Sunday, 20 July 2008

The art of persuasion

I was sat up in bed listening to the butler having sex. I had been reading previously, but the noises coming from the downstairs study were proving too distracting for me to concentrate on my book, so I was now staring blankly at the page and wondering who he was having sex with. I suspected he was using the fireplace tools in whatever he was doing, and mentally resolved not to touch the poker again with an ungloved hand. He swore that regular sex improved the immune system, and had provided me with references from, but I simply couldn't be bothered to check them out. And I rather thought that all he was doing was exposing himself to as many disease-causing pathogens as possible, which didn't seem healthy to me.

The noises culminated in a crash and a high-pitched scream like someone getting rather a lot of poker somewhere private, and then subsided to heavy breathing and quiet whimpering. I looked at my book, closed it up, closed my eyes, then opened the book and stabbed my finger at random down on the page. Opening my eyes again, I saw what sentence I'd found:

'Then, when you look at these people, it will be to the accompaniment of your finely tuned imagination.'

That seemed a pretty apt way of describing how I'd next see the butler when he walked in; maybe there was more to this bibliomancy than meets the eye!

There was a gentle tap at my door, and I let the book fall into my lap and called out, 'Come in!' The door swung inwards, its hinges creaking like a door from a Hammer Horror movie. I have a man come in every month to get them to sound like that -- normally he tunes pianos, so this is something of a diversion for him. The butler limped in.

'The stable-lad is feeling a little unwell,' he said gravely, 'so I think it might be prudent to have him taken to the vet.'
I nodded, but said, 'Have the vet come here; you'll probably not want to move the stable-lad. Or perhaps, he'll not want to move very much.'
To my immense pleasure, the butler blushed red, muttered 'very good sir' under his breath, and shuffled backwards out of the room, pulling the door closed behind him.

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