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I was like dazed, O my brothers, and could not viddy very clear, but I was sure I had met these millicents some mesto before. The one who had hold of me, going: "There there there," just by the front door of the Public Biblio, him I did not know at all, but it seemed to me he was like very young to be a rozz. But the other two had backs that I was sure I had viddied before. They were lashing into these starry old vecks with great bolshy glee and joy, swishing away with malenky whips, creeching: "There, you naughty boys. That should teach you to stop rioting and breaking the State's Peace, you wicked villains, you." So they drove these panting and wheezing and near dying starry avengers back into the reading-room, then they turned round, smecking with the fun they'd had, to viddy me. The older one of the two said: "Well well well well well well well. If it isn't little Alex. Very long time no viddy, droog. How goes?" I was like dazed, the uniform and the shlem or helmet making it hard to viddy who this was, though litso and goloss were very familiar. Then I looked at the other one, and about him, with his grinning bezoomny litso, there was no doubt. Then, all numb and growing number, I looked back at the well well welling one. This one was then fatty old Billyboy, my old enemy. The other was, of course, Dim, who had used to be my droog and also the enemy of stinking fatty goaty Billyboy, but was now a millicent with uniform and shlem and whip to keep order. I said: "Oh no."

"Surprise, eh?" And old Dim came out with the old guff I remembered so horrorshow: "Huh huh huh."

"It's impossible," I said. "It can't be so. I don't believe it."

"Evidence of the old glazzies," grinned Billyboy. "Nothing up our sleeves. No magic, droog. A job for two who are now of job-age. The police."

"You're too young," I said. "Much too young. They don't make rozzes of malchicks of your age."

"Was young," went old millicent Dim. I could not get over it, brothers, I really could not. "That's what we was, young droogie. And you it was that was always the youngest. And here now we are."

"I still can't believe it," I said. Then Billyboy, rozz Billyboy that I couldn't get over, said to this young millicent that was like holding on to me and that I did not know: "More good would be done, I think, Rex, if we doled out a bit of the old summary. Boys will be boys, as always was. No need to go through the old station routine. This one here has been up to his old tricks, as we can well remember though you, of course, can't. He has been attacking the aged and defenceless, and they have properly been retaliating. But we must have our say in the State's name."

"What is all this?" I said, not able hardly to believe my ookos. "It was them that went for me, brothers. You're not on their side and can't be. You can't be, Dim. It was a veck we fillied with once in the old days trying to get his own malenky bit of revenge after all this long time."

"Long time is right," said Dim. "I don't remember them days too horrorshow. Don't call me Dim no more, either. Officer call me."

"Enough is remembered, though," Billyboy kept nodding. He was not so fatty as he had been. "Naughty little malchicks handy with cut-throat britvas – these must be kept under." And they took me in a real strong grip and like walked me out of the Biblio. There was a millicent patrol-car waiting outside, and this veck they called Rex was the driver. They like tol-chocked me into the back of this auto, and I couldn't help feeling it was all really like a joke, and that Dim anyway would pull his shlem off his gulliver and go haw haw haw. But he didn't. I said, trying to fight the strack inside me: "And old Pete, what happened to old Pete? It was sad about Georgie," I said. "I slooshied all about that."

"Pete, oh yes, Pete," said Dim. "I seem to remember like the name." I could viddy we were driving out of town. I said: "Where are we supposed to be going?"

Billyboy turned round from the front to say: "It's light still. A little drive into the country, all winter-bare but lonely and lovely. It is not right, not always, for lewdies in the town to viddy too much of our summary punishments. Streets must be kept clean in more than one way." And he turned to the front again.

"Come," I said. "I just don't get this at all. The old days are dead and gone days. For what I did in the past I have been punished. I have been cured."

"That was read out to us," said Dim. "The Super read all that out to us. He said it was a very good way."

"Read to you," I said, a malenky bit nasty. "You still too dim to read for yourself, O brother?"

"Ah, no," said Dim, very like gentle and like regretful. "Not to speak like that. Not no more, droogie." And he launched a bolshy tolchock right on my cluve, so that all red red nose-krovvy started to drip drip drip.

"There was never any trust," I said, bitter, wiping off the krovvy with my rooker. "I was always on my oddy knocky."

"This will do," said Billyboy. We were now in the country and it was all bare trees and a few odd distant like twitters, and in the distance there was some like farm machine making a whirring shoom. It was getting all dusk now, this being the height of winter. There were no lewdies about, nor no animals. There was just the four. "Get out, Alex boy," said Dim. "Just a malenky bit of summary." All through what they did this driver veck just sat at the wheel of the auto, smoking a cancer, reading a malenky bit of a book. He had the light on in the auto to viddy by. He took no notice of what Billyboy and Dim did to your Humble Narrator. I will not go into what they did, but it was all like panting and thudding against this like background of whirring farm engines and the twittwittwittering in the bare or nagoy branches. You could viddy a bit of smoky breath in the auto light, this driver turning the pages over quite calm. And they were on to me all the time, O my brothers. Then Billyboy or Dim, I couldn't say which one, said: "About enough, droogie. I should think, shouldn't you?" Then they gave me one final tolchock on the litso each and I fell over and just laid there on the grass. It was cold but I was not feeling the cold. Then they dusted their rookers and put back on their shlems and tunics which they had taken off, and then they got back into the auto. "Be viddying you some more sometime, Alex," said Billyboy, and Dim just gave one of his old clowny guffs. The driver finished the page he was reading and put his book away, then he started the auto and they were off townwards, my ex-droog and ex-enemy waving. But I just laid there, fagged and shagged.

After a bit I was hurting bad, and then the rain started, all icy. I could viddy no lewdies in sight, nor no lights of houses. Where was I to go, who had no home and not much cutter in my carmans? I cried for myself boo hoo hoo. Then I got up and started walking.

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