64. Napoleon and all the Little Piggies

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"...there was this drunk old fellow, you know, really drunk, you could really, really tell from the way he spockle— spak— spoke..."

Mr Ambrose listened to my account with his usual facial expression—or lack thereof. In fact, both Mr Ambroses did. There seemed to be two of him at the moment. Sometimes there were even three, but most of the time there were only two. They were swaying slightly and going in and out of focus.

"...and I totally conned him! Just like that! And he started bubbleabable...babbling...and... what was I talking about again? Barman? Another round of pig's snouts... no... eyes...? Oh, to hell with it! So, I got him talking and..."

The blurry, stony looking Ambrose in front of me morphed into two again, neither looking very pleased. Under normal circumstances, I might have been terrified—I mean, two Mr Ambroses to hound me all day and trying to drive me insane? Please! Every girl has her limits! But right now, there was this warm, fuzzy-glowy-gargantuan-greatly-gubbledly-wobbledy-wonderful feeling inside, and not even the thought of two Mr Ambroses to deal with at once could faze me.

Why should it? I was a strong woman! Strong, and brilliant, and all-powerful! Ha! Let all men cower before me! Right now, I knew I could squish them all like bugs and conquer the world – even if it did seem slightly blurred.

"...and he said he followed him there," I finished my account, "and saw him there, because he went there, and he followed him. And he told me, and sow we know. Isn't that just peachy, slug? Um, I mean... Sir? We know what we wanted to know. Although I can't for the life of me remember why exactly we wanted to know. Bugger! Well, I'm sure it'll come back to me once I've conquered the world. Do you think I should start with Spain, or rather France?"

His facial expression didn't change. Somehow, he still managed to suddenly radiate twice as much cold disapproval. "Mr Linton?"


"You neglected to mention where this man you were conversing with actually went."

"Oh. Really? How strange. Um... well..."


I tried to sort through my foggy mind to find the answer to this conundrum. It wasn't easy. Finally, the answer popped out of the mist.

"Duck Road!" I exclaimed. "He went to Duck Road, number 97!"

"Mr Linton, there is no such place as 'Duck Road' in London."

"Sure there is! It wasn't a native duck, though. Some kind of foreign little beast... From the East, I think." I snapped my fingers, or at least tried to. Somehow, my twenty-seven fingers got tangled up in each other. "East India Duck Road! He went to a large house on East India Duck road! Number 97!"

Mr Ambrose gave me a long, long look. Even in my current conquer-the-world mood, I felt that look.

"Mr Linton... is it possible that you are talking about East India Dock Road, not Duck?"

I put my plans for conquering france and squashing all men like cockroaches aside for the moment and considered this. "Possible," I conceded.

"Of course!" Mr Ambrose's eyes flashed, and he looked past me, half-speaking to himself. "East India Dock Road! The East India company!"

"I still think it was 'Duck', though," I told him. He didn't pay any attention to me.

"Yes, the East India Company... and Dalgliesh is the main shareholder. One more piece of the puzzle."

I blinked up at him. "I always get those wrong. I always try to use the piece with the blackberry as the nose for the dog in the background. Are you going to help me conquer the world now, Sir?"

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