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Chapter 23

At the Hotel - Part 3

"Good morning, Sir Lord of Killichonan. Did Your Highness sleep well?"
The porter was standing very erect beside the breakfast table when Lord McShredder approached. A few steps behind him followed the yawning butler.
"Don't talk that posh, slave. Where is the caviar?"
"Er, Sir, you did not mention caviar…"
"I did not mention caviar, you boor? The Lord of Killichonan feeds on caviar! Get that into your head!"
"V-very well, Sir", the porter stammered and hurried to the kitchen to get some caviar.
"Er, Sir, what is the taste of this caviar?"
"No idea, McClown, but I always wanted to try it", milord replied and added: "I hope it is not too fatty. I'll only try a small helping, I think."

In came the porter with a small bowl of caviar and placed it in front of milord.
"The caviar, Sir Lord of Killichonan."

While the porter saw that he got back to his safe kitchen, His Lordship eyed the bowl and its black contents curiously. He took a small silver spoon and cautiously tasted a tiny bit. Then he spit the little black balls through the room and grumbled: "Inedible, McClown, much too much salt. Hand it down to the hamsters for toying around with it."
After this unpleasant experience they turned back to their breakfast and had their fill. In the meantime a man had entered the lobby and approached them.
"Good morning, gentlemen. I am very much pleased and honoured to welcome you here. I hope you are missing nothing and are satisfied with the service."
"No ice cream!" McShredder crowed.
"Sir?" the hotel manager asked in a bewildered voice.
"There is no ice cream! Make yourself useful and get us some raspberry ice cream and stop interrupting my breakfast!"

"And an extra helping of chips for me!" McClown called after the flabbergasted manager who really went into the kitchen to look for his porter. He found him beside the dish washer.

"Lachlan, are you all right?" he asked but when he saw the nervous tic in the face of his employee he knew that nothing was all right. He was quite beside himself, trembled and now put his head into the fridge.
"I can't go on, Sir", he wailed and hit his fist against the fridge door.
"Now, now, Lachlan, it can't be that bad!"
"No, Sir, it's worse! All the night I heard water running into the tub, the hotel is stinking all over of tobacco and they nagged around up to midnight! I'm taking my leave, Sir!"
"Lachlan, no, you can't do that, I'm quite done without you!" The hotel manager had blanched.
"No, Sir, I can't stand this. It's either them or me and that's my last word!"

The porter kicked the fridge door and walked to the counter to pack his things. The manager of this honourable hotel was in a difficult situation. If he sent the two guests packing, he would loose a lot of money. On the other hand, if the porter retired, the hotel service would break down. He arranged his tie and walked slowly to the breakfast table where Lord McShredder and McClown were sitting, elbows on the table and slurping their tea. Both had put their feet onto the next chairs. It did not look very elegant.

"Gentlemen", the hotel manager cautiously began, "there is a small problem."
"Don't talk about small", milord bawled, "it's a big problem! Where's my ice cream?"

"You will get your ice cream in a moment, Sir. But unfortunately a problem came up which requires your immediate attention."
"Are you telling me that there is rasp ice cream? Then bring strawberry, and presto!" milord crowed and emptied his pipe into the caviar bowl.
"Unfortunately it is much more than your ice cream, Sir. You will have to leave the hotel."
"Leave the hotel?" Milord took the pipe out of his mouth and pointed with it at the hotel manager. "See that you get yourself to the kitchen and fetch the ice cream or I will buy this lousy hotel and dismiss you."
"Very well, Sir", the manager calmly replied. "Which amount are we talking about?"
His Lordship paled and put his pipe onto the table.
"Well, er, a large one. I'm the Lord of Killichonan, regent of the Loch Ness monster, er, and I could offer you a castle which is just being, er, renovated."
"Thank you very much, Sir, that won't be necessary. Just pay me one night in the de luxe suite. Do you pay separately, gentlemen?"
He looked at Frido McClown. But the butler shook his head and pointed at milord.
"He invited us."
"Us, Sir?" the manager asked, surprised. "Whom else?"
"Er", the butler stammered, "what I mean is, me and the, er, suitcases."
"The suitcases, I see. Well, milord, than it will be your pleasure. My porter will bring the invoice in a moment. We'll take your suitcases down with pleasure. Do you have any other requirements?"

Lord and butler felt quite helpless and did say nothing. The hotel manager went to his porter who had listened to this from the distance with growing delight. He had already prepared an invoice form and started to write. "Sir, do you have enough money with you?" the butler asked the question of all questions.

"McClown, do I look like a mean chicken thief? A lord has always enough money with him, of course. Take along the remains of the breakfast, we have to economize."
"Economize, Sir? But I thought…"
"185 pound, Sir. Cash, if you please."

The hotel manager put the invoice down in front of Lord McShredder. Many words and even more numbers were written on it. The butler could almost see how the brain of the old rascal was working feverishly. He had no idea what was to come but he had the idea that it was something unpleasant.

"That all?" McShredder croaked and threw the invoice onto the table. "This ridiculous invoice is all? My good man, such a sum my postman gets as a tip! I'm used to quite other invoices! I'll pay this silly invoice when I honour you with my visit again. McClown, we are leaving!"
The manager put his hand on milord's shoulder.
"You will not leave, Sir. Unfortunately I have to ask you to pay immediately."

"You want to threaten a lord?" McShredded sounded shocked. "If I tell you that I'll pay next time, you may rely on that. You understand me, my boy?"
"Perfectly, Sir." The hotel manager turned to the porter. "Lachlan, please be kind enough to ring up the police."
For a moment the porter was frozen, but then he took up the receiver with a broad smile. Even milord now understood that the matter was serious und shouted: "Stop! I'll pay!"

Immediately all eyes were upon him. With a sigh he put his hand into his trouser pocket, rummaged in it for some time and made a surprised face. Then he looked under the breakfast table, under the chair, and finally he started to take up the carpet in the lobby.

"Sir, what are you doing there?" the manager wondered.
"Looking for my money. A few minutes ago it was in my pocket."
"Perhaps you left it in your room, Sir."
"No,no. I had it on me. It is gone."

The manager looked first at His Lordship, then at His Lordship's butler, then at his porter. Then he slowly paced the room. He turned the matter over in his mind for a while and finally said:

"Well, Sir, I would not like to accuse a lord of being a liar, and I would not like to see a lord in prison. But you will understand that I need money to survive. My employee of course has to get his wages. So I propose that some friends of yours send the money to you, or…" He paused and glared at milord. "Or you work it off!"

Lord McShredder sat on his chair rather embarrassed and played with his pipe. Friends to send him money? Forget it! He had no friends. So he stood up.

"No lord will beg at his friends, even if they would be delighted to help him. My butler and I will enjoy working off this ridiculous amount!"