(Enforced health initiatives, The need of invention, An enlisted automaton, and Some very despicable lies)
Admiral Reginaldfield Chesterpot Walter was absolutely certain that Mrs Clambridge was using his infirmity against him. She was making him take in sunshine. And forcing him to have regular bedtimes. And sitting him to meals that his wife used to make him eat. He also knew for a fact that she had confiscated every ounce of snuff in the house because all of his hiding spaces were empty.
All because that idiot boy of his had broken his good leg. And his good hand. And his left cheekbone.
Now there wasn't a single part of his life that wasn't dictated by Mrs Clambridge and her mistaken ideas of health and his welfare. He hadn't seen so many greens on his plate since his father died and he inherited the family fortunes. He hadn't seen a whiff of alcohol since the doctors had finished setting his bones. Mrs Clambridge was downright stingy with his poppy syrup. He couldn't go anywhere or do anything on his own.
The only thing keeping him alive was the knowledge that his idiot son would ruin his legacy if Reginaldfield allowed himself to perish.
Mrs Clambridge had left him in a sun room to watch the birds and the flowers. It was supposed to be good for his soul. What it was good for was irritating him. Birds were only good for shooting at and flowers were only for women. He could feel his hair growing, just looking at the colours.
He had to get out of here whilst Mrs Clambridge was duly distracted with housekeeping. But he had no means to get about but another person. And he could not see anyone in the room until they were right in front of him. Bloody basket case wheeled chairs. Somebody should invent something better.
By God, he knew an inventor!
All he had to do was get to the man. Reginaldfield started up a holler. Made a ruckus. Flailed about for anything he could make a noise with. He knew that Mrs Clambridge was too busy to answer it. All he needed was someone he could bully into doing his bidding. Which was just about the entire household.
One of the automatons appeared in his view. The shiny brass fellow with an open head. Not the full quid, as the British would say. Barely an entire penny.
Reginaldfield put on a sunny smile for the thing. "O thank goodness, I thought she left me alone forever. Can you help me? I need to see your..." what did they call his idiot son? "Pappy. He's the only one who can help."
The automaton stared at him, getting far too close and peeking underneath the blanket. "Oooh, you broken..."
Not even a fraction of a penny. The Admiral put on an even sunnier smile. "You are so very smart! I am broken. And I need your Pappy to fix me. I can't get to me on my own. Help an old man? You can take me over to the elevator and get me over to your Pappy."
"I like to help," said the machine.