Episode 10 -
"What Ever Happened
Abandoned alone in the dark, Count Backwards remains tied
to a churchyard fence having long since gone beyond his ultimate rage level
of 11 (that’s one more than 10, you know) and fell deep into despair.
With a heavy sigh, he closed his eyes, started counting backwards and made
a wish. Out of force of habit he clicked his boot heels together three times.
In a little while his personality reverted back to his old self: Aubrey,
Lord Ruthven—likeable rogue.
“Where did I go wrong? How did I get here?” pondered
Aubrey with a heavy sigh.
Has my life really been a series of evil deeds and nasty
wrong-doings loosely strung together with birthdays, Christmas
and Snuff Binges?”
As much as Aubrey would have liked to continue with his
private little pity-party, a thought occurred to him. “If
only Boris were here. He’d sort me out and ensure I
was tucked up in bed with nightcap of laudanum and lime.
Best manservant a Lord could wish for.” Aubrey heaved
yet another sigh. “Who’s going to get me out
of this now and ensure my boots are polished?”
Who indeed? Aubrey’s more confident alter-ego had
taken several steps backward and was lurking somewhere in
the gloomy darkness that even now threatened to overstep
the dim pool of light cast over him by a single street lamp.
Poor Aubrey, perpetually on the edge of madness, looked around
to see if he was alone or not.
The village of Leafy Swallow wasn’t a bad place to
be at this time of year, but it certainly wasn’t the
best when you’re tied to a fence. On the bright side,
at least he wasn’t far from home. Aubrey’s secret
hideout was only yards away in the churchyard crypt. So close,
yet so far.
Aubrey toyed with the idea of just hanging around until
a passerby could untie him, but he hated the prospect of
having to explain his predicament. He dreaded wasting time
stuttering his way through an explanation, only to end up
silencing the unfortunate passerby with a minor act of violence,
resulting in the occupation of a hastily prepared shallow
grave. To avoid such an inevitably messy situation, he would
just have to save himself.
“What would Boris have done?” Aubrey thought. “Apart
from put the kettle on, iron his morning paper, lay out his
clothes and clean the household weaponry. Wait a minute,
that’s it! Boris would have laid out my clothes and
with that my accessories. Bespoke accessories with a hidden
difference, ha ha! Now let’s see, what have I got on
“Oh yes, I dressed myself today; did I put on underwear?
These boots were a mistake, for starters—far too formal
for a kidnapping plot. Ah ha! My belt buckle! Not your ordinary
belt buckle, no indeedy; it’s a genuine ACME Gentleman’s
Utility Buckle— part of a belt, braces and hose garter
set Boris gave me for Christmas one year. Such a thoughtful
servant.” Aubrey sniffled at the sentimental memory.
Aubrey, in an excitable state, tried to remember what the
instructions had said on the box and if batteries were required
to operate the buckle’s hidden mechanism. He’d
just have to chance it and attempt to spring the mechanism
with a clumsy hip-thrust movement. Nothing happened. Again
he tried, his movement limited by the position in which he
had been tied to the fence.
“Ouch!” yelped Aubrey as he sent his sacroiliac
out of whack. The buckle began to make a whirring noise and
tremble from within. What happened next will be left to your
imagination, but suffice to it say that the results included
singed hair, scorched flesh, zipper rash and freedom. And
that’s what you get for not putting on clean underwear
every day, kids.
“I picked a fine day to give up wearing unmentionables,” winced
Count Backwards with eyes watering profusely.
Free at last and back up to rage level 11 (that’s
still one more than 10), Count Backwards high-tailed it to
his secret hideout in the crypt of the local parish of St.
Ethelred the Unready. He raided the bathroom cabinet for
a suitable ointment, the bedside cabinet for some loose change
and the key cupboard for the keys to his gyrocopter.
With a cushion from the sofa as a comfort barrier between
the seat and his delicate condition, Count Backwards was
back in business and making a course for the coast and continental
The girls were well on their way into Europe, armed with
their starters’ orders and sun block.