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In which Oliver Does the First Thing That Pops Into His Head

Oliver had never been one of those people, like ministers and the General, who could talk to anyone about anything, and sound Fascinated. So he ought to have guessed that his conversation with Miss Victoria was going to go Badly.

But it was not really his fault. Their conversation went Badly because Miss Victoyia was Off Her Head.

Indeed, none of the regular people of Wellington Wells was in his right mind. Many of them had not seen the insides of their Right Minds since 1952. That was the year everyone decided that everyone had to take Joy every day.

Joy did not make the Wellies Happy, as far as Oliver knew. It made them forget a wee bit, and that made them a wee bit less sad. But Oliver suspected that scared the Wellies most was someone would not play the Pretending Game, Because if one perosn stopped playing, it was as if he had taken his ball and gone home, and no one could play the game at all any more.

When Oliver came to see Miss Victoria, Oh Best Beloved, she did not want to hear about any sort of fake tanks. She shouted that Oliver was Not Playing Pretend, and she attempted to run away.

That made Oliver very embarrassed. He needed to talk to Miss Victoria. But if she ran away, it would be very hard to talk to her? So he did the first thing that came into his head -- indeed the only thing -- which was a Kidnapping.

When Oliver was a child, he had read Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped, and he had decided to grow up to be a Pirate. But now that he was behaving Piratically, with an actual proper lady thrown over his shoulder like a screaming sack of potatoes, he did not like it at all. He felt far too much like he had when he lived in the Village, many years ago, and the Bad Man began to appear on every television screen.

But needs must when the devil drives. And so, piratically, Oliver tied Miss Victoria to a chair, and carried her off to be a captive in a side room of her own house.

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