15 December 2010
The Strange Case of the Sinister Snowman, Part One
IT WAS mid-December, and London had been left under a thick blanket of snow, as if the lord God above had looked down ‘pon the glorious British Empire, and had decided it looked so damnably attractive that he had whipped out His tremendous tallywhacker and sprayed the land with His holy horn-paste.
Truly ’twas a sight to behold, as I pointed out to my miserable man-servant, Botter, as we trudged our way through the snow to meet Inspector Spunkleford, who had summoned us to meet him on a matter of some urgency. Botter, however, seemed less than impressed with my poetic observation about the current climate.
“‘S too cold, that’s what it is, milord. Too blinkin’ cold!” he muttered.
“Cold? For heaven’s sake, Botter, do grow a scrotum!”
“‘S alright for you, milord, you had a nice, warm bed for the night. I ‘ad to sleep in a bleedin’ hen-house.” Botter continued, shoving his hands under his armpits to warm them.
“Now, Botter, we have been through this,” I countered. “I cannot very well have my prize-winning hens out in the cold. Nobody enjoys a frozen egg, least of all me. That is why I decided to let them have the use of your quarters.”
“B-but it’s inhumane, milord!” Botter cried.
“Nonsense, they were extremely comfortable indeed. I think I even saw one making use of the bidet, at one point.”
“Not your stupid hens, milord! Me! It’s inhumane to leave me to freeze to death in some rickety old hen-house!” Botter wailed.
“Botter, if you keep up this incessant moaning I simply shall not unlock the hen-house in the morning, and leave you in there forever!”
We continued to crunch our way through the snow as Botter fell into a mopey silence, which rather suited me fine, as I really did not want to listen to any more of his wearisome wafflings anyway.
We turned into a small street and seemed to find ourselves instantly transported to some kind of astonishing winter wonderland. The gardens and houses all along the street were decorated in the most eye-popping manner possible, with various Christmas lights dotted throughout, tinsel hanging from every branch of every available tree and plant, and large, ornate carvings depicting Father Christmas or angels or reindeer looming out from all sides. It was rather like someone had eaten an entire box of Christmas cards, and then vomited the contents out onto the street.
“Well, this is the right place,” I sighed, noting the road-sign nearby. “Fezziwig Lane. I really hope Spunkleford hasn’t called us half-way across the city just to show us his baubles. Come on, Botter.”
We ventured on up the road until we came to a house which was swarming with police-men, bustling back and forth and looking generally perplexed. In among the blue tide I spotted Spunkleford, who was closely consulting a note-book while chewing upon the end of a pencil in a most contemplative manner.
“Good day, Inspector,” I said, slapping Spunkleford so heartily on the back that he almost wound up excreting graphite. “What is all this hubbub about, then?”
“Oh, Likely, old boy!” Spunkleford exclaimed, clearly pleased to see me (as people usually are). “I have got a queer old case here, I don’t mind saying. Very queer indeed!”
“Hmmm,” I pondered, looking about to find a dark patch of crimson seeping through the snow on the ground. “Well, I assume either someone has been rather careless with the cranberry sauce, or there has been a murder here, yes?”
“Yes indeed, Likely. But if only it were that simple! The victim was the home-owner, a Mr. Ambrose Clutchpenny, by all accounts a well-respected and well-liked member of the local community. He was discovered dead at the scene this morning by one of his neighbours, a Mrs. Penelope Twigglebottom. Poor thing, has been in shock ever since.”
“Maybe I should offer her a shoulder to cry on?” I offered. “Of course, when I say ‘shoulder’ I do of course mean ‘penis’. And when I say ‘cry’ I mean ‘sit.’”
Spunkleford carried on, brushing aside my carnal desires as was his wont.
“Now here is where things get…peculiar. We’ve had an eyewitness come forward who swears blind that he saw Mr. Clutchpenny being attacked by…someone. He’s even given us a full description…” Spunkleford explained, waving his notebook in my direction.
“Well, apparently the assailant was white, about five-foot four, dressed in a top hat and scarf…” Spunkleford glanced up at me, then back down at his notebook. “Ahem. He had a long, carrot-shaped nose, and eyes…eyes as black as coal…”
I raised an eyebrow. “Unless I’m very much mistaken, Spunkleford, what you have just described to me there is a snowman.”
Spunkleford nodded. “I know. And naturally I would not normally take such a thing seriously, if it were not for the fact…well, there was a break-in down at the docks last night as well. And a witness there gave my officers a description of one of the culprits…”
“…And that too was a snowman?”
Spunkleford nodded again. “He even gave the details to a sketch-artist, and…well, look.” Spunkleford held up a piece of paper on which was drawn a (rather well rendered) picture of a snowman.
“This…” I said slowly, “…is indeed peculiar.”
- Lord Likely.
To Be Furthered!
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