12 November 2008

Snippet!

The butlers arrive at Butterbrayne Manor!

Important: It's NaNo. I was exhausted from a long day of uhm, biochem exams I think. Not sure when I wrote this. I had also eaten way too much chocolate and slept too little. This of course means that this is one of the best pieces of literature in the whole history of humanity. At least.

They arrived in buses and in little black cabs. The driveway of Butterbrayne Manor, or Butterbrayne Hotel, was jammed with all sorts of vehicles. Men emerged from these. Tall men with straight backs, most with neatly trimmed hair greying at the temples. No moustaches, no beards, no jeans or t-shirts, no patched jackets. They wore suits, neat black suits with white shirts, polished black shoes and looks of superior boredom. Most seemed fairly surprised when they were welcomed in the reception hall and their neat little black suitcases taken from them. These suitcases all had the names of their owners stamped across one corner – P.A. Smith, J. Henderson, S. Evans and so on – and most of the cases also sported large ‘WOMMELS – the place to be!’ stickers.
The men stood in the large hall that had once been an entrance hall and was now a reception hall. A large marble staircase led to the upper floors. It was flanked by beautiful statues and shining suits of armour. The men looked rather lost. Then suddenly, when the suitcases had all been taken away, it looked as though they remembered something. They began to chat, to laugh, to tell jokes, to relax and to slap each other’s backs. They did not look so neat and smart now, they looked like a bunch of middle-aged men who had just seen a rather nice cricket match and were looking forward to a pint of ale down at the pub.
‘Well, you know my guy-’
‘Fitzgordon, isn’t it?’
‘No, no, that’s Gerald’s. Mine’s Bellevue-White. The one with the white tufts of hair at his ears and the hooked nose.’
‘Oh, that fellow!’
‘Yes. Well, couple of months ago now – you understand I’m not supposed to be telling you this at all, but it’s too funny.’
‘Go on, I won’t tell, I swear.’
‘All right. So a couple of months ago I wanted to have a word with him about the seating arrangements at the dinner table – you know you can’t put Lady Nevill-Stuart next to Lord Upperton.’
‘Oh, that would give a right mess.’
‘Exactly, but you can’t put her next to Lord Halmondely either, he’s too fond of the ladies, Lord Nevill-Stuart would put out his eyes! The only place left for her would be next to Lady Smythe-Epaulette, but ever since that business at Lord Maurice’s manor… Might as well hand them knives and guns immediately.’
‘Damn right, you are, James, but anyway, what’s the story?’
James grinned, ‘I knocked on the door of his study and was told to enter. He was sitting there, behind his desk, with bright purple hair!’
The other men stared. James nodded and continued enthusiastically. ‘Obviously I am a professional so I managed to conceal my surprise to a great extend. He did notice something, so he brought out a mirror. “Oh dear me,” he muttered, “I’ve forgotten the wig.” I thought he was going to take it off then, I mean the Master with purple hair! But no, he walked over to a dressing table and took out a wig, one with white tufts of hair, and put it on. “You see,” he said to me then, “there was an accident with some food colouring when I was a lad. It’s not contagious.” And then he went calmly over the seating arrangements.’
‘Crazy,’ muttered another man. ‘I thought mine was rather strange, but this… Mind you, mine does funny things sometimes. Just last year he bought a herd of llamas. Thought they would look nice in the fish pond. Then he realised they were not fish.’
The men had entered the dining hall now. They sat down at long tables, still chatting, as food and wine were brought. Before they began to eat, a man stepped forward. He was dressed in a black suit like the rest, but his hair had nothing grey in it. He cleared his throat, which had no effect. He then took a knife and a glass and brought them together with a pleasing pling, this had some effect. He then took the glass, threw it in a wide arch so that it hit the wall and smashed into a thousand and thirty-four little pieces. The knife went the same way, although it was not smashed but just passed dangerously close by James’ nose. This had a lot of effect. The crowd pretty much shut up. James pulled the knife from the wall behind him and stared at it in amazement. ‘You could have killed me!’ he shouted. ‘You could have killed me dead!’
‘Yes, I could,’ the man said in a sharp voice. ‘But I did not. I did not come here to kill you, not to kill you dead and not to kill you alive. Ladies, who are absent, and gentlemen. So gentlemen and more gentlemen, actually. I wish to welcome you to the seventy-third annual Butler Conference. I am Jeeves Emmott, secretary of the National Union of Butlers. I thank you for coming here to this beautiful hotel. It is a pleasure to see so many of you. Fine men, dedicated to their work, their daily tasks, and not the least – dedicated to our magnificent union. We started out as a small group, to work for the interests of butlers throughout the nation, founding schools, giving advice, and helping the unfortunate ones who lost their jobs because they folded the newspaper the wrong way.’
There was some sporadic laughter and a murderous glance from James. ‘Bastard stole my joke!’
Jeeves continued as though he had not heard this, which he probably had not either because James was at the other end of the room. ‘In the past seventy three years we have grown, my friends. We are no longer a small group of old grey-haired men who meet in a dodgy pub once a year to discuss important events and plan more important ones. We are now a powerful and dedicated organisation, with more than a thousand members, almost a third of which are here today. Our aim is to improve the life and working conditions of butlers worldwide, to make our beautiful profession one that is respected and admired, and to find solutions that are perfect for both us butlers and the men and women and households we serve. During these two weeks we will discuss how we can do this. The National Union of Butlers, my dear gentlemen, is our organisation. Together we are strong.’
There was some scattered applause.
‘And now, gentlemen and even more gentlemen, I would like to give the word to the Lord Dwight Gerald Butterbrayne, who has so kindly granted us the use of his fine manor hotel, the Butterbrayne Manor, for this conference. Gentlemen and gentlemen, please welcome Lord Butterbrayne!’
There was much more applause as a small man, with a waist that was not at all slim and hair that definitely was not black anymore, stepped to the front. He cleared his throat, and the crowd fell silent immediately. He was not even holding a knife. Apparently, some people just have the ability to make a crowd fall silent without having to throw cutlery.
‘Dearest members of the National Butler Union,’ began Lord Butterbrayne. ‘May I please welcome you all to my manor house. I hope you will find your stay here enjoyable. My manor house has one hundred and thirty seven rooms, twenty nine bathrooms, several sitting rooms, dining rooms, a huge kitchen – but you will not be using that since I have an excellent cook, four Michelin stars actually – and I also have a garden for your enjoyment. I advice you to stay away from the duck pond, though, those creatures are not at all friendly.’ He coughed, and his golden tooth glittered. ‘I trust you will find everything to your taste, if you have any questions or strange wishes – I had a guest once who wanted a goat to bring his morning newspaper – please do not ask the butler since he is here at this conference with you lot. You should instead ask one of the many maids or the housekeeper. They probably will not know where to find a newspaper-fetching goat like my butler can, but they can do many other things and they will do it if it is something simple like giving you an extra pillow. So, all in all, gentlemen and more gentlemen, I hope you will enjoy your stay and have a nice conference. Thank you.’

Btw, word count is now almost 20 k :D

3 comments:

Gabriele C. said...

Roflol, this is so very British.

I can see Monty Python make a movie out of it.

hank_F_M said...

Let me guess - the butler did it?

--anne said...

i really want to read this now. any chance of finding a full copy somewhere?

p.s. congrats on winning nano, by the way!