Tepic looked up from the table as Gilhooly entered the Sneaky Vole and smiled.
“Watcha mate, long time no see!” he said “grab a seat an listen up…”
The fox boy and the mouse put their heads together so as to not be overheard by the other urchins sitting around the warm bar, and Tepic explained the mission Miss Hienrichs had given them.
“So we got to find this satchel, so’s she can let that other town know what happened to their bloke…”
The boys left the bar and moved round to the back of the Bucket, sifting through the heaps of rubbish in a vain attempt to find the satchel. Every now and then one of them gave an exclamation, and showed the other a new treasure hidden among the detritus, but there was no sign of the object of their search.
Having exhausted the possibilities behind the buildings, the boys moved to peer over the edge of the canal, down into the murky water. Gilhooly noted the arches under the brickwork, and suggested that anything thrown over might drift into one of the archways. There was no way to see from this side of the canal, so both boys scampered over the Iron Walkway at the end of the railway and down onto the opposite bank of the canal. From there they carefully examined the openings, trying to see the rubbish that had collected there. Near the end was a deeper archway, closed off by a steel shutter, and in the corner, seemingly trapped by the closing door was a hint of wet leather…
The boys looked at each other.
“How we going to get it?”
“Guess one of us is going ter have ter swim…”
They looked at each other again, and in time honoured tradition, closed a fist and counted together “One..Two..Three!”
Rock breaks scissors.
Tepic looked at Gilhooly, sighed, and shrugged out of his shirt, handing it to his friend before turning to the dank water and diving neatly in. A few seconds brought him up by the door edge, and the discovery that it was indeed a satchel.
“This is it!” he called out, before tugging at the trapped leather. It was stuck fast, and the boy had to put his feet on the wall and shutter, leaning his full weight backwards before he was able to free it, dropping with a huge splash into the cold and dark water. He surfaced spluttering but triumphant, the satchel held up high in one hand as he doggy paddled back to Gilhooly, who helped pull him and their prize from water.
Naturally, before heading off to give Miss Hienrichs the satchel, they had a quick look through it, just in case there was an important clue or something – to their disapointment, there was nothing, just a rather fine, though damp, leather satchel.
As they hurried off, Tepic could be heard to say “Wonder if she’ll let me have it after, cus it would make awful good patches fer me trews this winter…” followed by “say, did you hear she’s going ter be boxing? Hope she gets ter fight that Mr Mornington, he’s a bit soft, fancy getting beat by Mr Holmes….”