Rivergirl and Osiris are walking with their Beloved Employer on the streets of Manhattan -- not on the sidewalks, but on the actual streets. Hey, it's their backyard and they can walk where they darned well want. Himself appears relaxed, content that all is well with the world; Rivergirl and Orsiris, on the other hand, are wary.
Well, Osiris is wary -- Rivergirl is still recovering from too many salads with her friend, Self d'Cait and is not as vigilant as she should be.

Suddenly, they are surrounded by a group of food stained bandits intent on kidnapping Himself. Rivergirl, her reactions slowed by the previously mentioned salad episode, begins to rummage in her little old lady purse for the fully charged goss guns she keeps there. Of course, she looks in the wrong compartment first -- the aged and slightly dotty inevitably to that. Osiris tries to get between the invaders and his Beloved Employer, but it is useless. He is overwhelmed and Himself, polite and gracious as always, is dragged away. As the kidnappers leave, their leader -- a tall, red headed woman who seems to have several personalities -- shouts back at them. "And you're not going to get him back until we get GORDON here! Got it? Your Beloved Employer in exchange for Our Adored Inspiration!"

Rivergirl finally locates the weapons at the bottom of her purse and is prepared to shoot anything and everything between her and her Beloved Employer. She may be aged and slightly dotty, but she can be ferocious when angered. (Have you ever seen a pack of wolves attack a grizzly bear? No, of course not. Why would they? Wolves prey on the old and weak. Rivergirl, while old, should never be considered weak!)

Osiris, as always, has a much more moderate response. From his back pocket, he pulls a fully charged palm pilot and calls in a hostage negotiator -- a feisty legal eagle named Lil who immediately makes contact with the kidnappers through a neutral third party, a private eye named Slip Stream.

Meanwhile, Himself sets out to free himself. He discovers that it isn't at all necessary
for him to actually fight his way free; he simply smiles charmingly, wiggles his toes,
and his captors fall to the floor with a loud THUD.

He has just about made it to the door when it is flung open and a small bolt of energy (with hairy dimples???) rushes into the room. "People," he shouts, "let the big guy go. I haven't forgotten you. I've just been working on a way to pump happy dance music into every crabby post. That way, people will start out trying to complain and will end up saying something nice about someone."

Himself looks at the small bolt of energy sternly. "You mean," he says, "that this has all been just some misunderstanding?" He pauses and then says, "I'll buy that."

Just then, Osiris, Rivergirl, and the whole negotiating team arrive, prepared to do battle to set their Beloved Employer free. But the battle is unnecessary. Everyone is happy and the music is playing. Himself is dancing with his former captors, the smallbolt of energy is bouncing all over the room. It's a joyful site.

Osiris turns to Rivergirl. "Hey, dotty one," he drawls. "We survived. Dance with me."