Raylan drives his Model A onto the estate, right away the fat butler popping out the front door, giving him the fish eye.
“May I inquire as to whom is calling, sir?”
“You pull on me, I put a .44 through your duodenum, your piece never even clears your cummerbund.”
“I’m afraid I am not following you, sir. Is his lordship expecting you?”
“Raylan Givens, United States deputy marshal, southern central district, what he could expect.” Showing the badge. Waiting to see the subtle reaction, maybe a wince, a raised eyebrow, a karate chop to the jugular.
“I shall announce your arrival, sir. Please be so kind as to wait in the library.” Meaning I’m hatin on your guts, American scum. Raylan having once taken a correspondence course from LSU in advanced facial-expression deciphering.
Raylan tosses his cowboy hat on a leather armchair, pulls a book off a shelf. Turning pages, remembering what reading was like, something he did back when.
Lordship, he’ll be squinting through a peephole now, figuring how to play it.
“My husband is busy suppressing another scandal in the family. May I help you?” Lady Grantham skating in, the smile, the flapper outfit, the little joke. Playing with him, just us yanks yukking it up.
Way older looking than her mug shot, that St. Louis laudanum bust in ’98 a matter long forgotten. The hooker life a dead letter, her thinking.
“I just want to talk, Cora. You’re not who I’m looking at.”
Cora gets out a cigarette and lights up, saying, “I made you off the car, black 1922 Model A, practically screaming law. Aren’t you way out your jurisdiction?"
“Got me a Scotland Yard courtesy card. Plus local backup. Miss Marple out there, sittin up in a sycamore, bought her a secondhand Lee-Enfield bolt action, war surplus, comes eight rounds tossed in free of charge.”
Cora says, “No artillery?”
“We talk now, it stays polite,” Raylan says. “High tea at the Ritz. I come back with a warrant, there goes the mood.”
“Warrant for what? We’re all fancy-pants Brit aristocracy here. You think you’re lookin at what, some kinda lowlife redneck crime scene? ”
Hearing the door creak behind him. Raylan’s Colt M1917 is out of his suit coat, ripping noise from pocket, gotta get a smaller firearm.
“Yowl,” the baby says, his eyes squinched up, his tear ducts working overtime. The mother pushing 25, shabby dress, good chest, Raylan guessing a 40D. Mom yelling,
“This infant is the bastard son of Lord Twombley! He must put things right or I shall go to the press!”
Cora pointing. “This is Lord Grantham’s house, ducky. Twombley, hang a left at the gate, two miles down the road, you’re there.”
“Oh, terribly sorry.”
Three footmen, a third cousin and a groundskeeper peeking in, what’s all the racket, not another bloody scandal.
Raylan saying to Cora, “It’s the old lady,” picking up the thread, the Colt back in the suit coat. Nothing to see here, folks, Show’s over, move along.
Cora not answering. She knows.
Raylan waiting a beat. Better make it two, two being more suspenseful.
Raylan talking, using his mouth this time. “The Dowager Countess, a.k.a. Lady Violet, sometimes using the alias Maggie Smith. Her doing Professor Moriarty since 1873. Holmes putting him down in ‘95, ol’ Vi taking over the syndicate. Working the usual master-criminal dodges. Archduke assassination, crown-jewel theft, felonious government overthrow, attempted world domination, pilfering of arcane magical powers from their lawful owners to befuddle the authorities, the list going on in that vein.”
Cora laughing. “You’re completely insane.” Not really convincing, her act, but Raylan liking her legs, thinking he might take a shot, where’s the downside?
“Look, Lady Cora! I can walk!” Dr. Matthew Crawley flinging open the door, all whoopee, Mr. Happy Face. “And my unmentionable body parts are working again!”
“Yes, dear, we’ve known that for quite some time now.”
Lady Cora rolling her eyes. One eye rolling too far, falling out of the socket.
“I just can’t get over it. Matthew shaking his head. “So bloody miraculous. Oh, well, must dash off. I’m lunching with Mary to discuss again why we can never marry even though we’re desperately in love. I expect to unleash some of my most smoldering glances.”
The idiot finally leaving. Coming in fast behind him, O’Brien, a 20-gauge in her hands. Raylan shoots her in the face, the hole in her forehead apparently being a result of that. Falling on the floor, the way bodies sometimes do after being shot.
“Now you’ve killed my maid.” Cora pouting. “She was bringing me my shotgun. For my afternoon skeet shooting. And there’s blood all over the damn Oriental.
“What you do,” Raylan says, “sprinkle a little baking soda in the wash, good as new.”
Raylan going to the window, hearing a racket outside, moving both feet, trick he learned in marshal school coming in handy now.
Gunshots, hounds barking, shouts of yoicks and tally ho. The revving motor, that would be Vi’s Harley VL Flathead Bobber. Getaway time, Thomas the gay footman driving, giggling dowager in the sidecar.
Marple on the ground, her hair mussed, couple holes in her chest. Gonna make it, though. Gal’s got spunk.
Raylan at the door now. “Bird’s flown. I’m on it.” Keeping his sentences short, way you supposed to.
“Chase scene,” Cora says. “How clichéd.” Winking now, leaning back, her dress falling open, dresses always doing that with Raylan around. “Hey, there’s always next week’s episode for chasing. Got time for a brief dalliance?”