“What is your name?” asked Tompkins, “my name is Clifford, though I am better known by the nickname, the soubriquet, Tomcat.”
“My name is Dimitri and I am tourist in your country. I am not sure why you are lying on me. Is this a traditional manner of greeting guests to your country?”
“Bish and bosh, it is, and we celebrate this tradition when we think people have been listening into our private conversations, which is something real gentlemen don’t do.”
At that moment, Dry Bob’s Rolls Royce parked by the man’s head, alarming him further.
“Who do we have, Tomcat?” asked Tuppy coming around from the passenger side door.
“His name’s Dimitri, a visitor to our beloved country, do you recognise him?”
“I can’t say I do,” replied Tuppy, “what about you, Tomcat?”
“Well, come to think of it, he looks like one of the men I saw down in Sussex, looking for tyre tracks in the mud on the road. My eyes might be deceiving me. Anyway, Dimitri, now you will be introduced to another tradition of our country, having sponge cake with Aunt Jemima. How does that sound?”
“It sounds disgusting, you English are obsessed with tea and cake, all that heavy sponge makes you fat.”
Tompkins gave a thoughtful sigh, before slapping Dimitri across the face with the back of his enormous hand. As usual, Tompkins forgot his own strength and Dimitri’s head lolled on to the pavement.
“Oh, he’s gone out like a light,” said Dry Bob, “well at least that makes it easier to get him to Jemima’s.”
“You know, sometimes, people say things and they rub me the wrong way. How dare he insult Aunt Jemima’s delish sponge cake, especially as he’s never tasted it before?” Tompkins shook his head, “but at least he won’t be able to identify his hiding place for the next few days.”
With these words, Tompkins hauled Dimitri into the back of the Rolls Royce and, taking no chances, tied his scarf across Dimitri’s eyes, which had the effect of obscuring most of his face. Dry Bob drove around the block a few times, before taking a backstreet route to Jemima’s. Even if Dimitri was conscious, he wouldn’t have been able to work out the route to the HQ.
Once the still unconscious Dimitri was tied to a chair, Tompkins placed him at the front of the main meeting room at Jemima’s, so all the patriotic pals could see him. The candles in two girandoles had been lit to provide ambience, even though the lights were on.
Just before he spoke to the room, Tompkins asked both Dry Bob and Tuppy to stand at the front and watch people’s faces when he removed the blindfold, to see whether anyone registered any recognition of Dimitri. Dry Bob and Tuppy leaned against the yellow-painted wall and began to keenly examine the 25 people in the room.
Tompkins twice slapped his fist on the Chippendale Writing Desk to gain everyone’s attention. The blue curtains shivered as the shock waves from the blows went around the room. No one could take their eyes away from Tompkins. At that moment, Dimitri awoke and sat up straight, trying to break free from his bonds. Tompkins himself had tied up the prisoner, so there was no chance of a slender man such as Dimitri breaking free of his own personal Gordian knots.
“Good evening, everyone,” intoned Tompkins, “as you can see we have in our midst a most unexpected visitor. His name is Dimitri and I believe he is a member of the opposition, the other side, the forces of darkness we are fighting against. Does anyone recognise him?”
“It’s difficult to see anything other than your scarf, Tomcat,” said Ginger breaking the silence as one of the candles flared slightly, “perhaps you could remove it?” Several other people nodded their heads in agreement.