Tobias, after finishing his creme brulee, marched back out the alley and right up to Lawrence Base. The sailor was finalizing his own preparations for the journey onboard the Lady Juliana.
"Sooo..." Tobias began, running a gentle fingertip along the sailor's luggage, "You wouldn't want a direct command of your sovereign to be denied, would you? As I said before, I am a representative of the King himself. I mean, you wouldn't want to spit in the eye of the law, would you?"
Tobias stood up tall and firm. "Without proper papers, sirrah, I would." He gave a salute and then went back to his case.
"Excellent," Tobias said. "You're acquitting yourself of your job magnificently. However, it seems that my friend Oliver and I have... misplaced our boarding papers. Would a promise of great riches and acclaim persuade your entry-latch to rising? Eh?"
Oliver sprang into the conversation from an open sewer, twinkling his fingers and promising, "Jewels! Shiny, shiny jewels! Ooh, and gold, too. Jewels with gold in them!"
Lawrence Base didn't look up from folding his lacy undergarments. "I'm going to ignore you both, now," he said. "If heaven be hell and my wife a chicken-monger, then you shall locate your papers, or a magistrate that shall substantiate your outrageous claims. Only then will I grant you board. But until then, away, squirrels."
Oliver shrieked, "You'll pay for this!" which finally got Lawrence to make eye contact. "With money," the sprightly little man threatened.
Tobias pulled Oliver back from the surly sailor's glower. "Come, Oliver," he said, "our man justice will have his sway. We must find boarding papers. Our papers, of course. From the King. We'll just go now." Lawrence had already boarded the ship by the time Tobias' jaw was finished flapping. Tobias turned his ugly countenance to Oliver, saying, "In all Grael's Wharf there never was a man so righteous and indignant as he. Admirable, surely, but downright opposite to our aims!"
Oliver agreed, " 'struth, a good man. How often they appear when unneeded, how rarely when they would be helpful. All's one, I've a friend who may be able to persuade our high-aimed devil-porter. The Opal Pool Consulate has a mission here, and I know of a certain Nikolai Glech who works there. He's atrocious but somehow came upon powers of magistrate. Some say he earned his position by finding himself in another, but we'll leave the perfumed mysteries of dandies at court veiled. I've news on Nikolai that would be the death knell for his escapades, and I put forth that we should use said information to gain Sir Base's admittance."
"Oliver!" Tobias exclaimed, "Your ideas spring to life from the heavens out of the muddy soil of your mind I know not how. But thank the gods for a scoundrel such as yourself. To Glech!"
In a small, dark corner of the seediest part of Grael's Wharf, Oliver and Tobias located the Opal Pools Consulate and Nikolai Glech. They found him in the fountain outside the consulate, bathing and eating flies.
"Gentlemen!" Nikolai greeted the men, "How may I help you dahlings? Money, maybe? Five, sex pounds?"
Tobias shuddered. "No, actually, we're seeking entry on the Lady Juliana."
"The Lady Juliana?" Nikolai asked, surprised. "I'll never understand you people. Well, I don't have the moneys to be giving out. Sex, seven pounds, no. None."
Oliver got down on his knees, which put him at poodle-height, and begged, "Nikolai, please, I know of the sway you hold over Lord Pinch. Why, he rises and sets over your good graces."
Nikolai blushed and farted. "Oh, stop it now. I will make blush. Eats true, though, we've been up and down and through it all together. Sex years I've served under him."
"And you wouldn't want anything to come between you, would you?" Oliver asked.
"Not unless he were very strong... of mind. And built... of good stock. And large... of breath. I really like long-winded-ness," Nikolai daydreamed, combing his hair with a Hello Kitty brush and gurgling like a baby.
"Well, we would ask a small favor of you, then," Oliver said. "We must to Bask, and the board-captain will not let us on ship."
"You would come here and threaten me with disgrace, all for boarding a floating whorehouse bound to a land of depravity and corn? I love it!" Nikolai squealed. "You two are so nice and naughty. What are you, twenty five, twenty sex?
"Sir, I can't help but notice that you keep saying sex instead of six," Tobias couldn't help but notice.
Nikolai waved his hands as if performing a magic trick. "No!" he said in a dramatic voice, "I don't!"
Tobias and Oliver exchanged unimpressed glances.
"They disappear!" Nikolai announced, with a great flourish of his hands and arms. Of course, they didn't. "Oh, well," Nikolai said with a shrug. "Give me five or sex minutes, I'll be right back."
Tobias roared, "Again! You did it again!"
Nikolai smiled and said, "You are so pretty, but so confused. Stay here, pretties, and I'll get your sex. Papers, I mean, your papers. Cough."
"Golden!" Oliver said. "Our strange friend here is a stroke of luck indeed!"
"That's what he said."
NEXT TIME: POPPYCOCK