Gaspode trotted up to Ginger and pushed his nose against her leg.
The universe contains any amount of horrible ways to be woken up, such as the noise of the mob breaking down the front door, the scream of fire engines, or the realization that today is the Monday which on Friday night was a comfortably long way off. A dog's wet nose is not strictly speaking the worst of the bunch, but it has its own peculiar dreadfulness which connoisseurs of the ghastly and dog owners everywhere have come to know and dread. It's like having a small piece of defrosting liver pressed lovingly against you.
Ginger blinked. The glow faded from her eyes. She looked down, her expression of horror turning to astonishment and then, when she saw Gaspode leering up at her, back to a more mundane horror.
' 'Allo,' Gaspode said, ingratiatingly.
She backed away, bringing her hands up protectively. Sand dribbled between her fingers. Her eyes flickered towards it in bewilderment, and then back to Gaspode.
'Gods, that's horrible,' she said. 'What's going on? Why am I here?' Her hands flew to her mouth. 'Oh no,' she whispered, 'not again!'
She stared at him for a moment, glared up at the doorway, then turned, hitched up her nightdress, and hurried back to town through the morning mists.
Gaspode struggled after her, aware of anger in the air, desperately trying to put as much space as possible between the door and himself.
Sunnink dreadful in there, he thought. Prob'ly tentacled fings that rips your face off. I mean, when you finds mysterious doors in old hills, stands to reason wot comes out ain't going to be pleased to see you. Evil creatures wot Man shouldn't wot of, and here's one dog wot don't want to wot of them either. Why couldn't she . . .
He grumbled on towards the town.
Behind him the door moved the tiniest fraction of an inch.
Holy Wood was awake long before Victor, and the hammering from Century of the Fruitbat echoed around the sky. Waggonloads of timber were queuing up to enter the archway. He was buffeted and pushed aside by a hurrying stream of plasterers and carpenters. Inside, crowds of workmen scurried around the arguing figures of Silverfish and C.M.O.T. Dibbler.
Victor reached them just as Silverfish said, in astonished, tones, 'The whole city?'
'You can leave out the bits round the edge,' said Dibbler. 'But I want the whole of the centre. The palace, the University, the Guilds - everything that makes it a real city, understand? It's got to be right!'
He was red in the face. Behind him loomed Detritus the troll, patiently holding what appeared to be a bed over his head on one massive hand, like a waiter with a tray. Dibbler had the sheets in one hand. Then Victor realized that the whole bed, not just the sheets, was covered in writing.
'But the cost -' Silverfish protested.
'We'll find the money somehow,' said Dibbler calmly.
Silverfish couldn't have looked more horrified if Dibbler had worn a dress. He tried to rally.
'Well, if you're determined, Throat-'
'-I suppose, come to think of it, maybe we could amortize the cost over several clicks, maybe even hire it out afterwards-'
'What are you talking about?' demanded Dibbler. 'We're building it for Blown Away!'
'Yes, yes, of course,' said Silverfish soothingly. 'And then afterwards, we can-'
'Afterwards? There won't be any afterwards! Haven't you read the script? Detritus, show him the script!'
Detritus obligingly dropped the bed between them.
'It's your bed, Throat.'
'Script, bed, what's the difference? Look . . . here . . . just above the carving . . . '
There was a pause while Silverfish read. It was quite a long one. Silverfish wasn't used to reading matter that didn't come in columns with totals at the bottom. Eventually he said, 'You're going . . . to . . . set it on
'It's historical. You can't argue with history,' said Dibbler smugly. 'The city was burned down in the civil war, everyone knows that.'
Silverfish drew himself up. 'The city might have been,' he said stiffly, 'but I didn't have to find the budget for it! It's recklessly extravagant!'
'I'll pay for it somehow,' said Dibbler, calmly.
'In a word - im-possible!'
'That's two words,' said Dibbler.
'There's no way I can work on something like this,' said Silverfish, ignoring the interruption. 'I've tried to see your point of view, haven't I? But you've taken moving pictures and you're trying to turn them into, into, into dreams. I never wanted them to be like this! Include me out!'
'OK.' Dibbler looked up at the troll.
'Mr Silverfish was just leaving,' he said. Detritus nodded, and then slowly and firmly picked up Silverfish by his collar.
Silverfish went white. 'You can't get rid of me like that,' he said.
'You want to bet?'
'There won't be an alchemist in Holy Wood who'll work for you! We'll take the handlemen with us! You'll be finished!'
'Listen! After this click the whole of Holy Wood will be coming to me for a job! Detritus, throw this bum out!'
'Right you are, Mr Dibbler,' rumbled the troll, gripping Silverfish's collar.
'You haven't heard the last of this, you - you scheming, devious megalomaniac!'
Dibbler removed his cigar.
'That's Mister Megalomaniac to you,' he said.
He replaced the cigar, and nodded significantly to the troll, who gently but firmly grasped Silverfish by a leg as well.
'You lay a finger on me and you'll never work in this town again!' shouted Silverfish.
'I got a job anyway, Mr Silverfish,' said Detritus calmly, carrying Silverfish towards the gate. 'I'm VicePresident of Throwing Out People Mr Dibbler Doesn't like the Face Of.'
'Then you'll have to take on an assistant!' snarled Silverfish.
'I got a nephew looking for a career,' said the troll. 'Have a nice day.'
'Right,' said Dibbler, rubbing his hands briskly. 'Soll!'
Soll appeared from behind a trestle table loaded with rolled-up plans, and took a pencil out of his mouth.
'How long will it take?'
'About four days, Uncle.' 'That's too long. Hire more people. I want it done by tomorrow, right?'
'Or you're sacked,' said Dibbler. Soll looked frightened.
'I'm your nephew, Uncle,' he protested. 'You can't sack nephews.'
Dibbler looked around and appeared to notice Victor for the first time.
'Ah, Victor. You're good at words,' he said. 'Can I sack a nephew?'
'Er. I don't think so. I think you have to disown them, or something,' said Victor lamely. 'But-'
'Right! Right!' said Dibbler. 'Good man. I knew it was some kind of a word like that. Disown. Hear that, Soll?'
'Yes, Uncle,' said Soll dispiritedly. 'I'll go and see if I can find some more carpenters, then, shall I?'
'Right.' Soll flashed Victor a look of terrified astonishment as he scurried away. Dibbler started haranguing a group of handlemen. Instructions spouted out of the man like water from a fountain.
'I reckon no-one's goin' to Ankh-Morpork this morning, then,' said a voice by Victor's knee.
'He's certainly very, er, ambitious today;' said Victor. 'Not like himself at all.'
Gaspode scratched an ear. 'There was sunnink I got to tell you. What was it, now? Oh, yeah. I remember. Your girlfriend is an agent of demonic powers. That night we saw her on the hill she was prob'ly on her way to commune with evil. What d'you fink of that, eh?'
He grinned. He was rather proud of the way he'd introduced the subject.
'That's nice,' said Victor abstractedly. Dibbler was certainly acting even stranger than usual. Even stranger than usual for Holy Wood, even . . .
'Yeah,' said Gaspode, slightly annoyed at this reception. 'A-cavortin' at night with eldritchly occult Intelligences from the Other Side, I shouldn't wonder.'
'Good,' said Victor. You didn't normally burn things in Holy Wood. You saved them and painted on the other side. Despite himself, he began to get interested.
'-a cast of thousands,' Dibbler was saying. 'I don't care where you get them from, we'll hire everyone in Holy Wood if we have to, right? And I want-'
'A-helpin' them in their evil attempts to take over the whole world, if I'm any judge,' said Gaspode.
'Does she?' said Victor. Dibbler was talking to a couple of apprentice alchemists now. What was that. A twentyreeler? But no-one had ever dreamed of going above five!
'Yeah, a-diggin' away to rouse them from their ancient slumber to reek havoc, style offing,' said Gaspode. 'Prob'ly aided by cats, you mark my-'
'Look, just shut up a minute, will you?' said Victor, irritably. 'I'm trying to hear what they're saying.'
'Well, 'scuse me. I was jus' tryin' to save the world,' muttered Gaspode. 'If gharstely creatures from Before the Dawna Time starts wavin' at you from under your bed, jus' you don't come complainin' to me.'
'What are you going on about?' said Victor.
'Oh, nothin'. Nothin'.'
Dibbler looked up, caught sight of Victor's craning face, and waved at it.
'You, lad! Come here! Have I got a part for you!'
'Have you?' said Victor, pushing his way through the crowd.
'That's what I said!'
'No, you asked if-' Victor began, and gave up.
'And where's Miss Ginger, may I ask?' said Dibbler. 'Late again?'
' . . . prob'ly sleepin' in . . . ' grumbled a sullen and totally ignored voice from down below in the sea of legs, '. . . prob'ly takes it out of you, messin' with the occult . . . '
'Soll, send someone to fetch her here-'
'. . . wot can you expect, huh, people who like cats're capable of anythin', you can't trust 'em. . . '
'And find someone to transcribe the bed.'
' . . . but do they listen! Not them. Bet if I had a glossy coat an' ran aroun' yappin' they'd listen all right . . . '
Dibbler opened his mouth to speak, and then frowned and raised a hand.
'Where's that muttering coming from?' he said.
' . . . prob'ly saved the whole world for 'em, by rights I'd get a statchoo put up to me nose but no, oh no, not for you Mr Gaspode, on account of you not bein' the right kinda person, so . . . '
The whine stopped. The crowd shuffled aside, revealing a small bowlegged grey dog, which looked up impassively at Dibbler.
'Bark?' it said, innocently.
Events always moved fast in Holy Wood, but the work on Blown Away sped forward like a comet. The other Fruitbat clicks were halted. So were most of the others in the town, because Dibbler was hiring actors and handlemen at twice what anyone else would pay.
And a sort of Ankh-Morpork rose among the dunes. It would have been cheaper, Soll complained, to have risked the wrath of the wizards, sneaked some filming in Ankh-Morpork itself, and then slipped someone a fistful of dollars to put a match to the place.
'Apart from anything else,' he declared, 'it wouldn't look right.'
'But it's the real Ankh-Morpork, Uncle,' said Soll. 'It's got to look exactly right. How can it not look right?'
'Ankh-Morpork doesn't look all that genuine, you know,' said Dibbler thoughtfully.
'Of course it's bloody genuine!' snapped Soll, the bonds of .kinship stretching to snapping point. 'It's really there! It's really itself! You can't make it any more genuine! It's as genuine as it can get!'
Dibbler took his cigar out of his mouth.
'No, it isn't,' he said. 'You'll see.'
Ginger turned up around lunchtime, looking so pale that even Dibbler didn't shout at her. She kept glaring at Gaspode, who tried to stay out of her way.
Dibbler was preoccupied, anyway. He was in his office, explaining The Plot.
It was basically quite simple, running on the familiar lines of Boy Meets Girl, Girl Meets Another Boy, Boy Loses Girl, except that on this occasion there was a civil war in the middle of it . . .