Standing at the counter in the New Babbage Free Press office, Mumsy Abigail read through the notice that Martin Malus had handed her for approval. He could barely contain his contempt as she did so.
1. Salvagers, to remove ruins of ominous old occultist hall and any attendant gods (as is practical). Must provide own steam crane.
2. Reclaimed lumber, glass, fixtures and other housing materials, for new construction.
3. Ordained cleric, to bless foundation of ominous old occultist hall in preparation of new construction. Must be qualified to exorcise and/or evict any lingering deities, spirits, nightmares, dinosaurs, crabs, assassins, zombies or other manifestations of evil as appropriate and necessary.
4. Construction gang. Must provide own tools. May camp as necessary at worksite until project completion.
Negotiable in each category. Please note that there will be no loss-of-immortal-soul benefit paid to survivors. Bid at your own risk.
Please inquire with Miss Juniper Ginsburg at The Gangplank, Clockhaven, on behalf of her aunt, Mrs. Abigail Sharp.
Nodding to indicate her satisfaction, Mumsy handed the notice back to the young man who had been serving as her chauffeur. Martin sneered as he handed it over to the clerk, who officiously stamped it with a date, initialed it and put it into a stack of yellow papers. With a halting glance at the old woman and the youth, he quickly made the Sign of the Hammer and hurried into a back room.
Martin’s face felt warm as it reddened with embarrassment. He, formerly a talented novice in the great Church of the Builder, gone from the fold but still trained in logic and reason, placing a ridiculously superstitious advert for a frightened, pathetic old woman.
Mumsy opened the door of the office to leave, a tiny bell in the frame tinkling cheerfully as she did so. “Finally,” she said of the clerk, “someone who understands.”
You know, but for that slight thing where she praised Underbelly, I really can get behind many of Mumsy’s sentiments.
*chalks up another point of agreement for Mrs. Sharp.
Petharic sat hunched over the bar at The Bucket of Blood nursing what he hoped was a bloody mary. He read the advert again, casually tracing circles in a little spilt salt that had fallen on the bar. He started to laugh quietly… the disturbing kind of laugh that would have earned him a wider berth in any other bar but here just elicited knowing nods.
‘Superstitious old crone!’ he mumbled, pinching up a bit of salt between his thumb and forefinger and tossing it over his shoulder.
I should have included “exterminators” on the list of entities to be exorcised. Especially ones that don’t stay dead.
Listen, I really don’t want to lose my temper at one of such an advanced state of age considering all the physical and mental issues you must be dealing with. And I don’t want to ‘bear my soul’ or ‘bemoan my poor life’ or talk of villainy or heroics.
I just want to say: I have seen things in the past four months – things unthinkable and yet I think about them constantly. The ineffable has become effable… very, very effable… and the most effable of all is coming. Mark my words.
*Petharic looks around and notices that the normally unphaseable Bucket of Blood clientelle has given him a wider berth*
By the way, make sure whoever you hire is bondable.
My niece might find you effable but I think you’re effing nuts.
Wait a minute! Did you just say what I think you said!!!
*Petharic does a double fist pump then straightens his sunglasses*
Ha! Already lost my shoes! *Runs to apply*
Zachariah Effingham, lounging at a bar in New Toulouse, grins and chuckles as he reads an employment advertisement placed in The New Babbage Free Press.
“Ia! They’ll never get them all. Never in a thousand years.”
*shakes her head and wanders away*
I’m not an ordained cleric but I have performed exorcisms as requested. Feel free to call at the office.
The Gut’s butcher tipped back his chair as he thumbed through the paper, propping his boots up on the bench beside his old man who sat sharpening the iron pike he always carried around like some lost and misplaced primitive. “Ey, there’s somehin, old man. Maybe ya should get yerself a job an stop relyin on me ter bring in the meat.” He thumped his boot against the craggy grump’s side, recieving a jab to his shoulder from that pike for it.
“Ye nae be tellin me what tae do, lad! I have me own business in this town and ye’ll nae be interferin with that” Rawhead growled at him.
Rusty grunted and shoved the pike point away as a small spot of blood bloomed on the shoulder of his shirt. “Yeah, bummin under my stairs all the time? What business ya got here? Ya ain’t done nothin but grumble, drink an run trams off the tracks. We could use the extra. Sides, who knows what them fellas lost in the rubble. Could be useful.”
Rawhead considered his words for a moment before he slid off the bench and tromped out the back of the shop. “Ye got a point, lad. More’n just on yer head.”