Sorry about the absence. I hope to be back by
September 15 October 6, with a full explanation. Or, at least, a decent excuse.
Nicoletta opened her door to Banny and Lissa.
The blind girl had a bandage on her left wrist, a black eye visible beneath her glasses, and numerous minor scrapes, cuts, and bruises, some bandaged, some not.
She greeted the two Ring-Wearers, and led them in to her apartment. Instead of her normal thin white folding cane she used a much thicker cane, able to bear some of her weight, as her left ankle obviously could not. She showed them to the couch, and told them if they wished refreshment, she would appreciate it if they could help themselves.
"Wow," asked Banny. "What happened to you?"
"Want us to get the son of a bitch who did it? 'Cause we will!" added Lissa.
Mr. Fwuzzums whined and Nicoletta chuckled. She said, "Tempting, but no, thank you. 'Son of a bitch' is apropos, though. Mr. Fwuzzums, care to tell them what happened?"
Mr. Fwuzzums looked like a dog being punished for making a mess on the carpet. "I indulged in a mis-timed atavistic impulse."
"You what?" aske Lissa.
"He chased a squirrel. While I was holding his harness."
"The harness was neither glued nor electrified, Corvair. You could have release your grip at any time."
"Not at the speed you were going! I didn't dare!"
Lissa said, "I gotta newspaper you can roll up and use."
"That is not why we asked you over. We have a serious problem." Mr Fwuzzums said.
"I knew it!" Banny shouted. "You want us to solve the Gilligan's Island problem!"
"What Gilligan's Island problem?" As soon as Mr. Fwuzzums asked, he knew he'd made a mistake. Nicoletta groaned. Lissa quickly made her way to get a drink, or something.
"In the theme song to Gilligan's Island, they say 'If not for the courage of the fearless crew, The Minnow would be lost. The Minnow would be lost.'" He actually sang this part. His voice wasn't too bad, either. "But, if you look at it, the boat had a skipper, but the only crew was Gilligan. Everyone else was a passenger. Gilligan's not couragous or fearless. Were there more crew-members who got lost? Are they on a different island? Did they make it back home?"
"We need to discuss something more recent. And less dopey. Is everyone sitting down?"
"I cannot tell. My eyes are closed and my paws are over them. The truly sad part is, he was in earnest."
"Yeah," said Lissa. "We're sitting down. What?"
"I have tracked a woman I believe to be a gonner. Her name is Elizabeth Panderson. She owns a real estate agency."
"Wow, that's a coincidence," Banny said. "Lissa's friend Lizzie, her name's Elizabeth Panderson. She also has her own agency. What are the odds of two women with the same name having the same job?"
Her voice dangerously monotone, Lissa said, "tell me Banny's right. Tell me it's someone with the same name."
"The coincidence here is that a gonner is friends with a Worthy One. That is where we wonder the odds."
"No," said Lissa. "She can't be a gonner. Because... I know she's not. And I know she's not a gonner, because she's not a gonner. So that settles it." Banny put his arm around the short thin woman. She added one last, "she's not a gonner."
"Can't argue with that logic."
"Hush. Lissa, listen to me. Within the past few months there have been at least eleven murders or disappearances that have directly or indirectly profited Panderson Real Estate. At least nine known or suspected gonners have purchased or sold property though them. Contractors, buyers, sellers, government officials, and others will sometimes... change their minds about a topic. Suddenly. For no reason. Frequently this change is disadvantageous to them, but it is always good for Panderson."
Lissa said "you call that evidence?"
Go to Chapter 42: Life, The Universe, And Everything
Go to Chapter 44: NO NO NO NO NO!
Bring your friends into the Gonspiracy! Tell them about
and get their eternal gratitude, and a chance to win $10,000 and a Sony DVD Player, because using your friends for your own personal enrichment, and having them owe you for it, is the gonner way!
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