Irony! You goldhearted bastard! Descending on alabaster wings to leave talon marks on the foreheads of your victims! Surely it was you who brought Bigoyle, with his aura of The Valdez, into the ever narrowing circle inhabited by Jade Piece, whose unwashed Mongol miasma could only be enumbrated by the fouler sort of toxin that suffused Bigoyle's person.
And, uncontent with this most unlikely union, you must sink your claws deep into the befuddled mind of Hansel Daggerfjord, who, at the moment you punctured the aquifer of his hatred, was engaged upon the most serene and pacific impulse imaginable - the purchase of a new puppy.
Yes, indeed, as Daggerfjord groped upward toward the light, quoting good Lutheran verses from his Revised King James, his soul was weighed down by the ballast of his past, and unable to grip the hand of his son Warty, he leaned forward against the pet shop window. Beside him, Elsa gasped suddenly, and her hand went reflexively to the hilt of the claymore sword strapped across her back. Warty looked up at his father with the wide eyes of a twenty-six year old and said:
"What's the problem, Dad?"
Hansel steadied himself against the glass with his one real arm, his crooked nose and Jaggeresque lips only inches away from the quivering snout of a Burmese Dachshund.
"Nothing, Warto" Hansel panted, his eyes glacing only slightly at his son and his future daughter-in-law Crystal Silverloin.
"Dearest," Elsa chimed in, "Surely you are not remembering that day in Singapore?"
"As a matter of fact, Honeysnoot, I was"
Had either Hansel or Elsa, or Warty or Crystal, allowed their eyes to drift off of each other's faces, even for a moment, they might have seen in the reflection of the pet shop window the unmistakable visage of Sultan Zhpat, emerging from the stairs of a double-decker bus and onto the Stockholm sidewalk.
Platu looked out from the catwalk upon the floor. Below him, in bank after bank of low-walled cubicles, and in invariable blue oxford shirts with white featureless ties, an army of engineers and mathematicians toiled. Computer keyboards clicked, printers spat paper, and for some reason, a bank of industrial capacitors charged and discharged, only to charge again.
Platu knew they must be getting close, closer than he had dared to dream.
"Oh, hello Platu," came a voice from behind him. He spun, ready to execute the Brazilian Prod, a deadly martial art that only he had ever mastered, before he stopped himself.
"Mr. Menlo, I have asked you three dozen times not to use my real name."
"Oh, uh... sorry there, Dr. Platudinor."
For Menlo, he could hardly fathom that Platu was a real man, let alone a real man masquerading as an eccentric billionaire. And the more he found out about Platu's history, the more stunned into confusion he became. After all, here he was, standing on the catwalk of the 34th floor (engineering overlook) of Greenback Tower, and beside him stood a man who had not only swapped spit with hotties in the Amazon, but had educated Aristotle, decried the wrongs of Athens, and studied under Socrates himself. Menlo's eyes glazed, and he shuffled further along the railing. Speechless.