I had been invited to tea by my new acquaintance Acting Detective Superintendent Raif Falmerson. I had only known him a short time but he seemed a good fellow despite having a face like the underside of an elephant's tail.
Ever the social butterfly I accepted the invite.
I arrived at his house swishing my cane to and fro and was in quite the splendid mood. The sun shone brightly on his little street and even the inordinate amount of dreary looking vans parked near his residence didn't dampen my dander.
I banged his door soundly with the handle of my cane.
His maid, a dumpy thing with a stubbly face answered the door promptly almost as if she was standing waiting for me.
Ah milord. The Superintendent is expecting you. Please follow me.
She said with a gravelly voice, turning to lead me inside.
I stepped over the threshold and rapped her on the back of her head with my cane.
You, buffalo face. Stop right there.
The maid froze. Her shoulder muscles rippling like a tiger's flanks under her dowdy blouse.
I stepped up close and moved my face to within an inch of hers.
You don't seem very... vagina'y... to me?
What? Beggin your pardon milord, I don't know what you mean?
I advanced on her slowly, she edged back nervously till her back was against the wall.
Tell me buffalo face... What is your name?
I lifted a hand to stroke her stubbly cheek. She quailed at my touch.
My name is Barryella, milord.
I snorted like a man with no feet drinking soup. I stepped back and raised my cane.
Not good enough... Barry-ella...
Boomy old bean! Please, this way!
It was Raif, standing in a doorway to the left of us.
I lowered my cane and gave Barryella a look that could shrivel a donkey's milk frother.
Coming old fellow, I was just comparing cocks with your maid.
Raif exploded with a manic laughter.
Oh Boomy, you are a chap!
I sat in one of a pair of oversized armchairs. Raif was fixing us some brandy from his drinks cabinet. He seemed to making quite an arse of it.
Hurry up old fellow. My semen is drying up.
He turned and carefully came over holding two glasses brimming with a muddy amber fluid.
I do hope you enjoy old chap. This one is quite a rare Brandy from Japan. It might be quite a different taste from normal but one that I am sure you will enjoy.
He held a glass to me. I took the glass from him and before he could sit, stood and held my glass out to clink with his.
Cheers, old fellow!
He lifted his glass to his lips as did I. Then I paused.
Good grief, is that a Viel?
I placed my glass down and went over to examine the painting on the wall.
She is so bold, so direct. I do love her work.
Raif looked confused for a moment.
Ah yes, the painting? It is a firm favourite. Yes, been in the family for generations that one.
I walked over and in a smooth motion presented a silver flask from my inside jacket pocket to him. Raif looked at the flask and then me. Smiling, I took his glass from him and pressed the flask into his hand.
I had this made for you. A token of my regard. My friend from the distillery prepared me a special distillation of Mad Agnes. We call it Aunt Senga.
I beamed at him.
I always knew we had a lot in common. and now I find you are a fellow art lover too! This is something special.
I reached out to shake his hand.
Raif placed the flask down and shook my hand rather tepidly.
Now where were we?
I bellowed with some gusto, picking up our glasses.
A bloody big toast, that's what is required!
I passed him over his brandy and we raised our glasses and drank.
His Japanese brandy was awful. However, being a gentleman I forced it down with only some minor contortions of the face.
After some small talk about the weather and trading conditions in the Americas, Raif became a little pensive. He fidgeted a little and looked at me oddly.
Boomy old bean. Would you like another drink?
Of course old fellow. Fill me up like you do the swivel-eyed denizens of the docks!
Ha, yes! I fill them up like there is no tomorrow. Oh, I mean, pardon me, I shouldn't say such things in my position.
Raif squinted at me with one eye half closed before moving to the dresser and pouring some more drinks.
I moved over softly and clapped him on the shoulder as he fiddled with the glasses. He gave a start and turned, face twitching like a cats arse when fingered.
Let me take these over Raif, you seem a little... fidgety?
I took the glasses he had poured and offered him one.
I don't know which one to take old bean.
He muttered nervously.
What does it matter old fellow?
I asked gently.
Raif strained as if in the middle of a venison shit.
Oh you know, the... the... nnnngngggg.
He looked to be biting his tongue in an effort not to speak. I passed him one of the glasses.
This one is definitely yours. Here.
He took his brandy from me and took a sip. I knocked mine back in one.
Raif seemed to overcome himself and downed his drink too.
I don't know if it's working properly Boomy, I really don't.
If what is working old chap?
A frown crossed Raif's face.
The truth serum of course. I used quite a lot. A bit too much one might say. Enough to work on a Rhino!
Goodness me, a truth serum? On me? Whatever for?
Raif spluttered, his face turning a magnificent shade of purple.
Whatever for?!?! Whatever for?!? We all know you are a bloody murdering bastard that's what for! You killed Georgie, he was police! You're a monster!! We have you, all you need to do is confess!! Confess, dammit!
Raif spat the last words out, pink froth forming at the side of his mouth.
I took my pipe out and calmly filled it before lighting and taking a generous puff.
Isn't truth serum a bit dangerous old fellow?
Raif was panting now and leaning against the dresser.
Of course it is, it is to be administered in very careful doses but you know what. I don't care... You know why I don't care?? Do you?
I took another puff on my pipe.
I called out to the maid. In a flash she ran in, eyes flicking left and right, a massive truncheon in her hand. She looked confused.
Erm, yes milord?
She rather shamefacedly tried to hide the truncheon behind her back.
Raif struggled unsteadily to stand facing me, his face a deep aubergine now. He pointed a wobbling finger at me.
I don't care if I have given you enough to kill you. I hope I have!! I would be doing the world a favour, you madman!! You are a monster! I hope you die after you confess... I hope you...
He coughed up a bubbly pink welt of saliva and sunk to one knee panting.
I blew a cloud of smoke his way and nodded thoughtfully.
But Raif old fellow. What if the drinks somehow got mixed up? What if you were the one that had taken too much?
Raif lifted his head up with some difficulty, his breath coming in laboured gasps.
What? What? Wait... nooo... no??
A dawning realisation spread over his blackening face.
Did you swap them... did you? Did...
He slumped to the floor, a wheezing rattle escaping from his lips. His body jerked then was still.
I motioned to Barryella.
I think you had better call an ambulance, although I fear it might be too late now?
I walked over to Raif, a puddle was staining out from his crotch.
I murmured softly over his corpse.
Did I swap them old fellow? Did I? Well surely you would know...