The moving lorry had been parked outside the Beige House for hours.
The driver was furious, as nobody has been able to answer their calls or guide them. At least the manager had let them park in front of the entrance, but it might have been based on a misunderstanding. “That’s for the removal of the Lady’s stuff, is it?” He’d nodded, it was only half a lie, his client was a lady, except she wasn’t moving out. She was moving in.
He shouted to his partner who was smoking outside.
“Come on, Fred! Don’t get mad, you’ve seen how particular she was when we loaded the boat’s content, so full of her sentimental knick-knacks!”
“What do you expect? Us keeping all these stone statues that weigh a ton! I don’t care. I tell you, she better show up in the next minutes, or else…”
“But I can’t stand bloody opera singing,” Tara whispered back, “It’ll drive me mad. When they said he had a melodious voice I was expecting something more modern than this ancient caterwauling.”
“Do you want to solve this case or not?”
“Oh alright then,” Tara said grudgingly. “But your thinking better be good!” She clapped loudly and whistled. “More! More!” she shouted, stamping her feet. The assorted middle aged ladies joined in the applause.
“Yeah, you had to listen to opera with him, poor thing, but he did tip well.”
“Well, he told me a lot about opera. I thought it was a waste of time knowing all that useless old stuff, but listen: this song what he’s singing now, he’s singing this on purpose. It’s a clue, you see, to Uncle Basil and why Vince wants to find him.”
“Go on,” whispered Tara.
“Wasn’t that obvious from the start?”
“Well yes, but we got very cleverly sidetracked with all these middle aged ladies and that wardrobe! This is where the mule comes in.”
“Shh! Keep your voice down! It’s not the same kind of mule as in the opera, these middle aged ladies are trafficking mules!”
“Oh well that would make sense, they’d be perfect. Nobody suspects middle aged ladies. But what are they trafficking, and why are they all here?”
“They’re here to keep us from finding out the truth with all these silly sidetracks and distractions. And we’ve stupidly let ourselves be led astray from the real case.”
“What’s the real case, then?”
“How do you know that for sure?” asked Tara.
“I don’t know for sure, but this is the theory. Once we have a theory, we can prove it. Now, about that wardrobe. We mustn’t let them take it away. No matter what story they come up with, that wardrobe stays where it is, in our office.”
“But why? It’s taking up space and it doesn’t go with the clean modern style. And people keep getting locked inside it, it’s a death trap.”
“That’s what they want you to think! That it’s just another ghastly old wardrobe! But it’s how they smuggle the stuff!”
“What stuff are they smuggling? Drugs? That doesn’t explain what it’s doing in our office, though.”
“Well, I had an interesting intuition about that. You know that modified carrot story they tried to palm us off with? Well I reckon it’s vaccines. They had to come up with a way to vaccinate the anti vaxxers, so they made this batch of vaccines hidden in hallucinogenic carrots. They’re touting the carrots as a new age spiritual vibration enhancing wake up drug, and the anti vaxxers will flock to it in droves.”
“Surely if they’re so worried about the ingredients in vaccines, they won’t just take any old illegal drug off the street?”
Tara smiled ruefully. “Yeah, I guess that was a silly thing to say. But now I’m confused. Whose side are we on? Surely the carrot vaccine is a good idea? Are we trying to stop them or what? And what is Vince up to? Falsifying a will?” Tara frowned, puzzled. “Whose side are we on?” she repeated.
“But what if the client is morally bankrupt? What if it goes against our guidelines?”
“Guidelines don’t come into it when you’re financially bankrupt!” Star snapped. “Hey, where has everyone gone?”
“They said they had to pick up a wardrobe,” said the waitress. “Shall I bring you the bill? They all left without paying, they said you were treating them.”
“Did someone say drinks are on the house?” asked Rosamund, pushing past the burly bouncer as she entered the pub. “What’s your name, handsome?”
“Percival,” the bouncer replied with a wry grin. “Yeah I know, doesn’t fit the image.”
Rosamund looked him up and down while simultaneously flicking a bit of food from between her teeth with a credit card. “I keep forgetting to buy dental floss,” she said.
“Is that really necessary?” hissed Tara. “Is that moving the plot forward?”
“I’ll be away for a while on an important mission,” Rosamund said to Percival, “But give me your number and I’ll call you when I get back.”
“The trip is cancelled, you’re not going anywhere,” Star told her, “Except to the shop to buy dental floss.”
“I’m glad you mentioned it!” piped up a middle aged lady sitting at the corner table. “I have run out of dental floss too.”
“See?” said Rosamund. “You never can tell how helpful you are when you just act yourself and let it flow. Now tell me why I’m not going to New Zealand? I already packed my suitcase!”
“Because it seems that New Zealand has come to us,” replied Star, “Or should I say, the signs of the cult are everywhere. It’s not so much a case of finding the cult as a case of, well finding somewhere the cult hasn’t already infected. And as for April,” she continued, “She changes her story every five minutes, I think we should ignore everything she says from now on. Nothing but a distraction.”
“That’s it!” exclaimed Tara. “Exactly! Distraction tactics! A well known ruse, tried and tested. She has been sent to us to distract us from the case. She isn’t a new client. She’s a red herring for the old clients enemies.”
“Oh, good one, Tara,” Star was impressed. Tara could be an abusive drunk, but some of the things she blurted out were pure gold. Or had a grain of gold in them, it would be more accurate to say. A certain perspicacity shone through at times when she was well lubricated. “Perhaps we should lock her back in the wardrobe for the time being until we’ve worked out what to do with her.”
“You’re right, Star, we must restrain her….oy! oy! Percival, catch that fleeing aunt at once!” April had made a dash for it out of the pub door. The burly bouncer missed his chance. April legged it up the road and disappeared round the corner.
“Oh I say, that’s going a bit far,” interjected the middle aged lady sitting at the corner table.
“What’s it got to do with you?” Tara turned on her.
“This,” the woman replied with a smugly Trumpish smile. She pulled her trouser leg up to reveal a bell bird tattoo.
“Oh my fucking god,” Tara was close to tears again.
Seizing the moment, April tossed her pizza aside and sprang over to to the wardrobe door, slammed it shut and turned the key. Leaning her back on the locked door, she smiled triumphantly.
The office door opened slowly, due to the melted cheese stuck on the carpet that had slid down the door when the pizza hit it. Fortunately for April the door got stuck on an olive, providing a valuable few seconds in which to grab the broom and flee to the rest room before Star and Tara entered the room.
“Don’t let me out until April!” a muffled voice joined the banging sounds coming from the wardrobe.FloveParticipant
“Do what?” asked Rosamund, returning from lunch.
Rosamund scrunched her brow. “Am I in bloody groundwort day or something? Didn’t you close that case?” She grinned apologetically. “Just before I went to lunch?”
Tara rubbed her head. “Damn it, she’s right! How could we have forgotten!”
“Oh!” Star gasped. “The person who turned up in the mask! Yesterday evening. That must have been our second case! The one with the cheating husband!”
They both looked towards the wardrobe — the large oak one, next to the drinks cupboard. The wardrobe which had rather mysteriously turned up a few days ago, stuffed full of old fur coats and rather intriguing boxes—the delivery person insisted he had the right address. “And after all, who are we to argue? We’ll just wait for someone to claim it, shall we?” Star had said, thinking it might be rather fun to explore further.
Tara grimaced. “Of course. It wasn’t an armed intruder; it was our client practising good virus protocol.”
“And that banging noise isn’t the pipes,” said Star with a nervous laugh. “I’d better call off the caretaker.”
“We really must give up comfort drinking!” said Tara, paling as she remembered the intruder’s screaming as they’d bundled her into the wardrobe.
Rosamund shook her head. “Jeepers! What have you two tarts gone and done.”
Star and Tara looked at each other. “Rosamund …” Star’s voice was strangely high. “How about you let her out. Tara and I will go and have our lunch now. Seeing as you’ve had such a long break already.”
“Me! What will I say?”
Tara scratched her head. “Um …offer her a nice cup of tea and tell her she’ll laugh about this one day.”
“If she’s still bloody alive,” muttered Rosamund.
“That damn cult is going from strength to strength and not a damn thing we can do about it,” said Star. “What bloody awful timing for a lockdown, just as we were getting started!”
“I know,” replied Tara sadly. “At this rate we’ll have to go back to work for Madame Limonella.”
“Don’t be silly, she’ll have had to close down too!”
“Don’t you believe it!” retorted Tara, “She’d find a way to keep her clients happy.”
“But we’re not keeping our clients happy are we? We haven’t found a way. We’re pretty useless, aren’t we?”
“Not just our clients. Well client, really, we only had one. We could have saved the world from the Zanone cult if it hadn’t been for this quarantine. Hey, maybe that cult started all this, just so we couldn’t stop them.”
Star barked out a bitter laugh. “Now you sound like one of them parroting out conspiracy theories.”
“We could find a way to break the quarantine, sneak out at night dressed as urban kangaroos or something.”
“I don’t think the kangaroos would mind all that much,” Tara replied huffily.
“I didn’t mean the kangaroos, good lord! But you know what, you might be on to something. Remember that kangaroo dressed in a mans overcoat that tried to break someones car window the other day?”
“Well never mind that,” Star continued, who had started to wonder herself, “The point is, we can use a disguise. And it’s a matter of grave social responsibility to expose the cult. In the fullness of time, we will be exonerated, hailed as heroic, even.”
The excitement was contagious and Tara found herself sitting upright instead of slumped in despair. “Let’s do it!”
“I knew it!” Tara had gone to investigate early, disguised as an elderly jogger in a velvet teal jogging. “Seemed clear enough that that retirement home was a front…”
Later when she came back to the office, she was quizzed by Star, who was still yawning despite the bright sunlight.
“So tell me, a front for what?”
“Can’t you guess?” Tara said, removing her false teeth.
“Nooo?” her hand flew at Star’s mouth and incredulous face.
“Yes, hmm-hmm; you guessed right: a time travel agency.”
“Oh dangit, they stole my idea! After all the virus pandemic thing, they sure know how to surf the crisis to make a buck. The buying carrots alibi traffic, and now that!”
“Yep, guess that people unable to go anywhere for holidays make up for a good clientele. You can imagine the slogans: Celerity: Why go anywhere? When we can send you anywhen! “
“And a convenient way of disposing of nosy people too. I hope they didn’t send Uncle Basil to the Dinosaurs, can’t imagine the stench of those Time sewers.”
“Oh no, don’t think he was affluent enough, you see. Apparently you pay by the time meter. The further in time, the pricier. And I guess the surest way to dispose of someone would be in the past rather than in the future…”
“So Uncle Basil is in the past!”
“Well, I could have told you that from the start. No wonder Mr French paid us in advance then, he already knew we’d crack that case. Our first case’s closed, dear! If Mr French ever wakes up and calls, we’ll just redirect him to our Time Dragglers friends in Marseille for their ‘relative lost in time’ retrieval package. Now, anyone for mojitos?”
Life around the woods had changed in a strange way since the appearance of the beaver fever. It was called after some theory from where it came from. Some said patient zero was a trapper far off in the woods who caught an infected beaver and sold its fur to the market. The fur then contaminated the coat maker and then the clients who tried on that coat, hence leading to contamination nests in the entire realm. The beaver fever took time to incubate, so when people first noticed the trapper wasn’t coming back, it was too late.
That’s not such a bad thing to live a little recluse in the woods, thought Eleri. She usually was restless and lately had been wandering off into town and into the countryside looking for things to paint with her tar black pigment. It is a new phase of experimentation, she had said to Glynis who had been wondering if she could include more variety to her palette. I’m looking to capture the contrasting soul of what I’m painting.
Don’t you mean contrasted? asked Glynis.
Do I? Whatever, I’m experimenting.
Glynis knew better than to argue with Eleri, and Eleri knew better than trying to make words fit the world. It was better to make the world fit her words. How could you explain that to someone? So she assumed people understood.
With the curfew, though, it had first become harder. Then she had found a way by painting her own garments tar black and to complete her attire, she had asked Fox. He had also found a hobby and with a sharp knife and a log he could make you a mask so vivid to look alike anything you asked. Eleri had asked him for a crow and had painted it tar black. She looked like those doctors during the plague a few centuries back and dressed like that people certainly respected the safety distance promulgated by Leroway’s decree.
That man seemed hard to get rid off, especially in time such as those. Eleri suspected that Leroway was not the man she knew and once courted her. She needed to get close to investigate. Her new attire, if it might not help with the investigation at least would help embolden her and stave off boredom.
“Y’were in a cult?” breaking the odd silence, Rosamund left her mouth gaping between messaging-styled sentences and chewing of gum. “What kind of cult?” she said, resuming the noisy chewing.
Tara rolled her eyes, thinking how she just needed another baby-sitting now. There was a case to crack, and it was their first client. She went for her favorite subtly make-a-ton approach. “Oh yeah, right. Abso-lu-tely. A damn strange cult at that.” Then, when she got her hooked well, she went for the elusive-slightly-patronizing approach. She was good like that. “But I think you’re too young for the crazy details, might have you wet your bed at night.”
She immediately regretted her last sentence.
Changing the topic, Tara asked. “What kind of cult indeed. That’s the damn bloody question we forgot to ask!”
Rosamund put a cocky smirk on her lips and mouthed “amateurs”. Could have been the chewing, Tara couldn’t tell. She was myopic but refused to wear corrective eyewear, so she had to strain at times, which gave her a funny wrinkled look.
“I’ve got us all we need for our invertigastion.”
“Did you find clues too in the clue department?”
“As a matter of fact, I did. Got us that well-worn out book at a bargain price. Have a look.”
“We’ll start as soon as we get our first client, Tara,” replied Star, “And don’t keep calling me a tart. You had better get out of the habit or you might do it accidentally when we’re working on a case.”
“What if we don’t get any clients? We’ve advertised everywhere we can think of. Once we get started, we’ll get recommendations, we’ll probably have to take on staff, we’ll be so busy.” A wistful look crept into Tara’s eye. She’d never been a boss, never been in the position of telling a subordinate what to do. It had a certain appeal. “Anyway, you are a tart.”
“Was, Tara, was. We are not tarts now, and nobody needs to know what we did for a living before. Nothing shameful in it of course, but people have such antiquated ideas; it might put them off. They don’t need to know that we might be able to use our skills to our advantage to solve cases.”
“I’d rather solve cases with our new skills,” said Tara. “Remote viewing, out of body travel, lucid dreaming, that sort of thing.”
“Never a bad thing to have an assorted tool box,” replied Star. “We have unique skills compared to most private investigators. Just thank your lucky stars that we escaped the eagle eye of Madame Limonella. She’ll never think to look for us in here in Melbourne, she’s probably thinking we’ll fetch up in some back street dive in Perth, desperate for our jobs back.”
“Well it might come to that if we don’t get any cases to solve,” Tara said glumly, “And on less money too, we’re not spring chickens any more.”
“Don’t be silly,” Star snapped. “We’re not even 40 yet. If we were too young we wouldn’t be taken seriously.”
Star was just about to call her a rude tart when the phone rang.
Bea had finished taking notes for her last client’s reallocation.
Nowadays, she wouldn’t release the cackle at each and every time.
It was too time consuming to realign her wits after it shuffled reality, and it was actually more effective to do many changes at once.
That much she’d learned. It was like giving dog food to a pack. Much better to give all at once to the hungry dogs, rather than try to organise the melee.
She was about to call for the next client, when the walls of her kitchen trembled.
The next minute, she was in a labyrinth, dark and comfortable, with a musky smell, and soft sounds of coconuts thumps on a beach faintly in the distance.
A looming silhouette was here in the dark.FloveParticipant
“Thanks,” said Bossy taking her cup of tea.
“So, tell me more about this evil fruit-loop doctor,” said Ricardo with an encouraging smile.
Bossy looked intently at him. “It’s no joke,” she admonished him sharply.
“Oh, no. No, of course not. I mean, yeah, I really want to know. It all sounds very … intriguing. And sort of creepy, to be honest. But definitely not a joke.”
Bossy relented and gestured imperatively for Ricardo to be seated.
“The doctor could best be described as a mad genius. He believed he had found the answer to looking eternally youthful but didn’t want to go through the time and expense of clinical trials through the normal channels. So he set up a testing laboratory on a small and relatively unknown Pacific Island. Tifikijoo, I believe it was called.”
“Uh huh. Actually I do vaguely remember something about that story.”
“We got the story first,” Bossie said proudly, “but there was a media ban on publishing some of the information, unfortunately. The Doctor managed to get funding for his tests through an undercover organisation whose hidden agenda was to hide an ancient crystal skull while at the same time providing them with a facility where they could continue their own secret testing into spider genomes. I can’t tell you too much about that — it was all hush hush. So, you wouldn’t have read about that in the news, I bet,” she added with a smug smile.
“Uh, no,” answered Ricardo, privately wondering if Bossy was the mad one. It was all starting to feel a bit surreal to him.
“Did the doctor know about the skull stuff?”
“No, the doctor was genuinely only interested in preserving beauty. Unfortunately, to this end, he killed one of his first guinea pigs. And tried to disguise his crime by mummifying the body. That’s when it all began to implode on him.”
“What happened to him?”
“He had some good lawyers and was found not competent to stand trial on the grounds of insanity. And the fact that all his clients had signed liability waivers helped a bit. He was sent to a high security psychiatric institution but managed to escape by reverting to his female identity—he was transsexual—and hiding in a laundry trolley.
“The doctor hated the way he was portrayed in the media and most of his venom was focused on our people. We had a guy working with us then, John Smith, and he covered the story with Connie. They got the brunt of the hate emails. John nearly had a nervous breakdown with the stress of it and moved to the country. Pity, he was a good writer.”
“So what makes you think Santa Claus and the doctor are one and the same?”
Gelly had noticed a slowdown in her sessions.
That, and a sense of desperation in the ludicrous stories put forth by her clients’ subconscious under trance.
Close to forty years ago, she had invented the whole protocol, and had sold successfully quite a lovely series of books on the topic. Of course, all the personal details were removed for the sake of her clients privacy. But the stories were all too good to not be shared with the world.
“Morepork, morepork!” Bathsheba, her pet owl gifted by one of her clients from New Zealand was calling her back to reality.
“You know vhat Bethsy,” she said to the owl while feeding it a small white mouse that she devoured ravenously, “I vonder how das ist going to develop… Not a month goes by now vithout some new extravagant story of ascension in die Fünfte Dimension, and the vorld is not going any better. Meine credibility ist not that gut…”
“Morepork, morepork!” came the answer.
“Bethsy, you know whass, du bist eine kleine Genius”. She had just remembered that her client used to channel a certain unknown in the lore, going by the name of Floverley a spirit quite tricky to get on the line, a bit finicky about cleaning but otherwise, a wise dispenser of snorting good advice and special diets. She surely could help her get her spiel back.
Master John was infusing L.O.V.E. (Love Octarine Vortex Emotion) communications through e-Ther, the energy framework supporting physical reality and the emotional world around it. He was a 5thD master choosing to touch the masses and chosen individuals more specifically. He’s been participating in several source events as he’d learned to expand his awareness of time and space.
He was also observing the training of the FAMs (Future Ascended Masters) while learning himself to expand his awareness in other directions. He’s always been busy while on earth, when he was a prophet. He’d always loved to teach and guide, although he’d lost his head for that. Who would have thought that woman would be more interested by his red head rather than his other attributes. Truth as that he had beautiful blue eyes at the time. Unfortunately they lost their luster in death.
The e-Ther was rather sluggish over most of the continents of the Northern hemisphere, due to intense fear and agitation after the market went down once again. It’s been over crowded since the demographic explosion that began during phase three of the “Human Harvest” source event. Furthermore, ever since the invention of hypnotherapists, the emotional network wasn’t reliable anymore. Unable to receive H.O.L.Y. communications the usual way because they had forgotten how to listen, they had hacked the e-Ther to find their own answers. That has caused many interference and mistranslations of data that weren’t addressed to the hypnotherapist or their clients, taken out of context and of time framework.
They have been in dire need of new masters in order to catch those fast increasing RFA (Request For Answers) and correct the course of the current source event.
Geraldine von Truff, also known as Gelly by her friends was sweating profusely and had opened all the windows to get air.
“Fracken hot flashes” she said, taking a wet towel to freshen up. It was barely start of spring, and the temperatures were doing yoyo in the most peculiar fashion.
She logged onto Spayce to check if her next client was there. Maybe she’ll put him on audio, because at the rate she was undressing, he would wonder whether he’d signed on the right account. After all, she was a licenced psychoregressor and helped her clients connect to their subconscious in hypnotic trances. This was all very serious.
Actually, to be honest, she was quite baffled by the crock of bollocks the subconscious was telling at times, but hell, it was cathartic for her clients, and their well-being was her utmost priority.
“James? Are you here?”
James was her client from Glasgow, an affable middle-aged man, who seemed to have taken to her robotic German accent and her hypnoregressive sessions.
“Yes, Doctor” the sound came in all distorted. “Is it normal I don’t have visual?”
“Ja, alles ist gut my friend, the internet is playing tricks today. Let’s have it just audio, OK?”
“I think our session today will be splendid. I already feel all the energies building up.”
The boy was giving her a tour of the grounds in a monotonous voice.
“The hotel is actually divided in several pavilions, each representing a culture of the world and designated by a special name. The 888 pavilion was built according to the principles of Feng Shui in order to bring health and prosperity to the clients.”
And certainly money to the hotel, thought Linda Pol.
“The water spring represents the flow of energy. It is made in such a way that customers can hear a peaceful gurgle of water when they enter the building. It helps regulate the emotions and bring stability in life.”
Linda Pol couldn’t help but notice that it was also skillfully made so that the water was always returning towards the building. A sudden roar startled her. She was so engrossed in her Asian prejudices that she hadn’t seen the lions.
The boy, who had certainly planned that, recited his reassuring script to rich customers.
“These lions, one male and one female, are held in an invisible electro-magnetic cell, they can’t escape or harm you in any way. They are from the Asian species.”
“You mean they are real ?” At first she had thought they were carefully made robots, holograms wouldn’t have done the trick in direct sunlight. But real lions ?
“Don’t tell me”, she continued, “they are here to shoo away the ill-intentioned.” For a moment, she had the impression that the eyes of the boy had shifted to an Asian breed.
“Madame knows her Feng Shui”, said the boy with a fake smile.
Could he be a robot ? What the fuck, all her vanity wasted to a robot ? Where has gone that gorgeous boy who brought her the message ?
You’re paranoid, ma fille, said her mother’s voice.
“Aaahahah…” Linda Paul ended her laugh abrutptly and looked fearsomely at the three newly dubbed Musqueerteers. “You thought the competition was over, girls ? It had only just begun.”
The girls swallowed in unison, all pouting disappeared from their young drag faces.
“Sadie Merrie will guide you through the Time Sewer Machine, and your next challenge will be to arrive clean and shiny at your destination. A broken nail… A lost eyelash”
The crowd of defeated queens and the other clients gaped as Linda Paul’s kept silent longer than necessary.
“And you’ll be out. Ahahah. Everybody here will watch you and follow your every moves for this mission. So remain dignified, you represent all the Queens of our time”
When Linda Paul had talked about the Time Sewer Machine, Maurana had silently hoped it was a typo for Time Sewing Machine. But her hope faded away like a crying widow make-up when she saw where Sadie Merry had led them.
They sadly left the buzz and cheer ups to go through a small door in the backstage of the club. It opened in a dark courtyard. It was already night outside, and a breeze made the young Queens shiver. No light. There was a black hole in the middle of the yard and they could smell what was inside before they could see it.
“Phew”, said Consuela, “It’s worse than inside Maurice’s pants”. It didn’t help relax nor clear the atmosphere.
They heard the noise of an engine starting and suddenly the lights went on. Maurana looked behind her back and saw Sadie Merry near an electricity board with blinking lights. Their was something shiny about her whole being. It looked like a protective extensible gloss suit fitting her sobre attire and her beehive wig perfectly. It didn’t seem to touch the clothes or the humongous wig, and yet it was moving graciously around.
Terry looked at the sewer. The content had begun to turn around and was soon turning fast enough to create a kind of vortex of garbage. “Where are our suits ..?” asked Terry with a hopeful smile, looking around. The older Queen’s gaze killed this hope in a squish.
Sadie Merry rolled her eyes and pushed them in the sewer which was now glowing purple. She could hear the crowd inside the club chanting “Wigs for all! Wigs for all!” She jumped in the trashole, wishing she hadn’t eaten barbecue pork chops before coming.
Evangeline Spiggot put the phone down, and turned to old Flanigan, the cleaning man. “Another request to investigate the death of Ed Steam! Three already, and it’s not even lunch time. I think this is a case for Blithe Gambol.”
“Lift your feet up, will you, I’m trying to make a clean sweep here” Flannely replied.
“I can tell you the answer to that right away,” replied Blithe. “Yes, and no.”
“Er….thanks, I think…”
“You see, the difficulty with facts these days is that none are true, and all are real ~ well I know you know that dear, but it becomes something of a problem when clients want to know the Truth. Probable realities are pretty loosely woven these days; now, I can stitch together the case, and give you a more definitive answer. Or I can stitch together the case differently, and give you a different answer. The question is, really, what is the answer you want to hear?”
“I’ll confer with the clients and call you back.”
It was indeed a pickle that Lavender had gotten herself into. Cucumber Pickle Green, and two coats of it as well, and now the client was complaining that it was the wrong shade of green.
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