09 September 2008
Just as I was contemplating the possibility that my wretched man-servant, Botter, might be out to kill me, a hansom cab drew up beside us and out hopped the bastard in question.
“Milord!” beamed Botter. “I have something for you!”
Then, to my utter astonishment, Botter placed his hand into his inside coat-pocket, and drew out a ruddy great knife.
“I should have done this ages ago, my lord,” Botter continued, as he advanced towards me, knife in hand.
“Ruddy bollocking hell!” I spluttered. “You were right, Spunkleford! That little toss-bag really is trying to do me in!”
“I say, that is rather bad form, is it not?” Inspector Spunkleford exclaimed.
As Botter moved towards me, I realised that it was time for action. It was going to be me or him, and there was absolutely no way in a month of cocking Sundays that it was going to be me. It was time I’d better batter Botter.
“Take this!” Botter cried, as he raised the knife up.
“I would much rather that you take this, if you would be so kind!” I bellowed, and I thrust my fist right into the grubby urchin’s stupid face.
Botter stumbled back, blood streaming from his nose, and collapsed in a rather pitiful bundle on the floor.
“Ah-ha!” I cried, triumphantly. “Thought you could best me, did you? You treacherous little twat-pipe! You despicable little Judas!“
“Whu-what are you talking about, milord?” Botter stammered, trying in vain to stem the flow of blood from his nose with a handkerchief.
“What am I talking about? What am I talking about? I’m talking about you trying to stab me to death, you anus! Well, not to-day, Botter! Not to-day!”
“I…I wasn’t trying to stab you, milord,” Botter whimpered. “I was just going to give you your knife back. You asked me to get a new blade for it a few weeks back, and I only got around to doing so to-day. Look!” Botter gingerly held up the weapon for my inspection.
“Hmmm…” I said, as I exammined the knife. “Yes…that does rather look like my old hunting knife, I’ll warrant you that. And yes, it does seem to have a rather shinier blade than before, too…”
“See, milord? I would not try to kill you! How could you think such a thing of me?”
“I do not know. Please, imagine that I have apologised for this outburst, and let us say no more about it!”
“Very good, milord,” Botter said, lifting himself up off the ground. “And now you can have THIS!”
In a split-second, Botter whipped a pistol out from another pocket, and had it pointing straight at my noble form.
“By Beezlebub’s Bulging Ball-Bag!” I cried. “The fiend is at it again!”
“You’ve had this a long time coming, my lord,” Botter grinned. “And now it is time.”
“I am afraid your watch must be running fast, Botter, for the time is in fact two-thirty!”
“Two-thirty?” Botter replied quizzically.
“No, but it shall in a moment!” I yelled, and socked my murderous man-servant right in the mouth, sending him reeling back onto the ground. “Do you see what I did there, Spunkleford?” I said, turning to the Inspector. “I made a frightfully witty play on the time ‘two-thirty‘ and the phrase ‘tooth-hurty‘. Ingenious, yes?”
“Most amusing indeed,” Spunkleford agreed.
“Wh-what was that for?” Botter whined, nursing his badly-bruised jaw.
“That was for trying to shoot your superior straight in the face, you cretin.”
“Shoot you, milord? Nothing could be further from my mind! Look, it’s one of your duelling pistols…I took it in for cleaning, as you requested,” Botter explained.
“Oh good heavens!” I sighed, recognising the fire-arm in question.
“Why would you send me out to run errands for you, and then punch me in the face repeatedly when I have done them? I am so confused, my lord.”
“Well, if you will insist on waving weapons in my face whilst making incredibly threatening-sounding statements, then a hefty punch to your awful fizzog is only to be expected, Botter,” I replied.
“I suppose so,” Botter concurred. “Now I think about it, I can see where the confusion arose.”
“Well, then…” Botter continued, reaching into a bag he had bought with him. “All that is left for me to do now is to PLUNGE THIS AXE RIGHT INTO YOUR FILTHY, OLD CHEST!”
“Egads! You shall not claim my soul, you grimmest of reapers!” I exclaimed, and then I lashed out once more, catching Botter square in the nose.
“Ah, wait. I do faintly recall asking you to buy me an axe, so that I might use it to smash open that filthy, old chest I found in the attic last week, didn’t I?”
“Yes!” snapped Botter.
“And I take it that was what you were actually referring to just now, and you were not, in fact, threatening to slaughter me?”
“Ah. It has happened again.”
“You seem incredibly tense to-day, milord,” Botter sighed, his face caked with blood. “What is it that is troubling you, exactly?”
I patiently recounted the day’s events to my man-servant, explaining how there had been a murder at St. Bumthrusty’s, how a note had been pinned to the body, and how that same note had singled me out to be the next victim of this unidentified assassin.
“I see, I see,” Botter saw. “Listen, my lord if I was going to kill you, I would not go through all the bother of murdering other people first, and leaving cryptic notes behind. I would probably just lace your food with arsenic, or replace all the whiskey in the house with rat-poison. Either that or I’d sneak into your bed-chamber at night, and set fire to you as you slept.”
“Well, that is good to hear, Botter. You have set my mind quite at ease,” I said, slapping my man-servant on the back. “I feel much more relaxed now!”
“That is all fine and dandy,” Spunkleford interjected, “But we are still left with the mystery of who this bloodthirsty blaggard is, and why he wishes to see you dead!”
“You are quite right, Spunkleford,” I nodded. “And there is only one way to track down this cad – we must venture back to St. Bumthrusty’s post-haste! Botter, flag us down a cab immediately!”
“Right away, milord!” Botter said chirpily.
“Oh, and Botter?”
I punched Botter right between the eyes once more.
“That is for making me look like a complete and total bum-crack in front of the Inspector. Now, go and get that cab, if you would.”
- Lord Likely.
Next Time in The Astonishing Adventures of Lord Likely: Back to Bumthrusty’s!
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