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Episode Eighteen

I pounded along the pavement, with the swede clutched in my sweaty hands. The hue and cry died in the distance and I slowed to a walk. Through sheer luck, I had regained the swede, but now I needed time to assess the significance of the vegetable. I looked around me. Across the street was the entrance to a low-rent flop house. I walked across and entered the seedy lobby.

The guy on the desk looked up as I approached. "Yeah, whaddya want?" he asked in perfectly accented English. "I'd like a room for the night. Can you give me one?"

He looked from me to the swede in my hands and back to me again. "Boy, we get some strange types in here," he said, half to himself, "but I ain't never seen a guy take a swede up to the rooms!"

"Yeah, " I leered. "Well, me and this swede got something going, something real hot. Ain't we honey?" I said to the swede.

The clerk mumbled something to himself, then plucked a key from the board behind him. "That'II be twenty," he said. "And I don't want no green stains on the sheets."

"Ok." I handed him the money, and turned to find my room. I paused. "By the way, you couldn't send up three bags on John Innes No.3 potting compost, could you? Just put it on the bill."

His voice followed me upstairs. "You filthy pervert," he shouted. "I wouldn't even get you a Gro'Bag!" I grinned to myself and opened the door to my room.

I stopped grinning fast. The room was full of people. They all had guns, and they were all pointed at me. Everyone I'd ever heard of was there. Ragen, Petal, Clifford Pilchard, Chu En Ginsberg, Lord Flongord, Marie Carthorse, Dr. Huw Ah Yuw, Rudy, Foster, Helga (along with the rest of the regulars at the Stump and Wombat), a number of strange looking people with knives in their backs and lots of other major and minor characters. Somebody closed the door behind me. I turned round. A masked figure stood with his back to the door. The figure spoke: "I am the mysterious author killer, but that is irrelevent. We want the swede, Gilbert. We want the swede, and we want it now."

"You won't get it," I said and did the only thing possible. I swallowed the swede, green furry bits and all. A rushing noise seemed to sweep through the room. The walls, floor and ceiling dropped away, leaving me hanging in a empty void. Everyone had disappeared. Reality had ceased to exist for me. I was on the outside looking in. Suddenly, like a clear shaft of sunlight, I knew all the answers, all the questions, even how to get seat on British Rail. "Of course," I murmured. "It's all so simple, just ring up and make a reservation. And time is a Mobius strip." Instantly I was enveloped in a bright white light, time began to telescope and my knowledge drained from me ...

Hiya man,

Like, I went to the doc yesterday, he gave me three months to live. I slipped him a pony and took my consignment of horse ...

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