Saturday, September 30, 2006

Merlin's Revenge: Part Three

"It seems," the Green Man told Ms. Madison over the 'phone, "that your curator friend was found pinned to the wall with an ancient British Javelin. He just had time to write 'Merl' on the wall before he expired."

"Which would have been Merlin," Ms. Madison smiled, despite the nastiness of what had happened. "Hey, do you think I'm getting good at this detective bit?"

"So long as it's obvious," the Green Man chuckled. "You are to meet me at Glastonbury the day after tomorrow. Pack country clothing and be prepared to stay in a country pub."

"While you lurk in the nearest derelict building?" The blonde laughed happily. "Okay, I'll take my tweeds and that walking stick with the telescope."

"And bring a gun." The Green Man added. "Even if this Merlin is a ghost..."

"I'll pack my silver bullets," she shook her head.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Merlin's Revenge: Part Two

It would violate the promise made by Ms. Madison were she to be in the bath when the 'phone rings. So she will be taking it easy on the sofa instead, looking out over St James' Park, waiting for her long-suffering date, Michael Rake.

"Good evening," she tried her level best to sound efficient and business-like, "Ms. Madison, secretary to the Green Man. Can I help?"

"You won't have heard my name," a muffled voice came down the line.

"If you were speaking like that when you said it," Ms. Madison replied, "I'm not surprised. What's the matter?"

"Don't you want to know who I am?" the voice became louder.

"Since it's almost eight and I'm going out," the blonde sighed, "there might be a reason for that. Still, what's the problem, and how might the Green Man solve it? And how did you get this number?"

"It was given me by the Green Man," the voice replied. "I am Nicholas Crotch-Harvey, director of the King Arthur Centre at Glastonbury. A man was killed here earlier this evening by a man claiming to be Merlin."

"Lots of men," Ms. Madison shook her head, "claim to be famous dead people."

"I know," the director became more agitated, "but this one vanished in front of a large group of toruists - into thin air. And before then, he told them that King Arthur was returning. A guide tried to object, but got run through by a javelin."

"I didn't know Merlin carried weapons," Ms. Madison still viewed the whole thing as a wind-up. The name hadn't helped.

"He didn't, you dumb [we have deleted the word he used so as not to offend those of delicate sensibilities]!" The august director yelled, causing Ms. Madison to jump. "There was a man in armour with him, and he was armed! Something is happening down here, and whatever it is, it's..."

He was suddenly cut off. The only sound Ms. Madison could hear was someone chanting in pig-latin.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Merlin's Revenge: Part One

Glastonbury Abbey is renowned as the cradle of Christianity in England, and widely reputed to be the last resting place of King Arthur, being the mysterious Isle of Avalon (a few years ago someone made a good case for Whithorn in Scotland, but he was ignored). Whether or not the stories are true, false or simply exaggerated beyond all proportion, the stories have made this little town a veritable tourist trap. It is to the mighty ruins of Glastonbury Abbey that our story's opening takes us, and to a group of suckers - sorry, tourists. It is the last guided tour of the day, and the guide wants to go home.

"In 1191," the guide informed fascinated tourists, "the monks at Glastonbury Abbey are supposed to have found the grave of King Arthur. Before the Reformation, this was marked by a massive black marble tomb. More recently, it's been marked by a sign on a stick over there." He pointed, still very bored. In all probablity, he was reflecting, the monks had been in the same tourist-conning business as he was.

The tourists gasped in awe, and the guide followed their gaze. What he saw astonished him.

There, by the grave of King Arthur, was a figure in strange armout, three javelins by his side. As they watched, another figure, this one in dark, monkish robes, appeared, as if from thin air. Extending his hand, he levitated a silver ball.

"I am Merlin," he intoned solemnly. "The time is almost come."

The guide started forward, no longer bored.

"Hey!" he declared, "you can't perform 'ere without a ..." and he got no futher, thus removing the possibility of word confusion over license-licence. The figure in armour threw a javelin, which stuck him through the heart.

"Arthur will return!" 'Merlin' exclaimed, as he and the man in armour faded from view. The Javelin remained very much in the guide, however. Several people screamed, and all thoughts of jolly tourism were quite forgotten. From no-where, the voice was heard again:

"Arthur will return!"

Friday, September 22, 2006

Trail of the Disturber Part Eleven

"Monty Bristow's plan," the Green Man explained to Ms. Madison later, "was to create a standing religious experience on Mount Sinai. Tourists would go up, and come down convinced they'd seen Moses. However, he planned to give radically different messages each time. Soon, he believed, the world would be full of very small, very violent, religious cults. This would lead to a very vicious series of wars.

"But why?" Ms. Madison looked concerned.

"Some insane wish for revenge," the Green Man sighed. "It seemed that Bristow had - or has - a belief that the whole world has wronged him."

"Had or has..." Ms. Madison frowned. "I don't like the sound of that."

"Quite right," the Green Man nodded. "You see, Bristow's body was never found. He might have survived somehow. But that's for another day. Right now, if you want, you can go home tomorrow, or down to the Red Sea."

"I think I'll stay around a little longer, actually," the lovely blonde smiled. "One of the Bedouin girls has promised to teach me belly-dancing."

Trail of the Disturber Part ten

The Flying Spaghetti Monster stopped flying, and crashed to the ground, sizzling. Bristow cried out in rage, and stopped hovering.

"What have you done!" he cried, furious.

"Microwaves," the Green Man replied enigmatically. "I don't fully understand myself, but it worked. Bristow, your reign of terror is at an end."

"Oh, no," the supervillain laughed. "It's only just begun, Green Man! The Flying Spaghetti Monster may be no more, but I can make more of them. This is only the first round. Maybe the people will have to do without my ten commandments, but I assure you that I shall have my revenge on all humanity!"

"From six feet under?" the Green Man stepped forward, discarding his bedouin robes to reveal the familiar costume of the Green Man.

"Never!" Bristow duiscarded his beard and wig, drawing a sword from under his robes. "You will not live long enough!"

A host of men in camoflage rose up from the mountain, toting guns. The Green Man raised his own hand. Bedouin, the guardians of the mountain, drew their guns. Soon, the mountain was the site of a fierce gun battle. Try as they might, however, Bristow's men were clearly losing ground, falling back before the superior numbers (and camels) of the Bedouin. Out of the corner of his eye, the Green Man saw Bristow slip away.

"Watch that none escape!" the Green Man commanded, throwing Ms. Madison a fresh pistol. "I'm going after Bristow!"

The villain tried to escape down the pentitent steps, hewn out of the rock centuries ago by the monks of St. Catherine. Bounding down them like a mountain goat, apparently unencumbered by his flowing robes, it seemed possible that Bristow might escape. Looking behind him, he saw no sign of the Green Man. So, with a laugh of triumph, he turned to continue his progress.

"Looking for someone?"

Bristow could only gasp in horror. There, stood in front of him, was The Green Man, his trenchcoat blowing in the early morning breeze.

Lifting his sword, Bristow charged the Green Man. The terror of the wicked laughed, leaping aside at the last moment. With a scream of terror, the supervillain plunged off the mountain. The Green Man was left alone, waiting for Ms. Madison to join him.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Troublesome pets. 1: By Sir Richard Arcos

Samantha brought another dead thing in yesterday. I think she finished killing it in the drawing room. She left blood all over the show. I found a head under the breakfast table, which was a little distressing. There was a leg behind the curtain, which scared the housemaid.

All the more so as Samantha is better known as Lady Arcos, and the dead thing in question was a mafia boss.

Still, the dear girl is my pet, no matter how troublesome she may be.

Trail of the Disturber Part Nine

The flying pasta beast moved nearer and nearer, dripping menacingly, its slimy tentrils reaching out towards Ms. Madison's shrinking body. She still had enough spirit to scream, hoping thereby to distract the flying spaghetti monster.

"No!" Bistow howled with laughter. "It obeys only me! Nothing in the world can stop me now!"

"Nothing, Monty?"

One of the Bedouin started forward, shedding his turban to revealed the masked features of the Green Man. As he interposed himself between Miss Madison and the ravening monster, the Green Man drew what appeared to be a snub-nosed automatic from under his bedouin robes.

This surprised Ms. Madison for two reasons. First, the Green Man had to have seen her futile attempt to shoot the monster. Second, the Green Man normally used a shiny long-barrelled revolver.

"Bullets can't harm it!" Bristow laughed. "You have met your match this time, Green Man!"

"You're wrong, Bristow!" the Green Man shouted back. "This is no ordinary gun!"

"No matter," Bristow cackled. urging his monster onwards. "Kill them, my pretty! Kill them at once!"

The monster opened its vast, slimy maw. Ms. Madison screamed again, wrinkiling her cute nose at its bad breath. Bristow laughed still more insanely.

"Never fear, only close your eyes!" The Green Man pulled the trigger of his gun.

There was a blinding flash and a terrific explosion.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Trail of the Disturber Part Eight

As the assembled pilgrims and tourists gawped at the apparent Moses still floating just above the surface ou Mount Sinai, Ms. Madison's fertile brain was in overdrive. She had recognised 'Moses' as Monty Bristow, alias the Disturber, and so knew that evil was afoot.

As she thought, 'Moses' continued to give out his new commandements:

"God has spoken!" He announced portentously. "Behold, I give you ten commandments! The Sixt Commandment is that the United Nations is a conspiracy to create a one-world Government and must be destroyed!"

"See!" a pimply-faced youth at the rear of the group exclaimed, "told you so!"

Two of the more sober pilgrims grabbed him and hurled him off the mountain.

"The Seventh," 'Moses' went on, "is likewise, you shall steal your neighbour's car on the third of the month and fill it with haddock. Then you will return it at midnight."

"That's a silly commandment!" Ms. Madison spoke at last, stepping forward boldly.

"So you say," 'Moses' sneered, "but you're not Moses, and I am, nyaah!"

"Last time I looked," Ms. Madison replied spiritedly, "the 'M' in your name wasn't for Moses, Monty!"

"You scoff?" Bristow's eyes widened theatrically.

"Of course," Ms. Madison smiled. "And I'd mock, too, if you hadn't done such a childish job of mocking me earlier."

"Then the eighth commandement," Bristow thundered, is that all who mock my commandements will be eaten by the flying spaghetti monster!"

"That's made up," another pimply teen declared.

Those were the last words he said, as the monster floated out from underneath a rock and devoured him. Bristow laughed manically, as the monster floated towards him, its greasy tendrils waving.

"Behold!" he cackled, "the terror of the ages, the doom of all mankind! The creation of a thousand captive Italians! The Flying spaghetti monster! Atheists may have dreamed it up in mockery, but I, Monty Bristow, gave it form - and a taste for human flesh! Go, kill my pretty!" He laughed insanely, pointing in the direction of Ms. Madison.

The lovely blonde shrank back, as the monster approached. Drawing a little silver pistol from under her cloak, she discharged a whole magazine into the creature, but to no effect. She ran, only to stub her toe on an outcrop of rock.

Closer and closer crept the ghastly thing....

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A New Term at St. Narcolept's

This year's dedication service address was given by Sir Richard Arcos, in the absence of the Vice-Chancellor, Canon Vaughan Candlestick-Smith. In it, Sir Richard welcomed the new students, inviting them to picture the new year at St. Narcolept's:

'Lads and lasses, you face now the greatest adventure of your life - escape from this bally burg,' the gentleman intoned gravely. 'The food here stinks, and the nearest pub is five miles away. I mean, you can't even get beer in this place! What sort of college is that? I ask you! If I had my way, I'd open a pub on campus, but the staff won't let me. In fact, if they weren't all locked in the Pincipal's office, I wouldn't be here speaking to you. Still, you can all come back to the manor house for beer and buns after the paralyzing speech the Dean was planning to deliver...'

Sir Richard's speech was enthusiastically welcomed, and students asked him to speak further. He declined the honour, having seen the police arrive. Accrordingly, Sir Richard left, pausing only to collect his fee in the form of a Reubens from the college library (which has already been sold in Amsterdam to three millionaires - no, not a syndicate, three seperate millionaires. Sir Richard is a good amateur painter, but the real thing had to go missing).

Trail of the Disturber Part Fifty-One

Ms. Madison gathered her very expensive cloak about her and shivered, as a chill breeze blew over the bare mountain. All around her, pilgrims sang and chanted, praying on the spot where once holy men saw God. For most, this was a chance to see the sun rise over one of the few holy places where everyone can stand around without being seized with the urge to batter each other's brains out, or otherwise injure each other.

It is said that the dawn from Mount Sinai has a quality few other dawns have, but Ms. Madison wasn't so sure. As far as she could see, it just meant that, having frozen on the way up, she was going to bake on the way down. As the sun slowly rose above the horizon, and Ms. Madison thought in pre-Copernican terms, she wondered for the second time what the day would bring. All around her, tourists took photographs, while a few Bedouin looked unimpressed, having seen it all a thousand times before.

Which was, appropriately, when it happened. The mountain shook, as a beam of light shone down from above. Everyone looked and gawped, feeling that this was quite justified, especially when a man in flowing robes with white hair descended from the sky, holding out his arms and beaming.

'I am Moses, returned from heaven!' he announced grandly.

While the assembled throng marvelled at the robed man's landing, Ms. Madison wondered if this man had read Sir Richard Arcos' Commentary on the Books of Moses, which had opined that Moses' body was assumed into heaven.

'I give you!' "Moses" raised one hand in the air, his robes falling away from it, 'Ten New Commandments, fresh off the heavenly press!'

The crowd 'oo-ed' and 'ah-ed' with feeling.

'The First Commandment is: "Thou shalt wear trainers on Sunday!"' The robed man produced a couple of engraved tablets from under his robes. Ms. Madison resolved to break that one. As she was thinking these subversive thoughts, "Moses" delivered four more:

2. Thou shalt not do more than Thirty in a built-up area.

3. Thou shalt not do overtime on Thursday.

4. Thou shalt wear a beard (no exceptions).

5. Thou shalt gouge out the eye of thine enemy with a blunt stick. If thine enemy has no more eyes left, kill him.

The list, Ms. Madison thought, was distinctly fishy. All the more so when the new sixth and seventh commendments related to Trout Fisheries. Besides, under the beard and robes, she recognised the wiry figure of....

Monty Bristow!

Monday, September 18, 2006

College Guide: By Sir Richard Arcos

As the 'varsity starts up again, it is perhaps worthwhile to introduce a few lesser-known seats of learning. St. Narcolept's College, Great Snoring is one such institution. Founded by the High Church Party in the last century, its records show many illustrious names. Here are a few:

Rev. Hugh Hubert-Jenks, former Rector of St. Dogfield's Attrick. Defrocked in 1912 for forgery.

Rev. John Johnson, former Vicar of Christchurch, Grimsby. Defrocked 1920 for selling the Church roof to developers.

Rev. Dino DeSaspirrilla, Chaplain to the Guild of St. Alphonse the Blessed. Defrocked 1957 when it was discovered he was in fact a Mafia Don and the guild a front for a protection racket. Still claims to be in orders. Currently in San Quentin.

Rev. John Bassas, former College Chaplain. Defrocked after being exposed as a cat-burglar (he sold then to the local furrier).

King Zog of Albania: Honourary Graduate (He returned the Diploma).

Bishop John Honson-Hooson. Leader of a notorious polygamous cult in the West Midlands.

Alwyn the Bloody. Graduated from the school of Misson in 1982, currently ruthless South American Dictator.

The college is justly known throughout the world. Perhaps this is why it has a recuitment crisis.

The Trail of the Disturber, Part Fifty.

Ms. Madison was woken by her alarm clock at three AM. The trip up Mount Sinai was not until four, but she rather wanted to make herself pretty before climbling the mountain. However, what had seemed a good idea after a hearty meal and dancing the night before seemed rather less attractive in the dark. The alarm clock was hurled across the room, bouncing off a wall and leaving a dent.

Accordingly, it was a rather flushed and untidy Ms. Madison who arrived at the departure point only just in time to be helped onto a camel. She was, the lovely blonde reflected, getting far too used to the life of luxury the Green Man had arranged for her. Still, once she had left, she'd probably have no trouble getting a job as a model or something...

The camel stood up, and Ms. Madison winced as she was thrust backwards onto one of the pommels of the saddle. All around her were tourists and a few pilgrims. Although most of the pilgrims would be taking the older, harder route, 'the steps of penance' that led down to St. Catherine, the fortress-monastery built by Justinian (or at least on his orders). She allowed her mind to wander, as the camel was led up the mountain. In the pitch dark, she had to trust it, and the Bedouin who led it.

Half-way, the little party saw what seemed to be a river of fire, flowing up the mountain, in definace of gravity. These were the pilgrims, headed to the summit, the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments. As she stepped off the camel and fended off the hawkers, Ms. Madison wondered just what Monty Bristow was up to. And where the Green Man might be.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Trail of the Disturber: Part Five

Ms. Madison, dressed in a stylish gown, looked down the somewhat dusty main street of Saint Catherine, the little tom below Mount Sinai, with something bordering on disgust.

'Somehow,' she sighed, 'I thought it 'ld be bigger, with a nice proper hotel, not an assortment of bungalows.'

'You should have come here before the new hotels,' the Green Man shook his head. 'There was only a run-down inn.'

'Then I wouldn't 've come,' the blonde made a face.'You know, Green Man, I can't understand how you can take some of the places you stay in.'

'The need for justice, my dear Madison,' the Green Man replied simply. 'What else?'

'Where to?' Ms. Madison looked around her.

'We climb Mount Sinai at dawn.' The Green Man chuckled. 'I shall do so alone, you will go with a party of tourists. Do not oversleep, remember, Monty Bristow does not sleep...'

'That's a lie,' Ms. Madison protested, 'he doesn't have bags under his eyes - but I shall after tomorrow!'

Sir Richard Arcos writes

The latest Dispatch from the front. In this case Pudding Norton College (picture taken from its prospectus). As the school welcomes back students, the First Master, Baron von Ztrongharm, has assured parents that mysterious disappearances will be kept to a minumum, and that the regrettable incident where the finger of a long-missing child was found in a meat pie was an anomaly. Normally children are served to the others within two days, while the meat is still fresh.

Parents have also been told that the school, famed for its crafts programme, will actually hold an open evening at some point in the future, some time around Easter (possibly as early as 2020) and at midnight. This is in order to hide the fact that the school prospectus photographs are of a stately home outside Bridgend, South Wales, the school actually being housed in a number of squalid sheds where the children are forced to produce cheap consumer goods for export to Albania.

The co-educational Sixth-Form has attracted further controversy, as the girls were found in a burlesque joint in Great Yarmouth a month ago, apart from the two who were sold to the Harem of the Sheik of Barri-Barri. The First Master explained to parents that the school has now overcome the funding crisis that forced those steps. Additionally, the vice squad noticed. Massage skills are to be taught instead of dancing (exotic).

The Council has won the catering contract, and roast child is to be replaced with roadkill stew from the first day of term.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Trail of the Disturber: Part Six

The Green Man looked out of the hotel window, as Ms. Madison, dressed in black lacy undies, packed her trunks.

'Why you had to undress,' he observed, 'escapes me.'

'It's hot!' the blonde exclaimed. 'And a girl has to look her best, you know. What is it with the Disturber going to Mount Sinai?'

'I don't know,' the Green Man sighed. 'And that's what worries me. Monty Bristow specialises in tricks designed to destroy consensuses in society. The Sinai desert is on the Egyptian-Israeli border. If the Disturber's there, he could be planning to create tension on the border. But there's another possiblity...'

'What?' Ms. Madison looked up, eyes big with fascination.

'Mount Sinai is where Moses received the Ten Commandments, and Elijah met God,' the Green Man explained. 'What if Bristow's planning to create a 'manifestation' of some sort that will split the religious truce between most Muslims, Christians and Jews wide open.'

'What...?' Ms. Madsion rose to her feet.

'Religion is the most powerful force in the world, even today,' the Green Man explained. It remains one of the few things that large numbers of people will die for. If Bristow could spark off a religious war between Christians, Muslims and Jews, he could have the world-wide disorder he's always warning people of.'

The lovely Ms. Madison was speechless with shock at such a thought.

Trail of the Disturber: Part Four

The Green Man covered his face, leaping from the burning building, in hot pursuit of the arsonist. He leapt onto a camel, following the fugitive. Riding the beast in approved Western style (Eastern desert Bedouin ride side-saddle), the Green Man rode down the fugitive, and within moments had him hidden in an old tomb without any food. The man told him that the Disturber had left Cairo for places unknown. Giving the man a spoon to dig himself out with, the Green Man made his way to the pyramids, where Ms. Madison was meeting an information broker.

The lovely blonde, modestly dressed, was deep in conversation with the robed information broker, all the while trying to keep away from his pudgy hands.

'Young lady,' he made to kiss her, 'Monty Bristow passed through here, but he is gone. For a touch of your ruby lips, I will tell you where he is gone.'

'Listen, Effendi,' the blonde scowled. 'To kiss you, you'd have to be offering me Bristow's head on a plate.'

'Then I will not tell you,' he shook his head emphatically. 'No matter what you will offer.'

'In that case,' the Green Man entered, 'you can join one of Bristow's men in the Green Man diet. He's locked in an old tomb with a spoon to dig out with.'

'Okay, okay!' the man screamed, 'I tell you! He is gone to Sinai Desert! Gone to Mount Sinai!'

'Come,' the Green Man gestured to Ms. Madison. 'You need to get packed for a trip to St. Catherine.'

Saturday, September 02, 2006


The Green Man has been forced to do battle with those who believe that a mighty conspiracy is in control of all the World. As the doom of evildoers and the terror of the wicked, the Green Man must, like the young lovely in our illustration, remove the mask.

There is no all-encompassing world conspiracy. No one world Government. There are villains, such as Monty Bristow and the world union of supervillains who want to take over the world. But they disagree. Every super-villain wants to be the world emperor, so whenever a couple of these super-villains team up to destroy the governments of the world they tend to shoot each other by the end. Take 'The Slaughterer' and 'The Fatal Lady.' They re-founded the illuminati in order to create a one-world government. The Green Man discovered this and sent one of his agents to investigate, disguised as a very large bed-bug. Nothing needed to be done, as 'The Fatal Lady' pushed Slaughterer into a deep-fat fryer. Without this somewhat theatrically-named man, Fatal Lady was unable to carry out the plan, and the Illuminati became a drinking club, based in Camden.

Trail of the Disturber: Part Three

As the ever-lovely Ms. Madison headed off to keep a date at the Pyramids, the Green Man headed for somewhat less salubrious premises, a warehouse in the slums of Cairo. An ancient city, built in layer-cake style, was somewhat reminiscent of some versions of Batman's Gotham.

The Green Man kept to the shadows, Egyptians turned away from him, knowing that the Green Man was on the prowl. The last place that the Disturber had been seen, this warehouse was owned by a petty crook by the name of Abdul Aziz Haalam, and the Green Man meant to see him.

Approaching the warehouse, the Green Man climbed a drain-pipe. Crouching in the window, the Green Man looked into the crate-filled warehouse. He saw no movement. Slowly, the Green Man lowered himself into the great space, dropping down behind a pile of crates.

Slowly, he made his way forward, looking for the office of Abdul. Slowly, he saw the bloated Egyptian crook.

Bloated because he had been hanging on a meat-hook in his office for some days. A sound from the warehouse alerted the Green Man, who ran out into the main body of the warehouse once more. Before he could follow the trail of the man in the warehouse, the whole building exploded in flames.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Trail of the Disturber, part two

Ms. Madsion awoke the next morning to the call of the Muzzein. She put the pillow over her head and tried to get back to sleep.

'I can see what your prayer is for,' someone laughed, close at hand.

'The Green Man!' She sat up, holding the sheets to her. 'How did you get in here?'

'Through the door.' He confessed. 'I will not stay for long. Did you sleep well?'

'Like a log,' she laughed. 'What's the drill?'

'Monty Bristow, alias the Disturber, has disappeared,' the Green Man explained. 'After causing havoc on three continents, he has vanished. He was last reported in Cairo, two days ago, and my sources tell me he's planning something huge.'

'Well,' the blonde brushed tousled hair out of her face with one hand, 'it had better not involve atom bombs. We just dealt with one of those.'

'It could be worse, my dear,' the Green Man shook his head. 'Some sources have placed the Disturber in the Sinai, one of the most unstable frontiers on earth.'

'If he were to stage an attack on Israel using mercenaries dressed as Egyptian toops...' Ms. Madison blanched.

'Or vice-versa.' The Green Man nodded. 'Exactly. We know Bristow means to disrupt the fragile consensuses that hold the world together, and the Sinai is one of those areas of consensus. Today, you will go to the Pyramids and meet one Ali ben-ali, an information broker. You will find out whether Bristow has hired any mercenaries, while I take the direct approach.'

'Of course,' Ms. Madison smiled. 'I'll dress as soon as you've gone.'

'Good girl,' the Green Man vanished through a hidden door in the wall, leaving Ms. Madison alone.

What, she wondered, would the day bring?