Back to previous post: The Terrorists Have Already Won

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the New York Times

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

August 18, 2006

The Exploding Shampoo Plot
Posted by Teresa at 10:54 PM * 52 comments

Caroline has helpfully decreed that the name of the recent quasi-terrorist non-event is The Exploding Shampoo Plot.

It’s a fine memorable descriptive name. Everyone should use it.

Comments on The Exploding Shampoo Plot:
#1 ::: Victor S ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2006, 11:49 PM:

Sure, this time it was a shampoo plot. But what if next time they use real poo?

#2 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 12:02 AM:

The fit will hit the Shan.

#3 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 12:21 AM:

And that's what we call a hanging curveball.

Meanwhile, the terro, excuse me, I mean TEH TERRARISTS!!!1! OH NOES! have discoverd that they can divert any airplane, at any time, with just a phone call or a scribble on a airsickness bag.

So, since our Non Attack, we've have four diverts and two bomb threats on the ground.

We're batting 0-7 in real threats. But the fake threats are killing us.

#4 ::: Fred A Levy Haskell ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 01:59 AM:

Wasn't "The Exploding Shampoo Plot" the name of one of the Goon Show episodes?

#5 ::: Rick Owens ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 02:19 AM:

Are those distant, raucous cries coming from Spider Robinson's Foo Bird?

#6 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 03:17 AM:

Colgate-Palmolive, Dial, and all the rest of the shampoo-makers are not gonna like this.

#7 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 03:24 AM:

" 'Ay Lucy! You got some 'sploding to doooo!" - Heard on American Dad -

#8 ::: bad Jim ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 04:13 AM:

Bruce Schneier had this:

From the TSA's web page on prohibited items: We encourage everyone to pack gel-filled bras in their checked baggage.

Everyone? Do I have to as well? Where should I go buy one?

Some of the comments were predictable:

Mine is filled with acetone in one cup and hydrogen peroxide in the other.

but they get better:

I just realized why this liquid ban happened -- someone at the TSA misread a movie marquee, and realized that they'd better ban Shakes On A Plane!

The way things are, there might be better reasons to fear snacks on a plane.

#9 ::: bad Jim ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 04:15 AM:

Sorry: link

#10 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 04:40 AM:

Lacking any relevant experience, I do wonder what the advantages of a gel-filled bra are for the wearer. Comfort? Or is it that you have to like the guys staring at you?

However, can anyone imagine the average islamo-terrorist extrusting the execution of the plot to a woman? Even if you limit the content to the already-proven nitroglycerin technology, you have the problem of carrying it at body temperature.

And a woman in the ALC-facility removing her undergarments--inconceivable!

Presumably, the TSA is preparing for the deployment of transgendered arab terrorists.

#11 ::: marrije ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 05:52 AM:

Steven Johnson calls it the Gatorade Bomb Plot, which also sounds nice and silly.

#12 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 06:01 AM:

The Exploding Shampoo Plot.

ANNOUNCER: This is the BBC Home Service.

SEAGOON: And now, the highl;y esteemed Goon Show!

FX (GRAMS): Elephant stampede.

SEAGOON: Who unlocked the doors? Mr. Greenslade, emergency music, please.

FX (GRAMS): "Barwick Green" followed by sheep bleating.

SEAGOON: Thank-you. Webring you the true and terryfying story of...

MUSIC: Dramatic chord, resolving into chaos.

SEAGOON: The Exploding Shampoo Plot!

MORIARTY: Aaaoooh!

SEAGOON: I am Inspector Ned Seagoon of the Special Branch of the Metropolitan Police, currently serving on a steam tram of the Royal Navy in the Arabian Gulf. I was instructed to report to the Chief of Army Intelligence in Basra...

MUSIC: Arab-type tune turning into the Bloodnok theme, with the usual explosive additions.

BLOODNOK: Aaah! That's better! Now, what can I do for you, young lady?

SEAGOON: I am Detective Inspector...

BLOODNOK: Yes, yes, I've read the script. Now, hurry up, it's less than half an hour until they open. Have a gorilla?

SEAGOOM: No thanks, I'm trying to give them up. Page sixteen?

BLOODNOK: Make it page fifteen, or they'll dock our wages.

SEAGOON: (Clears Throat): Exploding shampoo bottles!

BLOODNOK: Gad Sir, how do you know about that?

SEAGOON: You told me on page eleven, twelve, thirteen, and fourteen, before being interrupted by Ahmed with a supply of artistic photographs in plain envelopes.

BLOODNOK: We missed page fifteen!

SEAGOON: But there's no time to waste! Those vile terrorists have a lease on the cellars of the Houses of Parliament and intend to fill them with exploding shampoo! They must be stopped.

BLOODNOK: Well, don't let me keep you. It was page fifteen?

SEAGOON: Yes, page fifteen.

BLOODNOK: Well, off you go. Ahmed, turn to page fifteen!

ELLINGTON: But what about the musical number?

BLOODNOK: After this fool's next scene, alright.

SEAGOON: Strange fellow. But I had no time to waste.

FX: Door opens and closes.

ANNOUNCER: And so Detective Inspector Seagoon made his way to the airport, to catch the first available flight to England.

#13 ::: marek ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 07:01 AM:

We don't have to imagine the plot being entrusted to a woman, we just have to remember it.

On April 17 1986, a young woman presented herself at Heathrow's gate 23 for that morning's El Al flight to Tel Aviv. She had cleared the airport's own security check-in procedures, but to El Al's security staff something didn't appear right. A search of her hand luggage revealed 1 ounces of Semtex and a detonator, hidden in a calculator.

The young woman was Anne Murphy, a white, Catholic girl from Dublin.

#14 ::: marek ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 07:06 AM:

which is not to say of course that shampoo is to be taken seriously as a weapon of terror

#15 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 07:21 AM:

Have you ever gotten Head and Shoulders' extra-zesty formulation in your eyes?

#16 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 08:23 AM:

Linkmeister: Colgate-Palmolive, Dial, and all the rest of the shampoo-makers are not gonna like this.

Oh, the makers of inexpensive, widely distributed shampoo brands will love it. That's what everyone will have to buy when they get to their destinations, because they left their good stuff at home. The companies may push for toothpaste to be banned next.

Given that baby bottles must be emptied before boarding, will breastfeeding mothers be expected to express in the interests of parity? And will I need a certification that I have emptied my bladder? I lie awake wondering about things like this.

#17 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 08:53 AM:

I heard on NPR that this is really hurting the small wineries in California. The day after the liquid ban went into effect, the tourists who usually bought one to three bottles just completely dried up.

A woman who regularly flew up for tasting tours commented that she wouldn't be buying anything this year, because checking luggage meant either some TSA agent would really enjoy himself, or she'd have a suitcase full of broken glass and wet clothes.

Larger wineries are making shipping offers, but the really small places are suffering.

Story link

#18 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 09:23 AM:

Excellent Goon Show script, Dave! How revealing of my age is it that I could read it in all the voices (except Ray Ellington's, can't find that one just now)?

#19 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 11:26 AM:

The gel-bras I have had gel-filled straps, not gel-filled cups, which would be unnecessary, as the purpose of the wide-gel-straps is to help spread the weight of what's there already. The straps shape to one's shoulders instead of cutting in like normal straps. One doesn't really notice the gel except when washing them, one just notices the absence of grooves in one's shoulders.

They're really extremely comfortable, I'm entirely converted to them and I'd recommend them to anyone with large breasts who rates comfort in underwear above sex appeal.

This is reason 101 I'd not have been able to come home from Britain if I'd booked for one day later than I did -- I had three bras with me, two in checked bags and one on my body, and all three were gel-bras. (Old, uncomfortable bras are not something I take on holiday.) Even if I'd been up for a seven hour flight without a book or denim bag, I'd have suffered serious discomfort sitting all that time without a bra. Ow. I don't even want to think about it.

#20 ::: G. Jules ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 11:36 AM:

Aconite: Toothpaste is already banned. Along with makeup, hairgel, sunscreen, lip gloss, etc, etc.

My mother was really excited that I was renting from Avis when I was in Detroit yesterday, because apparently Avis will now be providing free ditty kits with their airport location rental cars, and she wanted to see what I'd get. Sadly, Avis hasn't gotten them distributed yet....

Gah. I've flown three times since the ban went into effect, the first time the morning of. I have yet to be impressed with the security measures, because they have yet to identify my asthma inhaler. (It's an inhaler, which goes on the essential medications list, so I've been told it's allowed. What's interesting isn't that they haven't thrown it out yet -- I'm very happy about that -- but that they haven't even noticed it thus far.)

Anyway. If I think about this any longer I'll get *really* ranty, which I try not to do. (Unless I'm writing it up for my LJ, which is getting heavy on the security theater rant side at present.)

#21 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 12:14 PM:

Dave Bell said:
However, can anyone imagine the average islamo-terrorist extrusting the execution of the plot to a woman? Even if you limit the content to the already-proven nitroglycerin technology, you have the problem of carrying it at body temperature.

The average one, no... but remember that there have been female Palestinian suicide bombers, and the two Russian planes destroyed in 2004 are believed to have been brought down by two Chechen women.

#22 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 12:23 PM:

Remember the doggest
Days part way through August --
Spring water and iPods and fake Shampoo Plot
It's my intuition
That this imposition
On travelers should ne'er be forgot.

(And don't get me started on the gel bras.)

#23 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 12:29 PM:

G. Jules: Oooh, AVIS is handing out free stuff at airports now? Cooool.

I undergo air travel on average 3-4 times a month, but recent vacation has meant that I'm taking my first post-liquifreakout flight this Wednesday. My employer has an AVIS corporate account, so I always rent through them. Can't wait to see what goodies I get when I arrive in Nashville.

#24 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 02:06 PM:

I'm curious as to what might happen if someone were to issue a warning that a terrorist had swallowed plastic explosives wrapped in condoms with timer(s) attached. How would that be checked for?

#25 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 02:13 PM:

Aconite, I hadn't taken it that far yet. I was just thinking of the new name.

MARKETING EXEC, C-P: Why call it shampoo, for Gawd's sake? What about sports drinks? That's what they showed on TV! Not fair!

#26 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 03:25 PM:

[Continued from up there...]

SEAGOON: As I left Major Bloodnok's secret office in Basra I tripped pver a short man with tall legs who was wrapped in a filthy Arab. His cloak was none to clean either.

GRYTPYPE-THYNNE: I say, do you mind... Why, it's little Ned. Do you remember Quetta in '28

SEAGOON: I was never in Quetta.


SEAGOON: Gad, I remember you now, those glorious days we weren't in Quetta. Do you remember that bint at the Sweet Melody?

GRYTPYPE-THYNNE: Of course not, she wore the most diaphanous chiffon.

SEAGOON: Ah, no, I don't remember it at all. But what are you doing in Basra?

GRYTPYPE-THYNNE: F.O., you silly, twisted, boy.

SEAGOON: There's no need to be vulgar!

GRYTPYPE-THYNNE: No! Nooo! I work for the Foreign Office. My card.

SEAGOON (reads): Mister Bunn the Baker's son?

GRYTPYPE-THYNNE: I'm working under cover.

SEAGOON: Needle-nardle-noo!


SEAGOON: But who is this filthy Arab you have attacked to your person?

GRYTPYPE-THYNNE: Allow me to present Sheikh Jim "Cheney" Moriarty, Pretender to the crown of Iraq.

SEAGOON: But he doesn't look like a sheikh.

GRYTPYPE-THYNNE: That's because he's only pretending.

MORIARTY: Ole! Allez-oop! Penny for the guy?

SEAGOON: I see...

GRYTPYPE-THYNNE (Aside to audience): I shall now persaude this English twit to take us to London where we will claim political asylum and live the life of Riley. Moriarty will now adlib in fake Arabic.

SEAGOON (Also aside to audience){ Little do they know that I speak Arabic like a native, of Hong Kong, and, recognising their subterfuge, I shall sell them to the first American I meet, confeming them to a life of humiliation at Guantanamo Bay, while I buy a modest dustbin in High Wycomne with the reward money.

MORIARTY (Aside to the audience in fake Arabic, concluding...): ...while Ray Ellington plays some of that decadent American music.

MUSIC The Ray Ellington Quartet.

SEAGOON: I left Grytpype-Thynne and Moriarty at the bar and went in search of an intrepid aviator...

BLUEBOTTLE: I am here, my Capitan! Enters attired as a valiant aviator, wearing string shorts and vest topped by a cardboard flying helmet. Strikes valiant pose and aways applause. As usual, not a sausage.

SEAGOON: I didn't expect to see you here.

BLUEBOTTLE: I swapped with Mister Crun. I come on early and have to fly you to London, so I won't be deaded. And he comes on at the end to find the Exploding Shampoo and... (laughs) And he's the one who gets deaded.

SEAGOON: But won't Mrs. Bannister notice> She is suppose to be the navigator.

ECCLES (Slowly and carefully): I am Mrs. Minnie Bannister, famed aviatrix, and I will guide you unerringly to London.

SEAGOON (voice faltering towards the end): As I proudly looked at the cream of British aviation I knew that, however devilish the plots of the foreign devils, however ingenious their schemes, however many fanciful schemes they copied from Bruce Willis movies, the future of the Empire would be in safe hands.

#27 ::: G. Jules ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 04:10 PM:

meredith: Well, AVIS said they're working on it, at least. Not sure if they do yet, anywhere -- they didn't have them in Detroit. (I have a similar travel schedule to yours, but our primary corporate account is with Enterprise, so I only rent Avis if there's some reason I can't use Enterprise.)

#28 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 04:23 PM:

Jo Walton: So with you on the not travelling with old uncomfortable bras, and one doesn't really want to go into the additional challenges of buying a plus size bra in the UK. Last trip, one bag got left in the car, and I was short on bras and shirts the whole trip. Shopping for those items in 38DDD/US 20 ate almost as much time as being sick after a horrific British Airways flight with insufficient food and water for my diabetic self, and a four year old kicking the back of my seat from SeaTac to Heathrow.

That was in 1999; I'm not going anywhere any time soon, given that experience as a base upon which the new horrors have been perpetrated.

#29 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 04:35 PM:

The young woman was Anne Murphy, a white, Catholic girl from Dublin.

Yes, so we'd better seriously interrogate anyone who's brown, doubly so if a drunk white person accused the brown person of being suspicous.

And, you know, if my threat choices are the TSA declaring me a terrorist, or 1.5 ounces of Semtex on an airplane, I'll take the Semtex. My chances of making it home are much higher. If DHS decides you're the bad guy, you may never see anything like home again.

Another Note -- there's Gel and there's Gel. The latter isn't liquid at all, it's polyurathane foam made under high pressure -- Spenco created it for wheelchair padding. It feels a bit like a bag of gel, but if you cut it open, nothing leaks out.

Gel cushions in shoes, gel bras, gel saddles and golves on bikes -- none of these are actually liquid. They're foam.

Of course, telling the TSA that may get you a five hour layover in a back room -- if you're lucky.

#30 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 05:16 PM:

Yes, so we'd better seriously interrogate anyone who's brown, doubly so if a drunk white person accused the brown person of being suspicous.

As a person who is

(1) brown

(2) bearded

I tend to find that I get 'randomly' checked with great frequency.

#31 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 08:05 PM:

Wow, this is what happens when I don't check Making Light for a day....

I shall tell my friend that her phrasing caught everyone's fancy.

I shall also keep a close eye on my shampoo when I shower. I may have given it ideas.

#32 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 10:31 PM:

Most gel bras have it in the bottom of the cup in order to force the breast up and cause cleavage. The idea is that gel bras look more natural than foam or underwires, etc. Some of us have cleavage without bras (and I long ago lost any feeling in my shoulder grooves).

#33 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 01:37 AM:

I heard on NPR that this is really hurting the small wineries in California. The day after the liquid ban went into effect, the tourists who usually bought one to three bottles just completely dried up.

Well, a little bit of upside for my dad's winery...when he finally got a use permit to build a winery at all, the St. Helena City Council stipulated that tours and tasting were not allowed. So he's not going to miss what he never had.

#34 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 08:30 AM:

Dave, are you channeling the spirit of Spike "I told you I was ill" Milligan? More! More!

#35 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 12:23 PM:

The Plot: we can just call it "sham" for short.

#36 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 03:03 PM:

I'm just walking backwards for Christmas. It's all the rage, you know.

#37 ::: Fred A Levy Haskell ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 12:44 AM:

Dave Bell: Thank you. You do me proud.

#38 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 05:04 AM:

ANNOUNCER: We rejoin our heroes in a wicker basket suspended beneath an over-inflated ego, somewhere. Just somewhere.

SEAGOON: By the 37th day I was beginning to wonder if taking the first available aircraft had been a good idea...

And why had Grytpype-Thynne and Moriarty chosen to take a Number 10 double-decker omnibus to Victoria?

BLUEBOTTLE: Have no fear, my Captain. All is going well and our intrepid navigator knows exactly where we are.

ECCLES: I do? Yes, of course I do.

SEAGOON: So where are we?

ECCLES: Darjeeling.

SEAGOON: Darjeeling!

BLUEBOTTLE (suspiciously): Are you sure, friend Eccles. I don't want to get deaded by mistake.

ECCLES: Don't worry. You won't get deaded by mistake. Look at the sign on that railway platform.

SEAGOON: But which way are we heading?

ECCLES: Half-past-two. According to my compass.

SEAGOON (Very suspiciously): And what time is it?

BLUEBOTTLE: Nor-not-east by a quarter east!

SEAGOON: Gad! Some filthy swine has swapped the compass for the clock! And we don't know which is which! Wait, Bluebottle, aren't you a Boy Scout?

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes, I am a Boy Scout, experienced in the ways of the woods, trained to survive in the wild country, and able to help lille old ladies cross the road.

ECCLES: The last one didn't want to cross the road.

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes, she hit me on the nut with her umbrella, and told me to show her I knew how to cross the road.

ECCLES: He got run down by a milk float.

SEAGOON (deperately): Wait, wait, if you are a Boy Scout, you know other ways of finding north that don't need a compass.

BLUEBOTTLE (proudly): I can find north with a wristwatch. Stops and looks dejected. But the naughty foreigners have replaced my wristwatch with a compass. Suddenly his eyes light up and he capers delightedly, almost falling out of the basket. I have it?


BLUEBOTTLE (speaking slowly as if to a smaller child): The moss always grows on the north side of a tree.

SEAGOON: But we don't have a tree.

ECCLES: There's one over there.

SEAGOON: Nonsense, that's a forest. And besides, we'd need a lumberjack, somebody capable of felling the larch, the mighty Scots Pine, the Giant Redwood...

ECCLES: I have a penknife.

SEAGOON: You'll do. Shin down the rope and get us a tree with moss on the north side.

ECCLES: How will I know which is the north side.

BLUEBOTTLE: That's the side with the moss.

SEAGOON: And be quick about it. We still have to get to London!

#39 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 11:21 AM:

Dave Bell: Nice work. You are His Royal Highness Prince Charles and I claim my 10.

Glad to see the Goons live yet. I woke up the other day with the voice of Henry Crun in my head, muttering: "Mnk - Henry Crun? Mnk - now there's a name I haven't heard in - mnk - a long time", which is an area I don't want to get into.

#40 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 12:14 AM:

It ought to be, The Exploding Shampoo Affair and be a Man From U.N.C.L.E. novel.


#41 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 12:30 AM:

There was supposed to be an end-splitting kaboom!

#42 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 12:53 AM:

Terry: In the absence of David McDaniel . . .

"You wanted to see us, Mr. Waverly?"
"I do, gentlemen. Don't sit down, there is some urgency here. I'm sending you both to London by special UNCLE jet."
"Does this involve . . . the plot, sir?"
"Indeed it does. That is one reason I am sending the two of you. Mr. Solo, I'm sure you have a familiarity with hair products, and Mr. Kuryakin . . . don't get me started."
"Do we report to UNCLE London on arrival?"
"That won't be necessary. A car will be waiting at Heathrow to take you to 9 Curzon Street, Mayfair. There you will give the password, 'Shivering shocks shall break the locks,' and receive a briefcase in return. You are to return immediately to the airport, and then to this office."
"Immediately, sir?"
"I'm not heartless. You may have nine hours on the ground. Work fast, dress quickly, and remember me to Leicester Square."
"Sir, may we know what the case contains?"
"I don't see why not. It will be filled with George Trumper's shaving soap, and a quantity of sandalwood aftershave. Good day, gentlemen."

#43 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 01:01 AM:

Dave: [FX - dazed applause]

(Sorry, I meant to post that days ago, but it didn't go.)

ajay: mnk - Henry Crun? Isn't that the name of - mnnk - Henry Crun?

#44 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 02:00 AM:

If you fly in an UNCLE jet, what happens when you get caught be Auntie aircraft?

#45 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 11:32 AM:

Regarding gel in the form of implants, rather than bras -- a week or so ago I saw an online story (AP, maybe) about an Israeli woman whose breast implants saved her from shrapnel after one of the bombings. My husband was skeptical, though, saying it sounded like a recycled old joke.

Never had a chance to catch the Goons, but that passing reference to lumberjacks roused instant memories of the Pythons' song. How would they have treated this whole fiasco?

#46 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 01:34 PM:

The Story So Far: Detective Inspector Ned Seagoon is returning to London post-haste, in order to foil a fiendish plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament with a consignment of exploding shampoo. Unfortunately, he forgot the postcode.

BANNISTER: [Whooping joyous gabbling]

CRUN: Min, put down that nice Mr. Philby and lock away those secret documents.

BANNISTER: Okay, buddie. But it's nothing important, just the details of the British nuclear deterrent.

CRUN: Yes, but if those Russian fellow knew there wasn't one, it wouldn't be a deterrent. All we have are 5000 bottles of nitroglycerin.

FX: Heavy metal door opening.

CRUN: Put everything in the safe.

BANNISTER: [more cheerful babbling]

CRUN [With much reverberation]: Everything except for the furniture.

FX: Knocking on door

BANNISTER: I'll just answer the door, Henry.

FX: door creaking open.

GRYTPYPE-THYNNE: Good afternoon, madam, Do I have the indescribable honour of speaking to 'M'?

BANNISTER: No, I'm 'C'. 'M' was here a moment ago. Shall I go and look for him?

GRYTPYPE-THYNNE: If you'd be so kind.

BANNISTER: I'll be right back, buddy.

GRYTPYPE_THYNNE (wistfully): Oh, such grace! Such charm!

MORIARTY: Aaaooowoooher! But what if she brings back 'M'. You know you can't be seen talking to him.

GRYTPYPE_THYNNE: Which is why I am wearing this hat and Guy Fawkes mask, so that you will be able to take my place while I conceal myself behind this convenient steam-roller.

MORIARTY: [Enthusiastic wailing moan] But I sound nothing like you.

GRYTPYPE-THYNNE: More importantly, you sound nothing like Henry Crun. Quick, I hear somebody coming.

FX: Footsteps.

BANNISTER: I can't find him anywhere. His office is completely empty, and the safe door was open.


BANNISTER: A ventriloquist. Why, how clever. Here, have a glass of water.

FX: Muffled thumping sound, as might be made by somebody locked inside a large office safe.

GRYTPYPPE-THYNNE: Please, don't bother.

FX: A noise of somebody exhaling a glass of water through their nostrils.

FX: A double pop and clatter.

MORIARTY: Owwww! I've been bitten on the not by a pair of plummeting false teeth.

CRUN: Min, Min, that awfully nice Mr. Philby, did you see where he put Britain's Nuclear Secrets?

[Incoherent mumbling]

CRUN: Well, can you try charades?

MORIARTY [Trying to sound like GRYTPYPE-THYNNE]: Won't that confuse people?

CRUN: Not any more than usual. See, she's trying. Min, you must make an effort, After all, it is for England.

MORIARTY: Why are you looking at me like that, buddy.

[There is silence]

SEAGOON: Time for Max Geldray to play us a snappy tune while Mr. Milligan tries to sort that one out.

#47 ::: Raven ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2006, 03:40 PM:

And it turns out the latest grave threat (flight turned back, 12 jet passengers arrested) was people of India-ethnicity, flying to India, looking "suspicious" to people not from India.


And now all 12 have been released, because they hadn't actually done anything.

At least this release didn't wait through four years of confinement & torture. That's progress.

#48 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2006, 12:17 PM:

Dave Bell: Given that Henry Crun is involved, wouldn't the secrets be behind the rosewood piano?

Oh, and I admit to some curiosity as to when Little Jim is going to appear...

#50 ::: Fragano Ledgister observeth spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2007, 08:15 PM:

Badly spelled marriage spam at that.

#51 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2007, 08:33 PM:

Are you sure it's not just a badly mangled LOLcat, missing a picture?

#52 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 14, 2007, 07:17 AM:

About as sure as I am that it's not Humphrey Bogart or Dooley Wilson.

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

Comments containing more than seven URLs will be held for approval. If you want to comment on a thread that's been closed, please post to the most recent "Open Thread" discussion.

You can subscribe (via RSS) to this particular comment thread. (If this option is baffling, here's a quick introduction.)

Post a comment.
(Real e-mail addresses and URLs only, please.)

HTML Tags:
<strong>Strong</strong> = Strong
<em>Emphasized</em> = Emphasized
<a href="">Linked text</a> = Linked text

Spelling reference:
Tolkien. Minuscule. Gandhi. Millennium. Delany. Embarrassment. Publishers Weekly. Occurrence. Asimov. Weird. Connoisseur. Accommodate. Hierarchy. Deity. Etiquette. Pharaoh. Teresa. Its. Macdonald. Nielsen Hayden. It's. Fluorosphere. Barack. More here.

(You must preview before posting.)

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.