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Jolly Rubber Ducks

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“Jeeves,” I said, “this blasted state of affairs has gone on for too long.”


“It simply won’t do. Now, I do understand that you do not want to engage in Improper Activities when we are under someone else’s roof—a perfectly prudent policy, my good man. But, surely, you won’t be averse to listening to me for a tick, right? That’s a chap.”

“Very well, Sir. If you please, keep your voice down and I shall be delighted to listen.”

“Right-ho! I thought I’d tell you what I’d like you to do once we’re back in friendly waters, eh?”

“I am all ears.”

“By Jove, this ‘friendly waters’ bit has given me ideas! We’ll start with the bath.”

“As you say, Sir.”

“Yes, as soon as we get back to Berkeley Mansions you will draw me a bath post haste—and none of your unpacking and airing up the flat rubbish, do you understand?”

“If I may, Sir, we have been absent for several days and the dust…”

“Ah-ah-ah, none of that, Jeeves. No, I shall have you draw me a bath and—yes—since I will be tired from traveling, you’ll have to help me undress.”

“Very good, Sir.”

“Slowly, yes, slowly, that’s the ticket. And if you could see your way to lingering a bit here and there—nothing too obvious, you understand—a gentle tickle on my wrist as you uncuff the cufflinks, an innocent brush to the young master’s trousers when you unclasp the suspenders…”

“I shall do that, Sir.”

“Marvellous! As you might imagine, this business will have caused a certain tightness in the trousers region, but you shall pay it no mind.”

“None, Sir.”

“You’ll draw the bath and help me in. I suppose you might sneak in a quick grope of Bertram’s behind, but use discretion. Then, once I am happily splashing in the tub, I will ask you to scrub my back.”

“Happy to oblige, Sir.”

“Naturally, you don’t want to ruin your clothes, so you’ll have to undress from the waist up.”

“A reasonable precaution, Sir.”

“And a dashed pleasant one, too, Jeeves. Did I ever tell you that your torso is a shining example of muscular perfection that would not look out of place in a Greek sculpture exhibit?”

“Once or twice. Thank you, Sir.”

“Now, one does not start bathing without giving a healthy squeeze to the rubber duck, so you reach inside the tub and, well, squeeze it.”

“I shall, Sir.”

“Between you and me, Jeeves, it is not the rubber duck you are squeezing.”

“Understood, Sir.”

“I want you to keep at it for a bit—just enough to make things interesting—and then I might reach up and accidentally splash a goodish bit of water all over your trousers.”

“Oh, dear.”

“There’s nothing for it, Jeeves, you shall have to take them off and join me in the bath—we don’t want you catching a cold, do we?”

“Indeed, Sir.”

“And what a happy coincidence, this position puts your rubber duck conveniently close to mine. Am I wrong in supposing that your ducky is now also considerably stiff?”

“You are correct, Sir, however—if i may—please do not to call it ‘rubber duck’. I beg you.”

“Too late, Jeeves, I can’t be mixing my metaphors. It’s bad form.”

“If you say so, Sir.”

“I do, Jeeves, I do. But, back to the ducks! Now, there will be a healthy bit of rubbing and scrubbing going on between the two of us, and as you know Bertram is prone to babbling in these circs. You will have no choice but silence me.”

“It will be my pleasure… Sir.”

“Of course, both of your hands are dashed busy, so you will need to find an alternative method of silencing. Do you think you might think up a good one, Jeeves?”

“I shall apply myself to the problem directly, Sir.”

“Excellent! So, here we are, jolly bobbing together in the bathtub and… I say, Jeeves, there’s a peculiar look to you. I don’t suppose you found all this talk a bit stirring, do you?

“You are once again correct, Sir. I find myself decidedly aroused.”

“I see! Well, between you and me, Jeeves, so am I. Whatever shall we do?”

“With all due respect, Sir, I think the most prudent course of action is for me to retire to my quarters and for both of us to take care of the problem separately.”

“That’s a dashed shame. All right, if you insist—but think of what I said, will you, Jeeves?”

“I will, Sir.”