HE WHO DARES

18 Feb

BOOK TWO

NUMBER 13. 2. HE WHO DARES

Mrs Pat, coming home from her early morning constitutional bumped into Jake the “End is nigh” man. “Like my new notice? Mrs Pat?” he cried. Mrs Pat tapped him on the shoulder and whispered something in his ear. Jake looked down at his brand new notice and was ashamed. Mrs Pat told him not to worry and, taking a magic marker from her pocket, crossed the T from the message which had read The End is NIght. Jake thanks her with a nod and Mrs Pat turned the corner into Hymers Crescent.  

Only to find Mrs Prudhomme standing outside her gate.

“Hail to thee, brave guardian of the gate” announced Pat with a flourish.

Mrs Prudhomme who had been prepared to give one of her lectures was thrown a little by this greeting.

“I beg your pardon?” she said

Mrs Pat stopped flourishing

“I said Hail to thee, Guardian of the gAte, It seemed appropriate,” she said, ” However it is a beautiful day. I see your shoulder is not feeling too good this morning”

Mr Prudhomme ignored this and got back into her stride

“I see you still have that young man with you,” she said

“Oh Garth, Yes, the dear boy is staying with us for a while – temporarily you understand”

Mrs Prudhomme have a grunt

“I feel extremely uneasy,” she said, ” having a common criminal right here on my doorstep. However, I have taken steps to ensure that my property is secure”

Mrs Pat was nonplussed. “What steps”

“A method that has proved effective for generations”

“Oh, gracious me” replied Pat ” You mean… a moat?”

Puomme humphed and shook her head “Don’t be ridiculous”

“No, that would be ridiculous,” agreed Pat, “ It would involve far too much digging. A Portcullis?”

Mrs Prudhomme did not appreciate her levity. She informed her that Mr Prudhomme would be arriving shortly with the solution to the problem.

 “They don’t call us the bulldog breed for nothing. An Englishman’s home is his castle and we shall not be taking prisoners” she announced.

Mrs Pat was overwhelmed by this flow of borrowed rhetoric.

“Gung Ho, Mrs Prudhomme” she said and went in.

Mrs Prudhomme rubbed her shoulder.

When Pat arrived inside, she popped into the Waiting room to see what was happening there. There was only Drusilla cross legged on her mat in her chanting position. The Colonel was sitting at the table, doing his pools and also chanting… the names of the various football clubs

“Geelong Wonneroo.”

Drusilla took up the words in her chant.

 “Geelong Wonneroo, what beautiful words. Ancient, Mystical, They draw me” she said

The colonel heard her and picked up on her chant”Did you say it drew you? The name Geelong Wonneroo.”

“Oh yes, said Drusilla “They drew me into a sense of equal space”

“Well, that’s good enough for me. But how about Nunawading and Croyden?”

Drusilla shut her eyes and thought for a second.” Nothing,” she said. 

She came out of her trance, blinking. “What are you doing colonel?”

“Australian Pools. Not much form, Especially since Wonneroo sold their star forward to W.T.Birkella”.

Drusella resented the fact that the Colonel  had used her serious work to make a bet and she told him so.

“A grown-up, intelligent sophisticated man of the world. frittering is hours away on such rubbish”

Deeply flattered by her assessment of him and agreed. Frippery, he said all frippery”

And he tore up the coupon and flung the pieces into the air. It fell to his head like snow.

Drusilla was ecstatic and the result of her trickery.

“Oh Colonel, you’ve made me very happy.”

“Delighted to hear it.”

And he took out of his pocket a copy of the coupon and began to fill it in, as Pat entered.

“I have two questions for you my honoured companions.”

“What day is it? and wheres breakfast? Which one would you like first”

The Colonel and Drusilla looked at each other.

“Whose turn is it?” continued Mrs Pat.

The Colonel began

” I refuse to answer on the grounds that I should be in the kitchen cooking breakfast.”

The Colonel tucked his precious papers back into his pocket and took to his feet, preparing to go and do his duty.

He was on his way out when Garth appeared with a big tray which he placed on the table. saying “Breakfast is served”

The Colonel was delighted to see that Garth was still around. Drusilla asked him when he was likely to leave.

Garth replied that he would stay as long as Mr s Pat required him

He put down a bowl of Bran for Mrs Pat.

“Does you good” he said. 

Mrs Pat laughed  “Leave it all behind man. Better an empty house than a bad tenant”

“Fior the Princess,” he said, A bowl of processed wood chips and a grand old brew of rosehip tea. “

He made a face as he said that. Drusilla was n’t sure what to say. She liked being called Princess and the muesli he had created for her was ideal. So not knowing what to say. she said politely “Thank Garth”

He was delighted she had remembered his name.

“For the Colonel” he went on” my piece of resistance. Garth’s own special recipe Kedgeree loved by all, all the boys loved it..”

The Colonel was amazed. “That’s brilliant, how did you know what we would all have?”

“My special psychic powers Colonel. I stood in the kitchen, shut my eyes and made my mind a blank. When I opened my eyes, there it was shining in front of me”

Drusilla was becoming excited. Maybe Mrs Pat was correct about Garth.

“What exactly did you see?” she asked.

“List over the stove. Fridays breakfast. One more thing to bring”

“Mrs Pat’s toast, two pieces of lightly done granary. Honey on the side.”

“Well done Garth,” said Mrs P.

“I’m a real little treasure aren’t I?” said Garth.

The Colonel had started on his kedgeree and named it “Delicious”

Drusilla asked “Have you had a lot of catering experience, Garth?

He nodded.

“Interesting, and we are so lucky to have you. Why did you leave your previous engagement.” said the Colonel

Garth gave himself a second of thinking time

“The job sort of finished”he said.

  “How long did you stay there?”

“Garth smiled “Six months Colonel. I got three months off for ….”

Mrs Pat interrupted “Never burning the chips.”

“Correct,” cried Garth, “Mrs Pat you must be psychic.”

Any further conversation was interrupted ted by the front doorbell

Garth leapt to his feet and went to answer the door.

As he passed Mrs Pat he blew on his fingers. She had saved his bacon. However,

But when Garth opened the door, he saw a large Policeman standing on the step. He slammed the door in the man’s face and leaned against the door, white and shaking.

He staggered into the waiting room.

Mrs Pat got to her feet “Whatever is the matter?”

Garth gasped “The filth”

“What filth? I mean I don’t believe in being super clean but the filth”

“On the doorstep.”

There was the sound of a dog barking.

 “OH how sweet,” said Drusilla, “i do love dogs.”

“It’s the fuzz,” said Garth.

“A funny name for a dog” 

“Whatever’s the matter, Garth?” said Mrs Pat.

“Old Bill” shouted Garth.”I’m out of here”and as the doorbell rang again, he dashed up the stairs to get away..

Mrs Pat opened the door.

She shouted upstairs to Garth “it’s only that nice policeman”

Edwin was a little confused by his reception but Mrs Pat made him at home immediately

 “Come in Constable, Do wipe your feet. I believe there’s some filth on the doorstep”

Mrs Pat laughed at her own joke. Edwin smiled as if he understood.

“Did you hear a dog barking?” she asked him

“Hear it? Nearly took my bleedin’ hand off. It’s chained to the birdbath in the garden next door, It’s a long chain, getting in the way of me on your path”

“Really,” said Mrs Pat “I never knew Mrs Prudhomme was an animal lover..”

“People hater, more like,” said Edwin and laughed at his own joke.

Mrs Pat smiled but “Poor woman. Her shoulder gives her so much pain”

She escorted him into the waiting room and introduced him to Drusilla and the Colonel

“Hello everyone. This is Bill – so lovely to see him again so soon”

The colonel said “Edwin”

“Yes, of course, I’m so forgetful these days.” said Mrs Pat. “Don’t know why I called you Bill”.

Drusilla assured Mrs Pat that she would explain later. 

“Thought I’d just pop in,” said Edwin,’Sorry to interrupt your breakfast”

Mrs Pat assured him it was no worry at all and suggested he sit down, take the weight off his feet. 

“Oh! they are painful aren’t they? I’ll get some tea. The kettle will be boiling”

Edwin looked for a suitable chair to sit in. As he sat, there was a muffled scream and Mrs Grampion jumped up. When she witnessed the uniform she put up her hands

“I’ll go quietly,” she said “It’s a fair cop”

Edwin was distressed that he had caused any kind of fuss. 

He apologised to Mrs Grampion who was still a little wary but had decided to accept  him as a person. rather than as a copper to arrest her.

Edwin sat on the sofa, and accepted the cup of tea offered by Mrs Pat

“You for tea?” she asked Mrs Grampion. 

“Thanks I’m fine “ was the reply as Mrs G opened another can of Special Brew. Mrs Pat nodded and went back to the kitchen

Frederick arrived in a smart suit, with hat and umbrella. Bade everyone good morning. Edwin leapt to his feet at the sight of a posh man. Frederick waved at him to sit down again, took off his hat and hung it up along with his umbrella. He went into the corner of the room and squatted on the floor. Edwin looked startled but didn’t like to say anything. Mrs Grampion took a slurp from her tin of beer..

“Bastards” shouted Federick.

Edwin, now totally disorientated spilt his tea. Ms Pat came in with another cup and a milk bottle.

“Oh, what’s happened,” she said”You spilt your tea. How lucky I poured you another cup”

She gave him another cup of tea.

“There’s milk in it already” said Edwin

“It’s not for your tea, it’s for your feet” laughed Mrs Pat.”You’re a silly Billy. Aren’t you? Silly Billy” she repeated and the Colonel laughed, 

Edwin looked puzzled.

“You don’t mind my calling you Bill?” said Mrs Pat.

“Not in the least,” said Edwin adding “But my name is Edwin”

“Somebody called you Bill,” said Mrs Pat. “Off with those boots. Your poor feet are so painful”

She took the cup and the milk bottle away and watched him divest himself of his heavy boots.

As she did she exclaimed “I think our policemen are wonderful. Don’t you agree, Frederick?”

Frederick replied “Bastards”

“Yes, I thought you’d say that”

Mrs Pat put the milk bottle on the floor and instructed Edwin to roll it under his foot.

That’ll be better, soon. Now, what can we do you for?”

Edwin “I wonder if I could interest you in the Policeman’s Ball.

Mrs Pat laughed,”Why do Policemen have bigger balls than firemen?”

“Well, I suppose they sell more tickets,” said Edwin seriously. The others all laughed.

“Well, I’m sure Garth would love to come – and Drusilla.”

Drusilla gave  protest “Well I don’t think”

“You’ll love it dear” said Mrs P “ I’ll take two tickets”

She looked at Mrs Grampion as if about to invite her.

Edwin hurriedly said “I’ll put you down for two tickets”

“Keep rolling Bill. Now the other foot.”

She moved the milk bottle from one foot and put it under the other. She began to massage his feet as he wrote in his notebook.

Garth came in

He saw Mrs Grampion downing her Special Brew, Frederick muttering to himself in the corner, The Policeman sitting with one bar foot being massaged by Pat and the other one rolling a milk bottle.

“Crikey,” he said “Message for Mrs Pat. Mrs Monson upstairs with Drusilla. Can’t remember why she’s here. Can you remember and talk to her”

He dashed out into the Hall, Mrs Pat caught him and asked what the matter 

He explained that it was the geezer in the waiting room. Old Bill”

Mrs Pat explained that his name was Edwin.

“He’s only the geezer what was responsible for my first spot of catering, isn’t he?”

“How should I know?”

Gath continues “I was only doing my bit for the environment. You’ve heard of unleaded petrol?”

“Yes”

“We

“Well, I was doing the same for the church roof. Know what I mean?”

Garth went to escort Mrs Monson who had popped in before breakfast for a bit of aromatherapy. She was happy to see him and took his hand to say goodbye. They both heard the noise of a dog barking. Garth escorted Mrs Monson down to her car, greeting the dog on the way so that he didn’t interfere with Mrs M. She was grateful and kissed him on the cheek.

**

At last, Edwin had gone off to work and Charles arrived dressed for the country and bearing a shotgun.

Garth was highly impressed by Charles country gear, complimented “Tasty Whistle”and asked if he’d been riding shotgun for the milk float.

Charles replied “See the whining Charlie, with his shotgun, creeping like a snail unwillingly to Yorkshire.

Garth translated. ‘As you Like it ‘He said

“Not a lot,” said Charles and goes into the Waiting Room. 

Mrs Grampian and Frederick are in there.

Mrs Grampian is back there and #Frederick grumbling in his corner. Mrs G is surprised to see Charlie properly dressed and with a rifle.

She asked him “Doin’ a job, Charlie?. Abbey National or Tescos?”

Charles looked at her with a glint of surprise and even more as she continued

“Tell you what Charlie. Saw a foot or two off the barrel. You’ll never get that under your raincoat. What you think Taff? Bit unwieldy innit?”

Edwin who had stopped rolling his feet and was putting on his shoes., 

“Extremely unwieldy. Hardly the standard length for an armed assault – in my opinion”

Charles laughed at himself not getting the joke.

“No, the weapon is not intended for mayhem of that nature. The glorious Twelfth approaches. I must hie me to the windswept moors of my native Yorkshire!”

“MM,” said Mrs G “Peasant shooting?”

Edwin ut in his tuppence “You mean pheasant ” he said

“Not the way them silly buggers shoot. Right, Charlie?’

Charles carefully explained”The Glorious Grouse, but yes the odd flesh wound has been known amongst the beaters.”

“Walkin’ wounded by the end of the week. I shouldn’t wonder.”

Mrs Grampian was well in her stride and was delighted when Frederick gave one of his customary shouts of “Bastards”

Mrs G grabbed the gun saying she’d always wanted a go.

Edwin quietly asked Charles whether the gun was loaded.

Charles laughed as watched as Mrs Grampian went into her Annie Oakley mode. The whole company began to enjoy the scene.

“pshew pshew. Yippee! a brace your grace. Fetch ’em Rover, bring ’em over. Blappo blappo”

Frederick shouted, “kill the bastards”.

Mrs G points the gun at the door just as Drusilla and Mrs Pat entered. Drusilla screamed and fainted.

Mrs G yelled happily “I gotta big one”

Charles snatched the gun away from her and helped Mrs Pat lie Drussilla down on the table.

Mrs G helped “Loosen her stays and light brown paper up her nose”

Mrs Pat quieted Mrs G down “Shut up. You’ve done enough damage as it is. Edwin smelling salts on the chimney-piece.”

As Drusilla revived Mrs Pat and Edwin escorted her out of the waiting room. 

Edwin had put on his shoes and was ready to leave. He bid Mrs Pat Goodbye. Mrs Pat put Drusilla on the couch in her Den and tended her there for a while. 

Garth, having made sure the copper had left the area, came downstairs.

He was about to go into the waiting room when he noticed something shining on the floor. He picked a jewelled brooch. He looked a the door and at the brooch. Wass about to put it in his pocket when Mrs Pat appeared. 

“What have you go there?” she asked.

Garth turns with a start “Its something I found on the floor.”

Mrs Pat asked to see it. She didn’t recognise it from somebody she knew. Oh, the things we find on the well-known floor. People are so absent-minded. Never mind. Pop it into the psychometry bowl”

Garth was floored by this reference.

Mrs Pat explained “Oh didn’t I tell you. We are doing psychometry this evening. You must join in. Its such fun- very useful for developing the third eye.”

Gath was still befuddled…

Pat laughed. “Psychic vibrations. We’ ll show you. You just pop it into the bowl with all the other things. You’ll recognise this straight away. Chinese people dancing round it.”

“I’d better go and make the coffee,” he said.

Pat watched him go with a sly smile.

Garth went to put the brooch in the large Chiese bowl filled with miscellaneous objects. He picked out one or two and looked at them. They were just items of jewellery, but there was also a sealed envelope which he picked up. As he did so, he registered a twinge of pain in his left shoulder. He looked at the front of the envelope, there was no address on it. He put the envelope down and the pain subsided. He picked it up again and the pain returned. He puts it down and the pain went away. He shook his head and left to make coffee.

When he brought it in Drusilla was back in the Waiting Room and looking less pale. Charles was looking abashed as having been the cause of the problem. The gun is beside the fireplace. They all fell upon the coffee and biscuits that Garth provided. 

Drusilla was outraged and was berating Charles. How could you bring that vile instrument into the house? Have you a sheath for it?

Mrs Gambpian put in an oar. “Wouldnt it dear. Not unless you sawed a couple of feet off…”

\Mrs Pat interrupted telling Charles it had been thoughtless of him.

Charles explained that the locks didn’t work on his car and he was afraid someone might steal the gun. His car is an old one a Bugatti 1927. 

“What did you need that awful thing for in the first place?”

“Its was a snip, Collectors car you know. got it for a song.”

“The Gun”

Charles had got his stutter back. Mrs Pat looked anxious.

“I’ve got to have. Look a bit of a p p prat walking around on my own shoot without one.”

“But destroying Gods own precious creatures.

“I don’t; I load it with b.blanks. Mr P Gs b.bag a few, but not many I keep them well laced with f.fire water. By the end of the morning, they cant see the end of the g g gun let alone the g g grouse.”

“Who are the PGs?” asked Mrs Pat.”

“Rich people. Americans, Japanese”

“Capitalist bastards!”

“Quite, but the d dosh come in useful. f.finances the local ABA”

They were not sure what this was Charles explained

“The Anti Bloodspots Association. I provide them with the dosh . Strictly underground, of course, Wouldn’t want it to get out.

“Why Not?”

“I’m Master of the Hunt. Hereditary position you understand. Embarrassing.”

“Never mind,” said Mrs Pat. You are doing your best. And not until the rest of mankind learn to love and respect their fellow creatures that peace and harmony will reign on this planet”

Her little homily brought a smile to their faces.

Until there was an explosion of noise from outside.

Barking and snarling from the dog, screams from Mrs Prudhomme “Help me” and “Mad Dog”

The Colonel came rushing in.

“Bit of a crisis next door,” he said. “Prudhomme, trapped on the doorstep”

The sound became more and more intense. The dog and Mrs Prudhomme outdoing each other in noise.

The Colonel shouted above the din

“Locked herself in, Savage Dog won’t let her down the path”

Drusilla Colonel and Charles rush out. Charles picks up his gun

“Is that thing loaded?” asked Mrs Pat

Charles said “Good god no. Just thought it might frighten the bugger.”

Mrs Pat looked at him as if to say something, then she decided against it. 

They all rushed into the garden, so see Garth leaning on the gate, watching the scene with interest and enjoyment. The dog is a very small corgi attached to the birdbath by a very long rope. It is now sitting peacefully in between the birdbath and the front step. Mrs Prudhomme is on the step, frozen with terror.As soon as she makes a move, the dog leaps to its feet and barks loudly. 

Drusilla was charmed “What a darling little dog,” she said.

Garth laughed. “It not a real dog it’s a fur-bearing cockroach”

Drusilla was annoyed “You are insensitive. I love dogs and dogs love me”

“Woof” Garth barked, suggestively. 

Mr Pat yelled “Ahoy Mrs Prudhomme. What’s the problem?”

Mrs Prudhomme “Trapped. That vicious creature won’t let me out and the front door is locked”

Mrs Pat suggested that Prudhomme should keep calm and just walkpast it. Pretend it wasn’t there.

She turned to the others “Shes under great personal stress you know”

Drusilla shouted. “Think green Mrs Prudhomme.” 

“Come along Mrs Prudhomme, “said Pat ” A small step for you, a great step for mankind”

Mrs Prudhomme took two steps forward. The dog ran at her like a shot from a gun and snarled at her. She was forced up closer still to the front door, screaming.

Garth laughed “She can really shift, that little begger”

Colonel suggested Mrs Prudhomme should give it a swift kick.

Mrs Pat shouted “Give it a gentle prod with your toe”

She tried it and the dog grabbed her foot. She tried to shake it off, but the dog hung on and gave it a shake. Luckily her shoe came off in its mouth. The dog immediately dropped the shoe and retired to the birdbath, happy with its work.

Mrs Pat asked why she didn’t go inside. and was told the door was locked and the keys were inside.

“Garth” said Mrs P. Nip round the back door”

“No way” shouted Mrs Prudhomme. “I won’t have that little crook in my house”

Garth turned to Mrs Pat and shrugged.

Drusilla came to the rescue “Let me speak to the dog. I have a way with animals. What’s the dog’s name Mrs Prudhomme?”

“How should I know?” shouted Prudhomme.

“Fang” suggested Garth.

“Don’t be silly,” said Drusilla.

Drusilla went into the garden, got herself into a supplicant position and approached the dog slowly,smiling.

Drusilla in a baby voice “Whos a sweet little doggie then. Come on, come to Dru. Nice little doggie”#

The dog rushed at her and snapped at her ankles. Drusilla screamed and rushed back. The Dog returned to the birdbath and awaited further developments.

“Horrible little thing,” said Drusilla.

“You’d not be much good at Buckingham Palace,” said the Colonel.

Mrs pat had another idea. quoting “Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast” 

“Breast,” said Charles, “Congreve”

“I was adapting,” said Mrs Pat. “I’m sure Congreve wouldn’t mind.”

Mrs Pat approached the dog bravely. The dog looked at her with its head on one side. She got about halfway down the garden and started to sing. This drove the dog wild, barking and snarling. Mrs Pat beat a hasty retreat back to safety.

“Not a music lover,” said Charles.

Mrs Pat had another idea. She took Garth aside and whispered to him. He went back to Mrs Pat’s garden and disappeared from sight.

The Colonel decided to take control

“What we need here are diversionary tactics. Charles, you take the left flank. Attract its atttention. Don’t let it see you are afraid. That’s the trick”‘

“Ho do you suggest I do that?” said Charles.

“Mind over matter. ” said Colonel “Ill take the right flank and rescue Mrs Prudhomme.”

Charles crept down the left side making silly noises and waving his gun.

The Dog regarded him with interest. Charles pointed his gun at the animal.

He goes “Bang”

 The dog looked at Charles with some interest. Colonel tiptoed down the other side Dog still regarding Charles. The Colonel gets halfway down the path when the dog turns suddenly and charges at him. The Colonel flees down the path back to safety. The dog returned to Mrs Prudhomme at the steps. looking really pleased with itself.

“Seems like we have a stalemate,” said the Colonel mopping his brow.

Mrs Prudhomme’s front door opened suddenly and revealing Garth.

All except Mrs Prudhomme applauded.

Mrs Prudhomme was furious “How did you get in, young man. The doors and windows are all bolted”

Garth grinned “Where there’s a will there’s a way Mrs Prudhomme”.

“How dare you break into my house”

“It’s the pain in her shoulder, ” said Mrs Pat nervously

“You know what they say,” said Garth “He who dares – wins. Your keys”

He throws the keys at Mrs Prudhomme.

Garth went over to the birdbath and removes the rope. The dog immediately came over to him wagging its tail and licked his hand. Garth picked up the dog and cuddled it as they all watch in astonishment. 

“What’s your name?” said Garth and put his ear to the dog.

“Let’s call you Rosie,” he said, “You are a good dog Rosie. He turns to the others.”

“Panic over. ladies and gents. ” He hands the dog to Mrs Prudhomme who backs away.

“Get that thing away from me. I got it to defend my property from villains like you.”

So saying, she turned on her heel and went into the house, slamming the door.

“Talk about gratitude,” said Garth

“Glad we didn’t have to use my back-up scheme,” said the Colonel

Mrs Pat was excited to know what 

“Thought of inserting a lead weight in its left ear. Make it lie down”

“How would you do that?” she asked

The Colonel gave a rin

“MY od service revolver” he said”

That remark brouight Drusilla into one of her rages.

They all looked at her for a minute

Then “What shall we do about Rose? said, Garth.

Mrs Pat declared it would lovely to adopt her.

Drusilla was even more distressed.

“She could terrify the patients,” she said

“What about you, your graceships?”

“Would worry the hounds?” said Charles

They were all surprised to see Edwin coming through the gate.

He went straight up to Garth and shook his hand.

“I saw everything. you did it right” he said.

Edwin turned to Pat “It’ll certainly put the fear of hell into the foxes around here. Good little watchdog. Give her to me. Mrs Pat. We law enforcers should stick together”

Garth handed her over, she immediately licked Edwin’s hand.

“Come along lovely. You can stick with me and the boys at the station.” 

They all went inside except Mrs Pat and Garth.

She hugged him “Very impressive. YOu certainly have a way with animals. The magic touch”

Garth looked at her, then at his hands, smells them

“Don’t half pong that tuff. Lucky old Prudie had it in her garden”. said, Garth.

Mrs Pat who had imagined some kind of psychic miracle.was disappointed.

Garth “Plus a touch of the language. We travelling folk remember the old ways. Cross my palm with silver, lady?”

Pat hugged him again,

Edwin complete with helmet came out of the house with Rosie in his arms

“What should I feed her on?”

Garth laughed “Mrs Prudhomme would be favourite. Failing that Ring Buck Palace”

Edwin tapped Garthon the shoulder. “Don’t know what wed have done without you.2

 He held his hand out to Garth who shook it vigorously with both of his.

“First time for me. Shakin hands with the longish arm of the law. Usually, it’s the other way round”

“Ever thought of joining the force boyo? We need blokes like you. Cheerio Mrs Pat

“Pop around any time. I’ll; have a go at your feet” she said.

Mrs Pat was about to go into the house when Garth stopped heer

“What is this psychometry lark?” he said.

Mrs P was glad that he was showing an interest. She explained that it was part of a diagnosis practice. The patient gives a piece of jewellery, or silver, all kinds of thing.

Garth gave a whistle “Sounds like a good racket” he said.

Mrs pat shook her head

“We can define the stresses and strains that people are not able to explain verbally. “

Garth gave up listening to Pat at this point. He wasn’t all THAT interested.

In the Waiting room, there was a gathering. Mrs G, Frederick and Charles. Charles was searching for something in the bookcase. Mrs Grampian was doing the Times Crossword.

She moans”Rotten day for me this morning. Went out to commit suicide and there was a train strike. Bloody London Transport”

“Bastards,” said Frederick

“My sentiments exactly”

Charles inquired why she should want to do a thing like that

“Well, I thought it might liven things up a bit. Wasn’t doing it in the Rush hour you understand.”

“Very considerate of you.”

“Yes, know what Pat says, kindness is all”

Mrs Pat and Garth came in

Pat looked around for the Colonel. He wasn’t there.

“Where was the Colonel going today, did you know”

Charles was the first to reply “He said he was going to see a man about a dog”

2Really?”

“Three horses”

Frederick spoke up “A Cricket match”

Mrs G finished off the list “A boxing tournament in Las Vegas”

Mrs Pat sighed “Oh the dear man, has such an active mind. Charles, what are you doing here? I thought you were going to Yorkshire”

Charles explained that the book she had lent him had disappeared.

She asked which book

“The one on how to improve your memory. I thought I left it in here.”

Wish I could find it, might jog my memory.

Mrs Pat declared that this was a waste of energy when he should be heading North.”

Mrs Gasked where he was heading. For.

“Thorngumbald Turn left at Pocklington and carryon till morning”

“Anywhere near Staples Corner?” asked Mrs G

Charles thought a while, then declared he might be able to make a detour.

Mrs G leapt to her feet, dropping the newspaper.

“Staples corner, here I come”

“What happens at Staples corner, Mrs G”

Mrs G “What doesn’t happen at Staples corner. Come on Charle. I’ll take care of the weapon.”

Mrs g left singing “When the summer comes again”

Pat joins in.

Charles says “Adieu till we meet again” and goes.

Frederick stands “Got to go. Tempus fugit”

“Going back to the House?”

No said Fred “Local picture house. Double Bill, Nightmare on Elm Street and Bambi”

He stuck twenty quid in the bowl. Looked hard at Garth. Garth gave him a radiant smile Fredrick chuckled put on his Freddie Kruger voice.

“You thought you’ escaped me, didn’t you Thumper?” and left.

“Wat a strange geezer, Is it possible to cure Turetts syndrome?”

Mrs Pat replied

“Erm it’s not that really, He gets fed up with his job. Its mostly shouting ou know. he’s got into the habit. 

“What is his job?”

“He’s a backbencher. He has to get angry and shout. He comes here to practise.”

Mrs Pat sat down.

o have some time to herself.

“Why don’t you have a little snooze, Garth? Prepare your mind for the psychometry tonight”

“I’ll try and make it a complete blank.”

he sat on the sofa and shut his eyes.

Pat went into the den. PUt the bowl in the centre of the table. She sat in her comfy chair, humming to herself.

“Think beautiful thoughts” she murmured to herself.

She smiled until suddenly she had a bad thought Something bad was happening..

Outside The Prudhomme’s house, Mrs Prudhomme came out with an overnight bag. Locked the door, putting the keys into her handbag. She looked up at her brand new burglar alarm which is high up on the wall away from the windows.

She walks down the path, reached the birdbath when she smiled and there was a twitch in her shoulder. She limped on to the gate. There was a car waiting for her. she got into the passenger seat. Before shutting the door, she looks again at her burglar alarm and gives a gleeful smile.

Mrs t, the Colonel, Garth and Drusilla were in a circle round the table. The Colonel had a pad in front of him and was wielding a pencil.

Drusilla stood and shut her eyes. She held out her left hand and Mrs Pat placed an object into it. Drusilla put her right hand over the object and the Colonel licked his pencil, prepared tow write down whatever she said.

“It’s very strong,” said Drusilla

She feels the object all over and continues

“headache, nausea, flashing colours, flashing red. anger, suppressed anger, somebody close, husband, wife, can’t communicate. Must be…

2″There was a long pause. The Colonel waited with pencil poised as Drusilla concentrated.

Garth in a loud whisper said, “Has she gone to sleep?”

Drusilla opened her eyes and snapped at Garth.”How could you GArth, you’ve ruined my concentration”

She threw the object down on the table.

“I can’t do any more” and she sat down

Mrs Pat was angry with Garth “That was very naughty. Drusilla dear, can you give any advice to the subject?”

Drusilla said s ulkikly “Think Green”

Garth could not resist 

“I knew a doctor once. Whatever was wrong with you, he gave you foot pow

Mrs Pat tried to keep the peace”Yes, she said, Some people say that if you treat the feet, you can cure the whole body”

Drusilla was tight-lipped “Why did you say that Garth?”

“Whatever’s wrong you say Think Green”

Drusilla snapped back “You are just a peasant”

“Sorry, Princess. NO offence meant”

Drusilla sneered,”That’s all right Gaeth. Plenty of offence taken”

Mrs Pat tried to calm down the atmosphere by changing the subject. She gave the Colonel an object.

“Ah, he said ” Beauty Sensitivity, race. it can only be Drusilla.”

Drujsillgave Garth a triumphant look. He cast his eyes to heaven.

Mrs Pat handed Drusilla a coat button

Drusilla stood and shut her eyes as before. She laughs.

“Red Hot. A man shouting in the corner.

All said, Frederick.

Garth “YOU can get all that from a coat button?

Mrs Pat handed the brooch to Gath

He copied that action of the others.

He giggled “I feel a right tit,” he said

“See what I mean,” said Drusilla “Hopeless”

“All right Princess, he said, 

Colonel says Think of the colour

Garth “Blue

Mrs Pat “Blue for hope” 

Drusilla “Some hopes”

Gath says. “Yes, hope and smiling, always smiling. I got it… Mrs M..what’s it.”

Drusilla looked surprised

Mrs Pa said “well done”

the Colonel joins in “That is staggering. IKt usually kes years of practice!”

Drusilla said, still suspicious. “How did you do it”

Mrs Pat pursed her lips and shook her head at Garth. He took the message and changed the subject

“Mrs Pat. Something is missing from the bowl”

“Rea.ly, what is it?

“The letrer. from Mrs :Prudhomme”

“Are you sure it was from her?”

Yes, of course, I saw it didn’t I? In the bowl”

Mrs Pat took the letter from her pocket

This one?

“Yeah,” said Garth.” that’s the one.”

Mrs Pat put the letter back in her p; ocket., and announced ti would now be her turn

Drusilla handed Mrs Pat the final object from the bowl.

“Ah now, she said, This is difficult. I must concentrate. Very quiet everyone. Not a word”

As she spoke there was an ear-shattering sound of the Burglar Alarm next door.

“Certainly rang a bell Mrs P” shouted Garth

“Gracious sakes, what is it?” she replied

“It’ll be Prodnoses new burglar alarm. I saw the bokes fitting it this afternoon”

Drusilla asked, “What does it mean?”

Garth suggested it might mean there was a burglar next door.

“Unless of course some swallow or some other creature; has bumped into it”

Drusilla was almost in tears at the thought.

“Or it could mean it’s just gone off at its own accord. Cos its nothing better to do. than interrupt our fun”

Mrs Pt shouted “Well if that’s the case it must be stopped. Garth would you go and case the drum or spin the joint ore whatever tit is you say on these occasions.2

Garth” No sooner said than done Ms P

Drusillas “Oh what does it sound like”

Mrs P “I believe its A flat. aha”

Pained expressions all round.

The Burglar alarm went on ringing for hour after hour.

Everybody was in an agony of blasted sound. Garth went along to Prudnose house, 

“Clean as a whistely2 he said. House is empty no burglars, Noo Mrs Prodnose, take my word for it.”

Drusilla said, “Shouldn’t we call the police?”

All right,” said Mrs P.” Garth, call in the cops, would you?

“It’s against my religion, Mrs Pat. Can’t bring myself to dial those three digits”

The Colonel suggested Garth should ring the fire brigade instead.

Mrs Pat volunteered in the end.

She dialled the number, retailing the information to the others as she did so.

“They’re putting me through,” she told them

Then into the phone “There’s a burglar alarm ringing in the house next door. 13 The Hymers Crescent. What is one supposed to do? (Ring the police). This is what I am doing”

She looked a the others with eyes raised to heaven. 

“Ring the keyholder? – oh, you’ve already rung her ( (next door complained as well) what happened? She’s out. 

Can you come and – Oh (not without permission of the keyholder). Did she leave a number (She didn’t) What about the installers? it was only installed today. (Not in their contract) Tell me, in your experience, what happens? (it just goes on ringing) Well, thank you for your help.

She hung up.”let us all join hands and try to contact. ..

.”Alexander Graham Bell.” said Garth

Another hour later. Mr Colonel was sitting reading, with enormous strings on cotton wool in his ears. Drusilla was listening to her walkman with earphone on and doing some strange eastern dancing. Mrs Pat was sitting, fuming and frustrated.

She yelled at the Colonel who can’t hear her. She pulled some of the cotton wool from one ear.”Where is Garth?” she cried.

“Gone out,” said the Colonel

“Local watering hole” and he took the cotton wool from Mrs pat and replaced it in his ear. He suggested Mrs Pat should follow his example.

“I do’;t see why I should stuff my ears in my own sitting room”

The Colonel smiled and said “What a good idea” having had no inkling of what she had just said.

She started to continue her useless conversation when the bell stopped.Mrs Pat went on shouting until she realised.

“Drusilla – its stopped ringing”

Drusilla carries on dancing.

“Drusilla”

Mr Pat removes her earphones

“The Burglar alarm has stopped”

Drusilla “Does that mean the Burglars have left?”

Mrs Pa “There never were any burglars. NOw we can open the window.

She went to the window and opened it wide.

Garden came diving through the window with a dramatic forward roll. SAS style. He is dressed in black with a balaclava helmet. He is carry a climbing rope.

“The Eagle has landed” he declaimed

“Well done Garth. I hope you didn’t do any damage”

“Don’t worry Mrs P. I just gave it a bit of a talking to. When Prudie gets back she won’t know the difference.”

“That’s good. Now I think we all deserve a cup of tea The kettle will be boiling.

The kettle whistled even before she had finished talking.

Mrs pat goes into the kitchen followed by Garth

“OH Phew, Garth I don’t know what we would have done without you.

Garth is somewhat shamefaced

“I wanted to confess, Mrs Pat. I cheated in the psychometry,

Mrs Pat shook her head.

Garth insisted “Yes I did. I don’t have psychic powers. I knew the brooch belonged to Mrs Manson. I saw her drop it.”

“Oh that,” said Mrs P at” Yes I know

“Garth was amazed. “You knew then what did you mean?”

“The envelope. How could you possibly have known that it was from Mrs Prudhomme? The seal is n’t even broken”

Mrs Pat took the letter out of her pocket and waved it at Garth. He took it from her and looked at the seal. As he does so, he got a twinge of pain in his shoulder.

He looked at Pat in horror.

“He wins who dares Garth. Know what I mean?

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