I must say it has been a most enjoyable holiday by the sea but, it seems, I was right to feel uneasy after the incident with Beaver and the plane.
As we will be going home soon I decided, yesterday, to sample some of the joys of the magnificent pier here at Sunset Beach. The Old Monkey, Goodman and I strolled towards the entrance only to be confronted by a sign saying "NO ELEFANT ALLOWED ON THIS PIER". Atrocious spelling! - this should have given me a clue to the events that were to unfold. Thomas Scoffins, the Piermaster (a small anxious man with red moustache) came running up to us.
"Oh Sir, I am terribly sorry about all this - but we had an inspection today, by a gentleman, and he informed me that the pier could no longer take the weight of.. ahem...large objects such as...elephants...I really am sorry..." his voice tailed off and he was obviously very embarrassed by the situation.
I was immediately suspicious. I asked Scoggins what the gentleman looked like. He replied that he looked a bit rough actually and was wearing a uniform made of sack cloth. I asked the Old Monkey and Goodman if they were thinking what I was thinking. They both nodded in agreement. I told Goodman he would have to investigate as there was no time to get hold of A.B.Fox. This greatly pleased him as he has been longing to work as a detective and has been taking lessons from the fox. He immediately rolled around in the sand to disguise his rather distinctive white fur.
He soon reported back. Apparently Hateman had taken charge of the pier and was using every ruse under the sun to fleece the tourists. The One-legged Donkey was offering to take punters for rides down the pier and then threatening to throw them off if they did not hand over a tenner. Old Whitebeard had already had a dunking because, not surprisingly given his reluctance to part with cash, he refused the extortion. Hootman was telling people their fortunes in a darkened tent. Whilst they listened to his tall tales with rapt attention Flabskin fleeced them by dipping in their pockets.