It began while we attended The Royal Sandwich Festival. We had a stall with information (You may have seen us there) and were handing out leaflets about The Foe. Just as we sat for lunch, a man came running up to us. He stood for a moment, then collapsed at our feet. He lifted his head slowly. "Go to Venice... and find your destiny!" he whispered dramatically. I froze. Venice. The one place in the world I swore never to return to. The man was dead seconds after he had spoken, so the only way to find out was to go. I sent Sirs Gregory and Jimothy and Dame Bebelia on the PasandaJet while Mexican Gregory remained behind with me (Sir Fitzwellington was on a top secret deep cover operation for the Catering Department of Her Majesty's Secret Sandwich Service somewhere in Russia). The HQ was suddenly very quiet when we returned. But I had made up my mind - I could not return to Venice, on any circumstances. So, I would try and find out more about the man. To do so, I had to find Dame Daphne Cheddar Pickle - the person to go to if you wanted facts. Ordinarily I would of sought out The Janitor, but he had disappeared a few weeks after we had recovered Sir Jimothy. I told Mexican Gregory to man the phones and left the building. It was overcast and grey, so I grabbed my trenchcoat and fedora, slipped on my gloves and headed to the Dame's house.
When I arrived, I found the house full of passed out people and the acrid smell of marijuana smoke. I entered the kitchen, to find Dame Daphne waiting for me. I took a seat and waited for her to finish her spliff. "You're here about the scientist, aren't you?" she asked. I looked at her in surprise. "What scientist?" I replied. "The one that sought you out during the Sandwich Fest. He was working for Subways." "Subways?" I replied. It was always said that Dame Daphne had the gift of precognition, but no one could be sure. It was a small breakthrough, but it was the only one I had. I would get on to it as soon as I could, but at the moment I was hungry, so I dropped into Bert's Cafe for an English.
As I slipped into a booth by the window, I noticed a group of thuggish looking men at the table opposite mine, and suddenly, I wasn't so hungry - they were looking right at me. Then one of them stood and slipped a hand into the breast pocket of his jacket. He was going to shoot me. The others stood up and made their way toward me. I suddenly lifted the flimsy table and swung it at one of the men. The gunman aimed a Beretta at me - I dived behind the counter and unholstered my Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver and fired a few quick shots at my attackers, hitting two of them in the head. It was a good start, but with seven others, I was grossly outnumbered. So, I pulled out one of the most lethal projectiles known to man: a Tesco's Deep Fill sandwich frozen solid that Sir Gregory had forgotten about in 1975! I hurled the hellish object into the window behind me, smashing it to smithereens and giving me an exit. I fired a few suppressing shots behind me and sprinted out of the Cafe and down a side passage into my lock up - where my way out was waiting - my 1950 Jaguar XK120 given to me by The Queen after the Cuban Missile Crisis jobbie. I jumped into the car and roared off down the road. Behind me I heard the men firing at me and jumping into black saloon cars. I put my foot down and the Jaguar screamed up the road. I took a right at the junction and headed toward St. James' Square where my good friend and COBRA member Harry Bledgers spent his summer days at the East India Club - I would find much support there.
I ran up the steps to the door and entered (the doorman recognised me instantly) the building and headed for The Smoking Room. I entered the lavishly decorated room and scanned it's chic furnishings for Harry. He was nowhere to be seen. I turned to a fat man with a monocle and asked him where Harry was. "Bledgers? Oh yes, he mentioned it before he left..." The man returned to his Bombay Sapphire cocktail. "Where then?" I replied. The man took a long sip from his cocktail, before turning to me, monocle glistening.
TO BE CONTINUED