Sunday Serial: Final Chapter – The Dénouement

Our gripping plot draws to an unexpected but ultimately happy conclusion.

Archie Bridge Cambridge death Fireworks lizards Sunday Serial

Back in the bar, a very drunk Archie, watching his best laid plans begin to unravel, had been very aware that a huge scandal was about to break. It would not only rock his own world, but jeopardise the future of the Lizards. And so he decided to stop it from breaking. By killing Simon.

First he visited the locker used by the May Ball committee and appropriated a large number of fireworks. Simon would have to cross the college bridge on his way back from Sarah’s room, and the bridge would be very easy to boobytrap. There were no CCTV cameras on it, and when the inevitable investigation occurred he could easily spread rumours of terrorist attacks.

The moon was glinting gently down on Rons, passing icy judgement upon the students sheltered within the college’s great, protective stone walls. Ronians are shielded from the judgement of men, but not the judgement of the moon. And Archie felt this keenly, as he strapped firework after firework beneath the ancient stone parapets. He ran the fuses together, and opened up a fusebox on the wall by the bridge. He wedged the firework fuses into the box, and then tied a string to one of the fuses. Pulling the string should remove the fuse, causing a sufficient power surge to blow the circuits in the college and ignite the firework fuses simultaneously, blowing up the bridge while the rest of Rons was plunged into darkness.

This was Archie’s plan, and it is very likely that he would have pulled it off. Had, at that moment, Simon not come round the corner.

He was garbed in few clothes but many tears. He had a squirrel taped to his head, a condom up his nose and a bloodied, inky chest. And he didn’t seem to have a clue what was going on.

“Archie! Help me. Help me, mate. Please”, he called.

“No!” said Archie.

“Sarah tried to kill me. I think I’m dying. I don’t know what happened. I passed out. Help me, please.”

“Where’s Sarah?”

“I don’t know!” Simon was weeping, his nasal condom slowly inflating with snot.

“Simon, please, go away. Go back to your room or the porters or something. You’re probably dreaming.”

“I’m not dreaming. My chest! My chest hurts. What did she do to my chest?”

Archie was getting desperate. Any minute now Simon would notice the fireworks, and then it would all be up.

“Please,”he tried again. “Go away – someone else will help you.”

“Why can’t you help?! Archie, what are you doing? I’m dying!! Is this…string more important?!” Simon grabbed the string Archie was holding.

“No!”Archie leapt to grab it back, but it was too late. Simon, inquisitive as to what was at the other end, had tugged firmly on the cord.

First the lights around college went out. Porters stopped reading and panicked. Industrious students swore at the darkness and carried on working on their laptops. Drunk students swore at the darkness and carried on drinking.

Then there was a crackle.

Archie shouted and started to run. But it was too late.

There were fireworks over the Cam that night. Simon was thrown into the river, burned and unconscious with the shock. Archie, running towards the gate at the end of the bridge, was thrown violently against the stonework. The bridge and buildings were relatively unharmed. But Archie, former president of the Lizards, was no more.


Dining down river at the Galleria, the editor of the Daily Mail and his family went out onto the balcony to watch the fireworks. When the display was over, his children and wife returned inside. But the editor stayed out, watching the river, sipping a cocktail and thinking about tomorrow’s headlines. And then he spotted the body.


Wednesday’s Daily Mail ran a front page story about Simon. And around the nation, men and women alike read how a Cambridge student’s drunken exploits had led to the death of his friend, the near-destruction of a Cambridge landmark and only ended when the perpetrator was floating, unconscious, down the Cam, a pillow made of woodland animals beneath his head and a student chant roughly hewn into his body.

Remarkably, Simon wasn’t sent down. He was called him to the Master’s Lodge as soon as he returned from Addenbrookes, but he attended the interview armed with an undisclosed envelope of photographs, and the Master seemed ultimately very keen that Simon commence his studies after a term of convalescence.

It hardly seems worthwhile to note that no other student received such prominent news coverage that year. Consequently, it was with no hesitation that Simon stepped into Archie’s shoes as President of the Lizards. Bewildered and tattooed, he told people that he would never have had it any other way. Which just goes to show how little of that night he remembered.