"Are they still at that?" Abner grumbled, glancing over at the two Jagermonsters strutting about and shouting lines on the other side of the circle of carts.
"They've been doing that half the morning. I think they found some old scripts and got inspired," Master Payne explained. "Just ignore them and keep rehearsing."
"How?" Lars asked, grinning broadly. "It s too much fun to watch. We should charge people to see this before the main show ... How many times has the blond one mispronounced 'elucidate' now?"
"Vay ahead of hyu!" Dimo popped up behind him, seemingly from nowhere, holding his hat upside-down in one hand. The hat already had a few coins in it.
"GAH!" Lars jumped. "How do you keep doing that?"
"Skill und darink, sveethot. Oh, und I counted six times." Dimo threw a salute and ambled off, practicing at working the crowd as he went. Several other players were watching and laughing by now as Maxim and Oggie hammed it up.
Oggie threw down his script in frustration. "Argh! Actink is hard!"
"Hyu see?" said Maxim triumphantly. "Hy make de better leadink man!"
"Hyu do not!" Oggie stamped one foot and pouted. "Zo de vords are hard! Hy ken still act better den hyu!"
"Ho yah, Hy'm sure," Maxim said sarcastically.
"Bet hyu anytink I ken kees de leadink lady better!" Oggie shouted, drawing the attention of the few show people who hadn't already been watching. Even Zeetha stopped lecturing Agatha about her training to watch.
Dimo shook his capful of coins conspicuously, grinning even more broadly, which, given his giant fangs, probably had the opposite effect to the one he intended. "Place hyu bets, ladies n gentlemen!"
"Ho, really?" Maxim chuckled, ignoring Dimo.
"Look, Maxim, vhich von of us has de great-great-great-grandcheeldren on de vay?" Oggie said, folding his arms smugly.
"Exactly. Hyu's out of practice!" Maxim countered.
"Vhen did hyu get any practice?" Oggie turned around and grinned at Pix, who automatically shrank backwards. "Miz Pix, vhich von of us hyu rather kees, den?"
Pix looked at the enormous razor-sharp teeth in the mouths of both Jagers, briefly wondered who would want those things within ten feet of their face, then remembered herself enough to give a winning smile and respond with "I can honestly say I would be equally willing one way or the other."
A chuckle ran around the audience, but Oggie didn t pick up on why. "Ho, hyu no help." He turned back to Maxim. "Zo, hyu tek de bet? Don t see vhy hyu bother, ve know Hy vin!"
"Vhy zo sure Hy had no practice? Ve knows Hy iz de goot-looking von, do de maths!"
Oggie burst out laughing. "Since vhen?"
"Since Hy joined!" Maxim looked ruffled and genuinely annoyed by now.
"Hyu zo sure, show me vot hyu got!" Oggie shouted.
"Hokay, Hy show hyu!" Maxim shot his hand out, grabbed the convenient handle provided by Oggie's single horn, pulled him forward, and thrust his tongue down the blond's throat.
Gasps arose from the audience. Master Payne grabbed Balthazar and placed one hand over the little boy's eyes. Dimo dropped his cap.
Lars blinked. "I don't remember any of the Heterodyne plays involving that happening."
"Dear God, I hope not!" spluttered Agatha, trying to suppress the various mental images involving various popular Heterodyne characters which would probably leave her scarred for life.
The two broke apart, gasping, Oggie looking stunned and slightly dizzy.
"Hokay, hokay," he panted, holding up a hand in defeat. "Hyu vin."
Dimo sidled up to them and muttered "Look around."
They did. Everyone was either staring or wincing and looking away, but Pix and Zeetha in particular were staring fixedly, slack-jawed, and rummaging in their purses. Zeetha held up a handful of coins without checking the denominations, or even looking away from the Jagers.
"Keep going," she said, a lascivious grin slowly spreading across her face.
Countess Marie looked at Master Payne. "Well, if we put one of them in a dress we could probably get away with it without being arrested ... then again, they're Jagermonsters, so who d try to stop them anyway?"
Oggie and Maxim looked back at each other.
"Zoooooo ..." Oggie said in sing-song tones, pushing his hat back to a jauntier angle. "I tink ve both need zome more practice."