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As well as bribing the registrar, Hillyard also called in at the livery stables in town and organised another fleet of open-top horse-drawn carriages, complete with their best horse-brasses, to transport everyone to the registry office, otherwise the clowns would be turning up in the hay-cart!
Joby and Lonts took the goats for a quick walk along the prom, and saw Hillyard leaning against the railings, staring contemplatively out to sea.
"Is he alright, Joby?" said Lonts, with concern "Should we go over to him?"
"No, leave him alone for a little while", said Joby.
"It's sad", said Lonts "I know everyone jokes about Hillyard, but he is still in love with Bengo".
"Yeah, but he knows he wasn't the right one for him", said Joby "He said as much to me once. Bengo needs someone all bossy and jealous, and that ent Hillyard at all".
"No, but it is Bardin!" Lonts laughed.
There was a small unpleasentness when they all joined the carriages later. A local reporter, still excited by the events of the previous day at the Governor's House, had turned up and was trying to openly goad Tamaz, who incidentally was looking stunning in a black lace gown that kept sliding off his shoulders to reveal one or both bare breasts. He looked like a pornographic flamenco dancer.
"They say weddings remind you of your own", said the reporter "Is is true Tamaz, eh? Does it make you think of your big state wedding to Gorth?"
"Leave him alone!" said Joby, fiercely "He was only a kid then".
"He still knew what he was doing", said the reporter.
"Yeah, and he paid for it too!" said Joby, helping Tamaz up into a carriage.
Tamaz was now crying. He rarely thought about those days, and when he did think of his wedding, and recalled that fat, bad-tempered little monster he had been, he could only wish taht Joby had dragged him out of that cathedral, and made off with him. Joby had the same thoughts himself.
"Sit next to me, Tamaz", said Kieran "And hold my hand. No one'll give you any trouble then".
Tamaz manoeuvred his skirts so that he was sitting next to Kieran. Joby sprawled on the seat opposite him. A carriage went past, bearing Glynis and Dolores sitting on either side of a beaming, excited Leon, faced by Brinslee, who took up most of the opposite seat.
The last carriage was to transport Julian, Hillard and Bengo ("Mrs Clown" as the others had started nicknaming him). Whilst the horses were being given their final preparations, Bengo went up to Julian in the tack-room and threw himself sobbing into his arms.
"Don't tell me you've had a change of heart!" said Julian "After we've gone to all this trouble!"
"I just wanted to say how much I love you", Bengo blubbed "You've been like a father to me".
"Not entirely", said Julian, recalling the many times Bengo had sneaked into his bed on the Indigo.
"I know I've been a bit of trouble at times", Bengo sniffed.
"You have been a great deal of trouble at times!" said Julian "Ever since that time you smuggled yourself aboard the Indigo, with only a jockstrap to your name! You bungled Joby's rescue attempt with your daft ideas, and you're always having hysterics about something. But I wouldn't be without you. There aren't many people in this world so entirely free of malice, particularly ones as attractive as you. We all cherish you very much".
"You'll have to tell Bardy that when I next annoy him", said Bengo.
"On condition you tell Adam I actually said something warm and nice from the heart", said Julian "He won't believe it if I tell him!"
"Come on", said Hillyard "The horses are ready".
"Kieran! A miracle's happened!" said Joby, as the carriages rolled through the town, cheered by large crowds, who all desperately wanted something to celebrate after the unceasing political activity of the past few weeks.
"Joby?" said Kieran, looking at him quizzically.
"My eye!" Joby shouted "It's back! My bad eye, it's recovered!"
He put his hand over what had once been his only good eye, and looked out through what had been the blind one.
"I can see out of it!" he shrieked "After all these yers I can fucking see out of it! Oh God, I wanna stand up and sing!"
"Don't do that", Kieran laughed, helplessly "Everyone's having a good time, you might ruin it!"
"I thought it was damaged for good", said Joby "Miracles can happen. I'm a believer!"
At the registry office he burst into the waiting-room, where everyone else was gathered, and proclaimed his news.
"When did it happen?" said Adam.
"I'm not sure", said Joby "I didn't notice it at first, 'cos I was so narked about that reporter upsetting Tamaz".
"Perhaps he caused it, Joby", said Lonts, in all seriousness.
"The healing powers of tabloid reporters", said Julian "Kieran will have to sanctify the spot where it happened!"
"I don't care what you buggers say", said Joby "I know it was a miracle".
"I expect it was simply time it happened", said Ransey "If you look at the odds and the probability ..."
"Oh sod you and your probability", said Joby "You try and put everything down to numbers. Well I'm not having it, I thought it was a miracle".
"Two celebrations today!" said Glynis.
"Don't the clowns look sweet?" said Adam.
Bengo and Bardin were both dressed in their best stage clothes of tight morning coats and even tighter striped trousers. The same outfits they had worn to Ully's funeral in fact. Bardin has swapped his customary flat cap for a black Spanish-style hat with a broad brim, which suited him very well. Dolores was pinning flowers to their coats.
"I always said those two should be together", said Julian "But when I first suggested it, you compared me to Caligula!"
"Well now I admit you were right if that's any comfort", said Adam.
"I'm always right", said Julian, feeling immensely satisfied.
Whilst the ceremony was in progress, Kieran nipped out of the back of the room and found Angel sitting alone on some side stairs.
"How did you guess it was me?" said the demon.
"Lonts guessed, although he didn't know it was actually you that had cured Joby's eye", said Kieran, leaning on the newel post "But I suddenly remembered your diabolical talent for shapeshifting, and guessed it was you posing as the reporter".
"Got it in one", said Angel "The real one wouldn't have been so rude to the hermaphrodite freak".
"Why did you have to upset Tamaz?" said Kieran.
"Huh, I cure Joby's eye, which is more than you ever managed to do", said Angel "And you expect me to be nice to Tits-a-lina as well!"
"What's happened to the real reporter?" said Kieran.
"He's alright", said Angel "Still asleep I expect. I put him out for a while. So what do you think of my good deed then?"
"It worries me", said Kieran "You could just as easily have harmed him".
"Yeah but I didn't", said Angel "I just wanted to return a few favours like. And to rub your nose in it that there are some things I can do and you can't. Now I'll be off home. See what Caln's tried to sodomise himself with today. You'd be amazed what I have to pull out of him sometimes! Be seeing you".
"Angel!" Kieran shouted, but as usual he had gone.
When he got back into the room the ceremony was drawing to a close, and the clowns were now officially married. Kieran gave them both his blessing. Bardin said quietly that he hoped he'd be able to make Bengo happy.
"You carry on being yourself, that's all he wants", said Kieran.
"You've come a long way, mate", said Rumble, shaking hands with Bardin.
Bengo flung himself on Julian's lap and nibbled his neck.
"You great, overgrown baby", said Julian, slapping his rump.
Codlik had arranged for cocktails to be brought into the room, and these were seized upon eagerly. Joby was picking up bits of paper and books from the registar's desk and squinting at them, still unable to believe his luck that his partial blindness had been cured. Kieran watched him with great affection, and yet he was, understandably, distrustful of miracles wrought by the Devil. He didn't believe Angel's grand claim of returning favours. The Devil was not a businessman or an old-fashioned crook, he did not "return favours". Kieran had been innately distrustful of Angel from the very first time he had seen him, and he had never changed that feeling.
Leon was hanging onto Glynis's skirts and trying to persuade her that they should live back at the Bay all the time.
"But won't you end up missing the big house at all?" said Glynis.
"No", said Leon, with genuine astonishment, as though it had never occurred to him that he should.
"He's Hillyard's child alright!" Julian whispered to Adam.
There was no need to whisper it though. Leon knew full well who his real father was. Codlik and Glynis, with their supreme conscientiousness, had told him very early on, not wanting it to come out in 10 years time say, when he would be at a very sensitive age and so not entirely receptive to it. It was a wise move. Leon, with the delicious pragmatism of the very young, had accepted it simply as a vaguely interesting fact. Codlik was Dad to him, because he had such a large impact on his daily life, whereas Hillyard was simply Hillyard, the smiling, hearty one of his eccentric troupe of uncles. Interestingly though, Leon never called him Uncle, not like Uncle Joby, Uncle Kieran, Uncle Bengo, Uncle Lonts (he of the thunderous, booming voice), etc. All the others were Uncle in fact, except Tamaz, whom Leon cheekily called Aunty Tamaz, and the formidable, mysterious Mieps, to whom both the titles of Uncle or Aunty seemed ludicrously inappropriate. So he was just "Mieps", usually spoken by Leon in a hushed voice, as though uttering an incantation.
On a hard bench against the wall Tamaz sat in the middle of Hoowie and Toppy. To try and look cool and sophisticated, Hoowie had kept his sunglasses on indoors, but now he was pushing them up onto his forehead in order to fill his eyes with the sight of Tamaz's right nipple peeking over the top of his low-cut dress.
"I don't know what they want to get married for", Toppy was saying "It's not going to make any difference. They're still going to be living with us, and pawing you at every opportunity".
"You're jealous", said Tamaz, sucking on his cocktail stick "And I don't mean of me. You fancy Bengo yourself".
Hoowie was so taken aback by this, he was distracted from Tamaz's breasts, and looked at Toppy in disbelief.
"Bengo?" Toppy exclaimed "He's barely human! He should be sleeping in a kennel!"
"Yeah, you fancy him", said Tamaz, simply.
Bengo had heard his name mentioned and came over to them.
"Tamaz says Toppy fancies you", said Hoowie, astounded.
Bengo flung up the front of Tamaz's dress and dived under it as though crawling into a tent. Whilst Tamaz hissed and struggled, Bengo managed to pull off one of his garters, a sumptious red frilly effort. Bengo retrieved it like a trophy and wrapped it around his arm.
"Looks like he got one over on you again", said Joby.
Tamaz looked venomous in response.
The 4 clowns all rode back in one carriage. Bengo had shed his tight coat, and wore his white, baggy shirt in disarray, with Tamaz's garter still around his arm.
"Did you know that Brinslee wanted to arrange a full wedding reception for you?" said Farnol "Speeches, toasts, the whole caboodle".
"You're not serious?" Bardin looked horrified.
"That's alright", said Farnol "Julian soon put him right. Seems Brinslee doesn't want to let go of you too soon, so he's coming back to the Bay with us on Codlik's yacht".
"That'll be interesting", said Rumble, dryly.
"He's a good bloke really", said Bengo, was feeling very sleepy after the strong cocktails "He's just lonely. He lost his consort years ago. Murdered by vampires up at the Bone-House".
"Shit! Really?" said Rumble.
"Since then he's been looking for someone to replace him", Bardin took up the story "He was after Finia once apparently. I think he'd have made a better Governor's Consort than me!"
Bengo gave a sleepy yawn and laid his head on Bardin's lap.
"You won't be getting much of a wedding night", said Rumble.
"Wanna bet?" said Bardin.
The Governor and his tedious family were packed off to Port West in an air-buggy late that afternoon, and then Brinslee was free to take a holiday on Codlik's yacht. They all set sail at around 5 o'clock in the afternoon. On the Indigo MKII, the others let Bengo and Bardin have the cabin to themselves for a couple of hours, and they were now sprawled on the communal bed, eating sliced peaches and ice-cream out of china bowls.
Bardin was contentedly running over the events of the day in his mind. The carriage ride through the cheering crowds, Joby's miracle cure, the exchanging of the small gold rings (another of Hillyard's numerous errands that morning), the cocktails, and now this evening alone with Bengo in the cabin, with the sea whooshing past outside.
"What was your favourite moment of the day?" he asked.
Bengo had a sudden attack of the giggles.
"What?" Bardin barked.
"You being spanked by Julian!" Bengo snorted.
"Ha Ha said the clown!" said Bardin.
"What was yours, Bardy?" said Bengo.
"Exchanging the vows", said Bardin.
"The vows?" said Bengo, looking blank.
"Yes, the vows, you daft rabbit!" said Bardin "How we promised to look after each other forevermore".
"Like we've always done", said Bengo, licking his spoon.
"Exactly", said Bardin, softly "Like we've always done".
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