“That’ll be 32.50,” she said.  

“Excuse me?”  I asked.  

“Each of you—32.50.  Plus tip.”  

“For what?!”  The Ambassador demanded.  

“Shhhhh,” Chevron coaxed.  “Of course, what a reasonable price.”  He searched his chocolate smudged pant-pockets for change.  

“What did you order?”  Macie asked, trying to tote up what extravagances we had indulged in at 32.50 a meal.  

The Ambassador’s outrage hit a boiling point: “If you expect my party to pay for that disaster of a dessert display, you have another thing coming!”  

But I tried to soothe him.  Only Chevron and I knew what measure of damage we had committed with all that Titanium Levitation mess.  It could take them a few weeks just to gather up all of that waxy chocolate—and I shuttered at the thought of how many blow-torches it would take to melt it back into a trickle, let alone a placid black lagoon.  A rotten game of pickup-sticks we had made of the River Styx.  It could have cost us our souls—but here was this kind Reaper lady offering us a deal at 32.50! 

I emptied the pockets of my coat and came up empty.  And of course I would: my coat wasn’t my coat—it was the muddy robe she’d handed me.  Chevron saw my scramble and scrambled just the same.  He even went so far as to remove the robe to see if there were any other hidden pockets.  Funny fellow!  

“Ah ha!”  He exclaimed.  And in one fell swoop, a flightless chicken swooped out of the pocket.  Swooped and hit the ground, of course—this being a baby chick.  It hit with quite a thud, actually.  But before any of us could reach down to help the little bugger, it shattered into a million little bugs.  Actor ants!  

“Seize them!”  Macie—the Master at Arms of Mappleton—said.  “Those ants are wanted on bribery charges!  Quick!”  

But it was too late.  They had already shape shifted into just what the Taste Tester ordered: $87 in change.  

“Eighty-seven?”  The Ambassador counted, perplexed.  

“For the tip,” Chevron said, handing it over to our now Grinning Reaper.  

She took it, gave us a nod—and was on her way.  

“Those dastardly ants!”  Macie mumbled.  

“Lifesavers,” Chevron affirmed.  “Now: what do you have for us?  I’m famished.”