It is a quiet Tuesday in the Pyramid of Mars. Sutekh is asleep snoring loudly under his helmet when the door slides open and a rather stout cleaner sporting gingham overalls and with her hair in a tight bun enters. She is carrying a mop and bucket which she places with a clang on the floor, splashing soapy water in the vicinity. She roughly picks up the mop and starts mopping.
Sutekh stirs on his throne.
“Scarman?” he intones in a sonorous voice.
The cleaner carries on her work but replies, “Oh ‘ello love. Sorry to disturb.”
“Where is Scarman?” demands Sutekh.
“Oh I dunno about that, luv. I don’t normally do this room but Marj is off to the Azores this week so I’m filling in. I won’t be two tics then you can get back to your forty winks.”
“I am Sutekh the Destroyer.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m Ethel the cleaner.”
“What are you here for?” he asked.
“These floors don’t polish themselves duck. Here you go, lift up your boots and I’ll clean round.”
“I cannot move them.”
“Oh I know. Heavy night? My Len was out with the Pritchards last night and he’s still sound asleep.”
“I cannot move at all. I am a prisoner here, the last of the Osirans.”
“I saw an Osiran the other day. Or was it a swan?”
“Where I tread I bring only dust and decay.”
“Don’t I know it! This place is so mucky, I think Marj has been skiving.”
Ethel notices the display on the wall and interrupts him.
“Ooo you’ve got one of them slot machines. All the raspberries! Or are they pears? I’m a bit short sighted.”
“You will kneel before me...” declares Sutekh as his eyes begin to glow green.
“I’m not getting down on these knees, fellow.”
“Abase yourself you grovelling insect.”
The cleaner pays him no attention.
“I am speaking to you!” booms the Osiran sending a beam of powerful blue light which goes over Ethel’s head as she bends down to squeeze the mop into the bucket. The light leaves a large mark on the wall.
“Thought you was talking to that fly over there. Listen I don’t want to speak out of turn but you’ve got a real mouth on you.”
“Soon the Universe will kneel before Sutekh the Destroyer. I find that good.”
Ethel produced a duster and started dusting the seat, “Really?”
“Yes!” came the exasperated reply.
“Each to their own. I find a nice hot bath good meself. Then curl up with a mug of coffee and catch up on Corrie.”
“Ahhhh!” wails Sutekh.
Ethel has spotted the mark on the wall
“Look at this mess! I’ll have to get some extra strong Flash* on this. Be back in a mo.”
She shuffles out of the room leaving the mop and bucket sitting incongruously in front of Sutekh. At this moment the screen on the wall flickers into life and the chalky white face of Marcus Scarman appears.
“You summoned me.”
“How long until the rocket is complete? My need to escape has suddenly become more urgent.”
“The rocket will be ready soon….oh my lord you’ve won the jackpot.”
Behind Sutekh the three images in his screen are identical.
“My lord, are they raspberries or pears?”
*The BBC says: “Other floor cleaners are available.”