} The shadowy figures gathered silently in the back streets
} of Ankh-Morpork. Silently they crept through the alleyways,
} silently they clambered over the great trash piles and around
} the various bodies, sleeping and otherwise, that littered the
} thoroughfares of the great city. Like great cloaked rats they
} stole through the night, until finally they congregated in a
} large cellar. As one, they threw back their great hooded
} cloaks, revealing themselves in the flickering candlelight.
} Garish white-painted faces, rosy-red cheeks and jet-black
} tears hovered over wide-striped shirts and gaudy suspenders.
} White-gloved hands described esoteric figures in the air.
} Bodies pressed against invisible barriers and fought for
} purchase against gusts of wind imperceptible to all but those
} who struggled mightily against them.
} The Secret Society of Oppressed Mimes had called its meeting
} to order.
} The Marcel banged an unseen gavel against his invisible
} lectern, and the din of pantomime subsided.
} _I hereby open the three hundred sixty-sixth emergency
} meeting of the Secret Society of Oppressed Mimes,_ he said by
} dint of much hand-waving and tugging on nonexistent ropes.
} Suddenly the door burst open and the Watch flooded into
} the room like the Ankh overflowing its banks. "Nobody
} move," thundered Commander Vimes. "You have the right," he
} said in a grimly ironic voice, "to remain silent. Corporal
} Detritus, tie up the prisoners and bring them back to the
} station." With that, he swept out of the room, taking most
} of his men with him.
} The troll removed his enormous helmet and scratched his
} flinty head ponderously. "What's wrong?" asked Corporal Nobbs.
} "Uh... I think I left the rope back at the station," his
} partner said ruefully. "How're we gonna tie 'em up without
} any rope?"
} The Marcel's eyes lit up. Gesturing frantically at the
} two Watchmen, he picked up an invisible rope off the floor
} and began tying it into knots. One of the other mimes took
} the cue and tried to snatch it out of his hands, and they
} struggled over possession of the rope as the puzzled Watchmen
} looked on.
} "What do you suppose they're up to?" Nobbs asked out of the
} corner of his mouth.
} "It looks like they're playin' tug-o-war, but I don't see
} no rope," his partner ventured.
} "Maybe it's elvish rope," Nobbs concluded after a while.
} "Hey, you," he ordered, "gimme that." The two men stopped
} fighting, and the Marcel placed the rope sheepishly into Nobbs'
} outstretched hand. "Definitely elvish," he assured Detritus.
} "Lighter'n a feather, it is. Lucky for us we found us some
} honest criminals with rope to spare. All right, youse, tie
} yourselves up quick now!"
} As the mimes got busy imprisoning themselves, Detritus said,
} "You're smart, Nobby. I bet Commander Vimes gives us a medal
} for this."
} * * *
} "I don't understand it, sir," Nobbs said. "They were right
} behind us when we left."
} Vimes sighed. "Well, we have bigger problems to worry
} about right now. Apparently, nearly half the population of
} Ankh-Morpork are being sued by some people called Mudders.
} They claim we've stolen their names."
} Nobbs pulled out a blackjack. "Well, where are they? Let
} me at those Mudder-f--"
} "Calm down, Nobbs, I think they're somewhere on the
} Counterweight Continent. Leastwise, I never heard of them
} before the Patrician showed me this summons." Vimes held out
} a roll of parchment, from which depended a ponderous seal.
} Nobbs shrank back from it like a rat from a snake, a metaphor
} which was greatly aided by Nobbs' rodent-like appearance.
} Suddenly, the door burst open and strangely-dressed people
} flooded the room. "Nobody move," one of them ordered.
} "Who are you?" demanded Vimes.
} "We're copyright attorneys. We represent one Terry
} Pratchett, whose interests are being violated by this
} Oracularity. You will cease and desist immediately, and we
} have here an ex parte seizure order to make sure it doesn't
} continue. We also have an arrest warrant for 'The Internet
} Oracle', who has perpetrated this copyright violation."
} You owe the Oracle the name of a good lawyer. Hurry!
}  Or, in the secret gestural language of the mimes, _hand
} pressed to head, then moving away in waves_.
}  Which, given the generally non-liquid consistency of the
} Ankh, meant that the Watch shambled in at the pace of
} chilled treacle.