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Aristophanes Brown certainly hadn’t set off for a walk that evening with the intent of apprehending a major criminal, and in a sense, he didn’t.

Carina had the evening off, Lady Alexia was welding, and it seemed that yet again they had engineered Aristophanes into taking the moon-a-muck for a walk. He didn’t mind this task particularly, but he had been hoping to take in a small show near Charing Cross that evening as his main review show hadn’t even made it to opening night before the backing collapsed.

But the ladies insisted, and thus he found himself walking along the Embankment and then into the affluent townhouses of the South West corner of the city, the moon-a-muck backcomed and muzzled and padding along energetically impervious to the cold pavements.

It took a lot of walking.

As the moon-a-muck pulled him along the gas-lit streets, it occurred to Aristophanes that they had strayed into the territory of “The Ant Man”. The Ant Man was a criminal who had been terrorising the well to do streets of Central London by somehow climbing up high walls to break into flats, and subduing the occupants with some kind of noxious gas emitted from somewhere on his black costume. Little else was known about him, his victims were usually too stupified to notice much. But certainly there was a substantial reward on his capture; many society ladies had been done out of the jewellery and savings.

Right on cue, the moon-a-muck stiffened, looked up through its saucy lashes, and emitted some exciteable, yet quiet little hoots. “Hooo-heee! Hooo hooo!”

“What do you sense, my moon-a-muck? What’s up there?”

But the moon-a-muck was struggling with its front paws, trying to remove the muzzle from its face. Aristophanes helped him to do so, then held on as the moon-a-muck tore off across the road.

Above, on the side of a four storey town house, a blackshape could be seen making its way down the walls. Some kind of suction device could be seen attached to its knees and elbows, and jewels were glittering in the smog hazed street lights. As it got lower, and Aristophanes and the moon-a-muck got closer, a black insectoid mask could be seen covering its face.

It reached ground level just as Aristophanes Brown and the creature arrived, having not seen them approach. Aristophanes planned to punch it in the side of its head, but the ant-man turned and saw him before he was able to do so. He thus dropped his heavy brown jacket, and adopted a John L. Sullivan classical boxing stance. But, hedging his bets, he decided to shout “it would certainly be jolly helpful if there were any police around this time of night!”

Just as well. His classical punch was easily blocked, and the Ant Man unleashed an oriental move that caught him right on the side of the neck, and he went over like a skittle. No police were yet in sight, although a whistle could be heard in the distance.

It was the moon-a-muck that saved the day! Despite having no jaws, it somehow attached its trumpet snout to the ant-man’s leg, and sucking hard, somehow managed to hold on. Its powerful badger claws dug into the pavement, literally piercing the tarmmcadam. The ant-man hit out, revealing a distinctly non-ant-ish voice.

“Oi you bleeding dog thing. Get orrffff!”

But the creature held firm. “Hoooeeeeooowwww” it flutedly growled, and its claws left deep grooves in the pavement as it was dragged behind the escaping burglar. The whistles grew louder, the ant-man more frantic.

“Ah no! Lemme go, you bloody hell-haarrnd”.

But it was to no avail. The peelers were upon them, and it took one well placed blow with a truncheon to render the ant-man flat on his back, dislodging its mask to reveal the scarred face of your typical East-End villain rather than perhaps the gentleman burglar you might have expected.

Across the way, Aristophanes began to stir, and the moon-a-muck ambled across to nuzzle at his face, hooting sympathetically.

One of the policemen came over too, and looked down.

“That’s one mighty dog you have there, sonny jim!”

“I know” said Aristophanes Brown with a moan, rubbing the side of his jaw.

Copyright Mulberry Lightning 15.12.14