The Tale of Duckwhiskers

Five years ago Edward Duckwhiskers was feeling quite shocked. He'd been invited to a garden party at UpChuckingham Palace. He'd recently picked up the deeds to a mansion with a 200-acre garden at an auction. He'd bid 10p as a joke and was rather surprised when he got it. His wife was overjoyed as this meant she could get staff to boss around, and she could get a gardener – for some reason she'd always wanted one.

His 3 daughters were happy as it meant there was a large garden to play in.

One other bonus was the posh parties: they occasionally went to the odd soiree, but this was the first time they'd been invited to the palace.

Come the day of the party, there was a sense of great excitement around the house – everyone had their best outfits on and were blinged up to the hilt in silver, fake medals and gems.

Mrs Duckwhiskers was bustling about here, there and everywhere in her normal manic fashion trying to organize the children as well as getting the lazy footman to do anything.

The invite stated No children, so he'd had to sort out a way to keep them occupied. He found a rock festival that was happening that weekend and got the little ratbags tickets. He'd got tickets for some of the staff as well – just to babysit. Headlining were Atomic Cabbage, Snope A Troll, Adding Owls, Floppy Brisket, The Fridays, The Tumbling Rocks, The Weevals, Watering Whole, Smudge, Her Majesty, TR1, Fastforest Coat, Wheat, SlydeTye and Eater.

The kids were ecstatic and so were the chosen staff. Problem solved.

At the party:

King Fictacious was talking to Lady Caramel-Rump, "My dear Amelia, how are those delightful children of yours?" he asked.

"Bloody awful" she replied, "Dennis keeps trying to kick the cat and Wendy fell in the pond. Deliberately too I may add, just to annoy me"

"Dennis is nearing 15 now isn't he?" mused the King "If you like, we can send him to the Tortcher Pre-army Camp. That should break that spirit of his."

"Oh that would be wonderful" responded Amelia.

"And as for Wendy..hmmm...I'm sure there's someplace for her. I'll talk to Lady CrumbleCheese in a minute – she has a knack for situations like that."

As they chatted, an uninvited guest watched the King with great interest. The stranger had been sent by the Republic of Harumpf to assassinate the King, and he'd snuck over the wall in one of the darker corners of the grounds the night before the party.

He was currently lurking in a big bush about 70 yards from the ruler. He had been tasked to use a small yet effective dart gun. The dart was small enough that the king would think it was just a fly, but the poison it was imbued with would kill him within 12 hours.

The only problem was that its effective range was about 10 yards, so he had to be very patient.

After about half an hour, His Majesty had sauntered from guest to guest and was getting very close.

"Almost, alllmost" thought the assassin.

He was a few yards away from the chosen "kill zone" when the King was stopped by another guest.

"That's that nonce Duckwhiskers" The assassin made a mental note to get Edward if he could. He'd been reading about the man's rise to power and status and hated him for it.

"Ah Edward." Said the King, "So glad you could make it tonight. I trust you are well?"

"I'm most fine your Majesty" responded Mr Duckwhiskers. He stopped and sniffed. Something seemed out of place, but he couldn't put his finger on it.

"Something troubling you Mr Duckwhiskers?" asked the King

"There is indeed" he replied "I keep getting a whiff of something...odd"

The assassin froze, despite being motionless. He remembered that the poison on the dart had a peciliar odour. He'd been so used to dealing with it that he didn't notice it any more.

Edward looked around and then it clicked. He knew that smell. It was the smell of the poison he'd used to bump off his old headmistress after the canings at school were becoming lacklustre and unexciting.

Then he noticed the nearby bush, and how it seemed to have an odd presence.

The assassin, realising he'd been rumbled decided that since it was now or never: he leapt out from his hiding place and went to take his shot. Without thinking Edward pushed the king to one side and attacked the assassin.

The only thing Edward was carrying was a wine glass, so he threw it at the assassin's head. His aim was good, and the killer slumped to the ground, stunned by the blow.

He quickly ran to the fallen man and pinned him down.

"You made me lose my wine!" he shouted.

The palace guards quickly ran to his aid and grabbed the would-be killer.

"You're nicked chummy!" the unimaginative first guard shouted.

"uuurrrrrrr" was the reply.

"Right! That's enough of that language!" The guard obviously liked shouting, "You're off to the cells buddy-boy"

The still unresponsive man was dragged off by a posse of guards, all eager to put the boot in.

More guards crowded around the king while some men ran about the place checking for any more unwanted visitors. When they were satisfied, the guards dispersed a little.

Eventually they let the king have some more space.

"Why Edward! You save my life! Than man was intending to kill me and you stopped him." Said King Fictacious

By now everyone had gathered round and were gawking. Edward was in a state of shock – he hadn't used up so much energy in one go for years.

"Everyone!" shouted the king "We have a true hero in our midst. There is only one course of action I can take"

His chief advisor sidled over as only a king's advisor can "Do you intend to knight this...'gentleman' sire?" He pronounced the word 'gentleman' as if it really meant 'putrid filth'.

"That is indeed my plan Sydney" the king responded. "Have someone get my knighting sword, and do get Mr. Duckwhiskers another drink, he seems to have spilled his on an intruder"

This generated a light titter from the assembled brown-nosers.

A man in a hideous crushed velvet coat ran off to fetch the king's knighting sword, while a snooty waiter proffered a whisky to Edward. He downed it in one.