Monday, May 20, 2013

Misplaced Baroness - Ep 5

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Episode Five - "MacGreevey's Theory"
by Camille LaGuire

"MacGreevey, don't talk nonsense," said Chief Superintendent Darling.  "Why on earth would she jump off that train?"

"To create a stir," said the sergeant with a great deal of satisfaction.  "Get in all the papers; mysterious disappearance of the new baroness.  Everyone making a fuss."

He turned an almost sneering look on Plink, and she had feeling she'd seen him somewhere before.  He was very ordinary looking, with ginger hair and freckles.  Tall enough, but a bit slight for a policeman.  She vaguely remembered having that thought before, too, but she couldn't remember when.

"Her ladyship has a long history as prankster," the sergeant went on, emphasizing her as if Plink were no ladyship of his.  "Starting with riding her pony through the Haverton Tearoom on a paper chase when she was, what, seven years old?"

"Nine," said Plink. "We had permission."

"For the paper chase, not the pony.  Then there was the incident where she hung a full beard and mustache on the statue of Queen Valaria at Pinsby Square.  And then the malicious destruction of property in Manners Park, including an assault on a police officer..."

"Oh!" said Plink, and she suddenly knew why the sergeant looked familiar.

That day in Manners Park, Plink had been attempting to affix a woman suffrage banner to the top of the light poles near the pond. A constable attempted to pull her down. She did not kick him. She just sort of shoved his shoulder with her foot, and he lost his balance and ended up in the pond, covered in mud and as angry as a cat would be in similar circumstances.  This sergeant was that policeman.

"You slipped," said Plink, defensively.

"And you jumped!" said MacGreevey.  "You plotted out this whole event.  You had a fellow waiting in a car by the side of the road to pick you up, after you jumped. We found the tracks of the car."

"Those were obviously the tracks of my assailants.  Find those men, and you'll find they're no friends of mine."

"Stop this nonsense, MacGreevey," said the superintendent.  "This is utterly improper to accuse a lady of this kind of malfeasance."

"Oh, stuff it!" said Plink.  "He at least gives me credit for some brain.  You accused me of drinking myself silly!"

She turned back to the sergeant.

"If I had jumped off the back of a moving train," she said to him, "no matter how lithe and acrobatic I might be, I would certainly have at least fallen to my knees, and look, you can see for yourself... my knees are fine."

With that she slipped out from behind the breakfast tray, and pulled up leggings on her pajamas to display her knees.  The constable turned pink and spun away to avert his gaze.  The superintendent did something similar in a more genteel way.  Both the inspector and the sergeant actually looked, though she thought the inspector was admiring and not really examining.

MacGreevey, on the other hand, bent closer and squinted at her knees.

"Very nice," he said.  "But since the momentum of the train would have you going the other way, you'd have fallen on your hind quarters. Shall we have a look at them?"

"MacGreevey!" said the superintendant.

"No need," said Mrs. Lister. "I've seen her ladyship's other side, and she didn't fall there.  She's nothing but scrapes and wee bruises anywhere.  Nothing you'd get from a fall -- or a jump -- like that."

The police scowled and had a brief consult, in which the superintendent snarled at MacGreevey, who finally backed away like a sullen dog ordered back from an impertinent rabbit.  No more was to be heard of the Prank Theory.

"Lister, would you fetch the things I was wearing last night?  These gentlemen will want them as evidence."

The sergeant gave a nudge to the silent constable, who went with Lister to fetch the things.

"I think it would less of an embarrassment if we closed the case," said the superintendent.  "Though, of course, we will investigate further if you insist.  But there really is no evidence--"

"Bosh," said Plink, and she displayed her genteel upbringing by not throwing the tea pot at his head.  "There will be evidence if you look for it.  I am sure you fellows are much cleverer than the way you are portrayed in popular fiction."

Mrs. Lister and the constable returned, the constable with a carton full of Plink's things.  The sergeant, still sulking, dug into the box with a scowl.  He happened to pull out Plink's heavy cloche hat.  The rabbit-like inspector exclaimed at the sight of it.

"I say, that's a rather thick hat, isn't it?" he said, hopefully, glancing around at everyone.  "You could have had a blow to the head and not got a bump because of the hat!  You'd still have a concussion. That would resolve everything, wouldn't it?"

"Perfectly!" said the superintendent.  He smiled at Plink. She did not return the smile, so he bowed and took his leave. The sergeant lagged behind, examining the lining of the hat with a frown.

"Come along, MacGreevey!" snapped the superintendent.  And then, with a thunderous clomping down the stairs, they were all gone.

"Well!" said Plink.  "That was as useful as a partridge at a prize fight!"

"Indeed, your ladyship," said Mrs. Lister, and she cleared away the breakfast tray.  "Will you be wanting a nap, or will you be chasing after trouble this morning?"

"Oh, trouble, I think. If I had any idea where to look for it." Plink took a sip of her tea.  "I think... perhaps I should run off with Antonio after all."

Stay Tuned For Episode 6 - "Making Use of One's Reputation
  (Available after 8am EST, Mon/Thur)

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Kyra Halland said...

Really enjoying this! lol, love Plink.

The Daring Novelist said...

Thanks, Kyra!

Yes, once she started talking to me, Plink really has made this extra fun to write.