I had returned to our suite and was pleased to see that the vulgar butler Eater had effected a temporary repair to the burst pipe and had removed himself to his duties. I was about to give my associates a full account of my skilful handling of the affair and my conversation with Doctor Evil, when there came a soft knocking on our door.
It was Evil himself.
He took the seat opposite Ayres, and addressing him in tones of the utmost solicitude, enquired after his health.
“Your associate Dr Maroon, told me all about your unfortunate um sufferings in the em closet.” he said, nodding towards the bathroom door.
Ayres and Bananas swung their accusing gaze upon me immediately but I shook my head and tapped my nose to allay their fears.
“I had thought my butler would be here.” continued the doctor looking round.
“He bunged a cork in it and left.” explained Ayres.
“A champagne cork actually.”
“A champagne cork?”
“It wouldn’t go in at first, but he whacked it with something.”
“He whacked it?”
“With a croquet mallet I think. I couldn’t see.”
“And are you comfortable with this?”
“It was really all he had to hand. Resourceful, I thought.”
Dr Evil’s lip trembled as he stood, and with watering eyes, regarded the calm Ayres.
“Such bravery!” he whispered, “such stoicism, no wonder you English have an empire!”
He took a shuddering breath and continued;
“Well, help is at hand Sir Kim! Noble fellow! I have instructed cook that it’s the vegetarian options for you, no, it’s the least I can do.” he said, raising a hand to silence objections. “in addition, I have brought you some special ointment, and also this, my own invention.”
he said, producing a small ring like a ship’s lifebelt, made of India rubber and inflated with air, “I call it Doctor Evil’s Pneumatic Ring of Peace.”
“What do I do with it?” asked Ayres.
“Why, you sit on it my good fellow.” said the doctor.
“And why should I wish to do that?”
“Come come, Sir Kim, try it, you’ll see.” encouraged the doctor.
Reluctantly, Ayres did as he was bid, perching himself on the ring like a great unhappy bird hatching an egg.
“How’s that? Much better I’ll warrant.” suggested Dr Evil, in his best bedside manner.
Ayres looked first to me then Gorilla Bananas for some explanation.
The marvellous ape opened his mouth as if to speak, but thinking better, closed it and examined the pattern on the carpet. For once the greatest of detectives was at a loss.
As he took his leave, Doctor Evil gently placed the jar of salve on the table.
“My cousin Von Williams swears by it.” he said. “Funny how you cannot get limes here yet the shops are full of this stuff. Perhaps now I know.” he added thoughtfully.
“The man’s a maniac!” exclaimed Ayres as the door closed. “Why am I to be fed only vegetables and why must I sit on this ridiculous contraption? Tell me why, Bananas.”
But Mr Gorilla Bananas I noticed, was examining me so closely that it was becoming uncomfortable and I was suddenly fatigued by all the day’s events.
“GB, I’m going to have a swing on my trapeze and a doze in the hammock before dinner.“ I said. “Do you wish a banana or two, there’s hundreds of them in my room you know?”
“Yes Maroon, have a lie down. It will do us all good.” said the gorilla.
Not for the first time, did the superior workings of that remarkable ape’s intellect leave me feeling as if I was somewhat wanting.