Jenny Picket

From Brass Goggles

Jenny Picket is a short story written by Otto Maton in 2007. Originally posted in the Brass Goggles forum at

The ride was quick, albeit bumpy. She didn�t know where she was going, but she knew it would all work out.

She was escorted out of the steam-powered carriage by two rough, dirty men, and they led her down a muddy road and to a long-unattended building.

The larger of the two men kicked down the metal door and welded it back in place once they were all inside, with his handheld welder, one the many tools on his heavy leather belt.

The smaller firmly gripped her hand and led her into a room without any windows. �There we go! In safe and sound and such!� he said, �Eh, Bert?�

�Uh, yeah, Dill.� Replied Bert, while untying the gag and blindfold on the young lady, �Eh, Princess?�

She opened her eyes to find herself in a room of an old abandoned warehouse. �Yeah, safe�� she exercised her ungagged mouth, despite not being able to move her tied up arms and legs.

Dill ignored her sarcasm. �How �bout we check the news?� He poured some whiskey from a bottle he had brought in the fuel compartment of a radio in the room. Bert struck a match and ignited the whiskey to start the radio�s engine.

�Uprising in Dutch East India colonies results in�� Dill turned the radio�s tuning dial. �And now for the next installment of James Herring�s Adventurers on the Moon�� came the radio before Dill turned the dial again.

�Hey!� said Bert, �that�s my favorite serial!�

Dill responded by cuffing him upside the head and saying �Priority!� Dill continued to turn the dial until he found the Royal Broadcasting Station.

�Princess Nora of Wales has been kidnapped by unknown criminals. She was last seen just outside the Cardiff Palace. We will keep you updated as we get more information!�

Dill sat on a three legged chair checkered with abandoned spider webs and stretched his arms behind his neck. Bert picked up Princess Nora and set her on a wooden crate and then found another crate for him. Dill leaned back casually in his chair.

�You see, Bert. They don�t have a clue about out whole plot; they don�t even know anything about us!�

�We have new update on Princess Nora�s kidnapping,� blared the radio, �A large and a small man were seen suspiciously riding a steam-powered carriage outside the Cardiff Palace!�

Dill fell back and onto the floor in his chair. After regaining composure and full consciousness he sat back up. �Yeah, well they don�t know where we are!� He paused, waiting for a response from the radio. Nora rolled her eyes.

�How �bout something to eat?� said Bert to break the silence and calm Dill down, but mostly due to the fact that his stomach had started rumble. He was hungry after a hard day�s kidnapping. He didn�t wait for a response; Bert took out bread and cheese out of a sack he�d brought.

After a few minutes spent aligning the cheese and bread into perfect angles, Bert took a large cleaver from his tool belt and delicately sliced the three sandwiches into perfectly proportionate manageable little triangles.

�Eat up!� he proclaimed as though he was a herald addressing a massive banquet. They all picked up triangles and ate ravenously, despite themselves.

�Wow, is this kidnapping, or are you my new top-class chef?� asked Nora after finishing a triangle.

Bert blushed, taking the princess� sarcasm as a compliment. Dill cuffed him on the side of the head again.

�Dill! What was that �un for?�

Nora laughed, finding such a little man bossing around such a large man amusing. Dill raised his hand ready to strike Nora, but he just scoffed and turned away.

�There�s supposed to be a difference engine somewhere in this old warehouse. I�m gonna look for it.� Dill left the room.

Nora stretched all she could with her limited mobility. �So, Bert,� she sat back down on the crate, �Do you make anything else besides cheese sandwiches?�

Bert�s face lit up, �Oh, yes! I love to cook!�


�Yes! Pastries, cakes, pastas, steaks. My mum taught me all I know!�

�Well you do seem very talented!� complimented the princess.

Bert smiled. �I always wanted to be a cooker, but it turns out crime pays better�� He stared at the wall. �But every once and awhile I get back to Mum�s restaurant, when I�m not out a� criminaling.�

�That�s nice. I always have a full kitchen staff at my disposal� I�m sure you�re a big help to your mother in the kitchen!�

�Oh, yes! Sometimes I��

Dill returned into the room. �Priority! Stop talking about biscuits and icing; this is business!� he shouted at Bert. �Well, I�ve found the difference engine, but one of the pistons has gone haywire. Bert?�

�Yeah, I can fix it.� Bert replied.

�I�ll keep watch on out �precious little princess�.� Dill gave Bert directions to the engine. Bert left well equipped with belt of tools.

��Little princess�?� said Nora, once Bert was gone. �I�ve got to be at least seven inches taller than you. You�re the �little� one!�

Dill frowned, �Yeah, well� you�re wearing high heels!�

�So that comes to six inches.�

�Yeah, well� shut up!� Dill sat down on three legged chair. �How does 5,000 pounds sound to you?�


�5,000 quid for your safe return.�

�I�m appalled! I�ve got to be worth at least twice that!� She continued �I�m a princess!�

Dill grumbled. �10,000 it is then!�

�My father would pay 30,000 pounds for me without a second thought!� Nora looked proud.

�Fine then: 30,000! It�s your own fault if they don�t send the cash!�

�Is this some petty robbery for a professional ransom? Make it 500,000, that�s tops! Remember, I�m royalty.�

�Have it your way. 50,000,� Dill turned his head away, �Idiot�.

�Pardon me?� Nora now looked angry. �I didn�t quite catch that!�

�Nothing, your Highness,� Dill mocked, complete with a small bow.

�You�re the idiot if there is one!� Nora shouted.

�Do you want me to use that gag again?�

A few minutes of silence between them followed. Nora and Dill could hear Bert�s tools clanging and banging from the difference engine room. At one point, they heard Bert howl in pain. He soon returned to them holding his red, swollen thumb. A tear was making its way down his cheek.

�I fixed it, Dill, I fixed it.�

�Good, I�ll send a ransom note through the Babbage mail network with the difference engine,� said Dill. �But first�� Dill started to bang on the wall of the room the three were in until he heard a hollow sound. He found a small door opening a cavity. At the bottom of it was a small dark tunnel leading through the wall. Dill took note of the number written on a little brass plate at the back of the opening. �Now that I�ve got our Tube Address, I�ll be off. Keep a close watch on the princess, Bert. Oh, and 50,000 quid, was it, your Highness?�

Nora just glared at him. Once Dill left the room, Bert burst into tears built up trying to act tough in front of Dill.

�What happened to you, Berty?�

Bert sniffled. �I slipped and hit my thumb with a nail real hard while fixing up the diffy engine!�

�Aw� here.� Bert held out his thumb and Nora kissed it.

Bert sniffled again. �It feels better already.� He managed a smile.

�Good, good,� said Nora. �You need to be careful with all those big tools you have.�

Bert nodded and wiped his nose on his sleeve. �All better!� He grinned.

�Well, then, how about we see what�s on the radio?�

�Okay!� Bert walked over to the steam-powered radio. He turned the dial and the radio sounded.

�And now for another installment of Pat Donovan�s Wondrous World of Adventurer!�

�Ooh! This is my favorite serial!�

�I thought you said James Herring�s Adventures on Mars��

��The Moon.�

�Yes, well, I thought that one was your favorite.�

�Oh, yes� that�s my other favorite��

The two listened to the, rather exciting, episode ending with a dreadful cliffhanger in which, Ray Jangles, the hero of the story, was surrounded by a pack of lions deep in the uncharted depths of the African jungle.

�I can�t wait �till next week for the next episode!� said Bert excitedly.

�I just hope I�ll make it to next week�� Nora sighed and put on a sad expression.

�Don�t worry, Princess!� said Bert. �Once your family sends us the money, you�ll be back home safe and sound. I�ll make sure of it!�

�Really, Bert? You�re a sweetie!� Bert�s smile grew even larger.

Suddenly, they heard hurried footsteps in the hall and Dill came through the door.

�Did you hear that?� he panted. �On the news channel from the difference engine network it�s been announced that they�ve agreed to our demands! We�re getting the 500 grand! You didn�t hear it? They had to have announced it on the RBC!� Bert looked to the side and Dill heard the children�s broadcast on the radio. �You changed the channel?! Bert, priority!� Dill raised his hand to cuff Bert on the head again.

�Wait!� shouted Nora. �I told him to! I made him change it.�

�Taking orders from someone else? Our hostage? A girl?!� Dill rolled his eyes. �Well, I wonder when they�ll be sending the dough��

A rumble sounded deep below the floor. The sound got louder and louder and soon the floors and walls began to shake.

�Earthquake!� shouted Bert in panic.

The sound grew closer and closer and finally climaxed with a small �ding� of a bell. The small door on the wall opened to reveal a little box.

�No, numbskull. It�s the tube-mail system. It sounds like the tubes need a bit of fix up though�� He shouted down the tube that had just delivered the package. His voice echoed for quite awhile. Dill then took the box and tugged at the lid to no avail. �Bert!�

Bert took the box and effortlessly opened the box to reveal 500,000 pounds worth of banknotes.

�Hey, princess, looks like they did value at such high a price,� said Dill. �Idiots, why would they want such a bratty little girl? Plus, they�re not going to even get her back�� Dill pulled a gun from his jacket.

�Hey, Dill! You said we was going to return her safe and sound-like!�

Dill pointed the gun at Nora, unable to escape. �Things change, Bert. Trust me, the world would be a lot better place without this �un. No one really cares about her, anyways��

�I do!� Bert clenched his fists. Dill pointed the gun at him.

�Bert, don�t make me take drastic measures.�

Bert yelled and charged at Dill, knocking the gun out of his hand. A fistfight ensued and after a few minutes of brawl, both of the criminals were left bloodied, weak, and bruised.

Dill struggled towards his gun and when he finally reached it, he fired a shot at Bert. The bullet lodged in his shoulder. Bert, in rage, took the hammer out of his tool belt and knocked Dill out cold before fainting and falling heavily to the ground.

Seeing the two men finally on the ground, Nora rolled off the crate and inched over to Bert. She used the cleaver on his belt to cut the rope on her hands and legs.

She then got up and stretched fully. �Aw, there we go.� She looked at the two men on the ground. �Sorry I had to use you, gents, but you helped very much! Everything went precisely according to plan.�

She then picked up the sack of bread and cheese, then Dill�s gun, one of Bert�s knives, and� �Oh, that hat�s pretty nice!� She took Dill�s hat and placed it on her head. She then swiped the 500,000 quid out of Dill�s pocket.

�Bye, boys!� she started to walk out the door. �Oh! I almost forgot�� she took the bottle of whiskey and took a swig as she walked out of the building and into the cool autumn day�s air.

She took the cash out of her bag and smiled at it. �This�ll have me set for awhile!� She sat down in the criminals� steam-powered carriage and started to drive off. �I knew it would all work it out!�

She didn�t know where she would go next, France or Spain perhaps, but she continued down the dirt road.

�I really do hope they find the real Princess Nora�� Jenny Picket drove off into the distance.

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