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By Sarah Hapgood

The escape from the Governor's House went smoothly. One of the servants had taken them out through the walled garden, and then through a door at the end into an alleyway which connected with some steep steps which ran down to the quayside.

Julian had wanted to steam out of the harbour immediately, but had been informed by Hillyard that they desperately needed to take on more fuel and fresh water first. He was faced with the unwelcome prospect that they would not be leaving port for several hours.

"Well what a complete waste of time that was!" he snapped "We might as well have walked out of the Governor's front door in full view of everyone at lunchtime!"

Kieran stayed below deck, knowing full well that if he appeared the crowd that had gathered on the quayside would get decidedly restless. The newspapers that morning had been full of the details of Gorth's funeral, and the news that Tamaz had spent the night before it in vigil by his coffin. Such nauseating piety fooled no one, and had, if possible, made him even more hated than ever.

Local reporters had wanted to come aboard and interview Kieran, but had been threatened with shooting if they tried it. Julian's temper wasn't improved by finding that Etyn was still counting himself as part of the crew.

"There is no earthly need for you to stay with us", said Julian "We're in port. You can find your own way back to Zilligot Bay from here. I'm not a bloody charity, and I have no intention of wasting valuable supplies on you".

"Particularly as you have no money now", said Etyn, snakily "I heard Ransey saying just now that you've all used the last of your money to buy the supplies that are currently being loaded".

"So?" said Julian, sharply.

"So I can help you", said Etyn "I can pop ashore to the bank here and take more money out of my account. I have the necessary identification on me".

"I wasn't aware you had any money", said Julian, tartly "I thought you were a penniless hack, struggling to make ends meet".

"I have savings", said Etyn "They were what I was living on whilst I wrote my book. It'll be enough to keep us going, for buying fresh supplies along the way, as and when necessary".

Julian raised no protest when Etyn went ashore to negotiate with the bank, but he was far from happy with the situation.

"It's either that or go without from now on", said Finia.

"I know, but the thought of being beholden to that pompous little fop is enough to make my blood boil", said Julian "This means he'll have a hold over us. He could make himself Captain if he wished".

"No he can't", said Finia "This is a democracy, we won't let him".

"Why do you keep looking at me in that pitying way, Finia?"

"Well you've never had to do something you hated just to get by have you?"

"Oh this must all look very trivial and petty of me from your point of view mustn't it?" Julian sighed.

"I understand though", Finia smiled.

Julian's bad mood continued for the rest of the day. Even when they had pulled out of port and were heading towards the estuary which turned into the Beyond River, he was still restless and choleric, annoyed beyond measure that Etyn, their generous benefactor, was walking amongst them. Matters were hardly helped when he discovered Etyn in his cabin that evening, taking an intense interest in Julian's tortoiseshell toothbrush.

"I notice all your stuff is such good quality, if a trifle worn these days", said Etyn, indicating the worn bristles on the expensive toothbrush, which should by rights have been replaced some time ago.

"Of what possible concern is it to you?" said Julian, angrily.

"Just saying", said Etyn, airily "You've never stinted on quality. I like that. Shows breeding".

"What the bloody hell would a man of your time know about breeding?" said Julian "You were all hatched in a battery farm! You don't even have the distinction of selective breeding like Lonts or Finia. Now get out of here before I call Hillyard or Ransey and have you forcibly removed".

The fact that Etyn took no offence at this little speech whatsoever riled Julian even further. The following morning Etyn greeted him outside his cabin door with great geniality. Julian vented his frustration on everyone else, and was incensed when he caught Adam pulling faces at him, much to Lonts's amusement.

"You both obviously have too much time on your hands", he snapped "Lonts, I'm putting you on extra cleaning duties. When you've finished your usual chores report to Finia, who I'm sure will be only too delighted to give you some more".

"Oh Jules", Adam exclaimed "It was only a little joke".

"Quite the jolly little clown aren't you?" said Julian "Perhaps I should turn the boat round, and put you and Lonts in the Cabaret of Horrors!"

"Now you're just being silly", said Adam.

"And about to get sillier", said Julian, snidely "I'm demoting you for the time being. You are no longer chief cook in the galley, but bottle-washer instead".

"You can't!"

"I can", Julian grabbed his wrist and pulled him along to the galley, where Joby was laboriously scraping the frying-pan in the sink "You can stop that, Joby. It's now Adam's job".

"Eh?" said Joby.

"I've got you a new scullery-maid", said Julian "Isn't she lovely? Now feel free to work her as hard as you like, and beat her soundly if she disobeys".

"Don't be daft", Joby exclaimed.

"I am being perfectly serious. I'll look in later to make sure all is as it should be".

"Does that look done to you?" said Joby, placing a steaming fruit pie on the table.

"Looks perfect", said Adam, who was peeling potatoes "It's very good considering it's your first effort. You should be pleased with yourself".

"Well I'm not, I'm fed up", said Joby, running a floury hand through his hair "I hate baking. I don't mind cooking breakfast or doing simple grub like bangers and chips, I quite enjoy it in fact. But I hate fucking baking, or anything that takes hours to cook. Life's too short".

"Here's the man to complain at", said Adam, as Julian walked back into the galley.

"You heard all that I hope?" said Joby "I never wanna have to make poncy pastry again!"

"Shame, you're such a natural at it", said Julian, prodding the top crust of the pie "I thought you enjoyed cooking. You must've had to do it all the time when you and Tinkerbell lived in the cottage".

"Simple grub, that's all", said Joby "It's easy cooking for someone who's got no interest in food. At least I didn't have to spend hours kneading flour!"

"Looks as though the chief cook doesn't want the job, Jules", said Adam, blithely.

"You don't get out of it that lightly", said Julian, and he turned on his heel, colliding with Lonts as he left the galley.

"Eavesdropping are you?" Julian snapped "I thought you wouldn't have time to do that".

Lonts flicked his duster and mumbled something about polishing the door-handles, because Finia had told him to.

"They don't look very polished to me", said Julian.

"Well I don't see the point of polishing door-knobs Julian", Lonts wailed "Washing up and making the beds, yes. But who cares whether the door-knobs are polished or not?"

"I care!" Julian exclaimed.

"Poor old Lonts", said Joby "As far as he's concerned there always has to be a point to everything".

"That was a very nice bit of pie", said Julian, handing the plate back to Joby.

"Good. Make the most of it, 'cos I'm not cooking another", said Joby "In fact, as of now the chief cook's job is vacant, unless you want to reinstate Adam of course".

"Don't you want to be in charge of the galley?"

"As I said to Adam earlier, I don't mind being breakfast cook or doing the odd mixed grill, but I draw the line at poxy baking", said Joby, standing in the middle of the galley, arms akimbo "And we're gonna need some more bread making tomorrow, so you'd better think fast".

"Well I'm not putting Adam back in charge".

"Why not?" Joby cried, in exasperation "You're only taking it out on him because Etyn's still here".

"He needs another couple of days performing lowly tasks".

"Look if this is some sort of silly game you two are playing with each other, fine. But I don't see why the rest of us should starve because of it, and no one else can cook like Adam can".

"Why thank you, Joby", said Adam, walking into the saloon "It's nice to know I'm appreciated by someone".

"It happens to be true", said Joby "None of us wanna be subjected to Hillyard's cooking. Kieran's even worse than him. Everything he makes looks like something out of a Quatermass film! Ransey's too busy. Finia's too haughty to cook for all of us, and that leaves Lonts. The less said there the better. You could always do it yourself I suppose".

"Joby, you don't know what you're suggesting", said Adam, in dismay "Julian could mess up Pot Noodle! When we first set up home together it never occurred to him that to cook something properly one had to switch the oven on first!"

"I'll cook", said Etyn, appearing in the doorway "I've done an advanced cookery course, I can cook anything you like".

"Adam, you are reinstated", said Julian.

Etyn's face fell and he left the room, looking horribly dejected. Joby though gave a sigh of relief that the matter was resolved, and followed him out.

"You bully, Jules", said Adam, gasping in astonishment.

"I am assuming you don't want your job passed to him?" said Julian "No doubt he was very keen to show me his rack of lamb and his vegetable florettes, but I find it bad enough that he's on this boat at all, let alone that he should start feeling needed and useful!"

"You smell something chronic", said Ransey, when Hillyard entered their cabin later that evening.

"Well what do you expect?" Hillyard exclaimed "I've been shut down below in the dungeon, doing hard graft. Not poncing around on deck in me swimming trunks, like some I could mention".

"Just commenting", said Ransey, pouring cold water into the wash-bowl "Here, you'd better give yourself a swill-down before you go to bed".

"Anything you say", Hillyard muttered, peeling off his shorts.

They both sighed and rolled their eyes heavenwards when Etyn walked in, carrying a towel over his shoulder.

"My bunk hasn't been tidied", he grumbled "That boy has made everyone else's but mine".

"Did you ask him to do it?" said Hillyard.

"Why should I need to? No one else has had to ask him".

"No, but sometimes Lonts needs a bit of prodding", said Ransey.

"Nonsense", Etyn fretted "This is illustrative of my whole problem on this vessel. The way I am constantly reminded that I'm in a 'you and me' situation. Eight against one".

"Look, don't hold us responsible for Julian's rudeness", said Ransey "He's always been a law unto himself, and he won't change now".

A commotion broke out in the gangway outside. Someone was yelling and screaming, whilst various familiar voices cried out in alarm.

"What the hell's going on?" said Ransey, opening the cabin door.

He found everyone else crammed into the narrow corridor, in various states of undress. In their midst stood Bengo, looking decidedly grubby and wearing only his customary leather jock-strap.

"Another fucking stowaway!" said Julian, who was seething with rage "Just what I've always wanted! Your fucking security is abysmal, Ransey!"

"Where was he then?" said Ransey.

"In the skiff", said Joby "I heard a noise when I went up to feed the hens just now. He'd hidden himself under the tarpaulin".

"He's been there since we left port?" said Adam "The poor thing must be starving".

"For God's sake Adam, that is not our concern!" said Julian.

He stormed into the saloon and poured himself a brandy. The others followed him, quacking excitedly like a flotilla of ducklings.

"I wanted to be with you all", said Bengo, helplessly "With Kieran".

"He goes ashore right now", said Julian.

"Jules, you can't", said Adam "It's horribly dark out there, and we're miles from anywhere".

"Not my concern".

"We must find some clothes for him", said Adam "Have you nothing with you, Bengo?"

"Adam!" Julian exploded "It's bad enough that you want us to house and feed the wretched creature, now you want me to clothe it too".

"I-I'll earn my passage", Bengo stammered.

"Where have I heard that before?" Julian groaned "And what stunning talents do you possess then?"

"I can provide in-house entertainment", said Bengo, brightly.

"I've seen your idea of entertainment Bengo, and I think I'll give it a miss", said Julian "I don't find the sight of people being force-fed pig's urine very amusing".

"You surprise me", said Joby "I thought it'd be right up your street, being ex-public school".

"It wasn't real pig's urine", said Bengo "It was a concoction that the prop's department made up".

"How very reassuring", said Julian.

"Can't we keep him, Julian?" said Hillyard, who was looking over Bengo's near-naked body in an appreciative manner.

"He's not an exotic pet!" said Julian "And why on earth would anyone want another Gimmit around?"

"He's not at all like Gimmit, Jules", said Adam "Gimmit was ugly, whereas Bengo is rather ..."

"Decorative", said Hillyard "When we've cleaned him up I mean. Quite hunky".

"You are all as daft as one another", said Julian "Ransey, this is one occasion when you might be able to provide me with some much-needed commonsense. What's your opinion?"

"I think we should hang onto him", said Ransey.


"I've seen his act too. He seems very fit and athletic to me".

"I have to be", said Bengo "All the clowns have to be. Otherwise with all the falls and leaps we have to make we'd do ourselves a serious injury in no time".

"And you never know when it might come in useful to have a gymnast around", said Ransey.

"He has a point, Jules", said Adam.

"But there aren't any spare bunks for him", said Julian.

"I'll sleep on your cabin floor", said Bengo.

"You will not!" said Julian, and he gave a deep sigh "Well let's be democratic about this".

"That'll make a change", said Joby.

"Who is in favour of putting Bengo, our unwelcome stowaway, ashore?"

He raised his hand, but was supported by only Etyn, Finia and Lonts.

"Looks as though I'm out-numbered five to four", said Julian "A tight-run thing nonetheless. Bengo can sleep on your cabin floor, Adam".

"Oh come on Jules", Adam protested "We're like sardines in there, and we have got a spare bunk on this boat actually. It's in your cabin".

"Yeah, that's not fair", said Joby "That makes five in our cabin, and only two in yours".

"But Finia and I don't want Bengo around, so why should we suffer?" said Julian, turning to leave "Goodnight everyone".

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