Disclaimer:  Artemis, Butler and the ominous 'your father' belong to Eoin Colfer and I have almost no control over them as seen in this little ficlet. 

Author's Note:  I imitated the style of Lady Shallot in writing this fic and for that I am extremely sorry – by reading this you are getting the worse end of the deal.  This is stupid and out of character but I think that the idea would be slightly amusing.  I have a simple mind.


"Yes, Butler."

"Sir… Why are you—"

"Doing this?"

A nod.

"To make a profit."

"Yes, Artemis."

Sounds of clinking metal parts being taken out of an expensive case.

"Um… Master Artemis?"

"Yes, Butler."

"Aren't there better ways to make money?  More profitable, less… mundane."

"Yes there are.  What of it."

"Wouldn't it be better to make money another way?"


Sounds of metallic pieces being roughly shoved together.

"Why don't you do one of them then?"

"Because I don't want to."


Silence.  Except for the silken sound of cloth over metal.

"Think of this as an experiment, Butler."

"Yes."  A pause. "An experiment in what?"

"Human nature."


"Talent vs. Age vs. Charisma."

"Couldn't you observe that by watching others doing this."


"Well, I can't see why you're doing this but at least it's legal.  I don't think I'm going to get over the last venture of yours in a hurry."

"It wasn't that bad surely."  Pause. "Do you have any—"

"Yes, Artemis."

Sounds of tinkling metal.

"You didn't think that last time was—"

"I didn't have any grey hairs two months ago."

"You are just growing old gracefully.  And anyway, if we were in another place, country, this would be illegal."

Sigh.  "I knew it."

"No need to sound like that.  This is a purely observational exercise."

"But do you have to do it yourself?"


"I knew you would say that." Sounds of a deep breath.  "Can you at least spare a thought for what your father is going to do when he finds out about this… venture?"

"It wont be that bad, Butler.  You exaggerate things too often.  This is a completely legitimate experiment to test my theories about Dublin society and sub-culture."

Mouth opens.  Closes.  Silence.

"Besides, I think it might be… fun."

Chopin being played expertly on the flute.  Clinks of metal landing on metal.

"That wasn't so bad was it?"

"No, you're very good."  Pause.  "I just don't want to be around when your father finds out that his precious prodigy son and heir went busking."