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Brand New Australian Myths and Legends
The BANNED Chapter
You lean back in the saddle as Elfa trots towards the closing chapter. It has been a melancholy, but satisfying journey. Elfa has won the competition for the filthiest limerick beginning with "There once was a lady called Hunt", and it looks as if he is going to soundly thrash you at Scrabble too. As you look at your letters and try to make a word out of "A-C-I-I-L-Q-U-Z-Z", you notice Elfa's pace slacken. He looks back at you with a strangely quizzical expression.
"Stop looking quizzical," you mutter. You know he's trying to put you off your game. You lay out "ZILICAZQU" and beam at Elfa. You seem not to remember that you tried this exact word only fifteen minutes earlier.
Elfa does not even bother referring you again to his Concise Oxford Dictionary. He just growls warningly and looks at you even more quizzically. You listen. Your smug grin fades, and Elfa nods. He's right. Something is definitely wrong.
You should have reached the last chapter by now. The Author did say it was just around the next corner, and over the sand dunes. But there has been no corner. There have been no dunes.
You refer to Elfa's Satellite Global Positioning System, but it serves only to make matters more confusing. According to the GPS, the last chapter is miles away [many dozen inches]. You survey the landscape.
The soil is red, flat and old. Old enough to be Cliff Richard's father. The air is dry and preternaturally still. You file "preternaturally" away in the back of your head, in case you get those letters later. The vegetation is spindly and sparse. Crickets chirrup around you.
It is far too quiet. And where has this landscape come from? You feel as if it should not be here. It's as if - no, it can't be - but if feels as if the landscape itself is somehow illegal. You have a gut feeling that you should not under any circumstances be here, and neither should the chapter. It feels terribly wrong.
Not far ahead is a coolabah tree, shimmering gently in the heat haze, which is what coolabah trees like to do on hot, still days. You check the GPS again. Yes, the coolabah tree is shown on the display. Next to it appears a symbol you recognise from your childhood GPS lectures.
"I'm picking up a swagman, Elfa," you explain. "A swagman
Since your mother warned you against picking up sailors, but said nothing about picking up swagmen on GPS, you urge Elfa ahead through the spinifex.
"Whoa, Elfa. Whoa!" you call as you reach the coolabah tree, but Elfa has already whoaed and is eying an individual with suspicion and distaste. This is no jolly swagman, you think as you inspect the ragged wreck before you, but he does seem to be camped by a billabong under the shade of the coolabah tree.
A movement attracts your attention to a small boy. You shrewdly estimate his age to be between two and forty. There is also a woman. You can tell this even without referring to the helpful chart your father once drew for you after that embarrassing episode in the public toilets that led you to the police station, court and transportation for the term of your natural life. The woman is - for some obscure reason - dancing.
Your attention returns to the disgusting heap of body parts you have chosen, for the sake of convenience, to call a man.
His face is a mass of boils. One eye is missing, probably a result of the terrible wound that left the scar that bisects his horrible face. His hair is matted, and seethes with lice. His nose is flattened and twisted, and the blackened, broken stumps in his mouth might once have been teeth. Mucus drips from his nostrils, and coagulates around the lumps of dried snot on his upper lip.
Even though you are still several paces from him, his breath makes you stagger backwards and you earnestly wish could rather inhale the relatively sweet aroma of a half-rotten sheep carcase tied in a tuckerbag and left to decay in the sun. It is then you notice that there is, in fact, a tuckerbag on the ground and it seems to have the distinctive shape and bloodstains of one that contains a dead jumbuck. Before Elfa can look at you quizzically again, you think to yourself that a jumbuck is a colloquial Australian expression for a sheep.
It puzzles you momentarily why no flies are buzzing around the tuckerbag, then you notice that they all seem to prefer hovering around the man who has looked up from his campfire and has noticed you. His good eye stares at you, bloodshot and watery. He smirks, and crust cracks around the corner of his mouth. It is not a happy smile, you realise. It is the smile of a serial killer.
He stands and looks intently at you. His Armani suit is torn and stained from more than one unexpected bodily function. Fleas leap from one side of his scalp to the other as he drags a toothless comb ostentatiously across his head. That comb seems familiar: did it once belong to a sardine you once encountered? It certainly smells like it, anyway.
"Tea?" he asks, the smirk still firmly in place on that horrible face. His lip curls to reveal a gold tooth: the only thing in his mouth that is not either black or green.
As you fight down the nausea that threatens to overwhelm you, you manage to say, "Earl Grey."
"Surely not," the man says. He has a sickly-smooth voice. You feel the overwhelming urge to beat the living daylights out of him for the voice alone. "I have supped with the good Earl, and you look nothing like him."
"No," you choke, as a slight breeze wafts the stench of the man's crusty underpants towards you. "Earl Grey tea. I am Sir Saint the Reader." You hoist your personal standard up the flagpole behind Elfa's saddle to underline the point.
"Yes, I know," the man slurs in his syrupy tone, and he looks at you as if he were humouring a mentally retarded child. Elfa snickers a little, but stops quickly as you glare at him. "A little - whimsy of mine. Forgive me." In spite of the mellifluous way he says "Forgive me", you get the strong impression that it actually means you should apologise for being so mind-bogglingly stupid. His eye has never left you, and you feel the temptation to either run away and hide, or beg his indulgence for the honour of sharing the same fetid air with him.
"Billy! Tea!" he calls, and the boy runs forward to tend the fire. He has the eyes of a rat, but exudes an air of one who has desperate desire to please, or at least not make mistakes.
"This thing is Billy," the man spits, cocking his fractured nose in the general direction of the scurrying boy. "That," he indicates with a negligent gesture, "is Miss Waltzing. Matilda! For God's sake stop that bloody dancing, you stupid tart. Can't you see we're entertaining?"
To disguise your growing desire to vomit, you raise the visor on your helmet, strike a dramatic pose and declare, "I am Sir Saint, the Reader, hero of this book. This noble battledog is the the worthy Elfa."
He turns again to you and extends a craggy, blackened hand that shows evidence of several past and present stubborn rashes, infections, disfigurements, dislocations, growths and inflammations. "I am... no." He smiles again: the sort of smile that usually precedes a disembowelment in a dark and secret cellar. "Let's play - a game," he purrs in his mellisonant way. "It would be - amusing - if you could guess who - or rather - what I am." And he looks at you expectantly: just as you would look at a baby you had just asked to install TCP-IP on a Unix web server.
You wonder. He has all the charm of a child molester. He treats his companions like the filth he wears on his skin. He has a solid gold fountain pen peeking just a little too visibly from his jacket pocket. His snake-skin shoes have "Gucci" written on the toes in texta, in case you were of a socio-economic class that could not recognise them by their styling alone. (He's right. You couldn't have.) His tie seems to have been sewn together from bits of ties from Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, Melbourne and Princeton. As you inspect him, he smoothly takes his pen, unscrews the cap and jots something down in an Executive Filofax. He tears out the page and holds it in two fingers that look as if they have been manicured with sharp rocks.
"Matilda!" he calls, giving the impression that even addressing her is an excruciating humiliation to him, and a moment to be treasured by her. She dances to him (one two three, one two three, back two three), gingerly takes the paper and presents it to you.
"Your account for services rendered so far," he says in a lugubrious tone that implies "Such a tiresome chore, this money business, but what can a man do? If I had my way..."
"My account?" you mutter as you examine the number of zeroes after the dollar sign on the paper, wondering whether there should have been a decimal point in there somewhere.
"The consultation - so far."
He slides back his tattered cuff to consult his gold Rolex. His lips purse, and he shakes his head slightly. He jots down another number in his Executive Filofax, passes it to Matilda, and she presents it to you. He shrugs again: I really hate doing this, you understand, but do I really have a choice under the current economic conditions? If only...
A cold tremor passes through you, as the realisation finally sinks in. Your stomach shudders and you are violently ill near the fire. As you retch, Elfa holds your hair back, and you distantly hear the scratching of a gold nib on an Executive Filofax.
"You... you're... a..." The words seize in your throat. The disgust floods through you. Your noble mind can barely acknowledge the sheer enormity of the truth. This creature is no child molester. He is not even just a depraved serial killer. He's a...
"Lawyer!" you gasp, grateful for the oxygen mask Elfa passes you. One of the man's eyebrows rises a millimetre, and his smirk extends another fraction of a foot.
"Barrister and solicitor, actually." The words ooze out.
You stagger backwards. This is wrong - it's all wrong. This simply cannot be. If only it were something as wholesome and simple as a giant carnivorous koala eating your body parts...
"I might say I was rather - surprised - to see you here," he smirks. "Quite surprised indeed, actually." His one good eye lances through you. "You see, this chapter should not actually be here any more than you should. It's - unfortunate." His casual stress on that word is horrifying.
He puts away the Filofax, and as he slips his fountain pen back into his pocket, you blanch. He's stopped charging you: this is seriously dangerous.
"Yes, I think I can go so far as to call it unfortunate. Perhaps even - regrettable." His smirk disappears and his condescending gaze turns into the ominous red dot of a sniper's laser sights aimed between your eyes.
Your trembling fingers snatch for your Magic Pointed Stick. You reel backwards, aim hastily and press Button C. Absolutely nothing happens, and the batteries were fresh this morning.
"Such - crude measures," he spreads his hands in disdain, "will avail you nought. I have taken out a Temporary Restraining Order on your Magic Pointed Stick." He holds up the order in front of you. "Of course your next of kin will be charged for my services. You are testate, I trust?"
You look at him blankly.
"You have made out a will?" he sighs, as if he is amazed he can bear explaining such trivialities to one so retarded as you. "Never mind, Reader. I'll take care of it." He doesn't deign to add the words, "for the appropriate fee." Even someone as dim as your good self take that for granted. "That's a fine suit of armour". The glance he gives you says: Obviously you've stolen it; someone of your type could not possibly legitimately own such a fine piece of work.
"Didn't - not... stolen. The prince - the prince gave..." you manage to say. You feel an overwhelming need to excuse yourself, explain yourself, seek his mercy.
The look says, A likely story. Where's the receipt? Where's the title? SHOW ME DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE.
"Gave it... prince... gave me..." but there is no more air in your lungs. It has been sucked out. You fall to your knees, and reach one pathetic hand towards him. The hand says, Forgive me. My fault. I didn't know it was wrong. Please - take it. Just don't tell... please.... please...
The eyebrows lower. A most serious matter indeed.
Your knees tremble, and your armour's inbuilt hygiene mechanism whirrs frantically to try to cope with the problem it is facing in your nether regions. The man snaps his fingers and the boy, Billy, scampers forward to you. You obviously don't even deserve the effort it would take him to continue talking to you.
"You see," the boy explains in a whining tone, his eyes darting for approval from the lawyer's icy face. "This Chapter has been banned worldwide. The terrible libel it perpetrates against worthy officers of the legal profession just cannot allowed to be uttered. The vile, disgusting lies and calumny it contains" - his desperately nervous grimace at the lawyer is rewarded with a slight nod - "the villainous calumny of its allegations are an affront to the wise, gentle and noble - yes! noble - people who uphold the law, buttress our society against infamy, anarchy and misdemeanours. It cannot be allowed! No - cannot! The entire chapter was stricken from this book - excised - proscribed - ripped like the foul cancer it is from this novel to protect such honourable people as he from the degenerate aspersions, defamations and filthy filthy verbal bowel movements by the likes of that ... that scandalous, that opprobrious, that debauched, profligate freakish monstrosity laughingly known as 'the author'. That vile, hideous wretch makes me want to vomit..."
"And you're lucky we like you - Billy can be rather more vehement when he really gets upset," Matilda adds as she waltzes past.
The man reaches into a loathsome pocket and draws forth a black handkerchief (at least most of it is black - there are some green crusty lumps on it too) and places it delicately upon his head.
"Tradition," he says simply.
"Before passing the sentence of death," the boy helpfully adds.
"Insofar as the alleged 'Reader'" - the name is spat out rather than spoken - "has willingly, and with malice aforethought, contravened the court order that prohibits any person (or corporate entity, real or natural) from publishing, uttering, or maliciously appearing in this proscribed Chapter (hereunder to referred to as 'the Chapter'), the" (spit) "'Reader' has been found guilty of noisome crimes against the state and is sentenced to death by drowning. The " (spit) "Reader is to be taken into custody, and then taken from this place to such a place of lawful execution whereat the " (SPIT!) "'Reader' shall be submerged beneath such quantities of aqueous materials (hereafter to be known as 'water') that the criminal's life shall be forfeit. And may Dog have mercy on its soul."
The words pass over you like whiplashes, barely registering as your addled brain tries to stay conscious. Elfa... your collapsing mind rallies around that name. Elfa... help me.
Where has that valiant hound been during your torment? Has he been sitting idly by as your fate was cut short by the vomit-coloured lawyer who now towers above you, finalising your account (and adding the costs associated with the execution) and poking the bill between the louvres of your armoured visor?
"You great useless hairy bastar..." you think as you collapse onto the ground.
"Am I dead?" Three words with momentous metaphysical implications. If you are dead, what is thinking "Am I dead?" Either you are not dead, or some construct of your psyche - in heaven, hell or cyberspace (encoded as engrams and uploaded to a neural net) - is making you think you are thinking "Am I dead?"
There's only one way to know - for sure. Ask the author.
AM I DEAD?
"Bloody authors!" you think. "Hey. That's a promising sign. I can swear about authors. Couldn't do that if I'm dead - well, probably not. Not if I'm in heaven. You're not supposed to be allowed to swear in in heaven. O dear. I might be in the other place - but I can't feel any pitchforks piercing my private parts. Either I'm not dead, or there is a major flaw in the mediaeval Christian representations of the afterlife options."
To make absolutely sure, you tune your armour's AM/FM radio to a "Golden Oldies" station and listen to a few horrible bars of The Bay City Rollers. Immediately after that comes "Save All Your Kisses for Me" by the Brotherhood of Man. That settles it. You must be alive. Heaven would never allow such musical sins within its pearly gates, and even Hell would not torment its victims with such horrors.
You are alive!
Fortified by that knowledge, your next task is to work out what on earth is going on around you. You convene a hasty meeting of your senses, take a head count, and decide they're all more or less present - though your sense of smell is complaining about the disgusting odour coming from the bottom half of your armour.
A little turquoise light is flashing in your visor's head-up display. You bring up the armour's online help system and read that a flashing turquoise light indicates that you are currently underneath a dog.
"Oh. That could be bad," you think. Too many visits to naughty websites can test even the purest of minds.
But beside the turquoise light is a solid chartreuse light. The online help reassuringly informs you that this light means that no alarming acts of zoophilia are currently in progress upon your person. The verdigris light indicates either that the dog is called "Elfa", or three armoured troopers are preparing to leap into view. Or both. Your online help, you notice, is Version 3.1.3 and should have been upgraded at least 17 minutes ago. You connect, download the patch, reset the armour's diagnostics and reload the online help.
Yep. The dog is Elfa.
And! Three armoured troopers are about to leap into view.
You raise your head. Elfa, protectively standing above you with a powdered judicial wig upon his shaggy brow, is presenting a writ of habeus corpus to the lawyer. There is also a Cease and Desist order, several affidavits, a few statutory declarations, a sockful of Temporary Restraining Orders, a High Court summons, an autographed photo of the buxom Sabrina (Norma Sykes), a pardon signed by his eminence Cardinal Richelieu saying "It is by my order, and for the good of the state, that the bearer of this has done what he has done. Richelieu", and an invitation to the September "Wag and Shag" BBQ for dogs of all breeds.
But, while the lawyer momentarily staggers under the onslaught of such compelling documentation, he is resilient.
"Wag and Shag BBQ?" he shouts. "What judge issued this decree? What jurisdiction does this Wagger and Shagger emanate from? I demand sworn affidavits from..."
It's at that moment that the armoured troopers leap up: one, two, three.
"Where's that jolly jumbuck you'se got in your tuckerbag? You'll come, Waltzing Matilda, with me, sir!" Trooper One shouts though a megaphone.
"No - you don't understand," you gasp. Elfa stands aside as you rise to your normal majestic height of one metre (six foot eight). "It's not Matilda you want - it's HIM!" you cry, pointing at the bemused lawyer-swagman.
"Officer, officer", the lawyer croons. "There has obviously been some misunderstanding."
The loud trooper steps forward, his armour rattling. He, and his colleagues, are clad in cast-iron armour. The helmets are cylindrical, with mailbox slits for eyeholes. Thick, heavy plates cover their chests, and articulated plates hang from the breastplate to cover much of their legs.
"They're not even air conditioned or power-assisted," you muse. "And they definitely lack broadbank Internet connections."
"Misunderstanding, you say, sir?" The "Sir" is obviously a civility that later proves useful in court when accused of beating the suspect senseless. "Is that a tuckerbag I sees before me?" His armoured toe indicates the tuckerbag in question.
"Ah - well - in actual fact..." the lawyer says.
"Yes it is!" you helpfully finish.
"And would I be 'alfway towards the point of haccurate veracity," says the trooper, "if I surmised there might be a jolly jumbuck in the halleged tuckerbag?"
"Well - there could be, dependent on a court's ruling, said to be a sheeplike object in the said bag of tucker," the lawyer reponds.
"Oh Ho!" declares the trooper, swivelling his armoured helmet at each of his partners in victory. "In that case, sir, I am hobliged to point hout that you must come a'waltzing Matilda with me. That is, sir, you must waltz with me and my colleagues from this place to hanother place."
"What other place?" you and the lawyer say together. Both of you spit at the shame of having shared the same comment.
"The hother place," the trooper says. "That is, to wit, a place that is not this place."
Trooper Number 2 whispers into his earhole.
"What I mean to say, sir, is 'A place that is not this halleged place.'" And he beams mightily behind the armoured headpiece. "And I don't want none of that jumpin'-up of swagmen an' leapin' into that billabong nonsense."
The lawyer, poised half-way through a swan dive with a twist, stops.
"Really, sir," the trooper says. "Seeing has there been hentirely too much billabong leapin' goin' on at the current state of point of present time, SIR". The final emphatic "Sir" would hopefully disguise the complete confusion the officer is suffering at having constructed a sentence so cunningly crafted that even he failed to understand it.
"Hoorah!" you shout.
"And that'll be enough 'hoorahing' if you please, sir Sir? Madam? Hmphhh. Entirely too much 'hoorahing' goin' on in this locality, if you catch my drift of meanin'," the officer warns.
"Yep," you say cunningly.
"VERY good sir or madam as the case may imply, genderally speakin'," the officer says, glad that he has finally understood a sensible reply, even though he has not inspected the contents of the nether regions of your armour closely enough to determine your gender. At the moment, since the hygiene mechanism is still working on the stubborn deposits, that is excellent news for the trooper.
"Right FACE! Sorry. LEFT face!" he booms. He winks at you. You wink back. He is glad to have avoided yet another incident wherein the Trooper Recovery Crew would have had to dislodge him from a billabong. "FORWARD harch!"
"Huh?" you say.
"March," the third trooper whispers.
So you march.
You march until it's April.
"May I stop and redecorate my armour?" you ask. "My feng sui monitor is flashing a warning."
"Not huntil we remand this sir before the Honourable June," the trooper replies.
"An august body," he replies, quietly remembering the months of pleasure he enjoyed with June's august body before she became a judge.
The chambers of Judge June are impressive. She even had a resident jury installed in case quick decisions were required.
"Judge June, darling, your honour," says the trooper.
"Hello Trooper Sweety." Judge June says. Her wig is definitely not of a judicial nature. Neither is the minuscule transparent negligee she is wearing. Her thick iron armour only accentuates her voluptuous figure.
"I 'ave a matter to bring before your darling Honour," the trooper says, his voice slightly obscured by the saliva he is producing.
"Is it a BIG matter you wish to bring before me?" Judge June asks, her voice also slightly obscure.
"Massive... and 'ard. Very 'ard," the trooper assures her.
"A Hard Case, eh? I guess it will also be Long," Judge June simpers.
"Ho, yes! Very very very long... and 'ard," the trooper reports.
"Do you wish to Enter your evidence now?" the judge whimpers.
"Oooooooooooooooooh," the trooper responds. "Many times. Many many... oh..."
"Darling?" Judge June asks.
"Halas, this is a real case, your lovely Judgeship," the trooper says reluctantly, as he wipes away certain tell-tale stains from his armour..
"A real case? Omigod." She disappears for a few minutes and reappears in an opaque robe that completely obscures those regions that have entranced both the trooper and Elfa.
"Yes, milud," the trooper says after you helpfully pour several buckets of cold water over him. "This Sir is charged with the hillegal happropriation of a jumbuck by a billabong with the express hintent of hingesting the said jumbuck for purposes nefarious and gastric."
"Oh dear, darling," Judge June sighed. "It looks like we need a jury. Summon the jury!"
Twelve armoured jurors file into the jury box.
"'E did it!" declares the trooper.
"Yes 'e did!" says trooper 2.
"Sure did," says trooper 3.
"The prosecution rests," says trooper 1, his brow probably dripping with sweat.
"No 'e didn't," shouts Billy. The jury mutters with shock at this dramatic disclosure.
"If I may..." the lawyer says, as he rises to his bunioned and calloused feet. "Ladies, gentlemen of the jury. I am accused of the heinous misappropriation of an ovine beside a waterhole in an anabranch, replenished only in flood time."
The jury mutters. He sounds convincing.
"But can one truly define a billabong? Do Americans know what a billabong is? If many English-speaking people do not know what a billabong is, does it really exist? I ask you."
The jury mutters again.
"And if a billabong does not exist, can a jumbuck be stuffed into a tuckerbag beside it?" he asks.
The jury wonders the same thing.
"If a jumbuck cannot be stuffed into a tuckerbag beside a putative object, it must follow that the stuffing is also open to doubt."
Murmurs of "yeah."
"So if nothing was stuffed, where is the jumbuck? I put it to you there IS no jumbuck!"
The jury erupts into applause. Cries of "Hear! Hear!"
"Ipso facto, I move that the charges be dismissed and that THESE persons be charged forthwith with slander and perjury!" he shouts, pointing at everyone except the jury.
"Damned good idea!" the jury cries.
The jury is silenced. An ad break happens. Everyone goes to the toilet or makes a cup of coffee. The advertisers are really annoyed.
"Yes?" Judge June enquires of the Honourable Elfa.
"Woof, bark bark bark, whimper, WOOF, bark bark whine!" Elfa cries.
"Yes, I must admit your case is most convincing, but I am afraid..." Judge June says as she reaches for her black handkerchief..
"Wait!" you cry.
The shock is electrifying. Several jury members have quiet secretions of joy, many of which you don't wish to know about. Your armour glistens in the dusty but sandalwood-aromatic courtroom.
"Why?" the judge asks.
"Ummmm...." you say with certainty.
"Oh, THAT!" you say. "Of course. How stupid I have been!"
The jury nods. Elfa nods. The judge nods.
"If it please your Honour. It is our burden to convince the court of the monstrosity of the accused - and all I can bring to bear is this photograph of the accused holding a copy of Jolly Jumbuck Thieving Weekly; sworn confessions of his accomplices, Billy and Matilda; a signed confession by the accused; a complete chapter of a novel that documents his depraved behaviour; forensic samples of the accused, the jumbuck, the tuckerbag AND the billabong; video evidence of the slaying of the jumbuck by the accused; and sworn testimony made by the jumbuck DURING the slaying..."
Judge June nods wisely. "But I'm afraid we need convincing evidence... I hereby ignore the jury and declare the defendant not..."
"Again with the woof? What is it this time?" Judge June hisses.
Elfa kicks a tuckerbag in your direction.
"Ah HA! Your honour," you say as you rise again to your feet. "It has come to the attention of the prosecution that you have been invited to the 'Wag and Shag' BBQ in September.'
"What of it?" the Judge enquires, with an icy stare.
"What were you going to bring?" you shout.
"Well, perhaps some coleslaw..." the Judge mutters with embarrassment.
The lawyer, seeing a slimy opportunity to ingratiate himself, leaps to his toe-jammed feet. "Your honour! I have some lamb chops! I butchered them mysel..."
The judge glares at the lawyer.
"Continue..." the judge says with a fatal fixation on the lawyer as security officers surround him.
As you recline on the down-filled pillows and inbibe the sandalwood fragrances issued by the court censer, you turn to Judge June as she entwines with Trooper 1.
"Jolly good show that justice was preserved, what?" you ask.
Slurp, suck, thrust, groan.
"I said, 'Jolly good show that justice was preserved, what?'" you repeat.
"Oh yes. Lamb chops. Justice served. Very good", the judge replies, between lusty moans.
"Quite good for all involved," you add. Elfa writhes in pleasure as several jury members brush him vigorously.
"Hmmmm? Good... yes! GOOD! There! There!" the judge cries.
"Of course, it's nice for a dog to be recognised for his courtroom efforts," you insinuate.
"What? Oh YES! YES! Admitted to the bar. Both of you - Queen's Counsel. YES, Trooper! Right THERE!"
As you, Sir Saint Reader, QC, wipe the peeled grape skins from your armour, and Sir Saint Bernard Elfa Labrador, QC, shakes free the sugar-dusted partridge wings from his fur, you sigh, knowing that if nothing else in the world is certain, at least one can rely on the legal system to preserve our quality of life.
And suddenly it becomes all clear. You laugh as you lay out the letters on the Scrabble board.
"Quizzical!" you cry, as Elfa pads towards the concluding chapter.
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