The Dull and the Dutiful
Published Aug 6, 2009

Written By



Page 1 / 63

"Have you tied up all the loose ends? Because the game is going to start in a few minutes, if you have to pay for a carriage I can reimburse you." said Dierdrik Landgrabb, land baron extrordinaire.

"Have you tied up all the loose ends? Because the game is going to start in a few minutes, if you have to pay for a carriage I can reimburse you." said Dierdrik Landgrabb, land baron extrordinaire. "I think everything is finished here Mr. Landgrabb. It is all in accordance with your plan." replied Simon Crumplebottom, Dierdrik's lawyer and right hand man. "Execellent. We shall crush Mr. Rich before the week is up." "Welcome friends. As ever, you know the rules...there are no rules and no betting limit. And once you have bet, you can't back down." "I shall take great care not to bet more than I can afford then." simpered Simon.
"You a r e a lawyer aren't you?" asked Philip Rich, renowned investor of simoleans.
"Yes but I'm not partner yet..."
"I'm sure your master here can pull a few strings for you." chuckled Gregor Fortesque-Smythe, famous architect and friend of Philip.
"If it were that simple, Mr. Fortesque-Smythe, I should already be a rich man. Like Mr. Rich here."
"Enough banter!" barked Dierdrik, "Play."
...and play they did, hand after hand... ...after hand after hand. No one had lost or gained too much, although Dierdrik was the clear leader. "What a hand! I don't have enough cash for cards such as these. I shall have to bet my new hotel for this." "So much for your poker face...I must say, Landgrabb, if you're bluffing or not this is an awfully big risk to take. I fold by the way." "I hate to agree with our architect friend here, but are you sure that's wise sir? The building is only just completed and furnished. The grand opening is next week. I must also fold, on principle you understand." "I don't believe, Mr. Crumplebottom that it is in the spirit of the game to fold when you have a viable hand. I cannot fold, Dierdrik, and you know I can match your bet financially...but I beg you to reconsider. All that work you must have put into your hotel, building, amenities, staff. And if either one of us has to give the other such a large sum...I know it would be financially difficult for me. I can overlook the rules this time...please..."
"Well I hate to make things financially difficult for you...but let's see your hand Philip."
" would appear that I was overconfident." sighed Dierdrik.
"But my hand was not that great, what was yours?" asked a stunned Philip.
"It is not important. I was bluffing."
"Wait, you were bluffing with your grand hotel?"
"Yes. And you are the new proud owner."
"But that's too much. Surely you aren't serious old man?"
"You remember the betting limit...and once you have bet, you can't back down..."
"We can break the rules just this once. So your bluff didn't work...we'll never speak of it again."
"Are you asking me to welch on a bet? You call my honour into question, Philip?" "No it's just...I can't accept it Dierdrik. How will you cope with such a loss?" "If you were concerned about that perhaps you should have folded like the others." "I don't even know how to run a hotel! I'm an investor not a hotelier. Who is going to manage it for me?" "Of course I would not leave you high and dry old friend. My advice is always on offer. But I must insist on honouring the bet." "I will offer you any help I can." offered Gregor.
"And I...though I imagine I know less than you Mr. Rich." said Simon.
"I see you leave me no choice but to accept Dierdrik. If you weren't so wealthy I would call you mad."
"Perhaps I am Philip, perhaps I am..."
"I would speak with you Crumplebottom, legal ramifications and so on." added Dierdrik.
"Very well sir, I shall be the study?"
"Very good. I will see these two out."
"It still escapes me sir. If you could get him to agree to playing a hand on such a huge wager, why couldn't you just have beaten him?" "That would have been too simple Crumplebottom. For good or ill his money will be tied up in the hotel. A hotel which still bears my name. Rich is too honourable to walk away from an ailing project and I intend to make sure it ails." "It seems awfully risky. I'm not sure we should go through with it. We don't want anyone to get hurt sir." "If your calculations are correct Crumplebottom then it should be safe for now. We will save that for our plan b. For now, let's concentrate on eliminating my chief rival." "When we have finished sir," started Simon, rising to leave, "he shall not be able to invest another penny in Pleasantville." "Come on Johnny Weissmuller." joked Elizabeth Rich, Philip's wife.
"Is it time already?"
"Yes. Grand opening tonight...are you sure you're ready for this darling?"
"Well, I'll just have to be won't I?"
The grand opening of the Pleasantville Langrabb hotel. Featuring ten single rooms, ten twin rooms, 14 double and five suites (not including the honeymoon suite). All facilities were up and running and the guests were beginning to arrive. The kitchen staff were making final preparations before opening the restaurant... ...and the bar staff were readying the drinks... ...and Philip Rich was very nervous indeed. "Oh Philip, don't look so glum. Things are going awfully well. The guests will be ever so impressed."
"I do hope so Lizzie. This was a lot of hard work. Dierdrik hasn't been available all week so I've had to organise all this on a wing and a prayer."
"It would seem that God is on your side then Philip." deadpanned Hesther Fortesque-Smythe, Gregor's partner and long time friend of Elizabeth.
"Really Hetty?" asked Elizabeth.
"It would seem that your husband has a natural flair for the hospitality industry."
"You're too kind Hesther." smiled Philip.
"It is my honest opinion. As you know I have travelled extensively and rested in accommodation that was...well, dire. No other way to put it. But this, it has Dierdrik's hand on it undoubtedly, but it is up there with the best." "We shall see..." muttered Griet, Dierdrik's avaricious spouse.
"Griet. What a pleasure to see you here." lied Elizabeth.
"I wouldn't have missed the opening of my husband's hotel. Even if it has been opened by yours." she smiled not-so-sweetly.
"What exactly did you mean by 'We shall see...' Mrs. Landgrabb?" asked Philip.
"Didn't Dierdrik tell you? A reviewer is coming this week, from the Pleasantville Post. Hotel reputations live and die by such things Mr. Rich." "No." said Elizabeth through gritted teeth, "Mr. Landgrabb did not tell us. Not a hint. Perhaps you ought to go and speak to him tomorrow dear?"
"Hmph." said Philip.
"I'm sure he would be glad to offer his help." grinned Griet.
"I'm sure he would..." muttered Simon, to himself.
"You didn't warn me Dierdrik. A review from the Post...I would have liked a few weeks notice at least. The general public were impressed by the opulence of the place, which I have you to thank for...but I'm not sure our mystery shopper will be so easily impressed. I'm not sure we are ready for such close scrutiny." "What with one thing and another it had slipped my mind...anyway, if you know who your reviewer is, you can lavish your attentions on them. That will cover any shortcomings in the running of the hotel."
"Well if we did it would certainly be a boost to us."
"According to my sources, the review will take place on Wednesday evening. I also believe that your critic will be an elderly woman."
"An old woman? Do they have many of those working at the Pleasantville Post?" "No...but that's the secret. No one expects a review from their grandmama. It is my firm belief."
"I'm glad to finally get hold of you old man. It's been a very difficult few days."
"I shall make sure my wife and I are both available for that evening."
"I appeciate your help Dierdrik."
"...Don't mention it Philip."
On Tuesday night at the Rich household, whilst Philip was holding a crisis meeting, two unannounced visitors arrived at the front door. ... "Sir, if I might interrupt?" said Gerald, the faithful family butler.
"Is it awfully important Jeeves? We a r e dealing with a crisis here."
"I appreciate that sir, but I really think you ought to take a look."
"Very me."
"It seems we had an unexpected visitor sir."
"Well, well Jeeves...a bouncing baby boy. Your son I take it?"
"The note that came with him had a message to that effect."
"And no sign of Mrs. Tanner? No pumpkin pie?"
"Neither of those things I'm afraid sir."
"Shame. To save tongues wagging, I shall begin adoption proceedings tomorrow. Mrs. Rich will be understanding I'm sure."
" you wish sir."
"I know he's your son Jeeves, but really, it would not do for the poor boy to be illegitimate. You may have as much access to him as you wish."
"Very good sir. Thank you sir."
"...and make sure you are there Crumplebottom. Rich is proving far too good at this, damn him. We shall have to be pouring poison in that reviewer's ear all evening. While they are pandering to the first old spinster that walks through the door, they should be neglecting their critic and all their other guests. But I don't want to take any chances. Poison Crumplebottom, poison!" "Mother, please...Malcolm Langrabb says that girls can't play baseball. But I want to be like Lizzie Murphy. She takes on the boys all the time and she beats them as often as not. I want to beat the boys at their own game mama." moaned Katherine, intrepid tomboy.
"You can be whatever you want to be dear. Don't let that Malcolm tell you otherwise. Papa and I must go out tonight to help Mr. Rich, otherwise he would have gotten the mitt out, wouldn't you papa."
"Yes mama. And I would need the mitt too, as our little darling bats like Babe Ruth." winked Gregor.
"Good evening madam! It is a pleasure to welcome you to the Langrabb Pleasantview hotel. Mr. Lacroix will find you a suite and young Mr. Tibbs here will take care of your luggage, no need to tip...If there's anything you need just ask. Enjoy your stay." said a hysterical Philip.
"Thank you young man." replied the flabbergasted old lady.
Later in the bar, Hesther and Gregor raved about the choice of fine wines and spirits available in the bar. Then enthused about the super atmosphere and the fantastic jazz pianist and the singer. Praised the lighting and the barman and the seating and the clientel and anything else they could think of... ...Eric Lacroix shifted from concierge to Maitre d' and charmed the old lady into the restaurant... ...where the team (including Prudence Crumplebottom) were loudly anticipating their fabulous meal.
"The new latino cook is to die for apparently." giggled Hesther.
"Prudence. Isn't that your husband over there? Why didn't he join us?" whispered Elizabeth.
"He said he had important business to attend to tonight. I hope he can help you later Elizabeth."
"We need all the help we can get tonight Pru."
"Well your reviewer seems delighted with the service..."
Philip waited nervously in the kitchen watching over Carlos Diaz. He had been a super chef so far, but he didn't know if he was up to the standard of the post.

"Don't worry Mister Rich, everyone loves my chilli." smiled Carlos.
"I really think she likes it." whispered Elizabeth, excitedly.
"So did I." smirked Hesther, "But I shall need a glass of water!"
"Anything else I can get for you this evening madam?" asked Frank Tibbs, the dashing young bellhop.
"No, thank you Frank. Are you sure you won't take a tip?" queried Miss Stratton, the bamboozled spinster.
"Quite sure Ma'am. All part of the service."
"I do hope she liked it. I think everything went according to plan." worried Philip.
"She was very pleased sir." assured Frank, "She kept trying to tip me all evening."
"She was like putty in my hands Monsieur Rich." added Eric, "Ah, belle du jour! She approaches."
"So long ma'am!" yelled Frank.
"Au revoir, ma cherie amour!" charmed Eric.
"I hope you enjoyed your stay Miss Stratton." hoped Philip.
"I did thank you boys. I shall tell all my friends about this wonderful place." beamed Miss Stratton.
"Uh, sir, excuse me. You the owner of this hotel?" said a man next to Philip.
"Yes. What of it?"
"It's just, I'm the reviewer from the post, and I see the special treatment you give that lady. You got mixed up there buddy."
"I was reliably informed that the reviewer was an elderly woman."
"You were told wrong. But while you was tryin to impress the spinster, I see what you got here. I like it, and I didn't need no cheerleading squad to tell me that."
"Yeah. Good food, friendly service, nice rooms. You did a good job here Mr. Rich. I had people in my ear all night tryin to tell me this place was a dump. Just grumpy customers I guess. But I seen it wit my own eyes."
"..." "It seems, despite ourselves, that the hotel was a success! Here's to my new hotel!" grinned Philip.
"Cheers!" smiled Elizabeth.
"Cheers!" cheered Gregor reluctantly (it was hard to cheer without a drink.)
"Cheers!" added Hesther.
"Crumplebottom, it seems our friend is far better at this than we anticipated. It is time for plan b..."

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3 Comment(s) so far

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#1candy820Aug 7, 2008

Great Story \:D \:D

#2converse02Aug 7, 2008

thought it was great!\:D

#3md198Aug 11, 2008

Damn Lizzie Hughes is WRONG!. Katherine is meant to say she wants to be like Lizzie Murphy, the famous female baseball player...\:o whoops.

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