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440WOSSNAME -- JULY 2008 -- PART 5 OF 6

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  • Not A Granny
    Jul 29, 2008
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      WOSSNAME -- JULY 2008 -- PART 5 OF 6 (continued)

      ====Part 5 -- ALICE AND FERNANDO




      Second Clog: "I've got a little secret..."

      A-M calls itself the city that never sleeps, and it's certainly all
      go here. It's also said that A-M has something for everyone even if
      that something is, for many citizens and visitors alike, a short
      sharp knock on the head in a dark alley. One thing it has plenty of
      is society -- high society, low society, and secret society -- and
      since coming here I've sampled them all. Secret societies are all
      the rage these days, even though many of them are what you might
      call badly kept secrets. They come in all varieties and cater to all
      tastes, from the aforementioned folk-dancing clubs (in many ways the
      most secret of all, since being a member of a folk-dance club is the
      sort of dark secret one wouldn't want the neighbours to know about)
      to the like of Chains of Love (Tuesdays and Saturdays upstairs at
      the Pink Pussy Cat Club), the Brotherhood of Wishful Thinkers
      (alternate Octedays in a hut in the woods near the Tump; would-be
      barbarian ravagers, most of them henpecked accountants, who hatch
      plans for Disc-wide reigns of terror), and yes, the sorts of secret
      societies that tend to cowled black robes and complicated handshakes
      involving rolled-up trousers and the occasional burnt offering. A
      Bard can get into places most people can't, and this is how I came
      to join the Illuminated and Ancient Brethren of Ee -- not to be
      confused with the Elucidated Brethren of the Ebon Night, who
      eventually got past their chequered past and re-formed as a reformed
      society of doers of good works (or the Justified and Ancient
      Brethren of Ee Bah Gum, whose chapter-house is near my old family
      home back in Lancre and who practise the ancient and terrible
      Ramtops martial are of Tor Fu).

      Actually, all they wanted was for me to write them a secret drinking
      song, but I had to join in order to deliver it to them because they
      practise ancient and terrible dark forbidden magic (funny, isn't it,
      how many secret societies claim to practise ancient and terrible
      things, most of which were invented by their founder on a not-
      ancient rainy Wednesday). So I went through their ancient and
      terrible initiation rites -- which I can't talk about because
      they're secret -- and sat through one of their meetings, which was
      certainly full of ancient figgins and terrible tea, and taught them
      their song -- which I can't write about here because it's secret. I
      also got my very own cowled robe (also ancient; I think it used to
      be a collection of grain sacks), and that was where it got terrible
      for me, because on the way home the cowl fell down over my eyes and
      I tripped over my own hem and ended up in the Lady Sybil Free
      Hospital with multiple fractures.

      Hurrah for the Hospital! And hurrah for Igors! I shudder to think
      what it must have been like in the olde dayes, when something as
      simple as a fractured arm or leg could likely be a death sentence
      (especially if you were ministered to by ordinary human doctors).
      Before Doctor Lawn opened the LSFH the only Igors here were servants
      of mad scientists and madder scions of the nobility, but now most
      people can afford to be repaired by expatriate Igors in clean and
      pleasant surroundings. Doctor Lawn is technically still Chief of
      Surgery, but he's obviously a man of great sensibleness and vision,
      so he leaves the complicated work to his Uberwaldean staff. I was in
      and out faster than, shall we say, half of Mrs Palm's regular
      customers, and happy to pay for the service because I'm a Woman of
      Means these days. My fretting hand is now better, faster and
      stronger than it ever was before. And so I sing the praises of
      Igors, in the old traditional way:

      Brindisians will die for love
      They delight in fighting duels
      But I prefer a man of 'parts'
      And clean surgical tools...

      A bolt through the neck may be deemed 'kinda mental'
      But Igors are a loon's best friend
      They stick close to hand, loyal, lumpish and gentle
      In your humble schloss
      To help you when your serfs are cross
      Bodies fail; when old and frail
      We could all use a hand, leg or...end?
      But scarred, cut or grue-faced
      This clan's never two-faced
      Igors are Discworld's best friends

      There may come a time when one's liege needs a liver
      Then Igors are a lord's best friend
      Their limps and their humps make the hard-hearted shiver;
      Sure, they don't look nice
      But guts on ice are worth the price
      Please drop by when storms are nigh
      But beware if you're too quick to mend
      It's then that the mass'll
      Set fire to your castle...
      Still - Igors are Discworld's best friends!

      * * * *

      The only thing is...the Igor who patched me up was a young, recent
      arrival, still homesick for the Old Country and delighted to see
      another Ramtopper. After I came to, we got to talking. And talking.
      And talking. He even dropped the lisp when none of the nurses were
      around. And the thing is...Llamedese Bards may be able to reduce
      even strangers to tears when they sing mournful songs about their
      rainy beloved country, but they have nothing on a homesick Igor
      waxing lyrical for the thunderstorms of his ancestral mountains and
      traditional cruel crazed Barons and undead Mathterth. It's had a
      huge effect on me. It's been over a week now, and all is well,

      Lost Wages calls to me. I think I'll go home.

      -- Alice

      Note for Roundworlders: the original lyrics for Diamonds are a
      Girl's Best Friend can be found at http://tinyurl.com/6crkn2



      by Fernando Magnifico

      Hallo and buongiorno to all my friends! The Lady Asterisk is
      indisposed this month, for she has been sent home with mice. But do
      not worry, for I am Fernando Magnifico, and I shall be satisfying
      all your astrological needs today.

      When Fernando first came to the wonderful city of Ankh-Morpork,
      although Fernando is very well travelled, he was ignorant of the
      ways of the polite society in this city. (Do not scoff, my readers,
      for Ankh-Morpork *does* have polite society. And also less-polite
      society, and rude society, and the Shades. But we shall not go
      there.) Fernando remembers very well the time when he met a
      signoretta who was enormemente con el nino, as we say back in
      Brindisi. Fernando innocentally asked the signoretta when the
      bambino was due, and she replied "I'm not pregnant". Fernando was so
      embarrassed! He did not know where to stick his head, as they say.

      How very fortunate for you that, with Fernando's help, you need not
      fear to be making these embarrassing social faux pas, if you pardon
      my Quirmian. For this month, the stars will warn you what
      embarrassing social mistakes you most need to avoid. Also, there is
      a very unusual alignment of the stars this month, so as well as the
      usual horoscopes, the stars are in surprising agreement, with a
      special warning for all peoples of Ankh-Morpork, whether troll or
      dwarf or human, visitor or citizen. Read on to see what this warning
      is. Ciao bella!


      The Adamant Hedgehog 21 Mar - 20 Apr

      Etiquette can be found in the strangest places. When taking part in
      one of the famous Mended Drum tavern brawls, the stars warn that if
      you expect to be invited back (and not taken out back and dumped in
      the Ankh in little pieces), you must remember the etiquette of
      tavern brawls. Do not reach for an edged weapon too quickly, but
      start off with chairs and tables. Use of poison arrows is
      discouraged, unless the poison has amusing effects like Bloat.
      Hitting the tavern owner or the Igor on hand is an unacceptable
      liberty. Remember these few simple social rules, and you can be sure
      that the Igor won't sew your leg back on backwards.

      The stars this month also warn Hoggers not to laugh at the
      Patrician's jokes, as he doesn't make any.


      The Half-Eaten Sandwich 21 Apr - 21 May

      Munchers must be aware, like Hoggers, that Etiquette occurs in many
      unexpected places, like the childrens who play the traditional Ankh-
      Morpork game of dead rat conkers. There are many unwritten rules: it
      is cheating to stuff the dead rat with lead, overhead swings are
      considered rude, and many more. And like the bambinos, grande uomos
      should avoid the faux pas of bad sportsmanship. Cheating at cards,
      for instance, is considered terribly rude, not to mention foolish.
      So is kicking sand in your opponent's face on the sports pitch,
      especially in games of footsball as the accursed Quirmians do.
      Without good sportsmanship we are nothing - or Quirmian, which is
      even worse.

      Another faux pas you should beware of this month is cutting in front
      of Assassins in waiting lines. With other people you need fear only
      looks that could kill. With the Assassins, deadly looks are only the
      least of your worries. Fernando says it is best to avoid cutting in
      front of any persons dressed all in black clothing; they could be
      witches, Dark Clerks, or even the Patrician himself, and none of
      these are any better than Assassins for your health and life


      Herne the Hunted 22 May - 21 Jun

      This month, Hernians should be especially beware of eating bananas
      in a way likely to start a riot. This especially holds for
      signorettas, although Fernando knows very well that sometimes the
      young men and their bananas can cause mucho excitement.

      Another faux pas Hernians should be aware of avoiding is the
      inappropriate use of nicknames. These are also known in Ankh-Morpork
      as pet names, and also by the uppity persons as sobriquets, but
      Fernando despises that word because it is Quirmian and it is bad
      enough that faux pas is also a Quirmian expression, so enough with
      the Quirmian, yes? Calling someone by an inappropriate nickname is
      very bad manners. For example, calling a famous opera singer like
      Enrico Basilica "Big Bazza" to his face, or addressing the
      Archchancellor of Unseen University as "Riddy-baby". And never, ever
      refer to Lady Ramkin as "your Posh Bintness". This is only
      appropriate coming from her husband the Duke.


      The Wizard's Staff and Knob 22 Jun - 22 Jul

      Many frogs and newts have got their start in life as a wiseguy
      asking a wizard to show him a good card trick. This month, the stars
      warn Staffies that they should be particularly careful not to give
      in to the temptations and commit this grande faux pas.

      Fernando does not believe in being rude to people for their race or
      species, except for the accursed Quirmians, but many people are less
      cosmopolitan than Fernando. If you are one of these people, the
      stars this month warn that some faux pas have the more serious
      consequences than others. Beware of using the words "lawn ornament"
      or "duck's bottom" to dwarfs, or the stars say that something very
      sharp will separate you from your legs.


      Bilious, God of Hangovers 23 Jul - 23 Aug

      At this time of the year, many people's contract at the Thieves'
      Guild comes up for renewal. Fortunately for Bilians, this month the
      stars tell all about the etiquette for dealing with licenced
      thieves. For a street mugging, it is appropriate to tip 10% of the
      amount stolen, 15% if with assault and battery. Cut-purses and pick-
      pockets will expect 5%, and you can pay in stamps. For burglars,
      correct etiquette is to leave a convenient sack or box by your
      silverware. Fernando prefers to always leave out a small glass or
      two of Amaretto or Marsala, for that taste of Brindisi. Failure to
      remember these little things will lead to the thieves not only
      taking offence, but everything else as well.

      Even if you have a magnificent tenor voice like Fernando, singing
      along at the opera is a faux pas. This especially is so if, as
      Bilians are known to do, you have partaken a little too much of the
      vino and begin singing a song about the coconuts instead.


      End of Part 5, continued on part 6 of 6.
      If you did not get all six parts, write: interact@...
      Copyright (c) 2008 by Klatchian Foreign Legion