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By Sarah Hapgood

Joby found Kieran sitting on the bench on the quayside. He sat down next to him and stroked his hair.

"Don't be kind to me, Joby", he said "I'm not proud of meself, but the fact remains I can't hide from the truth. I AM SO SICK OF THAT BLOODY WOMAN!"

"It was a stupid idea having her along", said Joby "It would never have worked".

"Strange to say it, but Tamaz was right", said Kieran "I'm beginning to despise Glynis's lack of courage, and that saddens me because basically she's a good person. But I wish she'd get her own life and stop trying to live through everyone elses all the time".

"This isn't just about Glynis though is it?" said Joby "It's been an emotional time, and you have to just accept it as such".

"I didn't think Red going would affect me like this", said Kieran "I mean, it's not as if we didn't get plenty of advance warning! But all I can keep thinking is that I was only just beginning to know her".

"That's always the bloody way ennit!" said Joby.

Kieran gave a fond laugh.

"What have I said?" Joby asked.

"Exactly the right thing", said Kieran "I love your no-bullshit approach to life, Joby. A mega-improvement on Codlik's. I was talking to him yesterday and he asked me exactly how devastated I was. I felt like saying do you mean a wee bit devastated, very devastated, uncontrallably devastated, or just vaguely devastated?!"

"The man's a jerk", said Joby "And him and his sort have done a lot of damage to the world".

He looked behind him to where Tamaz was drying Lonts's tears with the end of his fur-stole.

"We'd better call 'em over", said Joby "Stop Lonts being devastated!"

Over the next few days many plans were made for the journey to Woll's estate, in order that Hillyard could claim his inheritance. Hillyard had resolutely refused to fly this time, as he didn't enjoy it and never had. Instead they were planning to go in the hay-cart, as they had done at Hallowe'en. In the meantime he carried on with his Governor's duties, and even managed to impress Ransey by showing an interest in it all.

Back home on the Indigo, Tamaz discarded his jewels and fur-stole, and pranced around the deck and jetty in trousers and discarded shirts belonging to the others. He had gone temporarily into completely boy mode, in order to ram it home to Glynis how well he could fit in on the Indigo and she couldn't. He still wore his fancy underwear, as he couldn't do without the feel of silks, lace and fine linen next to his skin, but otherwise he looked like a devastatingly (that word again) pretty boy. Not since the time when he had tormented the Ministry by switching sex abruptly from one day to the next, had he enjoyed being an hermaphrodite so much!

Bengo was causing more concern. He abruptly walked out of his job at the Little Theatre and vowed never to go back. When he got home he indignantly announced to Adam that he was sick of never being allowed any creative freedom.

"Every single thing I do I have to ask permission from Bardin and Hawkefish", he squawked "Well I'm just not having it anymore!"

"No you're not are you?" said Adam, dryly "Particularly now you're out of work! If I was you Bengo I'd head straight back to the theatre before Julian gets home. He won't be at all pleased to hear about this".

Fired with revolutionary zeal, Bengo refused to do any such thing. Within the hour Hawkefish had appeared in person and read the riot act to him. Bengo had remained stoically unmoved, and Hawkefish stormed back up onto deck. Adam followed him, pleading on behalf of Bengo like an anxious agent.

"You don't have to sell his qualities to me, dear boy", said Hawkefish "He is good-looking, genuinely amiable and talented, and the punters like him, but no one performer can be bigger than the whole revue and he has to learn that. I can't have him dictating what he wants to do to everyone else or it will throw everything out and cause bad morale".

"But I don't think he really means this", said Adam "We're all so used to Bengo's little tantrums here that I suppose we don't take too much notice of them".

"Don't tell me Bengo's causing trouble again", said Joby, climbing on-board with a pot plant in his hands.

"Ah Joby, I do wish you'd reconsider a stage career", said Hawkefish "You have a such a versatile face".

"You do wonders for me ego, Hawkefish", said Joby "But I really can't see me spending the rest of me life playing detectives".

"But I wouldn't dream of typecasting you ..."

Adam left them to their conversation and went back below to try and harangue some sense into Bengo.

"You're letting yourself down", he snapped "You are being extremely naive if you think you're going to get your own way over this. One thing the world is not short of is clowns!"

"I have talent and a lot to contribute", Bengo retorted "If only I was allowed to".

"That's all very well, but when Julian gets home he'll probably make his own contribution with the razor-strop!"

Bengo shrieked with terror and ran into his cabin to get his things together. When Adam looked for him again a few minutes later he found him in the hold, preparing to set up camp there.

"I-I'll stay out of his way for a while", he gibbered "If he doesn't see me he'll forget to be angry".

"I have never heard anything so absurd", said Adam, getting off the steps "You can't possibly sleep down here".

"I can", said Bengo "That stoker you had did".

"Uddle was sub-human", said Adam "You can be extremely ludicrous I know, but you're not that! Now get back upstairs before I lose my temper and I can assure you that is not a pretty sight! I must be mellowing in my twilight years, because I wouldn't have taken half this trouble from Pats and Joby when they were your age!"

Adam pushed him back up the steps. At the top he shoved him roughly into the saloon and slammed the door on him. Then he sat down on the edge of the hatchway and ran his fingers through his hair. Tamaz came out of their cabin and padded softly towards him, wearing an old shirt over a pair of lace drawers. He silently sat down at the hatchway with Adam and dangled his legs over the edge.

"It's quite nice sitting here isn't it?" said Tamaz.

"Yes I suppose it is really", said Adam "Like being at a swimming-pool".

They were still sitting there a few minutes later when Julian came down the quarterdeck steps. He was barefoot, and Adam was pleasently distracted by how relaxed an almost carefree he looked.

"Hello darling", said Julian, facetiously "You look tired. Don't tell me the washing-machine's playing up again!"

"Shut up, Jules", Adam couldn't help laughing.

"Or have the children been giving you a hard time?!"

"You could say that!"

"Well I assume there's some reason as to why you're sitting here like this with Freaky", said Julian.

"Bengo's walked out of his job", Adam sighed "What used to be cited in our time as artistic differences. Really translated as the others in the show wouldn't let him do exactly as he wanted!"

"Perhaps a few days away from the roar of the greasepaint will put him right", said Julian "We're off to Woll's soon anyway".

"Bengo can be very spoilt", said Adam.

"Ada, everyone on this boat is spoilt!" Julian exclaimed.

"Aren't you even a little bit cross with him?" said Adam.

"He'll learn the hard way", said Julian.

"But he could have just thrown away his career!" said Adam.

"Oh that's nothing where Bengo's concerned", said Julian "After all, everyday he makes a damn good stab at chucking away his sanity! When we get back from Woll's I'll make him go and beg Hawkefish for his job back on bended knee. It never does performers any harm to endure a bit of humility".

Adam went to stand up and then found it was with some difficulty. He was annoyed beyond measure when Julian and Joby (who had just come in) went to help him. He shook them off irritably.

"We were only giving you a hand, you daft old cow", said Julian.

"I'm going to the galley to start supper", said Adam, fiercely "Joby, you can come along and help me".

"Out of the way, Freaky", said Julian, when the others had gone into the galley "I want to bolt the hatch".

"Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have sex with someone with a cunt?" said Tamaz, crowding up close to him.

Julian gave him a sharp slap on his rump, and Tamaz whimpered.

"I'd go easy on that black pepper if I was you", said Joby, standing next to Adam who was preparing a large salad bowl.

"I'll do what I like with it", Adam snapped.

"Look I didn't go to all the trouble of growing those tomatoes just so's that you could smother 'em with black pepper!"

"Cut some bread, Joby".

"What's the matter?" said Joby "You're really snappy today".

"I don't like feeling old", said Adam.

"You're not old", said Joby "You certainly don't look it anyway".

"No but I damn well feel it!" said Adam "After chasing Bengo out of the hold I had to sit down and rest!"

"Oh Bengo's enough to wear anyone out", said Joby "Temperamental little sod".

"And then to cap it all", Adam continued "Julian decides to help me up. Julian! Who is older tahn me by six months! And he looks so damn good too. But that was always the way. Ever since I can remember I've had it rammed down my throat how attractive, how confident, how well-bred he is".

"And he's got a big dick too", said Joby "there's no justice in the world is there! I bet he never had trouble with spots when he was a kid!"

"No, he was wonderful", said Adam, fondly reminiscing "I just wanted to keep looking at him. When I was very young, about 12 I suppose, I wrote a poem to him. It was absolutely awful, complete tosh, I would never have showed it to him, I wouldn't have had the nerve! I went on in it about how his hair was like honey. He used to wear it sleeked back in those days, it showed off his face so well".

"I expect you looked pretty good yourself", said Joby "You still do. You haven't got any cause to complain. You wanna try having my looks, and then be told by everyone how beautiful Kieran is! I was filled with dismay the first time he walked into the office. I felt as ugly as sin next to him, and I kept thinking I know why that old poofter Adam Jensen hired him!"

"And you would have been absolutely right!" Adam laughed "I would have been mad to have turned him down. That beautiful little Irish boy with the bedroom eyes. I was tormented by him for so long. I never imagined in my wildest dreams we would get so close".

"Neither did I", said Joby "Then again I never thought I'd fall for an hermaphrodite either!"

"No one could possibly have predicted that!" said Adam "Anymore than a gorgeous Eskimo would come to mean so much to me!"

Bengo sidled into the room and crpet round the table as though he was expecting the others to rain down blows on him at any moment.

"As you're now a gentleman of leisure, Bengo", said Adam "You can get used to doing extra duties round here. We can't have you sitting around on your jacksy all day, or you won't have an excuse to get up in the mornings".

"That's not fair", said Bengo "Not everyone does useful work round here. Look at Tamaz, he never does a stroke".

"It's only been in relatively recent times that Tamaz has been capable of living in a domestic environment at all", said Adam "The rest will come in due course. But you don't have that excuse. I'm going to work you so hard you'll be desperate to go back on the stage by the end of a week!"

"Can't have you getting flabby now", said Joby, and he lobbed a tomato at Bengo, catching him on the side of his mouth.

"Attacking me now, eh?" Bengo exclaimed.

"I would have thought in your game you'd be used to dodging tomatoes", said Joby.

"Lay the table, Bengo", said Adam.

When Hillyard went into his cabin later that night he found Julian lying on his bunk butt-naked, smoking a cigar and perusing a map.

"Adam says he'll pop in in a moment and wish you good night", said Hillyard.

"O.K", said Julian, distractedly.

"He says he's going through a mid-life crisis", Hillyard chuckled "Reckons he'll still be going through them when he's ninety!"

"He needs an adventure to use up some energy", said Julian "Take his mind off his age".

"I could do with one to take me mind off all this responsibility I've found myself lumbered with", said Hillyard.

Julian got up and began to pace the room.

"How impatient are you to go and claim Woll's estate?" he asked.

"Not impatient at all", said Hillyard "It'll trundle on quite smoothly without me there. Why?"

"I was thinking of us doing a different trip to the one we had planned", said Julian "One where we can take the Indigo. I don't like leaving the old girl behind, too many memories are bound up in this place".

"What did you have in mind?"

"Ransey seems to be having trouble finding a suitable courier for Red's jewels".

"Only because he's too fussy!" said Hillyard "We've had plenty of trustworthy applicants, but he keeps finding some excuse not to hire 'em!"

"Well for once I don't blame him", said Julian "Those jewels mean a lot to the people of No-Name. How about we do it instead? Or do you have pressing Governor's duties to keep you here?"

"Hardly", said Hillyard "Anyway, I could say it was a state visit. Governor Hillyard visiting Governor Dolores! I quite like the sound of that".

"Good", said Julian "I'll go and tell the others".

Fresh provisions for the journey were delivered to the Indigo the following morning. Joby and Kieran watched them being unloaded onto the deck. Ransey had recently come home carrying Lady Red's jewels in a couple of cases, and looking very important about it. He had shown them to the others in the saloon and then taken them into his cabin, and Tamaz was under strict orders not to go anywhere near them.

"He doesn't miss a trick though", said Kieran, leaning back against the bulwark "He's already tried persuading me that to fock him whilst he was wearing Red's ruby necklace woudl be the height of eroticism. He almost had me convinced!"

"That's the trouble", said Joby "We'd better watch out, or we'll end up in No-Name having to apologise to Dolores because we've decided to give the jewels to Tamaz instead! Glynis must be disgusted by how easily he manipulates us. If I was her I'd wash me hands of me completely!"

"It'll be good for both of you to have a break from each other for a while", said Kieran breezily, as Adam joined them on the deck "It's a shame the way it's gone, but I suppose it was inevitable".

"As Mrs Stanley Baldwin once said of the Abdication", said Adam "Oh dear, sex is so disagreeable!"

"The world would be a lot happier place without it", said Joby, sounding so lugubrious that Kieran didn't know whether to laugh or feel thoroughly alarmed.

"Joby, even you can't believe that, old love", said Adam.

"Yes I can", said Joby "When I think how carefree I would be if I was completely celibate".

"I don't know which idea's more mind-boggling", said Kieran "You being competely celibate, or you being completely carefree!"

"Anyway what you really meant just now", said Joby "Was that it'd do YOU good to have a break from Glynis".

"In all fairness I can't blame Patsy for that", said Adam.

"No, neither can I", said Joby, candidly.

"Perhaps she really will get together with Codlik whilst we're away", said Kieran "I notice he likes looking at her so that's a start, and I think she'd be perfect for him".

"And I won't be there to queer his pitch", said Joby.

"Will you hark at him!" said Kieran "The sex god of the waterfront!"

"Well he'll have to stick to being the sex god of the Indigo for a while instead", said Adam.

"I can handle that", said Joby.


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