Title: A is for Amy, and Cousin Ed
Disclaimer None of the intersecting
bits are mine.
This is a cross of Fawlty Towers,
Hornblower, and Amphigorey,
I deserve Brickbats.
A is for Amy and Cousin Ed
“Hurry up Ed. The treads are digging into my
back, and I--”
William heard a male voice, indistinct
and reasonable. The female response was more shrill.
“If I let go with my hand I will
slide right down. And if this goes on much longer, I swear to you,
its all coming off. You have no idea how it itches.”
The stairwell was narrow and dim in the
upper floors, dusty too. His nose was twitching sneezily. He rubbed
it, as he descended. But as he made the turn at the landing it
became glossy and grand. He could see the breakfast room beyond it.
“Maybe if I wedge my left foot---”
The voice came from directly beneath him. He jumped back. He had
nearly stepped on her hair.
“Help you Miss?”
He did not really know what to say.
What could one say to a pretty girl, a pretty and buxom girl, his own
age, lying on the staircase, wearing—well, Will could not decipher
what she was wearing, it covered everything more or less, but it was
too frothy to be a decent frock.
She was smiling up at him,and it was a
smile he liked right away. It was warm and intelligent, and a little
rueful, a smile no less fetching for being inverted.
“Hello midshipman. Welcome to Fawlty
Towers. No. there is no help for me. I am sorry to block the
stairwell. You may just want to take the bannister there.” She
indicated it with with her chin.
The bannister looked sturdy enough, but
it terminated in a carving of a bristling pineapple. A very realistic
pineapple. Will Bush chose to vault rather than slide. He landed
neatly. She remained awkwardly supine on the stairs.
“Sorry for your inconvenience.” The
male voice spoke from knee level. A dark haired fellow crouched
there with a sketchbook. He smiled too, but did not trouble to get
“Ed Gorey.” he indicated himself
with a gesture. “This is my cousin Amy. Its going to be part of a
bigger piece you know.”
Will Bush did not know, and it made him
want to growl. Had he been at sea he would have done so. People
behaved so strangely out in the world.
“You might as well sit up, Amy. I've
got the feet all wrong.”
“Oh that feels better.”
The girl Amy rose to a seated position
on the stairs. She smoothed her hair down, and wrapped her arms
around her legs. The frock was indecent. Whores wore more. Will could
see her knees. He was trying not to look, but she turned her smile on
him again, right-side-up this time. Really, she was very pretty.
“I am to be the first panel.” She
said. “ 'A' is for Amy, who fell down the stairs.”
“Our other cousin Basil Hall is going
to be panel two. 'B' is for Basil assaulted by bears.”
“Ed's making a plaster armature for
Edward Gorey was on his feet now,
staring at Will with inappropriate focus.
“ You have a very symmetrical face.
What is your name, midshipman?”
“William.” He said it repressively.
He resisted the urge to strike the irritating Edward.
“Oh, too bad.” Amy said. She
sounded truly sorry.
“What's wrong with my name?”
“Ed is taking them in order you see.
He won't get to the end of the alphabet until this winter. You'll be
gone by then I fear.”
“Yes, I fear so.” She was harmless
at least. She had done nothing wrong that he could see, even if her
cousin was a jackanapes.
“Well, William. Now we know who we
all are. We must be keeping you from your breakfast. I am sure we
will see you again later.”
“Yes Miss.” Well, he couldn't call