Previously on Bloatmingle of the Yard... Bloatmingle had found himself locked in a desperate struggle with the lazy-eyed Swede, who was finally catapulted from Clifton Suspension Bridge. Unfortunately, taking Bloatingle's underpants with him. Simultaneously, the Royal Procession arrived, and he gave the approaching cars his very best royal salute.
The salute changed to a frantic waving of hands as Bloatmingle sought to shield his face from the foetid water. For a split second he feared he'd joined the lazy-eyed Swede in the icy waters of the River Avon but then realised, blinking, that the water was streaming towards him in a more personally directed fashion.
Moreover, Spiggot was on the other end of it. At least, a huge vase held by Spiggot was on the other end of it. The vase had recently held a bunch of dying and putrid begonias. Bloatmingle spat one of them out.
“Hmmm. Reminds me of that disgusting trifle Gertie Dampweasel from the Custard Factory used to make. That place was never the same after they put in the ornamental pond”, he mused. But now to more pressing matters, and he'd left his Corby in that hotel room in Norwich.
“What on earth's going on, for God's sake, man!” he barked at Spiggot. The latter shuffled his feet and rubbed his potato-like cheek.
“Well, Sir, it's like this, Sir. You know when you was delivrin' a h'accusatory speech. Yes, that's it - a h'accusatory speech about Bretta Parsnips – to the h'evil villain the h'evil Dr 'Ercles Wossname?”
(Spiggot pronounced 'villain' in a way that would have rhymed with 'back pain').
Bloatmingle raised one eyebrow quizzically. He liked doing that. It reminded him of Humphrey Bogart and did something to alleviate the indignity of lying on the floor of 37 Dead Man's Wharf, soaking wet and covered with rotting vegetation.
“And you can stop pouring that filthy stuff all over me!”
“Yes, Sir, very good Sir.” Spiggot put down the vase. He'd once seen a film where the heroine had fainted, only to be revived by a maid bathing her temples with water. Spiggot had never forgotten the principle – Apply Water to Head of Unconscious Person – and had followed it unerringly whenever the occasion demanded.
“Well, Sir, you know when you was delivrin' that speech to the h'evil Dr Ercles Wossname?”
Bloatmingle closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He recalled the bizarre recurring nightmare where Mrs Wangle served fish and asparagus pie every Friday in the Yard's cafeteria. It was always followed by urinary activity involving a firearm of some sort, and saluting a Royal Procession whilst wearing nothing on his nether regions. The other details varied; this time it had been a Swede with a lazy eye, last time it featured a turnip with terminally indolent large intestines. It must have been the mention of Bretta Parsnips which brought it on. He couldn't recall the details of the other dreams – one of them included two onions and a carrot – but the dénouement was always the same.
Never before had Bloatmingle thought he'd be grateful to find himself merely concussed, soaked and composted on the floor of a terraced house in Dead Man's Wharf. Spiggot cleared his throat and continued.
“And then you went and shot that funny giant violin case wiv the geezer painted on the front?” He pointed a large sticky finger in the direction of the priceless Egyptian sarcophagus recently missing from the British Museum.
“Well. The bullet what you shot the geezer wiv went and ricker, ricker... I mean bounced off the wall, an' pranged the lampshade cord.”
Bloatmingle recollected that the room had featured a massive chandelier which bore a strong resemblance to one recently missing from Kenwood House, part of the Iveagh Bequest. He looked up. No chandelier. He looked around. A vast sea of smashed ornamental crystal. The odd silvered cherub leered at him in a suggestive way, but Bloatmingle just wasn't in the mood.
“Cep' for it must of not gone through the lampshade cord all proper, like”, observed Spiggot, “On h'account of it took a while before it landed on you and knocked you out. K.O. You see, I'm not afraid to use my powers of deeduction, Mr Bloatmingle, Sir.”
Bloatmingle sprang to his feet, suddenly recalling all the events immediately prior to his encounter with the chandelier.