Things now took what could be described as a turn for the worse, if we are to consider the situation from the point of view of our Captain and his employers, as on the night of April 25th a great commotion took place in Whitehall, the result of the most audacious action yet undertaken on the part of the fledgling Prostitute Republic. Eyewitnesses inform us that the first bombs fell shortly after nine o’clock, partially destroying the London clerical offices of the East India Company and two carriages which were unfortunate enough to have been parked outside, before the rain of destruction moved off toward the Houses of Parliament themselves, severely damaging gates and removing a number of roof tiles as it went.
What, the reader might wonder, was the cause of this fire from the skies? It was none other than a Montgolfier Balloon, pressed into the service of a Prostitute brigade out of Southwark, South London, and piloted by two of their number –one Molly McCarthy, of Irish descent, and an unnamed companion, believed however to have been an American agitator– who had armed themselves with untold numbers of grenades, the spoils of a raid on the London Arsenal carried out a week previously.
The crew of the Montgolfier were now hurling these weapons of destruction earthward, causing great consternation in the streets below, where even officers of the local police force were powerless to prevent the ingenious assault, despite their cries to their skyborne assailants to desist or be arrested (cries which, it must be admitted, were somewhat drowned out by the cheers of the crowd which had now gathered, most of them never having witnessed such a spectacle before).
Imagine the mighty balloon, glorious in the moonlight, now turning so as to get a better angle of attack on its principle target – the very House itself, where still sat a number of his Majesty’s Honourable Members of Parliament who were debating late into the night some business of the war. A hush from the crowd as Molly McCarthy takes careful aim, yet pausing to wave at those gathered bellow, perhaps accompanying her action with a lascivious wink, as if to say “I’ll give these fellows a prick all right”, and at the same time police men running left and right, trying to clear the streets, and even some of the Honourable Members themselves now emerging from the building to get a better look at what’s causing all this noise and exclaiming “my lord, look at that!” and at that moment too a contingent of armed guardsmen arriving at double march up from the Thames…
The rule of law was saved that night only by the arrival of those guards and the quick thinking of their sergeant. Dropping on one knee to a man, the company let forth a tremendous round of shot in the direction of their foe, and their discharge found its mark. For a fraction of a second the crowd held its breath, then were as one aghast, as, with an ear shattering pop, the Balloon rent itself in two, turned inside out, and plummeted, basket, crew, arms and all, into the street below.
And then all was silence.
Captain Smith that night, in the offices of the Home Secretary, standing by the window watching the street being cleared of the wreckage: “One week Sir, and I’ll finish the lot of ‘em off,” says he, and “my word, this is a fine Brandy though.”
“French,” the Home Secretary tells him, “and don’t shoot any more publicans”, to which they both raise a silent toast.
And so was war officially declared on the Prostitutes.
[From ‘Scenes from the Fabulous Prostitute Rebellion of 1812″]