Now summer was well along, with its lazy days and ripening fruit, and by and by it became apparent that the Zom had a serious problem. To make brandy, you need fruit and you need water. In the warmth of summer, fruit there was aplenty, but suddenly there was no water, for the spring had gone dry. What to do?

"We'll drill a well," said the ZomMaster. And so, in search of a competent well driller, he went to Spanakopitus, who referred him to his brother-in-law once removed, who had some expertise in these matters.

"How much would you charge to drill us a well?" ZomMaster asked Drillum.

"Two thousand dollars. That will get you two hundred feet. I should strike water by then."

The ZomMaster took this information back to the Zom, who pondered it carefully. It's not that they didn't have the money, for they did. Their brandy sales had made them almost nouveau riche. But the Zom didn't want to spend a goodly sum on a practical matter. In their view, money should buy fun. Still, after some reflection, they realized that this was an essential outlay, for you can't make brandy without good water.

"Well enough, then," ZomMaster told Drillum. "Come on out and get started."

So Drillum brought his entire rig and a couple of helpers, and soon the bit was drilling---rm-Trrrrgggggrrrrrrrr---and the first joint of pipe had disappeared down the hole. Then another joint was added and more drilling ensued---rrrrmTrrgggggn l-l-l slop slop---till the hole was forty feet deep. Yet a third joint was added, there was more drilling---m-rm-rrggggggrn-Trr slop slop splash splash---and just as the third joint had disappeared down the hole, ssssPOUT, in came the water, sweet and clear and gushing.

"There you are. Water at sixty feet, and all you could want or need," said Drillum, brushing the dirt off his hands and beginning to pack his things. "That will be two thousand dollars, as agreed."

"It sure looks good, and we're happy to have a fine supply of water now," said the ZomMaster. "But you only went down sixty feet. At ten dollars a foot, we only owe you sixty dollars."

"Oh, no," said Drillum. "It's two thousand for a well, and I'd go two hundred feet if necessary, but it's two thousand in any case."

"Well, then," said ZomMaster, "we want to get our money's worth. If we must pay you two thousand, we want you to go down the full two hundred feet."

"I wouldn't recommend that," said Drillum. "You might not like the results. I advise you to stop here, where there is a goodly quantity of sweet water, all you could possibly need, and with no risk of going dry."

"A deal is a deal," said ZomMaster. "If we must pay two thousand, we want the full two hundred feet."

"This is not a good idea," said Drillum. "Unexpected things can happen. But if you insist, I'll continue."

"Drill away, then, and let us have our money's worth," said ZomMaster.

So Drillum put his rig back together and went on drilling---rrrrrrrrrrggggggnnnm---to eighty feet, a hundred feet, a hundred and twenty, a hundred and forty, a hundred and sixty.

At a hundred and eighty feet, Drillum stopped for a moment, turned to ZomMaster, and said, "Don't press your luck. Stop here."

"Don't be lazy," said ZomMaster. "Give us full measure for our money."

With a sigh, Drillum installed the final joint and drilled it into place. And just as the end of the last joint went into the ground, all the water drained out of the entire casing, down into the underground cavern that had been pierced by the drill bit.

"Wha--" ZomMaster's jaw dropped. "How can this be!?" he shrieked.

"The hole's gone to hell," said Drillum. "Happens sometimes. I warned you not to be greedy."

And later, when ZomMaster took his tale of grief to Spanakopitus, these were the sage words of advice he heard:

"It just goes to show you: You should have left well enough alone."

23: Proposal and Acceptance