21 August 2010
Our Mutual Fiend: Part Two
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THERE ARE a few activities from which one should refrain whilst deeply hung-over. Bouncing up and down ‘pon a dirigible is one; taking a small rowing-boat out to sea on a particularly stormy day would be another. And one may most definitely add ‘standing over a bloody, severed, chewed-up corpse first thing in the morning’ to that inglorious list.
“And as you can see, the attacker tore out the victim’s larynx, here,” Inspector Spunkleford continued, pointing at a gaping, bloodied hole in the victim’s throat. The gruesome scene before me, coupled with the after-effects of my previous night’s drinking, was causing my stomach to churn harder than a particularly aggressive milk-maid trying to make butter in a hail-storm.
“Botter,” I said, turning to my man-servant. “You do realise that it is awfully bad manners to keep your hat on in the presence of the deceased?”
“But you – ” Botter began.
“Do not argue Botter! Remove it at once, and pass it here!”
“Very good, milord,” Botter sighed, as he passed me his bowler.
“That is more like it, Botter. A little respect never hurt anyone,” I said, and then I proceeded to empty the contents of my stomach rather forcibly into Botter’s hat.
“There you go,” I said, wiping my mouth with a handkerchief, and offering the vomit-filled bowler to my man-servant. ” You may have it back now.”
“Very good, milord.” Botter glumly replied.
Having disavailed myself of that particular booze-fuelled burden, I felt much more like myself again, and felt my brain wake up and steam back into action.
“Hmmm,” I hmmmed, as I produced a magnifying glass and examined the corpse laying on the street. And then I sneezed.
“Well, we can rule out a wild animal attack. This was most definitely the work of a person. And a rather well-to-do person, at that.”
“And how do you know that, Likely?”
“They seasoned the body with pepper before taking a bite.”
“Well, that certainly corroborates with the night-watchman’s statement…” Spunkleford beamed, evidently pleased that his meagre attempts at police-work had yielded results.
“Yes…but he also stated that the assailant was CHARLES DICKENS, who, need I remind you, is currently deceased, and not in a terribly good position to go out and about as much as he used to do, let alone feast upon the flesh of innocent bystanders…although…what’s this?…”
I stooped down and retrieved a scrap of blood-stained paper lying beside the victim’s right hand. It had been torn from a larger sheet, but the part which remained clearly bore the word ‘DICKENS’. This was entirely too coincidental, I reasoned.
“Inspector, do we have any idea who this fellow was at all?” I asked, motioning toward the body.
“Ah, yes Likely! We recovered a wallet from the body. We believe him to have been a gentleman named Theodore Fruntlope, worked as a publishing editor for one of the big book publishers.”
“A publisher of big books, or a publisher of considerable status?”
“Erm…yes. The second one.”
“I see. And what books does this publisher publish?”
“Oh, you know. Paper ones. Lots of pages, split up into chapters, and – “
I sighed. “Which AUTHORS, Spunkleford?”
“Oh. Well, I…I’m not really sure, old boy…” Spunkleford blustered.
“Well, I suggest you find out right away, Inspector!” I cried, thrusting a finger into the air. “I shall wager that one of the authors on their books is none other than one Mr. Charles Dickens!”
“Ah! Erm. I see. And?…”
“AND!…” I paused, my finger still held aloft. “That means something! I’m not sure exactly what it means yet, Spunkleford – but I assure you I shall work on it! Come along, Botter! There is thinking to be done!”
BOTTER and I adjourned to a nearby tavern called the ‘The Soggy Biscuit‘, a place of ill-repute but healthy profits, due in no small part to the fact that the landlord made his premises freely available for prostitutes to ply their trade, which thus made it one of my favourite places to go when I needed a good, hard…think.
I drunk long into the early hours of the evening, enjoying the delicious beer, and the delicious women. Soon I was deep in conversation with a hugely buxom harlot by the name of ‘Big’ Bella Butterlegs, so-called because her legs spread ever so easily. As we talked, Bella took to whispering sweet nothings into my ear, while I returned saucy somethings into hers, and we soon agreed to depart to her abode around the corner, for a spot of rumpy-pumpy – much to the chagrin of my miserable man-servant.
“Milord,” he whined, “Should we not be working on the investigation?…”
“Botter, why don’t you investigate THIS!” I boomed, extending my middle finger at the wretched cove. “Now, what can you deduce from the evidence before you?”
“That you wish for me to extricate myself from your company?” Botter answered sadly.
“Indeed, to put it politely,” I nodded. “To put it impolitely, FUCK OFF, you wretched little arse-smear!”
And with that, Bella and I left The Soggy Biscuit, laughing heartily at my supremely excellent insult and Botter’s subsequent misery.
As we staggered down the road, arm-in-arm, I felt my spirits rise, along with my proud Lord Palmerston, and suggested to Bella that we slipped into a secluded alley-way so she could tend to my raging erection there and then. Bella giggled, and acceded, as well she might, the filthy slattern.
We dashed into such a side-street nearby, and Bella dropped to her knees before me like the cock-hungry whore she was. But before I could free my tumescent tally-whacker, we were disturbed by the sound of something stirring at the other end of the alley-way.
“Hello?” I barked, re-fastening my belt. “Who’s there? This isn’t some sort of peep-show, you know! Although we may be able to come to some arrangement, for the right fee…”
No reply came, but the sound of shuffling steps.
“Hello?” I repeated, peering into the darkness to see if I could pick out a figure.
“Please sir….” came a small boy’s voice from the shadows, “…can I have some more?”
“More?” I snapped. “More WHAT?”
Then, out of the dark, appeared the most wretched apparition I had e’er seen. He was indeed a young lad, dressed in a cheap, cloth hat, scarf, a grubby waist-coat and equally dirty shorts. But it was not his evident poverty that repulsed me so (although that was indeed disgusting), but the unnatural green-ish tint to his skin, his misty eyes and the blood dripping from his mouth. And, worse still, the bowl he was holding out in front of him, in which sat what looked very much like a human BRAIN.
“Please sir…” the spectre repeated, “can I have some more….BRRRAAAAAAAIIIINS?”
And then, the child lunged forth, jaws slavering…
- Lord Likely.
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