"Oh, it's for 'twelve cakes,' not a 'Twelfth cake' all right," Teresa calmly obliged as she scrutinized the order, a premonitory ruck creasing her brow shortly before she ceded self-control to the winds.
As the swirling crows alighted en masse (or "en murder") on one of the gables, in the Inspector's mind a complex theory of the crime began to emerge from the ruck of confusing facts: The smithy's son and heir to his practice had remained on the neglected estate as a self-appointed caretaker while he pursued his craft, but he was recently threatened with eviction by the property management company, a circumstance which might give him a motive for murder; a theory which would be borne out only if the Inspector could locate a swage with the son's DNA in complete mimesis with DNA on the fabricated Roman dagger--even a skosh variation would kill the case.
"Celesto's cool and serene composition in sheet metal, 'Mimesis of Sea and Sky,' evokes the seamless unity of the elements," one critic wrote, "and as the artist intended, the sculpture reveals not a skosh of its origins in the forge; of the Oxyacetylene torches which heated the reluctant metal; of the swages which bent its broad expanses; of the helve hammers which formed its rucks and ripples; of the sculptor who sweated and heaved."
Returning to the station house, Detective Inspector Malroy reviewed the morning's work: he had writhed and pushed his way through a cacophonous ruck to locate the stabbing victim who lay cold and exsanguinated in his own parka--just another unremarkable statistic of urban violence --except, it kept haunting him, for the the distinctive murder of crows which had swirled overhead like a black whirlpool, and focusing on this image he began to wonder whether the crows and the victim were somehow connected to the bizarre incident which recently occurred at the Gothic mansion.
Precisely at midnight a bolt of lightning struck the devil-shaped finial on the roof of the deserted Gothic mansion just as prophesied, and instantly the house seemed to groan and writhe in pain; luminous deletescent spirits and goblins surged from the gables and parapets accompanied by a cacophony of shrieks and moans as if the very gates of Hell had been opened causing Pandemonium among the ruck of onlookers and amateur ghostbusters who panicked and ran through the woods, hellbent, helter-skelter.
Silent Sam, a case study in word-related nervous disorders, abruptly became logorrheic when the subject of anagrams came up: "Yes, you see I've inherited a rare condition called 'anagramania,' in which I compulsively generate anagrams like the words on that list in your hand... I come 'unpent' when I see 'punnet,' and I like my little 'pet nun'... but, of course fruit bowls have nothing to do with it... then too 'endemic' leaves me cold like 'iced men' (ha ha!) though I am bit unleashed, not really being endemic to any one place, always yare for a new word in the new 'year,' though some think me 'awry' (ha ha!) ....and even my name is an anagram of 'name lists,' but I do go on, don't I?"
"The proof is in the pie," said Reggie as he accepted Boobs' generous peace offering (as it were) of mince pie, "but (suddenly growing pensive) say, aren't we, you, I, and Vern, that is, just fictional characters in an evolving story written in cyber-space by two authors of unknown physical location who have accepted the challenge of a Wizard-like character to artfully employ in a single sentence four arbitrarily chosen and sometimes obscure words such as pi, inception, abecedarian, and inchoation on the theory that other beings cruising by on the Internet will be both amused and it is hoped, edified (running out of breath)?"
In the cloudy, inchoate beginning, before the inception of numbers, men struggled with crude concepts of "more" and "less" until one special day in the distant past somewhere on the African veldt one of our hominid ancestors hesitated, then made a single scratch on a stone for one zebra, two scratches for two zebras, and three scratches for three zebras, and from that abecedarian but brilliant beginning mankind eventually developed a magnificent number system reaching out from the positive counting numbers to transcendental numbers like e and Pi, and beyond to the Alephs, uncountable infinities.
"Truth is a stranger reverie than fiction," Reggie remarked to Boobs, as they nursed their Irish Coffees while waiting for Vern to meet them at The Buena Vista on Hyde Street: "first the sozzled debacle at St. Patricks; turning a "new page" in San Francisco; meeting you down on your luck and a little pococurante tending bar in the Tenderloin (holding her hand tighter); regaining my trust fund; then reconciling with Vern after the jilt; and now here we are, the first licensed ménage à trois in the State--Hey Vern!"
Sozzled, his signature red bow tie a-kilter, his Bottega Veneta sweater torn, and a look of distant reverie on his face, Reggie tripped down the aisle at St. Patrick's like a wobble-legged Fred Astaire, pococurante to the outraged looks of the congregation who might have been more sympathetic had they known the poor clown had just been jilted by his fiancé.
After the undercover cop busted the biker and the gambler for carrying concealed weapons and assault, and gave the peckled kid a kick in the pants, Boobs counted her lucky stars the cop had released her without charges, and keeping the Yarborough as a souvenir, she trudged back to her lonely flat where she promptly crashed, cards in hand, while reflecting that her iridescent bleb had popped, and the bird of happiness had saponaceously slipped her grasp once again.
It had been a long hard road that brought burned out stripper "Boobs-a-Plenty" to the off-strip Vegas dive that day, looking nothing like her former self in an overstuffed tube top and blond wig she had just bought on sale at Walmart, but as she surveyed the peckled collection of rejects round the bleb-pocked card table, a washed-up gambler with a saponaceous reputation she thought she recognized as "Slippery Sam," a tattooed biker with needle tracks marching up his arms, and a hollow-eyed homeless man smelling of the street, the chips were down, and the four nine Yarborough peeking over the top of her tightly-clenched hand told her this just might finally be her lucky day.
"He planned to cheat by marking cards greater than nine with tiny blebs and peckles, and win the bet on the Yarborough that way," the Gaming Department detective explained, "but a sharp-eyed kid in the crowd asked his father 'why the Jack has three eyes?' and blew the whole saponaceous scheme wide open."
Eight year old mathematical prodigy Pascal jumped from the chair at his desktop computer, clapped his hands, and shouted "Mom! Mom! One thousand eight hundred and twenty-seven to one!" after the peckled pattern on the monitor screen snapped into a bleb-shaped graph which neatly solved the saponaceous "Yarborough Probability" problem.
Most would have thought it impossible to further nobble the reputation of Lord Lech, a notorious gadabout and philanderer who never missed a chance to cast an oeillade at the fair sex, until he was found in what the society pages politely referred to as "an imbricated position" with his sister, an "unidentified male," and a German Shepherd.
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