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6

Just past the Duke of New York going east was offices and then there was the starry beat-up biblio and then was the bolshy flatblock called Victoria Flatblock after some victory or other, and then you came to the like starry type houses of the town in what was called Oldtown. You got some of the real horrorshow ancient domies here, my brothers, with starry lewdies living in them, thin old barking like colonels with sticks and old ptitsas who were widows and deaf starry damas with cats who, my brothers, had felt not the touch of any chelloveck in the whole of their pure like jeeznies. And here, true, there were starry veshches that would fetch their share of cutter on the tourist market – like pictures and jewels and other starry pre-plastic cal of that type. So we came nice and quiet to this domy called the Manse, and there were globe lights outside on iron stalks, like guarding the front door on each side, and there was a light like dim on in one of the rooms on the ground level, and we went to a nice patch of street dark to watch through the window what was ittying on. This window had iron bars in front of it, like the house was a prison, but we could viddy nice and clear what was ittying on. What was ittying on was that this starry ptitsa, very grey in the voloss and with a very liny like litso, was pouring the old moloko from a milk-bottle into saucers and then setting these saucers down on the floor, so you could tell there were plenty of mewing kots and koshkas writhing about down there. And we could viddy one or two, great fat scoteenas, jumping up on to the table with their rots open going mare mare mare. And you could viddy this old baboochka talking back to them, govoreeting in like scoldy language to her pussies. In the room you could viddy a lot of old pictures on the walls and starry very elaborate clocks, also some like vases and ornaments that looked starry and dorogoy. Georgie whispered: "Real horrorshow deng to be gotten for them, brothers. Will the English is real anxious." Pete said: "How in?" Now it was up to me, and skorry, before Georgie started telling us how. "First veshch," I whispered, "is to try the regular way, the front. I will go very polite and say that one of my droogs has had a like funny fainting turn on the street. Georgie can be ready to show, when she opens, thatwise. Then to ask for water or to phone the doc. Then in easy." Georgie said:

"She may not open." I said:

"We'll try it, yes?" And he sort of shrugged his pletchoes, making with a frog's rot. So I said to Pete and old Dim: "You two droogies get either side of the door. Right?" They nodded in the dark right right right. "So," I said to Georgie, and I made bold straight for the front door. There was a bellpush and I pushed, and brrrrrrr brrrrr sounded down the hall inside. Alike sense of slooshying followed, as though the ptitsa and her koshkas all had their ears back at the brrrrrr brrrrrr, wondering. So I pushed the old zvonock a malenky bit more urgent. I then bent down to the letter-slit and called through in a refined like goloss: "Help, madam, please. My friend has just had a funny turn on the street. Let me phone a doctor, please." Then I could viddy a light being put on in the hall, and then I could hear the old baboochka's nogas going flip flap in flip-flap slippers to nearer the front door, and I got the idea, I don't know why, that she had a big fat pussycat under each arm. Then she called out in a very surprising deep like goloss:

"Go away. Go away or I shoot." Georgie heard that and wanted to giggle. I said, with like suffering and urgency in my gentleman's goloss:

"Oh, please help, madam. My friend's very ill."

"Go away," she called. "I know your dirty tricks, making me open the door and then buy things I don't want. Go away. I tell you." That was real lovely innocence, that was. "Go away," she said again, "or I'll set my cats on to you." A malenky bit bezoomny she was, you could tell that, through spending her jeezny all on her oddy knocky. Then I looked up and I viddied that there was a sash-window above the front door and that it would be a lot more skorry to just do the old pletcho climb and get in that way. Else there'd be this argument all the long nochy. So I said:

"Very well, madam. If you won't help I must take my suffering friend elsewhere." And I winked my droogies all away quiet, only me crying out: "All right, old friend, you will surely meet some good samaritan some place other. This old lady perhaps cannot be blamed for being suspicious with so many scoundrels and rogues of the night about. No, indeed not." Then we waited again in the dark and I whispered: "Right. Return to the door. Me stand on Dim's pletchoes. Open that window and me enter, droogies. Then to shut up that old ptitsa and open up for all. No trouble." For I was like showing who was leader and the chelloveck with the ideas. "See," I said. "Real horrorshow bit of stonework over that door, a nice hold for my nogas." They viddied all that, admiring perhaps I thought, and said and nodded Right right right in the dark. So back tiptoe to the door. Dim was our heavy strong malchick and Pete and Georgie like heaved me up on to Dim's bolshy manly pletchoes. All this time, O thanks to worldcasts on the gloopy TV and, more, lewdies' night-fear through lack of night-police, dead lay the street. Up there on Dim's plet-choes I viddied that this stonework above the door would take my boots lovely. I kneed up, brothers, and there I was. The window, as I had expected, was closed, but I outed with my britva and cracked the glass of the window smart with the bony handle thereof. All the time below my droogies were hard breathing. So I put in my rooker through the crack and made the lower half of the window sail up open silver-smooth and lovely. And I was, like getting into the bath, in. And there were my sheep down below, their rots open as they looked up, O brothers.

I was in bumpy darkness, with beds and cupboards and bolshy heavy stoolies and piles of boxes and books about. But I strode manful towards the door of the room I was in, seeing a like crack of light under it. The door went squeeeeeeeeeeak and then I was on a dusty corridor with other doors. All this waste, brothers, meaning all these rooms and but one starry sharp and her pussies, but perhaps the kots and koshkas had like separate bedrooms, living on cream and fish-heads like royal queens and princes. I could hear the like muffled goloss of this old ptitsa down below saying: "Yes yes yes, that's it," but she would be govoreeting to these mewing sidlers going maaaaaaa for more moloko. Then I saw the stairs going down to the hall and I thought to myself that I would show these fickle and worthless droogs of mine that I was worth the whole three of them and more. I would do all on my oddy knocky. I would perform the old ultra-violence on the starry ptitsa and on her pusspots if need be, then I would take fair rookerfuls of what looked like real polezny stuff and go waltzing to the front door and open up showering gold and silver on my waiting droogs. They must learn all about leadership.

So down I ittied, slow and gentle, admiring in the stairwell grahzny pictures of old time – devotchkas with long hair and high collars, the like country with trees and horses, the holy bearded veck all nagoy hanging on a cross. There was a real musty von of pussies and pussy-fish and starry dust in this domy, different from the flatblocks. And then I was downstairs and I could viddy the light in this front room where she had been doling moloko to the kots and koshkas. More, I could viddy these great overstuffed scoteenas going in and out with their tails waving and like rubbing themselves on the door-bottom. On a like big wooden chest in the dark hall I could viddy a nice malenky statue that shone in the light of the room, so I crasted this for my own self, it being like a young thin devotchka standing on one noga with her rookers out, and I could see this was made of silver. So I had this when I ittied into the lit-up room, saying: "Hi hi hi. At last we meet. Our brief govoreet through the letter-hole was not, shall we say, satisfactory, yes? Let us admit not, oh verily not, you stinking starry old sharp." And I like blinked in the light at this room and the old ptitsa in it. It was full of kots and koshkas all crawling to and fro over the carpet, with bits of fur floating in the lower air, and these fat scoteenas were all different shapes and colours, black, white, tabby, ginger, tortoise-shell, and of all ages, too, so that there were kittens fillying about with each other and there were pussies full-grown and there were real dribbling starry ones very bad-tempered. Their mistress, this old ptitsa, looked at me fierce like a man and said:

"How did you get in? Keep your distance, you villainous young toad, or I shall be forced to strike you." I had a real horrorshow smeck at that, viddying that she had in her veiny rooker a crappy wood walking-stick which she raised at me threatening. So, making with my shiny zoobies, I ittied a bit nearer to her, taking my time, and on the way I saw on a like sideboard a lovely little veshch, the loveliest malenky veshch any malchick fond of music like myself could ever hope to viddy with his own two glazzies, for it was like the gulliver and pletchoes of Ludwig van himself, what they call a bust, a like stone veshch with stone long hair and blind glazzies and the big flowing cravat. I was off for that right away, saying: "Well, how lovely and all for me." But ittying towards it with my glazzies like full on it and my greedy rooker held out, I did not see the milk saucers on the floor and into one I went and sort of lost balance. "Whoops," I said, trying to steady, but this old ptitsa had come up behind me very sly and with great skorriness for her age and then she went crack crack on my gulliver with her bit of a stick. So I found myself on my rookers and knees trying to get up and saying: "Naughty, naughty naughty." And then she was going crack crack crack again, saying: "Wretched little slummy bedbug, breaking into real people's houses." I didn't like this crack crack eegra, so I grasped hold of one end of her stick as it came down again and then she lost her balance and was trying to steady herself against the table, but then the tablecloth came off with a milk-jug and a milk-bottle going all drunk then scattering white splosh in all directions, then she was down on the floor, grunting, going: "Blast you, boy, you shall suffer." Now all the cats were getting spoogy and running and jumping in a like cat-panic, and some were blaming each other, hitting out cat-tolchocks with the old lapa and ptaaaaa and grrrrr and kraaaaark. I got up on to my nogas, and there was this nasty vindictive starry forella with her wattles ashake and grunting as she like tried to lever herself up from the floor, so I gave her a malenky fair kick in the litso, and she didn't like that, crying: "Waaaaah," and you could viddy her veiny mottled litso going purplewurple where I'd landed the old noga.

As I stepped back from the kick I must have like trod on the tail of one of these dratsing creeching pusspots, because I slooshied a gromky yauuuuuuuuw and found that like fur and teeth and claws had like fastened themselves around my leg, and there I was cursing away and trying to shake it off holding this silver malenky statue in one rooker and trying to climb over this old ptitsa on the floor to reach lovely Ludwig van in frowning like stone. And then I was into another saucer brimful of creamy moloko and near went flying again, the whole veshch really a very humorous one if you could imagine it sloochatting to some other veck and not to Your Humble Narrator. And then the starry ptitsa on the floor reached over all the dratsing yowling pusscats and grabbed at my noga, still going "Waaaaah" at me, and, my balance being a bit gone, I went really crash this time, on to sploshing moloko and skriking koshkas, and the old forella started to fist me on the litso, both of us being on the floor, creeching: "Thrash him, beat him, pull out his finger-nails, the poisonous young beetle," addressing her pusscats only, and then, as if like obeying the starry old ptitsa, a couple of koshkas got on to me and started scratching like bezoomny. So then I got real be-zoomny myself, brothers, and hit out at them, but this bab-oochka said: "Toad, don't touch my kitties," and like scratched my litso. So then I screeched: "You filthy old soomka", and upped with the little malenky like silver statue and cracked her a fine fair tolchock on the gulliver and that shut her up real horrorshow and lovely. Now as I got up from the floor among all the crarking kots and koshkas what should I slooshy but the shoom of the old police-auto siren in the distance, and it dawned on me skorry that the old forella of the pusscats had been on the phone to the millicents when I thought she'd been govoreeting to the mewlers and mowlers, her having got her suspicions skorry on the boil when I'd rung the old zvonock pretending for help. So now, slooshying this fearful shoom of the rozz-van, I belted for the front door and had a rabbiting time undoing all the locks and chains and bolts and other protective veshches. Then I got it open, and who should be on the doorstep but old Dim, me just being able to viddy the other two of my so-called droogs belting off. "Away," I creeched to Dim. "The rozzes are coming." Dim said: "You stay to meet them huh huh huh," and then I viddied that he had his oozy out, and then he upped with it and it snaked whishhh and he chained me gentle and artistic like on the glazlids, me just closing them up in time. Then I was howling around trying to viddy with this howling great pain, and Dim said: "I don't like you should do what you done, old droogy. Not right it wasn't to get on to me like the way you done, brat." And then I could slooshy his bolshy lumpy boots beating off, him going huh huh huh into the darkmans, and it was only about seven seconds after that I slooshied the millicent-van draw up with a filthy great dropping siren-howl, like some bezoomny animal snuffing it. I was howling too and like yawing about and I banged my gulliver smack on the hall-wall, my glazzies being tight shut and the juice astream from them, very agonizing. So there I was like groping in the hallway as the millicents arrived. I couldn't viddy them, of course, but I could slooshy and damn near smell the von of the bastards, and soon I could feel the bastards as they got rough and did the old twist-arm act, carrying me out. I could also slooshy one millicent goloss saying from like the room I'd come out of with all the kots and koshkas in it: "She's been nastily knocked but she's breathing," and there was loud mewing all the time. "A real pleasure this is," I heard another millicent goloss say as I was tolchocked very rough and skorry into the auto. "Little Alex all to our own selves."

I creeched out: "I'm blind, Bog bust and bleed you, you grahzny bastards."

"Language, language," like smecked a goloss, and then I got a like backhand tolchock with some ringy rooker or other full on the rot. I said:

"Bog murder you, you vonny stinking bratchnies. Where are the others? Where are my stinking traitorous droogs? One of my cursed grahzny bratties chained me on the glazzies. Get them before they get away. It was all their idea, brothers. They like forced me to do it. I'm innocent, Bog butcher you." By this time they were all having like a good smeck at me with the heighth of like callousness, and they'd tolchocked me into the back of the auto, but I still kept on about these so-called droogs of mine and then I viddied it would be no good, because they'd all be back now in the snug of the Duke of New York forcing black and suds and double Scotchmen down the unprotesting gorloes of those stinking starry ptitsas and they saying: "Thanks, lads. God bless you, boys. Been here all the time you have, lads. Not been out of our sight you haven't."

All the time we were sirening off to the rozz-shop, me being wedged between two millicents and being given the odd thump and malenky tolchock by these smecking bullies. Then I found I could open up my glazlids a malenky bit and viddy like through all tears a kind of steamy city going by, all the lights like having run into one another. I could viddy now through smarting glazzies these two smecking millicents at the back with me and the thin-necked driver and the fat-necked bastard next to him, this one having a sarky like govoreet at me, saying: "Well, Alex boy, we all look forward to a pleasant evening together, don't we not?"

I said: "How do you know my name, you stinking vonny bully? May Bog blast you to hell, grahzny bratchny as you are, you sod." So they all had a smeck at that and I had my ooko like twisted by one of these stinking millicents at the back with me. The fat-necked not-driver said: "Everybody knows little Alex and his droogs. Quite a famous young boy our Alex has become."

"It's those others," I creeched. "Georgie and Dim and Pete. No droogs of mine, the bastards."

"Well," said the fat-neck, "you've got the evening in front of you to tell the whole story of the daring exploits of those young gentlemen and how they led poor little innocent Alex astray." Then there was the shoom of another like police siren passing this auto but going the other way.

"Is that for those bastards?" I said. "Are they being picked up by you bastards?"

"That," said fat-neck, "is an ambulance. Doubtless for your old lady victim, you ghastly wretched scoundrel."

"It was all their fault," I creeched, blinking my smarting glaz-zies. "The bastards will be peeting away in the Duke of New York. Pick them up blast you, you vonny sods." And then there was more smecking and another malenky tolchock, O my brothers, on my poor smarting rot. And then we arrived at the stinking rozz-shop and they helped me get out of the auto with kicks and pulls and they tolchocked me up the steps and I knew I was going to get nothing like fair play from these stinky grahzny bratchnies, Bog blast them.


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