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<P><FONT SIZE=2>tellme</FONT>

"Ew. Ew! EW! Sibyl! SIBYL!!"

The door to Sibyl's office flew open. Sibyl herself emerged more slowly, glaring at Cassie over the tops of her glasses. "Cassandra. We have an intercom for a reason. Please learn how to use it."

"Sibyl, he's back! The jaypeggy guy!"

"Let's have a look."

"It's all covered in this gross junk. I can hardly read it, it's gotta be obscene. And he's like all 'BOO!' and 'tellme'. Tell him what? It's just - my gawd, it creeps me out just looking at it!"


"And what's this stuff about mimes? What do retarded street performers have to do with anything? Is this like some sick fetish, like he wants me to wear black spandex and paint my face white for him? Ew!!"

"I believe this was intended for somebody else."

"I heard once that mimes are scared of lunch meats or something."

"Don't be preposterous. Throw it away, Cassie, we won't have anything to do with it."

Sibyl returned to her office. But the matter did not sit well with Cassie. Despite disposing of the offending missive, she continued to brood. She, as her personal facilitator once told her, needed closure. By simply sitting and waiting for these messages to come in, she thought, she was allowing the creep to have power over her. She decided, with a toss of her hair, that this was not for her. She would handle it Pythia's way. She started quietly searching for where they had hidden her gun.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It's dark. Like, really really dark, and foggy, too. There's so much atmosphere, you could spread it on your bagel in the morning instead of low-fat cream soy cheese. Like Halloween, only, you know, without the jack-o-lanterns, or kids dressed up and going trick-or-treating.

Yeah, it's dark. And there's corruption and sin, just everywhere. Like by this street lamp, where three figures - one amazingly dressed, the other two kind of yech. But that's my job, talking to thugs who buy their suits from bearded guys who guaranTEE stuff. My name is McBlonde - Cassie McBlonde. With an 'E', thanks.

So, the short guy's looking at me kind of funny.

"So, uh... you're that Kid that Pyth's draggin' around, right? If you don't mind my sayin', we were kinda expectin' Pyth to show, you know what I mean? Nothin' personal or nothin', uh, miss."


"Pythia's playing housekeeper for a troll. You got a problem with that?"

"Uh, no, no. That's fine, I mean, we was just surprised, you know?"


"Especially seein' you here, with that pink trenchcoat and everything."


I narrow my eyes, real mean-like. "It's magenta."


"It's the new brown."


"Okay, okay, sorry. Eddie?"




"Okay, so, I'm getting impatient here," I say. "I need to know where to track down this creep. And just so you know, I've got a gun in my right pocket and a pack of bologna in my left pocket, and I'm not afraid to use either. Capricorn?"


"I said, Capricorn?"

"Yeah, I, uh, heard what you said... I mean, Henry Miller ain't my thing, you know, I'm more into the 19th Century Russians, but..."


"You know! Capricorn! Like, it's French for 'Get it?'"

"Uhh... sure. Sure, okay, yeah, uh, capricorn."


"Eddie, if you don't shuddup I'll shut you up myself, if you know what I mean."

I tell them about the stuff this guy'd been sending me. The short guy nods a lot.

"Yeah, I get it, I get it... sounds like real deviant stuff, you know, real perverted and everything."


"It's all this post-modernism, you know what I'm sayin'? I blame Beckett, all that Waitin' for Godot stuff."


"So where can I find this Beckett creep?"

"Naw, what I mean is that, it's the zeitgeist, you know? It's gotten all decadent, if you know what I mean. Beckett's cognitive dissonance paved the way for guys like Miller and Mamet and Ellis and Copeland... uh... yeah. You know, skip it."



"Shuddup, Eddie. Okay... you talking about MIMEs, there's one guy you gotta worry about - Baron Von MIME. This don't sound like his kinda thing, but you never know."

"Oh, cool! He's a Baron?"



"Eddie? Eddie... never mind. I'll talk to you later."

Now, I'm no slouch. I get a lot of flak from Sibyl and Pythia for not being too smart, but what they don't understand is this - I'm crafty. I may not be smart all the time, but picking and choosing when to be smart, that's where the real smartness is. You have to be smart enough to know when to be smart. Try explaining that to them, though. Anyway, I start thinking.

"So this Baron, he's rich."

"Kid, he's got it in buckets. I heard a rumour he was thinking of buying Norway."

"You mean that mail order stuff? That's pretty cheap, isn't it?"

"That's Amway. Norway is a country in Scandinavia."

"Yeah, it's got fjords."

"It's the birthplace of Ibsen, too."

"Oh, okay! Wow, so that'd cost a lot, huh? Especially those fjords."

"You got it, dollface. So, I wouldn't go messing with him, you know what I'm sayin'? He's got ways of makin' sure you don't catch your bus in the morning if you know what I mean. Me and Eddie, no way we'd wanna -- "

"Oh, that's okay! I've changed my mind. Thanks guys!"

I flash them my most devastating smile by way of payment and walk away. The short guy's looking after me kind of puzzled, and Eddie's talking his ear off. I like Eddie, he's kind of cute. But I was thinking - crafty, right? - that if this Baron's got a lot of money, maybe playing along a little wouldn't hurt. I could get some cool stuff out of him, like expensive gifts, before I turned him down for good.

See, that's smart. I guess we know who the real brains of Delphic Research is now, huh?