The Misadventures Of Sally West 2: East Meets West
– A Sally West Misadventure
PC Sally West walked briskly out of her regular de-briefing with Superintendant Carver (minus her briefs, of course), absent-mindedly sat down on a cushionless chair and got up very quickly. She no longer regarded the Superintendent’s personal attentions as unusual, but as a part of the job. She even felt more than a little contempt for PC Yasmin Khan, who often came out of her regular sessions with her superior officer crying floods of tears. A police officer needed to show strength of character and resilience.
Sally had been moved from her bicycle patrols to a squad car after that unfortunate incident when she had caught her trouser leg in a loose spoke and lost her trousers on the High Street just as the Cardinal of Westminster’s official car had been passing, causing the driver, Monsignor Hooligan, to lose control and crash into the front of a sex shop. The resulting press photos of a shaken Cardinal accepting a cup of tea from a lady in thigh-length boots and black frilly underwear had not, apparently, pleased the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, though, oddly, numbers at church and conversions had gone up. Sally’s colleague in the squad car was Doug Tucker, of whom the best that could be said (in Sally’s opinion) was that he was “an old-style copper”. In other words, he thought “plonks” were for making tea, calming hysterical female crime victims and opening their legs; race relations were for the dog track; and the best way of rehabilitating a villain was thumping him so he couldn’t habilitate in the first place.
Sally had just time to see the naïve newcomer Bianca Van Dreiva going in for her interview with the Super before following Doug to the squad car. At least the seats were padded. Doug was not a great conversationalist and Sally was reduced to trying to work out each time his head jerked round for a better look at something, whether he had noticed some possible misbehaviour or a “bit of stuff”. After one incident when Doug had used the rear view mirror to follow a well-rounded bottom down the street and had almost mown down one of their own bicyclists, she had tried to persuade him to let her drive, but received merely a snort of derision.
“Women can’t drive,” he informed her. She felt like saying he couldn’t drive either if his eyes kept wandering, but decided on dignified discretion.
They had nearly finished their stint, with boredom relieved only by helping to calm a dispute between two dog-walkers, when a call came in.
“Roger – I’m in Birch Avenue. Responding,” said Doug. She had to ask twice to find out what situation they were responding to. The house of a Professor East had apparently been burgled, and he thought the burglar was still on the premises.
The Professor’s house was in an island of large old properties washed round by newer developments. This neighbourhood had once been select; then many of the big houses had been divided up, and others had gone into multiple occupancy. The area had developed an unsavoury reputation and people with jobs were a small minority. Then the council had gained regeneration money and done all sorts of work to the neighbourhood, at the end of which the regeneration had been declared a great success. The employment rate and income level had shot up and the crime level had shot down. This was because the old residents had been driven out and replaced by rich newcomers.
Bt the time the squad car had drawn up, brakes screeching, outside “St Andrew’s Villas”, Doug had more information on the incident.
“This sounds like a waste of time. Stupid old fart found some stuff knocked over. Probably the cat – or him and he’s forgotten. Reckons some door’s been barricaded or bolted and he can’t get in, so it must be a burglar. He’s heard a few sounds. Cat again. Pity. I could have done with a burglar resisting arrest. I could do with a workout.” Sally was offended.
“Doug, you can’t just assume the old man’s imagined it all. He knows what state his own house should be in. We have to take this seriously.” Doug shrugged.
“O.K. – you objected when I wanted to keep you out of catching that N… ethnic kid who grabbed that bag outside Dixon’s. So now’s your chance, Starsky. I’ll prospect round the outside in case this burglar’s making his escape. You go in and talk to the Professor.” Sally was disgusted with the man’s attitude, but delighted to have a chance to prove herself; and she looked forward to talking with the Professor, as she considered herself well-educated and cultured. The poor old man would need reassuring.
The front door was reached by a paved path through a small but overgrown garden. She rang the door bell. The door opened and a man thrust a spear at her. She dodged the blow, but stepped back too quickly, overbalanced and sat on a garden gnome whose peaked hat, as ill-luck would have it, came precisely between her bottom cheeks and made a hole in her uniform trousers. She screamed, got up with the gnome still attached and pulled it out. It shattered on the paving stones. The man with the spear was still standing in the doorway, but was now looking sheepish. He was old and wearing a sort of dressing-gown. He must be the Professor. He was an old man, quite tall but a little bowed, with much the appearance of an old Tom Baker but with the long, straggly white hair of that earlier Doctor Who – what was his name? William Hartnell?
“Oh, goodness me, I do apologise! How lucky my aim isn’t what it was when I accompanied Karen among the Roberta – I mean Roberta among the Karen. I thought you were another burglar! Do come in. Have a cup of tea. I’m Professor Horrabin East, by the way.” As Sally entered the house, apologising for the destruction of the gnome, Doug, sniggering loudly, sloped off for a desultory look around outside and a surreptitious smoke.
The Professor shepherded Sally inside with a fatherly hand on her bottom.
“Did I tell you there’s a burglar in the house? How extraordinarily lucky it is that you called!” he commented. Sally reminded him that he had called the police, declined the cup of tea and asked him why he thought he had a burglar and why he thought the man was still present.
“Ah!” said the Professor, and was silent for some time. “I had gone out in the garden to take some washing from the line and when I came in the front door was open. I certainly left it closed and I thought it was locked. Then I heard a sort of thump down in the cellar where my Far Eastern collection is situated. There are artefacts, statues, masks and automatons, there from Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, China, Mongolia, Burma, Malaya, Korea, Bengal, the Dutch East Indies…”
“Yes, Professor, and what happened next?”
“Another thump and a sort of dragging noise. The things down there are exceptionally valuable, you know.”
“Well, I operated the remote control to lock the system. Whoever was down there is there still, take my word for it.” Suddenly the old man sounded less engagingly scatty. Sally decided to find out more about his cellar before entering it. He was delighted to explain at length. It seemed the cellar contained not just a collection of ancient artefacts, but a series of interactive displays, traps and automatons representing Far Eastern myths about demons, “my particular study – anything I’ve enhanced has been exhaustively researched.” Sally began to feel a little sorry for the burglar.
“Now where’s the remote, so I can let you in?” the Professor said, rummaging in his pocket and bringing out a pair of pink frilly knickers. “Oh, sorry, that’s the washing. Now where…” He found the remote on the seat of an armchair and pressed a button. Somewhere in the bowels of the old house Sally heard the unmistakeable sound of a heavy wooden door creaking open. Moments later she was descending rickety steps into a menacing gloom.
As she switched her torch on, she began to regret having told the Professor to stay upstairs. After all, he presumably knew where things were. Suddenly her torch beam picked out a huge semi-human face set in a giant growl, a massive black hole between the upper and lower long, sharp teeth. She screamed – and immediately felt ashamed. Of course, this was some Eastern mask, a representation of a demon; and her scream might have alerted the burglar. To avoid alerting him any more, and perhaps giving him a target, she tried turning off the torch and promptly tripped over a rope, falling into cold water (at least, she hoped it was water). Something big and slimy began to slither against her chest and face. Screaming again and jerking away, she managed to regain her feet and dry ground – but her torch was nowhere to be found.
Slowly, very slowly, she started to see more as her eyes adjusted to the gloom. Statues and masks were everywhere. Something like cobwebs brushed her face, and as she pushed them out of the way, a ghostly, flickering light came on. She crept forward, beginning to feel uncomfortable from the cold damp invading her every nook and cranny. Rounding a corner, she stopped suddenly and screamed. Inches in front of her, a horribly grinning naked brown man was holding his huge erect penis and pointing it towards her. She stepped rapidly backwards only to feel an erect penis of similar outstanding size and hardness pushing between her trousered bottom-cheeks. She screamed again and stumbled forward on to the first man’s penis. Only then did she realise that the figure was wooden, a representation of some fertility god or demon. A nervous glance behind her confirmed that the other invasive penis belonged to the demon’s equally wooden twin. Then for the first time, in the gloomy distance, she spotted movement.
Very cautiously, she approached. She could see a naked woman trapped in something. Was the Professor some kind of evil mastermind who had a menagerie of slaves? If so, was she to be added to it? But coming a little closer, she was reassured. She was looking at a clever automaton. She recalled seeing something similar in the British Museum when she had been a schoolgirl, a device captured from an Indian Rajah who had challenged the British, a carefully carved and painted tiger that kept lunging towards the throat of a prone British officer. This automaton was a little more subtle. A woman whose white skin indicated European origins was trapped in the jaws of a huge crocodile, her plump naked bottom and long legs sticking out. The crocodile’s jaws moved slightly, opening a bit and then closing. The woman’s buttocks shifted and her legs kicked. Meanwhile, a big tiger was frozen in the act of approaching her. However, it was not its jaws that moved, but its penis, which repeatedly stiffened and poked forward, only to fall back again.
Sally continued her cautious exploration among the carved Eastern demons and other figures. One different figure caught her eye. Something about the style suggested its creator had been East Asian, but the figure clearly represented a European – a plump, rather squat man in his 50s or early 60s, wearing white shorts and jacket of vaguely military appearance and a pith helmet. The man’s pale face was blotched with red, especially on the grotesquely big and bulbous nose; his bristly moustache was grey but a wisp of hair escaping from the helmet was white. He wore a monocle and an expression of irritable anger. With one hand he pointed, presumably at the unfortunate object of his anger, while the other held an apparently real whip – a long, knotted vicious thing, not a little riding switch. Unpleasant and cleverly devised though the figure was, it was clearly not alive, so Sally moved on.
A gong sounded; and as its reverberations faded away, she heard an ominous sound – the creaking of the door again, followed by a heavy, final thud as it shut. As Sally stood transfixed, the dim light strengthened. Then a huge demonic mask set about three feet up into the wall began to move. Very slowly, the shut mouth opened to reveal fearsome teeth, but between them, a dark, downward passage with small ring-like objects that could be used as handholds or footholds. Sally wished she still had her torch; but as she stared into the passage, she heard the unmistakeable sound of something being knocked over, a muffled monosyllable from a real human voice and a dragging or scraping noise. Then she saw a very faint, inconstant light that could only come from a torch. The burglar was down there!
Sally was brave and did not hesitate. She lifted herself up and began to clamber into the demon’s mouth. Unfortunately, her route was blocked by the thing’s massive wooden tongue. Pushing against it, she felt it give a little. She gave it a good shove and it fell back with a click. The demon’s sharp-toothed jaws closed tightly around her waist, trapping her with her top half inside and her bottom half hanging outside, her feet just off the floor. She writhed and struggled, but this seemed merely to make the jaws clamp harder and caused her hat to fall down the dark tunnel. The resourceful girl remembered that pushing the tongue one way had made the jaws close, so presumably pulling it the other way would open them. She sighed with relief and pulled the thing. It would not budge. She was strong and fit. She pulled harder. The tongue snapped off and dropped down the throat. After what seemed a long while she heard it hit what was presumably the floor. The jaws stayed shut. She felt for her radio, and after a nightmare of fumbling, activated it. An even buzz told her it was not working in the depths of the cellar.
Behind her she heard a now familiar sound: the entrance door was creaking open again. The Professor must have realised something was wrong! He would come to the rescue! But moments later she heard another meaningful sound: down in the depths of the tunnel, a series of scraping and knocking noises was steadily receding. The burglar was heading away. The tunnel might, of course, be a dead end, but Sally remembered lots of stories from her girlhood which suggested tunnels usually came out somewhere else. If somewhere else was outside the house, or inside the house but outside the cellar, he would get away. That was awful, but then she realised the third possibility was that the exit was within the cellar. In that case, the burglar might even go right past her and she would be unable to stop him. The entrance door was open again and he would probably escape!
Minutes which seemed ages passed. There was no sign of the Professor, or for that matter, Doug Tucker. Then, from the opposite direction to the one she had taken, she heard a very slight, muffled sound of cautious approaching footsteps, the barely discernible PLACK of trainers or sports shoes. Sally was almost crying with frustration. The burglar was going to come within inches of her and she could not catch him! The soft sounds came nearer and nearer and then seemed to be beginning to recede.
“Police! Stop! You’re under arrest!” she yelled at the top of her voice. The footfalls stopped. Then they came back. Then they stopped again.
“Well, well, well,” said a deep young male voice with a London accent, “I’ve heard of girls talking out of their arses but I never thought they could really do that.”
“Stop right there! You’re under arrest!” she repeated. There was a brief silence. When the voice spoke again it sounded very near indeed.
“Goodness me, a little piggy! Plenty of nice juicy meat on her, too.” Two big, muscular hands cupped her bottom cheeks and squeezed, before wandering lovingly over the entire, drum-tight surface of her trouser seat. Sally passionately believed in the rule of law and in being fair to suspects. She did her best to warn the man.
“I’m warning you, if you don’t stop that immediately, you’ll be facing charges not only for burglary but for indecent assault. The penalty for that is EEEEEEK!” The burglar had pinched her bottom very hard.
Her belt was held in the demon’s teeth and its accoutrements were projecting outside. The man began to investigate them.
“Hmm…CS gas, nasty stuff. You’re a very naughty girl to even think of using that.” He gave her right buttock a little, playful slap. “Handcuffs – great. My girlfriend will like those. Come to think of it, they could be useful on a job, especially if I ran into a lovely little piece like you, darling. Truncheon – very, very kinky. And a hole in your bottom. Someone impatient, was he?” A long finger stuck through the hole and into the cleft in Sally’s bottom. This made her writhe around and kick, though she knew it could do no good. Indeed, the man seemed to like it, groaning with pleasure and calling her a good girl. Then he withdrew his finger and there was silence till Sally thought he must have crept away. Perhaps he was a bit of a wimp after all. Criminals often were. Then he smacked her bottom very hard indeed.
Sally screamed – but as soon as her scream was dying away, she was thinking hard how to be professional and manage the situation. If you can’t overpower them, the trainer had said, or if some villain has got you at a disadvantage, or someone is about to do something drastic – talk to them. Try to establish a relationship.
“Please, just hold on, I want to talk,” she said.
“So do most women. But I am a bit curious what you’ll say,” the man replied.
“Um, hello. My name is Sally. What’s your name?”
“Hannibal.” Sally was perfectly aware that this might be a cruel joke, or even (horror of horrors) a real indication of the man’s tastes, but then he did sound a bit like he might be black, and black men often had funny names (not “funny”, she corrected herself – just different), so she’d better not offend him by questioning it.
“Hello, Hannibal. Pleased to meet you.” The man laughed, a deep and rather unpleasant chuckle.
“Pleased to meet you, darling!”
“Er, look – you’re a burglar, aren’t you?” He laughed again.
“Shirley fucking Holmes we’ve got here! Yes, I’m a burglar.”
“Well, Hannibal, I’m sure you really like being a burglar, but it is illegal and you can get caught. Isn’t there anything else you really, really like doing, something you’ve got real talent for, something you could develop?” This time Hannibal did not laugh. In fact he was silent for a while as if thinking.
“Well, yes, in fact there is. In fact there’s a couple of things, no, three things, stuff I really like doing and I’m good at, stuff I learnt at school, but no-one will pay me for them.” Sally was delighted, although also a bit sorry for the young man, whose voice now had a wistful sound.
“What are they, Hannibal? Maybe you could develop them. Maybe I could help you even. Please tell me – what are they?”
“Spanking, bondage and fucking,” said Hannibal.
Sally was mortified. She had encouraged the lad to tell her his deepest secrets, so she could scarcely condemn his confidence. When he thanked her profusely for offering to help and said he was gratefully accepting her offer, she could think of nothing to say. Hannibal helped her out of this dilemma. He must have taken off one of his trainers, for when the next fierce whack landed on Sally’s uniformed rump, she could feel the springiness of the footwear. Her confused silence was broken; and after every powerful swat she added an anguished “WAAAAA!”
After a while, the burglar began to talk again, in between the blows.
“My old dad, God bless him, SPLAT! WAAAAA! was always going on about policewomen in SPLAT! WAAAAA! skirts. Broke his heart when you lot started wearing SPLAT! WAAAA! trousers. He said you were just pretending to be men and you deserved to have your SPLAT! WAAAA! arses tanned. Said he was hiding in a loft once of this big house, the filth were all over the place looking for him, he was under this skylight and some lovely little piggy came and stood right over the skylight! Pink ones with lovely little bits of fuzz escaping from them and a pretty little crease in the middle, he said. Only problem was, when this little piggy had buggered off he had to escape through another skylight where he’d come in, it was a tight squeeze, he was still thinking about her, and he couldn’t get through. He had to think of Maggie Thatcher before he could get through. He reckoned skirts were best any day ‘cause they was easier to get your hand up. Besides, policewomen’s skirts were dead tight, meant they couldn’t run fast, which was useful if you wanted to catch one, he said. He caught one once and brought her home. She was delicious!” He smacked his lips loudly. Sally was almost sure he was making up this story about his father kidnapping a policewoman, but she couldn’t be entirely sure, and well, the word “delicious” could be understood several ways, and she didn’t like the way he’d smacked his lips. She supposed the name “Hannibal” was just his little joke, or a pure coincidence, after all, the original Hannibal had been a great general, but oh, gosh, if he really was like Hannibal Lecter and she was stuck in this thing’s mouth…help. But the burglar was talking again.
“Oh, shit, I’ve stopped. SPLAT! WAAAA! Great guy, my old dad, evil. Wait till I tell him SPLAT, WAAAA! about today! Now me, I can see his point, SPLAT! WAAAA! but I like trousers best on a nice bit of rump steak ‘cause you can see the SPLAT! WAAAA! shape better and they’re kind of kinky. Anyway, it’s not so hard to get them down.” He proved this point with a practical demonstration, removing Sally’s shoes so he could peel her trousers right off. Protected only by the dinky little pair of spare knickers Sally brought along whenever she was to be de-briefed by the Superintendent, Sally’s well-heated bottom felt the cold air – and felt to her very, very vulnerable. When Hannibal roughly pushed the knicker-material deep into her crevice and she felt the serrated sole of the trainer on her bare cheek, Sally shrieked and then, the floodgates opening, she began to cry. The tears disappeared down the dark tunnel as Hannibal continued to set her bottom afire, pausing only to tug her knickers down to her ankles and then right off.
Hannibal was clearly a fit, strong lad, for the punishment went on a long time. Finally, he declared,
“Well, thanks, darling. That’s the first thing you volunteered to help me with. The second you’ve very helpfully done for me. Now for the third.” Sally had forgotten what the third thing was until she felt Hannibal’s massive, triumphant cock pushing at her soft pearly gates. She had just time to plead,
“Hanny! Please! No!” before he forced his way deep inside her. As she was taken over by a new rhythm, she was not entirely unhappy. She was not being eaten. Hannibal seemed quite a nice lad in some ways, and, well, this was quite an experience. It seemed ages before he pulled out, leaving her a battleground between glorious feelings and shame. Shame was losing when she felt his gigantic pile-driver in a new position, pushing apart her bottom cheeks.
“Please, no! Not in there! Please! Nice boy!” she babbled – but all he said in reply was,
“Oh, yes, darling!” Sally’s thoughts and mumbled words then went:
“NO, PLEASE, NO! IT’S TOO BIG! IT’LL NEVER…AAARGH! Oh.” This covered the situation pretty well, and there was nothing more to be said.
A long time later, when he finally seemed to have tired, she was still not happy, babbling:
“What are you doing with my truncheon? No! No! Ooooh…”
“I do like assertive women who can stand up for themselves and tell men where to get off. Bye, darling!” said Hannibal, and then she heard his receding footfalls.
Sally was a strong girl, and had soon recovered physically if not mentally. When she heard a light, shuffling step approaching from a different direction she was delighted. It must be the Professor! She was about to be rescued! However, it clearly was not the Professor, for the newcomer did not extract her from the demon’s mouth, instead running grainy hands over her super-sore bottom.
“WHO IS THAT?” she yelled.
“Rumplestiltskin,” he replied politely. Sally concluded he was not telling the truth and that there must be more than one member of the gang. Indeed, she had assumed without any justification that she was dealing with a lone burglar, but instead this was no doubt an operation by a gang of art thieves. When Rumplestiltskin’s hands stopped exploring her bottom she was relieved – until her already sore target was sliced into by a vicious blow from what was all too obviously a whip. That one in the hand of the red-faced colonial officer! The second burglar must have taken it. In any case, he knew what he was doing, and as Sally shrieked and pointlessly kicked, he angled in clever cuts at her thighs and buttocks. A CLUNK noise puzzled her for a moment until she realised the truncheon had fallen out. This was not entirely a good thing, as the next blow landed where the truncheon had left.
That proved to be the last, unkindest, cut, for Rumplestiltskin now busied himself plugging the gap. After Hannibal it was quite a low-key experience, but not without some signs of practice and mastery. The man finished, patted her bottom kindly, and shuffled off without a word.
When still the Professor did not come, she concluded he had been overpowered by the gang. She hoped he was not badly hurt. She had no hope that Doug Tucker would intercept them, but even he would eventually start to wonder where she’d gone and come to look. If he didn’t find the cellar, at least he’d find the Professor and call for help. But then a third different set of footfalls approached. Lighter than Hannibal’s, quicker than the second burglar’s, with the sharp “clack” of hard-bottomed shoes one would think unsuitable for burglary, they soon came to a halt close behind Sally’s bare bottom. For a long time, nothing happened.
“Help!” said Sally.
“That is not the most intelligent thing you could have said in the circumstances,” said the newcomer – who was a woman with a high, harsh, upper-class voice. Certainly these were no normal burglars, but a specialist art or antiquities gang.
“I’m jumping to conclusions,” Sally told herself, “this woman may still belong to the house and may help me.” Then the woman pinched her flaming cheek, holding the sore flesh between long fingers and – what felt like torture -squeezing it cruelly between long, sharp nails as if it were a toothpaste tube giving up its last riches.
“Flabby. Needs more exercise.” The strange woman remarked loudly. Sally was deeply offended.
“Do you mind! I use the gym most days! I go jogging! I play basketball! I swim! I go on long walks!”
“Terribly interesting, you silly little girl, but I meant an altogether different kind of exercise,” the woman replied.
What that was, Sally soon learnt as the woman applied the whip with cruel artistry, cutting across lines the previous burglar had left on her bottom cheeks, working down her thighs and finally attacking her calves. Sally’s tears returned in floods. She stopped crying – out of shock – when the long fingers prised apart her lips and, led by the sharp, long nails – quested into her secret tunnel and (AAAAIOW!) located and pinched her secret tongue.
“You appalling slut – you’re wet!” the woman pronounced. “That calls for special punishment.” The whip landed full on her unprotected lips and she let out a wail that echoed down the deep tunnel of the demon’s throat.
That at least was the last from the woman, though moments later Sally heard a couple of clicks behind her. She now hung helpless and burning for what seemed hours but was probably only a few minutes. Then a fourth set of footfalls approached.
“Surely that must be a rescuer,” Sally thought. “Surely they wouldn’t need more than three gang members to turn over the poor old professor’s house.” As the footsteps continued with measured tread, Sally began to think they sounded familiar – like police boots, in fact, worn by a large male police officer going with unhurried authority about some business. Her hopes were not dashed until the newcomer picked up her truncheon and began to pummel her poor burning bottom cheeks this way and that before finishing with a few slaps with a big, male hand. No words were spoken, but when the punishment was over, the fourth burglar entered her like the first and the second. He was rougher and less subtle than either of those, though, and Sally was glad when he had finished, though less glad when he plugged the hole by reinserting her truncheon. At that point he laughed, and Sally did not like the sound of that deep, throaty, chuckling, phlegmy, gloating male laugh. And then he was gone.
Nothing happened and no-one came. Nothing changed, except that the burning pain began to recede, and as if it really was a fire, Sally’s bare bottom began to feel cold – and then colder. She started to shiver, making her bottom quiver. She had stopped crying, but now she started again as she thought about her total failure to catch the burglar and the possibility that, if the Professor had been seriously injured, she might be stuck in the demon’s mouth for days.
In a pleasant if rather cluttered study, four people sat drinking lapsang souchong tea from small bone china cups and saucers. One was an old man with long white hair: he wore a dressing-gown and seemed at home with tea and cups. Another, who sat close to the old man and occasionally clasped one hand with his, was a tall, rather bony woman of some fifty years in fashionable casual clothes: her long fingers, tipped with long nails painted a subtle pale pink, clasped the crockery with confidence as she enjoyed the tea with almost orgasmic concentration. The third person was a heavily-built, red-faced policeman who sipped at the tea with an expression of barely suppressed deep distaste; but when he looked up he seemed happier. The fourth was a tall, muscular young black man wearing a denim jacket, jeans and trainers: he sipped the tea cautiously, but with signs of growing enjoyment.
Neatly positioned for all four to watch, a screen showed in colour a strange sight. A large female bottom projected from the mouth of some kind of demon, for all the world as if its owner was the demon’s prey and about to be eaten. The bottom had once been white, as the ankles and lower calves showed, but now was a delicate shade of pink changing in places to pinkish-red, the whole marked by a profusion of narrow red lines. The plump cheeks quivered a little, and from time to time shifted slightly one against the other. A pair of navy blue trousers could just be seen in a heap below the feet.
“Well, that was very rewarding – most interesting,” said the Professor genially. “I hope you gentlemen enjoyed your visit. Both of you are welcome to view my collection again. I am so pleased my wife returned from Harrods in time to greet you. Now, young man – I am extremely grateful to you for returning that gold brooch, that gilded funeral mask and that ebony and pearl necklace. In return, as a mark of appreciation for your honesty, my wife has a small present for you.” The tall woman handed to the black youth a plain square silver box.
“Open it!” she said. Reverently and with curiosity, he did. Inside, nestling on red velvet, was a tiny pair of knickers, frilly at the margins, of the subtlest shade of pale blue. He closed the box and expressed his thanks in the politest terms.
“Well, that was great. Fantastic. Out of this world. I’ll be off then.” The policeman rose as quickly as his heavy frame allowed.
“Not so fast, sonny. You’re still a burglar. I’ve got you bang to rights for breaking and entering.” The young man laughed.
“Oh yeah? Well, I’ve got a couple of photos of you breaking and entering Miss Piggy down there. Want me to show them around?” The policeman said nothing and sank back into his chair.
“That reminds us,” the woman remarked, “all this is on film and we’ll be delighted (won’t we, dear?) to pass copies to both of you if you call on us again.” The black youth was halfway to the door when he turned round.
“What about Miss Piggy? You going to leave her there permanently?” The Professor jumped.
“Oh, my dear chap, how fortunate you reminded me! I am most absent-minded these days. Of course not. I’ll release her. You’d better be off.” The youth did not move.
“No, I’ve got an idea. If you all keep out of the way – if you can just do whatever you need to do to open that thing’s mouth – I’ll go down and rescue her.”
The Professor picked up the remote and pressed several button with the assurance of an expert. Down below, the light dimmed, the crocodile, crocodile’s dinner, tiger and sea-snake all ceased their automatic motions, and very slowly the demon’s mouth opened.
When the teeth released their grip, Sally almost fell down its throat instead of out on to the floor. She dangled on the cusp of disaster or deliverance. Then strong, gentle hands pulled her clear.
“Oh, my goodness!” said the young black man with a Birmingham accent, “you poor girl! How did this happen?” She felt herself sink with deep relief into her rescuer’s arms and was almost disappointed when he did not take advantage of her. He was shocked to find the bits of uniform that showed she was a policewoman, but confided that he should have guessed, for he had found the Professor recovering from a blow to the head. He explained that he was the regular handyman who helped maintain the collection, and after making sure she was not seriously injured, shyly asked for her phone number, which she willingly gave.
“So – to recap,” he thought as he left; “Gold and silver items taken – none; jewellery – none; works of art – none unless you count the knickers; policewomen – one. Not a bad afternoon’s work.”