Harold teased a tiny fragment of china into place and concentrated really hard. The fragment became part of the whole. There was no noise, no spark of eldritch blue light or anything, the shard was just suddenly not separate any more. Harold flopped backwards into his chair and let out a breath.
“I know, and I’m beginning to wish I hadn’t started this now,” he said ruefully, “This is tough!”
India’s mug was about half-reassembled – a triumph of gaudy flowers and pink lettering.
“Well it’ll do you good to exercise your abilities once in a while,” replied Teatime, eyeing Harold’s handiwork critically. “Not bad,” he murmured, “Not so much as a crack anywhere. Would have been quicker if you’d used glue though.”
“A true artiste such as myself does not use glue,” Harold said airily.
There came a knock on the door and Moon entered with delicious-smelling takeaway cartons and cans of drink.
“I thought you might like Chinese for a change.” He said, placing the goodies on the table. He caught sight of the half-repaired mug.
“Wow!” he exclaimed, “I didn’t know you could do that! India will be thrilled when she sees it!”
“I rather think not,” said Teatime drily, “My bet is that it will be in the bin before you can say Jack Robinson.”
“Ten dollars says you’re wrong!” declared Moon.
“You’re on.” replied the monkey, sourly eyeing Harold, who was spooning – or chopsticking – strings of steaming flaccid noodles into his mouth at a rate of knots. Becoming aware of the little monkey’s baleful stare, he paused, several noodles still hanging out of his mouth.
“Great Cthulu’s ghost,” sighed Teatime, “A little decorum if you can possibly manage it, dear boy, a little decorum.”
“Sorry,” said Harold, having quickly made the noodles disappear, “I was really, really hungry. Must be all the jigsaw work.”
“Wasted effort, I tell you.” Said Teatime, shaking his head, “That woman hates you with a passion.”
“But I’ve never done anything to her.” Harold reached for a carton of duck in plum sauce.
“Perhaps she’s had a run-in with another demon in the past.” Said Moon, “I could find out for you if you like.”
“How?” asked Harold.
“It’ll be in her files I expect,” replied the young agent.
Harold frowned, “I’m no lawyer but I’m guessing there are rules about poking around in people’s personal information. Anyway, we’d probably find out her animosity was down to some demon misusing an apostrophe or something.”
Moon shrugged, “Heh! A demon with moral angst over accessing someone else secrets, whatever next? Well if you change your mind…” He got up and left the room.
“What an odd little fellow,” said Teatime.
Next morning, Harold, Teatime, Mercury, Prada, Othello and India were gathered once more in the Salamander room.
“So how long do we give Box to come up with this more and more spurious-seeming agent Iris and that shipping receipt?” said Othello.
“I take it he hasn’t called back then.” Said Mercury.
“Nope,” replied Othello ,”And I tried calling him again this morning: no answer.”
“He’d better not be pulling some kind of prank,” said Prada, “Cos if he is..”
“No, no, as mad as he is,” replied Mercury, cutting her off, “He’s not the type. Once upon a time he was one of our very best agents. In the nineties, he virtually single-handedly took down the New Genesis cult, he infiltrated no end of enemy operations, spotted more Fallen than you could wave a stick at.” He trailed off, shaking his head sadly. “He’s not playing games, I’m sure of it.”
“Perhaps we had better pay him another visit,” suggested India. “Maybe the monkey was right, maybe there was someone else with Box and that’s why he can’t or won’t answer us.”
“Well, we don’t have any other leads at the moment,” agreed Mercury, “Let’s go, people!”
From where he was parked some way down the street and across the road from Aunt Aggie’s, Mr Teeth was in an excellent position to observe the small group of people – including one trumpet-playing little punk - come out of the building and climb into a large car. Yes, he could have let Peck and his associates handle this but, truth to tell, he was getting to the point where the PI’s condescending manner was becoming more and more irritating, as good as he was at what he did. Besides, with the club still closed, there wasn’t all that much else for him to do anyway. Mr Teeth waited a few moments then started his engine, easing his nondescript vehicle out into the road after the departing OGS car.