Blodgett’s Schloss

Blodgett decided he wanted to live in a Schloss, so he did the sensible thing and went to an estate agent who specialised in Schlosses, or Schlossen.

“What I’m looking for,” he demanded in his demanding way, “Is somewhere bleak and forbidding and inaccessible except by a vertiginous and unreliable funitel or gondola lift. If you have seen the film Where Eagles Dare, directed by Brian G Hutton and released in 1968, you will have a good idea of what I am talking about, O estate agent.”

“That is not a film I have seen,” replied the estate agent, an impossibly youthful and pimply person who was terrified of Blodgett for reasons he was as yet only dimly aware of. “I am not much of a cinemagoer at all,” he continued, “For I prefer to spend my leisure hours at the circus.”

Blodgett had strong views on circuses, but so intent was he on viewing at least a couple of Schlossen with a view to purchasing one of them that he decided not to berate the estate agent just yet.

“A pox upon circuses!” was all he said, and then asked the pimply person if there were any suitable Schlossen on his books, at which point he was handed a big fat leather-bound Schlossen brochure and invited to thumb through it, which he did, for about fifteen minutes, occasionally making strange explosive noises and thumping his fist on the estate agent’s desk.

Outside, birds landed on the branch of a tree and began to squawk and sing.

The pimpled youth was growing increasingly nervous of Blodgett, so he reached into his drawer for a can of pepper-spray. He had only used it once, to disable a ruffian bent on criminality, on a Wednesday morning. Now it was Wednesday morning again and he was faced with this bad-tempered giant of a man in a Homburg hat and unseasonal galoshes who was perhaps using Schloss-purchase as a blind for some evil deed, though what that deed might be the estate agent did not yet know.

In truth, Blodgett was perfectly serious in his intention to buy a Schloss, although he had not worked out how in the name of heaven he was going to pay for it. That was why he wanted it to be bleak and forbidding and inaccessible except by a vertiginous and unreliable funitel or gondola lift, for then, once inside, for a viewing, he would simply stay put and pull up his ramparts, and defend himself against any bailiffs or law officers by pelting them with burning rags. It was not that he did not intend to pay the full Schloss-purchase price eventually, for at heart he was an honest man, but he wanted to be in his Schloss while devising a money-making scheme which would allow him to pay for it. Meanwhile, as he gazed at the pages of the Schloss-brochure with greedy eyes, he continued to thump his fist on the desk, because that is the sort of man he was.

Outside, the tree on the branches of which little birds squawked and sang was being chopped down by an inept municipal tree-chopping man. Not only was he chopping down the wrong tree, but the direction of his chopping meant that when it fell it fell slap bang into the Schloss-specialist estate agency. And it fell, smashing the glass frontage, at precisely the moment that the pimply youth, unnerved by yet another thump of Blodgett’s fist upon his desk, pointed the pepper-spray at Blodgett’s face and sprayed him. At which point, also, one of the thicker branches of the tree, falling, landed with a mighty bash upon the youth’s head, braining him into a daze.

The birds had flown away to the branches of another tree, and were squawking and singing still.

Thus it was that Blodgett ended up at a clinic to have the pepper-spray rinsed out of his eyes, while the estate agent lay in a bed elsewhere in the same clinic having his brain examined. It is hardly surprising, then, that Blodgett failed to buy a bleak and forbidding Schloss, one inaccessible except by a vertiginous and unreliable funitel or gondola lift, on that Wednesday morning loud with birdsong and squawk.

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