The man Gideon saw earlier arrived at a late hour. When he arrived, Honest John was once again drinking gleefully at the bar, drunk off his ass. Gideon had joined in on the merrymaking, for he was relieved. If this man whom he had made a deal with had come through in terms of business, then both Honest John and Gideon would be able to avoid making shady deals for a while. If this "while" lasted long enough, then Gideon would have enough time for formulate a plan so he could abandon his dishonest roots and land a solid job. Once he had a solid job, he could find a mate and support a family. He had seen human families taking occasional picnics once before, but the fact that the yearning for such a thing only struck him now both confused and surprised him.
Honest John once caught Gideon gazing at a husband and wife carrying for a young daughter and took him aside. Once they were alone, Honest John had reminded him, "You and me are the only family we need", thus invalidating Gideon's suppressed desire. Although Gideon was happy to listen then, for he was young and inexperienced, he had grown tired of it now. When he saw Honest John chugging down yet another jug of beer, he hoped that nothing would anger him. If that happened, then Gideon would be beaten for sure.
Gideon's heart nearly leaped out of his chest when the man arrived. He opened the door widely for a heavyset British man. The fat man sported hair whiter than snow (which Gideon had seen once when he and Honest John were conducting a deal with other beggars in England) and a red coat adorned with two sets of buttons running down the front. The Englishman (or so Gideon thought, by his accent) loosened a blue scarf and adjusted his single-feathered hat, taking a long drag from his pipe. Gideon tapped Honest John on the shoulder, pointing to the red-coated man.
"Is he our next?" Honest John asked, slurring the next word. Gideon nodded and Honest John nudged him.
"He better be a good deal," said the drunkard, who let out a loud burp.
The fat man took a seat beside Honest John and ordered some beer, taking only one gulp before letting Honest John describe his adventures.
"It's great to be a celebrity, an actor's life for me!" Honest John nearly shouted before cracking up heartily, "And the dumb-shit fell for it! He still thinks we're his friends!"
The fat man, whom he had learned to refer to as the Coachman, listened with interest. Even though the Coachman tapped his fingers, feigning impatience, Gideon could detect the light in his eyes.
"And Stromboli paid us this much!" he laughed, pulling out the sag of coins, which was somewhat depleted, "That shows you how low Honest John will stoop."
"How would you blokes like to make some real money?" asked the Coachman, who pulled out a huge sack of coins. Gideon, in his drunken state, could have swore anyone within a ten mile radius was able to hear the clunk sound the sack produced when it hit the table.
Honest John's eyes gleamed brighter than the sun when that happened, "Well, who do we have to, you know, off?"
The Coachman laughed, "No, nothing like that, although your willingness is comforting."
The Coachman looked around suspiciously before whispering in Honest John's ears. Gideon leaned in as well, hearing snippets.
"I'm collecting stupid little boys."
Sounds like that puppet child.
He kept hearing more snippets.
"The disobedient ones that ditch school – You see I'm going to – you help me with – and I'll pay you then – and then I take them to Pleasure Island."
"Ahh, Pleasure Island," Honest John said with glee, and then in a surprisingly sober moment, he reacted with shock, "Pleasure Island! But the law, what if they–"
"Oh no," Mister Coachman comforted, "You don't have to worry, they don't come back. AS BOYS!"