Lola refused to sew anything, she had a maid for that sort of thing and Bunty claimed to be “all fingers and thumbs” so the prissy Belgian detective took the needle and thread himself and started to fashion a very convincing male caterpillar whilst the ladies conferred.
“It can’t be the creature-it must surely be dead!” said Lola.
“I’m not so sure,” said Bunty, “we thought that once before and it came back from death.”
“But a caterpillar! How vile! Well it did look more insectile than human.” said Lola.
“What we have to think of now is how do you get rid of an insect permanently.” asked Bunty.
“Ooh I know!” said Lola, “Trap it in amber!”
“Got any?” asked Bunty, “Branwell would know. I wonder what he’s doing.”
In the hold of the ship was a large crate which the crew were giving a wide berth. It was to be shipped to Rome to an ancient catacomb and from it emitted strange noises, but as it had come with such extensive documentation from the Home Office and had its own guard, no one dared open it.
Monsieur Purée was very pleased with his creation and was busy running around the ship with it on a string.
“Stupid excuse for a man!” spat Lola, “Where is a real man when you need them? Oh I say, Professor Wood was talking about going on a dig in Rome, I wonder if we could track him down?”
Seated in a deck chair behind the ladies was a striking man, who cleared his throat. They looked around and saw a tall man who looked very familiar-he had black hair and thick eye brows and looked rather like Professor Dorking.
He rose to his feet, “Professor Hawkins at your service” he said.
In the hold of the ship, the guard had taken leave of his duty and had gone outside for a smoke. The lid on the crate began to lift with a groan.
“No!” whispered Bunty.
“It could be his son!” said Lola, swooning slightly.
“I say, are you related to a certain Dorking? asked Bunty.
“Ah yes, my Uncle, my Mother’s brother-terrible man, went mad I believe-I’m nothing like him!” he said hurriedly,
“I’m a biologist and believe in -stuff.”
“Oh that’s a relief!” said Bunty, “It’s also a bit of a coincidence but we need a biologist to help us catch and dispatch a rather nasty insect.”
Monsieur Purée ran past with his sock squealing.
“You can see why.” said Lola scathingly.
A man, rather smartly dressed stood next to the crate. He took out a monogrammed handkerchief which held the letters MS, for it was no other than Max Sheister, Lola’s former husband, presumed eaten by an army of badgers.
His appearance was somewhat different; his hair had gone white but his eyebrows had remained black and he looked angry.
“Lola my dear, I’ve come to claim you back!” he intoned, and the sound of demonic laughter floated through the ship.