“I told you there was nothing down here, Hatboy,” Creepy said, putting his hands in his pockets and grimacing at the mouldy old table. Sure enough, there was nothing lying on the tabletop. The Barnsley Yard Cookhouse Trumpet had, after all, been destroyed by a time-travelling vandal a solid probably-maybe-century ago. “We should go back up and try to find a way to see into the Prism.”
“You’re right,” I said, turning to leave.
This had the amusing effect of freezing Creepy in absolute shock for a couple of seconds, but he turned and fast-walked after me, only slowing once he’d overtaken me and regained the illusion of leading the way. “Of course I’m right,” he said breezily. “I’m gratified to hear you acknowledge that.”
“I think I know where we can find an antique pair of X-ray specs,” I told him, and grinned in the dark behind my torch when Creepy skidded on a patch of random nastiness on the sewer floor.
“Obviously,” Creepy said, recovering fast once again, “the antique dealer in Collins square.”
“Reggie Keyes,” I agreed idly.
Creepy rounded on me. “How do you know that?” he demanded, squinting in the torch-beam.
“I have my sources,” I said. “I also happen to know that Reggie is a fence for stolen lost property from the L&E tower, so we should be able to convince him to let us have the X-ray specs at a considerable discount.”
“Well,” Creepy said, obviously struggling to find some way to deal with the whole thing, “well, obviously.”
“I just figured we might as well cut this excursion short,” I added innocently, “I mean, if you were thinking we might find some sort of relic down here you could swap for the X-ray specs … there’s an easier way. Just saying.”
Creepy was looking at me narrow-eyed as I strolled on past him, but he didn’t accelerate to get in front again. I heard him muttering to himself as he squished along in my wake.
He’d recover in time, I knew – but for now, I just enjoyed the moment.