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Thompson’s Lost Plimsole

Part 24

The local newspaper had a field day with the previous evening’s entertainment. The front page was a catalogue of feline puns, such as ‘What a catastrophe’ and  ‘Feline artistes catapulted to overnight stardom’. Unluckily for Billy Nutmeg, Philbert Custance, the paper’s theatre critic, had also been in the audience, along with the Chief Constable’s wife and daughter, two local magistrates, Miss Edith Lunge, chairwoman for the local Society for the Advancement of Moral Standards and Lionel White, theatrical agent and talent spotter for Sir Oswald Stoll of the Stoll Theatres empire. Lionel had travelled up from London especially to watch Billy’s act with a view to him being offered a tour of some of the major theatres in London and the south east, which would culminate in an appearance at the 1926 Royal Variety Charity Performance in front of Their Majesties, King George and Queen Mary, at the London Alhambra.

Billy had worked down south a few times, but not to any great acclaim. His act and his accent were far too northern for the London audiences. His popular drunken policeman trying to arrest another drunk, routine, and all of the business with the handcuffs, was probably the only bit of comedic stuff that he was known for down south, but this was mainly due to the fact that he didn’t have to say much, just make incoherent noises. However, Lionel White had recently heard good things about Billy and was ready to be impressed. What he had witnessed at this evening’s debacle had certainly put a stick in the spokes of Billy’s theatrical future.

Three of the cats eventually fell asleep and were transferred to another cage, however, the three main protagonists were still hanging on. A doctor finally appeared and managed to disentangle the cats from Billy’s genitalia. “You are a lucky man, Mr Nutmeg”, announced the doctor. “How the hell do you make that out?”, Billy replied somewhat bemused. “You are lucky because we have a recently developed Tetanus vaccine, ‘Tetanus Toxoid’. Those puncture wounds could turn very nasty without treatment. You may notice a little swelling later”. Billy looked down at his bruised and painful tackle and replied, “I doubt it!”  The doctor looked over the top of his spectacles at Billy and tutted. “In your arm, Mr Nutmeg, in your arm”.

Mr Davies, the Headmaster had been wracking his brain for the last few days, trying to remember where he had seen the handwriting on that old map. Something else had been puzzling him. The map had been drawn on paper, albeit very old paper. If it had been a genuine Knights Templar map, then surely it would have been written on parchment or velum. On a hunch, Mr Davies had spent the whole of the weekend searching through the oldest books in the school library, until eventually, he found what he was looking for.

Monday morning and back at the police station, the Headmaster laid the book out in front of the Inspector, the map was recovered from the incident file, opened, and laid next to a torn page at the back of the book. The torn sections matched perfectly. Now to solve the riddle of the handwriting.

Back at the Hallifield Empire, some joker had altered the show posters outside of the theater to read, ‘This week only, Claude Balls’.  Billy Nutmeg had spent a couple of days recuperating in his hotel room but on alighting from his taxi, he saw the posters and he was furious. On the opposite side of the road were two workmen atop a pair of ladders, fixing a new sign above a shop doorway. Both of the men, on noticing Billy, called out to him with one of his famous catch phrases. “Hi ho, diddle aye doe”. His audience would normally then respond with, “It’ll be reet by Christmas”. Billy turned and stared silently at the two chaps. One of them shouted over. “What’s up Billy… cat got your tongue?” Billy limped forward to the edge of the path and shouted back. “Why don’t you two go and f…” At this point, a large van drove past between them and cut Billy off mid rant. He turned on his heels and made for the stage door, intent on getting his own back on Shadwell Crump.


Published by crispinunderfelt

All round good egg. Humanist and red wine drinker.

6 thoughts on “Thompson’s Lost Plimsole

  1. Oh my. Poor Billy. There goes his career. He is kind of a jerk, though, so serves him, right, too, though, in a way.
    So, whose handwriting might it be?


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