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[The Agnes Challenge ]

[A Visit ]

Giovanni and Agnes

Giovanni Gotti had managed to convince Agnes Crumplebottom to travel to China with him. Their intention was to look for his father's remains, and maybe, thought Giovanni, pick up some treasure while they were there. (There were always goods needing to be transported from China to Bridgeport, and this was one of his father's lines of business that Giovanni hoped to make his own).

His brother Benjamino was totally entranced by his new lady-love, Morrigan Hemlock, and refused to go anywhere. Nor was he convinced Giovanni's plan would work.

Conveniently, Agnes had plenty of money and no objection at all to financing the trip to China, so long as she could go along too. "I've always wanted to travel," she said. "Eric and I didn't get very far. But I do need to visit a hairdresser first. And it'll be an excuse to buy some sensible travelling clothes. When I was with Eric, he wanted me to wear gowns all the time. Not the most practical of styles."

There was an interesting mix of folk staying at the base camp, including entomologists and computer experts, among others.

Giovanni asked around in Shang Simla for where his father's remains might have been put. Wang had a little information for him. Paparazzi were everywhere. But finally he was told to look in the catacombs at the Chinese Cemetery, in what they called The Land of the Ancestors.

He also discovered a gigantic space rock and a book called Phillippe's Monument. But the most important thing was that he retrieved his father's remains. Just ashes, of course, which the grimhad very tidily swept up and put in his urn.

Meanwhile Agnes went to visit the Academy of Martial Arts, and relaxed in the base camp, reading quite a bit. Giovanni discovered that he enjoyed fishing.

When they went home, Giovanni was pleased to ring his brother and report that he had their father's ashes.

Very soon after they arrived home, Agnes discovered she was pregnant. "One night in a tent did this?" She was not sorry, but rather delighed to know that new life was beginning.

Many women go a little - well, dotty - when pregnant. Agnes was no exception. She developed a penchant for hunting bugs - fireflies? in the cemetery.

Giovanni was working long hours, or at least was out a very long time. He was spending a great deal of time at the gym in fact, as he had always done. The novelty of Agnes had already worn off. He had got what he wanted, and was not interested in any children she might have. And he was spending a lot of time at the Science Lab as well, gleaning instructions for the resurrection of his father.

Agnes went into labour suddenly one night, while he was at work.

Agnes had the baby alone at home, never having time to get to the hospital.

[For some reason she started asking for a bicycle during the third stage of labour.]

She called the little one Cor, and his randomly allocated traits are Excitable and Insane.

Giovanni was not very interested in the baby at all. But he came home with the instructions from his friends at the Science lab, and a little vial of some special material. He followed the instructions to the letter. For a moment, nothing seemed to happen.

terribly disappointed, he started to cry. "Papa, we tried, we tried so hard."

There was a small "pop" and his father appeared suddenly behind him, fully corporeal, though looking very thin.

"Mio figlio!"

"Papa! But you look so thin. Are you all right?"

"Hey, you try being dead for a while. Ain't no Greasy Joe's wagons in Hell. You wouldn't believe what the food there is made from."

"Fine baby you've got there, my son. Fond of the mother?"

"She's a mark - I had to use her to get your urn back from China."

"Son, there is something to be said for a woman who makes healthy babies for the Family. Think hard before you let her go."

"But Papa, she wants to resurrect her husband as well."

"Ohh.... That makes a big difference. Son, would you go and get me the Vamprocillin-C, from the Science Lab please. I don't like this half-life, I want to be back in real life. I want it ALL."

"Oh and Papa I need to tell you - Aria has remarried."

Don Renzella shrugged. "Che sera, sera. She was lovely, but there are many more ladies out there. I will stay away from the vampires now though."

Giovanni went to get the cure for his father, who waited indoors, resting on the daybed in Cor's nursery. Giovanni dropped in the medicine and headed out to work, promising to telephone afterwards to see what his father wanted to do.

Meanwhile, Agnes, following the printed sheet of instructions that Giovanni had left near the tombstones, had managed to resurrect Eric.

"Funny, I hadn't remembered you as being so fat. Welcome back, my darling!"

Eric wasn't amused, but he came into the house.

Don Renzella took the medicine and changed back.

A rather uncomfortable process which seems to involve expelling a lot of bats.

Meanwhile Agnes was trying to kiss Eric, who wasn't too keen.

He naturally wanted to know who Giovanni and Don Renzella were. "This is his baby? When did you have time to have a baby?"

"Eric - you were - DEAD. For a long time. And Giovanni - well, it didn't mean anything. Not anything at all. He helped me to get you back! And isn't Cor lovely? He is OUR baby now!"

Eric was not sure. "I don't think he is my baby. He's the baby of that foreign musclehead. And what about all your money? They have swindled you!"

"Eric - Darling Eric. I don't care. I have you back. That is worth everything I had, and everything I went through, to have you back."

Eric stormed out. "I don't want to be here. I was happy where I was. I don't want to live with you and be POOR."

Don Renzella heard the baby crying and ran back upstairs, past Agnes and into the little nursery, and picked Cor up. Cor laughed up at him.

"Mio nipote, mio caro nipote."

Agnes was none too happy, "How do you know he's your grandson? And what has it to do with you anyway?"

But Don Renzella turned to her and explained, "I do not have to have been dead to know this. My son is a very attractive young man, better looking than your pudding of a husband, anyway. Who was also as dead as I was and could not possibly have been the father. We will leave you to your connubial bliss, but never forget that this little one, Cor? that was his name? never forget that Cor is MY grandson. And when you tire of your Darling Eric, come looking for Giovanni. He MIGHT be available. You may keep the house, such as it is. My grandson will at least have a roof over his head."

He handed her the baby and left.

Agnes and Eric

August 14, 2012