Extract from yet another of my many half-started, half-arsed and abandoned projects:
Their first sight of the vast and gleaming interior of the supermarket filled them with a sense of blended wonder and dismay. I led them gently away from the baskets, where their open-mouthed immobility was causing an obstruction, and picked up the Professor’s cane from where he had dropped it.
‘It’s a marvel,’ he whispered. ‘Like the Garden of Eden neatly displayed with the skill of an anatomist.’
‘I never imagined such a place could exist,’ Mr Picknows said, a nervous tremor creeping into his voice as his gaze took in the crowds of shoppers, the wheeling trolleys and the rank upon rank of shelving fading into the neon-lit horizon of the frozen goods department.
‘You know, it’s just the sort of place your servants buy your food from every week,’ I told him.
‘Really?’ he murmured. ‘Really? I had no idea. I really must increase their wages.’
‘Can we explore?’ asked the Professor.
‘Of course,’ I said.
‘Do they sell guns?’ demanded Roderick.
‘Of course not.’
‘What about women? Are there any doxies attached to this establishment?’ – Pimple was already beginning to apply his powder.
‘No, Pimple. No women of that nature. This is Asda, not Covent Garden. All they sell here is food and ... er...’
‘And what?’ demanded Roderick.
‘Hurrah!’ bellowed the old rake.
‘Hurrah!’ whimpered Pimple.
‘But please, please, don’t make exhibitions of yourselves, more than you can help. And if you want to buy anything, please ask me first.’
‘We must remember we are strangers here,’ said Mr Picknows. ‘Strangers in a strange land.’
‘Well put, Picknows,’ said the Professor. ‘Just the advice I gave to the crew of the Valiant when we explored that island in the Komodo archipelago. Of course, they refused to heed me...’
‘And what happened to them then?’ asked Pimple.
‘They had their genitals eaten and were made eunuchs in the court of a cannibal king.’
‘Serves them right for going abroad,’ spat Roderick. ‘I went to Scotland once: that was quite enough for me, I thankee.’