At the sight of the long-lost guttersnipe turtle, poor Patches couldn’t help but make an expression worthy of Lucy Ricardo.
“What the devil are you doing here, you damned amphibian? When I last saw -”
“Reptile, mate. We’re reptiles, yeah? And I’d keep that hissin’ down, too, iffin yer want in that there car.” Pulling his head into his shell, Decca was headless for a moment, until he emerged with a dainty set of keys. “A gift, ‘cos I feel bad ’bout wot happened down the Doc’s, right? I’ll even go talk to ‘er ‘Highness, if yeh like – I ain’t seen ‘er for far too long now.”
Patches’ plastic expression was comically shocked, yet again. “You know Miss Angeline?”
“Miss my arse – it’s missus three times over,at least, mate. I guess I do know my ex-wife, though. Why d’you ask?” Decca seemed to take pity on the incredulous cat, and shook his head. “Look, I’ll chat up the evil bint, and you wait a minute, grab what yer grab in, and get out, alright?”
Patches could only agree – despite the turtle’s possible previous treachery, it’s not every day that an opportunity so perfectly suited comes along. Perhaps it was a little too perfect, at that – but Patches’ mind was so addled and fogged from lack of sleep that he couldn’t puzzle out quite what was wrong. The moment came, and he slunk over, slipping the key home.
It turned. The door opened.
Before Patches could reach into the cab for any of the necessary supplies, a buzzing swarm of tiny, filthy, fanged figures flew at his face. Reeking of rotting meat and poorly tanned furs, Patches was clearly under attack – he nearly inhaled a toothpick-sized spear. As blackness ate up his remaining consciousness, he clung to one last thought: “Johnson!”