Where do butlers go when they aren’t buttling? This is a question that has troubled mankind for centuries. Well, perhaps ‘troubled’ is going a bit far. ‘Mildly interested’ might be more appropriate. Also ‘mankind’ is rather broad. A few posh types might have considered it on occasion. But we must allow for some artistic license. Regardless of the reach of this conundrum, it was certainly a puzzle that was troubling the Prime Minister and Wing Commander Tom at that very moment. Sir Edd’s testimony during his interrogation had raised more than a little suspicion and it was now of the utmost importance that the painfully loyal Snetterton- butler to Boris, King of Oxford – be questioned at once. A man who was prepared to enter a shower with King Boris was probably prepared to do pretty much anything.
“Okay people, we have two plans,” announced Lucy to the select few summoned to her private office for briefing. “Which is pretty impressive. The first plan is to locate and vigorously question Snetterton about his movements on the night of the murder. The second plan is to distract King Boris and Nigel Farage whilst the questioning takes place.”
“That sounds more like a sub-plan to me,” said Chancellor of the Exchequer Ian Risk. “As opposed to an actual plan in it’s own right.”
“I disagree,” said Minister for Good Ideas & Gin, Dr Samantha Martens. “I think it’s an entirely separate plan, as presumably the other plan won’t be possible unless this plan is successful.”
“Quite right, Minister,” Lucy agreed briskly. “His Royal Highness is very protective of his butler and has previously voiced his concerns about any of the Oxford contingency being involved in this investigation.”
“I’m not so sure about the Snetterton angle,” Ian continued. “It all seems a bit convenient. Sir Edd has been trying to implicate the butler since the off and if Sir Edd is getting involved it can only be to work the situation to his own advantage, somehow.”
“I think Sir Edd did it,” Tom said, suddenly. The roomful of raised eyebrows forced him to elaborate. “Alright, actually I don’t, but I think we should pin it on him anyway. The bugger is completely intent on sabotaging all the Government’s best plans and, quite frankly, he gets on my wick.”
After some thought, the Prime Minister shook her head.
“No, we can’t send Edd down for it,” she said, the regret evident in her voice. “He’s the only one who actually knows what he’s doing. I’m afraid we’ll have to find the actual murderer.”
“What if he turns out to be the actual murderer?” asked Dr Martens.
Lucy hadn’t thought of this.
“Maybe then we’ll have to set up Snetterton.”
“Look – I’m fairly certain I remember Boris saying that when left unattended, butlers tend to gravitate below stairs,” said Ian. “And we all know that there are certain attractions for him in the pantry…”
“I certainly don’t want to run the risk of seeing anything like that again,” she mumbled, recalling the shocking moment she discovered Mumsie in the arms of the amorous man servant. “Tom, Ian – you search the kitchen for Snetterton. Dr Martens, you and I shall find out what Boris and Nigel are up to and see if we can’t find something to distract them for a bit.”
“Yes, Prime Minister,” replied Dr Martens. “Prime Minister, will this be a trousers-on or trousers-off type of distraction?”
“Very much trousers-on,” Lucy said quickly.
“That is a very Good Idea, Prime Minister.”
As it happens, Boris, King of Oxford and travelling duster salesman Nigel Farage were already engaged in a trouser-off scenario. Boris’ initial enthusiasm for investigating the murder himself had waned somewhat, due to it being actually quite hard work. Whilst he enjoyed wearing the deer stalker stolen from the Prime Minister’s bedroom, he was finding that being a detective had taken it out of him and had removed his trousers when the exertion made him so hot and bothered that he could take no more. He had flung himself down on the Prime Minister’s bed to recover, although he felt he would be revived much faster with a large glass of something mind-bindingly alcoholic to hand. Sadly, he had been unable to arouse the attention of his butler, no matter how much he shouted, so he lay prone upon the duvet, exhausted.
This was the very position in which Nigel found him when he came to ask him about his preference of canapés for the official signing of the peace treaty. Noting the absence of below-waist attire, he thought it only right and proper to follow suit.
“I was thinking of crab, but I know a lot of people can be funny about crab,” said Nigel, perching himself of the edge of the bed and crossing his legs. Boris gave him a stern look. “No, you’re right. No one really likes crab. We’ll go with Hula Hoops.”
“I say, Nige, I hadn’t noticed before, but can I just commit to record that you have rather fine legs for a chap.”
Nigel feigned modesty and made little effort to suppress the blush that flushed his cheeks.
“Oh, it’s the fake tan,” he twittered “It does make them seem wonderfully slender, don’t you think?”
There was a knock at the bedroom door.
“Whoever it is, tell them I am disinclined to engage in social intercourse,” said Boris. “Unless it’s Snetterton. Then tell him to get me a drink.”
On the other side of the door, the Prime Minister and Dr Martens waited anxiously.
“I don’t know why I’m knocking on my own bedroom door,” muttered Lucy.
“I think it’s probably for the best,” replied Dr Martens. “Since Boris and Nigel took up residence the place has become a den of iniquity.”
The door opened a crack and a swivelly eye peeped through.
“Nigel? It’s the Prime Minister! Open up!”
“What do you want?” Nigel asked.
“We’ve… we’ve come to distract you,” replied Dr Martens – unusually for a Cabinet Minister she was honest to a fault.
The door was flung asunder faster than an Oxford dignitary removes his trousers. Beaming, Nigel invited them in with a gracious sweep of his arm.
“You’ve come just at the right time!”
“Yes,” said Lucy “I was rather afraid of that…”