Joe watched the three curvy, buxom girls swing and sway their way up the stairs and was suddenly filled with confidence about his sexuality.
"Bloody right, mate-- What? Really?"
Joe looked at the ceiling with a slight frown. "That's a bit of a switch. You must be new, are you? That first sentence up there doesn't appear to be written with irony, so I can only assume you're new."
Joe's successful assumption served to further boost his confidence.
"Oh, throwing me a bone, are you?"
Realizing that the bones were kept in a paper bag in the refrigerator for the dog--
"Oh, very funny."
--Joe took a quick glance up the stairs before moving into the living room. He stepped to the coffee table, picked up the remote control, and turned on the fifty-two-inch plasma-screen TV mounted on the far wall.
"Hey, what's this, then?" Joe asked the air. "I don't remember having a flat-screen TV." He looked around the room. "As a matter of fact, I don't remember any of this stuff."
Against the wall opposite the TV stood a long leather couch with a couple of matching footstools. Along the right-hand wall was a marble fireplace. In front of the fireplace was a large oriental rug.
Joe looked at the ceiling again. "What are you playing at here? This stuff is too nice. You're going to do something terrible to me, aren't you? You're just buttering me up with this... this..." he looked around again. "this really cool stuff."
A tall, elegant man in a tuxedo entered the room just then. He held out a silver tray with a drink on it.
"Your afternoon drink, sir," the man said.
Joe turned, startled.
"Who the hell are you?"
"Why, I'm your butler, Jeeves, sir," the man replied.
"Jeeves?" Joe looked at the ceiling again. "A bit cliché, don't you think?"
"Indeed, sir," Jeeves said, ignoring the fact that Joe was talking to the ceiling. "There was no spot available for me over in Bomo's world, so they've placed me here."
"Yes, sir. A rather jolly romp, if you'd ever care to read it."
Jeeves again proffered the drink on the tray. Joe eyed it suspiciously.
"What is that?"
"Your usual, sir. A vodka martini with a twist of lime."
Joe glanced mistrustfully at the ceiling again, then back at the drink.
"Gimme that," he grunted, snatching the martini off the tray. He braced himself, then took a cautious sip.
"Mmmmm.... Hey, that's not bad. Not bad at all."
"I do my best, sir," Jeeves said.
As Joe took another sip, the doorbell rang.
"Whoa," Joe said, "Nice chime sound."
"We aim to please, sir," Jeeves said as he turned to answer the door.
A moment later Jeeves returned, taking a formal stance in the threshold of the living room.
"Young Master Davy has arrived, sir," he announced.
"Show him in, show him in," Joe said eagerly.
Jeeves moved aside and gestured Davy into the room. Davy looked around the room, his eyes wide.
"Nice digs, Joe. Very posh. Very posh indeed."
Joe shrugged. "It's starting to grow on me."
Davy nodded towards the door. "And the geezer...?"
Joe smiled. "Yeah, isn't that rich? My own butler. Jeeves." He moved closer to Davy and spoke conspiratorially. "And you should see the three birds that just tumbled up the old apples and pears-- Hey!!"
Joe glowered at the ceiling again. "That's Cockney rhyming slang! I don't talk like that! You daft ponce! If you're going to write me British, then do it right. I'll bet you're not even from England, are you? You barmy prat. I'll bet you even had to look up those slang words, didn't you? I'm onto you, you gormless tosser. Oh, sure, throw in a few more,why don't you, just to impress us all! And stop using so bloody many exclamation points!"
Davy gave Joe a concerned look. "Are you still talking to...?"
"Yes!" Joe practically screamed. "The bloody writers out there! And aren't we lucky? We've got a new one. And he's a cagey bastard, too. Writes along oh-so-smoothly, getting all his spelling and punctuation just-so (except for the exclamations), dropping lovely bits of furniture and home electronics here and there, and then--Boom--out of the blue, he drops in a bit of wrong-headed dialogue and makes a bollocks of the whole thing."
"Well if that's the worst he does, I'd say you're getting off lucky."
"Oh, you wait, Davy. You just wait. He's not done with us yet. Oh, no. He's not going to leave it at weird bits of dialogue. He's going to throw something vicious at us. He's evil, this one. I can feel it in my bones."
Jeeves reappeared at the threshold. "Excuse me, sir, but I believe the ladies have concluded their ablutions."
Joe spun to face Jeeves. "They went upstairs for a pee, you pompous sack of flatulence, not to make a presentation to the bloody House of Commons!"
Jeeves was unmoved. "No, indeed, sir, though I am certain they have at various times made private presentations to individual members."
"I thought you liked having a butler," Davy muttered.
Joe took a deep breath. "I do," he said. "I'm just a bit on edge is all. I have no idea what we're in for."
The sound of giggles wafted into the room.
"Sounds don't waft, you nit." Joe grumbled.
But as the female voices drew closer, Joe began to cheer up.
"Wait till you see them, Davy," he said. "Oh, man..."
Davy blinked. "But I'm not into that sort of thing, Joe. You know that."
Joe shrugged. "Well, then. More for me, I guess." He rubbed his hands together. "Oh, be firm, be firm, my pecker-- Hey!!!"
He shook his fists at the ceiling. "What the hell do you think you're doing? People are going to misinterpret--" He glanced around the room. "Listen, all you readers out there. Just ignore that last bit. It doesn't mean what you think it means."
He looked at the ceiling again. "It means 'courage', you ninny! And the line's from Trial by Jury. That's Gilbert and Sullivan, for God's sake! I don't speak Gilbert and Sullivan! It's a lot of foolish, pompous nonsense. If you ever... ever... put words from Gilbert and Sullivan in my mouth again, I swear, I will walk down the hall into what I assume is a posh, state-of-the-art, high-tech kitchen, open one of the smoothly-gliding, nearly-silent utensil drawers, pull out the biggest bloody carving knife I can find, and slit my own throat! Are we clear on that?"
Silence descended upon the room.
"He makes you sound intelligent, though," Davy said after a moment. "That's new."
Joe glared at Davy.
Jeeves cleared his throat. "Beg your pardon, sir, but I believe it is incumbent upon me to indicate to you the Steinway & Sons grand piano in the room."
Joe looked around. "What piano? And what does a piano have to do with anything?"
"Oh, sir, the piano is quite pertinent to the current situation."
Joe balled his fists. "Well, then, where is it, man?"
Jeeves folded his hands in front of him. "The piano is currently suspended from the ceiling by a rapidly fraying rope, sir."
Joe and Davy looked up. There was, indeed, a piano suspended from the ceiling above them.
"Just had to reiterate it, didn't you, you git."
"The ropes are squeaking, Joe," Davy said. "How come we didn't notice that before?"
"I told you, Davy. The writer's evil. Spawn of Satan, this one."
"Well, don't we have time to move out of the way?"
"Of course we do. But the bastard's writing us like Wile E. Coyote."
"Would you care for a biscuit, sir?" Jeeves asked.
Joe looked at Jeeves, an incredulous expression on his face. "A biscuit? Now? Why on earth would you be offering me a biscuit now?"
"Well, sir, it's rather important that you eat something. Otherwise, the title of this chapter will make very little sense at all."
"Jeeves, do you know how small a rat's arse is?"
"Indeed, sir. I have exterminated numerous specimens of the vermin with my own exquisite tools."
"Wow," Davy said. "He has a way of making your statements really forgettable, doesn't he?"
Joe sighed. "Can we end this chapter, please?"
"Certainly, sir," Jeeves replied. "Shall I have the ladies wait for you?"
"Yeah, Jeeves," Joe said. "You do that."