"I can pay you," she said quickly. "All the honey you can eat."
"I can eat a lot of honey, Toots," I told her.
"Please. I'll give you all the honey pots I have."
I looked her up and down. I looked at my threadbare room. There was no honey anywhere anymore.
I rolled off Rabbit. There was blood everywhere. His one remaining eye stared at me mournfully.
The smell! The smell in Rabbit's Howse!
I had never seen so many tiny bones as I did on the floor of his cave.
I decided to go to the Gloomy Place. Eeyore was at his regular spot, unenthusiastically chewing on thistles.
"... oh, it's you, Pooh."
"What were you expecting, a Heffalump?"
He stared at me in hatred. "What do you want, bear?" he said.
"I want answers."
"Why are you all covered in blood?" he said. He looked around him, distracted. "I think I lost my tail again," he said.
I said, "You're going to lose more than your tail if you don't come clean with me, Eeyore."
"Listen, it wasn't me!" he said. "You gotta believe me, Pooh!"
"It's Sanders to you," I said.
"Sanders is dead," he said.
I let it fly. It was nothing to me. I lived under the name of Sanders. Before I came to the Hundred Acre Wood I was involved in some... trouble. Elsewhere.
Let's just say I had to leave in a hurry and I needed a name.
Sanders was as good as any.
"I want to know who runs honey into the Hundred Acre Wood," I said. I grabbed the donkey by the stump of his tail and pulled, hard. "I want a name!"
By the time I climbed out, covered in mud, Eeyore wasn't even a footnote on page 78, if you know what I mean. I was no closer to finding Roo, or whoever the shadowy figure was who controlled all the honey supply in the Wood.
I knew it wasn't Rabbit, he'd just been a garden variety serial killer and his reign of terror was finally over - I had made sure of that.
I followed the bees. Sooner or later, I thought, we all just follow the bees.
"So you figured it out, huh? Took you long enough," she said.
Kanga and Roo stood across the water from me in the Floody Place. They were grinning like a couple of maniacs too high on their own supply.
"You?" I said. "It was you all along?"
"Who were you expecting, Owl? He couldn't tie a shoelace if he had feet," she said.
I felt so tired, then. I was tired of lies, and blood, and the pull of honey. It was a bad habit and it rotted your guts and your teeth.
Now Rabbit was dead in his own murder howse, and Tigger stomped on people's heads for cash. Sometimes I thought I was the only one still left who believed in anything. Truth. Justice. A little snack at eleven o'clock.
"Why me?" I said. "Why hire me? Roo never went missing. And why kill Eeyore? He never did anyone any harm."
"Eeyore never stopped complaining," she said. "And as for you, you're just a bothersome bear."
"Rabbit was becoming a problem," she said. "I figured you'd take care of it, and you did. You're nothing but a honey-addled bear of very little brain, and now it's time to finish the book and turn your last page."
"Now, Piglet!" I screamed.
The plucky little creature had crept up the tree and straight into the bee's hives. Now he kicked them, so savagely that they fell and all the honey fell with them, all the honey and a hoard of enraged bees.
"I thought we were friends!" I said.
He shook his head. "We both know there can be no friends in the honey business, Pooh," he said. "The game's the game. I'm sorry."
He aimed the gun at my head and started to pull the trigger.