Unbeknown to Splidge, his every move had been secretly observed. A pair of grey eyes, deep set in a piggy face, stared out from behind two large rubbish bins. The metal containers overflowed with hay, straw, husks and rotting vegetables on the far side of the Market Square. The watcher had lurked there for most of the morning, his fat, dishevelled body propped up against the wall and protected from the driving rain by the canopy of Defoe’s Coffee Emporium. He looked like a man who had spent the night stuffing mouthfuls of fatty food into his face. Not only that, the bulky, lazy slob appeared to have guzzled far more ale than was truly good for him.
And this was exactly what he wanted everyone to think. The overweight, balding, chubby-faced wreck of a man had been coming to the square every day for a week now. He had not always resumed residence behind the bins. He varied his observation points and blended into the background, yet without exception, he concentrated his manic stare on the market noticeboard. If anyone showed the slightest interest in the Royal Advertisement then his employer wanted to know about it. That day, after eyeballing the twelve-year-old boy, the man with the hog-like features had some significant news to tell his boss.
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