Episode 21 – The Meeting

Music: Majestic Nature by Craig Stuart Garfinkle

Artwork by Steve English

The script:

Episode 21 – The Meeting

The Baron called a meeting, asking everyone to come to the kitchen to see if they could get to the bottom of the problems they were facing and find a solution. Obviously, Eller wasn't invited because no-one knew she existed. That didn't stop her attending of course - as did Stokesley, who most definitely wasn’t invited, but just turned up on the kitchen wall, looking sullen. And pretty much every shadow in the whole Manor came and occupied places all over the walls, ceiling and floor. Everywhere that is except around Stokesley’s shadow which was rather particular about these things and seemed to nip and butt other shadows which came too close.

The meeting started rather slowly as Thornton had forgotten his spare hearing aids. Then, when he finally arrived back having retrieved them from his room, they discovered the batteries were flat. Mercifully, Roseberry had some spares in a drawer; they took some digging out, but it saved a lot of time compared to waiting for Thornton to go back to his room again to find some.

When at last they'd got Thornton sorted, the conversation began in earnest - although it still needed to happen at a reasonably high decibel level for Thornton's sake! He had purchased the new hearing aids (which had disappeared) because he needed them and the relative lack of power of the old ones made for lots of repetition.

'I have called this meeting,' the Baron began in his somewhat nasally voice, 'to discuss what I am sure you will all agree, is a series of malicious incidents happening all across the Manor.'

'What's that you say?' asked Thornton. ‘Something about hamsters being cross at the Manor? I didn't know we had a hamster problem too! When did that happen?'

The Baron, Roseberry and Eller all rolled their eyes – this was going to be a long meeting.

'WE DON'T HAVE A HAMSTER PROBLEM THORNTON,' the Baron replied. 'SORRY FOR NOT BEING CLEARER. I WILL TRY NOT TO MUMBLE SO MUCH.' Then, as loudly as he could manage, the Baron continued, 'We all agree that serious things are happening in the Manor.'

Nodding sagely, Thornton started to speak before the Baron could continue. 'Did you know someone stole my hearing aids?' he asked, even more loudly than the Baron.

Of course they knew but, as they'd all learnt many years before, when Thornton started, there was no use interrupting him until he'd said his piece. Thankfully, once he'd said it and got the appropriate sympathetic nods and expressions, he tended to just sit for the rest of the conversation with an inscrutable look on his face. He was probably in a world of his own and not paying any attention, but no one really wanted to check.

'We know, dear,’ Roseberry shouted, patting Thornton's hand as he finished. 'It's a terrible state of affairs.' Then looking from Thornton to the Baron she asked, 'But who's behind it all? That's what we need to find out.' At this, the shadows shifted uncomfortably, causing Stokesley’s shadow to nip one of two, to keep them in their place.

'Surely, if anyone knows what's going on, it's you guys,' Eller said to the shadows, knowing she wouldn't get a response. But the fact that the shadows cared about what the others knew made her feel strangely on edge.

It was what the Baron said next that stunned her, that and the reaction of everyone present (except of course for Stokesley who continued to chew invisible grass and Horatio who was far more interested in licking his paws than paying any attention to the conversation).

'It seems that the Manor's resident ghost who, as we all know, has the full-moon badge LOST, has, for reasons we cannot understand, decided to stop being our friend. Instead, it seems LOST has started to cause mischief, which is getting out of hand and verging on dangerous. Quite why LOST has started behaving in this way is beyond me. Still, I can find no other explanation for this series of malicious events and so must conclude two things.'

Eller couldn't quite believe what she was hearing. Her badge was LOST so she was the 'resident ghost' the Baron was referring to. And, to make matters worse, she was pretty sure that she wasn't actually a ghost at all – she was alive, she had a badge, dead things like ghosts didn’t have badges!

Nods of agreement swept around the room, although the nods from the shadows seemed to her to be more nods of relief than agreement.

'Well,' she said to no-one in particular … or, maybe more to the Baron than anyone else, 'if you think that, you're both stupid and blind! How can it be me? I can hardly ever touch anything! And, how can you miss those yukky little footprints across the soap and in the talcum powder after your showers?' Eller's cheeks turned red as she spoke. She had only seen the footprints after the bathroom had been vacated, but the mere thought that someone might think she'd been in the bathroom when someone else was in it made her almost glow with embarrassment.

'Anyway,' she shouted at the Baron, 'even if it was me, you can't do anything about it!' At that she paused, the flush in her cheeks fading. 'No one can do anything for me or against me.' Then, with a bitter laugh, she added angrily, 'I can't even do anything for myself.'

At this, Eller was about to dramatically storm out of the room (more for her own sake of course than anyone else's) but something the Baron was saying caught her attention. She wished she'd heard the first part about a 'promise capsule' or something, but what the Baron was saying now ensured she wasn't going anywhere.

'… Clearly, it is only to be used in an emergency. While at this point, the situation may not quite be considered an emergency, I can see a time rapidly approaching when it will be a great emergency, unless we act now. So, I am preparing to use said capsule to try, once and for all, to get rid of this increasingly mischievous and dangerous ghost.'

It seemed even Horatio had caught the measure of feeling in the room. He sat up and stopped licking parts I won't describe, and held his head at a slight angle as if he was trying to understand. Then, standing up and arching his back in a big stretch, he walked over to the Baron and rested his head on the Baron's leg. Without thinking, the Baron automatically put his hand on Horatio's head and started scratching him behind his ears as he carried on.

'Quite how it will work I do not know. But, that said, we do have some evidence that this course of action may work.’

As he said this, everyone paid even more attention, waiting to hear what this ‘evidence’ was. Everyone that is, apart from Stokesley, who continued to chew invisible grass rather noisily while appearing to be entirely distracted by a couple of flies rotating in opposite directions high above the kitchen table. The Baron fleetingly wondered if they were the same flies that usually inhabited the entrance hall.

‘As you are well aware,’ he continued, ‘some time ago we had a severe gargoyle infestation. Well, just before that time, I found the contents of one of those vanishing cupboards and managed to take 3 things from it.’

At this, he pulled out not 3 but 4 items. Firstly, the bone and wire thing, then the stone with the patterns, followed by the egg-like object. Lastly, as an afterthought, he also pulled out the key.

Pointing to the smooth stone with lines on it, he reflected, 'It was this that I used in conjunction with the old water boiler from the attic that I believe somehow worked together to stop the gargoyle invasion.’

Thornton had picked up the bone and wire thing and was looking at it closely.

‘That,’ the Baron continued loudly, pointing to the object Thornton now held, ‘is the reason I have a gargoyle that travels with me when I leave the Manor.’

Thornton looked incredulously at the Baron and almost threw the object back down on the table, indicating very clearly that he wanted nothing to do with gargoyles.

‘I had pricked my finger on this object,’ the Baron explained, picking up the item Thornton had just thrown down, ‘just before I removed the first gargoyle that came into the kitchen. I carried it outside and, in so doing, got blood on it from where I pricked my finger. Then, for some reason I can’t explain, I gave it the name 'Cod', told it not to come into the Manor again and let it run off.

On the night that Horatio … missed his snack … Cod came with us and tried to save Knayton Borrowby and myself. He … err … it … err … Cod, was a real hero. So again, an object from that cupboard and something from the attic/roof area - namely, the gargoyle, Cod - worked together to rescue us. So, it stands to reason that this item,' the Baron pointed at the egg-like object with the words 'Promise Capsule' written on it, 'may well also have power to help us when combined with something else from the attic.

My reasoning is simple. I suggest that this Promise Capsule,' as he said this, he picked up the egg-like thing, 'combined with something older and more powerful from the attic, may solve our current problem as well.'

No one asked what he meant because everyone understood what the Baron was thinking. There was only one thing in the attic that was more powerful (and terrifying) than the old attic water boiler … Even Stokesley apparently understood, as he stopped chewing and looked directly at the Baron, slack-jawed!

Somewhat put off by Stokesley’s expression, the Baron, now on edge, took a breath.

‘So, in summary,’ he continued – although at a lower decibel rate and with a slight wavering in his voice - 'we shall combine this Promise Capsule with the old,’ (at this his voice dropped even lower), ‘attic vacuum cleaner, in the hope that this combination will deal with our increasingly dangerous ghost problem, permanently.'

As the Baron said 'vacuum cleaner', everyone in the room glanced at the dog, who merrily continued resting his head on his master's leg waiting for some more petting. Everyone that is, except Thornton, who hadn't managed to hear the lower volume words and so, in a loud voice that seemed to shatter the solemnity of the moment, asked, 'What was that boy? Something in the attic?' Then, after pausing and contorting his face in such a way that you could almost hear his ‘thought cogs’ whirring, an expression of shock swept across his face. It was as if a rather unpleasant light-bulb had flashed on inside his head. Grasping at the Baron’s arm, he asked, 'You aren't thinking of bringing down that old vacuum cleaner are you?' Then turning from the Baron to Horatio, who thankfully was still none the wiser, he carried on, 'The puppy won’t like that!'

Thornton still thought of Horatio as a puppy when in fact, to anyone who looked at him, Horatio was a full-grown, adult dog. He had also learned to understand a few words, one of which was 'puppy'. Horatio didn't like puppies! They were busy, bothersome and a nuisance and he made sure all puppies were put in their place every time he met them. At the word, 'puppy', Horatio's head shot up off the Baron's leg and he became very alert.

'You know how that puppy treats the normal vacuum cleaner!' he carried on, winding Horatio up even more. 'Well, how do you think he's going to deal with that monstrous old thing? Why do you think my hearing's not what it used to be, eh? That thing made the whole Manor shudder before we put it up there and now you want to bring it down again to deal with a ghost? How's that going to work exactly?'

Despite herself, Eller felt that Thornton had made a good argument. How was an old, redundant vacuum cleaner supposed to deal with her? She couldn't even touch it – probably - and that meant it also - probably - couldn't touch her. And, what difference was this Promise Capsule thingy supposed to make?

Of course, the real problem was - that everyone had missed the real problem! Why? Because everything that was happening had nothing to do with her! They had a full-scale invasion on their hands, and they didn't realise it!

At Thornton’s interrogation, the Baron turned the Promise Capsule over to reveal the writing on the other side. It was supposed to be a meaningful moment but, looking at it, Eller couldn't help but be reminded of a large chocolate egg.

Roseberry and Thornton started scrabbling to find their reading glasses, but the Baron held up his hand to stop them before reading the instructions loudly for all to hear.

'This is a Promise Capsule,' he shouted. 'Inside this capsule is one promise that, when called upon, will supply all that is needed to deal with one emergency. As there is no way to know what your emergency will be, we cannot say how this promise will be fulfilled, but rest assured that we at the 'Wetwang, Fimber and Towthorpe Special Entities Manufacturing Conglomerate' back the efficacy of this promise with the full weight of our name. (No Warranty Provided or Implied.) Returns will not be accepted unless this Promise Capsule is in an unused and sealed state.'

Glancing up at their faces to make sure everyone was following along, the Baron looked down at the Promise Capsule to read the next part.

'Instructions for the effective use of your Promise Capsule,' he continued.

'Step 1. IMPORTANT: Determine that you really do have an emergency. Promise Capsules are not to be used for frivolous purposes as the results cannot be anticipated.

Step 2. Once the emergency has been duly identified, speak to the device three times. NOTE: Make sure to clearly enunciate your words as any guarantee or warranty implied or otherwise will become void if said emergency is mumbled into the device. (No Warranty Provided or Implied.)

Step 3. Without unwrapping, break the Promise Capsule as close to the emergency as possible, making sure to keep all the pieces inside the wrapper.

Step 4. Tell the Promise Capsule what the emergency is once again and how you would like it to be solved.

Step 5. Deal with the emergency.

Step 6. Pour yourself a drink, unwrap the pieces of the Promise Capsule, put them into a bowl and read the enclosed note, making sure to do everything it says. Do not read the note until absolutely unavoidable as it will only give appropriate guidance at that point.'

As the Baron looked up, Roseberry raised her eyes from the Promise Capsule, a concerned look on her face. Pointing vaguely towards the loft, she asked, 'I can see the value of the Promise Capsule, but what did you have in mind for that old monster of a vacuum cleaner? I mean, it really was a nasty machine at the best of times. I know it was before Horatio's time, but I suspect that even he would have had second thoughts about attacking that thing.'

The Baron instinctively flicked back his long, black, greasy hair and looked Roseberry and then Thornton in the eye. He was aware of the shadows but couldn't really look them in the eye as he didn't know where their eyes were, and if they had any – although everyone assumed they did. He ignored Stokesley.

'Our problem is a ghost, a mischievous ghost of some kind that seems to take perverse pleasure in stealing, moving and no doubt, in time, throwing things around. My thought is simple. Use the Promise Capsule to change that vile old vacuum cleaner, not into something that sucks up dirt but, instead, sucks up ghosts. If a combination of things from the cupboard and the attic, like the stone thing and the old water boiler, can be so successful in dealing with our gargoyle problem, then why not this' - as he said 'this', he pointed at the Promise Capsule - 'and the old vacuum cleaner? My only real concern is that, towards the end, before we put it in the attic, it tended to make more noise than anything else and wasn't much good as an actual cleaner. But, who knows, maybe this is the solution we need, to ask the Promise Capsule from that cupboard to turn the dangerous, old vacuum cleaner from the attic into a vacuum to capture and hold ghosts!'

On the face of it, this was about as crazy and stupid as you could get. Eller wanted to laugh, but this was Manor Rott, Grott & Snott, a place where the ridiculous was an everyday occurrence. The real problem, however, continued to be that they were trying to deal with her, and she wasn't THE REAL PROBLEM! That meant the Rampant Salamis remained undiscovered and as dangerous as ever, while the people in the Manor wasted their time trying to get rid of her. Life really wasn’t fair for Eller.

At that, the meeting broke up; the Promise Capsule lay on the kitchen table as the Baron went off to get the old vacuum cleaner.

As for Eller, glancing around, she could see small salami eyes in their hiding places around the kitchen, glinting in the light and showing signs of laughter!

Now what was going to happen?
Music: Majestic Nature by Craig Stuart Garfinkle

Artwork by Steve English

The script:

Episode 21 – The Meeting

The Baron called a meeting, asking everyone to come to the kitchen to see if they could get to the bottom of the problems they were facing and find a solution. Obviously, Eller wasn't invited because no-one knew she existed. That didn't stop her attending of course - as did Stokesley, who most definitely wasn’t invited, but just turned up on the kitchen wall, looking sullen. And pretty much every shadow in the whole Manor came and occupied places all over the walls, ceiling and floor. Everywhere that is except around Stokesley’s shadow which was rather particular about these things and seemed to nip and butt other shadows which came too close.

The meeting started rather slowly as Thornton had forgotten his spare hearing aids. Then, when he finally arrived back having retrieved them from his room, they discovered the batteries were flat. Mercifully, Roseberry had some spares in a drawer; they took some digging out, but it saved a lot of time compared to waiting for Thornton to go back to his room again to find some.

When at last they'd got Thornton sorted, the conversation began in earnest - although it still needed to happen at a reasonably high decibel level for Thornton's sake! He had purchased the new hearing aids (which had disappeared) because he needed them and the relative lack of power of the old ones made for lots of repetition.

'I have called this meeting,' the Baron began in his somewhat nasally voice, 'to discuss what I am sure you will all agree, is a series of malicious incidents happening all across the Manor.'

'What's that you say?' asked Thornton. ‘Something about hamsters being cross at the Manor? I didn't know we had a hamster problem too! When did that happen?'

The Baron, Roseberry and Eller all rolled their eyes – this was going to be a long meeting.

'WE DON'T HAVE A HAMSTER PROBLEM THORNTON,' the Baron replied. 'SORRY FOR NOT BEING CLEARER. I WILL TRY NOT TO MUMBLE SO MUCH.' Then, as loudly as he could manage, the Baron continued, 'We all agree that serious things are happening in the Manor.'

Nodding sagely, Thornton started to speak before the Baron could continue. 'Did you know someone stole my hearing aids?' he asked, even more loudly than the Baron.

Of course they knew but, as they'd all learnt many years before, when Thornton started, there was no use interrupting him until he'd said his piece. Thankfully, once he'd said it and got the appropriate sympathetic nods and expressions, he tended to just sit for the rest of the conversation with an inscrutable look on his face. He was probably in a world of his own and not paying any attention, but no one really wanted to check.

'We know, dear,’ Roseberry shouted, patting Thornton's hand as he finished. 'It's a terrible state of affairs.' Then looking from Thornton to the Baron she asked, 'But who's behind it all? That's what we need to find out.' At this, the shadows shifted uncomfortably, causing Stokesley’s shadow to nip one of two, to keep them in their place.

'Surely, if anyone knows what's going on, it's you guys,' Eller said to the shadows, knowing she wouldn't get a response. But the fact that the shadows cared about what the others knew made her feel strangely on edge.

It was what the Baron said next that stunned her, that and the reaction of everyone present (except of course for Stokesley who continued to chew invisible grass and Horatio who was far more interested in licking his paws than paying any attention to the conversation).

'It seems that the Manor's resident ghost who, as we all know, has the full-moon badge LOST, has, for reasons we cannot understand, decided to stop being our friend. Instead, it seems LOST has started to cause mischief, which is getting out of hand and verging on dangerous. Quite why LOST has started behaving in this way is beyond me. Still, I can find no other explanation for this series of malicious events and so must conclude two things.'

Eller couldn't quite believe what she was hearing. Her badge was LOST so she was the 'resident ghost' the Baron was referring to. And, to make matters worse, she was pretty sure that she wasn't actually a ghost at all – she was alive, she had a badge, dead things like ghosts didn’t have badges!

Nods of agreement swept around the room, although the nods from the shadows seemed to her to be more nods of relief than agreement.

'Well,' she said to no-one in particular … or, maybe more to the Baron than anyone else, 'if you think that, you're both stupid and blind! How can it be me? I can hardly ever touch anything! And, how can you miss those yukky little footprints across the soap and in the talcum powder after your showers?' Eller's cheeks turned red as she spoke. She had only seen the footprints after the bathroom had been vacated, but the mere thought that someone might think she'd been in the bathroom when someone else was in it made her almost glow with embarrassment.

'Anyway,' she shouted at the Baron, 'even if it was me, you can't do anything about it!' At that she paused, the flush in her cheeks fading. 'No one can do anything for me or against me.' Then, with a bitter laugh, she added angrily, 'I can't even do anything for myself.'

At this, Eller was about to dramatically storm out of the room (more for her own sake of course than anyone else's) but something the Baron was saying caught her attention. She wished she'd heard the first part about a 'promise capsule' or something, but what the Baron was saying now ensured she wasn't going anywhere.

'… Clearly, it is only to be used in an emergency. While at this point, the situation may not quite be considered an emergency, I can see a time rapidly approaching when it will be a great emergency, unless we act now. So, I am preparing to use said capsule to try, once and for all, to get rid of this increasingly mischievous and dangerous ghost.'

It seemed even Horatio had caught the measure of feeling in the room. He sat up and stopped licking parts I won't describe, and held his head at a slight angle as if he was trying to understand. Then, standing up and arching his back in a big stretch, he walked over to the Baron and rested his head on the Baron's leg. Without thinking, the Baron automatically put his hand on Horatio's head and started scratching him behind his ears as he carried on.

'Quite how it will work I do not know. But, that said, we do have some evidence that this course of action may work.’

As he said this, everyone paid even more attention, waiting to hear what this ‘evidence’ was. Everyone that is, apart from Stokesley, who continued to chew invisible grass rather noisily while appearing to be entirely distracted by a couple of flies rotating in opposite directions high above the kitchen table. The Baron fleetingly wondered if they were the same flies that usually inhabited the entrance hall.

‘As you are well aware,’ he continued, ‘some time ago we had a severe gargoyle infestation. Well, just before that time, I found the contents of one of those vanishing cupboards and managed to take 3 things from it.’

At this, he pulled out not 3 but 4 items. Firstly, the bone and wire thing, then the stone with the patterns, followed by the egg-like object. Lastly, as an afterthought, he also pulled out the key.

Pointing to the smooth stone with lines on it, he reflected, 'It was this that I used in conjunction with the old water boiler from the attic that I believe somehow worked together to stop the gargoyle invasion.’

Thornton had picked up the bone and wire thing and was looking at it closely.

‘That,’ the Baron continued loudly, pointing to the object Thornton now held, ‘is the reason I have a gargoyle that travels with me when I leave the Manor.’

Thornton looked incredulously at the Baron and almost threw the object back down on the table, indicating very clearly that he wanted nothing to do with gargoyles.

‘I had pricked my finger on this object,’ the Baron explained, picking up the item Thornton had just thrown down, ‘just before I removed the first gargoyle that came into the kitchen. I carried it outside and, in so doing, got blood on it from where I pricked my finger. Then, for some reason I can’t explain, I gave it the name 'Cod', told it not to come into the Manor again and let it run off.

On the night that Horatio … missed his snack … Cod came with us and tried to save Knayton Borrowby and myself. He … err … it … err … Cod, was a real hero. So again, an object from that cupboard and something from the attic/roof area - namely, the gargoyle, Cod - worked together to rescue us. So, it stands to reason that this item,' the Baron pointed at the egg-like object with the words 'Promise Capsule' written on it, 'may well also have power to help us when combined with something else from the attic.

My reasoning is simple. I suggest that this Promise Capsule,' as he said this, he picked up the egg-like thing, 'combined with something older and more powerful from the attic, may solve our current problem as well.'

No one asked what he meant because everyone understood what the Baron was thinking. There was only one thing in the attic that was more powerful (and terrifying) than the old attic water boiler … Even Stokesley apparently understood, as he stopped chewing and looked directly at the Baron, slack-jawed!

Somewhat put off by Stokesley’s expression, the Baron, now on edge, took a breath.

‘So, in summary,’ he continued – although at a lower decibel rate and with a slight wavering in his voice - 'we shall combine this Promise Capsule with the old,’ (at this his voice dropped even lower), ‘attic vacuum cleaner, in the hope that this combination will deal with our increasingly dangerous ghost problem, permanently.'

As the Baron said 'vacuum cleaner', everyone in the room glanced at the dog, who merrily continued resting his head on his master's leg waiting for some more petting. Everyone that is, except Thornton, who hadn't managed to hear the lower volume words and so, in a loud voice that seemed to shatter the solemnity of the moment, asked, 'What was that boy? Something in the attic?' Then, after pausing and contorting his face in such a way that you could almost hear his ‘thought cogs’ whirring, an expression of shock swept across his face. It was as if a rather unpleasant light-bulb had flashed on inside his head. Grasping at the Baron’s arm, he asked, 'You aren't thinking of bringing down that old vacuum cleaner are you?' Then turning from the Baron to Horatio, who thankfully was still none the wiser, he carried on, 'The puppy won’t like that!'

Thornton still thought of Horatio as a puppy when in fact, to anyone who looked at him, Horatio was a full-grown, adult dog. He had also learned to understand a few words, one of which was 'puppy'. Horatio didn't like puppies! They were busy, bothersome and a nuisance and he made sure all puppies were put in their place every time he met them. At the word, 'puppy', Horatio's head shot up off the Baron's leg and he became very alert.

'You know how that puppy treats the normal vacuum cleaner!' he carried on, winding Horatio up even more. 'Well, how do you think he's going to deal with that monstrous old thing? Why do you think my hearing's not what it used to be, eh? That thing made the whole Manor shudder before we put it up there and now you want to bring it down again to deal with a ghost? How's that going to work exactly?'

Despite herself, Eller felt that Thornton had made a good argument. How was an old, redundant vacuum cleaner supposed to deal with her? She couldn't even touch it – probably - and that meant it also - probably - couldn't touch her. And, what difference was this Promise Capsule thingy supposed to make?

Of course, the real problem was - that everyone had missed the real problem! Why? Because everything that was happening had nothing to do with her! They had a full-scale invasion on their hands, and they didn't realise it!

At Thornton’s interrogation, the Baron turned the Promise Capsule over to reveal the writing on the other side. It was supposed to be a meaningful moment but, looking at it, Eller couldn't help but be reminded of a large chocolate egg.

Roseberry and Thornton started scrabbling to find their reading glasses, but the Baron held up his hand to stop them before reading the instructions loudly for all to hear.

'This is a Promise Capsule,' he shouted. 'Inside this capsule is one promise that, when called upon, will supply all that is needed to deal with one emergency. As there is no way to know what your emergency will be, we cannot say how this promise will be fulfilled, but rest assured that we at the 'Wetwang, Fimber and Towthorpe Special Entities Manufacturing Conglomerate' back the efficacy of this promise with the full weight of our name. (No Warranty Provided or Implied.) Returns will not be accepted unless this Promise Capsule is in an unused and sealed state.'

Glancing up at their faces to make sure everyone was following along, the Baron looked down at the Promise Capsule to read the next part.

'Instructions for the effective use of your Promise Capsule,' he continued.

'Step 1. IMPORTANT: Determine that you really do have an emergency. Promise Capsules are not to be used for frivolous purposes as the results cannot be anticipated.

Step 2. Once the emergency has been duly identified, speak to the device three times. NOTE: Make sure to clearly enunciate your words as any guarantee or warranty implied or otherwise will become void if said emergency is mumbled into the device. (No Warranty Provided or Implied.)

Step 3. Without unwrapping, break the Promise Capsule as close to the emergency as possible, making sure to keep all the pieces inside the wrapper.

Step 4. Tell the Promise Capsule what the emergency is once again and how you would like it to be solved.

Step 5. Deal with the emergency.

Step 6. Pour yourself a drink, unwrap the pieces of the Promise Capsule, put them into a bowl and read the enclosed note, making sure to do everything it says. Do not read the note until absolutely unavoidable as it will only give appropriate guidance at that point.'

As the Baron looked up, Roseberry raised her eyes from the Promise Capsule, a concerned look on her face. Pointing vaguely towards the loft, she asked, 'I can see the value of the Promise Capsule, but what did you have in mind for that old monster of a vacuum cleaner? I mean, it really was a nasty machine at the best of times. I know it was before Horatio's time, but I suspect that even he would have had second thoughts about attacking that thing.'

The Baron instinctively flicked back his long, black, greasy hair and looked Roseberry and then Thornton in the eye. He was aware of the shadows but couldn't really look them in the eye as he didn't know where their eyes were, and if they had any – although everyone assumed they did. He ignored Stokesley.

'Our problem is a ghost, a mischievous ghost of some kind that seems to take perverse pleasure in stealing, moving and no doubt, in time, throwing things around. My thought is simple. Use the Promise Capsule to change that vile old vacuum cleaner, not into something that sucks up dirt but, instead, sucks up ghosts. If a combination of things from the cupboard and the attic, like the stone thing and the old water boiler, can be so successful in dealing with our gargoyle problem, then why not this' - as he said 'this', he pointed at the Promise Capsule - 'and the old vacuum cleaner? My only real concern is that, towards the end, before we put it in the attic, it tended to make more noise than anything else and wasn't much good as an actual cleaner. But, who knows, maybe this is the solution we need, to ask the Promise Capsule from that cupboard to turn the dangerous, old vacuum cleaner from the attic into a vacuum to capture and hold ghosts!'

On the face of it, this was about as crazy and stupid as you could get. Eller wanted to laugh, but this was Manor Rott, Grott & Snott, a place where the ridiculous was an everyday occurrence. The real problem, however, continued to be that they were trying to deal with her, and she wasn't THE REAL PROBLEM! That meant the Rampant Salamis remained undiscovered and as dangerous as ever, while the people in the Manor wasted their time trying to get rid of her. Life really wasn’t fair for Eller.

At that, the meeting broke up; the Promise Capsule lay on the kitchen table as the Baron went off to get the old vacuum cleaner.

As for Eller, glancing around, she could see small salami eyes in their hiding places around the kitchen, glinting in the light and showing signs of laughter!

Now what was going to happen?

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