"You are Pooh? The detective?" she said.
"I live under the name of Sanders. What's it to you?"
"My boy," she said. "Roo. He's missing."
"I can eat a lot of honey, Toots," I told her.
"Please. I'll give you all the honey pots I have."
I looked her up and down. I looked at my threadbare room. There was no honey anywhere anymore.
I rolled off Rabbit. There was blood everywhere. His one remaining eye stared at me mournfully.
The smell! The smell in Rabbit's Howse!
I had never seen so many tiny bones as I did on the floor of his cave.
"... oh, it's you, Pooh."
"What were you expecting, a Heffalump?"
He stared at me in hatred. "What do you want, bear?" he said.
"I want answers."
I said, "You're going to lose more than your tail if you don't come clean with me, Eeyore."
"It's Sanders to you," I said.
"Sanders is dead," he said.
I let it fly. It was nothing to me. I lived under the name of Sanders. Before I came to the Hundred Acre Wood I was involved in some... trouble. Elsewhere.
Sanders was as good as any.
"I want to know who runs honey into the Hundred Acre Wood," I said. I grabbed the donkey by the stump of his tail and pulled, hard. "I want a name!"
"You didn't have to do that," he said.
He opened his mouth. He was about to spill, I knew it. Then he looked up, and his face froze in an ugly expression of fear.
I followed his gaze.
The bees! The bees!
I knew it wasn't Tigger, he was out of town on a hit for C.R. He was the best damn tiggerman in the business.
I followed the bees. Sooner or later, I thought, we all just follow the bees.
It was honey.
I saw them.
So many beehives!
This was where they made the stuff, before cutting it and distributing it all across the Wood. This was the stash.
Kanga and Roo stood across the water from me in the Floody Place. They were grinning like a couple of maniacs too high on their own supply.
"You?" I said. "It was you all along?"
I felt so tired, then. I was tired of lies, and blood, and the pull of honey. It was a bad habit and it rotted your guts and your teeth.
How much harm could it be?
"Eeyore never stopped complaining," she said. "And as for you, you're just a bothersome bear."
Kanga stared at me, suspicion in her eyes. Roo just hopped up and down, high on the honey and all the excitement.
It was the last thing Kanga ever said.
The plucky little creature had crept up the tree and straight into the bee's hives. Now he kicked them, so savagely that they fell and all the honey fell with them, all the honey and a hoard of enraged bees.
"I guess it's just you and me now, Piglet," I said.
"Not so fast, Pooh."
I stared at the gun in his hand.
He shook his head. "We both know there can be no friends in the honey business, Pooh," he said. "The game's the game. I'm sorry."
He aimed the gun at my head and started to pull the trigger.
He fired but the shot went wide and, anyway, it was only a toy gun.
After all, it was nearly eleven o'clock