“Good heavens!” cried Adam Adamant, taking a step back from the kitchen. On opening the kitchen door, Adam had found the floor, walls and any other flat surface covered in a tacky, beige mixture. It appeared to have emanated from an overflowing pan on the hob. In the midst of this sticky mess were Georgie and Simms. The pair were standing next to the kitchen table, chained together by their wrists. The same concoction that had ruined the kitchen coated them too. It was perhaps as well they were, thought Adam, as otherwise they would be naked, except for some artfully arranged tea towels around Georgie’s body, while Simms wore only a pinny.
Adam adverted his gaze from Georgie - would she ever become a lady? And Simms! You can take the valet out of the theatre, but not the theatre out of the valet it seemed. Had they been getting up to something that in his time would have lead to the loss of Miss Jones’ reputation and earned Simms a horsewhipping? Adam considered his flat the last bastion against modern mores, but not any more.
“Is Miss Pettigrew in here?” Adam asked. The mixture was so thick, it wasn’t beyond the realms of feasibility that she could be buried under it.
“No, Sir, Miss Pettigrew has vacated the flat,” Simms informed him.
“I can’t say I blame the poor child. She came to me in her hour of need and I assured her she would be perfectly safe here and this is what happens. No doubt, when she heard what the pair of you were getting up to in the kitchen she had to depart, when her gentle sensitivities couldn’t take any more,” said Adam, in disgust. “I should have never left her alone with you two. And to add to your dereliction of duties, Simms, you were so caught up with what you were doing you failed to keep an eye on the stove.”
“Actually, I never managed to cook this evening’s meal, Sir.” Simms picked up something covered by the mystery mixture off the table and scraped the excess off with a knife. “This is the steak and kidney pudding I made.”
“Anyway, we weren’t up to anything dodgy - it was Miss Pettigrew and her cake mix that did this.” Georgie flung her hand out to illustrate her point and lumps of cake mix flew off her fingers. Adam dodged the now identified substance.
“Come now, Miss Pettigrew wouldn’t have sold many packets of her cake mix if it was a volatile substance.”
“Oh, it’s not her usual mix, it’s a special recipe. We found that out when she pulled a gun on me and Simms. Then she ordered us to strip and chained us to the table,” said Georgie.
“She reasoned if our skin was exposed the cake mix would choke our pores and we’d die of skin suffocation,” explained Simms.
“Personally, I think she’s just kinky,” added Georgie.
“I suspect Miss Pettigrew was put up to it by her business partner. She told me of his perfidious ways,” said Adam.
Georgie and Simms didn‘t look convinced.
“If she had really meant to kill you she would have manacled you securely, instead of with one feeble chain,” reasoned Adam.
“There were other chains binding us which we’ve removed from our persons. They’re on the floor now.” Simms prodded a wide mount with his foot. The chains had sunk into the cake mix and been covered. “It was to our advantage Miss Jones was born with slender ankles.”
“I slipped my feet out of the leg irons and knocked a corkscrew off the table by sticking a leg up in the air and swinging it around,” said Georgie.
“It’s a sight I won’t forget in a hurry,” interjected Simms.
“Quite,” said Adam. His mind was so busy pushing away thoughts of what a sight it would be, he completely forgot to tell Simms he should have done the decent thing and adverted his eyes.
“It was another stroke of luck that Miss Pettigrew didn’t remove from the kitchen table anything that could aid our escape. The locks are simple to open with a corkscrew,” said Simms.
“It turns out Simms and I had worked for the same magician, the Great Lumeno, as his assistant. For the escape act it was the assistant’s job to secretly hand the magician the corkscrew before he was locked inside a chest. When he’d freed himself, he would jump out of the chest and open a bottle of wine. We didn’t work for him at the same time though. I was his assistant a couple of years ago at Gramps’ club. Gramps enticed the Great Lumeno out of retirement for a Halloween show. Simms was his assistant at the start of Lumeno’s career.”
“Of course, having spent a whole season on the Pier, with said Gentleman of mystery and illusion, I had a better recall of the magician’s tricks than Miss Jones with her one night stand,” said Simms, poking the tip of a corkscrew into a lock, which sprung open, finally freeing the pair to their great relief.
“Then as soon as we opened a few locks, Simms was fretting we wouldn’t be decent by the time you returned and I said Mr Adamant has seen far more alarming sights than two people naked, covered in cake and chained together.”
“That is a matter of opinion,” responded Simms.
“We didn’t do too badly in the circumstances. It was a shame the chains didn’t stretch to the drawer where the tablecloths are kept. I could have rustled up some togas,” mused Georgie.
“As you’re not in danger any longer, I shall depart. Miss Pettigrew, I imagine, will have returned to her business partner to report she had performed what she was forced to do by him. Monsters like him are invariably keen to hear every last diabolical detail. I shall go and put an end to this man’s madness immediately.” Adam span round and rushed out of the flat.
Georgie turned to Simms, “We can’t let Adam go to the cake factory alone!”
“I don’t see what we can do in our current state and you can hardly go out wearing a couple of dishcloths in the cold February air,” said Simms.
“I’ll change back into my clothes.”
“If you recall Miss Pettigrew threw them out of the window.”
“It doesn’t matter - I’ll borrow some of yours, Simms, if you don’t mind,” said Georgie, dashing out of the kitchen and into the drawing room, without waiting for a reply.
“I do mind and you’re ruining the carpet,” called Simms after her. He looked despairingly at the cakey trail Georgie was leaving across the expensive shag-pile carpet. Georgie paused at the door of Simms’ quarters. “Well, you’ll have to stay and call the cleaners won’t you?” And with that, Georgie vanished through the door and Simms reached for a large brandy.