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Epilogue

Improbable Central

calliaphone passes by, deep in conversation with her accordion. Well, it's mostly Callia doing the talking. She chitters and whistles softly, in some odd language that she just might have made up herself.

calliaphone's accordion looks Very Fine, as if it's recently been lovingly repaired and restored. But for all its good looks, it's not saying much.

calliaphone squeezes some air through the bellows, and picks out a halting rendition of Three Blind Mice on the keys. She's apparently not much of a player, despite the quality of the instrument.

calliaphone stops playing, and looks hopefully at the accordion, whistling some more to encourage it. A more intricate melody, this. She's a better whistler than accordionist. But the accordion doesn't reply.

calliaphone breaks into English. "C'mon Cordy," she says, in tones of sympathetic reproach. "The accident's history now. Let it go, yeh? And give us a tune, it'll do you good."

calliaphone squeezes the accordion again, and presses some random keys. The notes humm out and die away, and the accordion falls silent again.

calliaphone shakes her head, and continues on her way, disappearing out of the gate and into the jungle.

St John the Bernard watches Callia and Cordy go by all sadly - it's such a shame when a young accordion retreats within himself, and refuses to sing. He resolves to have a chat with the musical instrument, and cheer him up.

Back at the Workshop

calliaphone crashes through the door to the workshops and lands in a heap on the floor. For a few minutes, she stays there.

calliaphone eventually picks herself up and looks round. "aha. the workshops." she grins. apparently unharmed, if a little grubbier than before.

calliaphone lights a cigarette and wanders around the workshop, looking for something to take apart or put together or. . . oho, what's that? Oh YES!

calliaphone advances on the badge-making machine. "Still here, are you? After all the trouble you made. . . i wonder if we can find a use for you after all."

calliaphone examines the device carefully. Then she says, "hrmmm, i think i get the picture. Hang on." and she digdigs in the pocket of her boardshorts.

calliaphone produces a handful of bottle-caps from her pocket. She compares them to the badge-maker. And her grin widens. "A perfect fit? Go figure!"

calliaphone digdigs again in her pocket, and pulls out a handful of fluff, a furry gummy bear, two washers, a bit of broken plastic and a half-dozen safety pins. "Just the job!"

calliaphone eats the gummy bear, then sits down at a workbench with a soldering iron, the safety pins and the bottle-caps.

calliaphone whistles quietly to herself as she works, affixing the pins to the backs of the bottle-caps. When she's done, she sits back, setting aside the soldering iron to burn a hole in the bench as it cools.

calliaphone examines her work. Not bad at all! She turns to the badge-maker and shows it the bottle-badge. "Think you can work with this? Wait wait, i got stickers, i'll show you."

calliaphone scrolls through her roll of stickers till she finds something suitable. "a medal, for Beer Fishing Champions, lemme see, AHA!"she beams.

calliaphone carefully peels off her chosen sticker. The image depicts a beer bottle with fins and scales and a big toothy grin - just about to be snagged on a hook.

calliaphone fiddles about with the sticker and the badge-maker and the bottle-cap for a few minutes, fitting it all together. Then. . . KER-CHUNKHH! She yanks down the lever and releases it again.

calliaphone examines the result. A perfect bottle-cap Beer Fishing Medal drops out of the machine into her palm.

calliaphone turns the badge over and over, rubbing the almost-smooth surface. She can still feel the three ridges under her thumb, embossed into the metal, like all the other bottle-caps from that crate.

calliaphone shrugs, and turns her attention again to the stickers. What next? She can't find another image the same, but here's something else she likes.

calliaphone peels off an image of a trout in a deck-chair with a sun-hat over its eyes, and a line out in the water . . . snagging a bottle of beer.

calliaphone fits all the bits into the badge-maker again, and . . . KER-CHUNKHH. A second Beer Fishing Medal falls out into her hand. She grins, absurdly pleased.

calliaphone cannot now be stopped. She chooses more stickers . . . an alarm-clock smoking a cigar! a robotic cat on rollerskates! a hare emerging from a top-hat! a granpa with a zimmer frame!

calliaphone turns out badges at speed, KER-CHUNKHHing until she has used up her supply of home-made badge-backs. She pauses for breath, and frowns.

calliaphone needs safety pins, if she's to continue playing with this toy. She resolves to Find Some. Pronto. But first. . .

calliaphone pockets the badges she has made, and trots out to find people to give them to.

 
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