Archive for November, 2013

The Last Temptation of Mrs Mann

November 14, 2013

Aaargh!

I awoke bright and early this morning, rolled over – and encountered the sleeping and dentureless face of Mrs Beattie Mann in my bed! She appeared to be wearing a pink frilly nighty, a hair net, and black woollen bed socks. I could see her teeth in a jar on the bedside table.

I leaped out of bed, and I was as usual naked – pyjamas are scientifically proven to be unhealthy. I was worried my unfettered Johnson would inflame her already volcanic libido, but she was still asleep, snoring gently from both ends.

I grabbed my dressing gown and retired to the bathroom to examine myself for damage. Thankfully, I found no teeth marks, but then I remembered the dentures, floating in that jar like a basking shark.

Was I really that drunk last night? Yes, of course I was, I usually am.

And to think I was saving myself – well, what’s left – for  the beauteous Japonica.

I ran a cold bath – hot water is rare in this Rectory – and submerged myself. Although I am not the resident of this house who needs a cold bath. After my icy bath, everything wrinkled including my immortal soul, I crept back to my bedroom. I peered in. It was empty.

I hastily dressed & slipped soundlessly downstairs. I could hear Mrs Mann in the kitchen, humming Flight of the Valkyries to herself as she poached eggs for the Reverend.  Despite my stealth training from the Kaolin Morphing Monks, she heard me and cooeed my name. My blood ran cold.

I’m a warrior, an Englishman, a patriot & a war hero. But I’m not ashamed to say I fled the house, not even a piece of toast to sustain me. I could not look in that woman’s eyes and see reflected the truth of what we had got up to in the night, I’ve seen that ecstasy & gratitude too often…

 

To be continued…
Sir Desmond Stirling’s
THE DEVIL TALKS THE HINDMOST
An eBook for the Kindle from Head Music
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Sunday

November 10, 2013
I have spent all day bewitched by memories of Japonica. The image of her lips clamped to the Tuba, cheeks inflated, will be with me forever. So, using my WWII experience, I have been staking out Gloomy Grange all day. The Squire rode out on his horse, but there no other activity. No sign of the beauteous Japonica either. Does that poor girl never leave the house? Is the Tuba her only release?
PS If anyone from my Club is reading this, could they return some videocassettes to the library please? They are…
Where Eagles Dare
Taxi Zum Clo
& Rosie Dixon Night Nurse.
There maybe be a fine to pay. Invoice my agent
To be continued…
Sir Desmond Stirling’s
THE DEVIL TALKS THE HINDMOST
An eBook for the Kindle from Head Music

My Evening at Gloomy Grange

November 8, 2013

I slipped out for my dinner appointment without informing my hosts of my destination, and made my way to Squire Hotspur’s house. Now, I’m no adherent of Feng Shui, but even I can see that calling your home Gloomy Grange could be somewhat self-fulfilling.

The front door had an impressive knocker in the shape of grimacing head of a tortoise. I rang the bell. A doom-laden dong clanged through the air. The door was opened by a hugely fat bald man. He looked at me, his raised eyebrow the only query. I introduced myself and squeezed past him. I assumed the big man with a neck thicker than his waist was the butler. I asked the impassive edifice his name.

‘Smith,’ he growled.

The weather outside had been damp and chilly with slivers of mist hanging in the air. But the inside of Gloomy Grange was even less inviting. I found myself in a large high-ceilinged vestibule, lit by candles.

Smith, the corpulent butler, led me silently through large set of doors into a vast lounge which was, thankfully, dominated by a log fire on which one could comfortably burn a witch or two.

The door shut behind me, and I was alone. A tray was laid out with a decanter of whisky so I gratefully helped myself. I examined my surroundings. It was a harsh room with little sign of luxury or comfort. The walls were festooned with the heads of stuffed animals, including a very impressive swordfish.

There were portraits too, presumably of ancestors of the current Squire, a succession of cruel-lipped aristocrats, their arrogance superciliously snatched from generation to generation, as indeed it should be.

One portrait particularly took my eye. The subject looked familiar.

Of course!

‘Sir Digby Hotspur,’ said a voice behind me. ‘My father.’

I spun around, possibly unwise at my age.

I held out my hand to Squire Max Hotspur who had somehow silently entered the room despite my finely-honed senses. He ignored my hand, instead walking up to the portrait of his father.

‘I was at school with him,’ I informed the Squire. ‘We called him ‘Bed-wetter Hotspur – can’t recall why.’

‘He was a great man,’ said the Squire, his eyes glued to the portrait. ‘I despised him.’

He looked at me. ‘So why are you here?’

‘You invited me to dinner.’

His mouth twitched, which I presumed, was a smile. ‘I mean why are you in Prentis Hancock?’

‘I was invited by my Cousin Septimus to give a talk. Ad I seem to be stuck here.

‘What do you mean?’

I explained about my experience on the train when I attempted to return to London.

The Squire barked a laugh. ‘Nonsense, you fell asleep and remained on the train when it returned here.’

‘I had wondered if that had been the case,’ I said. ‘ So why didn’t I just try the train the following day? Truth be told, I was intrigued by this village and all that was going on here.’

His eyes hardened, and they were hardly marshmallows to start with.

‘Return to London, Sir Desmond Stirling,’ Squire Hotspur said. ‘You’re not wanted here.’

‘Charming!’ I rejoindered with a smile. ‘If you knew how many autographs I’ve given since I arrived…’

He interrupted me.  ‘I think it’s time for dinner.’

‘Father?’

We both looked at the source of this new voice. My eyes widened as I gazed at the most stunning woman I had ever seen. Well, apart from my fourth wife, Simone, who doesn’t count as she was an ex-man.

The Squire approached the girl and placed his arms around her shoulders. She flinched slightly.

‘My only child, Japonica.’ The Squire introduced the young woman. She held out her hand to me, and I surprised her by kissing it.

The Squire continued. ‘Her mother died giving birth, but I’ve never held it against her.’

Japonica was a sultry girl, yet somehow child-like; sultry, but with frightened eyes; a Convent girl, but with a tang of gypsy; petite, but with massive embonpoints.

I wanted both to protect her from the big bad world which I sensed terrified her, and rip her knickers off with my teeth and smear her in marmite which I’d then scrape off with toast. And probably then have sex.

The sound of a gong shook the house.

‘Dinner!’ the Squire announced.

We ate a fine supper which comprised an immense and delicious roasted chunk of an unidentifiable animal, limbs of which the Squire gnawed at, flinging stripped-clean bones into the fire.

This was followed by a very nice trifle.

Japonica sat silently throughout dinner, nibbling delicately at her food.

After dinner we repaired to the living room. The Squire handed me a tureen of brandy and we sat by the fire.

‘Japonica,’ Squire Hotspur clicked his fingers at the daughter. ‘I think Sir Desmond would like some music’

Japonica nodded her head. ‘If you say so, Father.’

She slipped out of the room, and within minutes returned clutching a Tuba.

‘Play!’ ordered her father. Japonica kicked off her shoes, sank onto the anteater rug in front of the fire, and started to play.

The firelight gleamed reflectively off the Tuba as Japonica produced the sweetest sounds from the Tuba. I listened, enchanted, as she played a lilting tune which I soon recognised as the theme tune to Hancock’s Half Hour.

I glanced at her father. He sat with his eyes shut, his foot tapping along to the music. I too was swept up by the music, and sat back in a reverie, images of ‘The Lad Himself’ dancing in my head.

Japonica improvised beautifully, leading the melody into all sort of avenues that Wally Stott never dreamed of. But then something happened. The music stopped. There was silence. Japonica took a deep breath, her chest rising dramatically; she placed her lips seductively around the mouthpiece and played… the sinister opening notes of the Jaws theme.

The Squire’s eyes flicked open. He stared at his daughter with unalloyed fury.

The music turned darker, the stabbing notes erupting from the Tuba, Japonica’s cheeks puffing in and out like a hamster mocking one of its less intelligent companions.

The music became louder and more discordant. I broke into a sweat. I felt distressed as though I really was swimming in a dark sea watched by a bloody big fish.

Just as I felt I couldn’t take any more of that wretched music, Squire Hotspur stood up and flung his glass into the fire.

‘ENOUGH!’ he yelled. He stomped towards his daughter, grabbed the Tuba out of her mouth, and with superhuman strength, straightened it out until it was no more than inadequate plumbing.

He tossed it to one side and slapped his daughter on the legs.

‘Off to bed with you!’ he screamed. ‘Naughty child!’

She fled from the room, silent tears coursing down her face.

Squire Hotspur turned to me, grabbed the glass from my hand, and said, ‘I think you’d better leave, Stirling.’

‘Yes, well,’ I began, ‘It is getting late…’

‘I mean, leave Prentis Hancock,’ he said coldly, ‘Go back to London where you belong with your literary lunches and Tesco Metros and What’s On magazine,

He marched to the door, and without turning to look at me, said’ ‘Smith will see you out.’ And with that he was gone.

But I suspected I had not seen the last of him.

Smith did indeed frogmarch me out of the house. I called out ‘Thank you very much for having me,’ as I was pushed out of the front door, but answer came there none.

I walked home, pondering the strange evening, wondering if it had really happened. So was I going to try the train the next day? See if I could return to London and forget the past week or so in this strange village?

Ha! Not without trying my luck on Japonica! That poor girl must be desperate to escape. How could I leave without liberating her from her absolute shit of a father? Just think how grateful she’d be.

I returned to the Vicarage, and betook myself to bed, there to thoroughly debate my position re the divine Japonica.

To be continued…

Sir Desmond Stirling’s
THE DEVIL TALKS THE HINDMOST
Now available from Amazon UK
Amazon USA
An eBook for the Kindle from Head Music

Breakfast the morning after

November 7, 2013

Over breakfast, I asked Cousin Septimus about the chap on horseback whom I encountered yesterday. His face darkened and his brows furrowed.

Beattie Mann chipped in. ‘Oh, that sounds like the Squire’ she squealed. ‘A gorgeous slab of manhood he is too.’ I do find her libido unbecoming in a woman of her advanced age.

‘His name is Sir Max Hotspur,’ Cousin Septimus informed me. ‘A rogue, a gambler, and a heathen.’ See, I knew he was my sort of chap.

‘Mrs Mann continued. ‘He lives with his poor daughter up at the Grange.’

‘Dead too, are they?’ I asked, a twinkle in my eye. The left one.

‘We are all carrion in the eyes of the Lord,’ replied Cousin Septimus.

‘What’s poor about the daughter?’

Mrs Mann shrugged. No-one’s ever seen her.  ‘I was immediately intrigued.

‘I’d have nothing to with him,’ Cousin Septimus intoned. I said nothing, but started to look forward to dinner tonight with this mysterious Squire.

To be continued…

Sir Desmond Stirling’s
THE DEVIL TALKS THE HINDMOST
Now available from Amazon UK
Amazon USA
An eBook for the Kindle from Head Music

Yomp to Danger!

November 6, 2013

It was a beautiful day so I thought I would put on my boots and take a yomp over the surrounding countryside – see what was out there. A motorway, I trusted, and not a spooky void patrolled by armed angels.

I bumped in to Sgt Dick Green as I set off for my yomp this morning. He shook his head when I told him what I was planning to do. He told me that the terrain was dangerous. ‘But I’m dread already, apparently!’ I laughed.

Rum sort of heaven this, I thought to myself.

Very bleak countryside around Prentis Hancock, I must say. One half expected to be savaged by a huge fire-breathing dog guffaw

I yomped for quite several hours; time enough that would exhaust a man in less superb condition than I.

Ha! I laugh in the face of stitches.

I stopped to take a breath and a swig from my hipflask when I heard the sound of hoof beats. In the distance a man was galloping towards me. With a hard wrench on the reins, he tugged the horse to a halt. The rider stopped and stared at me, no smile of greeting on his face

He was a man in his 50s, good-looking, a strong jaw, hair of metallic grey, brutally cropped, cruel lips and heartless eyes. I liked him

He sat arrogantly up on his horse and sneered down at me. ‘Do you realise you are trespassing on private land?’ he growled at me.

His voice was pleasingly non-common. I held out my hand. ‘You must be God. My name’s Stirling. Sir Desmond Stirling.’

He barked, a harsh noise, jarring on the ears, which I realised was the nearest this man could get to a laugh. The eyes were unchanged

‘You’ve been listening to the feeble-minded yappings of the villagers, haven’t you?’ he sneered.

I shrugged. ‘No other entertainment there.’

The man starred at me, his eyes, narrowed, sizing me up. I think he was becoming aware I was his match, if not his better. I have this effect.

‘Come to dinner tomorrow night,’ he suddenly commanded. ‘Dress formal.’ He pointed to the north of the village. ‘I live there.’

He cracked his whip, tugged on the reins, & the horse veered back in the direction from whence he came. ‘Bring a bottle!’ he shouted over his shoulder, and he disappeared into the distance.

I was intrigued. Who was that impressive man?

I pondered for a moment, swigged the final dregs from my hipflask then set off back to the village. Perhaps answers were almost in my grasp?

To be continued…

Sir Desmond Stirling’s
THE DEVIL TALKS THE HINDMOST
Now available from Amazon UK
Amazon USA
An eBook for the Kindle from Head Music

My Visit To Cousin Septimus part 3

November 4, 2013

Day 3

I rose from my slumber this morning, determined to shake off the foolishness of last night. I dressed, packed & set off for the station. I retraced my steps back to where the station had been the day I arrived and…

of course the wretched station was exactly where it should be. Old Stirling had allowed the whisky and the adulation the previous evening to addle his usually first-class brain.

I hopped on the first London train, settled myself in 1st Class, unscrewed my hip flask, and gave myself a good finger-wagging!

I then settled myself down for a jolly good snooze. Be nice to sleep soundly without a sex-starved old lady pawing at one’s portcullis.

Later

I awoke to the sound of the guard bellowing that the train had reached its terminus. I alighted only to discover that I had arrived, not safely home in London, but back in Prentis Hancock.

Hmm… A veritable conundrum.

Was I asleep so deeply that I failed to disembark at London and have been brought back – like a badly-labelled parcel? Or am I doomed to spend the rest of eternity fighting off the antediluvian strumpet Mrs Mann? This dilemma requires a drink.

I betook myself to The Shaven Mound, perched my posterior atop a stool, and asked myself a pretty profound question – am I dead? And if so, is it a bad thing?

Admittedly, I’d expected Heaven to be less villagey and more sexy angels, fountains of champagne, and jolly reunions with Churchill and all the chaps.

I checked my pulse – yes, I still had one.

I was then joined in the pub by my new chum Sergeant Dick Green. He looked very well considering how much he’d drunk the previous night, and, obviously, that he was a corpse. Death obviously suits him.

I asked him if he believed all this nonsense about this being the afterlife, and if so, why did Heaven need Plod? The Sergeant was adamant that it was all true, that he died being shot by Dirk Bogarde, and that people were reassured by the presence of a copper, especially when they were newly arrived.

Personally, I think it’s all as rum as, well, this rum I am drinking.

I returned to the Vicarage. Mrs Mann was very pleased to see me back. She even jiggled her bosoms at me. Although they could’ve been her knees.

Later

Splendid supper of Duck a la Satsuma followed by Tapioca Brûlée. Who knew one would eat so well when dead?

The Next Day

Spent the day exploring Prentis Hancock. A small village surrounded by wild countryside. I would have hiked my way out in my younger days, but  even a chap in as supremely good nick as I – apart from being dead, that is – shouldn’t attempt such a thing at my age.

I haven’t seen any television sets either. Who would have thought that death would be so dull. Except, maybe, the atheists. Still, at least there’s whisky…

Tonight at dinner I will probe Cousin Septimus about my death. I’m astonished I didn’t notice it happening.

Later

I’m outraged! Over an excellent supper of Faggots Provencale followed by Bakewell Strumpet, Cousin Septimus told me how I’d died. He claims that I choked to death on a pikelet! Ludicrous! My demise would’ve been far more spectacular than that – it was foretold by a gypsy I encountered in a caravan in Rustington.

I know full well that I would’ve met my maker a) in battle (b) during sex or (c) from alcohol poisoning. Pikelets, my arse!

Sunday

I decided this morning to watch Cousin Septimus at work, so sat in on one of his services at St Dolores -at the back of course for easy escape. He’s a fiery vicar, all brimstone and frothing at the mouth. Seemed a tad unnecessary when the whole congregation is allegedly dead already. Who would have thought a spindly old chap could roar like that? It was as surprising as when I discovered darling Esma Cannon was a champion shot-putter.

Mrs Mann kept jumping up and shouting ‘Hallelujah!’ Of course, he may have paid her to do that.

After the service, I congratulated Cousin Septimus on such a vivid performance. A towel around his neck to mop up the sweat, he winked and said I wasn’t the only show-off in the family. I wasn’t sure to whom he was referring.

To Be Continued…

Sir Desmond Stirling’s
THE DEVIL TALKS THE HINDMOST
Now available from Amazon UK
Amazon USA
An eBook for the Kindle from Head Music

My visit to Cousin Septimus part 2

November 1, 2013

So, Hallowe’en. The day on which, traditionally, I would send children around to knock on doors and threaten people if they didn’t buy my book.

I awoke to find Mrs Mann asleep outside my bedroom, her fingers bleeding from clawing at my door. I booted her gently awake and she scuttled off to make breakfast. Cousin Septimus, apparently, was off performing Matins, but would be back soon.

Mrs Mann rustled up a splendid breakfast of Black Pudding Omelette & Toast a la Dripping. If she could only quench the raging hormones, she’d make someone a splendid housekeeper. Someone else, apart from Cousin Septimus, that is.

I then took my leisure at stool, followed by a brisk walk around the village of Prentis Hancock. I have experienced livelier villages than this. But it’s pleasing lacking in many of the irksomenesses of modern life: blaring pop ‘music’, spitting youths, charity collectors (except for poppy sellers), prams the size of Sherman tanks, feral children…

Come to think of it, I haven’t seen one child here. Is this Heaven?

I shared a liquid lunch with my new chum Sgt Dixon. I asked him about the local crime rate. He says there is none. Not even a single indecent exposure. Odd, as the climate seems particularly suitable.

‘What about the local urchins?’ I asked. Scrumping must be rife. He just gave me a puzzled look.

I enjoyed a post-lunch snooze. Even the sound of Mrs Mann purring outside my bedroom door didn’t disturb me. Well, it didn’t keep me awake, anyway.

Now, I have to gird my loins for my talk to the good burghers of Prentis Hancock. They must be so excited, not to mention privileged.

Later

Not a bad house for my talk. All rather elderly. Still the village hall is draughty which should keep them awake. As well as my wisdom. A shame that there are no youth here today. I like to have keen young people in front of me, eager to lap up the outpourings of an older man.

Later

My talk went very well. Only 1 snore, 3 coughs & a very loud fart – all courtesy of Mrs Mann. Also, I signed 7 books, 5 of which were mine.

Later

Hmm, think I may be in a bit of trouble. Or I am the only sober person amongst a lot of drunks. Either way, it’s a disturbing experience.  We gathered after my talk so everyone could congratulate me on its excellence. I modestly accepted their admiration – and their drinks. I was saying how heavenly their village is, particularly in its lack of feral childen and surly youths.. At this Cousin Septimus giggled and said that it was because the village was Heaven. Literally.

‘That’s what I said,’ I replied.  ‘Only without the ghastly word literally.

‘Hadn’t I realised where I was?’ Cousin Septimus wheezed. I shook my head. He then informed me that I had died and was now in the Afterlife. I had guessed that Cousin Septimus was somewhat depleted in the marble department, but I hadn’t twigged just how doolally he actually was.

I nodded politely and said I’d be getting the first train home in the AM. I’d rather be surrounded by lunatics from the comfort of my own bed. At this, Cousin Septimus sniggered again & said there was no going back now, I was here for the duration. Or eternity. Whichever was longer.

I was still surrounded by some of the locals and they were all laughing, but not at Cousin Septimus, rather at me. It seemed he wasn’t alone in his pottiness.

Now, no one can accuse me of cowardice – my war record clearly demonstrates that – but I decided that scarpering was the better part of valour. I hithered myself to the local station. Even if there wasn’t a train that night I could check the times of the first one in the morning.

This is where I begin to doubt my own sanity. Or at the very least how much whisky I’ve imbibed tonight…

The station wasn’t there!

I am convinced I went to the correct location – my sense of direction is excellent. But all I found was a field.

So what the hell is going on? Am I as Cousin Septimus implied a goner? Is this the Afterlife? Am I doomed to be in Prentis Hancock forever?

Or Is Cousin Septimus a lunatic and yours truly pissed?

Fie! Bugger it all, I am going back to bed. I will laugh about this in the morning when I am sober and on the train back to London.

And woe betide Mrs Beattie Mann if she tries any of her lascivious tricks. I will let slip my dog of war – that’ll scare her off. Usually does.

To Be Continued…

Sir Desmond Stirling’s
THE DEVIL TALKS THE HINDMOST
Now available from Amazon UK
Amazon USA
An eBook for the Kindle from Head Music