Billy led Chrissie down a long winding staircase.
"Where are we going?" she asked
"Err...Down" Billy replied. Then rather more jauntily he added: "Not long till we get to the bottom"
Shortly they reached the last step. Billy stopped, looked back up the steps and then said "Hang on here a tick"
He went to a cubby hole and pulled out a sign and put it at the bottom of the staircase. It pointed left, and they walked right.
They came to a flooded section of underground rail line. There was a small boat waiting for them.
"I Said I'd show you my boat: Hop aboard" Billy held her hand as she boarded. He followed, pulled a cord to start the outboard motor and steered towards his lair.
They soon entered an enormous cavern, "Welcome to my home Christine. Walford Underground: closed since the great Thames Water Level Estimate Design Error. "
Chrissie looked around the huge space, there were old panto posters, a dead piano or two dotted around, candles by the score and in one corner a giant fibreglass Queen Victoria.
"Don't ask about the Queen Vic. Please." Billy solemnly requested.
"Yeah all right then" Chrissie vaguely replied. She was mesmerised by the acres of mouldy old theatre junk.
They pulled up to a small jetty and Billy quickly tied the boat up. He then ambled over to a piano and played a portion of a tune. "It's called 'Haircut 100 of the Night'. It's not finished yet but I don't think it's too bad so far"
"Yeah...s'not bad mate," She responded. Chrissie was still stunned by all the stuff around her. She saw an ornate mirror in the corner that was next to a poster of "Carry On Theatrically". Both were covered in dust. The Pearly King got up from his piano and led her around his little domain, showing her bits and pieces. "This is from the theatre's heyday" He indicated a poster from a bygone production of 'El Dorado – The Lost Ratings.' "And here we have..." He whipped the cover from what looked like a big coffin. "Bruce Forsythe's Generation Game Suit"
The stench of mothballs coming from the suit was so strong that it knocked her out.
"Oh bugger. I do hate it when that happens." Billy muttered.
When she finally woke up Chrissie looked around the lair. Sitting at a battered old MFI desk was the Pearly king. He seemed to be furiously writing something.
"What are you writing Maestro?" Chrissie enquired
"It's my greatest work my dear. When the time is right, then you shall know what it is. Till then you'll have to wait me duck."Responded the Pearly King
"In that case, answer this one. Why the weird mask?"Chrissie countered.
"I like wearing masks. What can I say?" He replied.
"Oh go on" Chrissie pleaded "Take it off. For little old me?"
"Chuff off. Go and do one. Not even for you" Billy sternly stated.
"Oh poot" Said Chrissie in annoyance.
"Poot? What sort of cussing is 'poot'?" Billy stared at Chrissie as if she had turned into a stoat.
"It's so we can get this rubbish past the censors. They hate proper swearing. That's why the 'Poot' is there." Chrissie snapped back.
"Fair enough" was the response. Billy got back to his furious scribbling while Chrissie had a nose around the lair. She avoided the Bruce Forsythe suit.
After a little while she got bored with looking at knackered theatre cast-offs, so she sidled up to the Pearly King and quickly nabbed his mask. We don't get to see his face.
"Oh for Christ's sake will you quit doing that!" he yelled. He stomped over to her and snatched it back. "Give me that, you silly tart"
After a couple of moments he calmed down and says "Right-o. Taking you down here was a bad idea wasn't it? I'd best take you back to those lemons upstairs I suppose. I imagine they'll be missing you."
Frank Bucket, the scene shifter was 'entertaining' the chorus girls. "Like grey parchment is his skin" he leered "A hole serves as the nose that" a dramatic pause," never grew. Always be on your guard or he'll catch you with his magical lasso"
"Bollocks" said one of the girls, "we all know he's just an awkward git in a mask"
Peggy Beery suddenly marched in: she'd been earwigging at the door. "Lay off it Frank, you lecherous old drunkard. You've been drinking the floor cleaner again haven't you?"
"Yeah? What if I have? What you gonna do about it?" said a defiant frank.
She walked right up to him and rammed her knee between his legs "For a start, that. And what if the Pearly King hears you? He might not like people saying uncomplimentary things about him. You may not live long enough to see the end of the next chapter at this rate."
"Oh. Right" wheezed frank as he lay on the floor, rolling in pain.