The professor was staring at two pictures.
And the Punchy Lands.
(At least, someone’s interpretation of it.)
I was looking at these intently—seated at a table in Cashew City—when Schwarz Tauptinker sat down at the table.
“So ho-ho hi!” Schwarz announced expectantly.
What he was expecting, I’m not sure.
“Hello, Schwarz,” I said.
“Why are you staring at kiddy balls? Chickit.”
“No, no. These are pictures of planets.”
“I knew that.” Schwarz laughed.
And that’s when she sat down. She has short black hair, but it’s likely to change. As a matter of fact, everything about her is likely to change. But one thing changes more often than any other thing that changes–if that makes sense.
The professor wasn’t sure what to say.
“Aren’t you two going to greet me?” she asked.
“I don’t think so,” Schwarz answered.
“Everyone with me sends you greetings,” I said finally. “And…what’s your name today?”
“Today it’s Lottie,” she answered. “And that’s better than Ollie—which it was on my last assignment.”
I think I should explain.
Lottie, you see, is some sort of secret-agent. (I bet MM knows her somewhat. He was an agent at one time, I hear.) I think she’s worked with Mark Malone, and I think Mortimer Butterfield hires her quite frequently. When she’s about, it’s usually because she’s after something—or someone.
“And my name is Schwarzio.” Schwarz laughed at that one.
Lottie gave Schwarz the side-eye. (The look is scary, you know.)
But Schwarz didn’t mind.
“So…” the professor began. “What are you…what are you doing?”
“Well, professor…” And Lottie snatched up the two pictures I had been studying.
“You were just thieved on, dude,” Schwarz observed.
Lottie stood. “This second picture was produced by my current employer. You’re not allowed to have it. And I’ll want to know how you got it when I return.”
“When might that dadblamery occur?” I asked.
“You’ll never see me coming.”
Schwarz didn’t like that. “But I see you going?”
Lottie Ollie was gone.
“Oh dear,” I said.
And I made sure my katana was close.