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Lavie Tidhar @lavietidhar
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Her name was Kanga and she was trouble. She came into my office as I was about to dip into a honeypot. I liked honey the way priests love God.
"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 pay you," she said quickly. "All the honey you can eat."
"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 needed it. I needed it the way a trainspotter needed to whistle at trains. I knew someone controlled all the beehives in the Hundred Acre Wood but I didn't know who. I was sure Roo was connected.
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.
I decided to go to the Gloomy Place. Eeyore was at his regular spot, unenthusiastically chewing on thistles.
"... 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."
"Why are you all covered in blood?" he said. He looked around him, distracted. "I think I lost my tail again," he said.
I said, "You're going to lose more than your tail if you don't come clean with me, Eeyore."
"Listen, it wasn't me!" he said. "You gotta believe me, Pooh!"
"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.
Let's just say I had to leave in a hurry and I needed a name.
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!"
"Try Winnie-ther-Pooh," he said, and he began to bray like a maddened thing, until I socked him one under the chin and he stopped. He rubbed his face gloomily.
"You didn't have to do that," he said.
"Tell me, Eeyore!"
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!
There was nothing I could do. I made it to the nearest pool of mud and hid just in time, but poor Eeyore wasn't as lucky.
The sound of his screams still keeps me awake at night, even now.
By the time I climbed out, covered in mud, Eeyore wasn't even a footnote on page 78, if you know what I mean. I was no closer to finding Roo, or whoever the shadowy figure was who controlled all the honey supply in the Wood.
I set out to poke bees with a stick and I had stirred up a hornet's nest instead. Someone had it in for me. I was out of luck, I was out of patience, and most importantly I was out of honey.
Who was it? Piglet? Owl? Alexander Beetle?
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 knew it wasn't Rabbit, he'd just been a garden variety serial killer and his reign of terror was finally over - I had made sure of that.
I followed the bees. Sooner or later, I thought, we all just follow the bees.
... Past Rabbit's Friends and Relations (Deceased), past Six Pine Trees and the trap I'd set long ago for Heffalumps. Finally I arrived where I guess, deep down, I always knew I would.
The Place Where the Woozle Wash.
God but I hated Woozles. I looked around for them but, as usual, all I could find were my own bloody footprints.
Something dripped, dripped, dripped down on my face. I touched my fingers to it and sniffed, then tasted. It was sticky and it tasted like God's own sweet nectar.
It was honey.
I looked up.
I saw them.
The beehives.
So many beehives!
This was where they made the stuff, before cutting it and distributing it all across the Wood. This was the stash.
"So you figured it out, huh? Took you long enough," she said.
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?"
"Who were you expecting, Owl? He couldn't tie a shoelace if he had feet," she said.
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.
I thought of how it all used to be, back when C.R. was young, when we still all believed things would get better. When we still had hope. In a way, hope is as powerful a drug as honey.
Now Rabbit was dead in his own murder howse, and Tigger stomped on people's heads for cash. Sometimes I thought I was the only one still left who believed in anything. Truth. Justice. A little snack at eleven o'clock.
All I could hear was the drip, drip, drip of the honey. All I could think about was how much I wanted a taste.
Just one taste.
How much harm could it be?
"Why me?" I said. "Why hire me? Roo never went missing. And why kill Eeyore? He never did anyone any harm."
"Eeyore never stopped complaining," she said. "And as for you, you're just a bothersome bear."
"Rabbit was becoming a problem," she said. "I figured you'd take care of it, and you did. You're nothing but a honey-addled bear of very little brain, and now it's time to finish the book and turn your last page."
"Aren't you forgetting something?" I said.
Kanga stared at me, suspicion in her eyes. Roo just hopped up and down, high on the honey and all the excitement.
"What?" she said.
It was the last thing Kanga ever said.
"Now, Piglet!" I screamed.
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.
He fell. The bees swarmed towards Kanga and Roo, who tried to run into the brook, but it was no use. The bees had them.
I plucked Piglet from the air and we ran for our lives, Kanga and Roo's screams behind us, and the angry buzzing of bees.
It was a long, long time before their screams died down.
At last we reached my house.
"I guess it's just you and me now, Piglet," I said.
"Not so fast, Pooh."
I stared at the gun in his hand.
"You?" I said.
"Now that Kanga's out of the game I can take over the honey trade!" he said. "Don't you see, Pooh? It had to happen that way. I had to be sure. You're the last loose end."
"I thought we were friends!" I said.
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.
Which is when I grabbed the Sanders sign and hit him across the face with it.
He fired but the shot went wide and, anyway, it was only a toy gun.
I hit him with it until he stopped twitching and lay still.
Later, much later, under the light of the moon, I dug a new shallow grave next to the one where I'd buried the original Sanders.
I covered him with earth and stood there. I wanted to say something, but I realised I had said all my goodbyes long ago.
Then I went and had a little something, you understand. Just a little smackerel.
After all, it was nearly eleven o'clock
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