The ethical choice

And today we’re with Anita and Jaye

 

8) The ethical choice

Shena served out the meal Tallis had prepared and started eating. She was
becoming aware that they were sitting in total silence. Benor glared
gloomily at his food, (although it didn’t stop him from eating with a
reasonable appetite). Mutt was obviously deep in planning some dark scheme
of his own, whilst Tallis was obviously miles away, mentally at least. Shena
assumed he was just pondering a rhyme scheme or trying to fit words to a
metre. She began to wonder if she’d somehow offended them all.
Finally she picked on Benor as the one most likely to confess. “What on
earth are you looking so miserable about Benor?”
“The basic unfairness of the world.”
“All of it or just one specific bit?”
“It’s just typical. Somebody asks you to fix something. So you go out of
your way to fix it and then when you need their help in one small area, they
come over all ethical and leave you to get on with it.”
“How about being a bit more specific?”
“I need somebody to distract Minny and her sister Jan. You remember, the
pair who run the ‘Two Sisters’ dress shop, just down Dollymop Street.”
“Why do you want them distracting?”
Benor temporised. “We know Minny had a letter which seems to instruct her to
kill the Chevaleresse of Windcutter Keep and her two children. I’ve been
asked to stop this happening, but I really ought to see the letter so I have
some idea what is going on. But the problem is, I asked somebody to provide
a distraction for me and they wouldn’t, so I’m now stuck.”
“Nothing could be easier,” Shena said, “Tallis can take me in there and buy
me a dress.”
The conversation was interrupted by coughing as Tallis seemed to choke on a
mouthful of food that had apparently gone down the wrong way. Everybody
stopped and watched him as he pulled himself together. Hoarsely he said
carefully, “Given time I’m sure I too could find a suitable ethical
dilemma.”
Thoughtfully Benor said, “Just Shena on her own isn’t going to take the two
sisters to serve her.”
Mutt said cheerfully, “I could go?”
“They’d just call the Watch,” Tallis said dismissively. Mutt was about to
say something indignant when Tallis added, “Any anyway, you’d have to wear
shoes and satin knickerbockers.”
Mutt subsided.
Shena said thoughtfully. “Benor’s right, it’ll have to be more than one
customer. I shall ask some of Tallis’s patrons. I’m sure Mistress Bream
would fancy a trip out. Then there’s the Widow Handwill.”
Tallis had gone pale at this. “But they spend fortunes on clothes!”
Shena turned on him. “No they don’t, they invest wisely in classics which
they get plenty of wear out of.”
“I cannot afford classics.” Tallis contemplated his words. “I admit it; I
cannot even afford cheap and tawdry.”
“Nonsense. Mutt, I’ll write a couple of letters of invitation to these
ladies and you can deliver them.

 

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