“Hullo, Hugo,” the younger guard hollered tubally, “Shall we convene for whiskey and cigars later?”
The older guard did not respond with a smile, he looked distressed. From the bottom of his black leather boots all the way up to his ornate hat, he was tense. “Not tonight, Horace,” he sighed, “We have work.”
“But my shift is almost over.”
“Too bad,” said the older guard, “It’s all hands on deck, as they say.”
“Red alert? Crikey! Did something happen at the ball?”
“Did anybody die?”
“Luckily, no, but the prince got his heart stolen,” said the older guard.
“Are we going to do a whole routine about this? Or are you going to tell me what is happening?”
“Fine,” sighed the older guard, “If you want to play it this way. The prince fell in love with some girl he met tonight.”
“Love at first sight,” said the younger guard.
“…as they say,” finished the older, “But then she ran off into the night. And now we are looking for her.”
“So I take it we know nothing about her, and it’s going to be a door-to-door sweep. Like when we were looking for that cartoonist.”
“So what are we going by? A description.”
“Well, she dropped a glass slipper, as they say.”
“What? Who says that? What does that mean?”
“Sorry, I meant she actually left her glass slipper on the stairway. It’s not an expression.”
“Oh, so we’re looking for a girl with a particular shoe size?”
“Yes. They are already cutting twigs to the right length. We’re to go door to door and measure girls’ feet. And when we find a match, bring them to the castle.”
The younger guard sighed, “A long night ahead,” and he started putting on his anti-stab vest.