23 September 2009
Lord Likely’s Birthday Bash
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY to me, happy birthday to me! Happy birthdaaaaay Lord Like-leeeeeee….you handsome swine you!”
‘Twas September the Twenty-Third, a day of much rejoicing at Likely Towers, for it was my most wondrous and glorious birthday, and as such I was in a most chipper mood indeed as I descended the staircase into the Great Hall.
“Ah, Botter!” I beamed as I beheld my man-servant, who was busily polishing my vast array of fencing trophies. “Not even your wretched, stomach-churningly disgusting face can sour this most fabulous of days!”
“Oh yes, milord?” Botter replied, as he dusted my ‘Largest Fence Built From Human Hair‘ trophy from 1876. “Something happening to-day, is there?”
“Well, I – ” I stopped short, as the full meaning of Botter’s words dawned upon me. “Wait a moment…you DO realise what day it is to-day, yes?”
“Erm…hold on…” Botter replied, consulting a nearby calendar. “Why, it’s September the Twenty-Third, is it not?”
I nodded stiffly. “Yes, yes…and does that date remind you of anything very special, Botter?”
Botter furrowed his brow as he tried to pull the relevant memory from his woefully inadequate brain. “Umm…no, no…I cannot say that it does, my lord.”
“Try to think harder, Botter…think of an earth-shatteringly important event which took place years ago…”
“Erm…oh, yes!” Botter smiled, clicking his fingers. “The Concordat of Worms!”
“Yes, that’s right the – ” I stopped again. “The what, Botter?”
“The Concordat of Worms, milord – sometimes called the Pactum Calixtinum by papal historians. It was an agreement between Pope Calixtus II and the Holy Roman Emperor Henry V, which was made on September 23, 1122 near the city of Worms. It brought to an end the first phase of the power struggle between the Papacy and the Holy Roman Emperors, and it has since been suggested by historians that it laid the foundations of a nation-based sovereignty that would later be confirmed in the Treaty of Westphalia.”
I stood unblinking and slightly dumbfounded by my man-servant’s hitherto unheralded knowledge of papal history.
“No, Botter…” I said slowly. “No, that was not what I had in mind…”
“Oh! Well, then…I’m afraid I can’t think of anything particularly notable about this day then, milord,” Botter chirped, as he resumed his dusting duties, whistling merrily to himself.
I narrowed my eyes.
I TOOK a prolonged constitutional thereafter, which quickly turned into a prolonged pub-crawl, as I frequented many a public house along the way in an attempt to drink away the thoughts nagging away at the back of my mind.
Had Botter – my faithful man-servant and companion of nigh on twenty years REALLY forgotten my birthday? And what of Inspector Spunkleford, or Dorothy Mount-Worthy, or the Duke of Fircombe, or Lady Quimblast, Madam Vadgerton, Lady Nibgobble or any of my many, varied acquaintances? I had not had one communication from any of them, not even so much as a single, congratulatory telegram. Had they ALL forgotten my most special of days? Or had they remembered, but chosen not to care?
Impossible, I thought. I am cocking well fantastic.
It was getting dark by the time I staggered back to Likely Towers, my head spinning like an inebriated carousel. It was more by chance than judgement that I managed to actually get into my mansion at all.
Inside, all was pitch-black. I stumbled into my dining-room, and somehow I successfully lit a gas-lamp without setting fire to myself or the nearby curtains.
As I turned around, I was suddenly greeted by a horde of people standing at the other end of the room. “SURPRISE!” they cried in unison, causing me to stagger back in shock. Confused and disoriented, I quickly pulled out my pistol and shot wildly into the crowd.
“Gah! Take that! And that! And also some of that!” I bellowed, as I fired shot after shot into the amassed horde.
“LIKELY! LIKELY! Stop, man! For heaven’s sake, STOP!” cried Inspector Spunkleford, breaking from the crowd and wrestling my fire-arm from me. “Good grief, man! Calm down!”
“Wh-what in the name of Her Majesty’s Muffty is going on here?” I demanded, swaying uneasily on the spot. “How did all these criminals get into my house?”
“It’s a surprise birthday party in your honour, Likely,” Spunkleford explained. “Although I fear we received the biggest surprise of the night!”
“Oh,” I said, as I scanned the crowd and realised that all of my dearest, closest and large-breasted friends were in attendance, staring at me in disbelief. “Oh! Ahem. I…I do apologise. Is anyone hurt?”
“The Earl of Bumchutney has been shot in the leg,” came a voice in the crowd.
“I am ever so sorry,” I replied. “I was…I was just rather taken aback, you see. I had no idea you’d all be here! How did this happen?”
“Ah, ’twas your man-servant’s doing, Likely! Organised the whole thing. Rather sterling effort, eh? Where is he anyhow?”
I coughed noisily. “Never mind that now…we are here to have a party, and a party we shall damn well have! Come – let us eat, drink and be bloody merry!”
And with that, the atmosphere lightened considerably and the party began in earnest, and continued on well into the small hours, as we drank and debauched ourselves rotten.
Meanwhile, strung up upside-down by his ankles from an oak tree on my estate, Botter contemplated the repercussions of feigning ignorance of my birthday.
- Lord Likely.
Hip-hip-hooray! Let us all carry the party on, dear readers, as I toast not only my glorious self, but all of you who have continued to thrill to my Astonishing Adventures! Many thanks for your unswerving loyalty, chums! Hurrah for us all!
Ahem! Of course, being my birthday, you may feel compelled to make a very generous donation to the Likely Funds, so that many more adventures may be forthcoming!
And lest we forget, the latest chapter of my current escapade, “Lord Likely and the Bloody Nuisances”, may be found hither.
Now – bottoms up, ev’ryone! CHEERS!