Author: A.A. Pessimal PM
Posibly the beginning of a new cycle set in the City Zoo. No sex except for the animals and not much swearing. Though watch where you stand...Rated: Fiction K - English - Humor/Fantasy - Chapters: 5 - Words: 22,711 - Reviews: 18 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 5 - Updated: 01-15-13 - Published: 10-22-11 - id: 7485737
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Well, I'm back. After dealing with health issues and writer's block, I now have time again for gentler things. Picking up on fanfic ideas where I left off, I note people asked for more Zoo Tales, more Crowley and Azaraphile, more Civilian Assistant, more Slipping between Worlds.
I broke myself back in gently by adding to the SatW and Thunderbirds canons. I've added a new chapter to Slipping Between Worlds. Let's move on to Zoo Tales, as new ideas and concepts have been mounting up. I saw some interesting nature documentaries on YouTube recently...
Keeper Grinchlow was a very experienced man with animals. Although he was pushing seventy, he had had a lifetime of tending exotic species. This valuable experience had been built up in over four decades of being a custodian of the animals in the Patrician's Menagerie. He had seen four Patricians come and go, and had been vaguely surprised the fifth, Havelock Vetinari, had lasted as long as he had. Still, that wasn't his concern: he viewed everything else in the Patrician's Palace as being strictly anciliary to the Menagerie. He had been proud of what he and the others had achieved at the Menagerie, and he had, at first, been utterly outraged and betrayed at being told the Menagerie was going to be closed down and its animals and staff transferred to the new City Zoo. An elderly man somewhat set in his ways, Grinchlow had been appalled at the idea of a completely public expanded Menagerie, where members of the public, the Ankh-Morpork public, could pay to enter and view the animals. To him, this wasn't what a Menagerie was for. And this idea being floated, that a previously human staff be expanded to accommodate golem and troll zookeepers? To him, this was making a mockery of the whole idea. Animal-proof keepers? You earned your scars with pride, for goodness sake. It was only natural that every so often, the livestock would express its feelings about captivity by biting, strangling, poisoning, smothering or spitting venom on you. It was an occupational hazard, and it got you a few stories to tell in the pub and a few free beers when you showed your scars with pride. The whole idea of bite-proof zookeepers was somehow cheating!
And then the girl had turned up to sell her ideas to the Menagerie staff, with Vetinari himself having communicated his view that the package be accepted with the minimum of debate and delay. And you didn't gainsay Lordship. So the three Menagerie keepers, himself, Mr Pontoon, and Young Gus the apprentice(1), had sat in a room at the Palace whilst the girl excitedly laid out the new deal to them. He had tried to figure her out. She was an Assassin, yes, but one of the new sort who were springing up: not as stuck-up or as haughty as some you saw, the old school sort. Friendlier, more approachable. This one was young and foreign and had an accent that was hard to follow when she got excited. But it was clear she knew her stuff. And she was offering better pay, more holidays, free Igoring if you got damaged, and other perks. And he wasn't getting any younger. Mrs Grinchlow had urged him to accept.
A group visit to the Assassins' Guild's Animal Management Unit had tipped the decision for him. Say what you like about Assassins, they knew their stuff on the sort of animal species that really interested them, and the girl was both enthusiastic and knowledgeable about her speciality. Even if some of the animals the Assassins took a keen professional interest in were, frankly, the sort that gave him the creeps. But you couldn't fault her teaching and you couldn't fault the enthusiasm of the student Assassins who were going to add their unpaid labour to the Zoo. She had emphasised that the students would need careful supervision and a little training, and would Mr Grinchlow and his colleagues be happy to provide some of it?
Still giddy at the promotion to Head Zookeeper, Grinchlow had accepted on the spot. He still had misgivings about the other people who would have a presence on the site – Wizards from the University, those mad bastards from the College of Heralds, and Thieves' Guild school students – and of course working with bloody Golems and bloody trolls, bunch of rocks and flowerpots – but he knew, deep down in his heart of hearts, that Mrs Grinchlow would flay him alive if he turned down both the pay rise and the prestige she, Mrs Grinchlow, would derive from being able to call herself the wife of the Head Zookeeper.
"I might get better service from the Dolly Bakery when it gets known that I'm the Head Keeper's wife. That bloody Mrs Weaselplighter from Number Eleven will think twice about putting on her airs and graces, and I might even find they save some of those Quirmian Fancies for me of a Saturday!"
No, Mr Grinchlow had taken a deep breath, accepted the necessity of change, appreciated that necessary change was cushioned by a promotion and an eight dollars a month pay rise to go with his new status, and had set about helping to make the new Zoo work. He now nominally managed a staff consisting of humans, dwarfs, golems and trolls, although the Golems remained firmly under the management of the Golem Trust and that bloody woman, the one who treated the world as if she were a bulldog sucking lemon juice off a nettle. All he had to do was direct them. And they were bloody marvels when it came to restraining a tetchy wilderbeeste or a rhinoceros with an attitude problem.
And there was nothing like a couple of trolls for shovelling shite. It didn't get to them like it would to humans. Although some of those mad girls from the Assassins' School clamoured to muck out the cuter, sweeter, animals and were prepared to roll up their sleeves and uncomplainingly shift any amount of crap. Grinchlow had seen the phenomena before. Young girls who would only tidy their bedrooms at crossbow point were not fazed by a pile of honking shite in a cage, and would get right in there with a wheelbarrow and a shovel.
He winced. They didn't talk much of cages any more. The new-fangled words were enclosures, or habitats. But having other people to shovel the crap suited him perfectly. All he had to do was to ensure it was all removed to the back service road, which was closed to the public, from which Harry King's boys collected regularly. The girl had even made sure that Harry paid the Zoo to take away the animal dung, rather than the other way around. Apparently elephant and bewilderbeeste dung was fantastic for gardens. Grinchlow had exploited a staff perk, regularly taking a bucket home for his rhubarb and marrows. Which he had to admit were magnificent. And lion, leopard and tiger shit spread over your flowerbeds acted as a deterrent to that bloody tom moggie from down the street clawing things up. People paid Harry handsomely for Zoo dung.
And nobody stole from the Zoo. Or at least not much. The Thieves' Guild had adopted the chimpanzees and the baboons and its school students tended their cages... enclosures. Given an interest here, the Thieves carefully policed any non-Guild activity on site. And day and night security was done partly by the Golems, who never slept, and partly by the Assassins' Guild, who vectored students on the Security Consultancy module here for practical experience. (2)
The one area where Mr Grinchlow could be said to be deficient in zookeeping skills was, unfortunately, the Petting Zoo. The concept of providing cute and cuddly and above all pleasant-tempered animals for children to pet and stroke under supervision was one that was wholly alien to him. It had exposed certain regrettable gaps in his knowledge and skills-base.
He had, for instance, reasoned that some of those furry spiders they kept at the Assassins' Guild 's Animal Management Unit would be just the job and would fit the specification perfectly. He had added a few of those appealingly hairy Ghatian millipedes to add to the mix. Unfortunately nobody senior had been on duty at the AMU that day, and for the Zoo's senior keeper to say he was collecting a few animal specimens on Miss Smith-Rhodes' authority had been allowed to pass without comment or examination.
Fortunately, the Guild School's Matron Igorina had been visiting the Zoo, attracted as she was by Johanna Smith-Rhodes' classes having more than the usual degree of danger for the unwary and overconfident student. For an Igor, there was always more than the usual possibility of an interesting injury to attend to. Johanna was renowned for providing Nature Trails for her students that reinforced the fundamental and eminently transferable skill of being aware that Nature was a thing of wonder and majesty, and that the Assassin, when confronted with interesting examples of Nature, should be alert and attentive at all times. Inattentive or over-confident students got to see Igorina, sooner rather than later.
Thus she was on hand when the tarantulas appeared in the Petting Zoo, and her Igor senses twanged on seeing what Johanna later identified as the Instant Death Millipede which normally dwelt in the deep jungle of Ghat. Casualties were few, but vocal.
And then there was the thing with the ponies. For some time, the Zoo had kept a few common donkeys and shaggy little Hubland ponies. A self-employed Dwarf keeper, who had formerly worked with pit ponies but who now suffered from claustrophobia, had the franchise to hire them out as rides for children. The understanding was that profits from the rides were shared between the Zoo and the Dwarf attendants. Only a few Dwarfs worked at the Zoo: there had been an early issue concerning the Zoo's rodent collection which, against all expectations for rats and mice, had actually remained static in number rather than grown. The zoo's coypu population had actually shrunk to pretty near zero. Once Johanna worked out what was happening, several Dwarf keepers were sacked and the rest were warned that eating the exhibits would be treated as gross misconduct. A coypu might be viewed, from one angle, as an extremely large rat with a lot of eating on it. To a Dwarf, it would be like a Hogswatch turkey. Johanna thought about the principles involved and reflected the Zoo's surplus of ostriches had been moved to a commercial farming operation and were farmed for meat and feathers, with the profits shared by the Zoo and the sub-contracted farmer. Otherwise, the Zoo would have been shoulder-deep in ostriches. And all rodents, once taken out of the predation cycle, were fast breeders.
She had a discreet word with Gimlet the dwarfish butcher. The two of them entered into a commercial arrangement similar to that concerning surplus ostriches. And coypus and other speciality rodents were now Dwarf-farmed for meat and skins and sold at a premium. The Zoo maintained prime specimens to exhibit: the surplus became a humanely farmed food resource for Dwarfs. But Dwarfs, in general, were not used to the idea that rodents could be bred and exhibited as things of interest in their own right. Dwarf visitors would press their faces against the glass and salivate, seeing a menu, rather than interesting and often rare animal life. She had discreet extra security in the rodent and small marsupial house. You never knew.
The Brown Islands Giant Rat and the Paraquatian Capybara were very popular exhibits with the Dwarfs, who had never seen so many calories on four legs before. Johanna wondered about a controlled breeding programme that might release a limited number of giant rats to the food market. But the capybaras were a protected species. And the other thing was that the Diamond King of the Trolls had suggested sponsoring a purpose-built habitat for troll ducks. This was an interesting thing to consider for the future. But trollish cuisine had lots of interesting poultry recipes. And trolls were bigger, stronger, and more direct than dwarfs.
Johanna put the thought from her mind. Mr Grinchlow had dealt with a smooth-talking salesman who had persuaded him that the additional ponies were just what the Zoo needed and would be just peachy for the Petting Zoo as they would be just great with children.
The Lancre Hill Ponies had caused more havoc than the tarantulas and millipedes.
They had bitten, snarled and kicked out indiscriminately, only being restrained by the golem keepers, entities capable of tucking a pony under each arm and physically removing them to a spare enclosure. But two or three had been saddled up and Ankh-Morpork children had been placed in the saddles. With a whimpering and apprehensive child in each saddle, the ponies had looked at each other and nodded. Then they had taken off, accompanied by screaming children. Johanna reflected that the Watch had still been looking for Algernon Pewdesley a day or two later. The Times had written some acerbic copy. Refunds had been made. Compensation was being negotiated. Johanna, furious, had set about tracking down the Dwarf who had sold the ponies. And she had known exactly where to start.
"No refunds!" squeaked the little man. Like Johanna, he affected Howondalandian bush dress: khaki tunic, baggy trousers, knee-high brown boots, and a broad bush hat. A useful shorthand for keen observers is that while this was superficially identical to Fourecksian bush dress, Rimwards Howondalandians did not pin one side of the brim up to the crown and never hung corks on strings around the brim. And, as Johanna's body language was making abundantly clear, they carried far bigger knives.(3)
She scowled and her eyes narrowed. It was body language her pupils had learnt to dread and even her best friends were wary of. She glared at Jethro Webb. In all probability the nearest he'd ever been to Howondaland was in all probability a visit to the Zoo. The fact he was wearing Howondalandian bush dress offended her sensibilities.
"Mr Jethro Webb." she said, controlling her temper. "You are one helf of Webb end Wezir, licenced enimel dealers?"
As if on cue, a chorus of animal noise arose from the cages and sheds around her. Johanna frowned, recognising several individual notes.
"Well, yes, of course! We've dealt with the Zoo before!" gabbled Webb, backing hastily away from an Assassin with a mission. "Webb and Wazir, of Chirrup Lane, dealing only in mundane quadrupeds, strictly no magical animals, miss, and we reassured the Librarian we don't do mon... apes! Never dealt in apes ever, miss, and strictly no orang-utans! We've never done orang-utans, miss, the Librarian would have them for garters!"(4)
Johanna had backed him into a corner, perilously near a large and partly-shrouded cage that she now realised contained a tiger. Caught between Johanna and the tiger, Webb licked his lips nervously and moved closer to the tiger. It took him away from Johanna, who was not in a cage.
"Only quedrupeds, you say?" she inquired, in the sort of restrained and reasonable voice that had people like Alice Band and Joan Sanderson-Reeves covertly looking for cover. "What are those, then?"
Her gaze took in a collection of birds in what to her eyes were pitifully inadequate cages. Webb licked his lips again.
"Errr... if you count two wings as being peds, miss, they're sort of quadro...errr...two legs, two wings...AAAARGH!"
"I'm so very gled to hear you deal in quedrupeds." she said, lifting him by the lapels. Now you cen tell me ebout Lencre Hill Ponies. Where do they come from, did you sell them on, end who to?"
"Errr... Lancre, miss? They come from Lancre?"
Johanna shook him down.
"Do not try to be funny, mr Webb. My name, as I em sure you know, is Johanna Smith-Rhodes. Now if you know me, you will know I hev the secret of persuading large felines to do my will. In a moment or two I propose to let thet tiger out of its cage, es it looks es if it requires some exercise. I cen promise you I will not be hermed or inconvenienced in eny way."
She set him down and added weight to her words by pulling the cover off the tiger cage. The tiger, who knew trouble when it saw it, had retreated to the back of its cage and was trying to look inconspicuous.
Johanna looked at the despatch label and her face creased with distaste.
"The buyer for this creature is Mr Woo Hun Ling, et the Auriental Exotica end Mertiel Erts Emporium on Heroes Street..."
Johanna produced her badge as a Watch special constable. She did not like the idea of Agatean medicines. Not one little bit. But she was in the calm place beyond fury now.
"I cen go on Wetch duty right now end errest you!" she said. "Ceptain Cerrot will know exectly whet cherges to put before the Petrician. Or you can tell me ebout Lencre Hill Ponies. End if the Wetch does not frighten you, the Guild of Essessins has a fifty-one per cdent controlling interest in the Zoo. It does not eppreciate being conned end cheated, end Essessins are ectively pursuing the dwarf who sold the Zoo ponies which were unfit for the purpose!"
The little man's shoulders sagged.
"I can place you now, miss." he said, weakly. "Your uncle used to work for us as a freelance. He was really good."
Johanna also did not like to be reminded about Uncle Balthazar. Formerly known as Howondaland Smith-Rhodes, Balgrog Hunter, he had been a notorious con-man, grifter and bunco artiste. (5) It didn't surprise her that he had occasionally worked for a shady live-animal trader. It explained a lot.
"Now listen to me." she said. "You will tell me everything about a consignment of Lencre Hill Ponies that pessed this way recently. I want the full story with no evesions or lies, skabenga."
She listened as the account emerged, together with the name and current approximate whereabouts of the Dwarf who had offered to sell the evil vicious little bastards on, hopefully palm them off at the Zoo, squire, I'll do it for twenty percent of the take...
"Gut." she said , satisfied.
"Err.. no refunds, miss."
Johanna made a quick decision. Lancre Hill Ponies were rare and a worthwhile acquisition in their own right, so long as nobody ever actually tried to ride one.
"Heppily for you, we will keep them. But not in the Petting Zoo."
She turned to leave. Webb drew a sigh of relief and even the tiger took its paws from over its eyes. Then she turned back, as if forgetting something.
"My golems will be here presently to collect the tiger." she said. She watched the little man wince.
"Tell Mr Woo Hun Ling thet if he objects, I will be on Wetch duty to errest him for illegal manufacture of Egatean medicines, illegal importation of endangered enimels, end cruelty to enimels. I believe the Tanty now serves Egetean food, but only once a week. Or I could formally report to the Wetch. Would you like..." she thought for a moment. "Constabel Jolson breeds cage-birds. I could request her to come and report on the conditions in which you are keeping your stock. Or perheps Inspector Pessimel might like to come end essist you with your accounts end your ledgers. No? Then my golems will come end collect the tiger, which you are of your own free will donating to the Zoo. Good morning, mr Webb!"
The parting shot having been fired, she left on the long walk back to Filigree Street, to advise the Guild investigators pursuing the salesdwarf as to where to look. She was also happy at having saved a tiger from needless slaughter, and that she had put a crimp in the trade in animals to be slaughtered for snake-oil nostrums.
Some time later...
Johanna returned from a Guild mission to find the Zoo in turmoil. The Meerkats, a highly intelligent social species, had gone to ground in alarm, behaviour they only manifested if a predator was nearby. The chimpanzees had retreated into the high treetops and looked worried. Even the lions had huddled together for mutual assurance and were looking worried. The hyenas were not in a mood to laugh and appeared agitated. The place was suspiciously empty of visitors. Her beloved pet dogs, Kaffee and Crème, started to pull at their leads. But in a place with many exciting scents, this was normal behaviour for lion dogs. it was why, with them fully grown, she kept them on a lead in the Zoo. After all, dogs belonging to members of the public had to be on leads. It was only right her own should not be exempt.
She frowned and went to find Grinchlow. Shtetl, the golem keeper, found her first. She looked up into the big expressionless terracotta face.
Please report, Mr Shtetl." she invited him.
"Mr Grinchlow Was Persuaded To Acquire A New Species, Miss Smith-Rhodes." the golem said. "I Am Afraid That They Escaped. We Are Actively In Pursuit."
"Take me to him, Mr Shtetl." she said.
She found the old keeper hopping agitatedly from one foot to the other.
"I'm glad you're here, miss. They escaped. They got away! They're loose! Don't panic!"
"Take a deep breath, Mr Grinchlow. Stert from the beginning, if you would." she said.
Well, miss, you know Mr Webb, from Wazir and Webb, the live animal dealers?"
"Whet did he menage to sell you this time, Mr Grinchlow?"
"Well, he thought they'd be nice manageable creatures for the Petting Zoo, miss. And I thought, well, they're called honey-badgers. Something with a name like that had to be the sort of cute and cuddly the kids would just love."
"Mr Grinchlow, do you see the book on the shelf there? The Illustrated Dictionary of Howondalandian Wildlife? Would you please turn to the section merked "R", end look up the creature called a Rattel? Thenk you so much. I will wait for you to finish."
Johanna placidly waited for Grinchlow, a slow reader, to digest what he was reading. At one point his face fell and he said, simply, "Oh.."
"Mr Grinchlow, among my other activities I em a Special Konstabel of the City Wetch." she said. "I pay close ettention to edvice from more experienced Wetchmen end especially to Mister Vimes. Mister Vimes was especially keen to instruct me, end other new recruits to the Wetch, ebout a kind of criminel he describes es a bottle covey. Do you know whet a bottle covey is, mr Grinchlow? No? This denotes a beserk fighter. One who once he gets the light of bettle in his eyes, will not give up, will take on people twice his own size, will fight eny number of Wetchmen for the pure pleasure of it, who knows no fear, end will laugh et eny injuries short of a fatal wound. You hev just read a description of an enimel which is the Howondalandian Veldt's bottle covey. It bullies other enimels. It will mug pessing lions for their kills. It will heppily fight a peck of hyenas, who themselves are besterd fighters. It knows no fear end it will take any amount of demage. Even snake venom will knock one out for helf an hour, but it will recover end come beck fighting. I em efraid the words "honey-badger" are in the circumstences something of a misnomer."
Johanna took a deep breath. She checked her Assassin toolkit and selected several working tools. She loosened her machete in its scabbard and unhitched her whip from her belt. Then she thought for a second or two and went to her office and changing room. Some minutes later she emerged wearing chain-mail and graves on her lower legs.
"Gut." she said. "Let us hunt rattel." She slipped the leads off her dogs' collars and let them bound in front, hoping they would flush out the honey-badgers. It was what they had been bred for - hunting. She also hoped they would come out unscathed. Some minutes later, she encountered a shaken and scared Heidi van Kruger. Johanna studied her fellow Assassin. It took a lot to scare Heidi, but then, she was also Howondalandian.
"Johanna, they chased me up a tree!" Heidi said. "Mr Grinchlow was just about to let them loose in an enclosure in the Petting Zoo. After the business with the spiders, I wanted to make sure. When he said "honey badgers", I screamed "No!" at him and to keep the crate shut whatever he did. We were carrying it over to an empty habitat and looking for a Golem to assist, but they must have been eating their way out as they just exploded through the box... then they went for me. I could hardly get up the tree in time."
Johanna patted her former student reassuringly on the shoulder.
We will stop at the herpetorium." she said. "I need an extreme remedy. Take Kaffee and Crème, they will respond to your call. Try not to let them get into a fight with these verdamte creatures."
"Miss?" said Grinchlow, questioningly. Johanna realised she and Heidi had been conversing in Vondalaans.
"Let's make a plen, Mr Grinchlow!" she said, switching back to Morporkian. "Shtetl, I need you to..."
The business of milking the deadly mamba for its venom took minutes of intense concentration, even with a golem holding the serpent firmly. Johanna triggered the bite reflex again and again until the sample jar was two-thirds full. Judging that this would be enough, she stood back as Shtetl released the deadly serpent back into its vivarium and locked the door firmly.
She then rejoined Heidi, and the two Assassins spent a few minutes tipping the hollow blowpipe darts with mamba venom. Then they heard the dogs barking loudly and aggressively, their voices full of pent-up menace, and raced to the sound, preparing the blowpipes as they ran. As they turned the bend in the road towards Llamas, Giraffes and Opakis, they saw the two lion dogs had flushed two spitting, snarling, black-coloured creatures, out of hiding in the shrubbery. For the moment the rattels were at bay, both sides building agression for a final struggle, but Johanna knew this would not last for long; the honey-badger's preferred method of defence was always to attack, and while she thought her Ridgebacks would have the size and weight and edge in the fight, there was inevitably going to be damage. She nodded at Heidi and they ran forward, firing, reloading, and firing again. One of the rattels, its pug-ugly face contorted in rage, piggy little black eyes contorted in anger, its hide bristling with three or four of the deadly darts, screamed hate and leapt straight at her. Two more darts struck it in flight, both hers and Heidi's. Johanna caught the feral stink of the thing as it hit her squarely in the chest, but found no purchase on the chain-mail and fell heavily off to one side. Johanna reeled with the impact, the breath knocked out of her for an instant, knowing she would have a massive bruise by morning. A mahogony-coloured blur leapt across her field of vision – Kaffee, defending his mistress – and she saw the lion-dog taking the rattel by the neck, lifting and shaking it like a rat. Heidi had fired three more darts into the second honey-badger, and it was perceptibly shaking and staggering on its feet. She was also frantically calling Crème to heel. Then the creature slumped and fell, effectively a dead thing in which the dog soon lost interest. Similarly, Kaffee dropped the dead or unconscious creature in his jaws at Johanna's feet. She remembered to praise and congratulate her dog on his bravery and fighting prowess.
And then, at her direction, the golem Shtetl was taking a honey-badger in each arm with the intent of safely stowing them in an empty cage.
"Hurry." Johanna directed him. "These enimels heve an emazing resistence to mamba venom. A dose thet would kill enything else will only knock them out for ten or fifteen minutes."
She and Heidi grinned at each other. They were alive and largely unhurt. That counted for something.
Johanna stripped off her chainmail, and asked Grinchlow to return it to her office. She unhitched the whip from her belt and took a few practice cracks. They echoed loud in the afternoon silence.
"The emergency is now over end you mey re-open the Zoo." she told the old keeper. "Direct the Times to me for a quote. Consult the reference sources for a suitable diet for rattels. Thenk you."
She called her dogs to her, checked them for damage, and found none. She re-attached their leads.
"Are you going anywhere, miss?" the old keeper asked. She smiled, but there was no humour in it. She cracked her whip again. It was an ominous sound.
"I em going to the City to heve a word with Mr Webb and Mr Wezir. Coming, Heidi?"
The other Assassin grinned and followed on.
1(1) The Menagerie staff are named in Miss Felicity Beadle's seminal work, The World of Poo. Mr Grinchlow is my own creation, however: I invented him before Terry Pratchett, writing as Felicity Beedle, helpfully named Mr Pontoon and Young Gus as resident Palace Menagerie keepers.
(2) The only serious attempt to steal animals from the Zoo had involved an Agatean crime society, one of the feared Triang gangs, who had attempted to kill and butcher the Zoo's tigers for the lucrative trade in Agatean medicines. A combination of golems and Assassins had conclusively dealt with the intrusion, and the Guild's visiting lecturer in Agatean language and culture, Miss Pretty Butterfly, delivering a culturally appropriate and correct rebuke to the triang in question. This involved beheading the crimelord and putting his head on a viewing plinth – with all due style - with an Assassins' Guild compliment slip clenched between the teeth. After this, Commander Vimes of the Watch has since made a very obvious point to all concerned, by vectoring Night Watch patrols to the Zoo to emphasise a point concerning law and order and who administers it in this city. The Assassins are happy for Vimes to do so, as this adds an extra layer of security.
(3) Johanna had once won the "Call that a knife?" game with a Fourecksian by bringing out her jungle machete and politely saying "No, I call this a knife!"
(4) Wazir and Webb are listed in the Compleat Anklh-Morpork, the newly released and indispensable directory of clubs, Guilds, temples, traders and services available in Ankh-Morpork. (Transworld Publishers, released November 2012) Wazir and Webb, Licenced Animal Dealers, are based in Chirrup Lane,just off Syrup Yard, nearby to Traders' Gate. Did I mention the new book has an updated and much more detailed City Mapp in it?
(5) See my story The Black Sheep, which deals with the wider Smith-Rhodes family and especially the roguish Uncle Baal.