Saturday, 4 December 2010

An Inspector Calls In Sick

A parlour in one of the great country houses of England. Several well-dressed dinner guests of LORD CAMERON are talking amongst themselves. A corpse lies on the tiger-skin rug.

LORD CAMERON: I’m sure there’s a perfectly good explanation for this. The butler rang the police as soon as he discovered this unfortunate chap, and I’m sure they’ll get to the bottom of this little unpleasantness.

MR. HIRAM OBAMA, an American ‘gentleman of color’: There sure as hell better be, ya faggot Limey cocksucker.

LORD CAMERON (ingratiatingly): Er… ho ho, most witty, Mr Obama, if I may say so!

The Hon. GEORGE OSBORNE, an adolescent: Hear, hear! Why, Mr Bernard Shaw, our foremost man of letters, could scarcely have put it better himself!

I say, does anyone know who the unfortunate blighter might actually be?

(A bell rings, and the butler appears, followed by one of Her Majesty’s finest.)

FRY (for it is he): Helloooooooo! Hello, helloooooooo! And may I unctuously invite you all to bid a warm QI welcome to… er… PCSO 49 Alan Davies!!!

PCSO 49: Evenin’, all. Now then, what’s all this about?

It’s about this damned fellow bleeding all over my best rug.

PCSO 49:
Right you are, chief, you leave this to me. (Walks over to corpse, kneels down) Now look ‘ere, sunshine, what d’you think you’re doin’, upsettin’ these fine gentlefolks wiv your shenanigans? Move along, now, or I shall ‘ave to escalate this incident and call for a real bobby to back me up.

INSPECTOR SAVAGE (entering via the French windows): I’m afraid it’s a little late for that, PCSO 49. This man is dead.

PCSO 49: Blimey, that must be why you’re a proper copper and I’m only wearin’ fancy dress, sir.

INSPECTOR: Perhaps we should begin by identifying the deceased. Turn the body over, PCSO 49, if you please.

PCSO 49: Beggin’ your pardon an’ all that, sir, but I kint lay a finger on ‘im. It’s more’n me job’s worth, see.

INSPECTOR: Ah, quite so. Might I borrow your servant, Lord Cameron?

CAMERON: Certainly, Inspector. Fry, if you would?

FRY: I shall do my level best to comply with your wishes, sir. (Turns corpse face up.)

CLEGG: Good heavens! It’s old Mr Cable, the dean of Brassneck College! Er… I’ve never seen this fellow before in my life.

INSPECTOR: Of course not, sir. Is Mr Cable perhaps not known to anyone else among you?

CAMERON: I think I speak for all of us, Inspector, when I say that although Dean Cable is known by reputation to all as one of our nation’s foremost thinkers, none of us here would claim to have ever made his acquaintance personally.

I quite understand, Lord Cameron. Nevertheless, it is my belief that someone present in this very room may be responsible for the dean’s unfortunate demise, and I must ask you all to remain here for the time being.

OSBORNE (stamping foot): Really, Inspector! It’s already past my bedtime. Nanny will be cross.

CAMERON: Now, young Georgie, play the game. This is a most serious business.

OSBORNE: Oh, well, if it’s business that’s a different matter.

PCSO 49: Beg pardon, sir, but weren’t the gentleman in all the papers recently? As I recall, ‘e were ‘avin a debate about keeping the riff-raff out of the varsity. Didn’t ‘e say ‘e was all for it, then change ‘is mind saying ‘tweren’t such a good idea after all, then in summin' up say’ ‘e were all for it agin? ‘Twere way above my ‘ead, sir, if you don’t mind me sayin’.

CLEGG: Indeed. A true master of rhetoric, such as the dean, should always be able to argue both sides of the topic; although he undoubtedly raised eyebrows at the Oxford Union by actually putting the theory into practice. I say! You don’t think it might have led to his unfortunate demise, do you, Inspector?

INSPECTOR: Er… I fear I don’t quite follow your line of thinking, your lordship.

CAMERON: By Jove, Nicholas, I do believe I see where you’re coming from. Inspector, didn’t I see you on the front page of the Times the other day, remonstrating with some oiky student in London?

INSPECTOR: Only carrying out my solemn duty, milord. These student anarchists are fomenting nothing less than total class warfare, and it’s my job to ensure that the social order is maintained at all costs. It’s not for me to take sides, of course, but occasionally I might need to explain the limits of democratic freedom to radical sympathisers with a certain amount of, shall we say, emphasis, if you know what I mean.

Ahem… You wouldn’t happen to have your truncheon about your person at this moment, would you, Inspector?

INSPECTOR: I seem to have left it at the station, sir.

CLEGG: I only ask because poor Mr Cable appears to have several long dents in his skull.

PCSO 49: Lumme… If you’ll forgive me sayin’ so, guv’nor, them notches in the old geezer’s bonce don’t arf look about the right size.

GARDENER (appearing at the French windows holding charred truncheon): ‘ere, which one o' yew hoity-toity buggers bin chuckin’ stuff in moy bonfire?

INSPECTOR: Er, might I trouble you for the use of your telephone, Lord Cameron?

(CAMERON nods to FRY, who brings candlestick telephone over on silver platter.)

Hello, operator, get me Scotland Yard… Inspector Savage here, commissioner - sir, I regret to inform you that, due to a sudden attack of the old complaint, as of this moment I shall be on indefinite sick leave… thank you, sir, you’re very understanding.

PCSO 49: If you’ll accompany me, sir, to the Black Maria, I’ll drop you off ‘ome.


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