Part Twelve (a)
“Quick Maroon,” shouted Bananas,” grab his arm! No, the other one! No, that’s mine! There, by the soap! Don’t let him eat it!”
“Got it GB! Watch his feet. His feet! Look out!”
Crash went a fine porcelain shaving basin onto the tiled floor.
Bananas clamped the thrashing feet with one of his own, while with a spare hand he adjusted the shower controls.
“Keep his head down under the spray,” he instructed, “it’s our only hope.”
“We don’t want to drown the fellow.” I pointed out.
“Better that than…”
Gorilla Bananas left the dread alternative unsaid.
Through the rising steam, he continued his interrogation, shouting questions at the struggling figure.
“Speak to us man, are you cogent? Have you returned to us?”
“What did he say?” asked Bananas.
“Couldn’t make it out GB.” I replied.
“Right, turn up the hot as well. In fact, fill the bath and get his clothes off!”
As powerful hairy arms pulled his jacket and shirt from his back, his patent elastic braces gave way with a snap like a rifle report, sending his trouser buttons flying.
The man now fought like a Dervish, blindly grasping the bell pull, wrenching it from the wall in a shower of plaster.
The extraordinary Ape was right! Ayres was possessed!
Along the corridor, with only half an ear for the crashes and yelps echoing down the passage to him, was Eater the butler.
He was leaning with an arm outstretched against the stonework, affecting a disinterested style with a cigarette.
Miss Lindy, the object of his fascination, stood close, her back propped against the same wall, hugging her books for protection, her progress halted by the outstretched arm.
Since she had arrived, Miss Lindy had suffered the constant attention of the butler some 12 years her senior, and had hatched a dangerous plan to make use of this to pump him thoroughly.
For his part, Eater couldn’t quite believe his luck, but was nonetheless eager to capitalise on this change in his fortunes.
“Yeah, if it wasn’t for me, sheesh, I run the place actually,” he said, flicking his ash with a nonchalance practiced before a mirror.
“You must be terribly important,” said Miss Lindy, her eyes wide in approval.
“Better believe it,” he sighed, sending a perfect blue plume upwards.
“I suppose you know all the comings and goings, all the ins and outs, where The Master keeps The Key and so on?” She asked, twisting her toe on the floor in coquettish innocence.
“The wha‘?“ he began, but the jangling bell in the corridor over our door followed by another crash, brought him up short.
“Just what are they doing in there?” He wondered out loud, “I’ve seen some queer guests believe me, but that three are a rum crew and no mistake.”
“Shouldn’t you answer that? Wouldn’t want to get you into trouble,” asked the mischievous Miss Lindy.
“In a minute. What were you saying?”
“Later,” she answered, ducking under his arm, proud of her womanly wiles.
Eater stood on his cigarette and turned towards the bell, still wriggling on its spring like a new-hanged convict.
With his braces broken, Ayres’ trousers slid round his knees, suddenly reminding me of a debagging we had carried out on that sneaky little thief Wilmslow at the club.
To protect poor Ayres from injury, Bananas now held him in a ‘Full Nelson’ from the back, bending him with much heaving and grunting over the bath.
“You rang? Oh for fu…” Said Eater opening the door. With all the steam and plaster floating in the air, it was difficult to see, but quickly taking stock of the grisly tableau before him, he continued;
“I do beg your pardon gentlemen. I didn’t mean to intrude on your private…em…activities…”
He fell silent. We all did.
Suddenly quiet, we surveyed our circumstances.
“You better let him breathe GB,” I said, pointing to Ayres’ submerged head in the bath.
“Yes of course,” said Bananas, releasing his prisoner and stepping back.
I am sorry to say that Ayres, suddenly freed, swung a punch at us both. A huge telegraphed haymaker, under which we ducked, with the result that the poor serving man took a mighty sock clean in the eye.
How had we come to such a pass?