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Part II

            Listening for the snick that signals locking picking success, I strained once more to hear any sound coming from the hallway. Silence. Good. Crextin, I knew, was across town conducting some business or other. Hence the choice to do some housekeeping. He would most likely call it no good snooping, but I supposed everyone was entitled to their opinion. The filing cabinets had yielding basic case files and lists of townspeople who could be useful providing one performed certain favors for them. The wall safe held some cash, a gold pocket watch and a revolver case. An empty revolver case. The desk proved more lucrative. The bottom drawers held more files, a travel kit and another gun case. This one held an impressive collection of smaller pistols. Still not what I was after. The long drawer at the front held a few scribbled notes. One was particularly interesting. Today’s date was scrawled in the right corner.


            Dearest Shell,

                        The tone of your last letter troubled me. If you are feeling overworked, we could take some time and visit Cairo. The spas, the desert, the dark.  Just as before. No one need know if you prefer it that way, though I hardly think our rendevous are a secret at this point. Speaking of secrets, how well do you know this Lavender? And this business with the threats? Something isn’t hanging right here. She’s tough as nails, to be sure, but she’s learned to do that. What was she before? Why has she changed? There is something about her I don’t entirely trust. She’s too quiet . . . too stealthy. You are obviously quite fond of her, but be careful. People are not always what they seem. As you well know.




            Well then. This was indeed a side of Mr. Crextin I had not anticipated. The top right drawer was the last to search. This too was locked, but not on any stellar level. At first it appeared there was only a calender and a pad with scribbled case notes on it. Strange. Why lock that? Feeling around in the drawer I discovered the drawer should have been much deeper considering its size in the desk itself. My fingers eventually found the tiny mechanism that sprung the hidden compartment. There it was. The object I was seeking. Crextin’s secret stash of booze. Who was it secret from? Was he simply hiding it to have a nip now and then or did it go deeper than that? Did Shell know it was there and helped herself? One thing was certain: Crextin knew Shell had a problem. But was he helping her in trying once again to pretend it didn’t exist or hiding his booze to keep Shell’s mouth off of it?


            The cellar was damp, dank and just plain nasty. One would think a city building of vital records would be kept clean and orderly. Even if it was only the cellar. Geddes glanced left and right nervously.

            “This is not a very good idea, Lav dear.” Geddes breathed.

            “We’ll be fine Geddes, between the two of us how many houses have we broken into for information.”

            Geddes smirked. “I admit to nothing. In my defense, however, that was different. I was simply using my detective skills to glean information from an absent source. You know my hearing, I knocked and really thought I heard someone say come in.”

            “Mm.Hm. Was this before or after your bobby pin happened to find its way into the lock? I know a guy over by Waterloo Bridge who has an affinity for lock picking tools. That’s where I got my set. Tell him you’re a friend of Lav and you’ll get them a day faster.”

Geddes’s eyebrow rose.

“Not because I harmed or threatened him. He’s just a friend. Always very forthcoming with his information.” I whispered.

A scraping door alerted us to the night guard’s hourly check. Geddes dove behind some stacked boxes while I found an abandoned desk to crouch beneath. The guards shoes were worn and scuffed as they came within inches of my hiding place. The flashlight beam passed above the desk and passed the boxes where Geddes held her breath. A rather large intimidating spider worked rapidly at a web in an upper corner of the space beneath the desk. I stifled a shriek and the guard stopped and turned. His flashlight roamed over the desk again. He came closer. His thick middle brushing the edge of the wood as he leaned in for a closer look. A mouse squeaked and ran when his hand disturbed an old cigar box. The guard gasped and jumped back. The beam of the flashlight moved away toward the far side of the room, then disappeared. The door clicked behind the guard as his heavy footfalls went up the stairs.

I was only too glad to leave Mr. Spider to his work as I crawled out from beneath the desk.

“Lets get what we came for and get OUT of here.” Geddes hissed. “What are we looking for?”

“Missing records.” I answered and moved along the shelves of files arranged in succeeding years. “I went to the hall of records a few days ago and asked the clerk if he could get me the business and financial records of New York from the archives for the year when I found myself the subject of dirty gossip and legal headaches. Also the police blotter and any headlines of more prominent arrests.  He sent me a note telling me they arrived this morning. There were two months missing. Like the guess which?”

Geddes waited.

“The exact two months the mayor refused to return my calls or see me and answered ‘no comment’ when asked why the respectable Medical Examiner, not to mention his personal physician, was suddenly under investigation. When I asked why they could be missing. He got nervous, but said it was strange. The researcher he spoke with could only say someone from the mayor’s office had requested them and he was instructed to say nothing more. Oddly enough, all the court proceedings have also vanished. The D.A.’s office is saying exactly nothing, but he could and did give me the other months and newspaper clippings of more noteworthy crime. Those are a matter of public record and the mayor would be a fool to try to suppress that.

“What makes you think they’re here?” Geddes asked as she quickly, yet methodically sifted through files.

I shrugged. “Just a lark really. If we find nothing, at least we looked.”

Geddes scowled. “That isn’t how you work. You wouldn’t risk arrest and whoever is tailing you finding out you’re digging if you didn’t have a good reason.”

“You know me too well.” I said smiling. “I’ll have to work on that. It is still a hunch, but I thought that since those following me know I’m in London and have bothered to make themselves known, there may be something they want to stay hidden. That clerk knew more than he was telling. His eyes kept darting around like a scared deer. Someone got to him before I did and made very sure those records disappeared. I don’t know if he would be stupid enough to put them down here, but there’s a good possibility. He’s just a frightened kid in over his head.”

Geddes murmured agreement and moved the boxes she hid behind during our close call. ”Lav, look at this.” She pointed to a scuff mark near the boxes and the bottom box which was now sitting by itself. A thick layer of dust had several swipe marks. “Ever hear of dust gathering on something covered?”

The box contained yellowed pages of dates, money transfers and minutes from committee meetings. As Geddes thumbed through them quickly she noticed a small stack of newly copied sheets.

“Well, well.” She held the papers up triumphantly. “And someone was even kind enough to leave us a hair.”

“Count me out then, Edmund hates me.”

Geddes snorted. “He doesn’t seem to make friends easily. I’ll send Smith over there. They’re chummy. Have you met Smith?”

I nodded. “Briefly. He seems nice, very quiet. A real chamaeleon.”

After ensuring everything was as it had been before, we slipped through the window and headed down the street.

“Now,” Geddes said, “all we have to do is get a sample of that clerk kid’s hair.”

“Done.” I replied.

“Do I want to know?”

“Nothing too adventurous. Rather mundane. The Triads happened to tell the Hall of Records they needed certain documents sorted and notarized, but only by a certain clerk of their appointment. I watched the clerk’s habits over a few days and noticed he always brought a black overcoat with him. My opportunity came when he was helping someone, took it off and put it on the back of a nearby chair. It was too easy to take some tape to it and acquire the hairs.  As it was behind the desk, I was fairly certain any hairs found would be his.

“He didn’t think it odd for the same person asking for apparently forbidden records also happened to be personally chosen by the Triads.” Geddes asked with wrinkled eyebrows.

“Of course at the time I was wearing a blond wig I obtained from the barber I know in Shanghai, had on dark makeup and a mole on the right side of my upper lip. The Triads agreed to help me as far as getting me in the door as repayment for a small service, but would go no farther.”

Geddes chuckled as we reached the agency and went inside.


            The next day I passed Crextin in the hallway. He gave me nod, “Lav.”

“Crexy.” I said smoothly.

He stopped and looked at me with narrowed eyes. “I knew it. I knew someone had been in my desk. How did you get in there?”

Why bother denying it? “Child’s play, darling. Child’s play.”

“You have some nerve you little vixen.” he snarled.

“Then fire me.”

“Can’t. Shell and Keebs would never allow it.” I frowned, then remembered his pet name for Geddes.

“I simply like to know what needs knowing.” I shrugged.

“And what is it you would like to know?” His temper was quickly rising. It did briefly occur to me that no one was else was in the building and Crextin’s reputation as no nonsense preceded him. I decided straight forward may now be the best course of action.

“I was looking for your booze.”

His eyes widened, clearly that was not the answer he expected. He seemed amused.

“Oh no, I don’t drink, but I’m sure you’re aware Shell had or has a problem with it.”

The rage came back into his eyes. “I know far more of Shell than you ever will.”

“I don’t recall you being there when I found her in alleys and had to drag back to her apartment before she got mugged or worse.” I snapped.

When he opened his mouth to reply I put my hand up. “Wait, this isn’t getting us anywhere. I honestly don’t want to fight with you. I actually like you, although I’m sure there will be times when I wonder why exactly, but you seem to care very deeply for Shell. All I want to know is are you giving her the booze or keeping her from it?”

He looked thoughtful for a moment, then sighed. “I’ve been attempting to keep her from it for months. I have to change the latest hiding place in my desk as she found that. Surely you didn’t miss the way she swayed in here your first day?”

“That was why I went into your office. Well, for the most part. Geddes and I have talked about it, but could never figure what to do.”

“I’ve been able to stem most of her supply. No townie will give her any for fear of instant retaliation. She screams at me, but she knows it’s for her own good.”

“That’s all I wanted to know.” I said quietly, relieved I wouldn’t have to fight those demons alone.

Heading to my office, I heard Crextin say, “Next time you want to know something, ask.”

I tossed my head and winked. “And spoil my fun?”

            Shady looked concerned as she knocked on my office door. “I asked Penelope about those threads. I don’t know whether to be relieved we may have a lead or frightened as to where it seems to point. She tossed the small plastic baggy containing the threads and a note from Penelope on my desk.


               What on earth are you working on now, dear? These are no mere threads from some slovenly criminal goon. They are of the highest quality shipped directly from the silk weavers of Shanghai. I actually happened to know where these particular threads went. I was commissioned not too long ago to sew a new suit for the mayor of New York, Joseph Hollis. I wondered why they weren’t using Kobayashis, but the young man that came in assured me the mayor had a special fondness for my London stitching. I’m not sure why, but I didn’t really believe him. I did, however, need the money they offered. The same young man came in for it two weeks ago and I received handsome payment. I was asked ‘for security purposes’ not to tell anyone who I made the suit for. That was the last I heard of it until you came in yesterday.



I threw my hands in the air. “Well honestly. I’m about ready to tell them all to go jump in a lake.”

Kopper poked his head around the door. “Anyone I know?”

“If only,” I muttered, “here’s the latest in the Lav Legacy.” I handed him the small note from Penelope.

“This is getting bad Lav. Joseph Hollis? Not only is he the Mayor, but also a dedicated soldier of the Order of Socrates.”

“What does Joseph Hollis have to do with this?”

I jumped and Shady gasped. To his credit, Kopper barely flinched. “Good gracious Simon! How do you do that? One minute you aren’t there and then--you are!”

One side of Simon’s mouth barely lifted, “You must be edgy. I usually can’t sneak up on you.” Simon held out his hand for the paper, but Kopper held on to it. They seemed to study each other intently. Each sizing the other up. I rolled my eyes.

“Gentlemen. As oh-so-sexy as this display of manliness is, can we get on with the problem at hand?” Shady snickered, then gave up and laughed loudly.

Neither man seemed moved. The tension in the room climbed rapidly.

Kopper suddenly growled, “What does he have to do with it?”

“He,” Simon hissed, snatching the paper from Kopper with a lightening flash of his hand, “is her husband. What do you know about it?”

I raised my eyebrows at Shady. I rarely saw this side of Simon. I didn’t know Kopper all that well yet, but I suspected this too was an infrequent display of aggression. The two men stepped closer and I prepared to break up a fight.

            The window smashed inward, shattering glass in all directions. Simon and Kopper threw us to the floor. An object rolled near the desk and exploded, spewing thick red liquid over the walls and the four bodies on the floor. I could hear scurrying feet as Crextin, Shell and Geddes ran toward the noise. A stranger arrived first, coming from the opposite direction.

Simon rolled to me over, running his hands up and down my body in search of injuries. Assured   was filthy but unharmed, he helped me sit up. The four of us looked at each other than at the others in the hallway. None of us were hit.

            Geddesl ventured the question, “What are you covered in?”

            I rubbed my fingers together and then sniffed. “Pig’s blood?”

            Shell attempted to move around Crextin. “Let me see!” Her eyes scanned the room and fell on the bag protecting the letter. Wrinkling her nose, she opened the plastic bag and began to read the letter aloud:


            Lavender Crompton– You have given several warnings. There will be no more. The time for negotiation has passed. Your time is done. Tell your fellow agents they are not far behind.”


            “Is that one signed? The least they could have done is give me an idea who it is that wants me, and now everyone I’m associated with, dead.” The last came out on a little sob. Normally I never cried. I would sooner use my time to get business done with my stiletto boots. I chalked this momentary show of emotion to lack of sleep and stress.

            “What now?” Shell broke in.

            “We leave for New York.” Crextin barked. “The answer is there, we have to find it before it finds us.”

            “What about the agency?” Geddes asked.

            “We’ll leave Cordy, Alex, Lawrence and Red in charge, warn them to be careful of course, but I don’t think they’re in much danger. Alex, Red and Lawrenence are fairly new and Cordy is villain hunting. She may not even be back before we are.” Crextin answered.

            “First, a question.” I said.

            “Don’t we have enough of those already?” the stranger in the hallway responded.

            “In this case, it’s an easy one. Who are you?”

Geddes hastily intervened. “Lav, not the best time of course, but this is Alex. Our newest recruit.”      


That settled, I looked at Simon, sure he would protest to New York. He said nothing, merely nodded. What choice did we have?

            “We could use some of your Intelligence contacts, Si.” I said. I was sure everyone was aware of what Simon did and I wasn’t worried. If there is one thing Shaded Legends can do, it’s keep a secret.

            Hurriedly I packed a few belongings in my black valise. Shell entered the office with a colorful hat box and quietly shut the door behind her.

            “I know what you’re planning Lav. Even if you leave for New York right now, we’ll follow you. You can’t keep us out of this now.”

            “It’s better this way. If I go, they’ll follow me and not the rest of you. This isn’t your mess.” I said desperately. She had to understand.

            “It’s a Shaded Legends mess now. I do, however, agree with one thing. If you go, they’ll follow you.”

            Setting the box on the desk she continued, “Me, on the other hand, they would be less likely to follow. What could be more natural than my going to the city where I have an apartment?”

            She opened the box and drew out a long curly blond wig that looked a bit too authentic for peace of mind, dark glasses, a light blue dress, a passenger ticket and gold key. “As your Director what I am about to suggest is in fact not a suggestion. More of an order. You put all this on, take the ticket-that’s in my name-use the key on my apartment door and stay there until the rest of us arrive. At suitable intervals, of course. I have a suitcase packed that looks nothing like your black valise filled with clothing of mine. Remember, NO purple. Simon will be on the ship, disguised and watching. Crex will accompany you to New York.”

            I figured at this point there was little point in arguing and could think of only one thing to say, “I’ll try to keep my hands to myself.”

            We looked at each other for a moment and then burst into a much needed laugh.


New York was much as I remembered it. Noisy, boisterous and busy. I felt vaguely ridiculous in my blond wig, sidling next to Crextin, trying my best to assume Shell’s trademark sway of the hips.

            “I feel like a fool.” I said between my teeth.

            “Hush up SHELL, you look great.” Crextin answered with a smirk. He pulled a flask from his pocket. “Drink up.”

            I was just able to cover my surprised expression. “I thought Shell didn’t drink anymore and you know how I feel about it.”

            Crex grunted. “I know that and you know that. Whoever is following us is still under the assumption that Shell enjoys the booze. If Shell is drunk in her apartment, she isn’t around town uncovering a plot. Besides, it’s juice. Appropriately enough, grape juice. I knew you’d be missing your purple.” He winked and I couldn’t help but chuckle.



            At a nose from behind me I turned to see Red slip through the window in Shell’s apartment. Closely behind was Alex.

            Eyebrow raised I remarked, “Uh, you do know the door is right there. And I thought Crex left you guys and Lawrence in charge while Cordy is villain hunting.”

            Alex straightened dusting himself off. “Couldn’t risk the door and didn’t want to miss out on the fun. The place is being watched. Real slick, it took some time to be sure he was there. Thankfully, the roof gave me a good vantage point.”

            Red peeped through the closed blinds. “Gave US a good view.”

            “That still doesn’t explain why you’re here.” I said. “I’m grateful, but this is dangerous and you shouldn’t have to pay for something that is my doing. It’s me they want. I was just about to leave.”

            “Oh, you mean for this secret meeting at the warehouse at the end of Fourth and Main?” Red asked.

            “What–how did you know?”

            “Shell thought you might feel you had to do the stupid, yet honorable thing and strike out on your own. She took it upon herself to have the Crexster go routinely go through your things and question anyone seen around the building that didn’t look familiar.”

            “Yes, but–” I stopped. It was no use. Legends was bound and determined to see this through with me. I couldn’t help but feel touched, but also responsible for putting friends in harms way. “What now?”

            “I’m in alright with the Order of Socrates.” Alex answered. “Not enough to see the mayor, but enough to get my foot in the door. City Hall is definitely behind this, but I can’t see that it goes to the mayor. I spoke with Jerry Bade, the mayor’s assistant and a clerk named–Mona, Mona Edwards. They both seemed as though they knew more than they wanted to say, but nothing budged them.”

            Crex walked in. “Go to the meeting Lav. We already have someone there watching.”

            I opened my mouth to protest, but he stopped me. “No, Lav. No questions. Get going.”


            The warehouse was large, cold and slightly creepy. A single lantern hung on a wall cast the only light.

            “So glad you could join us Mrs. Crompton. Yes, I know it’s you. I admit I was thrown at first by the disguise. Very convincing. I began to think my time in New York was being wasted as it appeared you were still in London.” A shiny small pistol appeared. “Now if you’ll be so kind as to have a seat, we can get to business.” He tied my hands together and my feet to the legs of the chair.

            I didn’t recognize the voice or the middle-age chestnut haired man it belonged to when he stepped into the light. His green eyes made the warehouse seem warm in comparison.

            “What do you want with me?” I whispered.

            “Your demise.” he answered casually. “You may recall the autopsy you performed on a Brian Mackland. That would have been around the same time the mayor came down with his mysterious illness and you were dismissed as physician.”

               “Ruined my practice. I was blamed, anyone could see he was being poisoned. Especially after I refused to go along with higher powers and document Mackland’s death as natural. There was no way that man died of a heart attack.”

            “You just couldn’t make it easy for yourself could you?” he sneered. “I planned it so perfectly. I had not, however, counted on two things. The body being discovered so soon or you being the assigned Medical Examiner. It was supposed to be Donald Higam. His unfortunate and extremely untimely illness forced me to alter my plans. His sickness was completely natural, but could be construed as otherwise, as you well know. It was far too easy to plant rumors in the proper circles that he had consulted you and became worse. Even when he denied it, you know how rumors are, some will always believe and spread suspicion.”

            Why? What did you gain by ruining me?”

            “My overall plan did not involve you. As you saw fit to stick yourself in you had to be eliminated. Killing you would not benefit me. Now there is nothing to show that your death was not at the mayor’s hand. Revenge for causing his violent illness. Rather undramatic I know, but Hollis is dull and stupid. He’ll fall rather easily.”

            “How can that be?” I asked, stalling for time. “His aids and colleagues will vouch for his whereabouts.

            He glanced at his watch. “No, the mayor is currently fast asleep, alone in his own bed. With the help of a mild sedative. I belong in his spotlight. I always have. His office is the perfect stepping stone to Washington. Anyone who is anyone in politics is connected to New York City Hall. When I talked to Hollis about the possibility of my running he laughed. Laughed in my face! Told me I wasn’t cut out for the big time!”

            I realized my time was rapidly coming to an end. Before me stood a true psychopath. Drunk on his sense of power and intelligence. He turned at the swaying approach of a fair-haired woman.

            “Ah, just in time my dear. Allow me to introduce the future debutante of New York. With this little delight on my arm, I’ll be endeared by the gossipy matrons in New York salons and envied by the elite men in the smoking rooms.”

            There was no warning. Shadows flickered, but nothing moved. At my feet lay the man and woman. Knocked out cold from the bleeding lumps on their heads. Hands were untying me.

            “Kopper? How long have you been here?”

            He loosened my feet quickly and pulled me from the chair. “Long enough to get a recording of everything said. The machine may be bulky, but at least it’s quiet. Didn’t Crex tell you he had someone here?”

            Shell dropped from a nearby rafter, tucking her small pistol into a pocket. “We would never let him touch you, but we needed him to talk. Good work stalling.”

            I smirked. “That was more trying to buy myself time, but whatever works.”

            Alex and Crextin emerged from the shadow. Crex holding a wicked rifle and Alex a long knife.

            “Evening Lav.” Alex called as though we were meeting for coffee. His expression turned slightly startled as he bent over the prone figures. “Well I’ll be. Knew I didn’t trust those two.”

            “You know them?” I asked.

            “It’s the aid and clerk calling themselves Jerry Bade and Mona Edwards. Can’t say I’m too surprised, but they played it pretty cool. Only thing that gave Bade away was the feverish gleam that came to his eye when I mentioned Delhi and asked if the mayor may have any associates there.”

            “Calling themselves. And what does Delhi have to do with it?” I stared stupidly at him. This was getting more complicated and confusing with every word.

            “Red brought up that was where you went after you lost your practice in New York. The first notes were sent to you there. If City Hall was connected, how would they know you were there. That got me thinking what factions are in Delhi? We weren’t considering politics on a less grand scale. We were thinking too big.”

            I smiled. “Remind me to buy that girl a present. She’s turning out to be quite the detective. As you are Alex.” I added with a wink.

            “Yea, yea.” he said and blushed slightly. “I checked with my contacts in Delhi and the Concierge mentioned two members of the Circle of Light he heard had gone missing. Their boat overturned on the river, but their bodies had never washed up. Very zealous and irrational people. Didn’t take much more to put some things together. The missing records, the threads from Shanghai, also a strong hold of the Cirlce. All designed to point at the mayor.”

            Geddes crawled out from an air duct. “Rest of the building is clear. If anyone else was in on this they’re long gone. Howya Lav. Slightly rumpled, but still in one piece I see.”

            “I have to say Geddes, seeing you struggle free of an airduct is almost as funny as the time you got stuck on the drain pipe two flights up outside Legends.”

            Kopper used a long length of rope to tie the two emerging from consciousness on the floor. His words slurred, Bade spat at Kopper, “I knew I should have taken care of Legends first. Who could have guessed a bunch of derelict vagabonds could be so loyal to one another.”

            “Yea whatever.” Kopper answered, slapping Brady. The sound echoed through the bare warehouse.

            Shell cleared her throat. I suggest we take these two to the proper authorities and get something hot to drink. We all turned to look at her.

            “There’s some hot chocolate at the agency. Give me a little credit. With you people watching me twenty four hours a day, I can’t get so much as a drop of much else.” Her smile said she was grateful, if annoyed that her skills seemed to have gotten a bit rusty.

            Two thoughts occurred to me. “Who is watching the agency and where are Red, Simon and Shady?”

            “We left Cordy in charge. After she caught the Baroness, she was looking for something a touch less dramatic. I think Lawrence was glad to have her to himself.” Geddes said dousing pulling back the sliding door of the warehouse. “Red is checking on the mayor. Shady went with her to collect thread samples from the suit Penelope told her about. Should be able to compare them and prove Bade made the order. Further linking him to the Circle through Shanghai. We thought it better Simon go with them for protection and  we weren’t sure he could control himself long enough to get the needed information.”            I made a disbelieving face.

            Kopper smiled. “British Intelligence or no, this was a bit too personal to risk it. Besides, how could we resist being the ones to come to your rescue.”

            “My rescue! I’ll have you know–” I paused, realizing he was right. I had been completely unprepared. So unlike me. Maybe my own skills were slacking. Or maybe I couldn’t do everything myself. “You’re never going to let me live this down are you Koppy?”

            “Of course not.” he replied smugly.


            The London Times carried the story on the front page. Apparently not enough of interest was happening in London. The victims in the pile of case files on my desk would probably disagree. Mystery abounded as the reporter lavishly described the “mayor’s brush with death”, corruption and various forms of political intrigue. The Circle of Light was of course denying any involvement, simply stating that some members could become zealous and forget the true pursuit of enlightenment. Mmm-hmm. Right.

Joseph Hollis called for my full pardon and had my medical license reinstated. At the celebration party, I could tell my fellow Legenders were awaiting an announcement. “You don’t honestly believe I’m going to take Hollis’ offer and go back to New York or medicine, do you? How would any one get any answers around here. You are all far too charming. Which reminds me.” With a mischievous glint in my eye, I took some things from my bag.

            “For Red, a new hat for Bird. For Kopper, a long white feather. After that mess Bird made in your office, I though you might like one of his feathers for your hat. Geddes, a flashlight for sneaking into records rooms and crawling through air ducts. Alex, a long                                              distance calling card for those Delhi contacts. Shady, a roll of clear packing tape and box of chocolates. Better to collect threads with and fun to eat. Make sure to share with Geddes. For Cordy, a straight jacket. If you are going to be in any kind of leading position around here, you’ll eventually need it. A dozen roses for Lawrence. Give them to Cordy, it may advance your cause. And for Shell and Crexy–two tickets to Cairo. Enjoy a much deserved, uh, vacation.” 

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