The insult drove home like a DD.
"Nuts!" yelled the patrons as one. "Nuts?"
"Sorry; we've only got those chewy old pretzels and some dusty popcorn," said the harried bar maid.
"How do you know that, exactly," said MacKenzie pointedly. "Since you only just now appeared in the story?"
They all looked towards her. Then, at a sudden thunder of activity at the door, their heads swivelled in unison. A trim young man strode purposefully into the middle of the pub, followed by a man and a woman in grey suits. Behind them were seven burly men in overalls.
There was another long silence as the narrator thought about what to write next. Kevin made a weak attempt to fill the void.
"I am the wallpaper, I am the egg plant," he warbled off-key.
"You're all welcome to stay, of course, but things are going to change around here," announced the youthful stranger.
"And just who are you?" asked the Killer.
"I'm the real Sly O'Shea. I started this thing," said the clean-shaven newcomer, waving a muscular right arm. He pointed to the grey-clad couple behind him.
"These two are from Viking Press. They're interested in my story. Really interested. But they want the bar converted to an 80's sports bar, and they want me to drop a few characters."
He looked slowly around the room as the workmen began hammering and sawing.
"How do we know you're just not making this up, too?" asked MacKenzie.
The young man waited. The writer thought.
Nick sang about A Girl With a Ticket to Write.
Suddenly, a low boom filled the room. A small cloud of dust rose from where the ancient Wurlitzer juke box had stood.
"I just kind'a moved it aside," said a beefy workman. "And damn if it didn't fall into a huge hole in the floor."
Both Sly O'Sheas walked quickly over to the gaping maw.
"Hey, look, there are steps goin' down there," said one, pointing.
"Yes; but the real Sly O'Shea doesn't drop his consonants," said the other.
The two stared coldly at each other.
"We goin' down?" said one tersely.
"One of us is," smiled the young newcomer.