and The Pirates of the Mystic Caravan.
Chapter 18 - Down the Garden Path
'Osama Bin Laden. How did he actually escape?' Harry's question was not
so much a question as an announcement of looming enlightenment. 'Not by
chopper that's for sure, though he and his pals would like all those who
want him dead to think so. That way, if those helicopters had been shot
down it could have been assumed that he was dead or at least would have
bought time to find out that he wasn't. But no. Buggy tells me that he
made his way quietly out of the bombed ruins on foot before the next
assault and simply hooked up with the ass and camel drivers and their
herds who had been signalled in from further off, to vanish along with
the remainder of his terrorist followers into the empty wastes. You can
be sure that somewhere, through the weeks and the months to follow, the
Pirate of the Mystic Caravan will continue to be the king of terrorism,
if in truth it was actually him and not one of many impersonators he
employed.' Harry's voice momentarily ghosted out and in on the
BlackEagle Activator. 'Whatever, he was never your target and his
downfall will come eventually. The BlackEagle Girls have achieved their
quest and then some, getting Miss Surban out of danger and with the
bonus... hmm, bone-us... of rescuing her mother. I commend you all as
Raiders of the Last Bark.'
Sonia Poe and her Hopewell staff couldn't get a case up against any
pupil over the Lower School Presentation-night debacle, although they
had serious suspicions as to who those students might be.
RoseAnne's people were duly, 'No Comment' and headed underground,
dragging their boof-headed family member with them, after having her
physically checked out by Miss Menzies on the night. (And possibly later
also assessed mentally. According to Angie Sole: 'She needs her head
read. Stupid moron! Blew tha whole deal sky-high wid her big mouth!')
'...and there's a very good reason why we didn't have any chest-beating
from that big ape Angelo or his slimy real estate cousin Morris Sole,'
said Miss Poe, accepting a cup of tea from Lyn Reynard.
Stanley Mitikovski shook his head, running a hand over his thinning
hair. 'Multi-levelled buildings across the street from Hopewell instead
of car-parking for the school, unbelievable! How did they expect to get
away with it?'
'All they needed was the backing of the school as a carrot to the local
Council and once they'ed bullied and scared off enough of the
home-owners they would have simply brought in the bulldozers and created
enough havoc so that any last-stand people would have sold off. After
that, once in possession, rezoning the land from open car-park to
layered car-park to multi office-blocks with car-parking facilities
would have happened progressively and I'll bet there are enough
councillors in their pockets to have carried that vote.'
'A nice try, but no cigar!' said Mitikovski triumphantly, carefully
adding three lumps of sugar to his English Breakfast tea.
Lyn Reynard chuckled, perching on the end of Miss Poe's desk, a cup in
one hand, nibbling at a sweet biscuit in the other.
'What amuses you Miss Reynard?' asked Stanley.
'M'it's just that, excuse me, difficult to talk and swallow at the same
time, it's just that there are cigars, thanks to our unknown bombers and
a rather verbally uncontrollable pupil who will now be feeling the heat
from her own family, and those cigars are lighting that fire and the
fire of now useless documents. Who knows where the cigars will finally
'Perhaps we should not continue that line of thought Lyn,' said Sonia,
'And perhaps we should not attempt overly to discover the perpetrators
of the bombing attack,' suggested Stanley, gesturing mysteriously. 'Only
The Shadow knows what lies within the minds and hearts of men, I'm
'The Shadow, or perhaps Robin Hood?' suggested Sonia.
'The Scarlet Pimpernel?' offered Lyn Reynard.
'Or Henry Potter?' replied Headmistress Poe, slowly shaking her head and
grinning. 'Whatever, we will let this lesser evil go for the time being,
in thanks for the salvation of all the homeowners of the street, and
take other measures to find a solution to Hopewell's car-parking.'
'She really wants to meet you Henry,' said Priscilla as she led him down
the garden path to Monique's front door.
'So you said before. What I don't actually get is why? Like I know I'm
pretty cool an' all that stuff, but how could she have heard about me
when she's not even at our school?'
'Probably your exploits as the Scarlet whatsits-name and Tony Curtis.
C'mon Henry you have to trust me,' hissed Priscilla. 'Haven't I spilled
the beans about this surprise birthday party for you? '
'Yeah, sure, right... I really should have written a little speech...'
He waved the bunch of flowers he was carrying as if it might somehow
magically turn into pen and pad.
'No!' said Priscilla emphatically. 'That would blow me out of the water
if they thought you were warned about your surprise.'
'Oh yeah, right. I suppose Vincent and Brodie are here and Rosalind too.
I hope those guys have brought their own girl-friends and aren't...'
'Absolutely! Now remember to do the wow thing when it all happens
inside.' Priscilla clutched at Henry's arm. 'Don't let me down. I don't
want anyone, not even Moni, to know that I told you about this in
advance. Remember, we're just here to visit Moni's mum who's down with
some kind of dreaded disease.'
'You are my Sister, ' said Henry solemnly, coming to a halt a few steps
from the front door, 'and somehow I should...' He appeared to be
thinking both out loud and internally. 'What's her name again?'
'Alice Innersmere. You remember her, you must have seen her down at the
'Oh yeah! That girl! Ohh! But she's older than me...'
'God you're a dag, she's fifteen...'
'And I'm thirteen...'
'What's a couple of years? Will you care when you're twenty eight?'
He pursed his lips. 'An older woman... yeah.'
'You're an ongoing dag. Just ring the bell. At the very least Alice
might get Rosalind thinking.'
Henry looked around at his sister and found in her eyes the correct
amount of encouragement, and the thought of two girls interested in him
was just too much. Grinning broadly and suppressing the thought of
kissing Priscilla as a thank-you, he rang the bell.
Thirty seconds later Monique opened the door and quietly ushered them
in. Priscilla stood back to allow Henry through and a further thirty
seconds on the main room erupted with shouts of “Surprise!” Followed by
lots of clapping and general screams and squeals of all those gathered.
Henry sure knows how to draw a crowd, even when he isn't trying,
Priscilla thought, watching her younger brother reacting with suitable,
though possibly over-the-top, shock and awe as he was mobbed by his
mates and family.
In the midst of all the fun and commotion, Harry was running between
people's legs, barking and throwing himself whole-heartedly into the
Harry, you're overacting as badly as Henry! thought Priscilla, pushing
between Brodie and his girl-friend and a rear-end that turned out to be
her own mother Rachael in some sort of tight black cocktail frock at
use-by date after too many film and tele celebrations.
'Oopps! Sorry Mum,' Priscilla managed, struggling forward through the
press and glancing back at Rachael who had turned abruptly with a 'My
bum's not that big is it?' expression on her face.
'Oh there you are Henry, over your surprise yet?' Priscilla said with a
wink, detaching her brother from his pals whilst Monique guided Rosalind
away toward the fruit punch.
'Come over here, I want to introduce you to Alice Innersmere, she's so
been looking forward to meeting you,' said Priscilla, leading him on.
A young girl not too much taller than Henry, but definitely blooming in
all the right places, detached herself from a group including Louis and
his mate Charlie Fairman.
'Hey Alice, this is my kid brother Henry, he who has been steadily
building a reputation as first-year school rabble rouser and revolution
leader,' said Priscilla.
'Hi Henry,' said Alice, batting her eyelashes and reaching out a hand.
'I've heard lots of stories about your... exploits.'
Henry, his face beginning to glow almost as much as his ego, grasped
Alice's hand as their eyes locked. He felt an almost overpowering desire
to bend on one knee and kiss her fingertips, even though he was vaguely
aware that others were taking notice.
It was just at that moment that many things happened in rapid fire.
Harry appeared out of nowhere, howled in a single mournful moan and
collapsed at their feet. Henry, suddenly realising that he could not
detach his hand from Alice's firm grasp, dropped to his knees, his free
hand reaching for the dog. The pie that was meant for him slapped
squarely into Belinda's face and a second later the one from Monique
landed like a homing pigeon on Alice. Louis got Narenda and Charlie got
There was an explosion of laughter from all now gathering around as
Harry rolled over, jumped up and ran off barking through the many
milling legs. Henry, still attached to Alice, rose and looked astounded
at the pie-splattered group. He opened his mouth to laugh grandly and it
was just at that moment that Priscilla finally landed one directly on
'Whaded I do this time!' he yelled, his mouth, nose and eyes full of
'Do?' said Priscilla beaming. 'You don't need to do anything, you little
Scarlet Pimple! You're my Kid Brother! Surprise! Happy Birthday!'
(She made a mental note to hunt Harry down and strangle him, even if he
was an alien from Wasat somewhere in outer space.)
Diary. I am again sorry for not bringing you up to date. Believe me,
you're not like home-work and I do so want to write you. To be honest, I
just haven't had the time. Can you believe that? Anyway, things have
happened. Some good and some bad. Roseanne's (Bitch!) two tennis kids
won the doubles final. Ray and me got knocked out earlier. But when
Roseanne got clobbered in one of Henry's pie raids, at her, get this
Diary, HER acceptance speech, it was a high-light of my year. And then
there was all the stuff about the Building scam and her uncle's
involvement. Too much for me to detail tonight. I plan to write that up
some other time, so Diary this is a reminder note.
And on the subject of Ray. Gee he's really such a nice guy but I don't
feel anything near enough for him. I mean I get a bit wobbly when he's
showing me how to play tennis, holding my wrists and stuff, but that's
all. It's not the way I think I would feel if I found someone who I
really well maybe loved.
Enough said there for the moment. I'm fifteen next year. Who knows what
will happen? I just don't want to get stuck in some kind of situation
where everything is kind of thought out for me, like for my future. I
want to do the deciding myself. I mean do I actually want to be with a
guy or just free for the years to come, maybe even until I begin to get
old in my thirties. Errh. Horrible thought. I'm not even sure about how
I really feel. I have Mum and Dad, but they're like always sailing away
on their own adventures, within their own comfort bubbles. Then I have
Louis and Henry, brothers with agendas and lives to grow. And Granny
Black, dear reliable Amelia. Boy! She still holds the house together.
My very own special girlfriend, who never complains, always smiles, is
so very close. My bestest friend. We've slept in the same bed. I've
hugged and kissed her and she's done the same to me. Does that mean
Diary I have to take a break
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