22 November 2008
An Incredible Inter-Active Adventure
THE fog hung about the streets of London like an unwanted guest at a party, getting in everyone’s way and generally souring the mood somewhat. Unlike an unwanted guest at a party, however, the fog was considerably harder to eject, being as it was a formless cloud of minute water droplets.
“Blasted fog!” snapped a rather irritated gentle-man as he fumbled his way through Nubstraddle Road and onto Bilgecranny Lane. “Bugger it, where the hell am I now?”
As the fellow peered through the fog around him in an attempt to gain his bearings, a small voice suddenly piped up behind him.
“Shine yer shoes, guv?”
The man turned around and strained his eyes through the murky darkness, until he picked out the small figure of a scruffily dressed urchin a few feet away.
“What, boy?” the man asked angrily.
“Shine yer shoes, guv?” the child repeated.
“What? Why on earth would I want my shoes shined at this time of night, in this sort of weather? I can barely see the road before me, let alone behold the cleanliness of my shoes, you blasted wretch!”
There was a pause, and then, rather innevitably, the question was repeated.
“Shine yer shoes, guv?”
“No, I said! No! Bugger off with you, lad!” cried the increasingly irate gent. “Confound it! I shall never find my way home at this rate…” the man continued, turning his back on the boy and moving off in the direction he had come. But, no sooner had he taken a few short steps, then he suddenly found himself confronted by the the boy once more, his pale, grey face raised up.
“Shine yer shoes, guv?”
“READ ALL ABOUT IT! GENTLEMAN’S SHOES STOLEN! REEEAAAD ALL ABAAAHHHHT IT!”
That was the cacophonous racket which assaulted my delicate ears as I stepped out of my carriage and onto the filth-caked streets of London Town. Really, it was enough to make a man wish he could vomit into his own earholes.
I strode up to the newspaper vendor responsible for the noise, and snatched a copy of The London Illustrated Picture-Post News from his hand.
“Will you keep that bloody noise down, you disgusting oaf! I am feeling rather fragile to-day, on account of my terrible, terrible hang-over. It feels like a herd of wilderbeast are stampeding through my head, and then having sex with each other,” I said.
“Well, excuse me sir, but people must hear the news!” the vendor replied.
“I am sure people are more than capable of reading the newspapers for themselves, without you screaming the headlines at them,” I parried.
“Don’t be too sure, sir,” the cockney continued. “In this increasingly busy and industrious time we live in, people are finding themselves with less time to peruse the newspapers. While I do not disagree that print is still very much a valid medium for dispensing such information, I firmly believe that new delivery methods will be developed as we find ourselves with further constraints upon our time. You mark my words, sir, one day there shall be people like me in every street, ‘ollering the news at people for their own convenience.”
What a curiously eloquent and forward-thinking newspaper-vendor, I thought to myself. But while those were indeed my thoughts, what I actually said was: “Oh shut up, you fanny.”
“Milord!” said my useless man-servant Botter, who had followed me out of the carriage and who had then picked up a copy of the newspaper for himself. “Isn’t this the very mystery we’ve been called to investiage?”
Botter held up the newspaper and pointed at the shoe-theft story about which the newspaper vendor had been yelling. While I desperately wanted to chide Botter for being woefully incorrect and inept, the bastard was actually completely spot-on. I had, just an hour previously, received an urgent communication from Inspector Spunkleford of Scotland Yard, asking me to help him investigate the theft of a gentleman’s shoes. While I initially dismissed such a case as far beneath my considerable talents, a twenty pound fee and the promise of free whisky had soon won me over. As well as an overwhelming urge to see justice prevail, of course.
“Yes, I do believe it is, Botter,” I concurred, reading the news article. “You little shit,” I added, not wanting to miss an opportunity to ridicule Botter anyway.
“Well, shall we move on to Bilgecranny Lane, then milord?” Botter asked.
“I suppose so,” I mumbled, surveying the area. I immediately noticed a small baker’s shop on the other side of the road, which belonged to the tantalisingly-named Mrs. Bapps, and which made the incredibly erotic promise of ‘hot buns‘ on a poster in the shop’s window. Food would be good, I thought. And maybe some intercourse, too.
Further down the street, there was a public house called The Rutting Stag, which also appealed. There really is nothing like chasing away the ill-efects of an all-night drinking session than by drinking more alcohol the following morning. And maybe some intercourse, too.
Both these establishments sounded much more alluring than the prospect of hunting for some misplaced footwear, and I found myself rather torn between them.
Oh, what is a lord to do?
- Lord Likely.
Well, dear readers, now YOU must help to shape this most astonishing of adventures! Simply select one of the options above, and then click ‘vote‘ to cast your…well, vote. After the poll has closed, the most popular choice will be the one pursued in the very next chapter of Lord Likely’s Incredible Inter-Active Adventure! Exciting, yes? YES.
Furthermore, if you leave a comment outlining your choice (and the reasons therefore), then one specially-selected commentator will be selected to receive a FREE link to their website or blog in the next thrilling chapter! Woooooh!
So do not delay, dear readers…his lordship awaits your instruction! Make him do your bidding!