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In The Zone . .Emotional Chaos . ..Number 9. . .September 11


Emotional Chaos
Weekly Column by Brian Codagnone

January 29, 2004



The next day dawned clear and full of promise. The noon train from Paddington Station took Blancmange, Broadbeam and Sir Charles to Bleekmoor, where they took a connecting train to Dintymoor. From there they took a carriage to the village of Pusworth, on the edge of the Brackish Moors. They lunched at the Cock in Hand before proceeding to Blunderville Hall, situated in the Macken Mire, deep in the heart of the Moor.

"Did you notice they way the locals were looking at us at the tavern, Blancmange?" Colonel Broadbeam said in the carriage as they rode through the bleak and twisted landscape. Sir Charles hadn't exaggerated, it was a beastly place. "The way the innkeeper's wife warned us to stay off the Moor before she read the specials? The fact that there was no chicken to be found on the menu? No chicken at all?!!"

"Yes, my dear Broadbeam. Country folk are a superstitious lot. We must seem strange to them, going out on the Moor and into the Macken Mire by choice. Plus the fact that you used your waistcoat as a napkin."

"It's a habit I picked up in India."

"Yes, you picked up various social diseases, too, but that's no reason to continue the practice. But that's beside the point. Sir Charles, who lives in that stone cottage? it seems the only structure on the Moor."

"I don't think it's been used since the bronze age. As you may have noticed, real estate doesn't exactly move around these parts."

"Curious." said Blancmange. He then fell into a silence for the rest of the journey, as he often did when deeply under the influence of marijuana. After an hour's time the carriage approached the forbidding edifice of Blunderville Hall.

"Welcome to my family's home gentlemen!" said Sir Charles. Two wretched creatures stood in the driveway. "There's Dawks, the butler, and Frothingmouth, the gamekeeper. Other than that, the only servants are Mrs. Dawks, my cook and housekeeper, and Bridget, the stereotypical Irish maid."

"I don't think we'll find our killer among your household staff, Sir Charles. This was clearly a crime of cunning and intellect."

"I hope you're right, Inspector! I'd hate to think that such a fiend is under my own roof!"

Blancmange made no comment about what was under his roof. Dawks took their baggage into the house while Frothingmouth led the horses away. He looked no stranger to violence, but looks can be deceiving. Blancmange had learned that hard lesson early in his career. In that instance, so many years before, he had been so taken by the charms of one Miss Penelope Bane that he never suspected that delicate beauty of being the Manchester Mangler. Forced to drown her in a bucket of cider, he would bear the physical and emotional scars the rest of his days. Blancmange would rarely speak of her, but when he did he always called her simply "That Woman" or "That Woman with the large ice axe".

That evening at dinner, Blancmange asked Mrs. Dawks about the legendary demonic chicken, as she was born in Pusworth and had spent her entire life in the shadow of the Brackish Moors.

"Aye sir, folks round these parts could tell you stories! I never seen the demon bird myself, but I know plenty who 'ave and lived to tell the tale! And plenty who 'aven't!"

"Haven't what?" asked Broadbeam, daubing the gravy from his mouth with his waistcoat.

"Haven't lived to tell the tale, sir!" God, she thought, these big city types are thick.

"And don't forget that glowing hedgehog! Every Guy Fawkes Day it comes, faith and begorrah!" Bridget chimed in.

"Surely you don't believe such nonsense!" Broadbeam said, "Demonic chickens! Glowing hedgehogs! Rubbish!

"Mock as you may sir, but many an unlucky soul has wandered onto the Moors only to be found, pecked to death in a most 'orrible fashion!"

Blancmange interrupted, "Right now, we're interested in the murder of Sir Bevis Blunderville. By the way, Mrs. Dawks, this haggis is excellent! You must give the recipe to my housekeeper, Mrs. Desoto!"

Mrs. Dawks beamed. "Kind of you to say, sir! The secret is the proper sheep's stomach!"

"Do you have any recipes for... chicken?"

The lightning flashed significantly, even though it had been clear a moment before.

"Why... no, sir.... well, folks round these parts..."

"Thank you, Mrs. Dawks! Gentlemen, I suggest we retire to the billiard room!"

Once Blancmange, Broadbeam and Sir Charles had retired to the billiard room, Sir Charles asked, "What was that about, Blancmange?"

"These provincials are so frightened by their superstitions that they can't bear even the thought of poultry!"

"But what could it mean, Blancmange?"

"Everything and nothing, Sir Charles! Everything and nothing"!




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Surf Our Site

Home ... Misfits . Rafferty .. . S1019 .. . Star Crossed....
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Oddities ..Link To Us... Guest Comics . Online Store..
In The Zone. ..Number 9. . .September 11