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Useful And Fantastic: The Da Vinci Sock Mystery - 1

Why was the great Da Vinci wearing only one sock? Val Yule begins a five-part story which touches on the Secret of the Universe.

"Only one sock!" cried Honoria, as the dangling corpse swung at her, with five toes curled up. Before she could shoot anyone, ten little men in ambush leaped up to steal the remaining threads, and all but one disappeared into an undarned hole.

"Quick!" he gasped, "We have only 555 pages to unravel the Secret of the Universe. I called you as the world expert in crochet at Bush University. Unless we find that missing sock, everyone who loses a sock will be unlegged!"

Honoria guessed he must also know her expertise in grasping and leaping in and out of purloined vehicles, but little did she foresee their discovery that the still undeciphered scrolls and stele in the Middle East were actually knitting patterns, lost as the climate changed to become unfriendly to woolly socks.

"Quick, let us leap into a purloined vehicle,' cried Pedo.

They dashed out of the Viaticum, the corpse trailing behind them, hooked by its remaining sock. Honoria tried to push it off, and the message 'US-FTA' unravelled before their eyes.

"Whatever can that mean?"

Pedo Loseur crinkled his matching grey eyes as he looked first at the corpse, and then at the calling card that had brought him to the Trades Room of the Museum of Modern Arts. The corpse lay with its toes turned up. In its last agony it had unravelled one of its socks and scraps of clues lay everywhere like little woolly caterpillars. But something was missing, something was wrong. The calling card had said 'Come and find the secret of the universe.' But before he had found it, Pedo was attacked from behind, bundled up, and loaded into a removal van.

Also tied up in the van was a beautiful woman. She too was looking for the secret of the universe. Fear filled her beautiful eyes fringed with eyelashes. As the van drove at top speed through all the red lights, "I am Holly Hop," she said, "and if you look in my handbag you will find a secret invoice."

Pedo was no wiser. A number on the invoice said 24.12.2004, and below was a coded message. "Gross socks @ ten euros."

"What's wrong with that?" he whispered. "It sounds a bargain."

"Those socks are really gross," Holly whispered back as they veered round a roundabout. "Did you notice that the corpse had only five toes turned up? The other foot had one sock on it. If we find the missing sock, we may find the Secret of the Universe."

"But that is what I was looking for," cried Pedo in pain as the van crashed at a safety barrier and they all tipped out.

Holly leaped on a passing motor-cycle, pulling Loseur on to the pillion behind her. The motor-cyclist conveniently disappeared, as usually happened when Holly hijacked a vehicle. She rode the cycle at top speed going through all the red lights until it stopped at an emporium. They threw themselves below a large notice, 'Caveat Emptor' and rushed in to the Hosiery Department. It was full of socks, neatly paired.

"We must find the one odd sock," cried Holly, "before the Sockeater devours it!"

But before they could find anything, a railway trolley careered down the aisle and the two were bundled on by a mysterious force.

It careered down an escalator towards a bargain basement. As they whizzed down, Pedo confided to her what he knew about the mystery of the Odd Sock, and how the search for the missing sock ravels its threads thruout all history.

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