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It wasn’t. Carlos had two small puncture wounds on the side of his neck. Two small puncture wounds that oozed a white liquid.

"You’re not going to believe what that white liquid is."

I was trying very hard not to even think what it might be.

"It’s milk."

Milk, I could deal with. Not very well but, given time and a year or two in rehab, I could envisage an eventual coming to terms.

"I’ll have to get the body back to the lab for analysis."

"Of course," I replied. Meanwhile, I had a milk vampire to track down.

#

I hit the stairwell on Ginger Baker Street and dropped a couple of levels to Second. Droogie Town, where else would you go when you’re looking for milk? Couple that with the long-standing feud between the Droogies and the Heads and I could hear the opening bars of a case.

I strode along Kubric, wall to wall milk bars and classical riffs. White clothes, black bowlers, painted left eyes. I could feel the tension, the knowledge that one word, one look out of place and all the doors would fly open and I’d be knee-deep in bowler hats and protecting the little major from a good kicking.

My destination was at the far end of town - Sebastian’s hangout on Clockwork and Orange. Used to be a burger bar - fast food and grease - now it was spotless, Formica and milk. I pushed open the doors.

Wolfgang Amadeus was busy cramming more notes to the bar than a mortal mind could hold and I was being stared at by a roomful of painted single eyes. Very disconcerting. It was like walking into a gay Cyclops bar. And not during happy hour.

Sebastian snapped his fingers and pointed to a hastily vacated seat in front of him. Sebastian was the man in this part of town and the only Droogie with enough of the spherical ones to reunite a Head with the ascended Jimi.

I sat down. "Sebastian," I said.

"Major," he said.

The pleasantries over, I told him about the aggravated euthanasia on the Fourth Level.

"What’s it got to do with us?"

"Ever heard of a milk vampire?"

Some questions sound far better in your head. Ever been in a room full of giggling Droogies? Not recommended.

Ludwig Van took up the ivory challenge and the room settled down. Whiteface indifference smoothing over the cracks of laughter and thigh-slapping abandon.

"Dropped a bad tab, Major?"

"Sucked any Head, Sebastian?"

That was the interview's high point. Sebastian stopped talking and I had nothing to arrest him for. 'Grinning inanely while being badly dressed,' having failed to make the statute books for the second year running.

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