18 October 2008
Wretch in Peace?
Getting a new man-servant is an awful ball-ache, you know. And I should know, for I have had over twenty different servants in my lifetime, of varying degrees of uselessness.
When my father, Lord Eustace Likely, disappeared from the Likely Estate, ne’er to return (and now presumed deceased), I was left in the care of the family butler, Philtrum. However, this arrangement did not last long, for at the age of one hundred and twenty-three years old, the useless bastard decided to go and die on me, throwing me into the most inconvenient predicament of having to go out and hire new help.
Luckily, I found a new lackey at a servant market in Dudsbury, who was on sale for the incredibly low price of one shilling. However, it did not take me long to discover why this particular valet was going for such a remarkably discounted amount – it transpired he was blind, deaf, mute and had wooden hands. Naturally, I was all set to return the defective domestic and give the vendor responsible for selling him to me a damned good drubbing, but before I could, my new man-servant unwittingly mistook the stove for the wash-basin, and went up in flames shortly thereafter. Clearly, one should always check the goods thoroughly before purchase.
My next effort led me to hire a man who seemed to be actually competent in his work, and was incredibly fastidious in his duties, especially when cleaning my various trophies, gold-plated trinkets and diamond-encrusted sex-aids. However, it quickly became apparent that this high level of meticulousness was not born out of a desire to see my valuables shined to the brightest of sheens, but rather out of a desire to steal the goods from under my very handsome nose. Needless to say, when I caught wind of his duplicitous scheme, I made sure he could not grab my assets (as t’were) by physically breaking his hands. No-one man-handles my treasure and gets away with it, dear readers.
Having been let down by quite so many man-servants, I next elected to hire a maid. Naturally, I hired the most attractive maid I could find; a beautiful, comely wench with ‘come to bed’ eyes and ‘fuck my mouth’ lips. After watching her frantically scrubbing the gussets of my trousers for a while, I could no longer control the wild animal inside me, and quickly set about pumping her for hours and hours every day. It soon became obvious that I was servicing her far more than she was servicing me, and when the mansion began to fall into a filthy, grubby state through my maid’s neglect, I thought it might be time she was fired. When we both found ourselves stricken with cholera, I knew it was definitely time to fire her; and thus I had to (rather reluctantly) let her go.
On top of these few poor shows, I’ve also had to put up with illiterate proles, woefully inept workhouse children, wretched foreigners who did not understand one word of the Queen’s English, infuriatingly smug butlers and – worst of all – a Liverpudlian man. I mean, well, really.
With such an unsuccessful record for hiring quality help, you can sympathise with my current plight, where I believed my current man-servant – Botter – to have been slain by my arch-enemy Harold Loathsome. I had just witnessed Botter’s body pass by a window at St. Bumthrusty’s in a worryingly vertical direction, as if he had been thrown out of a higher window to meet his doom on the harsh ground below. While I held no great affection for my simple servant, he had proven to be the least useless menial I had ever hired, which may not say a lot for the foolish oaf, but it did mean finding an equally adequate replacement would be a most challenging task indeed, and a task I was not entirely sure I could be bothered with any time soon.
It was with this dreadful burden hanging over my noble head that I headed outside to go and identify the corpse, accompanied by Inspector Spunkleford, my old head-master Betrum Gumbumble, my former biology teacher Professor Ventricle and a couple of my past classmates.
“Alright, alright,” said Inspector Spunkleford as he cut through the small crowd of morbid onlookers who had surrounded the body. “Move along, please! Move along! There is nothing to see here!”
“What about that dead body?” replied one of the gawpers.
“Oh! Yes, that is rather interesting, I suppose,” Spunkleford reasoned. “Why, look at that! Can you see how this poor chap’s brains have sprayed out the top of his head in a perfect arc, like some sort of ghoulish rainbow? Remarkable! Likely, take a look at this!”
I strolled up beside the Inspector, and beheld the macabre scene. The victim was sprawled on the ground, face down, his limbs twisted in various unnatural directions. As for whether this was indeed my man-servant, I could not be certain without turning the body over, but the attire sported by the man certainly seemed to match that traditionally worn by Botter; a small, bedraggled waist-coat, ill-fitting trousers and those filthy, scuffed shoes. And there, lying a few feet away from the stinking carcass was the all-too familiar bowler hat. But there was something else bothering me about this terrible tableau…
“I have come to the conclusion,” I boomed, after a moment’s pause, “that this unfortunate fellow was murdered before being hurled out of the window.”
“Good heavens!” exclaimed Spunkleford. “How on earth can you tell, Likely?”
“I believe you may have overlooked a vital clue, my dear inspector,” I explained, crouching down beside the cadaver. “Namely, these three knives sticking out of the victim’s back.”
There was a collective gasp from the crowd.
“Remarkable!” Spunkleford enthused. “Truly remarkable!”
“Well spotted old bean,” said Professor Ventricle, leaning in to observe the crime scene. “Why do you suppose someone would want to murder your man-servant?”
“That is if this poor bounder is indeed my shambolic scrotum of a man-servant…” I said, turning the body over with my foot. Alas, it seemed that confirming the identity of the departed from the face would be an impossible task, as the countenance had been splattered beyond all recognition from the impact of the fall. Unless someone had beaten the face to a pulp beforehand…
“Well, it certainly looks like him!” said Ventricle. “No doubt about it, that’s the chap I saw talking to the new janitor earlier. I never forget a face, you know! I can still remember him clearly, asking the janitor for directions to the bath-room, saying that he wished to take a quick shower…”
“Hmmm?” I replied, my mind racing as I tried to put together the various different pieces of this particular puzzle. One thing that had just struck me was that Botter seemed taller now. I might have expected him to become considerably wider after a fall from such a height…but actually, physically taller?
And how had Ventricle’s tip-off about the janitor proven to be so wrong?
“Wait a minute!” I suddenly cried, grabbing Ventricle by his lapels. “What did you say?”
“I…I just said that this fellow was asking for directions to the bath-room….he…he wanted to take a shower, by all accounts.”
I smiled broadly, to Ventricle’s bemusement. Then, I began to chuckle quietly, before I burst into full, roaring laughter. Ventricle returned a confused titter, fear rising in his eyes. I grinned once more, and then gently released Ventricle from my grasp. I turned my back on the professor, then in an instant I swung back around, delivering a terrific blow to the bewildered biologist’s face.
Another chorus of gasps erupted from the crowd.
“Likely! What on earth?…” began Spunkleford.
“Botter? Take a shower? Ha!” I shouted, as I stood over the floored fellon. “The very notion is absurd to the extreme! I am afraid you have made a terrible mistake, Ventricle…” I leant closer to the professor’s face. “…Or should that be Loathsome?“
There was yet another simultaneous gasp from the onlookers.
“I’m buggered if I know what’s going on,” mused Spunkleford, befuddled to the very end.
- Lord Likely.
Next Time in The Astonishing Adventures of Lord Likely: What the buggeration is going on?
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Announcement: His lordship wishes to apologies for the lack of updates this week. This can be solely attributed to the continued rubbishness of his official scribe, Mr. A.D. Fanton, despite his protests that he is working on something ‘really incredible’ behind the scenes. Such talk is clearly complete and utter cock. As recompense, we have thus made today’s entry 25% longer, and 176% more thrilling!
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