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Grubby Sleuth calliaphone totters in from the jungle, her cape-which-is-actually-a-blanket trailing from her shoulders. she is flushed and shivering, and her Irregulars are nowhere to be seen.

Grubby Sleuth calliaphone is also muttering. Feverishly, repetitively, as if urging herself on with a task, when the rest of her being is clamouring for sleep, now. right here. kerbstone'll do lovely for a pillow.

Grubby Sleuth calliaphone 's muttering, which is rendered slightly difficult to follow by the large quantities of catarrh currently occupying her sinuses, sounds somewhat like this:

"godda fide de gag, before . . . before . . .befahhTSHOO . . . subfid bad habbeds do deb" SNIFFRLrrrf.

A filthy sleeve is dragged across a runny nose, and Grubby Sleuth calliaphone wanders into an alley, tripping alternately over her feet and the hem of her blanket-cloak. Soon, the sound of her sniffs grow faint, as she vanishes further into the back streets of Pleasantville.

Time passes, and then. . .

Grubby Sleuth calliaphone wanders back out of another alley, sneezes, and looks around in some confusion. "habd't i bid 'ere before. . .?"

Grubby Sleuth calliaphone wipes her nose on her sleeve, and pulls herself together. she stumbles out of the gates into the jungle, zigzagging vaguely in the direction of the west. or the north. or maybe both, eventually.

Ace High

Grubby Sleuth calliaphone stumble-trips in from the jungle, trailing a raggedy-edged blanket from her shoulders, like a cape. she is heavy-eyed and flushed-of-cheek, and her nose is red-tipped from excessive wiping.

Grubby Sleuth calliaphone aims for the Cake or Death joker. He, seeing her approach, applies himself to business of cutting a large slice, which he sets upon a plate and offers to her. "A slice of sachertorte?"

Grubby Sleuth calliaphone glances dully at the perfect triangle of chocolate dessert cake, and shrugs, turning to the Cake vendor himself."hab you seed by gag? dere's lots of dem, about.."

Grubby Sleuth calliaphone gestures, ". . .so high." the joker does not answer, he simply stares from callia to the cake, to callia again. she snaps her fingers at him. "wake ub. dis is urget."

Grubby Sleuth calliaphone sniffs, and fidgets restlessly while the joker continues to boggle at her. she rolls her eyes. "alride ded. whadaboud ady kiddappers?"

Grubby Sleuth calliaphone rubs her eyes and sways a little, grabbing the table-edge to keep her upright. the cake-or-death joker blinks at her, and slowly shakes his head.

Grubby Sleuth calliaphone says, "doh? you'b dod? i'd bedder geep loogig ded." she turns and hurries towards the gate, tripping over her blanket on the way.

The cake-or-death joker continues to shake his head as Callia departs. ". . .refused the sachertorte? but the chance of death is only. . ." He tastes the slice himself, and nods. "mmm, delicious. Not deadly at all!" But his eyes betray the depth of his hurt.

Saddened, the joker returns to his recipe books, murmuring "perhaps more apricot next time, or some cream to serve. . ."

Meanwhile, back in Pleasantville. . .

Grubby Sleuth calliaphone 's Irregulars arrive with her cart, but without her, amid a chorus of coughs and sneezes.

They appear to be under the command of Little George, the smallest Irregular, who sits atop the pianola, pointing imperiously towards Mutated Munchies. However, on closer inspection it can be seen that the real commander of operations is Albert, a gangly, ginger-haired specimen with scabby knees and air of quiet authority. He brings the phalanx of Irregulars to a halt in the town square, and some urgent discussion follows, between sneezes and sniffs.

"first figs first, how we godda fide her?" this from a brown-haired individual in a tattered norfolk jacket. Little George doesn't like the sound of that. He says "bud, bud. . . " and sets about wailing, still pointing at Mutated Munchies while his face crumples into snotty tears.

Albert sighs, and wipes his nose on his sleeve. He says, "LiddelGeorge's ride, Stidker. We godda ead subfig or we wode be ady use whed we do fide her. whaddif de kiddapper addags us! we godda be strog eduff do DAGGLE hib!"

Stinker cannot argue with this reasoning. The gang surge towards their long awaited breakfast. They are soon dividing up the spoils, mostly wriggly biscuits and a few noodles'n'nuts.

which are devoured by the hungry urchins as if they were the finest steak in the land. And at last, when not a crumb remains, they form up round the cart again. "Ride," says Albert, "we bedder rebord to HQ. Leddem dow we hab'd foud her yed."

At this, Stinker pipes up, "bud where is HQ, Berd?"

Albert frowns as the question sinks in. "er. . ." pause. "Ride. Ded de first fig is do fide HQ. Id bust be subwhere!" The rest of the gang nod vehemently at this. Not for nothing, is Albert their Captain's right-hand-man.

Albert sneezes, blows his nose on his scarf, and says "Well den, whaddwe waidig for? C'bod you lod, dere's glues to fide." And with that, the gang head out junglewards, towing the cart, with Little George atop it (now pacified with biscuits). Scotland Yard beware, the cavalry is coming.

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