London – Day 6




I woke up in my hotel room. No one had burst in during the night. Four uniform-wearing oddballs hadn’’t broken in to watch me sleep. No one had pulled the fire alarm to, as el Capitán put it, ““Test this fine establishment’s preparedness for battle!””


I got up. Took a shower (which at the City Inn is the equivalent of a roller coaster ride the way the pressure and temperature fluctuated without my input). Watched a little Top Gear. Hit the pub for a solo breakfast. Held myself to two undisturbed pints for once.


Then I went back to my room.


“”What the hell are you wearing?”” I said.


“”We’’ve decided to go incognito!”” the Generalissimo said. “”See if we could lose our friends from Scotland Yard!””


“”And that’s what you chose as a disguise?””


El Capitán had on a sombrero and, I kid you not, a lavender velvet mariachi jumpsuit with a sequined chicken on the front that changed color as he moved. La Capitán must have been busy the previous evening mugging a Bobbie and stealing his clothes. The Generalissima went with an old favorite: hooker heels and an orange ultra-mini under a baby doll tee telling the world she was a “Princess.” And the Generalissimo…


“”Wait,”” I said. “”You’’re wearing my clothes!””




Shorts and a t-shirt. The man had nice legs, I’’d give him that. But like the others he still had on his sunglasses and a ridiculous hat, in his case, his ever-present leather bomber helmet.


“”Yeah, no one will recognize you guys,”” I said.






The Tower of London, home to the Crown Jewels and enough tourists to sink Venice on a permanent basis.


“”Come, my good friends!”” the Generalissimo said. ““I have a rematch to attend!””


“”Rematch?”” I said, knowing full well I should have just kept my mouth shut.




The Generalissimo marched up to the Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula. One of the Yeoman Warders stood by a chain fence.


“”Generalissimo,”” the man said.


“”Greetings and salutations!””


““I have bad news.””




“”Indeed. The rematch will have to wait until your next adventure in our fair land.””


He sniffled. The Generalissima patted his shoulder.


“”What rematch?”” I asked again.


The Yeoman Warder answered. “”The staring contest.””


“”Come again? Once more, in English.””


“”I was robbed!”” the Generalissimo wailed, scaring one of the ginormous ravens that ate from the trashcans when they weren’’t absconding with small children.


“”Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II bet the Generalissimo twenty pounds that he couldn’’t win a staring contest with one of my men while he was on duty.””


“”An insect distracted me by landing on my mustache!””


The Yeoman Warder rolled his eyes. “”You’’ve lost four times in a row now.””


“”Three times I was forced to leave when villainy presented itself! Evil will not stand idly by while I try to regain my honor!””


“”Regardless, your challenger is unavailable. He’s been taken with swine flu.””



The Yeoman Warder nodded. “

“Then I win!””


The Generalissima kissed him. The Capitáns kissed him. He tried to kiss me, but I’’m lighter on my feet than I look.




We took the tour. We went into the Waterloo Block for a look at the jewels. A pair of moving walkways allowed visitors to get a good look at the collection from two angles behind heavy glass cases. I’’d just gotten onto the second walkway when I heard the other visitors gasp.


“”Oh…my…God…”” I said. “”Put that down!””


The Generalissimo and el Capitán tossed the Sovereign’s Orb back and forth. The Generalissima was trying on the Imperial State Crown for size. La Capitán wrapped herself in the Supertunica and tried twirling the Sovereign’s Sceptre like a baton.


“”Put it back!”” I yelled.


The Generalissimo and el Capitán grew tired of playing catch. They each grabbed a sword and began sparing to the delight of the crowd.


I left.




I hit the White Tower, built by William the Conqueror and completed in 1100. It housed the Royal Armouries Collection. I’’m not a huge armour fan, but their collection of antique sporting goods also included the world’s oldest surviving soccer ball.


Very cool.




We left before the Yeoman Warders could catch us, then we split up. And by split up, I mean el Capitán left.


“”I believe the Generalissimo pierced my lung during our swordfight!””


“”No, he didn’’t,”” I said.


“”Well, he could have!”” then he wandered off.


The rest of us headed back toward the British Museum. I’’d promised my wife I’’d pick her up a souvenir, and I wanted to get one for myself. We were hungry so we made a quick stop for (what else?) dim sum at the dim T café.


I ordered plenty of pork bao. The Generalissima ate soup. La Capitán got some steamed chicken, cashew nuts, and coriander pockets. Our food arrived and I dug in. Then something caught my eye.


“”You kept it?!”” I fumed.


“”Indeed!”” the Generalissima said, slurping her soup from the Coronation Spoon.




I sent the ladies to pick out an umbrella for my wife while I went to the post office to mail an anonymous beige package to the Tower of London. As the Coronation Spoon was 800 years old, I sprang for the bubble wrap.


Then I went searching for my own present. The Generalissimo tagged along.


“”But they do not carry boxed wine!”” he said as I browsed the shelves.


“”Sure they do.”” I pointed to a box of ten-year-old Talisker single malt.






““I have never had the pleasure of boxed Scotch.””








“”Wretched!”” he proclaimed after I gave him a taste.


I couldn’’t have disagreed more. His loss.




We had dinner with a friend of mine from back home. She invited us to a pub called the Peasant in the north end of town. I probably should have warned her that my cohorts were nuts. She pretended not to notice. So did the wait staff. They still hadn’’t changed out of their “disguises,” which meant they were only ¾ as frightening to random passersby as normal.


We went back to the hotel. All I wanted to do was crawl into bed and go to sleep, but the Capitáns weren’’t going to be around the following day and wanted to get their tearful goodbyes over with.


“”We have a date with infamy!”” el Capitán said as they began hugging one another in the elevator lobby.


“”She have a sister?”” I asked.


They stopped, stared at me, then got back to their hug fest. I left. I needed to finish that Scotch so the image of the Generalissimo and el Capitán dry humping one another while crying wouldn’’t be able to set and linger in my brain.


Didn’’t work.

Optional Excerpt

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