That pure Cane Spirit since 1848.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Part Five

Looking through my notes, written in a hand shaken by those terrible events as they unfolded, I realise now, that even as we considered our measured plan of action over a light luncheon in Baker Street, many miles away on bleak Dartmoor, in the cellars of Castle Alucard, our bearded agent was suffering the most degrading torment:

“You have been very naughty I think”
“What? What do you want from me? Release me this instant.”
“If you’re a good boy.”

Sarah paused and ran her hands over the array of “toys” laid out in some abominable, yet artistic pattern on the table before her.
Barbudo, bound securely against the wall with studded straps at ankle and wrist, followed her every gesture with a keen interest.

“Now, what about this one?” She asked, holding up a queer yet oddly familiar device made from India rubber, it’s diabolical purpose unclear to Barbudo. He knew with a certainty however, that he didn’t want to find out.

“Sarah Sarah!”, her father’s voice echoed down the damp stone stairway, “come on, we’re waiting for you!“
“Don’t go anywhere,” she smiled at her captive, “I’ll be back soon.”

* * *

“When will we get there?” I asked.
We had taken an earlier train from St Pancras, at Ayres’ urgent insistence, and were now smoking comfortably in our first class compartment; the rolling downs of England flying past in a blur.

“We are making excellent time. By my calculations our prodigious progress has reached 37 miles per hour, at which rate we should arrive in Devon at 8:09 pm. Precisely.”
“You astound me Bananas,” I said in admiration.
“It’s simple really, for the last 3 minutes, I have been counting the telegraph poles. They are, as we know, set fourteen to the furlong, if I therefore time how long it takes 55 of them to pass our window, it’s just a matter of arithmetic from then on to calculate our velocity and hence our arrival time.”

Looking up from his Bradstreet, Ayres said: “The timetable says 8:15.”
At this information, Gorilla bananas, stared pensively out the window in silence for several minutes. His astonishing intellect no doubt engaged on loftier matters.

I made use of this pause to review in my mind the sequence of our discussion in Baker Street that afternoon, which had precipitated our hasty departure:

Mrs Hudson had just cleared away lunch and was filling schooners with refreshing fruit juices from two sparkling crystal pitchers.
“What superb glassware you have Mrs Hudson,” I remarked.
“Oh thank you Doctor, yes, Dr Watson always says that my jugs are the best he’s…”
The last words were lost with the closing of the door.

As Gorilla Bananas sipped at his papaya and mango, I sought some information regarding Dr Evil and his household;

“What do we know of them?”
At cross purposes, Ayres answered: “Riff raff coming up the stairs all day and night…the big one takes cocaine you know…mainliner…and the screeching of that violin…they…they are not as other men…they…”
“Ayres! Please! Interrupted Bananas, “anyway you play your mandolin quite often…”
“That’s totally different…” objected Ayres.
“Is it?” sniffed Bananas “I wouldn’t really know, I’m not one for music.”
“If my mandolin annoys you so, why didn’t you say?”
“Gentlemen!” I said, putting a stop to the tiff, “What do we know about this Dr Evil fellow? That’s what I meant.”
Ayres took up the thread:
“For one thing he’s fabulously wealthy, they say he keeps a red headed jester for his amusement, who goes by the sobriquet of Joke-Mail.”
“He dresses him in armour?”
Ignoring me, Ayres continued:
“He has a governess called Mrs Andraste, for his daughter. They say she’s quite a handful, you know, fruity, a bit wayward.”
“The governess?”
“The daughter!”
With a swift look at the ceiling, Ayres continued:
“There’s also a butler called ‘Eater’ and a housekeeper called ‘Mrs Cat’, who hits the girl on the hand with a hot spoon.”
“How beastly, you seem to know a lot?” I said quizzically.
“We have a mole inside their organisation Maroon!”
“Ayres!” shouted Gorilla Bananas

The brass bell rang on Ayres' equipment , putting stop to a further round of their quarrel.
Returning from the contraption in deep contemplation, Ayres passed the message to Gorilla Bananas in silence.
“Hmmm” said the detective handing the strip to me, “It’s not in the code book.”
Feeding the paper ribbon through my fingers I read the desperate words.
“He could have saved thruppence if he’d used “onto” instead of…what?”

* * *

“Elbows Sarah” said Mrs Andraste., ”and backs straight please, like I showed you.”
With a sigh, Sarah sat up in exaggerated ramrod stiffness for a second before slumping with a puff. They were sitting at Dr Evil’s magnificent mahogany banqueting table discussing the upcoming Gathering.
Dr Evil himself sat at the head, in an overly ornate black chair resembling the throne of a minor European power. To his right, Mrs Andraste and his errant daughter, to his left, the faithful butler Eater.

Standing diagonally behind him, was a man in a loud check suit and waistcoat with a brown derby cocked “at the slant” on his head. He had one hand resting on a sideboard as if propping it up, the other hooked in his weskit pocket by a thumb.

Dr Evil cleared his throat, “I think we should go through the guest list first, then the menu…” Before he could continue, the man interrupted:
“That reminds me, Why? Why is it considered necessary to nail down the lid of a coffin?”
Dr. Evil took up his thread again; “Menus, yes, then I thought an informal itinerary, games maybe…”
For a second time, the interuption came;- “Why? Why is it that doctors call what they do practice?”
"Thanks Joke-Mail, that was terribly good. Wasn’t it everyone?”
“OK, There’s this bloke walking a dog right? Only he’s a bit of a Nancy see?, so he says..”

Doctor Evil smiling, held up his hand for silence and twisted his head through 180 degrees, while behind him, Eater the butler was frantically shaking his head and miming the act of cutting his own throat.

“I think we’ve laughed enough today, thank you so much.” he said good naturedly.
“no wait you’ll love this, What would Geronimo say if he jumped off a cliff?”
Dr Evil’s seat turned on unseen castors, the better that he might look upon the poor jester.
“That really WILL be all.”
“Thank you …thank you very much. You’re too kind” said the comic, bowing as he made his exit.
“Tough room” he muttered as he passed the man with the white helmet and clipboard at the door.

The Inspector, like a bloodhound, was following the route of a fat electric cable as it snaked it’s way round the room and disappeared up through a hole in the ceiling.

“I don’t know why you keep him Pops” said Sarah
“If you notice his hair, it may explain…excuse me sir, yes you in the hat, may we help?” asked Evil sarcastically, “who are you anyway?”
The inspector straightened his clipboard and approached the table.
"See that?" He said, pointing to the skip of his safety hat, “what does that say?”
Evil peered;
“Below that.”
“Oh I see, The county council eh? Well, I pay my rates, what do you want?”
“There’s something not right about all this, and I’m going to find out, oh yes.”
“I feel sure you will.” said Dr. Evil “Eater! Damn you!”
“Right here my Lord”
“Eater, take this council functionary up to the laboratory, and show him what the power’s for. Quickly! Damn you to the Pits of Yogsogoth! And answer the door!”

The butler led the inspector from the room by the arm, pausing only to open the front door and immediately fall catastrophically in love.

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