Terry Pratchett

1 Vimes

Very interested indeed in rubber, so I heard, but it takes all sorts to make a world and it would be a funny old place if we were all the same, and especially if we were all like him.

… which was a chequerboard of black and white. He’d forgotten that outside the city, where the smogs, smokes and steams rendered the world into a thousand shades of grey, out in places like this there was black and white, and, if you were looking for a metaphor, there was one, right there.


The goblin turned it this way and that, inspecting it like a man thinking of buying a horse from somebody called Honest Harry.

Sam Vimes was certain that he did have the wrong idea and his brow wrinkled as he said, ‘I don’t know, Sybil, how does a bull go at a gate? Does it just stop and look puzzled?’

Carrot said, ‘You know how it is in a street fight, Cheery. Sometimes if things get hot and you know it’s you or them – that’s when you do the algebra.’

itself did not, at least not as badly as it used to, and some people were complaining about the loss of the famous Ankh-Morpork smell, rumoured to be so strong that it kept away illnesses and ailments of all sorts and, moreover, put hairs on your chest and did you good.

Billy made a face. ‘Too right! Granny calls me Of the Wind Regretfully Blown. What kind of name is that, I ask you? Who’s going to take you seriously with a name like that?

‘Oh aye, I ken my thermal drawers may not be sufficient, which is why the word “brandy” is about to enter this conversation. Trust me on this, captain. I reckon I can be back within twa days.’ ‘How many is that?’ said Angua. Wee Mad Arthur rolled his eyes. ‘Two, captain, for the likes o’ you.’


Well, I’ll tell you why. It’s because I’m too damn scared to tell Feeney that I’m too damn scared. Hah, the story of my life, too much of a damn coward to be a coward!

Stinky had miraculously disappeared, but when incredulous eyes are watching, as the venerable philosopher Ly Tin Weedle says, you have to do something or be considered, in the great scheme of things, a tit.

Almost absent-mindedly he reached down into the open toolbox and picked up a sledgehammer, handing it to Feeney. ‘There you go, lad. I know you’ve got your official firewood, but things might get up close and personal. Chalk it up to the dreadful algebra of necessity, and try not to hit me with it.’

The surge this time was bigger than ever, and Vimes banged his head on the cabin’s roof before coming down again in front of Stratford and kicking him smartly in the official police officer method and also the groin.

‘Oh aye, sir,’ said Wee Mad Arthur slyly, ‘but it was nae fair, I had them outnumbered. Och, and by the way in some of them sheds there was all kinds of like alchemy stuff. Didn’t ken what it was, but ye might find it o’ interest.’

‘Aye, I will sir, but as soon as I can I have to run an errand regarding Sergeant Colon, who is in a verra bad way indeed.’ He looked at Vimes’s blank expression and continued. ‘Did ye nae know? He got some goblin geegaw given tae him and it’s put some kind of fluence on him quite cruel, and he’s a-screaming and a-shouting and making oot like a goblin all day long

Remember a little boy? Little boy open book? And he see evil goblin, and I see nasty little boy! Good for us, little boy, that we were both right!’

Stratford would not use a bow. A bow was for expediency, but a killer … now a killer would want to be up close, where he could see. Stratford had killed the goblin girl and had gone on killing her long after she was dead. He was a boy who liked his fun. He would want Vimes to know who was killing him. Vimes, Vimes realized, knew killers too well for his own peace of mind.

as happy as a cat full of sixpences.