all your French crackers

Ungulen swang his knotted knees up the hill. He bristled slightly with annoyance, his thick body fuzz prickling up all over. One of his hooves slicked just a midge in the newly pupating grass. The ooze was beginning to return. Ungulen cursed softly, reflexively, as he knee narrowly escaped a bad cricking.

Of course Marrionetta had been back up in The Emerald House this whole time. It was close to idiotic that this had not occurred to him before. Among all dancers, among all bowed-up, precocious, fussy misses, Marrionetta always sat exactly where she wanted to and when she wanted. The puss.

So while Ungulen had been making time when he could to try and locate her, he hadn’t quite put it together that she was back in her old haunt. It wasn’t until one of the lever boys mentioned her in passing. She had been seen by a few up with “mister doctor.” Much of the staff had all taken to calling that noosepick by that double moniker out of respect. Still, Ungulen didn’t care for him. The drawn up straight. With his turned up nose, his richly slight build. He always seemed to be roiling, just below the surface. About to punch somebody’s lights out thought Ungulen, except he’s a bit of a priss.

Ungulen pounded on the front door of The Emerald House. “Netta? Answer the door.”

Ungulen’s pointy ear flicked. He could detect movement within the domicile. But, after nearly a full minute of patiently waiting, no one answered.

“Netta, I know you’re in there.” He pounded again for emphasis. “And what’s more, we’ve eaten all your French crackers. There’s none left, I tell ya. Now open the door or I’ll start in on your chocolates. I know where’s you got them holed up in the tent.”

Still, no one answered.

Now, it’s worth noting at this point that Ungulen is a very large creature. He is part man, part goat, but all parts workaday groundskeeper. He may never win any chess games but he knows a thing or two about running shifts at a circus. Most wouldn’t perceive this fact but a large part of circus work is being interested in the management of people. And Ungulen, believe it or not, is a very studious people goat-person. So when Ungulen’s had it up to his eyeballs with somebody, things have gone very far indeed.

Willing not to be kept standing on the threshold of The Emerald House, Ungulen felled the door inward with a single punch of his hoof.

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