The bells trilled in the depths of the asylum, echoing along corridors down the stairs that led to the dank basement cell where there was only one inhabitant.
His red eyes swirled in the darkness at the noise, heightened by his many years of solitude.
The patient was not allowed access to the telephone but over the years he had managed to skillfully hack a connection using hidden paper clips from his correspondence, string and paper cups.
“Hello Mrs Housekeeper.” he rasped in a voice unused to talking.
“She’s here!” came the voice at the other end of the receiver, “Miss Gefiltre, as was Miss Schlepping.”
“Thank you, Mrs Housekeeper, that will be all. You will be rewarded for your loyalty, bye-bye!”
There was a click at the other end as Mrs Housekeeper replaced the receiver.
“That’ll show Miss Haughty knickers!” said Mrs Housekeeper to herself.
Lola and Bunty were treating Roger to a tour of Bingo’s dressing up wardrobe, where he was nearly overcome.
“Ooh, such lovely furs!” he cried, rubbing his face into a rather striking blue mink.
“The silks!” he squealed, dashing to the Diva closet where the evening gowns were kept, all tributes to the stars of Hollywood in its heyday.
“Vivian Leigh! The scarlet dress from Gone with the Wind!”
“Isn’t it wonderful!” said Bunty to Lola, who was standing with her arms crossed, glaring at Roger.
“He left those dresses to me!” growled Lola.
“They wouldn’t fit you!” said Bunty incredulous.
“We all need fat clothes Bunty!” said Lola sulkily, “Or I could have them altered!”
Bunty saw that she was in one of her moods and would not be moved, until Roger came to the national dancing closet.
“You can have all of those!” said Lola cheerfully, “But I wanted to donate the rest to a retirement home for cabaret artistes-I’m in the profession.” she finished unconvincingly.
Roger emerged from behind a screen wearing a hideous green and black Irish folk dancing outfit, complete with pixie boots and a brown wig.
“What does he think he looks like!” said Lola cattily as he started doing a jig with his arms held closely to his side.
“Ooh, I’m a leprechaun!” he cried, “There’s gold at the end of my rainbow!”
“You must perform for us tomorrow night!” cried Lola, “Now, Bunty and I have some business to attend to, so you skip along and we’ll see you soon.” she said dismissing a confused Roger.
“That was quite rude Lola.” chided Bunty.
“Oh Bunty, you don’t understand, I’ve had my fill of that sort, the “theatrical” type, and those clothes are far too good quality to get covered in grease paint.”
Bunty had forgotten that Lola’s family were in the garment industry, as the popular euphemism went, and that she knew the value of fabric.
“Besides,” added Lola, “you could make some luxury mirkins out of that fur! You can never be too rich Bunty!” she hissed.
Mrs Housekeeper undid the bolts on the cellar door as her instructions had told her to, and vacated the house for the evening, going one of the local inns, the Rabid Hound, to wait for Roger and his troupe.
In the dark depths of Appen Asylum, there was a vacant cell, and the head count that evening would have revealed an inmate missing, if the head warden had not been disemboweled and hung upside down on a spike.