“Quickly! Paper towels and boiling water, for pity’s sake!” gasped Teatime, as he hurtled past an astonished Harold and on down the corridor. Harold closed Moon’s door as quietly as possible before setting off after the little monkey.
“What on earth happened to you?” he asked as he caught up, “and – what IS that awful smell?”
“That perishing Moon fellow decided he wanted a midnight snack, so I was forced to sequester myself at short notice in his kitchen rubbish bin – a most unpleasant and malodorous place of concealment, I can tell you.” replied Teatime. “It is a mystery to baffle even the wisest sage why humans, with a world of delicious natural foods to choose from, still insist on filling their bellies with such disgusting lifeless fare as comes in little film-wrapped plastic trays, which they then consume whilst in the mindless, slack-jawed thrall of the television. I ended up sitting in the semi-congealed remains of such a dish – an experience which could actually be improved by a long hot soak in a bath of industrial waste!”
Harold burst out laughing.
“It’s not funny!” Teatime cried, crossly. “I was in there for simply ages. The fellow just would not go back to bed.”
“Begging your pardon,” laughed Harold, “but it is rather hilarious – having to hide in a bin – you couldn’t make this stuff up.”
“No, you jolly well couldn’t!” agreed the little monkey huffily.
“What were you doing in the kitchen, anyway?” asked Harold.
“Oh, I decided to take the opportunity to rustle up a three course dinner, of course!” retorted Teatime, “ What do you THINK I was doing there? I was looking for the key to Moon’s briefcase, the wretched fellow had locked it so I wasn’t able to plant the tracker inside.”
“I see. But you did plant the tracker somewhere?”
“Yes, yes, I settled for slipping it into the lining of his jacket in the end – I just hope he continues to wear it.”
“Well, that’s better than nothing anyway,” said Harold, “I’m just glad we weren’t discovered.”
“Indeed,” agreed Teatime.
Outside the building, the street was fairly dark and quiet. In the distance an ambulance siren wailed. Harold walked down the street and round the corner to where Othello was waiting in the car.
“Mission accomplished,” he said, climbing in.
“What took you so long?” asked Othello. “I was about to come in after you.”
“It’s a long story,” laughed Harold. “But not terribly newsworthy.” He added, seeing Teatime’s scowl. Othello grunted and started up the car.
They soon arrived back at Mr Teeth’s, where only Mercury was still waiting up for them.
“Well, let’s hope Moon doesn’t find the tracker or any traces of our little visit,” he said, after hearing the night’s events, as related by a grinning Harold, “he’s as sharp as a tack, that one, and can probably put two and two together as well as anybody.” He stifled a huge yawn, “Well, I think I’ll turn in now, see you in the morning.” He wandered off in the direction of the bedrooms.
“You know,” said Harold, “all that talk of kitchens and food has made me realise we haven’t had any proper food for hours – those sugar cookies have completely worn off. Fancy sharing some sort of disgusting lifeless fare with me?”
“Very funny,” said Teatime.
They wandered into the kitchen where a quick rummage through Mr Teeth’s cupboards and refrigerator yielded various cold meats, a heap of salad, bread and butter and a pile of enough fresh fruit to make even Teatime salivate a little.
“Right,” declared Harold, “that looks about enough. Let’s try it on for size.”
They set to.
“I hope this tracker device thing works out,” said Teatime, after a while.
“Yeah, it’d be nice to finally make some real progress at last,” agreed Harold. “Just think, we might actually solve the case in a few days. I can’t wait!”
“Really?” asked Teatime, “I’d have thought you would have wanted it to last as long as possible.”
“Why would I want that?” asked Harold, puzzled.
“Well, old biscuit,” explained the little monkey, “Once the case is finally over, these humans aren’t exactly going to let you hang about up here, are they? It’ll be back to the Basement for you before you can say Jack Robinson, won’t it?”
“Oh, I hadn’t thought of that.” Said Harold.
He put down his knife and fork, his appetite had suddenly disappeared.