Dear Auntie Ora,

I've entered business school, and need your sage advice:

First they only said "tax planning" whenever they meant tax cheating, but now it's triple income, double bookkeeping, and simple auditors, and that doesn't sound quite right.

So, could you please look into the "Better, Smarter, Faster Business School" and let me know if I've chosen the right school?

Respectfully, Harvey Otto NestÚ, junior assistant accountant, in training.


Ah, Mr NestÚ! Come in, come in. I'm Ms Sibyl Stojay, senior operative of Delphic Research Incorporated.

No, _S_T_O_J_A_Y_ is pronounced 'Sto-jay', not 'Stodgy'. Do you mind? I don't call you 'Nesty', do I?

Thank you for seeing us under what must be trying circumstances. Please take a seat. Coffee? Tea? Cold drink?

No, I suppose a wired jaw and loose fillings *would* make them unattractive, wouldn't they? Now, about that little bit of checking up we did for you at the BSF Business School...

Pardon? Oh, yes - it was definitely "checking up"...

No. No. We definitely did not go there to "take the place out" as you so eloquently...

Well, yes. The BSF Business School premises no longer really exist, so technically it *was* "taken out", but...

Mr NestÚ. Mr NestÚ! MR NESTE! Thank you.

Please let me finish. While it is quite possible that an employee of DRI was involved in triggering the blocks of Semtex strategically placed in the BSF Business School armoury and magazine, don't you find it in the least bit odd that an organisation like BSF even *had* an ammunitions bunker?

Thank you. I think we both know where we stand.

Now. Ms DiStefano went to BSF as a potential candidate for...

Pardon? Yes, that's right, her first name is Pythia. Now Ms DiStefano enrolled... Eh?

Pythia. _P_Y_T_H_I_A_... No, I'm afraid we don't give out personal phone numbers of our staff... Nor their marital status... Nor their preferences for candy or nightwear.

As I was saying, Ms Di- Pythia enrolled at BSF to establish whether there were any illegal goings-on. Yes, particularly with respect to anomalous accounting procedures, as you say. Once there, her further interest was piqued by the unusually high level of security for a business school... What? Oh, the armed guards, trained killer attack dogs, razor wire, the usual accoutrements.

Suffice it to say, Mr NestÚ, that BSF was not simply - as you suspected - a Mafia-run school for bent accountants and twisted actuaries [the latter is rather an oxymoron, isn't it?]. It is - or was - also a front for a key arms smuggling operation, involving not just La Cosa Nostra, but also the Russian Mafia, the Burmese Junta and three major Tongs from Macau.

In her inimitable way, Ms DiStefano made an executive field decision and took it upon herself to deepen the investigation.

Pardon? Of course she would have called the authorities! At the first opportunity. Clearly, being under fire is not an ideal circumstance for the luxury of a phone call.

Office, you say? She could have made a phone call while ensconced in the office of the Public Relations Manager of BSF Business School... Brandy and cigars, you say? You heard them discussing "Coming to an arrangement"?

HOW much was he offering her?

Well, erm, of course, discussion and negotiation are, ummm, part and parcel of the work we do hear at DRI. [Especially when field operatives let HQ know what's going on...]

Ahem. Mr NestÚ, if you would be so kind as to settle your bill with Ms McBlonde as you go? Oh, but I think you should be leaving, Mr NestÚ. Wouldn't want to miss your appointment for spinal traction, would you? Don't let the door catch you leg-braces on the way out... Thank you.

Pythia? PYTHIA!

We need to talk. About your commitment to this organisation.