Journal On Writing Meet Email Message Board Read Bodger & Grift FAQ Index Home

Where's Melli?

At last, due to great demand (okay, okay one guy named Steve in Cardiff) I present the mystery of the dueling covers. On your right, I present the US cover art to The Baker's Boy and, directly beneath, I present the UK version of the same book. Now those of you with keen eyesight and acute powers of observation, may be able to discern that something is missing from one of them. What's that you say? The pimple above Jack's left eyebrow. Wrong. MELLI IS GONE!! To the best of my knowledge this strange and inexplicable abduction occurred somewhere over the mid-Atlantic. Was her plane hijacked by terrorists? Did she mysteriously change her identity at some point during the in-flight movie? Was she abducted by aliens? Or did she in fact never catch that ill-fated flight? Is she currently somewhere in a suburban Chicago hospital recovering from a sex change operation? We NEED to know. Where has Melli gone?
Melli's last confirmed sighting was at a book-packing plant in Queens NY. She was wearing a blue, low-cut dress, and her mood was said to be "playful." One observer noted that, "After a long run of bad luck, Melli was finally getting back on her feet again. She was looking forward to her trip to England...she'd even taken to riding her horse on the wrong side of the street." Another source who does not want to be named said, "Yeah, the Mellster looked happy enough, but I got the feeling that deep down she was nervous. Jittery. Kept looking-over her shoulder." Earlier that same morning, we have unconfirmed accounts of a dark-stranger waiting outside the plant's west gate. Not much is known about the man at this point except that he was seen scrubbing his hands vigorously with a Kentucky Fried Chicken wet-wipe.
US Cover
Exhibit A
Old UK Cover - but no Melli
Exhibit B
Assignment #54482298X:
Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to find Melli. Where is she? Did she get on that plane? Did she have a change of heart or hair color? Who is that dark stranger? Did he order extra crispy or original? If you believe you have the answers to these questions file your report with your nearest operative.

Remember: the truth is out there...
ATTENTION: For breaking case information, please view File MX1245AC-1
File MX1245AC-1:
This classified document is where your incoming reports will appear when they are filed with us. It should be studied carefully, with an open mind and a keen eye (or two if you have them).

ATTENTION: Here are the latest leads coming in from around the globe. Agent Giant Noggin (see picture opposite) would like to remind you that all are at present unconfirmed. I repeat: UNCONFIRMED.
Be careful where you point that thing!
Giant Noggin
Received: 11/11 1111hrs. Code Name: Chickens On Parade
Following thousands of leads and spending countless hours reviewing case material I have come to one logical and obvious conclusion.....That you have several hundred Melli-clones working for you in a sweatshop east of Los Angeles. How else could you possibly reply to previous letters so soon, Giant Noggin? Who would suspect that YOU the most respected investigator of all time be responsible for Melli's "so-called" freak-disappearance. I've also noticed that certain details never found their ways into the files and certain reports were "lost" somehow. It all fits together now... and if you don't give me Melli, a suitcase filled with unmarked 20's, a decent pair of sneakers and a jet by the end of next week i will report you to the authorities..... wait a second.... er... I'll report you to every media chain across the globe... Mu-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-aha-ha-aha
Received: 11/02 0900hrs. Code Name: Mr.Q
One moment while I battle a street urchin for his blanket.....the biting wind reeks havoc on one's fragile skin and I left my chapstick in my other holster. A wicked smile is dancing across my chiseled face as I read your up-linked message via my secret portable computer shoe. Emphatically elated to hear Big M is within dagger throwing distance. I'm feeling so giddy, I've canceled the hit on my fellow co-operatives. The thought of displacing you in your job from my.....uh...mind. That would be unheard of, as well as unconstitutional....out of the question. Here's my secret location for the time being. I've infiltrated a small warehouse where cockfights take place. I'm the host and ring announcer. Great cover....
Received: 11/12 1804hrs. Code Name: 007
Yeah...I saw Melli. I was riding my bike past Robbinsville Airport in New Jersey when I couldn't help but notice her leaning out of a U-2 spy plane (a low-cut red silk gown is definitely not appropriate garb for an air mission!). Anyway, I snuck close and heard her talking to a man in military outfit, a conversation I only heard the last part of: "...don't worry, they wouldn't dare shoot down a girl as awfully cute as I am." The military (agent?) then proceeded to hand her a manual titled "So Now You Can Fly" and gaped as she flashed him a dazzling smile. Melli giggled and said something about meeting up with the aircraft carrier George Washington and making things here as peaceful as they are in the Four Kingdoms. If you ask me, SOME country better look out!
Received: 11/02 1821hrs. Code Name: Pennies From Heaven
This is --Penny-- reporting from Los Angeles California at--uhhh..err *excuse me sir, do you have the time?* oh yes.... 0900 hours (10/31). I just saw Melli walk up to a large and discreet looking fellow. She shot the poor man twice in the head and I ran after her. She ran with super-human speed down an alley... barely able to keep up I pulled out my stun-gun. An eye opened up at the back of her head and blinked at me; then she twisted her knee caps to the back of her thighs and leapt onto a fire escape twenty feet above me. Stunned, I began to climb up the fire escape as she walked casually into the large building. Melli being out of my site, I opened the door- trying to catch my breath- to my extreme surprise I found that I was on the stage of a rock concert. Everyone in the crowd looked exactly like Melli. Too confused to comprehend what had just happened I stumbled back to my car and passed out at a local pub. Please don't suspend me... I've joined AA and i watch Oprah 4 times a day. The voices in my head keep telling me to find Jack.... who the hell is Jack?!? By the way... the phone book won't help much, I've already checked.
Received: 11/12 1212hrs. Code Name: Chickens On Parade
After much heated discussion with my cat, Martha, we have come to the conclusion that Melli does not want to be seen. Maybe we should just leave her alone... maybe its not our right to go chasing after her....And maybe, just maybe you wouldn't like it if a bunch of obsessed ex-cops with queer code-names chased after you day and night without end. Give the lady a break.
Received: 8/11 0100hrs. Code Name: Prawnhead
I have reason to believe the dark stranger Melli was with on the night of 1/6 is the one and only David Copperfield. I am currently investigating this lead.
Received: 8/17 0549hrs. Code Name: Mary De Pie
Agent Mary De Pie reporting from Australia. Our operatives here in Oz have spotted Miss Melly at Harry's Cafe De Wheels munching on one of those world famous pies. After eating her pie she left Harry's not before storing several pies in her bag, we followed her through several suburbs keeping close on her tail I had the feeling that she knew we were close. Well I was right Miss Melly gave us the slip at Kings bloody Cross or Kings Cross as it's known to the locals. We hope to be back on her trail in a day or two.
Received: 8/25 0929hrs. Code Name: Space Needle
While standing in line at a Starbucks in Seattle, I spotted Melli behind the counter. What really tipped me off was the low cut, dingy blue dress she was wearing. Her hair was dirty and knotted and was sporting a fashionable nose ring. I thought the Doc Martens were a nice touch. Not wanting to blow my cover, I ordered my latte and took a seat at a table next to the counter. I eavesdropped on a conversation with her coworker, only to discover that she is a big part of the grunge scene here. I will continue to track her movements in the Emerald City until sufficient backup can be sent my way.
Received: 9/2 1756hrs. Code Name: Big Toff
I have to say Melli is having a good laugh at your expense. Just this weekend Melli, Fergi and The Queen Mother were in the San Diego community of La Jolla for the entire weekend. Seems the psuedo royal royal social climbers are having a shopping blowout and trying their hands at a little California night life. I was called for to their joined hotel suites to give them all massages. I realized something was amiss when I saw the empty Tequila bottles and lime rinds on the dresser, and the "Four Kingdoms Express" charge slips all over the floor. Melli was a perfect lady but Fergie made a few ribald comments and made a prank call to Rush Limbaugh. I guess I should of realized who I was dealing with when I was paid with a Visa card with the name Maybor on it (she told me it was really her name but she preferred Melli). Where are they now? That I can't help you with. I think the plan was to dump The Queen mother (some incident over a rude kneecap comment) and head to Vegas to see Seigfried and Roy (maybe to pick up another queen?).
Received: 8/6 1535hrs. Status: We are currently verifying the source of this ransom note
Don't attempt to track this message.It is being routed through the given e-mail address to my real location.I have Melli.I hijacked her plane and flew her to my Island in the Caribbean.I have not hurt her, but I just can't seem to give her up.I don't even know if you would care, as her mind is a little, hmmm how should I say it, well flat. She is being well cared for though. If you want to talk further, send me an e-mail and it will routed to my real location.My reason for taking her? Well she IS awful cute. And besides,couldn't stand for such an important young man (even if he WAS at one time a Baker's Boy) be burdened with love. -The K Man
Received: 8/29 1459hrs. Code Name: Sivle
I have received info on Melli. It would appear that she has pulled an Elvis Presley due to the stress of becoming so famous in such a short period of time. My source has also revealed that he is in awe of Grift's influence with the women so this gives you some idea to sanity of this Shadowy Figure!!
Received: 8/3 1210hrs. Code Name: Phred
Melli was placed in the CIA relocation program. They do not want this information out, just by typing this I am placing my life in great danger. She can be found working as a page at the Bellingham, WA public library. She is going by the name Melinda. She dresses in very unflattering clothes, which is very disappointing because she is awfully cute. She appears to have no memory of her real identity (thanks to mind altering drugs and hypnosis). She was recently spotted staring at a book called the Baker's Boy, and showed faint signs of recollection. Approach her with extreme caution she is under constant surveillance. They will not hesitate to kill you and her. Someone's coming. I have to go be careful. I'll keep you posted if I live through this.
Received: 8/27 1156hrs. Code Name: Lady Godiva
I am almost certain that I saw Melli! I was in Walden books at the Clackamas Towne Center in Clackamas OR, perusing the Fantasy section when I heard a really weird sound, like silk on linoleum. I turned around, and saw the back of a woman with long purple hair. Now a days,that's pretty normal. However, this woman was wearing a full-length RED silk dress, slippers, and a bunch of jewelry. She turned to leave, and I saw her face. It just had to be Melli! She was holding a Webster's dictionary, and a piece of paper. I didn't see what was on the paper, but it looked suspicious. I thought you should know.
Received: 8/5 1800hrs. Code Name: New Shoes
I saw Melli in Atlanta eating ice cream in a ice cream shop in Northlake Mall. I followed her till I had to leave, she was looking at dresses at Macys then headed over to the watercloset, she came out. I called her name but she didn't hear, so I followed her out into the parking lot where she got into a car, with a woman who herself had loads of clothes, and drove off, I hadn't seen her till one morning on the streets of Fayetville county, in Georgia, I myself live in Jonesboro, She was going to Wal*Mart where she bought some clothes and left with a mickey mouse lollipop. If you ask me she sure likes to shop and is finally picking up some in fashion clothes, and believe me, none were red.
Received: 9/21 0530hrs. Code Name: Mr. Jack
I was walking through Vancouver Wall, in Vancouver Washington.When unbeknownst to my eyes, Melli runs by me screaming. Apparently she 'purchased' some items at Victoria Secrets.The sales people were not to happy with the form of cash and proceeded to chase her.Melli screaming at the top of her lungs about some Jack guy.. at first I thought she meant me... but for.. some... reason...I dunno know.. where was I. Yes she had taken a silk red... umm.. a silk red.... oy.. a silk red teddy type thing.... later I found her outside this mall cuddled next to the trash can holding the....the teddy like a lost child, stroking it.. and saying "soon my pretty..soon.. they will all understand." On going home I bumped into a man matching the description of the 'dark' character.. he was flipping burgers at McDonalds in a full Radiation protection suit.
Received: 9/18 1243hrs. Code Name: Mrs. Potts
I saw Melli! She was in the Ballroom with the Candlestick...or was that Miss Scarlet....?
Received: 9/12 1717hrs. Code Name: Lady Godiva
This is Lady Godiva reporting from Oregon on the possible location of Melli. As I reported last time, I saw her at the mall. When she left, I followed her. She got in a really cute blue Plymouth Neon, with a license plate reading, I (heart) Tawl. I clung to the rear bumper in order to see where she would go. The car stopped at a Baskin Robins, a Pizza Hut, and a Taco Bell before we arrived at a gigantic black house, that was really more of a castle, on the outskirts of Portland. I sunk over to hide beneath the rose bushes, and watched as she got out with all of her food and shopping bags. Just before the cops showed up to cart me away, I saw the door open, and this tall skinny guy with dark hair stepped out, and pulled her inside. He was washing his hands with an entire carton of baby wipes. More updates when I get out of jail.
Received: 7/9 1520hrs. Code Name: Hairy Elvis
I saw her in Tupelo, Mississippi (what better place to hide!!) at the book store by the Baskin Robins' with a ice cream cone and a copy of "The Baker's Boy" in the other hand. Said she was waiting for Elvis to show up with the jelly donuts. I waited, but Elvis never showed.
Received: 8/11 2236hrs. Code Name: Bike Parts
A person matching Melli's description was seen doing nude Bungie Jumping in Branson, MO. She was whisked away in an amphibious vehicle (a Duck) before her identity could be confirmed. (this is only funny if you have been to Branson).

WARNING: If an agent files a report without leaving his/her code name, Giant Noggin will be forced to reassign that agent a name from her Code Name Reject File.
Where's Melli Update:
Field Operatives unfamiliar with the current investigation should proceed to the next page. There you will find further intelligence data. This includes photographic evidence and a sheep's bladder.
Next Page
ATTENTION: The word 'intelligence' was used in its broadest sense.
Chapter I
Chapter II
Reader's Comments
Cooking with Tavalisk
More From Tavalisk
Where's Melli
Where's Melli Update
Armed & Dangerous
Quick Quotes:
"The Baker's Boy has most of the qualities of a highly successful popular fantasy epic - it's a fat volume with a substantial cast and a vivid, colorful, landscape. But between its sense of sly wit and its focus on character rather than concept, it's a remarkably readable epic."
What The Readers Say:
"I have just finished your book 'The Bakers Boy' and I really enjoyed it. I am looking forward to reading 'A Man Betrayed' and your final work in the trilogy. Your appreciation of history and your eye for detail has served you very well."
Journal On Writing Meet Email Message Board Read Bodger & Grift FAQ Index Home