'You were having a go at me, don't deny it! just because I'm going through a bit of an emotional wossname, eh?'
'It was just a joke, Nobby. Just a joke.' Nobby peered under the narrow bed. 'Wow!' he said, all emotional wossnames forgotten. 'What is it? What is it?' said Colon. 'It looks like a complete run of Bows and Ammo! And...' Nobby pulled another stack of badly engraved magazines out into the light, 'here's Warrior of Fortune, look! And Practical Siege Weapons...' Colon leafed through page after page of very similarlooking people holding very similar weapons of personal destruction. 'You got to be a bit odd to sit around all day reading this kind of thing,' he said. 'Yeah,' said Nobby. 'Here, don't put that one back, that's last August's issue, I ain't got that one. Hang on, there's a box right at the back...' He wriggled out, towing a small box with him. It was locked, but the cheap metal gave way when he accidentally levered at the lid. Silver coins gleamed. Lots and lots of them. 'Whoops…' he muttered. 'We're in trouble now...'
'That's Klatchian money, that is!' said Colon. 'Sometimes people slip you one instead of a half–dollar in your change. Look, there's all curly writing on them!'
'We're in big trouble,' said Nobby. 'No, no, no, this is a Clue what we have found by patient detectoring,' said Sergeant Colon. 'And it's going to be a feather in our caps and no mistake when Mr Vimes hears about it!'
'How much do you reckon there is?'
'Got to be hundreds and hundreds of dollars' worth,' said Colon. 'And that's a lot of money to a Klatchian. You can probably live like a king for a year on a dollar, in Klatch.'
'It wasn't very patient detectoring,' said Nobby doubtfully. 'All I did was look under the bed.'
'Ah, but that's because you is trained,' said Colon. 'Your basic civilian wouldn't think of that, right? Ah, it all begins to make sense!'
'Does it? Why would the Klatchians give him money to shoot a Klatchian?' said Nobby. . Colon tapped the side of his nose. 'Politics,' he said. 'Ah, politics,' said Nobby. 'Ah, well, politics. I see. Politics. Right. So why?'
'Aha,' said Colon again, tapping the other side of his nose. 'Why're you picking your nose, sarge?'
'I'm tapping it,' said Colon severely. 'That's to show I'm in the know.'
'In the nose,' said Nobby cheerfully. 'It's just the sort of underhand cunning thing they'd do,' said Colon. 'Payin' us to kill them?' said Nobby.
'Ah, you see, some Klatchian nob gets topped here, and then they can send a snotty note saying, “You killed our big nob, you foreign nephews of dogs, this means war!” see? A perfect excuse.'
'Do you need an excuse to have a war?' said Nobby. 'I mean, who for? Can't you just say, “You got lots of cash and land but I've got a big sword so divvy up right now, chop chop?” That's what I'd do,' said Corporal Nobbs, military strategist. 'And I wouldn't even say that until after I'd attacked.'
'Ah, but that's 'cos you don't know about politics,' said Colon. 'You can't do that stuff any more. Mark my words, this case has got politics written all over it. That's why old Vimes put me on it, depend upon it. Politics. Young Carrot's all very well, but you need a hexperienced man of the world in these delicate political situations.'
'You've certainly got the nose–tapping just right,' said Nobby. 'I generally miss.' But he felt troubled, if not in his nose then in whatever small organ propelled his blood around his body. This didn't feel right. Nothing much in Nobby's life had ever felt right, so he knew very well how the feeling felt. He looked up at the bare walls and down at the rough floorboards. 'There's a bit of sand on the floor,' he said. 'Another Clue, then,' said Colon happily. 'A Klatchian has been here. Bugger all else but sand in Klatch. Still got some in his sandals.' Nobby opened the window. It gave on to a gently sloping roof. Someone could get through it easily and be away over the tiles and into the maze of chimneys. 'He could've gone in and out this way, sarge,' he volunteered. 'Good point, Nobby. Write that down. Evidence of conniving and sneaking around.' Nobby peered down. 'Here, there's glass outside, Fred...' Sergeant Colon joined him at the stricken window. One of the panes had been smashed. Outside, glass glittered on the tiles. 'That could be a clue, eh?' said Nobby, hopefully. 'It certainly is,' said Sergeant Colon. 'See the glass fell outside the window? Everyone knows you look at which way the glass fails. I reckon he was just testing his bow and it went off while it was loaded.'
'That's clever, sarge,' said Nobby. 'That's detectoring,' said Colon. 'It's no good just looking at things, Nobby. You got to think straight, too.'
'Cecil, sarge. '
'That's Frederick, Cecil. Come on, I think we've wrapped this up nicely. Old Vimes says he wants a report toot sweet.' Nobby looked out of the broken window. The roof abutted the end wall of a much larger warehouse. For a moment he found himself thinking bendy rather than straight, but he reasoned that his thinking was only a corporal's
thinking, and worth far less per thought than a sergeant's thinking, so he kept his private thoughts to himself. As they went downstairs Mrs Spent watched them suspiciously through a barely opened doorway at the far end of the hall, clearly ready to slam it shut at the first suggestion of any sexual magnetism. 'It's not as if I even know where to get a sexual magnet,' Nobby muttered. 'And she didn't even laugh.' ... Also, we went to the bow shops in the Street of Cunning Artificers and showed the iconograph to the man in Burleigh and Stronginthearm, who vouchsafed, that is him, e.g., he was referring to the Diseased... 'Oh, my...' Vimes's lips moved slightly as his gaze went back up the page. ... also in addition to the Klatchian money you could tell one of them had been there because of, e.g., the sand on the floor... 'He'd still got sand in his sandals?' murmured Vimes. 'Good grief.'
'Sam?' Vimes looked up from his reading. 'Your soup will be cold,' said Lady Sybil from the far end of the table. 'You've been holding that spoonful in the air for the last five minutes by the clock.'