Arthur walked into his living room to find an octopus sitting on the sofa, flashing its tentacles at the television, knocking it over. It was deep purple, Arthur's favourite colour, and so he did not mind as much as he would have to see a lemon green octopus. However, he was still rather angry. He walked over to James, who was on the living room sofa, reading the morning news.
"James, your an honest fellow."
"Your a modest fellow."
"Not at all, sir."
"But you allow me to take credit for your work. Why else would I employ you as my butler? After all, your reading my newspaper."
"Well, I may be humble outwardly. But in my head, I am better than anyone, and hope that everyone thinks I am the man."
"I do not care about what goes on in your head. Anyway, James, old chap, how do we get rid of the octopus?"
"I don't think we can get rid of it, sir. No, it must be killed."
"Quite profound, James. So how do we kill it?"
"Well, it must look like an accident, sir. How about a drug overdose?"
"Capital, James! I'll be right back!"
Arthur left the room, came back later with a suitcase, opened it to find various coloured briefs of the Dollar Underwear kind, closed the suitcase, went red in the face, left the living room, went to the drugstore, and returned to the living room five minutes later to find James taking aim at the octopus with a shotgun. James shot the octopus in the tentacle, which resulted in it flinging its other tentacles about, which in turn resulted in the destruction of Arthur's expensive sound equipment.
"Dammit James! I thought we were supposed to make it look like an accident."
"So did I, sir. But then I remembered that we are living in the U.S.A"
"Splendid, James! And for that, I shall present you with a nickname. How about Butler Boy?"
"Don't call me boy, sir."
"Well then. How about just butler?"
"Well, then, butler, old boy-"
"Don't call me boy, sir."
"Oh. Sorry, butler, young man. Is that my expensive sound equipment?"
"What expensive sound equipment?"
"Those expensive bits of metal on the floor!"
"There WAS no expensive sound equipment."
"Oh. Ok, then. Wait a minute! Are you trying to hypnotise me?"
"Of course not. You will do what I say-"
"I apologise, sir. You are my slave-"
"Butler boy, butler boy!"
Arthur thought he had finally beaten his butler in a somewhat amateurish battle of wits, but realised two seconds later that it was blinding physical pain, not mental anguish, that was the cause of James' scream. The octopus had pierced through his leg, and was flinging him around.
"Relax, James. No need to worry. I'll make sure I survive."
Arthur exited the room, re-entering it four minutes later with a suitcase and a sheet of paper.
"I've just been to the solicitors, James. If you sign right here, I shall receive all your money after-Oh my God!"
"Yes, I do believe the princess, the dutchess, and the pool boy-Oh hello James. Your back."
James was having tea with the octopus. Arthur had obviously underestimated James' extraordinary powers of diplomacy.
"Arthur, won't you join us for some tea?"
"Why, sure. Don't mind if I do."
Arthur sat, and the biscuit entered, followed by another, and then some tea. His mouth was full, and then he realized what was about to happen. It was the worst possible ending to a day that begun with such hope. There was no way he could save James and the octopus. His mouth was full, and there was no time. He had to sneeze.
The microseconds in between the knowledge of the sneeze and the execution of it seemed to last an eternity, and Arthur's life flashed before his eyes, a life that was well-lived, and yet, only half-full. He remembered his childhood days as a quaint little village lad, his years as a musician lawyer, the case in which he represented Steven Tyler and won, and the case in which he represented Steven Tyler and lost.
James looked towards him, and Arthur stared, a stare in which he tried to penetrate into James' soul, a stare in which he tried to tell him that everything was going to be alright, that they would live, even if he wouldn't. Everything seemed to move in slow motion, and Arthur regretted all the wrong things he had done in his, as previously discussed, well-lived but half-empty life.
Then, out of nowhere, it happened. The sound that launched a war. Bit by bit, biscuit pieces flew out as if they were escaping from the dark prison that was Arthur, as if they joyously escaping hell, and they fell on the rug. The tea dripped casually, as if it was strolling out, and formed a puddle around his pants. Arthur looked around him, and felt the wind from the vaccuum cleaner blow all over his face. He was alive.