Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Wot Oh Old Boy! Murder most foul.










After Claudia left my room I sat down to think. I do most of my thinking sitting down. It is my favourite pastime; sitting down. A hobby, one would say.

She is not a bad person, I thought. Albeit she is part of this upper-class titled family with ancient history and a family crest, she is a very down-to-earth type of person. Always cheerful, and with a certain joie-de-vivre, she is equally at home with high society and with the common man. I remembered that at last evening's dinner in the grand dining room, whilst everyone was in formal dress, the men in suits and the ladies in beautiful evening dresses, Claudia turned up in a T-shirt, short mini skirt and knee-length boots. Lady Eva's discomfort was a joy to see. Even Sir Ivor, puffed an air of despair as he stubbed out his cigar before sitting down at the top of the table.

Sure enough, Claudia knows all the airs and graces at formal gatherings, and she can be an upper-class lady when needs arises, yet she prefers to be more natural and take life as it comes rather than act a role cast upon her by birth and up-bringing.

Earlier on, whilst we were by the boat house, she showed me a tree she used to climb when she was a child living at Status Manor. And to prove that she can still do it she attempted to climb half-way up that tree despite wearing a skirt and boots at the time. I can't somehow imagine Lady Eva or Varicose Vain doing that.

I smiled as I realised that perhaps I was beginning to like Claudia; but yet ... but yet ... I still harboured some doubts about her. This could all be an act, I thought. She, and all the others, are still on my suspects' list as far as Carro's and Maple's disappearances are concerned.

I pulled out of my pocket the note I had received earlier. 

"STOP PLAYING DETECTIVE - DETECTIVES DISAPPEAR !!!" it read in capital letters. It reminded me that someone had threatened me and that I was in danger. Perhaps I should confront Sir Ivor with it. Tell him that I came here as a guest to write his memoirs not to be killed for someone's pleasure.

I am too young to die. I will be too young tomorrow also. There are many things in life I have yet to accomplish. Like meeting Hamish Whittaker or growing a prize marrow. Hamish lives a few houses away in our village and I have often wished to have a cup of tea and a hamburger sandwich with him. But he is a recluse and speaks to no one. He also always wins first prize every year at the local horticultural show for growing the biggest marrow in the village. He never turns up; but sends his marrow on a wheelbarrow pushed by his wife Wilhelmina.  The only person to have ever seen him for the past ten years. There were even rumours at some time that Hamish and Wilhelmina are the same person. He, or she, is Hamish inside the house, and Wilhelmina when in public.

A loud knock at the door startled me out of my reverie. I put the note in my pocket. I grabbed the fire poker from the fireplace and opened the door. It was Varicose Vain.

"May I come in?" she asked, looking behind her to ensure she was not being followed.

She slid past me and entered the room before I could answer. What is it with these people entering my room without invitation as if they owned the place?

"I have to speak to you on a matter of utmost importance," she said with trepidation in her voice. Just as well, I thought. If trepidation was anywhere else we'd have some trouble on our hands.

I nodded silently.

"I just overheard the butler, Hugo Snob, saying to the cook, Etan Roadkill ... in the kitchen it was. I was going to the kitchen to ask someone for a cup of Darjeeling tea to calm my nerves. I am partial to Darjeeling. Better than Earl Grey don't you think? Not that I don't have Earl Grey at the appropriate time, of course ..."

"Varicose ..." I interrupted, "what is it you overheard the butler say?"

"Oh dear ..." she said with tears in her eyes, "I can hardly believe it ..." and she burst out crying. 

"Here ... sit down," I said trying to calm her down, "let me get you a glass of water!"

After she sipped a drop or two of water and had calmed down a bit she muttered, "I heard the butler say to the cook that the hearse will arrive as soon as the bridge was fixed. The flood cut us off the mainland; and in the meantime we should keep the body in the freezer!" and she burst out crying again.

(Now normally if this was a play on TV there would be a break here for the adverts, and for you to make a hot drink. But since this is the written word, you'd better sit tight and continue reading. I am as keen as you to find out what happens next).

"OK ... calm down Varicose," I said trying to soothe her, "remember, you are an actress of high-renown and you must not let on that you know anything about this. Act calmly as if nothing has happened. Play the role of a cool, calm and collected person that is not ruffled by anything around her. As you enter a room, just own the place in your mind. Be what you perhaps don't feel you are. That's what acting is all about; and you're good at it? Are you not?"

She smiled as she wiped a sniffle off her nose.

"Now," I continued, "you haven't told anyone else about this?"

She shook her head.

"Good," I went on, "tell no one else. Try to block it out of your mind and act as you have never acted before. Give them an Oscar winning performance. Cool, calm and collected. OK? And vigilant ... don't forget to be vigilant."

She nodded with a smile and left my room.

Now that's the second person to mention Etan Roadkill, I thought. Walter Dumnote had warned me of him moments earlier when he was here.

The situation is getting serious. Not only have we a threatening note aimed at me; but also a body in the freezer. Whose body? She said body not bodies. Did she hear it properly or is there only one person dead? Who, I wonder.

There was yet another knock at the door.

I picked up the fire poker again and opened the door. It was Etan Roadkill, the cook, still carrying a knife in his hand. My heart stopped beating for a moment or two. My brain told me to shout, "En garde!" and got ready for a sword fight - knife versus fire poker!

"Cum in ..." he said as he entered the room.

What's going on here? I thought. My bedroom has turned into a railway station with everyone coming and going as if they owned the place. Still gripping the fire poker and ready for action and prepared to fight this intruder.

He placed the knife on the side table, wiped his hands on the apron round his waist and said, "nought fault o'mine e' reddy deed e be!"

"What ... are ... you ... saying?" I said slowly hoping that he will repeat in a language we all understand.

"'E reddy deed e be!" he repeated.

"Yes, of course," I replied nervously, "I had a bee in the shower too. I thought it was a wasp, but Claudia told me it was a bee. I can't tell the difference ... haha ... you know what it's like? You've seen one stinger you've seen them all. Claudia said they get in her room when she showers too! I was really afraid it would sting me where I would rather not ... haha ... if you see what I mean?"

He looked me straight in the eye and said, "Stupid!" and stormed out of the room slamming the door behind him, leaving the knife on the side table.

Well, at least I understood his last word.

I wanted to clear my head before our evening meal in the dining room. So I went out in the gardens for a little walk alone. It was a pleasant evening, a little fresh for this time of year but at least it was not raining. I left the house by the front door and walked towards the landscaped gardens which many stately homes take pride in. Apparently, these ones had been designed some centuries ago by some famous garden landscape designer - forgot his name.

As I walked by the high well trimmed hedge, hiding the flower gardens behind it, I heard murmurs a few feet ahead and obviously out of my view. I thought nothing of it and continued walking ahead when I heard Claudia say, "Yes ... I like him, Ivor. And for the last time ... nothing happened in the mausoleum; not that it is any business of yours!"

I stopped dead. Not literally dead of course, otherwise I would not be able to recount this story. Let's say I stopped straight away and did not know what to do.

Make my presence known - that's stupid.

Run away - that's stupid too, in case I tripped or was heard escaping.

Stay still and wait - perhaps.

As I was assessing my options I saw Claudia run away towards the house; followed by Sir Ivor in a more sedate but brisk walk.

"Were they talking about me?" I asked, but got no answer as there was no one else there to answer.

That evening, after our meal together in the dining room, Sir Ivor Status addressed us all:

"Look folks ... the situation is rather serious. We have searched everywhere and there is no sign of either Hair-Cool Carro or poor Miss Maple Syrup. They seem to have vanished into thin air. The bridge over the river, our only link with the mainland has been swept away in the flood and the phone lines are down. We have no way of contacting the police or anyone else.

"I don't want to alarm you, but I think it would be a good idea if from now on no one is ever alone in the house or the grounds around it. I don't know how long we'll be here until we make contact with the rest of the world; but I advise that from now on we pair up and stay close to each other as a pair. This includes sleeping arrangements. I'll be with my wife, of course. The rest of you decide for yourselves. You can sleep in your rooms, the library or wherever you want. You have the run of the house. Just keep an eye on each other. See you in the morning. Good night!"



  1. Ah Victor! Your second and third-paragraphs so remind me of the late-great Princess Diana. Yes, I like Claudia very much.

    PS - Methinks Etan Roadkill needs to come with English subtitles. Whatever is he saying?

    1. Hi Mevely,

      I see what you mean. I am beginning to like Claudia very much too.

      As for Etan Roadkill, he said: nought fault o'mine e' reddy deed e be!

      Translated in English he said: It is no fault of mine. He was already dead.

      Who did he mean? Who is already dead? Hair-Cool Carro? Is that the body in the freezer that Varicose Vain overheard about? Or has someone else been killed?

      The mystery deepens and only two episodes to go.

      God bless you for your patience Mevely.

    2. Of course! Thanks for the translation, Victor ... you're better than Google was! :)

    3. Thank you for the great compliment, Mevely. Much appreciated.

      God bless you, my friend.

  2. A body? But do we really understand what Roadkill is saying? The plot thickens . . .
    Blessings, Victor!

    1. It seems from what he is saying that there is a body in the freezer, Martha. Another thing to investigate, I guess.

      God bless you.

  3. Replies
    1. Two more episodes to go Christine.

      God bless you.

  4. Thanks for the interpretation for Etan Roadkill's words! LOL The plot does indeed thicken!!

    1. Yes Terri. Now we have a body in the freezer. I hope he doesn't ruin the ice cream!

      God bless.

  5. I'm wondering if one of the missing people killed the other and put the body in the freezer and then high tailed it out of there.

    1. Aha ... Happyone. Is the trail getting cold? Or are we on the footsteps of the real culprit(s) here? Two more episodes ... and all will be revealed.

      God bless you my friend.

  6. I totally suspect the narrator. He's trying to throw us off!

    1. Don't blame me, Sandi. I don't even know what's going to happen next.

      God bless.



God bless you.