The QE2

Lauren’s Note: Preface
What I was trying for, in the cruise ship sequence was to replicate a typical plot used in stories by P G Wodehouse. The characters are stuck together somewhere (usually an estate belonging to one of Bertie’s Aunts), and all chaos will break loose if a character (usually Roderick Spode) believes that a character (usually Bertie Wooster) is having an affair with a girl (usually Madeline Bassett.) Part of the joke is Bertie is not desirous of Madeline Bassett and the whole thing is a misunderstanding. Did you know that Roderick Spode was based on a real historical figure, Oswald Mosley who was the leader of the British Fascist Party. In the end Roderick Spode succeeds in marrying Madeline Bassett much to Bertie relief, but I often puzzled over why P G Wodehouse allowed a Fascist character to succeed? It may have been the best of trying up loose ends, but he could have allowed Bertie best friend Gussie Fink-Nottle marry Madeline Bassett as he is also in love with her for most of the series, but is too shy to make his intentions known. But, there is some uncomfortable history in which the English believed that P G Wodehouse was too sympathetic to Hitler and the Fascist. This notion was not at all credible, but P G Wodehouse moved to America and never went back to England. P G Wodehouse was involved in famous feud with the author of Winnie the Pooh A. A. Milne. Which is why he satires the character Christopher Robin. In the Mating Season Bertie is forced by Madeline Bassett to recite the Poem that goes “Christopher Robin goes hoppity-hoppity-hop.” It turns out that A. A. Milne was critical of P G Wodehouse over the Fascist debacle. A. A. Milne maybe of not been such a nice man. I understand the real Christopher Robin, his son, felt embarrassed all his life from the burden placed upon him by being Christopher Robin.

End Note

Agent M is so upset by her encounter with Lou, she decides drastic action is needed. She is going to call Dr. Evil, and beg him, if necessary, to call off Lou, before Archie ends up being killed. But, what if Buffy answers the phone? Maybe she should write him a letter? No, that is too slow. An email is too risky. What if Buffy sees the email. She decides to call his publishing house. Speaking to the receptionist, she says she has a book for publication which is called “Fun Games, the Ultimate guide to Mind Control”, and she wants a personal call back from Dr. Evil. Shortly there after her phone rings, and it is Dr. Evil.

“Hello, Agent M. It has been so long since I have seen you. How have you been after all these years?”

“I want you to call off Lou,” she says.

“What are you talking about?” Dr. Evil asks innocently.

“I am talking about Lou, killing Archie. I want you to call it off.”

“I don’t what you are talking about. Who’s Archie?” Dr. Evil sounds annoyed.

She is going to say, Archie is a demon, but realizing how insane that sounds, she says, “Archie is my new boyfriend, and Lou is trying to kill him.”

“Why would Lou, want to kill your boyfriend? You’re not making any sense. Are you on drugs?” Dr. Evil reproaches her.

“Just tell me what you want in exchange for not having Archie killed,” she replies trying to sound confident.

“I want you see you again, of course,” says Dr. Evil. “In fact, we are leaving on the QE2 tomorrow. If you want to come, I will send you a ticket.”

“If I go, does that mean Archie won’t be killed?”

“I don’t know any Archie, but I promised he won’t be killed. Just don’t bring him on the cruise. I want to see you alone.”

“All right, then send me a ticket, and I won’t bring Archie.”

“Ok, Agent M, there is just one thing. You had better register on the ship with a different name, and disguise your appearance. Buffy is coming on the cruise, and she gets very jealous. But, I know you spies like to do things like that, so you should be right in your favorite element. Lou is going also, and that won’t be a problem, right?”

“No, it won’t be a problem.” Agent M feels resigned to her fate.

After she hangs up the phone, she feels very happy about going on a cruise, and she begins to think what will she wear to upstage Buffy, and not how what potentially disastrous consequences could result.

It is the first night of the cruise and Agent M is suppose to meet Dr. Evil at the Captain’s Table, disguised as Lady Alameda, but she does not show up. Dr. Evil senses something is wrong so he gives Lou the key to her cabin, and sends him down to check on her. Shortly after Lou returns and then he takes Dr. Evil aside, and tells him this story, “I knocked on her door and there was no answer so I went in, and I saw that demon again. She was in there with Archie. So, I quickly closed the door, and I reported back to you.”

“All right,” says Dr. Evil, “There is no need to panic. I will go down there and collect her, myself.”

He goes down and knocks on her door. There is no answer. He opens the door, and find Agent M lying on the bed crying.

“What happened?” he asks.

“Archie was here, and he is really upset. He must have stowed away on the ship. He is really jealous. He demanded I get off the ship, at the next port. I told him I would not. Then he would not let me go to dinner with you. Then he said, if I did he would send copies of “Fun Games” to all the guests on the cruise. Then Lou came in, while we were fighting and Archie got scared and disappeared. I don’t know where he is, now, and what he is going to do.”

She continues crying.

“That’s all right, maybe it won’t be so bad,” Dr. Evil tries to confront her.

“It is the most terrible book in the whole world. I wish all copies were destroyed, and that I did not have any memory of it,” she continues crying.

“And did you know, what Archie said to me?” she said, “that I was only on this cruise, because you had manipulated my mind.”

“Why, that is so untrue,” exclaims Dr. Evil. “You came on this cruise, because you wanted to go to a fun party, and wear beautiful clothes, and sit at the Captain’s Table with me. How did I manipulate your mind?”

“According to book, which Archie read a passage from, the target organism will always seek to find pleasure and avoid pain, even if it means sinking to a low level of morality. Once it starts, there is no stopping the forces of behaviorism. There is no such thing as free will.”

“All right, then I will go and make some excuse, I will say you are ill tonight. You have to pull yourself together, and I will find some way to take care of Archie, and make sure all copies of the book are destroyed.”

“You promised,” shrieks Agent M, “That you would not have Archie killed, if I came on this cruise.” She is completely hysterical now.

“I won’t have him killed. I will do something. I will buy him off. There has to be something he wants. If I have to buy his soul back from Satan, I promise, I will. So stop crying and pull yourself together. I have to go back up to table before they notice, I’m gone.”

Dr. Evil returns to his table and tires to pretend like nothing is wrong. This goal is aided by the liberal drinking policy on the QE2. Everyone is drinking so very much, and no one in the party is an AA person. It is first night of the cruise, and everyone is celebrating. Dr. Evil notices Lou has already made the acquaintances of several attractive women, and is now attempting to convince one of them, a Miss Crabtree, to allow him to continue their conversation in a more private area. Dr. Evil knows in the back of his mind, the only way he can buy back Archie’s soul, will be to call Satan. Demons, decides Dr. Evil are always laughing at you behind your back. It seems like they are always laughing at the tragedy of one’s mortal life. Without demons, the world would be a much better place.

Dr. Evil decides he had better get back to Buffy who is waiting for him in cabin, and he finds her incredibly drunk, but she confronts him.

“Something is going on with you,” she slurs.

“No, why do you think that?”

“You left for a while, and then again, and you looked strange, something is not right with you. Would you mind telling me what is going on?”

“Well, Buffy you are right. I found out that Agent M is a passenger on this ship.”

“There is nothing to worry about,” says Dr. Evil. Macy is here was Archie and she has she confessed her love for him, and their future plans to marry. But they can only do that if I can turn him back into a mortal.”

Buffy too stunned to speak, and Dr. Evil continues.

“The problem is I will have to buy his soul back from Satan, and Satan and I are hardily on good speaking terms these days. All of this has been weighting on my mind, and so naturally, I appear to be upset.”

All of this is not actually a lie, reasons Dr. Evil, it is an exaggerated version of the truth, and moreover it will cause Buffy to stop nagging him, so he will be able to think. She often talks on and on, complaining and accusing him of cheating, and making it impossible for him to think. He really needs more time right now, to think about how to approach Satan and get Archie’s soul back. He has reasoned that if Archie and Agent M were to get married, it would be the perfect cover for him to continue his affair with Agent M.

Dr. Evil calls Agent M, and finds that she is still crying. “Stop crying,” he tells her, “and listen to me. You have to marry Archie.”

“What, marry Archie?” she exclaims, “I never want to see Archie again. I hope he never comes back. He called me (more sobs) a target organism.”

“Demons do things like that.” Dr. Evil attempts to calm her down. “They say, nasty, horrible things to people. No one would ever think you were a target organism.”

“He was so nice before,” she sobs. “What could have caused this to happen?”

“You should have known,” says Dr. Evil, “It was only a matter of time, before he revealed his true demonic nature to you. How do you think he got his soul damned in the first place? But, listen to me, you have to marry Archie or at least pretend to marry him, because I told Buffy that you would.”

“Why did you do that?” she asks.

“Because I had to tell her something to get her off my back. Once you marry Archie, she won’t be jealous anymore. We can still see each other, as much as you want, after you marry Archie.” Dr. Evil hopes that this sounds sincere.

“I still love you, Macy” says Dr. Evil, “But if Buffy divorces me, it will be a huge social scandal and she will take half of my money,” he declares.

“Alright, then,” she says, “But, what if he won’t marry me. He may never even come back.”

“You have to tell him, that he has to marry you and destroy all copies of Fun Games, or else, I won’t call Satan and try to win his soul back. He will do it. There is nothing more important to him then getting his soul back. Remember Agent M, he has to do both those things or else, I am not ever going to try to go to bat for him. Demons are untrustworthy.”

“I can ask him, I guess,” she says without conviction.

“You don’t want Fun Games published, do you?” he adds.

“No,” she is crying again, “That would ruin my entire life.”

“Neither do I,” says Dr. Evil. “So ask him tonight, and I will call you in the morning. Buffy is really drunk, and I have to help her back to her room.”

Agent M decides to call Archie’s cell phone instead of speaking with him, in person, considering their last conversation had been rather unpleasant.

When he answers she says, “Well, Dr. Evil is going to try to buy your soul back from Satan.”

Instantly, Archie appears in the room, unnerving Agent M who then drops the phone in her panic.

“That’s wonderful! I am sorry that I yelled at you. Can you forgive me?” he says with great enthusiasm.

“Wait and hear me out. First, you have to destroy all copies of Fun Games, and then we have to get married.”

“We are going to get married? Great, things just can’t get any better.” She notices he appears to be happy, and she realizes she has never seen him happy.

“Why are you so happy?” she demands. “We aren’t getting married for real, you know.”

“Why not?” he asks, taken aback.

“We are only getting married so Buffy won’t be jealous any more. I think that is a good idea, because she has threatened to kill me several times. But, I am still mad at you. You called me a target organism.”

“You took that all wrong,” he says. “What is a organism? It is anything that is alive. What is a target? Anything that has been selected. I was only trying to point out to you, that Dr. Evil has manipulated you. I hate to see you falling in love with him again, when I am the one who really loves you. It really hurt me, and I am sorry, I got angry. Do you forgive me?”

“I don’t think you really love me,” she replies frostily, “You would say anything to get your soul back.”

“I don’t really mind being a demon,” he replies, “In fact, it is superior condition to being mortal, but I just can’t take being Satan’s servant. You have no idea of the tortures he puts me through. Every few days, he comes up with some “new idea” and then he wants me to go places and do things. Then he will abandon the entire plan, and get caught up in another “new idea”. My life feels pointless. I don’t understand how, I can go one like this for all eternity. I think often I would be better off if I let Lou kill me.”

“Well, that does sound really bad,” she says.

Archie’s senses that she is weakening and soon she will forgive him, so he adds. “And I really do love you. You have made my life much better, then these few short weeks, I have known you. I want to get married, right away.”

Archie would not mind being married to Agent M. The only thing wrong with her is she is boring and slow witted, but this is a quality shared by most mortals. Since he became a demon, mortals seem to be moving and thinking very slowly, and it bores him to be around them.

“I will destroy all the copies of Fun Games, tonight. You need to get some rest. You look exhausted. Then tomorrow, we can plan where we can go for our honeymoon.”

“That is assuming we even have a honeymoon, Archie. This won’t be a real marriage.”

“Of course, we have to have a honeymoon. If we don’t Buffy will get suspicious. We can go somewhere in England, like Stratford-on-Avon.”

Agent M sleeps badly, and the next morning she lies in bed in her cabin thinking about what just happened.

But, nothing prepares her for the horrors that are to come.

There is a knock at the door, and she thinks it’s Dr. Evil, so she opens the door. Buffy is standing there.

She smiles warmly. “Macy, may I come in?”

Buffy sits down on the bed, “My husband told me the good news. I came over to congratulate you. I am sorry, I was so mean to you at the mall. I am sure we can become best friends. I want to help plan the wedding.”

Agent M is shocked and stunned.

Buffy continues, “What’s wrong? You look upset. You should be happy.”

Agent M quickly realizes she will have to play the role of a happy bride to be, and her current gloom demands explanation, so she says, “ If something goes wrong and Archie can’t get his soul back from Satan, he could be killed at any time.”

“Killed? What do you mean?” Buffy is horrified.

“Satan is bipolar, and his rages are out of control. If he gets angry enough, he will destroy Archie completely. No death, no afterlife, just destroy him. He will be completely gone, like he never existed.”

“Why, that’s terrible!” says Buffy. “I will go tell my husband, that he has to get on the task right away of buying Archie’s soul back.

Buffy marches back to her cabin, and immediately goes on the attack.

“I have just been to see Agent M,” she announces, “She said, that if Archie is not turned back into a mortal Satan could kill him at anytime.”

“If that happens, she continues, “I might be become very upsetting thinking you were still trying to date her.”

Dr. Evil begins to panic, “There is no reason to think that could happen, Darling Buffy. Maybe you should take some of these pills, if you think you are starting to feel upset?”

The last thing he wants is for Buffy to get upset, considering what happened, all the other times Buffy became “upset”. Killing the Toaster Oven, was only the first sign of a long process of psychological decline, that would lead her back to Napa State Hospital.

He leaves Buffy in the cabin lying down, and goes to call Agent M.

“Why?” he yells into the phone, “Did you tell Buffy there is a chance that Archie could be killed? Just that very notion in her mind is enough to upset her.”

“I’m sorry,” she whines, “I had to tell her the reason why I was unhappy, and it was all I could think of on short notice.”

“Listen to me, Agent M, and listen carefully, no matter what happens with Archie’s Soul, we have to tell Buffy that the plan succeeded and that Archie has become a mortal. You will have to pose as a happy couple for the rest of this cruise.”

“But, I can’t control Archie,” she moans, “He comes and goes when he pleases, popping up here and there, and then disappearing.”

“You tell him that there is to be no more of that. If Archie is going to pose as a mortal, he is going to have to starting acting like one.”

“But, for all I know,” she continues, “once he gets his soul back, he will leave me forever.”

“That is why I have come up with a plan to make him stay around, at least for the rest of the cruise. You tell him that I am in serious negotiations with Satan to buy his soul back, and he has to act like your loving fiancée, to appease Buffy.”

Agent M has not even had coffee yet, and already this day is turning into a complete disaster. She orders room service for breakfast and coffee, and tires to compose herself before she calls Archie.

When she does call him, he appears with all smiles, and he seems once again to be ecstatically happy.

He is probably really happy to be getting away from Satan, she thinks to herself.

“Good Morning, Sweet Heart,” he approaches her as if to give her a kiss.

“Back off, Archie, I need to seriously talk to you.”

“Don’t you love me anymore?” he sounds hurt.

“Please stop joking around for just a few minutes, Archie. It is so hard for me to concentrate when you are always making jokes.”

“Ok,” he replies meekly, “What’s Up?”

“Buffy is very jealous,” she begins, “and you have to stop acting like a demon and start acting like my boyfriend for the rest of this cruise.”

“And that means,” she continues, “No disappearing and reappearing in public, no laughing at the mortals on this vessel, and no amusing practical jokes. If you don’t start behaving like a mortal, no matter how bored you get, we are not going to be able to pull off this deception.”

“Ok,” says, Archie, “but I know that Lou is on this ship, and if I see him I am going to disappear.”

“You can’t do that Archie. Everyone will notice.”

“But, I don’t like Lou,” says Archie “He unnerves me. Besides, how will I know if he is carrying a dagger on his person?”

“I will call Dr. Evil right now, and ask him to specifically to tell Lou, not to kill you. Will that make you happy?”

She calls Dr. Evil and says, “I am here with Archie, and he agrees to go along with the plan, as long as Lou does not try to kill him.”

“Lou has no interest in killing Archie,” says Dr. Evil with indignation. “He just spent the night with Miss Crabtree.”

“Well, Archie insists that you instruct Lou not to kill him, at any time on this cruise.”

“Lou never wanted to kill Archie,” snaps Dr. Evil angrily, “I was the one that I told him to do it. I will tell him that killing Archie has been stricken from the agenda.”

After she hangs up the phone, her face has gone pale.

“What did he say?” asks Archie.

“He admits that Lou was trying to kill you, but that he won’t do it anymore, because he is going to tell Lou, not to kill you.”

“I knew it,” says Archie

Dr. Evil  calls Lou.

“Lou, did you bring the dagger on this cruise?”

“Yes, Dr. Evil, just like you told me to.” replies Lou.

“Well, there has been a change of plans. You are no longer going to try and kill Archie, the first chance you get.”

“Why not?”

“Because Archie is going to marry Agent M.”

“What?”

“The demon has to stay alive, Lou, because he is going to marry Agent M, so Buffy won’t be jealous.”

“How did this happen? It’s going to take me a while to adjust to the new plan.”

“Just remember, Lou, the demon is extremely paranoid. Do not attempt to make eye contact with him. If you see him just ignore him completely, and try to walk away as quickly as possible.”

“That is going to look really weird,” complains Lou.

“If Archie panics, and jumps out of the body, that he inhabits, it will appear that he is dead to everyone. If Buffy thinks he’s dead, she will flip out, again.”

“Ok,” says, Lou, “but I think it’s really stupid to be changing plans all the time.”

Archie stands in the middle of the cabin, and Agent M sits on the bed. His eyes begin to take on a strange glow, and he looks less human and more like a demon.

“I know you must love me, even if you won’t admit it. You came on this cruise with Dr. Evil just to save me.” proclaims Archie.

“No, Archie, I came on the cruise to have a good time, and I have hardly been able to do that. I have not even had a chance to look around the ship yet. They leave the cabin together, but Archie decides he needs to pop back to Hell once again to check on Satan’s Mood.

Macy calls her Boss David Belfry, and he reminds her in a very business like tone, that tomorrow is the Fruit Hat Woman Concert. This is a free annual event hosted by the Organization to create goodwill the public.

“Oh, my God, the concert. I forgot all about that. I can’t go. I’m on the QE2.”

“What are you doing on a cruise, Agent M. Have you forgotten all about your job?

“Take Chess Master,” says Macy. “He’s free. He never does anything.”

 

 

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