R. A. Lafferty
“Leptophlebo” is from two roots that mean “slender” and “vein”: but as you will see in a moment, Mr. Lafferty is in his richest vein here.
—and turned into Leptophlebo Street (it’s always a scruffy sort of delight to come into it). It was a minor discovery and a sudden entrance, like going through a small and florid door into a whole new world, a world of only one street.
The chattering of the monkeys was what struck him first, and then the chattering of the people in a kindred tone, and then the absolute cleanliness of the place, and the pleasant bouquets of selected and superior smells. Close on that was a whole dazzle of details that would take days to assimilate.
The poverty of the street struck him last of all, and then it seemed a more pleasant poverty with some other name. It was picked-clean poverty, as if every speck of dust had been hand-gathered from between the cobblestones, as if it were as valuable as lepto pepper or gold.
Canute Freeboard, adventurous investor and freebooter-at-large, had come to Leptophlebo Street for what money could be found there; but the street seemed bare of value. He had come looking for a man named Hiram Poorlode. Canute needed money, and that was the year that money was very tight. There were those who said that money might be got in Leptophlebo Street, but they all laughed when they said it.
“Could you tell me where I might find a man named Hiram Poorlode?” Canute asked a friendly-looking young fellow there.
“Kmee-fee-eee-eee-eee,” the young fellow said, and Canute saw that a mistake had been made. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I hadn’t noticed that you were a monkey.”
The monkey nodded as if to say that it was quite all right, and he motioned for Canute to come along with him. They stopped in front of a man who was sitting cross-legged on the stones of the street. The man had a sign, “Nuts, Wholesale and Retail”: he had a pandanus leaf in front of him, and on the leaf there were seven filbert nuts and two almonds. The monkey pointed the man out to Canute and Canute to the man and he said, “Kmee-fee-eee-eee-eee.” Then he skittered away.
“Yes, I am Hiram Poorlode,” the nut man said. “Thank you, Hoxie.” He spoke the latter to the skittering monkey.
“Get your clothes rewoven, sir. Get your clothes rewoven,” a young boy chanted at Canute. “My father reweaves clothes free. Turn those baggy clothes into trim fit real fast.”
“My clothes aren’t baggy,” Canute said.
“Boy, they sure will be baggy in a little while,” the boy said. “Better get it done now.”
“Get your teeth cleaned, sir!” another young boy chanted at Canute. “My father cleans teeth excellent free.”
“Is he your son?” Canute asked the street-sitting nut merchant Hiram Poorlode.
“Oh, no. This one is Marquis Shortribs,” Hiram introduced. “His father is Royal Shortribs who is a tycoon in teeth. And I am Hiram Poorlode, nut merchant, investor, moneylender. Sit down on the cobbles, sir, and talk to me. You are the only customer in my shop at the moment, so I can give you my full time.”
“I am Canute Freeboard, a stranger in this country and in this town. I expressed strong interest in obtaining investment money. The man to whom I had introduction must have been a humorist and he played a lopsided joke on me. Ah, how is the nut business?”
“It hasn’t been a bad morning,” Hiram said. “I received twelve filbert nuts on consignment this morning and I have already sold five of them. With my markup, this gives me enough equity in filberts that I can eat one myself and still have enough cash on hand to cover those sold. This is known as eating free, and it is the first rule of economic independence. As to the almond nuts, I own them outright. I started the day with five of them and I have sold three for cash. This is the best sales record that I can remember, up to this time of day, for almonds. I also own the pandanus leaf. That being so, I am almost insulated against misfortune. If I sell nothing for the rest of the day it will still not be a complete catastrophe.”
“Haircut, sir? Haircut, sir?” a small boy cried in set chant. “My father does supreme haircutting and head grooming free.”
“No, I don’t believe so, boy,” Canute mumbled. “Is he your son, Mr. Poorlode?”
“Oh, no. This is Crispin Halfgram, the son of Claude Halfgram, the biggest man in hair and heads in Leptophlebo Street. Some of the finest garments here are woven by his wife Rita from the hair that Claude collects in his studio. You are looking for investment money? I am the most promiscuous moneylender in Leptophlebo Street. How much do you need?”
Hiram Poorlode, as did all the skinny people of Leptophlebo Street, wore a very large, flat, wide-brimmed hat that was crawling all over with rambling greenery. Canute now saw that what Hiram really wore on top of his head was a growing vegetable and fruit and grain garden. And all those garden-hats were tilted to catch all the sun possible.
“I’m afraid that we’re not thinking on the same scale,” Canute said dourly. “I need eighty-five thousand dollars for an opportune deal, such a deal as will come only once in my life. I need the sum at no more than seven percent interest and I need it today. Yes, my acquaintance in this city must be a humorist.”
“Here are the shoes back again, Mr. Poorlode,” a small boy said, and he set a good-looking pair of smooth shoes down beside Hiram. “He will not need them again for two hours, but he believes that Mr. Shortribs may want them before that.”
“Thank you, Piet,” Hiram said, and the boy skipped off. “That is Piet,” Hiram told Canute, “the son of Jan Thingruel who gathers more astatic grain out of cracks than does anyone else on the street. We have but one pair of shoes here, and whatever person goes to make a prestigious visit will wear the shoes. They fit all persons in the street, since Claude Halfgram had the finial joints of four of his toes removed last year. They are good shoes and we take excellent care of them. I am shoe custodian this week.” Hiram Poorlode lifted up one of the flagstones of the street and put the shoes down into a shoehole that was underneath it.
“I have the money by me now,” Hiram said then. “Nothing is easier than eighty-five thousand dollars in gold. And, with me, a man’s face is his security. Give me half an hour to consider you, for I am a cautious man. Spend the time pleasantly: visit and observe our rather odd Leptophlebo Street here. Enjoy yourself, sir, and be assured that your case is under active consideration. I can tell a lot about a man by watching how he reacts to Leptophlebo Street.”
“All right,” Canute said. “I’d given up hope of raising the money anyhow. Money is tight this season. Ah, but it was a sweet, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity! Yes, it’s an odd little street here. How much do you sell the filberts for?”
“Three for a mill. Oh, it’s the standard coin of the street. One tenth of a cent.”
* * * *
One might as well enjoy the drollery. Really, Canute had never seen anything quite like Leptophlebo Street; never such skinny monkeys or such skinny people. There were mysteries about the relationship of the monkeys and the people. The monkeys couldn’t talk properly. There’s an old saying that whenever monkeys do talk there’s some monkey business going on. Well, there was plenty of it going on here, but all that the monkeys could say was “Kmee-fee-eee-eee-eee.” The monkeys wrote notes on little pieces of paper and gave them to the merchants of the street. They brought in fruit and they traded it or sold it. From the merchants they bought a few nuts that were out of season in the woods, bought them for clay coins or in trade for their in-season fruits or nuts. The people asked the monkeys about their families and about the situation in the woods, and the monkeys wrote the answers on little pieces of paper.
“The monkeys are so smart,” Canute said, “that it seems as if they could talk. As long as you are doing business with them anyhow, you could teach them speech.”
“People of the monkey caste are not allowed to talk,” Effie Poorlode said. (She was the wife of Hiram the nut merchant.) “Everyone has his niche in the world, and the monkeys don’t have talking niches. And it would be no profit to us to teach them speech. We have plenty of time to wait for them to write out their notes, and we do make a good profit on the paper that they write them on.”
The people of Leptophlebo Street were the skinniest folks that Canute had ever seen. How the ribs stood out on them! Two ribby young ladies were in a booth down the street.
“What? Do you sell the paper to the monkeys?” Canute asked Effie Poorlode.
“Get your teeth cleaned free, sir!” the boy Marquis Shortribs was soliciting a passer-by. “My father does excellent tooth cleaning free.” But the passer-by continued on.
“If the tooth cleaning is free, and if there are no customers anyhow, then where is the profit?” Canute asked.
“Oh, there will always be customers,” Effie told him. “Suppose that ten thousand persons go by and do not avail themselves of this service. But then the very next person might stop at the Shortribs’ booth, and you can see how that would make all the waiting and solicitation worthwhile. As to your question, no, we don’t sell the pieces of paper to the monkeys. The monkeys make the paper in the woods, and they make the ink too. They write their notes on the paper and they give them to us. You can see that the profit will be enormous. If we get only eight or ten of these little pieces of paper a day, look how they will count up. We dissolve the ink off the paper, and when we have a thousand pounds of the ink we can sell it to the ink bottlers or pen makers of the city.”
“How long will it take to accumulate a thousand pounds?” Canute asked.
“Oh, it would probably take us a thousand years, but what’s lime so long as we keep busy? And we find all sorts of uses for the little pieces of paper. I tell you that there is money in paper; (here is money in everything.”
“How much money is there in everything, Mrs. Poorlode?” Canute questioned.
“Yesterday my husband and I cleared one cent and three mills from all our businesses,” Effie answered. “And we also achieved equities in three other mills. This is better than most of our days, but all our days are good. Oh, the wealth does accumulate!”
Mrs. Poorlode was like the valiant woman in scripture as she Mood proud and skinny, with her garden on top of her head and with her hands busy leaching nutshells in a bowl.
“This processes the nutshells for industrial use,” she said, “and we have the Nutshell Bitter Tea left over to drink. It makes the bones glossy. My husband gives a rebate to every purchaser of one of our nuts if he returns the shell after he has eaten the meat out of it. We are blessed to live on a street that has so many business opportunities.”
There was something very interesting about the gaunt ribcage of Effie Poorlode.
“Yes,” she said, reading the thoughts of Canute Freeboard, “the townsmen lust after our ribs and after our ossuary generally. There is nothing wrapped up about us. There are some persons in the town with so much flesh grown onto their bones that their fundamental persons and passions are buried away and their real impact is never felt. Luckily that is not so with the people of Leptophlebo Street.”
“How is the street kept so clean and swept?” Canute asked.
“Brooms with both astatic and static bristles are the secret,” Effie told him. “Organic dust clings to the static bristles, and the nonorganic dust is swept clean into gathering vessels by the astatic bristles. Then we pass the brushes over degaussing jets that release the organic particles, and we make soup from them. And the nonorganic dust is separated into flammable and inflammable piles.”
“They mean the same thing,” Canute said.
“Not on Leptophlebo Street they don’t,” Effie insisted. “So we make briquettes to burn as fuel out of the one sort. And we make bricks and flagstones and face stones for buildings out of the other sort. So we have our soup and our fuel and our bricks, and we keep the street clean all the time.”
A medium-sized bird, probably a grackle, came down onto the rim of the garden-containing hat that Effie carried balanced on her head. And the bird was stuck fast. Canute saw that the edge of the hat was bird-limed to catch anything that landed there.
“I will wait,” Effie said. “The pot wants a bird, but the pot must wait also. These grackle birds attract one another for a while. This is not one of our own grackles that I know; it’s one of the newly arrived grackles from the countryside. They will not be wary of one bird stuck there, nor of two birds stuck. They will not be wary of less than three stuck birds. I will be patient and I will have three grackles for food and for byproducts. Will you not stay with us this evening and have a look at our night life on Leptophlebo Street?”
“I don’t know what I will do,” Canute said. “I haven’t comprehended it all yet.”
“Lose weight free in seven-minute surgery, sir,” a small boy banted. “My father does good free work. He is one good loser.”
“No, not right now, boy,” Canute said.
“Have your appendix out, sir? Have your appendix out?” Another small boy was putting the shill on. “My father performs faithful appendectomies free.”
“No, not right now,” Canute said.
“This boy is Pat Thingruel, the brother of Piet and the son of Jan Thingruel,” Effie told Canute. “The father is as stylish a free appendectomist as you will find anywhere.”
“I do not understand how all the people of Leptophlebo Street can work for free,” Canute said. “How do they profit by it?”
A second curious grackle bird came down and got itself squawkishly stuck in the bird lime of the edging of Effie’s garden-hat.
“Oh, there’s lots of profit!” Effie exclaimed. “A vermiform appendix, especially when inflamed, is a veritable storehouse of richness. Master microchemists like ourselves can manufacture all sorts of useful things from such rich material. And the teeth that Royal Shortribs cleans, do you realize just how superorganic are the deposits taken from teeth? Do you know how many things can be woven and fabricated from the hair that Claude Halfgram cuts? Garments, rugs, tents, seines, modish gowns for the modish ladies in the town. Almost solid profit. And the head grooming that he does, do you know that there are some very lively products to be had from that? Our greatest industry, though, is the night soil that we gather from the cooperative people of the town. And I will tell you something else if you will promise not to tell the monkeys.”
“No, I won’t breathe a word of your secret to the monkeys,” Canute promised.
“We pay the monkeys only half as much per equal weight for their night soil as we pay the people in the town. And the monkeys bring theirs to us; we don’t have to go and get it. Ah, there is profit everywhere you look, in the stones, in the air, in the very rain. What a money harvest we do have! Mills and mills and cents and cents, and at the end of a week we may even have another nickel for our hard work.”
“It’s a wonder you don’t gather belly-button fuzz and process it for profit,” Canute laughed.
“Of course we do,” Effie cried. “We gather more than a pound a year of it from the people of the town, and this in spite of the fact that many of the burghers will not cooperate with us and say that the whole thing is silly. But there are a few friendly people in town who wear wool. The woollies are the best for the fuzz. And it can be made into the softest of all sheens. Oh, do stay over and have a look at our night life tonight, Mr. Freeboard! Really, it’s wonderful the times that we do have.”
A third grackle came and stuck itself in the bird lime on Effie’s head-garden. And then was heard “Sorrow in Three Voices by Grackles”: but only those three would be stuck there. Others would veer away from the three birds in trouble.
But a fourth grackle did come, a bird carrying a long piece of broken looking-glass in its beak. It was too wise to get caught in the bird lime, but it was watched with avid eyes. Sometime it would drop that broken piece of silvered glass, and some person would rush in and catch it before it hit the ground. There’s profit to be had from old mirror glass.
A man with affluent gestures arrived at Hiram Poorlode’s booth in a sudden hurry. He had the sharp, lean, craggy face of a bird of prey. He was taut and of a restless thinness in every part. Why, he was none other than the Lean Eagle from Lean Eagle Street!
“Hiram, I’m caught short,” said that opulent man who wore diamonds on every finger. “I have to cover. I’m overextended. It will be only for a few days. I need two and a quarter million dollars and I need it now. I have my dray here.”
But the Lean Eagle was the highest-flying and the most rapacious moneyman ever. Why should he come to Leptophlebo Street to borrow?
“With me, a man’s face is his security,” Hiram Poorlode said, “and I know your face, Mr. Schlemel kurz Karof. A man of such a name and reputation is security itself.”
Hiram removed three of the largest flagstones from the street on which he had been sitting. He passed the heavy bars of gold up to the nine lackeys who served Mr. Schlemel kurz Karof. It took a fair number of gold bars to amount to two and one-quarter million dollars.
“There has to be an explanation to this!” Canute Freeboard howled out loud. “Oh, but by all the equivocating things that be, there can’t be any explanation to it!”
When the lackeys had loaded all the gold bars onto the dray, Mr. Schlemel kurz Karof signed a note and gave it to Hiram Poorlode. Then that opulent man went away with his dray and his lackeys, and Hiram Poorlode replaced the three flagstones in the street.
Canute Freeboard hummed a little tune to himself. There were some notes missing from that tune. “How long did it take you and your husband, at a nickel a week, to get to a position where you could make instant loans of two and a quarter million dollars and still have lots more gold glinting in your gold-hole under the street?” Canute asked Effie.
“It sure did take a long time,” she said. “There just aren’t any shortcuts.” Effie took from her husband the note that Schlemel kurz Karof, the Lean Eagle, had given him. She dissolved the ink oil it and put it with the ink accumulation. And she put the de-inked paper with the paper accumulation.
“How will you collect, when the writing is dissolved off the note for the ink?” Canute asked Hiram.
“Ah, a man’s face is his security to me,” Hiram said. “He will pay me back. And if he does not, what is the difference? In time I will accumulate that amount again, and I have lots of time.”
* * * *
“Hey, is the handsome man going to stay around for the night life this evening?” two pretty young skinny ladies asked. “We sure do have a lot of fun at night-life fiesta.”
“These nice young ladies are Regina and Maharana Short-ribs,” Effie Poorlode introduced them. “I believe that a good-looking young man like you could have a lot of fun just skylarking with them at night life, Canute.”
“You know what we do for the climax of a night-life go-it-all?” Maharana asked. Oh, the skin and bones of that young girl! They’d send shivers of delight through anyone.
But sometimes one must put second things first.
* * * *
“Ah, about that loan,” Canute said to Hiram. “Oh, by the swept cobbles of Leptophlebo Street, there has got to be an explanation to this! About that loan, Mr. Poorlode?”
“Oh, certainly,” Hiram said. “I’ve been observing you, and I now have complete confidence in you. I’ll lend you the money. Eighty-five thousand dollars, was it not? Do you want it in gold or in certified cash warrants?”
“In gold, in gold. Oh, what a beautiful, hardscrabble, skinny street this is!” Canute rejoiced. “How have you done it? How have you accumulated millions of dollars in gold on a nickel a week?”
“In bad weeks we don’t make near that much,” Effie Poorlode said.
“Ah, but where does the gold come from?” Canute pursued the matter.
“Oh, there’s several legends about the origin of the gold,” Hiram told him. “One story is that it’s rabbit gold and that it reproduces itself, that it all comes from two nuggets that got together under the flagstones.”
“But there is raw nugget gold there. There is bar gold and ingot gold. And there is coined gold of various coinages,” Canute protested. Hiram had already removed the stones that covered the gold in the street.
“Yes,” Hiram agreed, “several pairs of different forms of rabbit gold would be required, wouldn’t they? Then there’s the story that it’s all monkey gold. The monkeys find it and refine it in the woods. Then they give it to us noble burghers of the street. They are afraid to keep it. It is said that they did keep it when they were men, and that that’s what made monkeys out of them. You don’t believe that entirely? Oh, I see that Hoxie has been monkey-lacing my act behind my back.” And Hoxie had been doing that. But had he been saying “Do not believe all of it” with his monkey-lacing, or had he been saying “Do not believe any of it”?
“The third legend is that it is all pound-of-flesh gold,” Hiram said. “This legend states that we sell pounds of flesh for the yearly bashes of the Extortioners’ Guild and the Hatchet Makers’ Guild and especially for that dread secret society Glomerule; and that we receive our gold for the pounds of flesh. Ah, there it is, Canute, all ready for you to take it: eighty-five thousand dollars’ worth of gold. It’s quite a bit over a hundred pounds. The young ladies will help you carry it.”
“Which of the three legends is true, Hiram?” Canute asked softly.
“Oh, they’re all a little bit true, but all together they would account for only a fraction of our gold.”
“What accounts for the rest?”
“How can we tell you that? It’s a secret. We know you are not so base a person as to want us to tell you the answer. You will have the pleasure of guessing it as the years go by, but we will not tell it to you. Ah, your gold is ready for you, Canute.”
“We know you are not such a fink-dink as would like to be told,” Effie said. “It took the last one about a thousand years to guess it, and you want to miss all that fun?”
“Who was the last one to guess it?” Canute asked.
“Me,” said Hiram.
“We know you are not such a cheap-creep as would listen even if someone whispered the answer to you,” Maharana Shortribs said. “We know you are better than that. My sister and I will help you carry the gold.”
“You will not tell me where it comes from,” Canute mused. “And you offer it to me so freely that there has to be a catch to it somewhere. What is the catch, Hiram? There’s a hook in the bait, isn’t there? It’s logical that there would be a hook.”
“Oh, sure, but it’s so thin a hook that you’ll hardly notice it. And believe me, the hook isn’t a logical one.”
“Hardly notice it, huh? That may be like saying that a knife is so thin that you’ll hardly notice it when it goes in between your fifth and sixth ribs,” Canute said doubtfully.
“Yes, exactly like,” Effie Poorlode chimed in. “How did you know about the cut between the fifth and sixth ribs, Canute? It isn’t one of the major cuts.”
“Lose weight free in seven-minute process,” a little boy chanted at Canute. “My father is king of all the weight-takers-off in Leptophlebo Street.”
“Not right now,” Canute said.
“Get your clothes rewoven free,” another little boy chanted. “My father reweaves baggy too-big clothes for slim-trim limb.”
“Not right now,” Canute said. “Does the hook hurt, Hiram?”
“Only a little bit. Only for a minute. Take the gold, Canute, and go close your deal. Then come back here for certain entertainments and kindnesses that we will have scheduled for you. You’ll really like them. And when you have experienced them, and the mark that goes with them, then you will be one of us and you may enjoy Leptophlebo Street as often as you like and for as long as you like. And you won’t even notice the hook when it goes in.”
“And afterwards? When I do notice it?”
“I told you that it hurts only a little bit, and for only a little while. We do want you to be one of us. We want you sincerely.”
Canute Freeboard looked up and down the crooked length of Leptophlebo Street.
“Choose us, join with us,” said that skinny young lady Regina Shortribs. “Have fun with us. And come back often.” And Canute looked at the wonderfully bony form of Regina.
He looked at Hiram Poorlode’s sign, which read “Nuts, Wholesale and Retail.” He looked at the three sad grackle birds that were stuck to the top-of-the-head garden of Effie Poorlode, and at that other unstuck grackle that was flying around with a piece of looking-glass in its beak. He looked at Highfellow, Redbone, Roxie, and Hoxie, the solemn monkeys of the street.
Hoxie wrote a note and gave it to Canute. “Join with us. Stay with us. We like you,” the note read. Effie Poorlode took the note from Canute to dissolve the ink off it. A tear ran down Canute’s lace, for he was genuinely moved by the friendship of the monkeys. The little boy Crispin Halfgram raced in and caught the falling tear in a special little cup before it hit the street.
“My mother can use it,” Crispin said. “Each teardrop is a storehouse of balanced chemicals. The special salinity is quite prized.”
“Analyze your dreams, analyze your dreams!” A little boy of the street was making a pitch. “My father makes fine dream analyses free. Lie down on the cobbles.”
“How can your father make a living by analyzing dreams free?” Canute asked.
“Residuals,” the little boy said. “He gets rich on the residuals.”
“Choose us, join us,” said that skinny young lady Maharana Shortribs. “Have fiesta with us and come back all the time. Hey, do you know what we do for the climax of one of our night-life go-it-alls?” Canute looked at the wonderfully bony throat of Maharana.
“I make my choice,” he announced. “I swallow the bait, hook and all. I become a partisan of this street.” (Even the lop-eared dogs of the place raised their ears and snouts in joy.) “I take the loan now in cash.” (The people began to cheer.) “I will go and seize the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” (Folks began to laugh and to tune musical instruments.) “And then I will come back here for the entertainments and kindnesses and the night life.” (The monkeys were clapping their hands.)
There was real welcome in the wind, and somewhere near, there was the joyful whetting of knives. Canute and the Shortribs sisters picked up the gold bars and went with them and closed the deal. So Canute nailed down the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but he knew that it was small stuff compared to the mysterious opportunity of Leptophlebo Street itself.
* * * *
They came back to Leptophlebo Street, and a “Gala and Welcome” banner was stretched clear across the street. So it was quite impossible to decline any of the activities. And who would want to? The trumpet was blowing a great blast, and the other instruments were joining in.
* * * *
Canute was having his teeth cleaned, his head groomed, his appendix removed, his dreams analyzed, some other pleasant surgery done to him, and his clothes rewoven, all at one time. This was life at its most full, and the dazzle and confusion were to be expected.
“This is the first appendectomy since my father got his knife sharpened,” Pat Thingruel sang happily in Canute’s ear. “Oh, you are lucky! Listen now as I join the rowdy-dow band for you. I play eighth flute.”
“And this is the first free seven-minute surgery since my father got his knives sharpened,” another little boy was chirruping. “Listen when I join the band. I play fifth drum.” Canute couldn’t remember what the free seven-minute surgery was about, but it had to be good. He heard the eighth flute and the fifth drum join the band and it was rapturous music. His dreams were being analyzed, right on the glittering edge of his senses, and he could only guess what rich residuals they would leave. And a written note was placed shyly before his eyes.
“Listen now as I join the rang-dang band,” it read in the handwriting of the monkey Hoxie. “I play third bagpipe.” Canute passed the note to Effie Poorlode for processing and salvaging. Everything that was done on Leptophlebo Street contributed to the fortune of that famous place. With joy Canute heard the third bagpipe join the rang-dang band. He was in glowing confusion as he recovered from his surgeries (there had been several of them) and his cleanings and groomings and reweavings and other things. Oh, it all did make him feel light and lightheaded and slick-fit and trim-limbed and happy!
As Canute rose to his feet, with a little help, the band played on with flutes and drums and bagpipes and all the wonderful and skinny-sounding instruments. It was certainly fine just to be there between the two beautiful and meager Shortribs girls.
“I have swallowed the hook without noticing it,” Canute said, “and it didn’t hurt a bit. I wonder what distinguishing mark has been placed upon me? And my rewoven clothes fit me so trim! How is it possible that anything should be so trim?”
No man can have everything—but on Leptophlebo Street he sure can come close.