physician and an orthodontist under said name. I’ve had my doctor and dentist address me as ‘Sir’ for years. Long before I was knighted, in fact.”
“I suppose if your doctor and dentist call you 'Sir' it must be true.”
“Exactly,” he replied. “And I still have a medal, which I have to say compliments my pyjamas beautifully. They can’t take that away from me. Anyway, on to more pressing matters. Now my real work can begin.”
“Do we have a name for this new organisation?” I asked, referring to the underground bank he was starting with Bernard Madolph.
“Yes,” he said. “We’re going to call it Bear Stearns.”
“Bear Stearns?” I replied. “Isn’t that name already taken?”
“That’s the beauty of it,” he said. “Nobody will notice this way.”
I had to admire his ingenuity. Clearly this type of thinking was what had propelled him to the top of his profession, even if it had propelled him straight back down again.