Mr Slant opened his door. Some of his people, including undead and living, stared at him through the gap.
"Why do you need all those chains?" asked one employee.
"Since when did I stop becoming 'sir'," said Slant.
"Most sirs don't need all those locks and chains and spikes," she replied.
"This is Ankh," snapped Mr Slant. "I've always locked my door."
"But this is your bedroom door, sir."
"I don't want Mr Honeyplace to come in and intrude."
Mr Slant fished out his keyring and locked the door. "Why are you all here to see me? Couldn't Mr Honeyplace deal with it?"
"Can't find him, sir," said the werewolf employee automatically. "The whole house stinks like a vampire."
"He's down in the cellar."
Slant brushed himself down. "If you don't mind, I shall have to go to work!"
"It's too early, sir," said a human employee. At least Slant thought so; for once, his human employees outnumbered his undead. Bloody Vetinari!
Slant murmured into his sleeve.
"What, sir?" His employees stared in shock. "Are you all right, sir?"
"Damn disorganiser imp! It fell into a hole in my shoulder earlier, and it won't pop out!"
"Sorry to hear that, sir."
"It's—" said Crusher, his bogeyman (or 'bogeymyn' when he had to cross-dress) "—about our bogeymon."
"You are one," said Slant. "How many more do we need?"
Crusher coughed. "We're got two, sir. One man and one woman."
"It's the male one," said the werewolf. "He's disappeared."
"When he's supposed to be on duty," said the human.
"So where does he go in his spare time?" asked Slant. "Have any personal problems arisen?"
"Sir?" asked a human.
"Yes, you may ask me a question," sighed Slant, gripping the stairwell banister tightly.
"Why don't you and Mr Honeyplace," he said, "go and live – reside – in a hotel? It'll be easier."
"We prefer having separate rooms; I prefer houses.
Crusher held Mr Slant's sleeve. "You're leaning far too over, sir. I don't wish you to fall."
"You look very frail," said the human suddenly.
"Am I about to have a nasty accident?" asked Slant, looking worried. "I've known most of you for years!"
"There's your disorganiser imp!" cried a human. "It popped out of your other hand!"
"Please don't remind me," said Slant, watching his imp fall down the stairwell. "I think I've lost all my morning appointments."
"So," said the werewolf. "Can you help us, sir?"
"With what? I don't know where he's gone. Or what he does in his spare time. I bet it's not cross-dressing, though." He gave Mr Crusher a pointed look.
"No," said Crusher, looking shifty. "He prefers the Shades, where he was brought up in."
"I'm not going in the Shades," said Slant hurriedly.
"We think he's in Biers," said the cross-dressing werewolf, and explained: "It won't look right, us proper gentlemen, going into the Shades so earlier this morn."
Crusher continued: "We need a reason, sir. On account of some of us—" his arm sweeped in most of the employees "—being married."
"It doesn't look right," continued the gnoll, "having us gentlemen return to the Shades, to a district so close—"
"—to the Seamstress's Guild," finished the werewolf, looking shifty.
"Well," said Slant, "you all seem to know what to say.
"However, I'm not married, and I meet with Mrs Palm and her employees almost every time I have an appointment with some of my clients. Who require a lawyer," he added, afterwards.
"Yes, sir," they chorused. "But it won't look right, unless we have a reason, sir."