Thursday, October 18, 2007

Tea for two

Hello all

Sorry for the rather abrupt end to the last post. I was in my room at the time, and heard footsteps in the corridor. It was all I could do to scroll down and press publish (remember, I am using a mobile phone with a small screen) before the door opened. Moments later, the phone was confiscated.

In case this soounds a little confusing, let me tell the story in chronological terms, picking up at the point where I was contemplating how long it would take me to sprint for the border. I was just about to set off when a rather large man grabbed the collar of my shirt and hauled me off my feet. I had no idea there was even a security guard on the premises, let alone that I had been stalked by cctv from the moment I left the second floor landing. This was explained to me as I was marched back at speed towards the house. But rather than entering, I was taken round the back and into one of the stable buildings. On the other side of a door I had never noticed was a security post, complete with a bank of monitors, a bed and kitchenette. I was told to sit down by the security guard, who then, somewhat unexepectedly, offered me a cup of tea.

'Dr Joseph McCrumble, I presume?', he said, handing me the mug. 'Sorry, no milk or sugar.'

The fact that the man knew my name was an additional surprise. 'Er, yes, and, er, no problem. And, er, you are?', I said, hestitantly.

'Stonemason.' said the guard, checking the monitors as he spoke. 'As in, that is my name, not what I do. I am the security guard here, in case you were wondering.'

'It did cross my mind', I said dryly. 'So what am I doing in here?'

'It is my job to interrogate trespassers. The owner is very fond of his privacy.'

'But I wasn't trespassing. I'm staying here as a gardener whilst I sort out my...'

'I am aware of your position, Dr McCrumble. Dolores told us what was happening between the two of you, so we agreed to let you in under the rules of the house. You are quite a good gardener, by the way.'

'She did? I mean, thanks.'

'Rule 19a states that no employee shall venture onto the grounds at the weekends without the permission of the owner. You were therefore trespassing.'

'OK...', I said, wondering where this was leading.

'Under rule 19a, employees observed trespassing are to be confined to quarters and rendered unable to communicate with the outside world until such time as the owner is convinced that there has been no breach of privacy.' As the security guard spoke, he began to roll his shirt-sleeves upwards.

Upon hearing and seeing this, my mind immediately focused on keeping calm and not revealing that I had a mobile phone about my person. It was located in my jeans' pocket, and I knew that Stonemason would only need to exercise a light frisking to bring about its confiscation. Somehow, I had to offload the mobile to somewhere I could retrieve it unnoticed after the search. Looking briefly around me, I could not see many obvious hiding places. To my left was the kitchenette, and I figured that if I could make a distraction, I could perhaps deposit the phone in the sink. It was a slightly risky venture, but the only viable option from where I was sitting.

It would have to be a fairly major distraction, or else I would not have sufficient time to wrestle the phone from my (slightly tight) jeans pockets and place it quietly amongst the pots and pans. Stonemason's attention had been caught by something on the screens. I was holding a cup of tea. Now, I'm no electrician, but I do know that tea and television monitors don't mix very well. Especially when a cup is thrown at the screens.

'What the...', cried the security guard as the lukewarm brown liquid spilled over the monitors. He looked round at me with a mixture of confusion and menace. I shrugged my shoulders.

'Sorry, it was a spasm. I get them under stressful conditions. Wait I'll get a cloth.' With that, I stopped waving my right arm around, stood up and turned towards the kitchenette, my left hand on my pocket containing the phone.

'Sit down Dr McCrumble', said Stonemason firmly. 'I'll get it.'

My heart skipped a beat, and momentarily I thought my opportunity lost. But fortunately the security guard had to search amongst the pots and pans to find his cloth, during which time I could retrieve the phone from my jeans' pocket. Stonemason then moved over to the monitors to wipe the screens. I stood up again and placed the phone carefully in the pans.

'What are you doing?' said the security guard, wiping a screen.

'I'm, er, getting another cloth. That's not doing the job properly.'

'Yes it is. It's worked fine. Sit down', said Stonemason impatiently, clearly upset by the incident. Momentarily I was pleased to see him agitated, but an image of him taking out his irration during the forthcoming search popped into my head, and I felt suddenly uneasy once again. 'Right, now no more spasms, or I'll have to tie you to the chair', he said.

'Sure, I won't move at all.'

'Yes you will. Stand up. I need to frisk you for communication devices. Do you have any you want to hand over before I search you?'


'It will look better if I report to the owner that you voluntarily submitted any devices.'

'None to submit, Mr Stonemason', I said confidently. 'Search away.'

The (slightly too rough in my opinion) frisking lasted only a couple of minutes and of course revealed nothing. Retrieving the phone was straightforward, as it was within easy reach of where I was standing, and I just had to wait for the security guard to turn away for a moment, which he did to pick up his coat. Victory is mine, I thought as I was taken back to house and up to my room. Stonemason told me not to leave the room until further notice.

The first thing I did was send a text message to Dolores, explaining what had happened. She sent a one-word response, suggesting by her choice of word that she might have considered my excuse to be slightly, or perhaps completely 'pathetic'.

I spent last Sunday confined to quarters, and wrote that last blog entry before Stonemason entered, confiscated the phone on the spot and left me totally cut-off from civilisation. Why I wasn't fired, and ejected from the manor on the spot, I couldn't work out. I asked Stonemason that very question as he was leaving the room, but he didn't answer. I was left without any answer until a couple of days later when the whole sordid picture of what was going on in the manor house was finally revealed....

*******TO BE CONTINUED!!******


Gorilla Bananas said...

This regime is unendurable. You must either make an escape or lead a rebellion.

Anonymous said...

JMC your situation is abominable. No milk or sugar for your tea...... Something very strange indeed is going on at the House.

Inspector Plum

Dr Joseph McCrumble said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr Joseph McCrumble said...

GB - stay tuned.

Plum - strange indeed. Nothing I've ever come across before.