I’ve seen things, in my time, that have hardened me. I’ve seen a beaver put main-altering chemicals in the local water tower to brainwash all his neighbors. I’ve seen dogs giving their children careful, hands-on training on how to torture people to death. I’ve seen a hippo on so much crack cocaine that his heart collapsed from exhaustion.

But nothing could have prepared me for what I saw when I walked through Count Weirdly’s door.


Right this way, mistah F!

“There’s no need to take my arm, really.”

Ain’t no trouble! There’s guests fer ya, yer Countliness!

Wh-who’s tha- oh n-n-no, what is it th-th-th-this time?

I glance at… whoever this is that’s still got a death grip–albeit a very cheerful and androgynous one–on my arm. “Uh… I don’t think we’ve been introduced.”

Dun think we wanna, comments Max, then ducks back behind the doorway. Lucky bastard.

Oh, this is Eliza. L-liza, th-this is Detective F-fox.

She giggles. I want to die. So pleased to meetcha, mista F!

For maybe the first time in my life, I don’t have the slightest idea what to do. It’s like I’ve accidentally stumbled onto something so depraved that I can’t even figure out what’s wrong with it, It’s like seeing a guy covered with blood, and then instead of being angry or scared or even embarrassed, he just smiles politely and asks how my day was.

It’s friggin distrubing so far.

“You know what? I don’t care. I don’t even remember why I came here. Max, let’s go.”

Awwwww, so soon? Well, c’mon back anytime Mistah F!

I pause in the doorway. Count Weirdly has this confused ‘Is it my breath?’ look on his face. “For what it’s worth, I ain’t never been more disturbed by anything you’ve done.”

He only looks more confused. Th-thanks?

We will never mention this day again. Got me?


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