Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Insecure Sinecure

The first genuine chapter of Church & State has the tongue twisting name of The Insecure Sinecure. Cerebus is still at The Blue Duck writing his instruction manual, when 3 overdressed and immaculately coiffed gentlemen enter the establishment and make a beeline for the aardvark.

When he sees the leader, Cerebus has to suppress a groan. It is Lord Julius’ spoilt son, the Prince Valiant lookalike; Silverspoon. With him are 2 hangers on; Gwane and Trystrim. I don’t know if Dave did this consciously or not, but there’s an awful lot of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern about Gwane and Trystrim. Unasked, Silverspoon and his companions seat themselves next to Cerebus, and initially Silverspoon offers him money to write his memoirs. Cerebus becomes interested when Silverspoon explains what a memoir is. He then suggests that they play an incomprehensible card game that has become popular among the upper classes. I thought we’d seen the last of Silverspoon when Lord Julius was attempting to use him as human torch after Cerebus threatened to declare war on election night.

Cerebus gambles with money supplied by Silverspoon and due to not understanding the incredibly complicated and detailed rules has soon lost his stake. Predictably enough the former Prime Minister of Iest loses his temper and sends the trio away in a huff.

The following day Cerebus is mucking out The Blue Duck’s stables to pay off his bar bill, when Silverspoon seeks him out and invites him to accompany him on a visit to the estate of Countess Detin. Cerebus has had more than his fill of high society and mucking out stables is actually preferable to spending any extended amount of time with Silverspoon and his ilk. Gwane comes running up and manages to spill the beans that they can only go see the Countess on the condition that they bring Cerebus with them, and there is also the matter of 400 crowns that she’s given them to ensure this happens. Even with 400 crowns on offer Cerebus plays the Brer Rabbit game and says he’d rather muck out stables. By pooling their available funds Silverspoon, Gwane and Trystrim manage to raise the offer to 600 crowns. Cerebus agrees.

Cerebus then books a lavish mode of transport in front of Silverspoon and his associates. Once they’re gone he changes the method to something more practical and far less expensive and wants it ready in 10 minutes. Typical Cerebus, although you wouldn’t have to be all that bright to outwit Silverspoon, he is so monumentally stupid that you really do wonder if he’s genuinely the scheming Lord Julius’ child.

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