Tuesday, September 30, 2008
It was my writing on the invoice. I’d recognize the fine cursive anywhere. I’d even written it in real gold ink* which makes a bit of a mockery of the 15/6 delivery charge.
“So what do you do exactly?” I asked Tim. “What are your specified duties?”
The gargoyle shrugged and opened a tin of pilchards** “Look after the boy,” he said, “but don’t leave the confines of St. Marples.”
“Why would I stipulate something as stupid as that?” I mused aloud.
“Which?” asked Tim. “The saving the boy bit or the confined to quarters?”
“The latter.” I sighed and looked Hellwards. “I know the first is odd for a demon but I was charged with looking after him since he was an egg.”
“An egg? I thought he was a mammal?”
“He is.” I gave Tim a hard stare. “Go read a book on biology. Why did I confine you here?”
“How should I know? It’s boring, I can tell you that. I would have starved if it wasn’t for the bats and the magpies.”
“Bats? You’re not supposed to eat bats.”
“I don’t. I train them. They bring me treasures.”
I narrowed my eyes, thinking fast. “What sort of treasures?”
Tim sucked a pilchard through his teeth. “These, for one. Apples, biscuits, ear-rings. Anything that the traders drop, really.”
“Mind if I have a look?”
Tim waved me to a section of wall, indistinguishable from the rest. “Lift out that block,” he said.
Behind it were the accumulated riches of ten years of pickpocketing and magpie collecting. Rings, watches, coins, jewellery, gemstones and sometime even more special.”
“Wow,” I said. “I haven’t seen Pink Wafers for donkey’s years.”
*You have to order it specially. Oddly, it costs more per ounce than solid gold.
**Disgusting, I know, but what could I say?