Previously: Man in the Red Underwear is a pastiche of prose and poetry with hints of parody and a dash of social satire on gender roles and class mores. Cecelia throws a society ball, where former lovers Andy and Bedelia meet. Andy and friends try to stop villain Malcolm Tent. Tent woos Bedelia. Andy woos Bedelia. Cecelia woos Billy. The good guys finally get the goods on Tent.
“You may have me, but as my last act as chief inspector of Scotland Yard I will arrest the Man in the Red Underwear!” Tent’s voice was filled with unbowed haughtiness.
Cecelia, Millicent and Eddie were shocked. “You will?”
“Yes!” He turned dramatically to point at the lounge. “I arrest you! Lord Andrew Taylor!”
The accusation broke momentarily his concentration on Bedelia and he reverted to his dressmaker affectations. “Oh inspector! How quaint! How droll! How divine! You’re bringing the giggles out of me!”
“Do you dare drop your pants and let us see your underwear?”
“Here!?” Andy stood and swished over to Tent. “Oh inspector! I don’t know what to think! I mean, I hardly know you.”
“Cut the act, Taylor. I’m on to you.”
“Ooh! I don’t know what you mean!” Andy futilely feigned feyness one last time.
“Drop ‘em.” He sounded like a boot camp instructor ordering a recruit to do twenty push-ups.
Bedelia, Eddie, Cecelia and Millicent broke into poetry tinged with a sense of urgency.
Don’t do it, Andy, it’s a trap to catch you with your trousers down.
So keep them up, don’t give the chief inspector cause to send you to jail!
He has no proof no way to say you are the Man in the Red Underwear.
It’s just his word against the word of everyone so don’t you dare
Reveal your underwear so he can cart you off to jail.
But if you do, don’t fret, don’t stew, we’ll pool our dough to make your bail!
Don’t drop your pants! You got no ants! So under no dire circumstance
Don’t drop your pants!
Don’t be naïve. It’s not the time to wear your heart upon your sleeve.
Remember Tent is the real crook; so don’t you let him off the hook.
He’s the one that’s criminal. We must be sure he’s off the street.
We’ve worked so hard, we’re almost there. He’s down and out. He’s almost beat.
We all love you, you’re our best friend. We’ll root for you right to the end.
So keep your trousers ‘round your waist. Please take your time, no need for haste!
Don’t drop your pants! You got no ants! So under no dire circumstance,
Don’t drop your pants!
Andy stared into Tent’s eyes, squared his jaw and dropped his pants, revealing red underwear.
“Come along, Lord Taylor. We have a date at headquarters.” Tent took Andy by his elbow.
Eddie stepped forward. “Excuse me, chief inspector.”
“Yes, what do you want?”
“Why do you think Andy is the Man in the Red Underwear?” One might supposed that Prince Eddie was, indeed, the dumbest person in the British Empire, but a rare intellectual glint in his eyes made one pause.
“Because he’s wearing red underwear, you idiot!” Tent retorted.
“Is that yo’r only evidence?”
“Of course not!”
One who loved to be in the middle of any conversation, Cecelia added, “What other evidence do you have?
“Miss Smart-Astin just announced, ‘I’d know that kiss anywhere!’ You are the Man in the Red Underwear!”
Millicent smiled broadly, a sign that she knew what Eddie was trying to present as Andy’s defense. “Bedelia, darling, do you remember saying that?”
“Me? Why I never said such a thing.”
“Liar! Liar! Pants on fire!” Tent paused, realizing he had lapsed into schoolyard behavior. “I still have him in red. That is evidence enough.”
“Wull, that ain’t no evidence at all.” Eddie nodded to the others indicating it was time for an all-out poetry performance, starting with Cecelia.
It’s plain to see you have no fashion sense, you dummy Malcolm Tent!
No one in London doesn’t know
That all the best dressed jills and joes
Are wearing red from head to toe!
Everyone else—except Tent and Billy, of course—came forward.