“There’s no need to look so bloody smug, you curly haired bastard.”
But the Chancellor was wasting his breath. The Cabinet Secretary’s default setting was smug and the unexpected turn of events this afternoon had given him good reason to be.
“This will put an end to any idea of that ridiculous peace treaty,” mused Sir Edd, with imperious self-satisfaction. “Felicitous circumstance indeed, wouldn’t you say? Perhaps we can all get back to passing the time as best we can, enjoying the privileges of statesmanship and whatnot.”
“This is most certainly not felicitous… thing,” retorted Ian, his fury relieving him of his ordinarily splendid vocabulary. “We’ll be lucky if this doesn’t restart the war with Oxford.”
“Oh, my dear fellow – but war is very good for business,” smarmed Sir Edd. “I intend to do very nicely out of all this and if you were any kind of a gentleman you would do the same.”
“The kind of gentleman that profits from war is not the sort of gentleman I want to be.”
“Simple politics, my dear Chancellor – politics and business.”
Sir Edd refilled his sherry glass and offered Ian the same. He reluctantly accepted and followed Sir Edd back into the pantry, where Snetterton was being held under armed guard by Wing Commander Tom. Also gathered were Snetterton’s lord and master, Boris King of Oxford, accompanied as ever by Nigel Farage, who had finally been persuaded to put his trousers back on. He was keen to make the most of his spray tanned legs before they faded, but a murder investigation was not the most appropriate place to be parading, no matter how slender and willowy his appendages appeared. The Prime Minister was present, of course, with Minister for Good Ideas & Gin Dr Martens at her side. This was certainly an occasion where good ideas would be required in abundance, although not quite as significantly as gin. Whilst Dr Martens was working on the former, she played for time by being proficient in the latter. Mumsie was there too, embarrassed by being caught once again in a state of undress by the most senior members of the Cabinet.
With everyone returned to a state of approximate decency, Wing Commander Tom was about to instruct Snetterton to reveal to the Government further details of his recent confession. His admission to his part in the murder of Tony Blair was quite a surprise, none more so than for Snetterton himself, it seemed. The usually stoney-faced butler looked decidedly pale and was being comforted by Mumsie and a large glass of Cambridge Special Damson Gin. Dr Martens had furnished him with an extra measure, as she was secretly very impressed with him.
“Come now, Snetterton – I want to hear all about how you shot Tony Blair,” proclaimed Tom, hands on hips and chest thrust magnificently. “You’ve confessed to it, now tell us how you did it. And why.”
Snetterton cleared his throat and finished his gin, immediately extending a shaking arm in the direction of Dr Martens, who duly furnished him with another inordinately generous slosh.
“He was just such an utter bastard, sir. It seemed like the right thing to do.”
“Can’t argue with that,” nodded Lucy, sipping her gin.
“But where did you get the gun?” asked Tom.
Snetterton faltered and his darting eyes told the more observant of those present that all was not as it seemed. Although Tom’s illustrious features were, as ever, hidden by the brim of his fedora, it was probable that he was frowning.
“Was it this gun, here?” Tom continued, brandishing the offending weapon. “The one found hidden by the bins?”
“Y-yes, sir,” stammered Snetterton, his voice cracking with emotion. “That’s the very gun.”
“Ha!” roared Tom. “Got you. The gun wasn’t found by the bins at all. If you had shot Blair and hidden the weapon, you’d know that. You didn’t shoot him at all, did you?”
There was silence from the seated – and by now fairly inebriated – butler.
“I don’t understand,” said Lucy. “Why would you say you shot him when you didn’t?”
There was an audible – not to mention dramatic – sigh from Sir Edd. Now it was Ian’s turn to feel smug.
“Buggering blunderbusses, will somebody please explain what’s going on? Cripes!” Boris was even more confused than usual.
“I’ve got it,” said Nigel “He’s protecting the real killer. But who? And… why?”
To the astonishment of all concerned, Mumsie stepped forward, nervously twiddling the strings of her apron.
“He… he’s protecting me,” she said. “I shot Tony Blair.”
The briefest moment of silence fell whilst the shock took hold, quickly followed by gasps all round and a hearty ‘bravo!’ from Boris.
“Mumsie! But why?” exclaimed Lucy, leaping to her mother’s side. “And why would Snetterton take the blame for you?”
“Because… we are in love,” replied Mumsie, her eyes bedewed with the beginnings of tears. “And also because, my darling, Snetterton… is your father!”