[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

guidance
'
The thirteenth-century monk looked at him with his dark eyes, then at the
crowd which had gathered closer to him, everyone talking and pointing and
asking him whether they could have their pictures taken with him.
'
Your accent is not bad
,' replied St Zvlkx slowly. '
Page 71
ABC Amber Palm Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.html
Is this 1988?
'
'
It is, sir. I've brokered a sponsorship deal for you with the Toast Marketing
Board.
'
'
Cash?
'
Joffy nodded.
'
Thank ?*&@ for that, ' said Zvlkx. '
Has the ale improved Since I've been away?
'
'
Not much. But the choice is better.
'
'
Can't wait. Hubba-hubba! Who's the moppet in the tight blouse?
'
'Mr Next,' interjected Lydia. who had managed to push her way to the front,
'perhaps you would be good enough to tell us what Mr Zvlkx is saying?'
'I  um  welcomed him to the twentieth century and said we had much to learn
from him as regards beekeeping and the lost art of brewing mead. He  um 
said just then that he is tired after his journey and wants only world peace,
bridges between nations and a good home for orphans, kittens and puppies.'
The crowd suddenly parted to make way for the Mayor of Swindon. St Zvlkx knew
power when he saw it and smiled a greeting to Lord Volescamper, who walked
briskly up and shook the monk's grimy hand.
'Look here, welcome to the twentieth century, old salt,' said Volescamper,
wiping his hand on his handkerchief. 'How are you finding it?"
'
Welcome to our age, ' translated Joffy, '
How are you enjoying your stay?
'
'
Cushty, me old cocker babe, ' replied the saint simply.
'He says very well, thank you.'
'Tell the worthy saint that we have a welcome pack awaiting him in the
presidential suite at the Finis
Hotel. Knowing his aversion to comfort we took the liberty of removing all
carpets, drapes, sheets and towels and replaced the bedclothes with hemp sacks
stuffed with rocks.'
'
What did the old fart say?
'
'
You don't want to know
.'
'What about the incomplete seventh Revealment?' asked Lydia. 'Can St Zvlkx
tell us anything about that?'
Joffy swiftly translated and St Zvlkx rummaged in the folds of his blanket and
produced a small leather-bound book. The crowd fell silent as he licked a
grubby finger, turned to the requisite page and read:
'
There will be a home win on the playing fields of Swindonne in nineteen
hundred and eighty-eight, and in consequence of this and only in consequence
of this, a great tyrant and the company named Goliathe will fall
Page 72
ABC Amber Palm Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.html
.'
All eyes switched to Joffy, who translated. There was a sharp intake of breath
and a clamour of questions.
'Mr Zvlkx,' said a reporter from
The Mole
, who up until that moment had been bored out of his skull, 'do you mean to
say that Goliath will be lost if Swindon wins the Superhoop?'
'That is exactly what he says,' replied Joffy.
There was a further clamour of questions from the assembled journalists as I
carefully tried to figure out the repercussions of this new piece of
intelligence. Dad had said that a Superhoop win for Swindon would avert an
armageddon and, if what Zvlkx was saying came true, a triumph on Saturday
would do precisely this. The question was, how? There was no connection as far
as I could see. I was still trying to think how a croquet final could unseat a
near-dictator and destroy one of the most powerful multinationals on the
planet when Lord Volescamper intervened and silenced the noisy crowd of
newsmen with a wave of his hand.
'Mr Next, thank the gracious saint for his words. There is time enough to muse
on his Revealment but right now I would like him to meet members of the
Swindon Chamber of Commerce, which, I might add, is sponsored by St Biddulph's
Hundreds and Thousands, the cake decoration of choice. After that we

might take some tea and carrot cake. Would he be agreeable to that?'
Joffy translated every word and Zvlkx smiled happily.
'Look here, St Zvlkx,' said Volescamper as they walked towards the marquee for
tea and scones, 'what was the thirteenth century like?'
'
The mayor wants to know what the thirteenth century was like  and no lip,
sunshine
.'
'
Filthy, damp, disease-ridden and pestilential
.'
'He said it was like London, Your Grace.'
St Zvlkx looked at the weathered arch, the only visible evidence of his once
great cathedral, and asked:
'
What happened to my cathedral?
'
'
Burned durring the dissolution of the monasteries
.'
'
Got damn
,' he muttered, eyebrows raised, '
should have seen that coming.
'
'
Duis aute dolor in fugiat nulla pariatur
,' murmured Friday, pointing at St Zvlkx's retreating form, rapidly vanishing
in a crowd of well-wishers and newsmen.
'I have no idea, sweetheart  but I've a feeling things are just beginning to
get interesting.'
'Well,' said Lydia to the camera, 'a Revealment that could spell potential
disaster for the Goliath
Corporation and '
Her producer was gesticulating wildly for her not to connect 'tyrant' with
'Kaine' live on air.
Page 73
ABC Amber Palm Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.html
' an as yet unnamed tyrant. This is Lydia Startright, bringing you a
miraculous event live for Toad
News. And now, a word from our sponsors, Goliath Pharmaceuticals, the makers
of Haerrmarelief.'
12
Spike and Cindy
'Operative Spike Stoker was with SO-17, the Vampire and Werewolf disposal
operation, undeniably the most lonely of the SpecOps divisions. SO-17
operatives worked in the twilight world of the semi-dead, changelings,
vampires, lycanthropes and those of a generally evil disposition. Spike had
been decorated more times than I had read
Three Men in a Boat
, but then he was the only staker in the South-west and no one in their right
mind would do what he did on a SpecOps wage, except me. And only then when I
was desperate for the cash.'
THURSDAY NEXT 
My Life in SpecOps
I pushed Friday back towards my car, deep in thought. The stakes had just been
raised and any chance that I might somehow influence the outcome of the
Superhoop were suddenly made that much more impossible. With Goliath and Kaine
both having a vested interest in making sure the Swindon Mallets lost, chances
of our victory had dropped from 'highly unlikely' to 'nigh impossible'.
'It explains,' said a voice, 'why Goliath are changing to a faith-based
corporate management system.'
I turned to find my stalker, Millon de Floss, walking close behind me. It must
have been important for him to contravene the blanket restraining order. I
stopped for a moment.
'Why do you think that?'
'Once they are a religion they won't be a company named Goliathe
, as stated in Zvlkx's prophecy,' [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]