Interlude: My Car Story

Oh well, now is probably as good a time as any to tell you the story of our poor old car.

A few weeks back, as I was returning from the shops with Mrs. Hatboy and Wump and Toop, I drove into a tree. This was not a welcome development in my life, having just begun to recover from a few annoying financial issues of previous months.

Even more annoyingly, although it does have a certain sweeping “this is how the universe rolls” grandness to it, basically the sole purpose of the shopping trip had been to buy a new headlight and reverse-light for the car, so it would pass its annual check-up. I’d purchased the bulbs, and manly-manned them into place in the mall carpark, and the car was good to go. I was very pleased with myself.

So obviously, as I was pulling up our driveway, the treacherous conditions and my overzealous attempt to get speed up so we could make the final ascent into our yard backfired on me. I skidded off an ice-hump and, mirror-smooth as the road was, was unable to stop myself careening off the road and hitting a tree on the corner of our block.

The good news was that this didn’t smash my newly-replaced headlight bulb or, of course, the reverse lights in the back. In fact, it didn’t even smash the bulbs in the headlight that it did fuck right up. Everything still sort of worked, and we were able to go on driving the car while we sorted out the repairs, so that was something.

The total damage was one headlight assembly, the front bumper and inner plastic thingy, the front right wheel rim, a slight ding in the bonnet (or hood, as USians call it[1]) and a general skewedness to the whole front of the car that made a bunch of the joins a bit wonky.

[1] Now that I think about this, what is the deal with this term? Both of them are sort-of-kind-of about an item of headgear that could just about be applied to the cover that you can don or doff to check the car engine. Bonnet is just a lot girlier – not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just … why? And the same goes for boot and trunk. It sort of makes sense that the boot is the opposite end of the car to the bonnet, but now you have a bonnet and boots in the same wardrobe and that’s just strange. Trunk actually makes more sense because it’s your storage thingy. And now I want to draw the UK and the US versions of the car concept – the former as a person in bonnet and boots, the latter as a person in a hoodie, with a trunk. Either the luggage variety or the nose variety, really.

Oh, and – we only discovered a few days later – the radiator.

We only discovered it a few days later when the antifreeze or coolant or jäähdytysneste or whatever other dramatically unintuitive name that stuff has … all leaked out and the car’s heater stopped working. The engine didn’t immediately overheat because it was -15°C at the time, but you’d better believe we noticed the heater not working.

Then the temperature rose back towards 0°C, and we found the car was unable to drive more than about 2km without going into the red.

Before we even found out about the radiator, however, Mrs. Hatboy took the car in to a repair shop. They quoted her €1000 for the parts, €1000 for the repair work and paint job. This, of course, for a €3000 car, was laughable.

Instead, I contacted a friend of ours who had a car-repair business of his own, on the logic that he could check it out, give us a non-crooked opinion based on a somewhat more practical parts-salvaging and repair ideology, and whatever it cost I would far rather give the money to a friend than to a bunch of conniving fucks who wanted to charge me a significant fraction of my car’s price just to paint the front bumper.

Our friend wound up quoting €800 for the parts, including the €250 radiator which we’d discovered by this point. So it was still likely to cost me upwards of €1000 to get the car fixed, with the aforementioned disclaimer that it was better to give that money to someone I knew and liked.

This was still somewhat laughable for the fraction of the total valule of the car, and right on the edge of Hell-no for me, but in the end I decided to go ahead with it. Busted as it was, we might have gotten €1000 for the car, and a new one would cost us €1500 if we were really lucky. The last €1500 car we bought was … well, we called it Fritz for a reason, and that reason wasn’t just because it was a Volkswagen.

So it came down to making a €1000 loss on a car we at least knew was solid, or (after factoring in the €3000 original price and the €1000 we may get for it) making a €500 – €1500 loss on getting a whole new car of unknown performance quality, plus all the hassle of finding the car and checking it out and paying for it and doing the registry paperwork (I know, BRKN, but it is a pain in the balls even if it does ultimately only take a few minutes). In the end we opted for the car we knew, a cash-from-my-retirement-mattress payment, and no more hassle.

There was an unfortunate mix-up with the radiator as our friend wound up with the wrong one so that was a bit of a hassle, but he got the right one in a couple of days and on Wednesday he was finally done. I’d been taking the bus for the past few days, which wasn’t all that bad. I agreed to take public transport straight from work and pick up the car from our friend’s place on Wednesday afternoon, and that was a whole other adventure.

Well, not so much an adventure as a mild annoyance as the impeccably Google-mapped plan for getting from Herttoniemi to Kuninkaanmäki failed to work on my shitty-arse Windows Phone[2], and it was too full[3] to properly download the Windows Phone navigator app which could offer me proper routes, but it did manage to tell me roughly where to go and which buses to take. I was waiting for one such bus to show up when who should drive into the bus bay but another friend of ours.

[2] I know, BRKN, I would have bought a new phone by now if I hadn’t crashed my fucking car.

[3] Oh, it has a microSD card with 28 GB of free space on it, and I have set the phone to save new shit there, but it doesn’t. And the card doesn’t operate with the phone in any way. Piece of shit.

Our friend was dropping his mother-in-law (I think) at the bus stop so she could get a bus to Porvoo, and he offered me a lift to the place I had to go and pick up my car. Which was just amazing serendipity and ended the whole adventure on a high note.

I got my lift to the mechanic’s place, I got my car back, and I got home in time for a blizzard to completely swamp our yard and street again. Also my snow shovel broke on Thursday morning when I was trying to shake that hideously heavy above-freezing-point snow off the thing.

Oh well.

Posted in Office Posts, Random | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Bonus post: Exoplanets

I suppose it is expected of me, as a science-fiction author, to delay telling you the story of my broken car and the way it got fixed, so I can rhapsodise about exoplanets.

Okay, it’s really cool. Don’t get me wrong. The latest information I read has seven rocky Earth-like planets, three of which exist in the habitable “Goldilocks Zone” in the system of a dwarf star about the size of Jupiter. Even if the three planets capable of supporting Earth-like life are completely barren, it’s very cool. But if they have life ‑ !



Google is adorabubble.

Yeah, it’s very cool, and might change everything in the way we look at the universe and ourselves. Just … be prepared for it to also be depressing as fuck, alright? Because there are still a heap of people out there who actually don’t believe space is even a thing.

This is not going to be as cool to a lot of people as it is to the folks I generally feel I’m talking to when I write these blog posts. It’s not going to stop our bigots, our ignorant, our idiots from tearing this world apart one brick and one life at a time. It’s not going to stop our politicians and the corporations that own them from shitting directly into our environment’s mouth, and the media (owned by those same corporations) from telling us it’s chocolate cake.

Things are not particularly likely to take off in a United Federation of Planets direction anytime soon.

At best, if there’s some sign of life on any of those planets, we will be able to watch what it was doing thirty-nine years ago, and that’ll be brilliant. If it’s advanced life, maybe it will be watching what we were doing thirty-nine years ago (which means, if they get their telescopes ready in time, those lucky Trappistians might just get to watch my birth!).


Not pictured: The wild celebrations when that happens. Lucky my mum decided she was going to give birth to me on the hospital roof, or this would have been really boring for them. Am I right?

Maybe the Trappistians have been watching us for longer than that. Maybe they will start sometime in the future. Maybe they’ve been looking for planets to expand onto, having filled their system to capacity, and they’re already on their way here. Or maybe they decided not to bother, after watching us for a bit, because we’re clearly best left where we are.


It’s very neat. It’s even neater than those alien megastructures that might have been in orbit around that star back in the Sixth Century (see my post on the subject, hilariously entitled “Another Tuesday“). It’s comforting , I suppose, for some of us. The thought that we’re not alone in the universe. That life does happen more regularly than it appears, and that something might carry on in the cosmos after we wink out. Trappist-1 is very young, and set to keep on shining for a very long time. So – stray radioactive madness and the nine-day Trappist F year aside – any life out there should be fine.


Constantly infuriated by the way they write the wrong year on their letterheads, but you know, otherwise fine.

Beyond the theory, the knowledge, this doesn’t really get us anywhere. This doesn’t mean we have planets to evacuate to when we human-centipede this one to death. Short of developing faster-than-light capacity, workable cryogenics, or some other means of getting off this planet and onto that one … no. We’re stuck here, looking up like a person drowning in a bathtub full of raw sewage watching a fly crawling around on their bathroom ceiling.

In fact, I’m not even sure why I put “like” in that previous sentence.

It makes me sad that the world seems to have killed the childlike wonder and optimism I would normally have felt about this discovery. I just don’t think we’re a good species. I’m not sure I ever directly thought that we were, but now I’m pretty certain we’re not, and we should probably just leave the rest of the universe alone.

But this is, all in all, an uplifting discovery. The world certainly hasn’t killed my idealism to the point where I want us to stop looking for this stuff – on the contrary, looking up is one of the things I believe separates the worthwhile humans from the rest – but I’ve reached the point where I sort of accept that it’s not going to make any practical change in my life. I still want to know, but some profound shift has occurred and I’m resigned to the fact that knowing is the end-game, for me. There will be no step forward into doing.

I want there to be some massive practical change in humanity as we know it. Oh boy, do I. And I certainly want this to mean something real for my kids … so I’ll try to keep my misanthropic muttering to a minimum.

I just hope that, if the Trappistians are watching us, then in thirty-nine years (or one thousand, five hundred and eighty-two of their Trappist-F years[1]) they pick up this blog post somehow from the electronic ether and know that at least one of us meant well.

[1] That’s how we aliens are supposed to say it, right?

Perhaps the wandering survivors of their civilisation will pick it up nineteen years after we achieve superluminal flight in 2037, and send a colonising force of USian climate deniers and anti-vax twatwaffles to check the place out. If that happens … I’m sorry, Trappistians. We really only did it to get them off our planet. It was selfish and cruel. Welcome to the universe.

Better luck next time. Plenty more exoplanets out there, apparently.

Posted in Hatboy's Nuggets of Crispy-Fried Wisdom, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Interlude: Interesting and True Facts

It’s another lazy Thursday, hopefully I’ll have this cold kicked soon and (I am pre-writing this with some ill-conceived confidence) I will be back in my car today so I will get right on with the story of what happened there.

Maybe tomorrow, though.

Follow-up: Mission accomplished, I did get back in my car! Woohoo!

In the meantime, here are a couple of interesting things I found yesterday.

Back in 2008, Mrs. Hatboy and I used to post together on Usenet. I’ve talked about this before, but I had forgotten the stellar quality (not to mention the sheer volume) of the posts we used to make. We also used to debate about religion, and allowed ourselves to be seen dead in threads where “ad hominem” and “flame” were part of the terminology.


Ah Usenet. Never change.
And it never did.

Did you know it’s going to be America first … but Swedish Finland second? It’s true.

Riktiga truthiness.

In the course of navigating to the mechanic’s place to pick up our car yesterday, I narrowly avoided meeting any trolls.


Although I may have been one at some point.
And for the record, I do have Google Chrome. It just wants me to get it again.

In conclusion, the Finnish word for wig is based on the Middle French word peruke, or periwig in English, referring to the sorts of wigs they wore in the third season of Blackadder.


Blackadder the Third, as the purists will remind me. [insert Scarlet Pimpernel joke here]

That was all I found yesterday. It was a rich full day.

Posted in Hatboy's Nuggets of Crispy-Fried Wisdom, Kussa mun hopoti?, Office Posts, Random | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Myconet, Part 55

The department store was busy at this time of day, but as before, the Prism was standing in its place and was largely being ignored by the shoppers. Some of them did glance at it, so it wasn’t as if it was invisible … they just seemed to think it was some sort of decoration or display or something.

To be honest, I’m not sure what they thought. The outlooks and motivations of people are a mystery to me a lot of the time.

The Prism was still there, anyway, glowing softly in its enigmatic pastel-yellow permanow, and Creepy and I stepped up to it like nothing so much as a pair of super-sidekicks ready to Finish This Once And For All. Because that was the sort of sentiment you were supposed to express, even if deep down you knew that nothing you did was going to Finish This Once And For All. Because, deep down, you were aware that what you were really doing was Starting The Next Bit Once And For All instead.

But that was alright. It kept us busy.

“Well?” I asked.

Creepy had been wearing the X-ray specs ever since we came into the department store and doffed our sunglasses, with the occasional shuddering grimace to avert his eyes and snatch the glasses off his face as he looked at certain people or packaged foodstuffs or, disturbingly, clothes mannequins. Whether this meant the X-ray specs were working in any way, or if he was just messing around, was difficult to tell. He wouldn’t give me a turn with them, declaring my desire to look through things ‘unseemly’.

Now, he twiddled the brass knobs on the rims of the goggle-like accessories, and squinted discerningly at the Prism. I was reasonably certain the knobs didn’t do anything, and at a glance the X-ray specs didn’t seem to have any sort of power source, let alone radioactive matter, just a pair of reddish-brown convex lenses and a lot of brass and age-crazed rubber.

“Hmm,” he said. “Hmm.”




“Hm. Hmmm. Hmm,” he looked up at the ceiling, and twiddled the knobs some more, then looked back at the Prism. “Hmmmmmmmmmm.”

I sighed. “So, nothing?”

“Now now, Hatboy. These things can’t be rushed … hmm.”

He frowned, and twiddled the brass knobs on the X-ray specs again.

And that was when the Prism turned blue.

Posted in Creepy and Hatboy Save the World | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Myconet, Part 54

It was dank and musty as a time-cellar inside Collins Square Antiques but at least it was slightly better-lit, and its shelves and tables were laden with a staggering array of junk. Still, it was definitely gloomy enough to warrant both Creepy and myself removing our sunnies when we entered the shop.

Part of my immediate association between this place and the cellars I’d been in and out of all-subjective-day, it occurred to me, was the strange assortment of doors.

Wherever there weren’t shelves or display cases or poster-racks, the walls of the crowded antique shop were decorated with doors of various types – front doors and farmhouse doors and saloon doors and garden gates. While they lacked the samey semi-modern tackiness of the time-cellar doorways, there was an eeriness about them. It was hard to tell whether there would be wall behind some, or other rooms, or a featureless darkness through which one might step into some unpleasant past or future.

This sensation was heightened even as we wandered deeper between the shelves, when one of the doors opened and Reggie Keyes scuttled through into the shop.

I’d known, on a deep-down intuitive level, that Reggie Keyes would be a scuttler. I had also known he would be small in stature, that his hair would be close-cropped and plastered-down in that certain ghastly fashion that made even a full head of hair look like a combover, and that he would be dapper – natty, even – in a faded and slightly shabby way, as though he was wearing some of his stock that he’d realised was never going to sell but he was too viscerally unpleasant to donate to a shelter. The sort of person, indeed, who might have married a person like Rose of the L&E tower lost and found, but then lacked the conviction to murder her when he discovered the sort of person she actually was – just as she had lacked the conviction to murder him – opting instead for a low-key-acrimonious divorce and a drawn-out and seemingly perpetual relationship of sniping, snarking, behind-the-hand smirking and behind-the-back badmouthing.

Reggie and Rose had dispensed with the for richer and poorer, the in sickness and in health, and they had most certainly abandoned the holy matrimony and wedded bliss. They had, however, kept a tight and greedy grip on the ‘til death do us part. And even three seconds after Reggie Keyes scuttled into his shop to greet us, I’d decided this dreary, awful fate couldn’t have befallen a more deserving pair.

“Good afternoon, gents,” Reggie said. Never before had such an innocuously friendly greeting sounded more like something my defence attourney would be presenting to the court as ‘Exhibit A’ during my trial. “What can I do for you?”

So unexpectedly seething were my reactions and allied expectations, I believe I actually heard him say “what can I do you for” even though he had in fact used the less-gratingly-jovial, more professional variant. I took a moment to calm my nerves, which must have been more frayed by my day’s work than I’d originally assumed, and glanced at Creepy as though wondering if he was going to back me up.

As I’d suspected he would, Creepy pretended instead to be extremely interested in a table laden with old doll parts. On consideration, I thought this was actually a smart thing for him to be doing, even if he actually thought he was only doing it to aggravate me. Those doll parts could be hiding something. A doll, for instance. I turned back to Reggie.

“We’re really just looking around,” I said. “Reggie, isn’t it? Reggie Keyes?”

As I’d once again known it would, this use of his name had an electrifying effect on the antique dealer. He hunched, looked back and forth shiftily, and opened his mouth to ask if we were cops.

“Why yes, that’s me,” he said instead, changing the script at the last minute – possibly because he’d actually looked at me and Creepy, and realised we couldn’t possibly be officers of the law. “Do I know you chaps?”

I was familiar, of course, with the progression from gents to chaps. Next would come young fellows, followed by gentlemen – I know it doesn’t sound like a logical continuum since he started with the foreshortened gents, but it’s a fact – and then rapidly degenerating through people, individuals, types, and then fanning out into the murky delta of such terms as layabouts, loiterers, slackers, bludgers, loafers, good-for-nothings, freeloaders, spongers and ne’er-do-wells. I rather liked ne’er-do-wells and hoped Reggie would take that tributary.

“Oh, no – sorry,” I said with a smile, “it’s just that we’re … associates … of Rose, at the L&E tower lost and found?” I’d considered adding Marion into the equation, but on the assumption that we were now happily living in a timeline where I’d never met either of them, I was more than willing to leave Marion out of it even if he was just a little bit culpable in all this. “I understand Rose is – was, uh … ”

“Yes,” Reggie said stiffly. “That’s right. Now I’m rather going to have to ask you to get to the point, young fellow … ”

“Alright, I will,” I said. Semi-random insertion of rather was another classic conversational ploy intended to establish superior class. A challenge, I thought, for the likes of Reggie Keyes. “Rose has told us you accept and sell on certain items she … borrows … from the lost and found at the L&E tower where she works,” Reggie gaped at me, and even Creepy was once again watching me narrowly, holding a doll leg in one hand and looking like a behind-the-scenes crewmember from a crude anti-abortion video. “Don’t worry, we’re not cops ‑ ”

“Well in that case, I think I’ll ask you gentlemen to ‑ ”

“ ‑ to leave and get the cops?” I interrupted delicately, and was warmed to the very core of my being by the queasy look on Reggie’s face. I’d always known there was such a thing as hate at first sight, of course, but I hadn’t experienced it quite this intensely with someone who wasn’t an actual alien warlord or demonic chancellor.

I wondered if maybe Reggie was one of those things. You never knew.

“There’s no need for this, my young friends,” Reggie desperately backpedalled up the terms-of-address sequence. “What exactly brings you here?”

“These,” Creepy had dropped the doll parts and plucked the pair of X-ray specs from a nearby shelf.

“Yes,” I said, “we’ll be taking those.”

Reggie squirmed. “But they weren’t ‑ ”

He was right, of course – in this timeline, Creepy hadn’t turned up with the cookhouse trumpet and traded it for the X-ray specs, only for Rose to turn up later and sell them back to Reggie as stolen property. So they were presumably of their original provenance, which may or may not have been completely legitimate. Still, it didn’t matter.

“We’ll be taking them, and returning them to their original owner,” I said, deliciously aware that in at least some chronocosmic sense this was completely true. “And we’ll say no more … ” I paused, having noticed something leaning against a head-high shelf behind Reggie. “Where did you get that?” I demanded, lunging around him and making him flinch and squawk.

“Ah,” he recovered, “ah, ah that. Yes, well, that is a genuine antique, it is in fact ‑ ”

“The cookhouse trumpet from the old Barnsley prison yard,” I said, turning the flattened and tarnished metal coil over in my hands, “damaged by vandals or perhaps a prison riot, and replaced with a new trumpet at a later date, but the original was assumed lost.”

“Close,” Reggie said, animosity forgotten in the light of knowing things. I actually found myself warming to him, albeit extremely slightly. “Very close. The trumpet was indeed destroyed by unknown miscreants, and it spelled the beginning of the end for the old prison yard. There were riots, several escape attempts that left many inmates dead from exposure – in some cases lead exposure, ha ha – and before anything so trivial as the cookhouse trumpet could be replaced, the salt mine itself was closed down. Many say the event coincided with the big land subsidence that left the salt lake inviable as a mining source, and the trumpet was damaged in the building collapse. As for how it ended up in my hands, well … ” he spread his hands and weasel-smiled in a way that was probably meant to imply that is a long and exciting story but which I interpreted as the trumpet got taken home by Colonel McOldentimes or one of the other guards, and a few years ago his twentysomething student grandkid found it in an attic and sold it to me for the price of a slab of beer.

“Does it still toot?” Creepy asked brightly.

“Are you out of your fucking mind?” I snapped, and held the battered remains of the trumpet up in front of Reggie Keyes’s unhappy face. “We’ll be taking this as well,” I said.

“This is blackmail,” Reggie complained.

“Not really,” I disagreed. “I have no real interest in holding your trivial wrongdoings over you – or the wrongdoings of your ex-wife, for that matter – and I have no intention of exposing you unless you make it absolutely necessary. I’m just too lazy for that sort of thing. Think of this more as … your opportunity to redress the balance, and right some of the wrongs you’ve sent out into the universe by selling things people have lost.”

“Fine,” Reggie grumbled. “Now will you please leave?”

“With pleasure,” I said, and turned. “Creepy?”

“Hatboy,” he said, inclined his head politely and preceded me towards the door. He opened it with another ­jingle, and as I stepped past him he turned back to look at Reggie with a puzzled little frown. “Is that gasoline I smell?”

Chortling, we donned our sunnies and headed back into the street.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Interlude: Sick, Tired, Bummed, Uninspired, and Suffering from Blue Ballpoints

Ugh, must be Monday.

I’ve been dealing with a niggling cold and sore throat for the past few days, which hasn’t really gone away yet. Today, it’s been enhanced with a pounding headache.

Our car’s still out of commission until at least Tuesday or Wednesday, which means I need to use public transport to get to work. I don’t really have a problem with that, despite the heroic amount of bitching I do about public transport. Today, it all went reasonably well. But the weather has been such that the path through the forest[1] has turned into a mirror-smooth surface of 2-inch-thick packed ice all the way through to the main road. Not in itself a problem either, except the side of the path – where I normally walk when things get bad – has been packed and polished into a 1-inch-thick ice surface. SO I had to hack through the actual woods to get to the bus. Fine. Gotta be done, I suppose.

[1] Which I had considered the lesser of two evils compared to the walk down our packed-ice driveway to the main road on the other side, and the 3km walk to Hakunila to get any semblance of normal buses. The walk through the forest is shorter. But at the moment, I’m leaning in the direction of the long way being easier.

And yeah, I haven’t been able to write in almost a week. I think I’m figuring out where this last short story is headed, but I can’t get it down. I love my family and this weekend was great, with Mrs. Hatboy’s birthday on Saturday[2], pies and sausages and fun with Toop, then a lazy Sunday and a trip to the swimming pool with Wump, it was the best … but the discomfort and unhappiness only builds up inside me. I can’t help it.

[2] I got Mrs. Hatboy one of these (the Wash one). So I win birthday.

It always makes me laugh hysterically (inside, when I’m in a non-private place) when authors complain about writer’s block. What the ever-loving fuck is writer’s block? I get writer’s blocked. I get blue ballpoints. I get quillus interruptus. I have writer’s block thrust upon me. And that’s when my brain begins to eat itself from within.

Hey. Maybe that’s what this headache is all about.

Posted in Office Posts, Random | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Myconet, Part 53

When we got back up into the daylight and started towards Collins square, I was pleased to note that the roads were clear and there was no sign of rising salt lake – and nary a corpse, nor part thereof, to be seen.

Creepy was still casting me occasional narrow looks, but I ignored him serenely.

“I do believe you’ve been stealing pages out of my playbook,” he eventually concluded in a tone of grudging admiration.

This was familiar territory. Creepy said it frequently when I said or did something unexpectedly clever. It was a safe and easy way to simultaneously acknowledge that I’d said or done something clever and claim the credit for whatever it was I’d just said or done, when there was no actual recourse to sharing the glory in any rational sense. As I believe I have mentioned, the way of the super-sidekick is the route of least resistance.

It didn’t really bother me, since Creepy self-evidently had no playbook, and he and I both knew it. It was a convenient fiction that allowed Creepy to move on and stop trying to score points on a round I had won several exchanges ago.

“Just … feel free to speak up when we’re in there,” I said. “Don’t leave me to do all the talking.”

“Of course,” Creepy said mildly. At this point, if he’d had a playbook, it would have been be a one-page laminated quick-reference with LEAVE HATBOY TO DO ALL THE TALKING written on it. Reverse psychology worked on Creepy when it suited him – or more specifically when he thought it didn’t suit me. Which I suppose rather sounds like the point of reverse psychology, but I’m here to tell you it’s not as simple as that. He gave me a wide-eyed look of injured innocence. “What do you take me for?”

I sealed the deal with a narrow, suspicious glance of my own, but didn’t comment.

We stopped in front of the antique dealer’s place. It had the uninspired name COLLINS SQUARE ANTIQUES, but to the owner’s credit the window-painted sign was enhanced with the additional slogan ACTUALLY ANTIQUES OF VARIOUS SHAPES.

There was a bell above the door, of course, which jingled happily as Creepy and I Wild-Wested into the shop.

Posted in Creepy and Hatboy Save the World | Tagged , , | Leave a comment