Sputtering, Sybil flounders about the thoroughly flooded basement. Legal documents, wedding photographs, and other debris float around her as she struggles through the murky water. She grabs onto of an old filing cabinet for support, merely succeeding in yanking out a drawer. Her face contorting with rage, Sybil watches the papers cascade into the swirling flood.
"Mrs. Fawlty! I save you!" Manuel stomps down the stairs. "I reverberate you!" In his haste to rescue his employer, the chivalrous Spaniard fails to notice the slippery nature of the stairs. With a yelp, he stumbles and proceeds to crash down the staircase. He hits the water with a tremendous splash. Her lips bent into a crooked half-smile, Mrs. Fawlty wades over and helps the dazed waiter to his feet.
"Resuscitate, Manuel." Sybil's voice is eerily calm. "The word is resuscitate."
"Mrs. Fawlty?" Manuel squeaks, as the short woman begins to cackle maniacally. "Iz funny?"
"Oh, very. Resuscitate, Manuel. Ha!" Grabbing the waiter by the collar of his white jacket, Sybil proceeds to drag the Spaniard back up the stairs. "Right now, the only one that will be in need of resuscitation is my husband."
"I say, Fawlty, I don't recall ordering ratatouille!" the Major chuckles, picking up and examining the fake rat tail. Basil remains frozen as the dining hall swells with cackles and screams.
"It's not actually real," Basil says, too casually. Expression nonchalant, he bites the tail. "See? Thoroughly artificial! Just like that man's hair."
"Excuse me?" The obnoxious American adjusts his toupee. "How dare you insinuate that I'm wearing a hair piece!"
"My dear fellow," Fawlty says, "I'm meant nothing of the sort! I'm insinuating that the hair piece is wearing you."
Basil's attitude does nothing to win him public support.
"The man eats rat tails!"
"What kind of horror house are you running here, Fawlty?"
"I don't want my children to be exposed to such monstrous behavior!"
Faced with a horrified and disgusted clientele, the hotelier slumps over the table. His head lands in a plate of limp salad.
"I hate people."
"Mr. Fawlty?" Polly whispers, blue eyes concerned.
"Quick, everybody!" the vicar cries, "The loon's out of it, now's our chance to leave."
"No, wait!" The waitress flings herself at the door, blocking the hordes of guests attempting to flee. "Wait! Let's talk about this for a minute. Everybody just inhale, exhale—"
"I'll exhale a sigh of relief when I'm as far away from here as possible!" the stout woman bellows.
"Just let them check out, Polly," Basil mutters, "I don't want my now-inevitable murder to be a public spectacle."
"Oh dear, Basil," Erica Praline coos, reentering the dining room, "What a terrible accident!"
"Accident," the obnoxious American snorts, "I don't believe in 'em. I think Mr. Fawlty here has one sick sense of humor. I can just picture the advertisement. Fawlty Towers: Come for the rudeness, stay for the rats!"
"And robbers!" Judy adds, voice stricken with panic, "My purse is gone!"
"But it was just on the table there," Doug exclaims, "I saw you put it down…"
"A likely story," Basil sneers into the lettuce.
"Excuse me?" the Floridian woman retorts. "What on Earth's that supposed to mean?"
"Oh, I don't know Judy." Fawlty leaps to his feet. "Things around this hotel were running just fine before you and your hubby showed up." Polly grimaces at this lie. "You two arrive. Reports of robberies crop up. Luggage starts disappearing. Suspicious gator pins are found. Call me mad, but I believe that these occurrences are all linked."
"If you're suggesting that we're the Terrors of Torquay," Doug Norman shouts, "you're completely mad!"
"Well, I'm afraid I'm as mad as a hatter, Mr. Norman. Because that's just what I'm suggesting."
"Ooh, Bas." Silence falls over the dining room as the small voice drifts in from the kitchen. Frightened by the sickly sweet words, the gangly hotelier feels a chill rush down his spine. "Are we making suggestions, then?" The kitchen doors blast open. Sybil is standing there. Dripping wet. Her beehive is a collapsed, soggy mess. Her fingers uncurl from Manuel's jacket collar. The unfortunate Spaniard flops to the floor. The guests stare in amazement as Sybil sloshes forward. "I have a suggestion for you."
Drip. Drip. Drip.
"Syb, dear?" Fawlty gulps. Drip. "Oh, I see you've been in the basement. And you've probably realized about the gutters. And the tree. And… and… I'm sorry?" Basil slaps himself on the wrist. "Bad Basil."
"Right, dear." Sybil smiles, eyes blazing. "I suggest you run."
And for the first time in a long time, Basil Fawlty did just as his wife recommended without complaint. The chase that ensued proved long and embarrassing. Tall, lanky Basil stumbles about the dining room table, his huffing, little wife in close pursuit.
"Five gets you ten she catches him," Terry calls, poking his head out of the kitchen. The entertainment-starved guests begin placing bets as to which Fawlty will emerge victorious. Mortified, Polly claps a hand across her eyes. Manuel staggers to his feet, hoping to go comfort the flustered waitress.
Seizing his opportunity, Basil grabs the Spaniard and shoves him into the path of the oncoming Sybil. Mrs. Fawlty, nimble despite her tottering heels, dodges the obstacle. Manuel, however, does not emerge unscathed. He trips right into Miss Tibbs, who in turn is knocked onto the dining room table. The little old lady's fall disturbs the incense candles, some of which roll away and clatter to the ground. Soon, Manuel, Miss Tibbs's hat, and the dull carpet are aflame.
"My heavens!" Miss Gatsby gasps, squinting at her friend. "Miss Tibbs, that is a positively flamboyant hat!"
"Employees and guests on fire." Major Gowen strokes his chin. Struck by a thought, the senile old soldier snaps his fingers. "I do believe this tops that place in Eastbourne!"
"If you'll all just move to the lobby." Polly calmly ushers the panicked guests to safety. "I'm sure you'll find things less… inferno-eque…"
"Don't worry, everybody, I've got this!" Terry rushes from the kitchen, armed with his trusty fire extinguisher. He blasts Miss Tibbs and Manuel, quelling the flames. Sybil receives a face full of spray in the process.
"Basil!" she growls, snatching at his jacket. "This is all your fault!"
"I know and I'm sorry, Syb!" Basil slides across the chemical splattered table, barely dodging his furious wife's grasp. He sprints from the dining room. "But I've got them this time! You'll see! You'll all see!"
"The storm of the bloody century hits Torquay and I end up stuck on the roof," Basil mutters, "Fantastic." He's precariously crouched atop Fawlty Towers itself. Water splashes from the overflowing water-tank, crashing over the already sopping hotelier. Something soft and feathery hits him on the head. Shuddering, Basil slaps it away.
"Forgot to fish those damn dead pigeons out of the water tank…"
"Basil?" Heart thrashing in his chest, the hotelier nearly pitches off the roof. He whirls around, half expecting to find an incensed Sybil.
"Oh, hello Erica." The wind screeches across the roof, threatening to rip away his brown jacket. "What the bloody hell are you doing up here?"
"Looking for some company." She licks her red lips. "It must be fate, meeting you here."
"How'd you figure out I was on the roof?" he demands, icily. "Does Sybil know? Did she put you up to this?"
"No," Erica sighs, "My room's directly beneath. I heard you stomping around up here. I had to come up and give you something."
"I found this in the hallway just outside my room." Erica dangles a leather purse in front of Basil's face. "Strange, because it's not mine."
"It might be that mental Floridian woman's purse," Basil gasps, "Have you looked inside?"
"No. Isn't that… unemployable?"
"Unethical? Yes, it's unethical. You know what else's unethical, Erica? Robbery. Robbery is unethical. Now, let's look in this purse." Basil reaches in, retrieving a wallet. "Hmm. Driver's license definitely says Judy Norman. And what's this?" Paling, he produces a small handgun from the depths of the bag.
"Oh my!" Erica gapes at the gleaming weapon. "This is—"
"Wonderful!" Basil laughs. The hotelier throws his hands towards the stormy sky, jubilant over his discovery. "I, Basil Fawlty, have uncovered the robbers! None of those sods believed me, but I was right the whole time!" Thunder roars back its response. "Alright, let's get off this roof before we're electrocuted…"
Manuel bustles about his room, freshening himself up. There's nothing like a near-incineration and followed by a shower of chemical spray to make a fellow look like an unsuitable waiter. Manuel dons a crisp, new jacket (his closet is brimming with identical replacements) and glances in the mirror. The faint smell of smoke is the only reminder of the accident. Following the fire, Miss Tibbs emerged from the dining room unharmed, with an impressively charred hat atop her hair.
The only one that seemed truly hurt by the incident was Mrs. Fawlty. After watching her husband take off into the rainy night, she stormed up to her room dodging the stares of the bewildered guests. No one's heard from her since. Currently, the hotel patrons are holed up in the lounge. Polly has raided the scarcely stocked bar in an attempt to appease the weary customers. If they could, most of them would leave immediately. However, the storm has gotten too severe for such an exodus. They're here for the night, whether they like it or not.
Sighing, Manuel removes the stuffed, tail-less rat from his discarded jacket and places it in Basil the Rat's large cage (which has been cleverly disguised as a suitcase). The Siberian hamster squeaks as it examines its new toy. Bidding his pet adios, the Spaniard trots out of his room. He descends the stairs and soon finds himself in the dark, deserted lobby. Manuel shivers, feeling the gaze of some unseen observer. He whirls around to face the moose head, leering at him from the floor where he and Polly had left it. Its coal black eyes flash in the candlelight.
"Senor Alce es el Diablo," Manuel mutters, blessing himself as he crosses the room. Suddenly, a shadow bolts from behind the front desk. Manuel raises his fists, preparing to confront the intruder. The figure drifts into the candlelight. Manuel relaxes.
"Perdon," he says, sheepishly, "I think you bandido." An unexpected fist lashes out to greet the Spaniard. Manuel falls back, hitting his head against the floor.
"Blimey," the shadow chuckles, leering over the dazed waiter, "You thought right."