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77

Fleeced

Janey felt a sense of empowerment. Im going to bring those sheep back to the club myself, she thought. Thats all there is to it.

From the backseat she instructed the cabdriver to change lanes several times.

Okay, lady, okay, the driver shouted as he snapped his fingers to the music on the radio.

On a downtown street that looked as if it could use serious rehabilitation, Janeys cab pulled up behind Daphnes. Janey threw a few bills at the driver and jumped out, just catching the door that Daphne had run through before it shut and locked. Daphne dashed up the staircase to the second floor.

She moves fast, Janey thought. But so can I. Janey ran up the steps after her and caught up to her on the landing.

Daphne! Janey yelled.

Daphne hurled herself around with fire in her eyes. What do you want, you little food grubber?

Ill choose to ignore that, Janey said politely. You know what Im here for. Dolly and Bah-Bah. Its time to bring them home.

My career will be ruined if they have to leave, Daphne insisted.

Well, I dont think my career is in such good shape at the moment either, Janey replied. Everyone in New York knows that if they die before they eat my food, Ill be back to take it. How do you think that feels?

Its your own fault for being lazy, Daphne snapped.

Once again, Ill turn the other cheek. But Im going in with you to get the sheep.

Daphne rang the bell, and an assistant let them in. Pumpkin was standing alone in the middle of the set, doing stretches and making guttural noises as she prepared for the next scene. Janey could see that Dolly and Bah-Bah were positioned under the hot lights. They looked as if theyd been combed and brushed and fluffed.

Youre back! Jacques cried to Daphne. And who is this with you?

Hello, sir! Janey said. Im from the Settlers Club, and Im here to get the sheep.

What?! Jacques demanded.

I couldnt talk them into it, Daphne apologized. Im sorry.

Jacques shook his head. Then get out! Both of you! Ruin my movie! Take them! Ill get new ones someplace else!

Are you firing me? Daphne asked.

I guess thats what you would call it.

As Daphne ran to grab the wardrobe shed brought down with her in the morning, Janey hurried over and grabbed Dolly. One of Dollys eyes popped out onto the floor. She quickly picked it up and stuck it back in, noticing that the other eye was also gone. She looked over at Bah-Bah and lifted up the wool off his face. He, too, was a one-eyed monster.

Hurry up! Jacques ordered. Get out! I cant stand the sight of you!

Janey began looking around on the floor for the missing eyes.

Move! Jacques cried.

Their eyes are missing, Janey explained. I have to find the two eyes!

You can get them another time. I have to make my movie.

The sense of empowerment Janey felt in the cab was firmly in place. Im not leaving until we find those eyes!

Help her find the eyes! Jacques screamed. In an instant, several assistants were on their hands and knees, searching the floor.

Pretty dusty down here, one of them muttered.

Im giving you thirty seconds, Jacques yelled. Time is money.

From the corner, one of the assistants cried, I found one! Under the heater!

And I found the other!

The two assistants came from different directions and handed the eyes to Janey.

GET OUT!

Janey stuffed the stones in her coat pocket and grabbed Dolly under the belly. She turned and called to Daphne. But she was gone. Could someone please help me carry this other one downstairs? Janey asked. Id be ever so grateful.

At least six assistants tripped over themselves trying to help. Janey was down the steps and out on the sidewalk in two minutes, Dolly and Bah-Bah next to her. Not a cab nor a car was in sight. Well, guys, Janey said as she reached in her purse for her cell phone. Ill have to call a car service. Janeys newfound sense of empowerment continued its streak. I have two very important passengers, she declared to the car service. Id like a limo. Make it a stretch!


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