Thursday, 31 May 2018

Wot Oh Old Boy! Night Manoeuvres.











After the meal ended, every one stayed in the dining room talking and generally digesting what Sir Ivor had said. It is official, there was danger about and we were all vulnerable as well as being potential suspects. We should look after one another, both for mutual safety and for mutual suspicion. Anyone amongst us could be the next victim; and equally, any one amongst us could be the one responsible for the disappearance of Hair-Cool Carro and Miss Maple Syrup; and may well strike again.

I thought with some degree of amusement that it would be ironic if we paired up for safety, as Sir Ivor suggested, and one of us is paired with the actual murderer. Well, in those circumstances, either the murderer would not strike his pairee (is that what you call someone you have been paired with?) in case of being found out; or he would strike someone else to cause confusion. So being paired with the murderer might be the safest place to be after all, or is it?

As I sat in the corner of the dining room sipping my coffee slowly I noticed how alliances and allegiances were beginning to form. People were talking to each other in groups of two or four, including the staff, who had all been invited to the dinner room for mutual protection. I sat alone preferring to rely on my own protection. After all, as far as I knew, I was the only one to have received a threatening note; and it could have come from any of them.

I noticed that Claudia Armoff stayed well away from me; although I did notice her glance in my direction more than once.

At about half past midnight, as the big grand-father clock struck 12:33, Sir Ivor Status and his wife bid us goodnight and left for their room in the South Wing of the house.

I waited a few minutes more and slipped out without anyone noticing me and went to my room in the North Wing. I planned to stay wide awake, fire poker in hand, ready to fight all and sundry in defence of my life, honour and whatever else people fight for these days.

Being on guard duty must be very tiring because I soon dosed off.

At about twenty-two minutes past one o'clock, or 01:22 for those of you with digital clocks, there was a knock at the door.

I opened it slowly and carefully.

It was Claudia wearing a sheer see-through light pink negligent. (That's a négligée made in Britain).

She could of course have been wearing heavy cotton pyjamas, a knitted pull-over on top and a thick woollen overcoat. But that would have been inappropriate.

Now before you accuse me of all sorts of bad things, let me explain.

For those of you who are movie aficionados, you will have noticed that in murder mystery and horror films, the heroine is always young, beautiful and vulnerable. When she hears a noise in the middle of the night, she always gets out of bed wearing the flimsiest revealing underwear, regardless of the time of year and how cold it is. This somehow adds to the suspense of the story as well as providing a touch of excitement for the viewer. That's why Claudia, in this story,  just had to visit my room in her pink negligent. If it was Lady Eva Status-Too she would have been wearing a suit of armour to bed!

Another film stereotype scenario is that in bedroom scenes it is important to have a special L-shaped sheet that reaches the armpit level of the woman, but only the waist level of the man lying beside her. Apparently, watching male nipples is very suggestive in such scenes.

In similar manner, in most movies, after the hero has fought his way through hordes of baddies trying to kill him, he always ends up with just a scratch for a wound, and he always winces when the heroine tries to clean his wound. That is why I too winced a few times earlier on when Claudia tendered to my wounds after my fight with the wash basin.

Anyway ... to continue my story after your interruption. Claudia entered my room and said, "I have come to spend the night with you!"

"What?" I thought but did not speak.

"You know ..." she explained, "Sir Ivor suggested we all pair up for safety. So I've come to stay with you!"

"But ... but ..." I stammered, "this is not appropriate. I thought we were going to search Carro's room!"

"We are ..." she said, "but not in a suit and tie as you seem to be wearing. We should go in our PJs, so that if we are seen people would think nothing of it."

"You are not suggesting I change into my pyjamas?" I replied with a degree of incredulity.

"Either that, or we don't go to Carro's room. Now get changed," she commanded.

I got changed into a new set of pyjamas; not the pink ones, these ones were cerise coloured with teddy bears motifs throughout.

"Take off your shoes," she said, "you don't go to bed with your shoes on, do you? We'll go bare feet; it's more authentic."

I had to obey if we were to search for clues on Carro's disappearance in his room.

We tip-toed out of my room and along the long corridor leading to the grand staircase dividing the North Wing from the South Wing. We crossed over to the South Wing of this stately mansion into another long corridor identical to the one in the North Wing.

"This is Lady Eva's room," Claudia said as we passed a door on our left, "she sleeps like a log and will not hear anything. She also wears ear-muffs and blindfolds in bed!"

I nodded and said nothing. I was self-conscious of what the two of us were wearing at the time.

"This is my brother's room," she said pointing at Sir Ivor's door, "he is a light sleeper so we must be careful we make no noise!"

I nodded again as my stomach made a gurgling noise out of nervousness.

"Shhhh ..." she whispered as if to a horse, "keep quiet!"

"And this is where Hair-Cool Carro was staying," she said.

She opened the door slowly as it creaked whilst doing so. My stomach echoed with another gurgling sound.

"What's the matter with you?" she said, "can't you keep quiet?"

"It's that ... I have never done anything like this before," I muttered nervously.

"Exciting, isn't it?" she said enthusiastically, "it's like playing hide and seek when you are grown up!"

I said nothing and wished I had not initiated this venture. When I suggested searching Carro's room, little did I know that we would be doing it in our night clothes and bare feet.

"First, let us search for any clues that may have been left," she said bending down on all fours and looking underneath the bed. "When I was young, and played hide-and seek with Ivor, I used to hide under this bed," she said, "he never used to find me!"

She got up and started opening the drawers one by one to see if there was anything worth investigating. I felt a little guilty searching a man's belongings; but thankfully, Carro had not un-packed one thing; which in itself was rather a clue, I suppose. All the drawers contained things that the household usually placed there for their guests; like towels, extra bed sheets and blankets, toiletries and the like.

"Look in the wardrobe!" she said.

I hesitated and opened the cupboard. There was nothing except coat-hangers left there for the guests to use.

"This is Carro's suitcase," Claudia said, "shall we open it?"

"No ..." I replied firmly, "this is personal. We are hardly going to find a priest's hole in there!"

"Perhaps you're right," she said, "let's look for a priest's hole behind these panelled walls. I suggest I start from here, and you from there, and tap each panel gently to see if there's a difference in sound. A hollow sound means there's an aperture behind the wooden panel!"

I nodded and went to the far end of the room and started tapping each panel quietly and check for differences in sound.

Now let me advise you, in case you ever find yourself in such a situation of tapping panelled walls in the middle of the night with a woman in night clothes. Never ever do it in bare feet. You can do it wearing anything you want, or entirely naked if you wish, but never ever tap wooden panels in bare feet.

As I did so I stepped on a backgammon disc and the pain shot right up my leg and through my body. I think these discs, like Lego bricks, are relics of instruments of torture from the Spanish inquisition.

I picked up my hurt foot and started dancing up and down on one leg, until I collapsed backwards on the bed. Claudia came to my rescue as she sat beside me.

At this point, the door flung open, the lights went on, and Sir Ivor said, "What in Heaven's name is going on here? I thought we had an intruder at best, or at worst we had been invaded by giant mice!"

Before I could say anything, Claudia spoke first, "We thought we'd spend the night here," she said, "the bed here is much larger than the ones in our rooms! You said we should pair up together!"

He looked at me, and then at her, and said, "All right; do it quietly. I need some sleep!" and he left shutting the door behind him.

Claudia looked at me and burst out laughing un-controllably.

"Can you imagine what they'll all make of this in the morning?" she asked.



  1. This is quite a mystery and I look forward to it being solved.

    1. Yes, Happyone. So do I. Do you think we will find a priest's hole?

      God bless.

  2. Speaking of film stereotypes, have you begun mentally casting this assortment of souls? (It's a silly game I sometimes play when reading a really good book ...)

    1. Sometimes Mevely, when I write a book, I visualise the scenery and characters. But in most cases I actually "see" the words in my mind, not pictures. I see the sentences being written on a screen. It happens at the most inopportune times, like when in a taxi, on the bus, train etc ... and I have to stop and write the words before I forget them.

      For example, my Christian books feature a priest, Father Ignatius; yet I have no picture of him in my mind. Or a picture of any of the characters in this story. Except for Claudia, perhaps !!!

      God bless.

      P.S. I hope sometime you read some of my good books!

  3. Ditto Myra's comment above! Who are you casting?

    1. Anyone can volunteer for casting, Terri. I have yet to find a director. Do you think Spielberg is interested?

      God bless.

  4. It's a mystery how I have gotten so behind on reading this! I AM GOING TO CATCH UP!
    Blessings, My Friend!

    1. Hi Lulu,

      Hope you are keeping well. Thanx for visiting me again.

      There is a good possibility I'll publish this story as a book, Lulu.

      God bless.

  5. You should publish this as a book, Victor. I'm enjoying each and every installment. And I can't wait to see if Claudia and our hero really "pair" up. Lol!

    1. Thank you Martha for your kind and generous compliment. To think that this all started as a chance post some time ago and developed into a story in its own right. I hope to make it into a book - with a bit of tidying up and editing.

      Last episode soon.

      God bless you Martha.



God bless you.