Once Max had been firmly tied up and secured in a crate, Bunty administered some smelling salts to Lola who was clearly not her usual self.
Bunty remembered an incident from when they were at school and staying at Bingo’s retreat when Lola, then known as Lettuce had for a time given up smoking.
“I say Lola, ” asked Bunty tentatively, “when was the last time you had a cigarette?”
“I don’t know!” she wailed, “I was poorly and couldn’t smoke-it might have been days.”
“Oh dear, ” said Bunty, who understood nicotine withdrawal symptoms and knew that if Lola did not have some sort of treatment then she would be in for months of strange behaviour. “Mr Purée, ” she called out to the Belgian detective who was examining the images on the wall, “do let me have one of your vile cigars for a moment.”
The little man rushed over and handed Bunty a slim cigar which she ground to a paste with her travelling pestle and mortar, and told Lola to inhale the powder as one would snuff.
Almost instantly Lola stopped snivelling but looked rather odd with a brown stain around her mouth and nose.
“Thank you Bunty, ” she whispered, “I thought I was going to die.”
“No dear, you will be fine.” said Professor Wood soothingly.
The crate containing Max was put on the boat and the ladies and Professor Wood and the detective boarded as well.
“I think that cruise of yours needs to be cut short-I’ll send for your luggage and you can stay with me in my villa outside Rome. Mr Purée, I believe that your work is done, I will get my car to take you to the airport. I will take charge of this strange cargo for now.”
“Hawkins” paced about on the boat; he had the two women almost in his grasp and had lost them to a rather co-operative school of porpoises and a life boat.
Unfortunately his oar phobia meant that he could not follow them in one of the remaining life boats so he would have to wait until the ship anchored at port again before he could begin to track them down.
Once the had got rid of the odd Belgian they drove through the hills outside Rome through poplar trees and rustic villages. The villagers when seen all made the sign to avert the evil eye at the car as they glimpsed Lola through the window.
“Oh no, not again!” sighed Bunty.
Lola was still behaving oddly and kept taking little sniffs at the home made snuff to calm her down. It was most unfashionable, not being able to smoke, but she found that she could smell things for the first time in years.
Max sat gagged in his crate, but all the while he was planning his next move. He had not been regenerated from a remaining shred of skin by the man who now called himself Hawkins for nothing.
He would claim his prize and no-one would stop him.