left a message on my answering machine at the house giving the number where I could be reached in case of an emergency. He also sent me a copy of the Punch and Judy tape, and that told me all I needed to know about Lorminix and Heinrich Muller. I also got a call from Veil.'

I grunted, said, 'That figures.'

'He thought you needed more backup. Also, he knew I'd probably hold him responsible if anything happened to you.'

'For Christ's sake,' I said, shaking my head. 'He never said a word.'

'Aha. That's because I asked him not to. I thought it only fitting that I treat you the same way you'd treated me. Besides, I thought there were certain advantages to keeping you in the dark.'

'Yeah? Name one.'

'It gave me a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling of satisfaction. I think better when I'm feeling good.'

'Ho, ho, ho.'

'Besides that, I didn't want you distracted and worrying about me. I know that's why you didn't call; you were trying to protect me. You thought you had all the bases covered here, and you didn't want to risk having me get my ass in a wringer over in Switzerland if you told me about Lorminix and the patients' need for more medication. I shouldn't tell you this, but I'm not unappreciative of your motives.'

'How the hell did you get the capsules?'

'Simplicity itself. I had Heinrich Muller's name from the Punch and Judy tape, so I just went and asked him for more capsules.'

'You're putting me on, right? I can't believe Muller would even agree to talk to you, much less agree to give you the medication.'

'He didn't have much choice. I visited him at home; his house didn't have much of a security system. He woke up in the middle of the night to find me sitting on the edge of his bed.'

'Ah,' I said, rolling my eyes. 'The old horse's head gambit.'

'Something like that.'

'Dare I ask what became of Herr Muller?'

'Never laid a hand on him. I was the soul of sweet reason. The Duke patiently explained the situation to him, and then appealed to his conscience. He finally agreed that the shortage of medication for the patients was an atrocious thing, and something should be done about it. He invited me to come back to his office, where he just happened to have a supply of said capsules in his safe. He insisted that I take all of them, and then he insisted on helping me get through customs with them. Why, the man even insisted on accompanying Mary and me when we flew back to New York in the Lorminix corporate jet. He couldn't have been more cooperative.'

'Jesus, you must have scared the shit out of him.'

'Well, now that you mention it, the Duke did seem to make him a bit nervous.'

Mary laughed, then stepped forward and put her arms around both of us. 'Okay, now that the two of you have kissed and made up, let's go get something to eat. I'm starved, and I'm buying.'

'Mongo,' my brother said to me seriously, 'you're never going to make the mistake again of forgetting who loves you, right?'


'Right,' Garth drawled. 'Then let's saddle up and go find ourselves a chuck wagon.'

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