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Streets of Gold
by Scott Wilson

“She’s a snob. Always putting on airs and using them fancy foreign words to impress us, hey cobber?” Scabby Steve said.

Four other homeless beggars warming their hands around the fire grunted and groaned in agreement. Rancid Rolf stepped back from the flames. Tinea Tim squeezed the January rain from his socks and held them up to the fire. Gruff George and Old Cheese Pete fought over the empty flagon they found in the alley behind the Sleeping Ogre.

“You lot aren’t even lis’nin to me are you?” Scabby Steve said.

“Yer, we are,” Rancid Rolf said.

“So’s them lot,” Tinea Tim said, pointing over to a small group at the end of the alley.

“Bugger off,” Gruff George yelled, “Less you want more problems than you’s got already.”

They began to whisper among themselves, then left the alley; except for one lonely figure. She walked towards them.

“I do say. That was rather rude an inhospitable of you. Just when I had found a lovely group of socialites to have a dandy tea party with us, you go and scare them away.”

“Oh, bugger it. Sorrys ‘bout that ‘Trisha,” Gruff George said.

“What was you’s doing bringin’ outsiders round our part of the city for, anyways?” Scabby Steve said, picking another puss filled sore off his arm.

“I am sure you would all agree that we could improve our standing if we network, you know. Make connections with high society, like the wizards, knights and nobles of the city.”

“We’s got no homes,” Tinea Tim said. “We’s got no employments, we got nuthin’. How’s we gonna make cone..., conni..., connikshons? We’s ain’ even got no tools to make dinners.”

Felicity, Princess of the Paupers, pulled a crumpled piece of parchment from her filthy, rumpled and torn evening gown.

“I keep telling you, Timothy. This is my deed to the royal castle. Once papa passes away it will all be mine.”

Rancid Rolf looked at the faded ink on the parchment, squinting in the poor light, and because his own stench made it hard for his eyes to open more than a slight peek at the best of times.

“I’s learnt some readin’ once, and that looks to me like... what’s it called... an advitizmen for that group of people’s who came to the city last year. What was they’s called? ...actwhores. Those people’s who’s pretend to be other people’s for money.”

Patricia looked at the parchment, pointed to the picture of the prince holding a skull, above the title, Rattlespear’s Hammet. She quickly folded it back up and poked it back in a tear in her dress.

“No, no, no. That’s my great uncle the Duke of Hammet. He’s daddy’s favorite brother.”

She quickly waved goodbye and rushed off down the alley saying, “must go now, time for tea with mama.”

They didn’t know where she always went at times like these, but they were sure it wasn’t the royal castle.