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In Which A Name Leads to Unforseen Consequences & an Alternate Past is Proposed

Lady Cavendish was sniffing the package gingerly, at the same time she walked the cobblestones, came to the tower, and then read the new sign slowly.

“Library for the Study of Genteel Alien Invasion, Vampyrism, the Zombeh Affliction, Secret Societies and other Discrete Mysteries of the Occult and Elsewise.”

The Lady tilted her head to the right and then straightened it, shrugging every so slightly and walking inside. Arthur Serpente was picking up books. Again. He was holding the Book of Soyga in his right hand, turning it around slowly as if to check for signs of damage.

“L-S-G-A-I-V-Z-A-S-S-D-M-O-E?” Lady Cavendish inquired as she dropped the package on the floor. It was her squish test. But there was no sound, and she smiled a bit. The organs were good and dry as far as could be told from the heft, smell and feel of the package. Arthur looked up from the book at her and smiled as she made another attempt.

“Lisss- gayv – zass – dee, moo or moe ee? Is that a reference to John Dee?” she asked.

Arthur’s smiled widened to reflect both admiration and satisfaction. “I tried not to make it too obvious. It’s ‘League of Secret Gentlemen And Inviting Vixens Addressing Secret Sorcerer Dee’s Marvelous Occult Empire.’ L-S-G-A-I-V-Z-A-S-S-D-M-O-E.”

He then frowned a bit. “Is it too obvious?”

Lady Cavendish’s mouth dropped a bit. “Arthur, am I to understand that I’m an inviting vixen?”

Arthur looked a bit puzzled. “Well you are.”

Lady Cavendish’s lips pursed. “What I am surprised about is that such a term of endearment would apply to me and any other scientific ladies who join the enterprise in this context. Why isn’t the name League of Secret Brawny Handsome Boys and Inviting Vixens? Why are you a gentleman, and I a vixen? And what about the Z?”

Arthur took a deep breath and decided to tackle the easier question first. “The Z is there for misdirection, and as a cypher to the purpose of the discovery of the alien landing site. Look, I needed something to match the letters … surely you didn’t want me to say ‘inveterate virgins?” Then no one would join the enterprise. And it wouldn’t be accur….” and then in a rare burst of wisdom, Arthur shut his mouth and begin to assess the damage.

Lady Cavendish walked further into the room, kicking three books aside from her path. They were strewn every few feet on the floor, just as the Serpentes had found them every morning.“And are we under the assumption that the aliens came here for the alluring vixens? Do you need pictures of women in low-cut dresses to sell the book, is that it?”

Arthur knew the answer to the latter question was yes, and it was such a matter of common sense he assumed she was only serious about the first question. “No, they came here to colonize the planet, nourish themselves on people and livestock, and create such wonders as the city that lies beneath. There’s no other way to explain the leaps of technological development of the time.”

Lady Cavandish just flat out frowned. They had argued this point before. It was one thing for him to write this nonsense, quite another thing to believe it. “Certainly not explainable by the actions of men of science and technology and not if the women of science and technology at the time were busy being inviting vixens. I do hope the aliens provided tea and biscuits before the bedding. I suppose you will know after you find the beds under the chapel.”

She turned away, as if to look offended, which she frankly was.

Arthur put his hands on his hips. “If this is about the chapel, we needed something to cover the dig. You know the size of what we have to keep underground. And if we enjoy the blessings of St. Swithins about our enterprise, all the better. I can’t just put his entire head into a wood chest and stick a cross on top. That’s no way to treat a relic. Plus we had to do something with the relic of Father Rutherford’s. He’s practically a patron saint of the place. His middle finger had to go somewhere.”

Arthur gulped just the tiniest of bits for while he was a font of nonsense, it was sincere nonsense in pursuit of a higher purpose, namely, book sales …  yet this latest claim bordered on deceit. In fact, he was not at all sure that it was Father Rutherford’s finger that was in the reliquary. There was an alternative that he was certainly not going to be discussing with a lady.

Lady Cavendish was done with being patient, and turned again. “Many people would have covered a dig with a tent, or wood boards, but if you want a funeral chapel, have a funeral chapel. I appreciate that you’re trying to get bodies for my work, I do Arthur, and Father will too,  I just don’t know that we want Inviting Vixens inthe name. That may send the wrong message as to your purpose.”

“Intelligent Vixens?” Arthur looked hopeful.

Lady Cavendish rubbed her temples. “More intelligent than some,” she said.

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One Comment

  1. Junie Ginsburg Junie Ginsburg June 29, 2013

    Oh, my…

    Mr. Lighthouse and I MUST invite you and Lady Cavendish for tea sometime!

    *wonders if an invitation would be more appealing with a mention of the recreational uses of a Tesla cannon*

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