The oil price soared to a new record for the third day in a row today. The man who watches over my Oil Lake came back from his holiday in Andalusia today - so I decided to tackle him about the cause of this oil shortage.
He is a little dark and oily and claims to be a Don, or Spanish gentleman, from Andalusia. He says he lost all his money by speculating in silver foxes; and he's working for me till he gets enough money to retire. He speaks English with a rather rough accent, as he learned it at a sailors' lodging house near the docks when he landed penniless in England many years ago. He is a thoroughly good oil watcher in most ways but he does have an infernal habit of smoking on the job - which as you can imagine is hardly a very safe practice. I live in fear of the whole place going up in smoke someday.
The way to the oil lake is behind the stove in the kitchen. It runs out from the wall on rails, and behind it you see the opening of a passage. Then there are seven steel doors to unlock, each one with a very complicated set of keys, and between each door is a short passage paved with very slippery round stones. When you have passed through the last door you slide down a well-oiled slope to the lack.
The lake is huge in size and very charming to look at, although it's underground, because its' lit up by thousands of electric bulbs of all colours - but after the tiresome journey I had not arrived in the best of moods.
I was not best pleased to find Guzman sitting with his feet up in a barge, feasting from a large basket of fruit and nuts, whilst he idly read a paper and smoked a large cigar !
I called out to him "Guzman, bring that barge into shore at once! Don't you know we have a crisis?"
Guzman was his usual sulky and defensive self.
"Whaz Up, Sir? Crisis wha' Crisis? I just havin' a liddle smoke. It get dull down 'ere continually watchin' oil."
I explained to him about the shortage of oil and asked him if he could account for the drying up of the supply.
"Well, Sir, you know I is not one to be casting the aspersions but it was your orders, Sir, to add the extra pipealine?" he said.
I was dumbfounded. "What extra pipeline?" I demanded.
"Why, the one your pretty little new lady assistant ask for!" he retorted.
"Look - here come lovely lady! - she check every morning to make sure fuel pumping O.K." he added.
We looked around and were aghast to see Hitmouse all dressed up in his 'Little Liz' gear making his way towards the lake.
"That's no lady - that's Hitmouse you fool!" I shouted at Guzman.
At this point Guzman went red with embarrassment - he had clearly developed some affection for the "pretty little new lady assistant" and allowed "her' to wrap him around "her" little finger.
On seeing us - Hitmouse made to escape, throwing skewers behind him as he ran. Attempting to rescue his dignity, Guzman took after him - managing to hit him on the head with an enamel jug.
So at least we have an explanation for the oil shortage and the Badfort Crowd's river of oil. Hopefully this will put paid to their 68' Uprising celebrations.
I feel badly in heed of a holiday after all this kerfuffle - I shall take a well earned break at Sunset Beach. I'll report on my excursion when I return.