The Torquay Viking
Basil Fawlty scowled at his wife. “There’s something damn fishy about that guest.”
“Oh, really? I hadn’t noticed,” Sybil said. “He is rather a large man. I hope he doesn’t expect extra portions.”
“Large? He has green skin! And horns! What did he give as his name?”
Sybil looked at the register. “Olaf, king of the Trolls,” she said.
“King of the Trolls?” Basil’s scowl grew darker. “How did he pay? Trolls don’t have credit cards!”
Sybil’s eyebrows climbed. “Oh. I hadn’t thought of that.”
Polly held up a wad of notes. “Don’t worry, Mister Fawlty. He paid cash, in American dollars.”
Basil relaxed slightly. “Well, that’s something. But we can’t let a Troll stay here! Suppose he wants to eat babies?”
“We’ll just tell him that they’re off,” Polly said. “He seems a perfectly nice Troll to me.”
“What’s a Troll doing in a hotel in Torquay anyway?” Basil wondered. “Manuel!”
The waiter scurried out from the kitchen. “You want, Meester Fawlty?”
“Yes, I want, you dimwit, that’s why I called you.” Basil raised his eyes to the heavens. “I want you to keep an eye on the new guest. Olaf. He’s a Troll. If he starts wanting to eat babies, or to bring maidens back to his room for merry sport, you tell me at once, you understand?”
“Si, I understand,” Manuel said. “We ‘ave not the Trolls in Barcelona.”
“I know, Franco had them all shot,” Basil said. “Off you go then! Chop chop!”
“Well?” Basil asked. “Is Olaf the Troll plotting anything diabolical?”
“Ees no Troll, Meester Fawlty,” Manuel informed him. “Ees Viking.”
“A Viking? In Torquay? In 1979? A little off course and late, isn’t he?”
Manuel shrugged. “Ees Viking. ‘E want pork and ale for ‘ees meal.”
“Well, that’s a relief,” Basil said. He wiped his brow. “I doubt if Terry could have cooked babies. Pork and ale we can manage.”
“’E come,” Manuel announced.
The hotel floor trembled as Olaf strode into the dining room. “Ho, innkeeper, bring me pork and bring me ale,” he boomed.
“What an extremely odd man,” Miss Tibbs remarked.
“Very green,” Miss Gatsby added.
“Doesn’t look English to me,” Major Gowen muttered.
“I am from Sweden,” Olaf announced to the room at large. “I am a Viking.”
“You’re not here to pillage Torquay, are you?” Basil asked suspiciously. “Torquay was spared any Viking raids and we don’t want one to start now.”
“I will not pillage your lands and dwellings, innkeeper, nor will I burn your crops,” Olaf promised. “As long as pork and ale is brought to me quickly.”
“You heard the man, Manuel,” Basil snapped.
“Si, I go,” Manuel said, and scampered off to the kitchens.
“We don’t want any Viking invasion here,” Basil went on.
“I am not invading, innkeeper,” Olaf said. “I was transported here magically by a witch. I am alone.”
“No, I have no longship, innkeeper,” Olaf told him.
“No band of warriors with round shields and large axes?”
“I have no warriors,” Olaf stated.
“So you’re definitely not here as part of a Viking invasion of Torquay?”
Olaf’s brows descended. “You weary me, innkeeper. Stop this incessant prattle about a Viking invasion!”
Basil drew himself to his full height. “Well, you started it,” he accused.
“I did not!”
“Yes you did! You raided Lindisfarne!”