Lorelei succumbed to the undignified state. He let himself be dragged via rope through the thick, flowing sludge. Occasionally it covered his face and he found himself submerged for unmeasurable amounts of time. He swallowed air when he could and privately cursed god for the rapidly depreciating quality of his morning. Eventually, his strange rescuer hauled him up on dry land.
Lorelei spat and rubbed grass in his face to remove the slime. His rescuer handed him a towel and he de-slimed more effectively with that. Finally, Lorelei got a good look at the man who had pulled him to safety.
Ernt Rauchebaum was as thin as a light post and ganglier still. His eyes had sunk so far back into his head that it gave the impression that he was hiding inside of himself, peering out from an ill-fitting skin suit.
“You must be new,” Ernt said, gesturing to the flowing muck.
“What the devil is happening?” Lorelei esophagated.
Lorelei nearly exploded with rage at the idiotic repetition of this phrase. Ernt Rauchebaum threw back his head and laughed. It was an awful sight, given the rakish man’s squeebly little shoulders. It seemed like his head might snap off with each guffaw.
“Nobody warned you, I see.” Ernt extended a hand and helped the sociopathic doctor to his feet.
“I’m Ernt. I work here. At least, normally I do. Actually I’m only back in town to give myself a cash advance.” Ernt’s eyes roamed over Lorelei’s suit which, while coated in a layer of revolting mucous, nevertheless denoted wealth and breeding.
“Any chance you could spare a silverback?” Ernt ventured.
By now, Lorelei had put together that Ernt was both a drug addict and bounding itinerant for the sake of his habit. With a dignified sniff, Lorelei reasserted himself as the better of the two men.
Lorelei smiled broadly at Ernt. “Have you any experience with private courier services?”
“What’s that?” Ernt asked, understanding that negotiations had begun.
“The postal service doesn’t come through nearly as often as I’d like. I’m in the market for boutique service. Something customized to my needs.”
“Boutique!” Ernt squared himself up. “I think I know a thing or two about that.”