As many of you doubt-less know, my current situation is less than secure. I have, of late, been stolen no less than twice: Once, I was waylaid by Black Scarlet and Mr. Tin, and, more recently, I was abducted and abandoned deep within the bowels of my own 652-room mansion. To top it all off, Standish has fallen into a large fortune, giving me cause to doubt even his loyalty.

Needless to say, I am feeling less than safe. What is to prevent me from being stolen again? After all, I am confined day and night to my iron-lung, I can barely even move my head anymore, and I am so weak, I need Nurse Pin-head to perform even my most intimate wipings. I can hardly be asked to defend myself! True, many of my enemies are already dead, and I can avoid any in-house rebellion by having the bee-keeper strung up and flensed alive as an example to the other servants. But I have many cunning enemies who would love to make me the object of larceny.

What if that bastard Hearst took it into his head to steal me and display me in that fairy-castle he's building in California? What if the Irish send that ruffian Wolfe Tone to ferret me away to guarantee the cooperation of the Prussian government? The prospect is too much to bear!

Knowing I can still trust my Swiss Guard, I summoned the captain into my bed-chamber and commanded that he make me secure against theft. He took only a moment to reflect before blowing a mighty fan-fare on his great trumpet, summoning his corps of sappers. One of these burly Nordics held an oddly shaped black and red stick, seemingly wrought of lacquered iron, which he proceeded to fasten across my face.

"This device is known as The Club, your eminence, and it will hold you fast against thievery," said the guard-captain, ignoring the mad rolling of my eyes. I attempted to speak, but the damned Club had pinned my tongue against my false iron molars! "Only I have the key, and I will keep it safe against treachery, releasing The Club only for your cleansing and twice-yearly shitting." And with that, they saluted and goose-stepped out of the room.

Damn those Swiss! I am now trapped in my death-bed by a pot-metal rod, the circulation to my head is being restricted, and I feel no safer than before. Also, my jaw has fallen off one of its hinges. Help! Someone! Get this Club off of me!