Mr Eaves was based on the proportions of Mrs Eaves, but Master Licko took some liberty with his design. Where Mrs Eaves was statuesque Mr Eaves took on a stretched-out appearance. Where Mrs Eaves had sharp, bird-like features, Mr Eaves's became cruelly sharp, and elements of both the crow and the vulture fought together. And where Mrs Eaves had the usual number of limbs, Master Licko forgot himself completely and gave Mr Eaves three arms and eight legs. When Marianne, who had commissioned the Eaves's from Master Licko, came to the shop to collect them, she was appalled.
"This is a travesty of what I asked for!" she said, her voice going high-pitched as she waved her arms around agitatedly. Glendinning the butler hurried behind her, escorting motile statues out of her way. "I wanted a normal, human couple for my menagerie. I see them all the time on their television shows, and the men do not look like... that." She pointed for effect and her arm telescoped out nearly skewering Master Licko.
"How will they mate and have children?" she said.
Master Licko had been looking sheepish up until now, aware suddenly that his little design liberties had once again built up into a rather big liberty that was looking as though it might be expensive to retreat from, but when she mentioned children he turned pale.
"Glendinning!" he snapped. The butler, still wrestling with the statue of the Madonna in Heat which was reluctant to leave the Inspiration for David alone, looked up. "Glendinning, the specification for the Eaves's. Quickly now."
As it was, I had the specification to hand as I'd been expecting Marianne's upset, so I waved it at Glendinning who was being straddled by the Madonna who was trying to use him as a springboard.
Master Licko seized the specification from my hands and turned the pages quickly, skimming each in turn and muttering imprecations under his breath. Suddenly he stopped and read more slowly, turning the page, then turning back again. He looked at Marianne.
"There's no requirement in here for the Eaves's to be capable of reproduction."
"Well why would there be, silly? All humans reproduce. It's what most of their television shows are about." Not all though, as we knew. The religious collector had refused the Madonna in Heat precisely because she apparently was well-known for not reproducing, or at least, not like that.
"If it's not the spec, then I don't have to deliver it. It so happens," he raised a hand to forestall her fury, "that the base model I use is normally fertile, so they well be able to have children, but it's not a guarantee and you didn't ask for it."
"What do you say?" Marianne stared at me, her eyes white and vacant as always.
"Legal stuff, mostly, I'm Master Licko's lawyer-at-arms."
"I see. Well, he's still got too many legs! Pull some off him."
Master Licko licked his lips delicately. "They're quickened already. That means that they can feel pain."
"I don't care! Do it, or I'll refuse the order."
"He actually can't," I said smoothly. "The law states that once they've been quickened they have to be treated humanely."
"And what does humanely mean?" Marianne had an odd smirk on her face now.
"Legally, we use it to mean treat them the way they'd treat each other."
"Then you can pull his legs off," she said, tasting victory. "Because they're absolutely vile to each other much of the time. Just turn to channel 31 and see."
"The war-zone, sir," said Glendinning.
And so it was, after much argument and disagreement, that Mr Eaves was induced to stand on a land-mine and have almost six of his extra limbs blown off, bringing him a little closer in shape to Mrs Eaves and probably doing dreadful things to his sanity at the same time.