Amber Wakes Dublin – A Story With James Joyce References

Amber Hiccums had had a great fall and winter in Paris and New York, and now spring was here in Ireland and she sprang out of the jaunting-car to reconnoiter with her dear friends Harmie and Armie, the most beloved couple in Dublin. Harmonious Claribel Euphony was by every man’s calculation, the biggest gent in Dublin. Some took him to be equal to the length and breadth of it, and his wife, Armonium Laribel Phonieux, the most sinuous, continuous, roundabout and plural of women. There was trouble in Dublin. Before Amber could unpack or even pull down her ever-popping-up collar, Armie took her by the hand. –Let’s stroll along the river, lovey, and I’ll fill you in. We’ve had a serious robbery hereabouts. A gang of four, maybe more, has stolen the priceless Viscount Scepter and other treasures from the museum. We fear that the thieves may throw away the most precious stone, the famous Morken Diamond, since it would be recognized anywhere and so will not likely be cut into smaller gems. It would take a better knifeblade than they have to do it in any case.

–O rocks! Here’s some flat ones, lets skip a few stones. You know, it seems likely that unusual goings-on will be talked about. Maybe we can pick up some gossip if we go wandering through the park.

And so they rustled up this and that path, stopping to sit hither and thither on benches occupied by chatters, some nicely dressed and others in tatters. Several suspicious men and women passed by, looking quickly at the outsider, then lowering their heads.

–Amber Hiccums, everybody thinks you are a spy. Come to think of it, they’re about right. Don’t get too close to those brambly bushes, mustn’t skin your coat. We’re not hearing much here, not worth tarrying any longer, let’s go.

Armonium Laribel Phonieux hustled Amber onto a tram and they hied themselves to the Flowertown Bazaar.

–This is the merriest bazaar I’ve ever been to, Armie, it has everything! I must get a little something for Raoul while I’m here.

–Mind the clay and you’re about to step on that potted ashplant.

–Sorry! Say, look at that candlemaker’s stall over there. There’s a little cloud of wicksmoke hanging over it.

–That’s where we are going Ambo, here, let me introduce you to our nosiest operative, Icarious Uplump Stately.

–Aieeayoh you scared me with your blooody feral dog. What happened to him?

–Wo, you sound like one of them sirens durin’ the war. Ol’ Bunk here stuck his nose in the wrong pub, got a dog biscuit box thrown at him. Glad to meet you. Has Armie told you the plan?

–Not so’s you’d notice, I am a…

–No, no, we can’t talk here. I sold a few candles already so I’ll close up shop for now and meet you two at noon by the timeball. Bring Harmie and I’ll round up the rest.

Noon found them all hunkered in a circle drawing diagrams in the sand and receiving assignments. Amber and Armie were sent to the hamlet of Kidneyzod because a some big spending had been spotted there.

At twenty-three Enkeedoo St., beside the Gilgamishemishe Fountain, they found a giant curio sale going on. A mother and her brood, and for that matter all her neighbors were buying multifarious titbits, necklaces of rosevean beads, cheap little booklets of poems, CDs of The Ballad of Garry Owen. O the noise, the noise was enough to wake the dead.

Oops! a boy almost knocked me down. Well bite my bunions!

Amber recognised a warm human plumpness of a man flashing his money about with great to do. It was Harmonious Claribel Euphony, her friend who had left the meeting to go to Dalkey where it was thought that some of the stolen booty had been seen.

–So, Harmie, do you belong here at our investigation site, and why are you just throwing your cash around?

–Shh… Cash’ll flush ’em out. Go. Go away, go away, I had hoped that I wouldn’t encounter you.

–Okay, okay, I’m history, don’t blame me. Ppecmshdepoaufw! Don’t forget to pull the chain. Acts like he’s trying to get over a nightmare.

Amber caught up with Armonium and the two traipsed off to the brownstone bookstore to show off what nothing they had discovered to Icarious and his fellow councilor Mr. Nolanetti.

Before they could reach the door, a one-armed fisherman with crazy eyes pulled them aside and into a narrow path between two buildings. He growled menacingly.

–You’d best come with me if you want to save a life y’ know. This way.

Behind the bookstore was a square ditch to let the river run off in case of a swelling tide. Over that was a bridge into a yard with what seemed to be a storage shed. The fisherman pushed aside some movable rocks, opened the ramshackle door and waved his remaining hand for them to enter. Amber tugged at her collar. She could barely see a tunnel, dank and close. They tiptoed along for about a block and came into a cave-like room with a fire going and several men sitting around with their pipes asmoke.

–Here they are, tell ’em the tale.

–Hee Haw, you must be Amber, Armonium I already know. You sit down ladies, tea water’s boilin’. Here comes each a cup, and now the story. Not two hours ago, one of our agents hiding behind a lamppost in the park, spied a group of two young women and three soldiers whispering like paranoids. He moseyed over casual-like and asked did anyone have a match perchance. Well, you should have heard all the fancy excuses they came up with about why and where and how come and no one even asked them their business, did they?. So upset they were that they grabbed a hostage, one little wandering chewer who was munching neither on a candy bar nor a popsicle, but only a bit of potato, that harmless she was. As it happens, the girl is the very daughter of Martha Pandybat, the very secretary and keeper of the keys of our very little museum. We then received a letter that said we could get Martha’s girl back if we would send a messenger with a sackful of money to 1132 Seashell St. right there at the foot of the castle just at 7 P.M.

He clearly explained it all and showed them the note. Amber was not known to the rapscallions, so was elected as the bag lady, the thought being that she would not pose a threat to them. Whoever had that thought was missing more than an arm, but that was the decision and off she went, with invincible Armie following some distance after.

–How come Eagle-eye Armie is so far behind and how did I get into this mess, anyway?

Seven of the clock was nigh. Amber arrived at the rendezvous holding the bag, her collar up. This scheme was not at all well thought out. What was she supposed to do now? A tall dark figure emerged from the shadows as zither music hummed through the trees: dum da dum, da dummm, da dummmm. The person rushed forward and grabbed Amber’s bag and ran like the wind. Armie chased and tackled him just as he was about to slither into the train station. Amber and another member of the party who had been lurking nearby, joined Armie in holding the miscreant down. A third man pulled up the rear. Fifteen minutes of intense questioning failed to reveal the whereabouts of Martha Pandybat’s child and the loot.

Amber took off in the opposite direction, as the others puzzled over how to rescue Martha Pandybat’s daughter and the treasures. She knew what she was doing. About an hour later Amber returned and awakened her friends and the rest of Dublin with a thunderous shout in the street!

–What was that terrible noise here on a Thursday?

–I Just needed to get your attention and I thought that tap-tap-tapping wouldn’t quite do it. I have returned to tell you that the whole thing has been a fake, the robbery, the abduction and the ransom demands. Martha Pandybat herself is the ringleader of this bunch of rounders.

–Impossible! Martha could never be a criminal.

–She’s not. None of these citizens is a real criminal. It was all set up by the museum and the insurance company. The plan was to make the public believe that the scepter and other items were gone and that replicas were in their places on display. That way, actual thieves would have no further interest in stealing them. This case is closed.

–But Amber Hiccums, everybody thought…, nobody could have…, how th…?

–I saw it in his eyes while we were questioning him so I went back and broke into the museum room and searched through the file cabinets. I scratched up a letter which explains all. They were just paying the ransom to themselves and the child was never in any danger. The constabulary might have a word or two to say about the ruse, but our work is finished.

Amber smoothed down her ever-up collar,

–Armie, Harmie, it has been a great joy celebrating the solving of this little mystery together and now summer is hiccumin’ in and I’m off to see Raoul, so beastly ‘bye. I’ll see you in my dreamy-dreams. I hate long goodbyes, yes I do, yes I do. Yes, Adieu.

Anette Rentie

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