Satan’s Claws Are Coming To Town chapter 4

Chapter 4

We were led through a vast vestibule with the expected accoutrements – suits of armour, disembodied heads of livestock, stocks (presumably for the humiliation of disobedient servants, I noted approvingly), a large Swastika flag flying over the staircase; a stuffed native of some Godforsaken part of the Empire, a full-size crucifix with an extraordinarily life-like Christ hanging from it…

‘Left-footers, eh?’ I whispered to Goosey. He shrugged. ‘Not as far as I know. Never seen them at church, but the gentry usually have their own chapel and parson.’

‘The Whizzer-Chips are known for having progressive beliefs,’ said Wimpybar.

That sounded alarming. I hoped we weren’t going to be expected to sacrifice a small animal – unless it was a goose, of course – or dance around a maypole.

Spambot the butler showed us into a small room. There were coat hooks on the wall and hangers. It remined me of the rugby changing room at school only without the pungent aroma of soiled jockstrap. Oh, how I miss those days.

‘Do the Sirs require a member of staff to help them undress?’ the ancient butler gasped.

‘I think we’re all capable of doing that unaided by this age, thank you, Spambot,’ said Goosey.

‘Very well, Reverend.’ Spambot clapped his hands and a pair of twin girls, possibly Philippino, maybe Thai, approximately 20 years old, maybe 21, appeared at his side.  ’You will not be needed, girls, back to your duties.’ They giggled, bowed and left.

I was convinced I heard Wimpybar say something under his breath. Was it ‘Damn?’

Goosey, with an enthusiasm I found mildly distasteful, proceed to divest himself of clothes. He didn’t bother to hang anything up, and within a few seconds he was naked, surrounded by a moat of ecclesiastical garments and underpants. It would be unseemly to describe a man of God in his state of nudity; let’s just say if we are all born in the image of God, the god in question was Buddha. I had often seen Goosey in a similar state of undress many times in the trenches when we had convinced him it was safer for him to deliver despatches in the nude, the colour of flesh being less noticeable to the Bosch through their binoculars. He never found out we were joshing him!

Goosey had kept his socks on and I wondered if this was allowed. Verrucae are, after all, a serious public health issue.

I quickly shed my apparel as did Wimpybar by my side. I glanced at him. Au naturel, he was much as to be expected. Pink, not as tubby as I had assumed, hairless…nondescript in most ways, except…

I paused. ‘Except?’ urged Simon.

‘All I wish to say is that Dr Wimpybar was endowed in a way few men are. But most wish to be.’

Simon looked blank. Honestly, a stint in the army, preferably indulging in a particularly brutal war, would help that lad, cute as he may be, to grow up.

‘What do you mean, Uncle?’

There was no time to pussyfoot about. ‘Cove had a huge Johnson. Like a fire extinguisher.’

Within moments we were all three of us in state of complete and utter dishabille.

‘Now what?’ I asked. ‘Do we wait for that antediluvian butler to come and fetch us?’

‘We could die of old age ourselves waiting for that,’ barked an unfamiliar voice. ‘We’ll make our own way to the reception room.’

We all looked around. Somehow, we had missed a fourth person in the changing room.

‘Ah, Miss Lemon,’ said Goosey, holding out his hand. ‘May I introduce Charles, Viscount de Bourbon a Bisquit. And Doctor Greenford Wimpybar.’’

Our new acquaintance was an elderly lady, somewhat stout of figure, head tipped with a mop of uncontrollable grey hair – still covered with a woolly hat. She had more than chins than the Shanghai telephone directory, the lowest of which reclined on her mighty cleavage. Her vast breasts – even more impressive than Goosey’s – dangled either side of her. She had tucked them out of her way with her hands on her hips. Her overlapped stomach protected her modesty – her knees too, almost – and -you’re looking a bit green, Simon, is the heat getting too much?

She squinted at us. Her left eye gave me the impression that it may be false. I had begun to suspect she may be a tad eccentric.

‘Miss Lemon?’ asked Wimpybar. ‘Miss Diabeticia Lemon? The clairvoyant.’

‘I knew you were going to ask me that?’ she said and roared with laughter.

‘She always says that,’ explained Goosey. ‘It’s her joke.’

‘Merry Christmas, gents! Call me Bitter, everyone does. Follow me!’ and she marched out of the small room, buttocks shuddering like skittish piglets.

No, fear not, Simon, I won’t say any more about her backside. Suffice to say, we could tell she had cycled to lunch today.

A short while later, we had all convened in the reception room. There were eight of us including our esteemed hosts, all as nude as the day we were born. Fortunately, there was a roaring fire in the hearth so no chance of goose pimples. Goosey had already had a mishap with pine needles as he walked past the vast Christmas tree in the vestibule. Miss Lemon had bravely volunteered to remove them without even a pair of tweezers to aid her.

Aside from ourselves and Miss Lemon, the only other guests seemed to be a rather mousey couple, Dr and Mrs Petty. He was, I gathered, a local GP, only invited because Sir Dicky Whizzer-Chips was, by all accounts, a bit of a hypochondriac. Mrs Petty reeked of social-climbing and was prepared to bare her meagre wares in public, despite her obvious discomfort (judging by the way she hid behind her weedy husband) at so exposing herself, in order to say she had dined with the aristocracy. Neither had much to say so, aside from my customary good manners, I dismissed them as of little consequence.

Our hosts were a fascinating pair. Sir Dickie Whizzer-Chips was an amiable old chap, about seventy years of age, walrus-moustached with matching short-and-curlies, a wig of an unconvincing nature perched on the summit of his pate. His wife, Lady Fistula, was petite but what she lacked in height she more than made up for in clockweights – although not literally, that was visible to all. She wore the trousers in that household, I guessed, well, if she ever actually wore anything at all. She sized us all up with her shrewd eyes, embraced Miss Lemon which I thought frightfully brave of her as she could so easily have gone AWOL in that cleavage; patted Goosey on the posterior; shook hands very firmly with yours truly; ignored the Pettys; then to my surprise grabbed Wimpybar by the elbow and led him away. They proceeded to chat very animatedly about something. I tried to earwig, but Miss Lemon drowned out any chance of that with her raucous slurping of the champagne we had just been proffered.

Lunch was an excellent twelve-course affair, from smoked salmon to caviar kedgeree to tripe mousse to kipper cocktail. The highlight was a six-bird joint; starting with a sparrow inside a wren inside a duck inside a capon inside a goose, the whole lot stuffed inside an emu. Eventually, bloated to point of heaving, we cried no more until Spambot the butler presented a flaming Christmas pud. Luckily the old boy had little hair, either on his head or around the orchestras, otherwise it would have whooshed up in smoke when he staggered under the weight of the mucilaginous dessert at one point.

The Pettys only managed a pitiful spoonful each, and even I had to decline a second helping, but the pud was soon demolished by Goosey and Miss Lemon. The former had visibly ballooned throughout the repast to the point where I worried even his socks might fly off, whereas Miss Lemon had made space by constantly and noisily breaking wind during the meal. Most of us were too well-brought up to acknowledge the noises or aroma of her anal ejaculations, but Mrs Petty betrayed her lower middle-class origins by visibly wincing and holding a handkerchief to her nose.

Lunch finished and replete to the point of nausea, we were led to the lounge where we had been promised ‘a little show.’ I was, I admit, somewhat overwhelmed with apprehension about my imminent demise, but would never have been so common as to reveal my feelings. We all sat on sofas and armchairs which were swathed in washable towelette covers.

Wimpybar sat next to me on the sofa and hissed,’ Where’s the Reverend?’ I peered around. Goosey had vanished. I shrugged.’ Little boy’s room, one presumes. Wouldn’t mind an hour or so in there myself.’ Wimpybar looked worried. ‘’Perhaps I’ll go and check,’ he started to say, when darling Lady Fistula stood up to make an announcement.

‘We have a surprise for you,’ she said, loudly. ‘It’s an old Whizzer-Chips tradition that after lunch the children should regale us with Yuletide-themed play to remind us all what we are celebrating today.’

‘What children?’ I asked.

She shrugged. ‘Grandchildren, I expect. I’m never too sure where they come from.’

‘Why weren’t they at lunch?’

Sir Dickie leaned over to me and whispered, ‘’Watching children eat makes Lady Fistula very angry indeed. We didn’t sit at table with our own children until their respective 21st birthday parties.’

Lady Fistula shushed us, clapped her hands and said, ‘And so please give a big hand for the Vicar who has staged this little tableau.  And Sir Dickie, don’t snore!’

During this speech Spambot had hauled with a difficulty a large and rather gaudy chair and placed it just behind where Lady Fistula stood.

I decided to leave. If there were to be children present, I wouldn’t want them witnessing my no doubt grisly death. Such innocent little things. I made to stand… But Wimpybar put a firm hand on my arm and stopped me. ‘Not yet,’ he muttered under his breath.

Goosey appeared, still naked except for a tea towel wrapped around his head.

‘Hello everybody,’ he announced, ‘The children will now perform a little piece, written and directed by myself of that most heart-warming of Christmas stories from the Bible… The Slaughter of the Innocents!’

We applauded.

‘Oh, and I take the role of Herod,’ he suddenly remembered. ‘Hence…’ he pointed the tea towel.

He sat down on the large chair. ‘This is my throne’ he explained quietly, then raised his voice. ‘I am King Herod,’ he announced in a voice usually served for the Demon King in panto.

A young lad appeared, clothed in what appeared to be a dressing gown and, like Goosey, his head adorned by a tea towel. ‘Your Majesty, Three Wise men from the East are at the door asking for directions.’

‘Bring them forth!’

There more young boys appeared, draped in curtains, wearing cardboard crowns on their heads.

‘Your Majesty,’ they chanted in unison. ‘We are Three Wise Men from The East. We seek the young king.’

‘You’re looking at him,’ replied Goosey.

‘No, this one’s a babby apparently,’ they said. ‘A bright star has led us here to find the new King of the Jews.’

‘That can’t be right,’ said Herod, scratching his chin. ‘After all, I’m the King of the Jews, the Jewish VIP.’

Goosey held his hand to hide his mouth from the Wise Men and said to us, the audience, ‘Methinks I had better find out more.’

I have to admit, despite my sense of imminent doom, I was rather gripped. Who knew Goosey had such literary skills?

Herod then told the Wise Men to go and find this little king and then come back and tell him where he was so that Herod too could pay homage.

The Wise men pretended to walk for a long way, while a ‘Mary’ and ‘Joseph set up their manger, along with a doll for the baby Jesus. The Wise men stopped, bowed to the manger and said,’ Hail, King of the Jews. We bring presents.’ Gift having been exchanged, the Wise Men said they were nipping back to tell old Herod all about the baby. As they returned in the direction of Goosey, Joseph said to Mary, ‘I don’t like the sound of that, old girl, quick, let’s scarper!’ They picked up their manger and left the stage.

Meanwhile, the Wise Men were blabbing to Herod about all they had seen, the big-mouthed buffoons. Herod pretended to be enthusiastic, but his side scowls at the audience revealed his true feelings. Once the Wise Men had buggered off, Herod summoned a soldier.

I have to say these children were marvellously convincing. How they remembered their lines and where to move, I just don’t know.

Herod said to the soldier, ‘I want all kiddies under two years old slain.’ Goosey drew a finger across his throat and gurgled. The old red stuff ran cold, I can tell you. ‘Pronto!’

We in the audience booed. Miss Lemon chucked a tangerine at Goosey and missed.

And this was the point when the play turned somewhat strange.

Some small girls came out carrying dolls, followed by boys dressed as soldiers. The boys started to grab the dolls and wrench them apart. Someone had been busy as the dolls were full of unmentionable goo and oomskah which seeped out all over the shop. One small boy even wrenched a doll’s head off with his bare teeth, while a different lad karate chopped another doll in half. The little girls started to fight back, kicking and scratching at the boys. It was all frightfully realistic, the sort of avant-garde nonsense the French get up to. But very rapidly the violence escalated. The ersatz gore got messier, the biting and scratching became more brutal, it was hard to tell which blood was real and which fake. It played havoc with the carpets which would displease Lady Fistula I was sure.

And in the middle of this carnage, Goosey sat on his throne, a broad grin on his face, rubbing his hands with glee. He seemed to be muttering something under his breath.

I stared around at my fellow audience. Eyes wide, jaws dropped, they all seemed to be a in a trance. The Mrs Petty broke the spell by projectile vomiting. She splattered some of the children who promptly ceased their carnage, gaped at each other and burst into tears.

Instantly, the adults snapped out of their hypnotic state. Lady Fistula began to mop the children down with a hanky, Sir Dickie poured himself a whisky, Mrs Petty burst into agitated tears while her husband tried ineffectively to soothe her. Didn’t the silly man know you were supposed to wallop a hysterical woman?

Only Miss Lemon seemed to be way with the fairies still. Wimpybar grabbed her by the shoulder and shook her. Everything shuddered downwards and up again like a tsunami of flesh. ‘Tell me, woman, what are you receiving?’

I didn’t hear her response, but Wimpybar looked grimly satisfied like a chap who’s managed, against the odds, to complete sexual congress with an ugly lass.

‘Never fear, Petty!’ bellowed Wimpybar, pushing the diminutive quack back onto the sofa. ‘I am a fully qualified physician, I will deal with your good wife. And you can assist me, Viscount!’ With that, Wimpybar grabs me rather roughly by the elbow and drags me out of the lounge with him before I can protest.

In the hallway, I snatched my elbow away from the uncouth ruffian. ‘What on Earth…?’ I began, until he placed his index finger on my lips. Oh dear, I thought, fellow’s a Dorothy Perkins.

Spambot was in the hallway dusting a bust of Mussolini. He pointed at a small door which we assumed led to a lavatory, and so we pushed Mrs Petty into it.

‘What do you mean ‘qualified physician?’,’ I continued, ‘You’re not a proper doctor.’

‘I needed a few moments alone with you,’ he said urgently. I was very mindful of his colossal ding-wallace pressing against my thigh.

‘Now look here. Wimpybar, live and let live and I have been in the army, but you’re barking up the wrong tree if you think…’

‘Shh!’ he said and listened carefully. All we could hear was the sound of Mrs Petty wasting a perfectly good Christmas lunch down the lavatory.

The next course of refreshments was waiting to be taken in by the maids: Coffee pots, cups, jugs of steaming milk, a box of Quality Street and a tray of crackers – Harrods, I presumed.

‘Have you finally accepted that you are doomed?’ he asked me.

I wanted to say that it was all ridiculous and of course I didn’t believe any such delusory gobbledygook… but at that moment I realised that I did believe it, every ludicrous word, and was frankly, in a dreadful funk about it. Wimpybar was obviously convinced it was true and… one just accepts the word of a chap with such an immense Captain Standish.

Wimpybar smiled grimly. ‘At last! And would you like me to save you?’

I gasped. ‘But I thought you had spun the curse on me in the first place.’

His eyebrow whizzed heavenwards. ‘I?’ He laughed, a sound I found annoying and curiously reassuring at the same time. ‘I, my dear Viscount , am on the side of the Angels. ‘

I grabbed him by what should have been the lapels, but in our state of dishabille were actually his nipples. He winced.

‘Sorry. But how can you save me?’

‘Have you brought the parchment with you?’

‘Of course. It’s in my jacket pocket.’

‘Fetch it! Now! And this is what I want you to do…’

‘What did he want you to do, Uncle?’

‘Not yet, Simon, I’ll tell you when the time is dramatically right.’





To hear Sir Desmond at work, go to


Tags: ChristmasChristmas ghost storyghostshorrorschooldaysstirlingwheatley


One Response to “Satan’s Claws Are Coming To Town chapter 4”

  1. Satan’s Claws Are Coming To Town chapter 3 | The Gospel According to Sir Desmond Stirling Says:

    […] of as an epistle to my apostles « Satan’s Claws Are Coming to Town chapter 2 Satan’s Claws Are Coming To Town chapter 4 […]

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