Crow gestured for Green Druid to follow him into an empty office across the hall from Selene’s, but then remembering that the blind bard couldn’t see him, he whispered, “Pssst! Green Druid, in here!” He extended a wing and guided her into the office.
“Watch and learn something,” the old reporter whispered.
“But I can’t see!” Green Druid hissed back.
“Er, well, listen then … you know what I mean.”
“But why should I want to help you anyway?”
Green Druid had him there, and Crow knew it. But thinking quickly, he gave an answer that seemed to satisfy her for the present: “Because I said so!” The argument settled, they both turned their attention back to the meeting among Phlipp Phlopp, Damh and Selene.
“Yes, as I was saying,” said Phlipp Phlopp to Selene, “I believe there’s something dodgy going on at Dryadia’s Dry Cleaning.”
“I’m afraid I don’t understand,” said Selene. “First off, you said this was about cod pieces, and now you say it’s about dry cleaning, which has absolutely nothing to do with me. Gentlemen, if it’s all right with you, I’m very busy today and …”
“I apologize …”
“That’s apologise,” said Damh. “Remember, Phlipp, we’re English.”
“Ah, right you are as usual, Damh. As I was saying, I apologise because I see now that this must be very confusing to you. So if it feels right …”
“Blimey, Phlipp, stop with the touchy-feely gwers-speak, will you?” said Damh.
“Oh, right again Damh,” said Phlipp. “As I was saying, I wish to apologise because I see now that this must be very confusing to you. So let me try to explain how we think all these things, codpieces and dry cleaning and fishing, are related.”
“I’m all ears,” said Selene.
“You see, it all started for us yesterday when we were toweling off from the hot tub and we had no codpieces.”
“But they’re available all over town in your grocer’s freezer section,” interrupted Selene.
“What? That might feel nice in summer, but it’s practically Imbolc here now, although I suppose for our friends in the Southern Hemisphere it might be quite nice. But at the grocer’s? Whatever would codpieces be doing there?” asked Damh.
“Where else would you expect to find cod pieces?” asked Selene. “At the apothecary, perhaps?”
“My gods!” exclaimed Phlipp. “At last I understand the confusion! No, woman, not cod pieces, codpieces! Take the space out!”
“Oh!” said Selene. “You mean a pouch, especially a conspicuous and decorative one, attached to a man's breeches or close-fitting hose to cover the genitals, worn in the 15th and 16th centuries.”
“That’s it exactly!” said Phlipp. “My gods, you are a prime Ovate, aren’t you, to divine my meaning! You’re working on Gwers 27, aren’t you?”
“How did you know?”
“Never mind,” said Phlipp, “that’s not important right now. What’s important is that after Damh and I got out of the hot tub, we had no clean codpieces and soon learned that they had all been sent to Dryadia’s Dry Cleaning, but the return delivery was delayed. It was then that we saw the latest edition of The Pagan Press and learned that the very shop where our codpieces had been sent, as well as some other businesses in the Downs, had been involved in some sort of sex scandal. Well, we asked a few questions at The Foggy Duck that evening, but could get nowhere with our inquiries. The next day, however, after another soak in the hot tub, we found that our codpieces had arrived, but we had stiffies …”
“I don’t want to know about that,” said Selene.
“No, what I mean,” said Phlipp Phlopp, is that our codpieces had gone all stiff.”
“Hard as a rock,” said Damh.
“And that’s why you’re both standing like that?” asked Selene.
“Quite right,” said Phlipp Phlopp. “Now, to continue, we donned our codpieces and staggered out of the locker room, and that’s when he spoke.”
“Uh, who spoke?” asked Selene.
“The Salmon of Wisdom,” Damh said.
“The Salmon of Wisdom was in one of your codpieces?” asked Selene.
“No, how absurd!” said Phlipp. “The Salmon of Wisdom was still swimming in the hot tub!”
“Oh of course, how foolish of me, said Selene, “pray continue. …”
“Right-o. The Salmon of Wisdom said it appeared from our gait that there was something fishy going on.”
“Something fishy?” asked Selene.
“Yes, he said that he could tell that something fishy was going on, and that if we’d just throw our nuts into the water, that he could scry from the ripples and perhaps help us get to the bottom of this.”
“So you got undressed again and got into the hot tub so that the fish could scry from the ripples that your nuts made?” asked Selene.
“No! Woman, you have a one-track mind, don’t you?” said Phlipp. “Our hazelnuts, is what he meant of course, and so Damh here did a brilliant job of throwing the dish of hazelnuts into the hot tub, and the Salmon of Wisdom scried the ripples.”
“I see,” said Selene, “and what did he tell you?”
Just then in the office across the hall, Crow stepped forward a little in order to hear better, and he stepped on Green Druid’s foot. Green Druid cried out, then clapped her hand over her mouth.
“What was that noise?” asked Damh.
“I don’t know, said Selene, "but it came from my partner’s office, and he’s out of town on business.”
As footsteps approached their hiding place, Crow looked for an escape, but there was no other exit, not even a window. He wondered what would happen next …
“You can't study the darkness by flooding it with light.” ~ Edward Abbey