Ray pulled the car over.
"Well, here we are, my Lord," he announced, somewhat unnecessarily. "And here are the things Mr Teatime asked for." He handed a carrier bag to Harold.
"Er, thanks," said the demon, "Well, it was nice meeting you and thanks for the lift."
"It was our pleasure, my Lord," said Nicole, "If you ever need us again, our number is in the phone."
Harold and Teatime got out of the car and watched for a few moments as it pulled away and disappeared into the traffic.
"Nice people," said Harold.
"Actually, old bean," Teatime corrected him, "they're not – at least by most people's standards. Now, let's find somewhere for a drink and a bite, after that long drive I'm feeling a bit frazzled, I don't mind telling you."
After the noise and bustle of the city street, Cafe Nirvana was a haven of cool and calm. In the corner, real live musicians were playing Beethoven's String Quartet No 1 in F major. While he and Teatime waited for the food and drink to arrive, Harold cocked an appreciative ear in their direction.
"The allegro in this is so joyful," he commented after a few minutes, "so sprightly, it's like a bright necklace of notes winding into your ear. You know, Ludwig has such a light touch here, compared to some of his other stuff. Why I remember - "
"Yes, yes. If you say so, old shoe," yawned Teatime, music appreciation not being one of his specialities, "Now let's have a look in Ray's goody bag."
Harold emptied the contents of the carrier bag onto the table. There was a mobile phone (a Rainbow Industries Edge-5100T, no less, with solar charger), a wallet full of money, some sunglasses and a baseball cap. Harold laughed at these last two items.
"The old disguise kit, eh?"
"Well, it pays to be circumspect, old fruit," said Teatime, "The human police are still looking for the man in the CCTV film, you know – which is you, in case you'd forgotten."
"I haven't forgotten," replied Harold, "But why don't I just talk to them and tell them I had nothing to do with the fire anyway? That way, the problem is removed altogether."
At that moment the food arrived – a nice juicy steak for Harold and a fresh fruit salad (and wedge of chocolate cake) for Teatime.
"Such naivete," sighed Teatime when the waitress had gone, "Just telling the police you weren't there won't be enough, there'll be questions and we'd be tied up for hours or days even. They might even try to take your fingerprints and we can't risk that."
This was true, for while Harold had been kitted out with a basic set of earthly credentials: Social Security number, birth certificate and driver's licence courtesy of the Black Sheep working in the SSA, IRS, DMV and so on, Harold did not have fingerprints or DNA. This was not a crime, of course, but was bound to raise questions if discovered as part of a police investigation.
"I think, " said Teatime, changing the subject, "we should wait until this evening and then take a look around Baron Samedi's then. I doubt we'll find anything, but we must be thorough."
"Indeed we must," agreed Harold happily. In the meantime, there was food, drink and glorious music.
Agent Mercury's phone rang. He picked it up, listened for a short while, grunted occasional acknowledgements and then hung up. He turned to the others.
"That was Opal," he said, "Someone's coming to meet us and we're to wait for him before moving in."
There was a collective groan of frustration from the other agents: they were so close to their target, just a block away in fact, and now they had to wait, maddening!
"So, who's coming?" asked Prada.
"Someone from the Penthouse, apparently," replied Mercury.
There was a stunned silence in the car. The Penthouse only ever involved itself directly with earthly affairs in the most exceptional of circumstances – and the apprehension of one rather puny demon didn't qualify as exceptional, surely!