06 February 2010
One Score and Four, Hour Twenty-Three: A Tip of the Hat
11:00am, 29th of January, 1891.
AND SO, with myself armed and dangerously handsome, Miss Felicity Boondoggles, my man-servant Botter and I left the headquarters of the CTUN, and scrambled onto the bustling streets of the capital, eager to get to Buckingham Palace to save the Queen from having her noble noggin blown apart by a booby-trapped crown.
“I just hope we are not too late,” Felicity said as she tried to flag down one of the many hansom cabs trundling past, by lifting her dress ever-so slightly to allow the red-blooded cabbies a tantalising glimpse of her shapely ankle.
“I very much doubt it, m’dear.” I opined, trying in vain not to become terribly aroused by the slither of naked flesh on display. “We in the ruling elite rarely rise before ten-thirty, and are never usually dressed before lunch-time. I think we’ve got until midday, at least.”
“Less than an hour,” Felicity mused, consulting a small, wrist-mounted clock on her arm. “Time is of the essence.”
I nodded in an agreement, and left Felicity to continue her seductive efforts in securing us transport to the palace. As I waited, I noticed a smartly-dressed gentleman sporting a fine topper walking my way. As is the way of polite gentlefolk in the city, he smiled amiably as he acknowledged me, and went to tip his hat, as I went to tip mine.
And then, before I knew quite what was happening, I was thrown to the floor by Felicity, just as the man fully tipped his hat and his entire head EXPLODED before my very eyes.
“What in the name of mater-pumping millinery is going on?” I spluttered, as I plucked an eyeball from my breast-pocket.
“It’s as we’d feared,” Felicity replied grimly. “The Anti-Hat League have managed to get some of their bomb-laden hats into the public domain. Who knows how many there are out here now?”
A distant explosion and the sound of screams quickly confirmed that it was most definitely more than one, at least.
“How dashed unsporting,” I said. “By the way, do not think I did not notice how quick you were to get me on my back, my dear!” I beamed, as Felicity lifted herself off of my splendid form.
“Don’t get used to it,” she curtly replied.
“My lord, I’ve found us a cab!” Botter interjected.
“How…how did YOU manage where dear Felicity failed, you cretin?” I exclaimed. Botter shrugged and turned to present the cab behind him as evidence. The cab-driver peered out from his position at the reigns, and gave Botter a coy little wave. “Oh!” I exclaimed again, as the light dawned upon me. “Well, there is no accounting for taste, I suppose. Come on, TO THE PALACE!”
MOMENTS LATER we were inside said cab, speeding down the cobbled streets as if propelled by rocket-powered engine. As we sped through the city, I watched through the window with dismay as innocent gents found their day irreversibly inconvenienced by their heads suddenly becoming separated from their bodies after they’d doffed their hats to passers-by.
“Damn that Ben-London!” I spat, cursing the wretched ring-leader of the Anti-Hat League. “He has turned our nation’s great civility against us! Why, at this rate people shall refuse to sport any head-wear in the future, and we shall become nothing more than a country of hatless barbarians. Damn him again! Damn him all the way to Lowestoft!”
“That is why we must not let him win,” Felicity said sternly. “We cannot let him make Great Britain less great through his terrible acts of terror! We MUST stand firm!”
There was a brief pause. “Well, I am certainly sitting firm,” I grinned. “How about a quick spot of ‘how’s-your-father’ before we seek audience with Her Majesty, eh?”
Felicity rolled her beautiful eyes. “Do try and focus,” she sighed. “Besides which, look – we are here!”
I peered out of the carriage’s window to see we had indeed arrived at the palace, the great building looking as mightily impressive as ever, the Union Jack flying proudly atop it. Such a sight did little to quell my rather tumescent state; if anything, it only compounded it.
“Right, let us save the entire ruddy Empire, then!” I barked, disembarking from the cab and helping Felicity down. “Thank you cabby,” I nodded to the driver. “You may take your fee out of my man-servant’s sphinctoral passage if you so desire!”
“Much obliged, sir!” the cab-driver beamed, reaching for the brim of his hat…
“NO!” I cried, and everything seemed to slow to a crawl as I stepped forward to prevent the inevitable hat-tip. But it was too late – the hat was well and truly doffed. The last thing I recall was the look of surprise in the cabby’s eyes as they flew from their sockets due to the force of the ensuing explosion, and then everything went black.
- Lord Likely.