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Unhand That Monocle
by Alexei Russell

"Pardon me," said Lord Eldrick, "but have you seen my monocle? I seem to have dropped it somewhere about..."

"Oh, shut it, you posh twit!" said the passerby.

Lord Eldrick was in a quandary, for he had lost his golden monocle. It was not that he needed it to see--it had been a gift from the Baroness Sheppley, and he had worn it especially for the occasion. He was overdue at Sheppley Hall by several minutes already.

"Lord Eldrick is late!" they were surely whispering.

All because of a sneeze. He had been well on his way to Sheppley Hall, when a sneeze sent his monocle flying out the limousine window--now it appeared to have vanished into thin air.

The streets were dark and seedy. He was unaccustomed to such squalor. Shady, disreputable types were everywhere.

"My God," he thought, "if they find my monocle, who is to say what barbaric treatment they will subject it to! They're no better than savage beasts!"

A waifish little girl ran through his peripheral vision, accompanied by a glint of gold. His suspicions were immediately aroused.

"You there!" said Eldrick, "Unhand that monocle!"

The little girl ran down the lane and underneath a bridge, with Eldrick fast on her heels. He grabbed her and she started to scream. The golden object flew from her hands and slid over the cobblestones. Under the seamy yellow light of a street lamp, a crowd of burly men were gathered. They looked over at Eldrick with a variety of hard, sinister glares.

"Oh," said Eldrick, "pardon me. But I'm afraid that young lady may have appropriated one of my possessions..."

A portly man in a cheap suit bent down and picked up the golden item.

"Well, your lordship, you stumbled on our little strong man tournament! We hold it every now and again, under this bridge! It looks like your little girl here found a splendid little prize for whoever wins our next fight. What's this? Looks like solid gold, if I'm not mistaken!"

The crowd cheered, and Eldrick made his way over to their portly ringleader. He waved his cane menacingly.

"Now listen, my good man!" said Eldrick, "That is an item of incalculable social benefit to me, and I'll not part with it!"

"Well!" said the portly fellow, "We are a strong man club, sir! If you win a fight, you'll win this prize!"

The crowd formed a circle around Eldrick, and he rolled up his sleeves, gritting his teeth.

"As you wish, gentlemen!" said Eldrick, "Who is first?"


The little girl sat with her mother in their humble kitchen, eating breakfast. Her mother read the paper.

"Oh!" said her mother, "Listen to this! Lord Eldrick was arrested for assault! And for participating in an illegal fight club! Who would have thought! And him in the house of lords!"

The little girl leaned over to see the article.

"That photo!" said the girl, "I know him! He's the man who chased me last night and stole my gold bracelet!"

"Oh, how horrible!" said her mother, "I tell you, you can't trust the aristocracy! They're no better than savages beasts!"