With a squawk and a showering of black feathers, Crow was pulled into the room by Pobble, who, being a kindly if misguided soul, quickly released the stranglehold he had on the old reporter’s neck.
Crow ruffled his feathers in a vain attempt to look dignified, and decided that at times like this it was best to dust off his speech. And so he said, “Perhaps none of you have heard of the First Amendment to the Constitution? It goes like this, ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition …’”
“But this isn’t the Colonies, so why are you quoting that to us?” interrupted Lorraine. “And what’s that you’ve written there about me …”
Fortunately, however, when Lorraine stepped forward in an attempt to get a closer look at Crow’s notebook, she created a gap in the tight circle that surrounded the reporter, and he was able to hop quickly through it and take wing out the door and gone.
“Who was that guy?” asked Pobble.
“It was Crow, and he’s a reporter for The Pagan Press,” wailed Lorraine. “The gods know what he’ll put in that horrible rag of his about this. What will we do now?”
“What can we do except wait for the paper to come out?” said Seeker.
“I don’t care, I can’t read it anyway,” said GreenDruid.
“You can after we scan it in for you,” said Dryadia. “And you know, whatever he writes, a little publicity might not be such a bad thing. This place isn’t exactly what you’d call a going concern.”
“That’s easy for you to say,” cried Lorraine. “It wasn’t you fainting on the floor and having this, this, this Pobble creature fawning over you. What kind of name is Pobble anyway?”
Meanwhile on the 47th floor of the posh OBOD Towers, Phlipp Phlopp and Damh the Bard were toweling off after a relaxing soak in the hot tub.
“Say Phlipp,” said Damh, “I’m fresh out of codpieces, can I use one of yours?”
“Certainly my friend, but it’s my last clean one,” said Phlipp, fetching the article from his locker and holding it out for his friend to take.
“Um, never mind, Phlipp,” said Damh. "I can see that’s not going to work …”
“Stephanieeeeeee!” called Phlipp out through the locker room door. “Damh and I are fresh out of clean codpieces!”
“I sent a load of soiled ones to Dryadia’s by courier yesterday,” came Stephanie’s voice from down the hall, where she and Susan Jones were making photocopies of bardic gwersi. “I can’t imagine why they’re not back yet.”
“Oh very well,” said Phlipp. “Come, Damh, we’ll just have to go commando. Put on your robe and no one will know.”
The druids donned their white robes and walked out into the main office, past the hot tub where a large salmon of wisdom was still swimming, and out into the lobby and reception area.
“Hello, what’s this?” said Phlipp, looking at the latest edition of The Pagan Press that had been inserted through the mail slot and was lying there on the expensive Persian rug.
STEAMY SEX IN THE FOGGY DOWNS!
screamed the headline in huge red letters. Underneath was a photo of Dryadia's Dry Cleaning shop.
“I’m for that,” said Damh, trying to grab the paper away from Phlipp, who was eagerly reading the details. Together, the two Druids read …
The Pagan Press wrote:What’s Under the Suds at Dryadia’s Dry Cleaning?
Pagan Press Reporter
Clients at Dryadia’s Dry Cleaning on the outskirts of the Foggy Downs District are getting more than clean knickers these days after the hiring of noted sex therapist Pobble to do the “steaming and pressing.”
This reporter watched in amazement as Wayward Druid Bed & Breakfast proprietress Lorraine took part in a veritable apron-ripper of a scene at the dry-cleaning shop yesterday.
The woman, still speckled with leftover body paint from an apparent earlier encounter, was seen prostrate on the floor of the shop with the nefarious Pobble stroking her hand and whispering into her ear. Heaven knows what might have ensued had they not been interrupted by another customer, Seeker, whose entry caused them to quickly return to their feet and straighten their clothes.
Soon a group of people assembled, including the shop owner, Dryadia, and this reporter was then accosted and nearly caused physical injury by Pobble. One wonders why an innocent reporter would be so ill-treated unless they had something to hide.
With the already infamous Foggy Duck Pub in the District, the authorities will no doubt be looking into what other sort of businesses are being drawn to this shady part of town, and that investigation might also extend to The Wayward Druid Bed & Breakfast, where one wonders who is in the beds, and what is being served for breakfast.
But in the meantime, readers beware of Dryadia’s Dry Cleaning lest you get more than just a fresh crease in your trousers.
Damh looked at Phlipp. Phlipp looked at Damh. Then together they cried, “Stephanieeeeeeeee!”