14 June 2010
The Astonishing Adventures of Botter, Part Two
From the diaries of Herbert J. Bottsworth (‘Botter’).
First of June, 1890.
MY HEART was pounding so hard, I half-expected it to burst through my chest, through the door, and bounce off down the road to find a rock to cower under. I was home alone, and there were a couple of criminal ne’er-do-wells outside, who seemed to want to be inside the house – and they certainly weren’t about to let me get in their way.
I listened carefully as I heard the men continue to plot their assault.
“Right, these rich toffs always keep their money either in a safe, or stashed under their mattress. So, I’ll take the front, you go and try and force your way in ‘is back entrance.”
I smirked. ‘Force their way into my back entrance’ indeed!
I paused. My word, I thought, I have been in his lordship’s employ for too long! This was no time for cheap innuendo! This was time for decisive ACTION!
I CALCULATED that I had a few minutes to spare before the criminals organised themselves and successfully picked the locks on the doors. It wasn’t a lot of time, but as I knew the layout of the house back-to-front and inside-out, and knew precisely where all the tools I required would be, it was enough for me to implement my plans to fend off these rogues.
Indeed, no sooner had I finished setting up my first booby-trap, that I saw the front door fall open, and a tall, filthy, heavily-stubbled fellow slid into the hall, brandishing a bag in one hand and – considerably more worryingly – a pistol in the other. He glanced about and let out an impressed whistle at the sight of the many great items his lordship owned. He gazed around in awe for a moment longer, then noticed the winding staircase, and headed towards it – thereby also heading directly into my trap.
From my vantage point looking over the railings on the first floor, I watched the man slowly ascend the stairs. I waited until he was at exactly the right point, and then I threw a paint-can attached to a rope over the railings. I watched with glee as it arced perfectly through the air, coming to an abrupt halt at the thief’s head, sending him tumbling backwards onto the floor, where he lay, unconscious.
I took a brief moment to congratulate myself on the perfect application of some basic mathematics, and then I remembered I had another felon heading around the back of the house. Wasting no time, I untethered the rope from the railings and the paint-can, and dashed off through the house, pausing only to grab a candelabra from the dining-room table as I passed through…
THE door handle on the back door turned slowly, and then the door was gently pushed open to reveal the face of a shorter chap, with a dusty old bowler hat, and a straggly beard. He peered through the gap in the door, and satisfied that no-one was around (having failed to spot me crouching behind the sink) he pushed the door open further. I smiled as I watched the rudimentary pulley-system which I had just set up move into action, the rope attached to the door-handle tightening, causing the other end to tip the lit candelabra on its side, the flames directly coming into contact with the cad’s bowler hat.
The man remained in the doorway for a few more seconds, evidently suspicious of his surroundings, but not suspicious enough to notice that his bowler was quickly setting ablaze. He was about to venture fully into the kitchen, when he stopped, and sniffed at the air.
“Woss burnin’?” he said out loud, and then, realising it was his hat, began screaming and yelling, while frantically trying to remove his flaming head-wear without burning his hands. As he leapt about, he failed to notice that I had scattered several marbles about the floor, until his feet came into contact with them, and he wound up slipping up and falling with a heavy thud onto his back.
I waited to make sure the man was out-cold, and then slowly inched forward. Suddenly, the man’s eyes flicked open, and before I knew it he was back on his feet, and brandishing a gun in my direction.
“So, fink yer pretty clever with all this gubbins, do ya?” he sneered. “Well, let’s see if yer ‘alf as smart when it comes to dodging bullets!” And with that, he fired at me, and I fell to the ground.
“Huh, not very smart at all, then?” the thief sneered as he approached me, still pointing the gun at me. “Better luck in the next life, mate!” he chuckled, but in a flash I kicked the pistol from his hand, and was standing before him, unharmed.
“B-but how? Are you a GHOST?” the dim-witted cad blurted.
“No, I am a SERVANT!” I corrected, flinging open my jacket to reveal a serving-tray strapped to my chest, which I duly unfastened. “And as for the ‘how’ – solid silver serving-tray!” I beamed, showing the dumb-struck fellow his bullet lodged in the tray. “I do believe that you have been served, sir!” I exclaimed, before whacking the criminal about the head with the item.
I TORE back through the house again, reasoning that if I could get outside, I might be able to alert a local police-man, and have the thieves taken into custody. But as I rounded the corner from the drawing-room into the hall, I saw the first felon standing in front of the door, his pistol aimed squarely at my head.
“Where do ya fink yer off to, eh?” he grinned. “Fink you’re pretty clever, with all this gubbins, do ya?”
“Oh please,” I sighed. “I have just this moment heard the same speech from your colleague. Can we just not move onto the point where you are unconscious again?”
“Oh-ho!” He cackled. “An’ what makes you think I’m gonna be unconscious, eh?”
“Because,” I said, pointing to the grand-father clock by the wall as it chimed two. “I have just noticed that it is two o’clock in the morning.”
“And…THIS!” I exclaimed, as, on cue, the door suddenly flew open rather violently and knocked out the burglar, while in staggered his lordship, clearly very inebriated, and seemingly covered in wine.
“All women are HARLOTS!” he declared, swaying uneasily on the spot. “At least, I WISH they were, then they would not get so terribly offended when I offer to pay them for sexual intercourse.”
“Good evening, your lordship,” I smiled, having never before been quite so pleased to see the old rogue.
“No, a terrible evening. A waste of a night! And…and what in the name of French ticklery has been going on here, Botter?” his lordship continued, surveying the scene before him.
“I…I shall explain in the morning, milord.”
“You better had, you wretch! ‘Tis a mess! Remind me to dock your pay and thrash you senseless for this!” slurred his lordship, as he made his way uneasily across the hall, and up the stairs. “Oh, and Botter?”
“I fear I may have vomited all the way down the path, so be a good fellow and clear that up as well, eh? Make yourself useful, you blithering arse-tube.”
I smiled. “Very good, milord.”
I do not know what it is that keeps me in the employ of such a rude, obnoxious and frequently drunk man. Nor am I certain why I risked my life just to save his property. It is certainly not the money, that much I know. Nor am I bound by contract to remain with him for ever more, I am free to leave whenever I please.
Thus, all I can conclude is that I stay by Lord Likely’s side because, in a peculiar sort of way, I actually rather like him. For all his bluster, I believe he is generally a good-hearted man, which is why he agreed to employ me in the first place, and why he has even saved my life on a fair few occasions. No-one has spared quite as much thought towards me as his lordship, which, I suppose, makes him the very best friend I have.
Even when I am cleaning up his vomit at two in the morning.
Alternatively, Botter may also be located within The Book of Many Faces, where he shall only be too happy to supply any assistance.
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