It was about 2 days later, and Mortimer found himself back at the Inverted Duck, nursing a doublestrong Pantsbrew. It tasted like pants, which was surprising only because the Inverted Duck was not known for recognizable drinks.
He was awfully ticked off about having to pay the damned lawyer.
"I'm no expert on summoning," he said to the shabby looking fellow next to him, "But I didn't know that you could summon sumpin' and have it take yer money. I mean, why even have a scroll? Didn't it cost money to make the scroll?"
"I hear yah!" said the man, whose clothing looked as if it was very flamboyant before it was ripped up. "Do you know how much I paid for this suit? I thought, bright colors'll make me look fun! The kiddies'll love it! Mums over here -" at this point he gestured to the man next to him, wrapped head-to-toe in brightly colored bandages - "Mums here looks great, but all the clothes I put on turn to rags. 'S a zombie thing, I guess."
"And on top of all that, I didn't even get anything outta hell! I got a- a- a what? Bartender, gimme another."
"Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee thoooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuugh-" Mums began.
"No, I got it Mums," said the zombie gentleman, pattign his friend on the shoulder. "We thought, Mums and me and the Count, we thought why the undead always gotta have such a bad rap, y'know? So we thought, what if we could just change the image. Y'know, change it? Right?"
"I got a book,"said Mortimer as he began ruffling through his pack. "I have to take it back to the librarary. Hee hee, 's a funny word. Libary. Blibrary. Blible berry. Hee hee."
"So we started this - bartender, whatamIdrinking?"
"It's a brain juice, Carl," the fellow grunted.
"Give me another, and one for Mums."
"Alright, get him a beer er sumpin. So anyway, we started this, uh, this thing. We do kids parties, me and Mums and the Count, we call it 'The Fundead.' Get it? I make balloon animals and do magic, and the Count tells jokes, and Mums... What do you do Mums?"
"IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII doooooooooooooooooooooooooo aaaaaaaaaaa ffffffffffuuuuuunnnnnnnnnnn..."
Over the mummy's racket, Mortimer cut back in.
"YOU SEE," he yelled, pointing at the book. "FRANKLIN PIERCE, 14TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. IT"S HIM-"
"'S okay," the zombie, Carl, cut in, "Mums is done. Turns out he does a dance er sumpin. I dunno."
"It's him's after me!" Mortimer concluded, "And he was in this damned book the whole all along!"
Mortimer woke up with the headache of his life, remembering why he had never permitted himself to drink Pantsbrew when he was on duty. He had made an important discovery last night. Something about... something. But now he was on a wagon. Why a wagon? Had there been a mummy? A rainbow mummy?
He sat up. The room, which was, in fact, a wagon, began to spin as well as rattle. He had left hell, making a hell of an exit. Then there was a fee... It was most of his money... Stephen hadn't been very nice considering all they'd been through. And then he'd vanished, and Mortimer had headed to Merc Heeliot, to try to scare up more answers. He'd gotten frustrated, he'd wound up at the pub. Like all times when he was missing memories, the ones he had ended with "wound up at the pub.'' Damn that pantsaliscious pantsbrew!
The room had stopped spinning. And, for that matter, rattling. Mortimer stood up. The inside of the wagon was filled with things... a hat, a rabbit in a cage, a bat hanging from the cieling, bright colored handkerchiefs, a deck of cards, some ballons and a helium pump. A mirror. Mortimer walked over to the rainbow curtian that seperated the dark wagon from the outside. He reached to pull it aside, and suddenly heard a voice from behind him.
"I vould really prefer if you didn't do zat," it said. "I am not good vith the sunlight."
Mortimer slowly turned around. A vampire was standing behind him: black cape with red trim, pale complexion, black hair in a tiny curl, the whole bit.
"I am glad to see you are up," he said. "I am ze Count. Velcome to ze castle of ze Count of ze Fundead! Bva-ha-ha-ha."
"Isn't it sort of, well, a wagon?" asked Mortimer.
"A vampire's home is alvays a castle. After all, home is vhere you keep your coffin, right?"
Mortimer looked around.
"And your coffin is where?"
"I'm actually betveen coffins right now," he admitted embarrassedly. "Fundead, inc. has fallen on some hard times. I sold it to buy horse feed."
"Not getting a lot of business?"
"Ve have years of anti-undead prejudice against us, and only my vit, Carl's magic and balloon animals, and Mum's -vhat does Mums do?"
"A dance of some kind, I think," said Mortimer as it suddenly came back to him.
"Oh yeah. Anyvay, the others have gone inside to see about advertising at ze local schoolhouse."
Suddenly the wagon jolted to a start, knocking Mortimer and the Count to their feet. Presently Carl jumped in from the front. Mortimer was presently aware of the unmistakable sound of a mob behind them.
"Sorry bout that," said Carl. "Mum's driving. He's not the smoothest. Good to see you're up, buddy."
"Oh we know. You told us quite a lot last night at the pub."
"I bet I did."
"So I take it," cut in the Count, "Zat it did not go vell in zere."
"You got it buddy. I don't think Merc Heeliot is ready for the Fundead."
"You said zis vas ze seediest town zere is! You said Merc Heeliot vould surely velcome us!"
"We'll try the next town."
"And meanvhile I'll have to keep sleeping as a bat! I see why Frank left!"
"Don't say that name!"
Mortimer tried to make himself as small as possible as the zombie and the vampire stared each other down. Finally Carl spoke.
"Frank lost the dream. If you've lost the dream too, than maybe me and Mums don't need you."
"Aww, don't say zat. I believe, I really do. It's just, it's hard. I miss Frank."
"We all do," sighed Carl. He looked up at Mortimer. "Our fourth member. Big hulking fellow, screws in his head, and a voice like an angel. We used to get real gigs with Frank on the team."
"Well, where shall we drop you off, big guy?"
"I don't know," said Mortimer. "My gazelle is outside the pub, still. I feel like I had a really important thought last night. Did I say anything... ?"
"You said lots of things," said Carl. "Babbling about the devil, and a lawyer, a chick who kills dragons, no money, a Queen, a - what's the word- President, a-"
"President?" asked Mortimer. This was it!
"Yeah, Pierlin Franks or something... Frances P. Jeers maybe?"
"Franklin Pierce," said Mortimer quietly. "What else did I say?"
"You were pointing to a book I guess."
"What book? Where?"
"Ve noticed it vas almost due so ve thought ve'd do you a favor-" said the Count.
Mortimer waited, staring.
"We took it back to the library," said Carl.
"I need to get to the library," Mortimer demanded. "NOW!"
"You heard the man, Mums," said Carl. "Step on it!"