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Ill-Kyndit Theatre

A Wee Yairn o Discwarld
bi Terry Pratchett

Copyright © Terry Pratchett 1993

It wis a braw simmer's forenuin, o the kynd tae mak a man fain at bein alive. An belike the man wad hae been fain at bein alive. He wis, in fac, deid. He coud haurdly hae been deider athoot speicial schoolin.

"Weel, nou," said Sairgint Colon (Annoch-Mairpork Toun Gaird, Nicht Waird), studyin at his jotter, "Sae far, we hae the cause o deith as a) bein battert wi at least ane blunt object, b) bein straungled wi a string o sassengers an c) bein sauvaged bi at least twa beasties wi muckle sharp teeth. Whit shud we dae nou, Nobby?"

"Reest the suspect, Sairge." said Corporal Nobbs, salutin smertly.

"Suspect, Nobby?"

"Him." said Nobby, powtin the corp wi a buit. "A cry it unco suspeecious, him bein deid like tha. He's been drucken an a. We coud be reestin him fae bein deid an disorderly."

Colon scartet his heid. Reestin the corp haed, o coorse, a fair feck in its favour. But...

"A'm thinkin," he said slawly, "that Caiptain Vimes wi want this ane dealt wi. Ye'd best be taen him back tae the Gaird Hoose, Nobby."

"An efter can we eat the sassengers, sairge?" said Corporal Nobbs.

It wisna eith tae be the heidmaist polisman in Annoch-Mairpork, the mucklemaist ceety o the Discwarld[*].

Thare war likely warlds, Caiptain Vimes thocht in his douther maments, whaur thare warna wicemen (wha made lockit-chaumer meesteries commonplace), or undeid (murther cases were unco strynge whan the bouk coud be the heid witness), an dugs coud be lippen tae dae naething in the nicht-time an no gae aboot bletherin tae fowk. Vimes trowed o logic as a man in a desert trowed o ice: i.e. it wis something he geyly needit, but this wisna the warld for it. Juist ance it wud be guid tae solve something.

He leukit on the blae-gizzit bouk on the stane, an felt a totie flichter o excitement. Thare wis clues. Neever afore haed he seen real clues.

"Coudna hae been a brigander, Caiptain," said Sairgint Colon, "Forby, his pootches war a fu o clink. Eleiven dollars."

"A wudna cry that as fu." said Caiptain Vimes.

"It wis a in pennies an bawbies, sir. A'm surpreesed his breeks didna burst. An A hae glegly jaloused he wis a showman, sir. He haed some cairds in his pootch, sir. 'Chas Slumber, Childer's Enterteiner."

"A daursay naebody saw onything?"

"Weel, sir," said Sairgint Colon, helply, "A telt young Constable Carrot he coud be huntin some witnesses."

"Ye azed Constable Carrot tae speir oot a murther? Aw on his ane?"

The sairgint scartit his heid.

"An he said tae me, did A ken onybody verra auld and sair unweel?"

An, o coorse, on the eldrich Discwarld, there's aye ane guarantee'd witness tae ony murther. It's his job.

Constable Carrot, the Gaird's youngest member, aften struck fowk as simple. An he wis. He wis terrible simple, but o the wey that a swuird is simple, or a bewavin is simple. He wis the maist linear thinker on the Disc, an aw.

He'd bin bidin aside the bedside o an auld man, wha'd fine enjyed the company. And nou it wis time tae be taen oot his jotter.

"Nou, A knaw ye saw something, sir." he said. "Ye wis thar."


"Ye see, sir," said Constable Carrot, "As A unnerstaund the law, ye are an Accessory Efter The Fact. Or mebbe Afore The Fact."


"An A'm an officer o the Law." said Carrot. "There's got tae be a law, ye ken."


"Och, A dinna ken aboot that." said Carrot, "A'm thinkin ye already hae."


Daith watched Carrot gae, dookin his heid as he went doon the nairae stair o the bothy.


"Excuise me," said the wizzent auld man in the bed. "A happen tae be 107, ye ken. A hivna got aw day."


Daith shairpit his scythe. It wis the first time iver he'd helpit the polis wi thair speirins. Still, abody haed a job tae dae.

Constable Carrot daundert eithly aboot the toun. He haed a Theory. He'd read a beuk on Theories. Ye tottit up aw the clues, an ye got a Theory. Athing haed tae fit.

Thar wis sassengers. Somebody haed tae buy sassengers. An then thar wis bawbies. For ordinair, but ane group o fowk peyt for things wi bawbies.

He veesitit at a sassanger-makker. He found a menyie o weans an spent a wee while gabbin wi them.

Then he stravaigit back tae the close, whaur Corporal Nobbs haed caukit the ootline o the corp on the grund (littin it, an addin a pipe an a crummock an some trees an bushes in the backgrund, fowk had drapped 7p in his helm awreadies). He tentit close tae the heap o grummel by the back, then hunkert doon on a brucken baurrel.

"Aw richt, ye can come oot nou," he said, tae the warld. "A didna ken thar wir ony broonies in the warld still."

The grummel reeshelt. Oot they maircht, the wee man wi the red bunnet, the haunched rig, an the hookit neb, the wee wummin in the mob cap carryin the e'en wee'er bairn, the wee polisman, the dug wi the ruff aboot its craig, and the gey wee alligator.

Constable Carrot hunkert doon an listent.

"He gart us tae dae it." said the wee man. He had an unco deep vyce. "He wis aye batterin us. E'en the alligator. That wis aw he unnerstood, hutten things wi sticks. An he wad tak aw the siller the dug Toby collectit an git drucken. Sae we ran awa, an he cocht us in the close an wis stairtin on Judie an the bairn an he fell ower an--"

"Wha hit him first?" said Carrot

"Aw o us!"

"But no verra haurd," said Carrot. "Ye're aw too wee. Ye didna kill him. A hae a verra perswasin statement aboot that. Sae A went an haed anither leuk at him. He'd chockit tae daith. Whit's this?"

He wis hauldin up a wee leather disc.

"It's a swozzle." said the wee polisman. "He uised it for the vyces. He said oors warna funny eneuch."

"Yon's the wey tae dae it!" said the ane caud Judie.

"It steekit in his craig," said Carrot. "A suggest ye run awa. Juist as faur as ye can."

"We wis thinkin we coud stairt a fowks' co-operateeve," said the heidmaist broonie.

"Ye ken... expeerimantal shows, street theatre, yon sort o thing. No hittin fowk wi sticks."

"Ye did that for childer?" said Carrot.

"He said it wis a new sort o theatre. He said it wad catch on."

Carrot stood up, an cast the swozzle intae the grummel.

"Fowk will neevir staund it," he said. "Yon's no the wey tae dae it."

[*] Whit's flet an gaes through space on the rig o a muckle turtle, an why shoudna it?

"Ill-Kyndin Theatre" wis scrieven firstly for the WH Smith "Bookcase" magazine. The enlargent version remakkit abuin wis published efter in the programme beuk o the OryCon 15 convention.

This online version o the yairn is makkit free bi kynd fancy o the scrievener, wha's keepin aw reproduction an ither richts tae the yairn. In his awn wurds: "I dinna want tae see it in distributed print onyweys, but dinna mind fowk doonloadin it for their ane pleisure."

Translatin bi Daibhid Ceannaideach

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