"what are you shouting about?" ida moved up beside bessie and sally on the balcony outside the uuu office.
"there's wiilie and tex over there - on top of that building" said bessie."see them?"
"i see them. i see you're going to get them thrown off the top of the building, you keep screaming like that."
'i just want to be sure tex is taking care of willie, not let him sing that churchy stuff. last time i saw him he was still singing it, like he wasn't wise to the new dispensation."
ida looked out at tex and willie and their friend. "willie isn't singing, he's just playing for tex now . and you know tex isn't going to sing any hymns."
"no, he sings that old sporting house stuff that is even worse."
"so? nobody left in the world understands it anyway."
nancy had moved up on the rail on ida's left. she started to laugh.
"what are you laughing at?" ida asked her.
'i'm laughing at you. you think you're going to get famous and get on shows with that old-fashioned garbage you sing?" nancy laughed again. "the shows about dinosaurs and three thousand pound grizzly bears, those are the only shows you'll get on."
"i'm not going to answer that," said ida. "i disdain you."
"you use some pretty big words. what do you do, write them down on that rag you wear on your head?"
'my head doesn't look like i chew dynamite for bubble gum. what are you supposed to be looking like, anyway?"
"men like it."
'how would you know?"
"i saw it on the news."
"oh, you saw it in the news!"
"i thought you were going to disdain her," bessie butted in. "so disdain her."
nancy's friend beth came over to the rail. "don't fight with her," she told nancy. "you'll get us all arrested and thrown on the chain gangs."
"chain gangs!" ida scoffed.
"sure," said beth, "everybody who gets arrested breaks rocks on the chain gangs out on jupiter and neptune and stuff. that's what i heard."
"there are no rocks on jupiter or neptune, " said edna. "they are all gas."
"thank you, edna," bessie leaned over to her.
"they're not the only thing that's all gas," ida said to nancy.
sally was pinned into the corner of the balcony by all of them. she looked out over the roofs. they were now empty.
lulu and loulou had stayed by themselves at the other end of the balcony. now they turned and went inside, and the others, noticing this, followed them.
"they don't need any humans to break any rocks", ida told beth, continuing the discussion as they were getting back in their seats. "you think they don't have machines for that?"
"do they need humans to do this stuff?" nancy asked loudly, as she started checking a serial number.
elizabeth looked up and they all fell silent and plugged away quietly until lunch break.
sally usually brought a sandwich and ate it her terminal but since the robot had driven her driven her straight to the office she could either get something from the machines in the lunch room on the thirty-third floor or do without. she put her head on the table in front of her terminal and started to take a nap.
chaos and confusion reigned in the campsite on the coast of atlantis. the guard with the komodo dragon head had no sooner resumed his narrative of the tenth question when a fleet of gleaming silver vehicles in the form of pterodactyls had roared down from the sky. chimpanzee soldiers in red uniforms and orangutan soldiers in gray uniforms piled out of them brandishing swords and pikes. most of those assembled in the clearing fled into the bush but were quickly apprehended by the soldiers. it became apparent that the main target of the invaders was not any living creatures but the three giant abaci.
ropes and sleds were taken from the vehicles and the soldiers, under the animated direction of the emperor william i, quickly hauled them on board three of the larger vehicles. poor mr alfred russel wallace was beside himself and alternately wept like a child and thundered like a sergeant of dragoons. all those who had fled and been recaptured - mr wallace, vanslyperken, ida, the tiger-headed guard and the squid-headed guard, were hustled aboard the vehicles, which roared back into the sky, leaving only sally, the komodo dragon headed guard, and vanslyperken's little sabertoothed dog. bessie had fled but not been caught.
when the last vehicle had disappeared, the komodo headed guard turned into a handsome young prince in a gold trimmed blue uniform. the little dog then turned into an even handsomer young prince in a silver trimmed red uniform.
"well, prince akhnaton," the young prince in blue addressed the prince in red. "we meet again."
and none too soon, prince pythagoras my dear brother," the prince in red replied. "shall we awandering go?"
they headed down the path away from the beach, in what sally had assumed was the direction of the kitchen.
"hey," sally called after them, "aren't you going the wrong way?"
they stopped. "did you hear something, brother?" prince pythagoras asked.
prince akhnaton turned and looked at sally without speaking.
"shouldn't we go back toward the beach and tell lord beaconsfield and lord salisbury?" asked sally.
"tell them what, my dear young lady" asked prince pythagoras.
"but what happened? who can say?" prince akhnaton laughed at this response from his friend.
"what about the tenth question? aren't you going to finish it?"
prince pythagoras looked down at sally. "do you really care about the tenth question?"
"an excellent answer. well then, we bid you farewell." they headed back down the path.
sally turned and walked up the path back toward the beach. there was no sign of life. she began to wonder if she should turn back toward the kitchen, when she rounded a bend and ran into the empress maria theresa, carrying a basket like mother goose, and mr gladstone, who greeted her as an old friend.
"my dear young lady, how nice of you to come to meet us." he reached into the empress' basket and took out a piece of paper. he began reading the tenth question, picking up where the guard had left off.
"it has been discovered that the welsh schoolteacher miss diana jones is actually a dummy , apparently smuggled aboard the train - "
sally noticed that the empress mara theresa had turned into the big bad wolf. the brush on the right side of the road parted and bessie emerged, carrying a sandwich.
"where did you get that?" sally asked.
mr gladstone paused in his reading. he and the big bad wolf both looked at bessie's sandwich.
"indeed," mr gladstone rumbled. "where did you get that?"
sally woke up. she sat up. bessie and ida were looking at her. bessie had half of a sprout sandwich in her hand.
" you want this, champ?" she asked.