Chapter 2: Redo Fphen, Scriptmistress
The bell in the city watch tower began to toll seven when Redo Fphen took her place, laying before her an array of pinned pages. She took a drink from a large mug with the words Read It, Edit & Forget It in bold red script on both sides, then took out her Smith&Wesson™ Bolt Action Quill and dropped in a fresh ink cartridge.
The noise of the bolt sliding home was masked by the sounds of people dropping things on the table and sliding back chairs, all in hurry to be in their places before the seventh ring. No one but no one wanted to be late for the morning editorial meeting.
As the last bell rang, a straggler hurried into the room and quickly closed the door.
Redo caught the panic in Shylock’s eyes but dismissed him with a shake of the head. He nodded, slipped under the table and sat himself upon the dunce stool that sat in the eye-of-the-round table and quickly prepared to record the minutes of the meeting.
It was then that the Scriptmistress noted the absence of four members of the editorial team. She raised her eyes in query?
“Miss Muffet is in a breakfast meeting with the queen. Her Royal Majesty wanted to discuss fashion,” offered Shylock.
“And Missy thinks it might lead to the missing royal treasury funds?”
She pointed to a pair of vacant seats.
“Your lead investigators, Jack & Jill, are up the hill at the pulp-fiction mill. The Arsonist struck again early this morning,” noted Shylock.
Reed Gently, the literary correspondent looked up from his notes. “Seems to me that whoever it is deserves a citizenship award.”
Redo glared at him but said nothing. She’d already heard from the royal arson inquisitor, who was blaming the affair on a rogue satirist. She knew who he meant but wasn’t convinced.
Besides, she was silent partner in the mill and had recently used their press room for over-run production on a current best seller, an expose about the royal exchequer, who had been caught with his pants down one too many times.
Perhaps, she decided, Miss Muffet is on the right trail after all.
Instead, she pointed to the other empty seat. “I suppose I need not ask?”
“Where in the world is Carmen SanDiego?,” dutifully sing-songed those in the room.
“We haven’t a clue, Scriptmistress,” replied Waldo. For once, the business editor was where he was supposed to be.
No, you don’t she thought as she smiled at the artful dodger, sitting quietly in the easy chair in the corner behind the large potted fern, filing her nails.
“So, what do we have for todays headline?
Shylock handed across a sheet of folded foolscap that had been brought in my a messenger just a few moments before and handed it across to her.
Redo looked at it and smiled. “Yes, it’s a bad yolk, but it’ll do.”
And so it followed that later that afternoon the headline of the days newspaper read, Humpty Gets Dumped: Royal Exchequer Busted!