The Rumble Rally
Episode 8: “On your marks. Get set. Go!”

Lady Lavinia Kydd-Leatherette, now rightfully behind the wheel of her father’s old car “Chugger-Zoom,” drove like a woman possessed by the spirit of Mrs. Margaret Plunkton, winner of the 1972 Super Market Sweep Grand Trolley Dash. Margaret had recorded her fastest-ever dash in her youth – thrice ‘round the frozen food section – in 58.9 seconds.

Displaying unbridled determination Lady Lavinia, makes her way back to Count Backwards’ phony shop-front 'la Boutique a la Bacquards' at the “Double X” cross roads where she last left her handbag and travel-size Howitzer in the boot of her former jalopy. In no time she quickly transfers the contents (well-traveled leather cases, an army surplus ammo box, one case of “bolly,” and a document wallet brimming with papers and photos) of both the glove box and boot into the newly- acquired, trophy-winning, four-wheeled, tarnished family heirloom. She only stops momentarily to fix her make-up before preparing to set off for the start line of the Rumble Rally.

Meanwhile, Miss Kitten Kaboodle cautiously waits ‘til Lady Lavinia has the boot lid open and is completely absorbed in her reflection in her compact to climb out from her hiding place behind the fake shop front. Just moments ago she had seen her friend Ronnie off after “thanking” him for the lift back to her car at the shop-front trap, when Lady Lavinia had roared up to the Double X cross roads. She glances over at Pandora Pitstop’s bike and smiles cunningly. As sneakily as can be Miss Kitten pads over to the bike and deftly unscrews the tyre valve caps, then jabs a hairpin into each air valve, thus quietly letting down. She then carefully creeps across to her waiting open-top sports car and slides in. With a quick, well-practiced check in the rearview mirror to brush her hair and reapply her lipstick she jams the key into the ignition and is off. Miss Kitten is well beyond the cross roads by the time Lady Lavinia realizes what’s was happening.

Miss Kitten smiles to herself, relieved to be behind the wheel of her own car once more. “Two down,” thinks Miss Kitten, “only that silly girlie toff in that old heap to consider now.” She is ready for the start line now as the wind whips through her hair and the world passes by. She switches on some appropriate driving music, a little something modern by David Arnold, and focuses on winning the race.

Lady Lavinia is momentarily flustered by the unexpected commotion which so rudely broke the alluring spell of her compact mirror. Ignoring the kafuffle, she ensures Chugger Zoom’s boot is closed tightly and locked before taking one last peek at the fake shop front to see if there are any other cute pairs of shoes she must have before departing once and for all. No, there are not. All that’s left is the pair she had liberated from the shop window earlier which are now in the back seat where she had dropped them. All that’s left to do is hop into the driver’s seat of the massive roadster and get going.

The foot well of the driver’s seat is littered with empty crisp packets, laudanum bottles and chewing gum wrappers. Lady Lavinia ignores the debrise of Count Backwards’ childish vices and backs the car out onto the road. With a stylishly-shod lead foot on the gas pedal, Lady Lavinia is once more on her way to the start line of the race, but her thoughts are preoccupied with Miss Kitten Kaboodle. “Just what was she up to and why didn’t I think of it first,” she ponders.

Moments later Pandora Pitstop arrives at the crossroads,clinging to her Brash Ironic Ruffian escort, The Mouseketeer, and accompanied by the other overly superstitious Ruffians: Dumpy, Sleazy and Stinky. Fearing the wrath of the “Carney’s Curse” the BIR boys are anxious to assist Ms. Pitstop back to her bike.

The first thing she notices at the scene of the abduction is that Miss Kitten’s car is gone and Lady Lavinia’s looks empty and abandoned with the boot lid open open. Ms. Pitstop is eagerly reunited with her bike only to discover that her tyres are flat. “What the…!” Ms. Pitstop exclaims. “How did this happen?” she cries. Carefully she extracts the hair pins from the air valves and immediately notices that they are hair pins for blonde hair. “Hmm, looks like a certain kitty cat is still up to her old tricks. The sooner I sell her to a tennis racket factory, the better.” Ms. Pitstop grumbles.

“ Yo babe, don’t sweat it,” Dumpy exclaims. “Let’s just see what’s in that kustom over there,” he says, pointing to Lady Lavinis’a abandoned rod. The Ruffians search the rod discovering various tools, an electric air pump, several unpaid invoices, notices from Harvey Nick’s, and other assorted documents in an old cigar box – including a letter of Official Pardon addressed to “The Bearer” and signed by The Dowager Empress of Carpania herself.

“Dude, how cool is that! Seek and ye shall find,” says Stinky, waving the air pump gleefully.

“How cool indeed,” Ms. Pitstop whispers while leafing through the cigar box and reading the Official Pardon document.

The Mouseketeer helpfully hotwires the rod, enabling the air pump to work. “Right, let’s get you rollin’ again doll,” chimes Sleazy with just a little bit too much enthusiasm as he hops into the rod’s driver’s seat and guns the engine. The Ruffians set to work re-inflating Ms. Pitstop’s tyres in no time. During all this chivalrous activity, Ms. Pitstop secures possession of the cigar box and its contents, stowing it safely in her saddlebag.

Despite having saved her twice today already, Ms. Pitstop easily convinces the BIR boys to safely escort her to the start line of the race. That Carney Creed story sure works wonders!

Arriving at the start line with a bit of time to spare, Lady Lavinia studies her starter’s orders and her appointed route for Stage One of the race. She then spends a few moments lightening her load by selecting several costume changes for the journey and the right shade of nail varnish, then discarding the rest of her luggage in the pits. Her car is inspected (laughed at), fuelled up, and weighed as she changes costume and prepares to depart for the continent and the destination specified in her starting orders.

Miss Kitten also pulls into the pits just in time to register before the entries are closed. She smiles sweetly at Lady Lavinia and gives her a brief wave as her car is also inspected and fuelled. Lady Lavinia ignores her as she negotiates a bet with “Flash Barry the Bookie.” She places a safe bet on herself either way with the remaining loose change nestling in her cleavage. Miss Kitten also takes a moment to carefully check her car’s various booby trap devices. She ensures that the smoke screen capsules, oil slick tank, and carpet tack containers are full. Anxious to make a getaway, Miss Kitten tosses her route map and destination orders for Stage One in the glove box and sets off rather hastily for the coast. Lady Lavinia is soon hot on her tail.

Ms. Pitstop and the Ruffians arrive quickly and without incident at the starting line in central London just after the deadline for race entrant’s registration. Ms. Pitstop offers the BIR boys each a crisp counterfeit bank note from the cigar box if they will persuade the timekeeper/ track official to kindly let her join the race.

It’s not long before Pandora Pitstop obtains her starting orders for the first stage, bypassing the inspection and weigh in, just as the ambulance arrives. They Ruffians see her off with a cheer, a good-luck kiss, and a promise from Ms. Pitstop to come back and see them again sometime.

At last dear reader we have made it to the start line of the Rumble Rally; on your marks, get set, go!

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