Back at his well-stocked workroom, Spanakopitus grumbed as he rummaged through the bins. "Outrageous violation! Barbarous intrusion! Most egregious villainy! It wasn't enough for him to poach my pheasant; he had to steal water too. (Where IS that fitting?)"

Polaris paced back and forth, reflecting his master's agitation.

"Ah, here it is. Come on, pup, you and I are going back up the hill." Then, calling to Spanakopitae, "Hold my dinner in the oven, dear. We'll be back a little after dark."

Laden with shovel, pickaxe, hacksaw, fast-set PVC cement, and a 1" PVC gate valve, Spanakopitus trudged up the hill to the spring. Four hours later he returned, covered with mud but wearing a taciturn little smile, the merest shadow of a grin.

"Did you shut them off, dear, as they deserve?" asked Spanakopitae, greeting him at the door.

"Stupid, lazy fools never thought to install a valve of their own," he responded, "so they won't come looking for the one I put in."

"Did you shut them off, dear, as they deserve?" Spanakopitae asked again.

"Today, one slight turn," her husband responded. "Tomorrow, another. By next week their contraband line will be down to a trickle." And he pursed his fingers in front of his belly and rocked back on his heels.

Spanakopitae knew the gesture well.

28: Up to the Landlord