Captain Pigheart’s Stowaway Adventure

“I’ve sailed from one end of these oceans to the next and I’ve seen little of the Heavens and Earth ye finds in ye cups Horatio.” We’d been drinking since sunset by firelight. Me guest were one Horatio the Hermit who’d been so kind as to join us in the capacity of stowaway. It’d been a while since any fool had hidden aboard our ship, still less as one disguised as a rabbit hutch. Poor Barry’d been most disappointed as he knelt to stroke the bunny’s ear to find only the twisted beard of some stinking malcontent.

I’d planned to toss him overboard but the man’s silver tongue stayed his execution. Horatio babbled about a sacred cove o’ the ocean where man could commune with the watery gods and receive their blessin’. He was as mad as a flying fish, but o’ course that don’t necessarily make him wrong. We were needful o’ diversion for having plundered mightily off the Spanish coast we now neared the alcoholic doldrums o’ boredom. Our course were set, and for further amusement I ordered the hobo cleaned.

When we reached the Hermit’s temple cove we had a celebratory barrel-draining – just me, Horatio, Barry and Mick ruddy in the light and in various stages of passing out. There came startling thunder from all around us, though it were dry and the stars were clear as day, well – as they be on a clear night (ye knows what I mean). Twere strange. The sea was calm beneath us and yet when we cast lanterns over the side, the water itself was bubbling fiercely. I dashed for the helm to steer us from these queer waters – there was a slight wind I hoped to exploit. As I hobbled over, the seas exploded about us in great fountains of luminous spray, each topped by a mass of jellyfish.

I stood at the wheel, flanked by me battered buddies, gobs agog and gaping with slack-jawed surprise. A deep thrumbling from below forced the rhythmically writhing maritime beasties out of the water. Gaargh, the beauty o’nature near unmanned us, the pulse of the ocean penetrated the inebriate veil we’d drawn over our senses, flinging water over the planks. Horatio bounded over to the rail with customary grace, tripping and flinging himself over the side.

We found him treading water by the ship’s side, lit with an eerie pink from below. “Hop in lads, the water’s lovely”, the man declared. Mick and Barry were already mounting the rail when Horatio chuckled, “there’s a ticklin’ at me ankles, why ye little mischiefs”. A premonition struck me, and I laid a hand and hook upon the shoulders of me crew mates as they straddled the railing. They twisted angrily in me grip, keen to enjoy the peculiar pink waters but I held ‘em tightly.

Sure enough, me creepin’ concern were based on a solid grasp of our likely misfortune. “Why tis the ocean’s own kisses of love as in the days of ancient Greece” Horatio’s babble turned to the inevitable cries and screams as the water foamed redly about him. Barry and Mick’d returned all four o’ their feet to the deck. “Tis likely too late for a rope…” Mick commented as the hobo-hermit vanished in a whirl of bubbles and flashing teeth.

The author of the vanishing sea tramp reared suddenly from the water, borne up on another mast of brine: an horrific writhing mass of teeth and eyeballs, making me suspect the dancing sea beasts were merely escaping its dinner-time intentions. Even in our drunken state we pirates are professionals to the last and twas only a few breaking toes that slowed us in rolling a cannon across the deck. The beast was using its teeth to haul itself up the hull, its horrid eyes goggling at us with hunger, tatters of Horatio being snapped up by lower mouths as they tumbled towards the sea.

“Blast the demon back into the deeps lads,” I bellowed, quite forgetting that Mick still wore his drinking mitts and could only bash at the fuse with a mug. Meantimes the beast was on deck – with me pistol I blasted away one facet of its fishy features which merely caused it to shriek and lash out toothily at Barry who was dashing across the deck with a lantern and taper. The lantern bounced off the piscebeast and onto me waiting hook, but the taper was snapped up by the fiend as it latched onto Barry’s leg. Mick set to whacking the brute with his stein-fists while I whirled, desperate for some tinder to spark alight Mister Boom (as we’d named the cannon earlier).

There was naught to hand, and me lads were in trouble. Naught to hand, but to foot..? I smashed the lamp to the deck and thrust me peg leg into the oily flames. The rum reserve I kept within its hollow core burst into light and I put me enflamed stump to the cannon’s Boom Whisker (the naming’d gone on for a while). Mister Boom kept true to his name and atomised the ghastly sea beast, casting a fishy mist across me and me crewmates. Untethered, Mister Boom thundered back into the foremast, delivering a fatal blow to her upright fortitude.

With a weary creak the mast split and tumbled, smashing down onto the headless stub of the sea beast as it battered against the deck searching for its snappy noggin. With spars embedded in it, the whole lot slipped and tipped off the Grim Bastard, threatening to tug the ship over with it. Only the quick-thinking of me crew, alerted (finally) to the threat by the cannon’s discharge, of hacking at ropes stopped us from following the beast into the depths. The pink temple of fizzing water collapsed back into the sea and apart from the swathe of destruction across the Grim Bastard’s deck there was no sign of the wondrous events of the night. “Right,” said No Hands Mick, “that settles it – stowaways go overboard”.

Galaxy Team ~ The Beastlie Brothers

“November 1977, the home of geography teacher Doyle Humpester [still photograph of man holding chalk] is struck by a nuclear blast, which ignites the gas main destroying his home and everything in a quarter mile radius [aerial view of the smoking ruin of the street]. Mr Humpester and his wife, Anne, are recovered alive and in good health from the radioactive rubble a week later [wedding photograph of Mr and Mrs Humpester]. Humpester is heard to claim that they were, and I quote ‘reassembled by the Magnetic Lords of Atlantis’. They are both taken to Northfork military hospital [location classified] to recover and be assessed. Nine days later Doyle and Anne are reported to have escaped after apparently petrifying the guards [still photograph of soldier, skin texture is distinctly granular] and turning the facility walls into a permeable jelly [still photograph of ragged, spongy hole in wall]. They disappear for twenty-three years. [MOD classified notice]”

The film peters out and the kid flips the lights back on. He turns round and goes “so, what do you think? I got it from a bag I found on a train between London and Brighton.” I grimace, which is tricky with teeth like mine “Well, I don’t think Dad’s going to like it.” The kid’s not listening though. I think his name is Chris or something boring and he’s babbling on about the other videos and papers that were in the bag, “one of the others gets into all the weird stuff that went down in the ‘80s and ‘90s, like that village in Wales disappearing.” “You don’t say” I mutter under my breath. “And there’s one on the Beastlie Boys and that pub where everyone died and the-“ I bristle at that (I can’t help it) and place my hand on Kevin’s shoulder. For the first time he shuts up and pays some attention.

He’s what, twenty-two? I found him on an internet forum devoted to geeking out and theorising about the activities and origins of Galaxy Team. Most of it is just mental nonsense, but now and again someone says something that sounds less crazy. And when you also hear that the Ministry of Defence has lost another laptop or left a folder on the tube… So I sought him out, Chris, Keith whatever and got myself invited to a little home movie showing in his mum’s cellar. That he’s showing me VHS footage only backs up its authenticity. “Listen kid,” I say, “you shouldn’t believe everything you hear about the Beastlie Boys”. Carl looks worried. He should be. I growl, and my claws slide out, curling over his shoulder, thick hair sprouts out of my sleeves. There’s a thump, a thud and a stifled scream followed by another thud and the sound of breaking glass from above us. Charlie goes white. “Sorry mate, that’ll be your mum”. The crashing continues.

I look at the kid with my real eyes, all black and rimmed with fur. “You’re about to die, so you may as well get some of your facts straight.” Tediously Kyle starts to blubber, “bu-bu-but you’re m- Mu’Tant Ra Koon”. I sigh, “yep and only me and my brother upstairs know what really happened in that pub. So you want to know, or do you want to die sooner?” I admit they’re not the best options in the world, but he managed to snot-bubble out a yes.

“We were the first to survive, me and Man-Ho Tujsk. We were four when Dad started the experiments. I guess that sounds pretty bad to outsiders but he was a great dad. We used to play with cyborg baboons and laser ducks in the mornings, get hypno-educated in the afternoons and at night Dad read us fairy tales and crime thrillers. This was all in Llandwi-ge-Hw of course, occluded from view. Dad was always determined that his children should be as special as he and Mum had become.

“He’d managed to get hold of some decent DNA from one of those freeze-dried Siberian mammoths and a Cuban contact had slipped him some thirteenth century land sloth genes. That’s where I get these claws from. Now Dad’s a genius, no doubt about that but that doesn’t mean he thinks too far ahead. So sure, you can shoot your boys up with retro-viral mammoth and sloth DNA and give them amazing super-powers but it’s definitely going to limit their potential for gainful employment.

“More importantly, it was going to be tough to meet girls. We were sixteen, we wanted to meet girls, go to the pub, do normal things. So we sneaked out through the Imperceptibubble and headed to the nearest pub, The King’s Chestnuts. We knew we’d stick out a bit, but Mum had long taught us the magics of the ancients (or as Dad said, old science) and we could at least hide the tusks, fur and claws which might seem odd to the locals. We thought we were doing alright – we’d gotten served (cider, naturally for teenagers) and settled into a dark corner.

“What we didn’t know was that MI6 had been using the pub as a small base of operations since Llandwi-ge-Hw went missing and we were exactly the sort of thing they were looking for. They pulled out guns; we pulled out our claws and tusks. We can rip up a bar pretty quickly, and managed to throw enough barstools and tables around to get us outside and into the beer garden. There was a lot of panicking and yelling, and then helicopters turned up – black against the night sky. Without any warning they threw out gas grenades. They must have misjudged the wind because it all streamed away from us and over the pub.

“Within a minute all the MI6 guys and the pub staff were dead and we were standing in a spotlight. I thought we were dead too, but the helicopters exploded and crashed flaming to the ground. It was Dad, in the Petulance, the jet he’d built to spite Mum’s ban on motorbikes.”

I look down at Clive, “not our fault you see.” The cellar door falls inwards and I see Man-Ho Tujsk’s big shaggy feet at the top of the steps. “Right then. Time for us to go Colin.” “So, you’re the good guys?” he whines. What can I say? “It’s complicated”. He looks sort of relieved, until I lean forwards and pull his head off. I gather up the tapes and go upstairs.

“What was you doin’ down vhere?” Man-Ho asks as we leave the house, locking the door behind him. The fire catches and blows out the windows as we close the gate. “Just thinking about old times bro’.”

Occasional Poetry from @shankanalia

“I rarely write poetry of any kind, being possessed of only the crudest sense of the form. If it don’t rhyme I don’t get it. Well, I’m not that bad, but I’m not naturally inclined towards the stuff. When I am it tends towards the violent and odd. Judge for yourself. Some may in fact be songs. Apologies for the meanness of them if you don’t enjoy that sort of thing. Sometimes I wonder if I am in fact a “bad person”. Meh. This sort of gibbery is, I find, an excellent form of stress relief, and frankly it keeps me out of the cell which I feel would otherwise be my destiny. Thank goodness for Twitter and a degree of literacy.”

Love Shank
I made a love shank for you
From a toothbrush and glitter glue
From my lips (teeth) to your heart
Sparkly aorta
Sparkly aorta

There’s blood on the floor over here
There’s blood on the floor over there
There is blood on the floor
There is blood on the floor
There is blood on the floor
Instead of in you.

Rose Tinted Ocula
I stab you in the eyes
Looks like you are weeping
But you’re not weeping
The future’s rosy
But you are bleeding
Bleeding eyes
Like a fire in your eyes
A reflection of my pain
But in your own eyes
Burning light away
Burny eye-flame
Tears of gasoline

Oh hot fluttery butterflies of bibble-babble,
How you flipple and twist in the windy wind.
I hope your taffeta-pretty flappies don’t get stripped and nasty tatty.

Twice in the ribs and once in the spine,
~shank shank shank~
Gonna make you whine
And I’ll taste your pain.
(note awkward rhyme with ‘pine’)

More kinds of anguished rage-making can be found on Twitter under @shankanalia

Franklyn de Gashe ~ The Theatrical Entertainment

Space convulsed. Flames of black snaked around me as I warped in and out of existence before being squeezed out of the temporal effluvium. I stuffed the time hamster back into its velvet pouch. The poor thing was shaking and clearly needed the sunflower seeds I tapped its face with. I’d been hard at work before the peelers had disturbed the Duke and I, prompting my chrono-rodential translation into this musty hole. My escape through the rodent’s portal had been as rough as ever. My cuffs were quite disarrayed although the time hole had apparently scraped clean my jacket and taken the bloodstains from my favourite strangling gloves. I’d just have to re-sanguinate them.

With the feel of the hamster stuffing its cheeks against my liver I mustered an interest in our surroundings. The stench of failure squatted in the air like a fetid whore in the gutter. The room, dark; dimly lit by dangling brass orbs. The floor boarded and scuffed, obscured by a vulgar rug depicting nothing but the weaver’s limited imagination. The chairs had been wisely bolted to the floor (how I loathe the habit of guests rearranging furniture), the table in the centre bore manacles, straps and a curious patchwork pigmentation. Promising. I’d marbled a slab or two myself. I was reminded of the lair of the Mire people on whom I’d preyed whilst dwelling amongst the shark giraffes in the Afric valleys. Of course their torturous habits were as nothing to the agony of their conversation, which marked them as victims for any philanthropically inclined assassin.

The damp aggravated my asthma so I prepared a pipe of ‘Victor Shartbritches’ Finest Health Shag’ which happily displaced both the lung clag and my general dismay. Pipe in teeth I browsed the ground floor which had been curiously carpeted with a littering of springs, bolts and metallic detritus. The pantry was a tumble of limbs and assorted torso bits; hardly appetising. The kitchen sink was stacked with skull caps and liquefying brain matter. There were no vittles to fill my growling belly. I did find tea, which I enhanced with the phials and vials of tonics I carry constantly. I resumed my rifling revived and twitchy.

I received no gentlemanly warning before I was hurled across the drawing room to demolish a bookcase and vase with the force of my en-lobment. With a grin I drew my twin gutting blades from their ingenious homes in my sleeves. Across the room, hunched in a mockery of manhood was a fabulous fellow, who whilst largely comprising a grisly mass of ill-stitched meat owned a gleaming skull and glass piston limbs which belied his organic naissance. The thing’s arms pumped hard, winding strength for further blows. I pressed my advantage, pirouetting through the air in a whirlwind of flashing blades, gashing the concertinaed bellows in his shoulders and hip. I landed some feet away, leisurely tooting on my medicine which I retained in my toothy embrace.

The automaton cocked its clockwork head as I lectured it on the proper treatment of guests. But at length I concluded that it was either dumb or damaged, for it offered neither retort nor explanation for its behaviour. A tedious affair. I sipped my tea and regarded it over my crossed knees. The house was clearly abandoned and this tin headed ogre left as a guard dog. I took up a screwdriver and playfully tinkered at the robot’s skull. The convulsive twitching gave it the semblance of pain but it wasn’t until I’d triggered a speaker function that I was prepared to regard it useful. At first I could scarcely tease it through jabbing and soft words to sing me a nursery rhyme. In time though he mastered Baa Baa Black Sheep and we moved on to Daisy. The metallic gnarl of his voice grated against my delicate aesthetics but I persevered.

By the third day he could declaim Shakespeare; I cast him in the role of Juliet. I hauled him upstairs and balanced him across the banister while I beseeched him from below. My eyes fairly fizzled as I eagerly constructed a rude stage at the foot of the staircase and dragged out the brass orbs to be our footlights. Having need of further players I plundered the cadaver cast-offs in the cupboards, and while brewing yet more tinctured tea, copied the mechanisms that operated my Juliet with the cutlery and sinew I found strewn about the kitchen. Soon I had a fine cast with whom to enact Shakespeare’s tragic romance in full.

Despite the corpsey plenitude there was something missing. My tea-induced frenzy abated, the mists of glory de-clouding my eyes. Before me stood my animated zombie players and Juliet, all powered by the field of concocted fire I’d electrified the stage with. With a flick of my toe act one would commence, lead of course with the fabulous “Two houses” speech of which we’re all so fond. I was about to engage the whole affair when I realised that I could not watch this art alone – I was the director, twas only fitting that I have an audience fit to receive it.

The gloom was seizing me – what use these decrepit actors and my machinations if I’d no audience to gasp and lavish their praise upon me? It was then that the doorbell rang. A quandary dear sirs: when one has supplanted the perhaps proper denizen, how should one answer their bell? It tickled my conscience for all of a moment before flinging the door open, puppeting the corpse of my Benvolio (whose gaping face I fancied likely fit the bill of the bell-owner) through the gap. It seems my attempts at make-up were in vain. Perhaps I’d made him too orange (to compensate for the stage luminance), perhaps it was his skeletal throat or my rude stitching. Perhaps both, for with a gasp and eyeball stretching the poor milk wench fainted away on the step. I cast Benvolio to one side and drew her in, settling her in a chair with bonds and cushion.

 Over the next three days I drank tea, ground my teeth and made adjustments to the animatronic controls of my cadaverous troupe. At regular intervals some other spectator would knock on the door with concern for the last to join my dainty auditoria. And so I achieved three ranks of restless eyewitnesses to my creative opus.

 It was precisely six days since I’d emerged in this creatively fertile time when I ordered the curtains open before my wide-eyed audience. They looked thrilled, and were hungry for theatre, and a meal. The careless former owner had made no allowance for the belly needs of is guests and I’d been able only to nurture their spirits with the backstage excitement of a play in progress. There were a number I had to slap awake lest they miss the third act, but most sat rigidly to attention, the sweat of anticipation dribbling down their faces. I was proud of my puppet players, from little Benvolio to Nursie (whom I’d constructed largely with an armchair), they played their parts while I provided their voices from falsetto to tenor; except for the scenes with my beloved Juliet. The wig I’d pasted onto his shiny pate quite deceived me and I truly believed our love would last forever, despite our families’ rancour.

 Alas, my spectacle was cut short by a hammering at the door. Though we tried to ignore it (my audience gamely blocking it out by the stamp of their feet) it was more than I (or any other artiste) could endure. Deeply affronted I hurled the door wide and bellowed for peace in the faces of the constables crowding the door. They fell back in surprise and I slammed the door once more. Their tiresome noise resumed at once. Is there to be no calm for a theatre director?

 We achieved act four before they pounded the door to pieces. I’d blocked the windows thoroughly to attain the darkness and suspension of disbelief my crowd deserved. Clearly I had no choice but to turn my thespians upon the interlopers. As the animated bodies attacked I realised I should have undertaken one of the histories, perhaps Henry V. “Once more, dear friends,” I cried as the tenuously twined torsos burst upon the bobbies, “unto the breach”. The rabble had no appreciation of the work and had the temerity to adopt expressions of anger, as if their interruption were not the travesty at hand. With a sigh I set the android to ‘kill’ and withdrew my time hamster from his pouch. I tickled him in that special way and he squealed forth the temporal orifice. With luck our next stop would be a more cultural realm.

Alphabetic Dialogues 1 The Aardvark Farm

Just for fun, using the Alphabet Game to play with constrained dialogue. Written in the shower…

‘Aardvarks Peter, aardvarks’
‘But Dad, I want to be a dentist’
‘Can’t abandon the lovely ‘varks’
‘Dad, please listen – dentistry fills my heart’
‘Everyone loves a good aard vark’
‘Father, seriously-‘
‘Giving this aardvark farm to you is all I ever wanted’
‘Hey, that’s not fair’
‘It’s true’
‘Just hold on’
‘…Kept these aardvarks for forty years’
‘Let’s try to keep some perspective’
‘Me and your granddad started this farm together’
‘No you didn’t, you bought it’
‘Oh yes, you know it all, just like a dentist son’
‘Please. What about my brother?’
‘Right, he can look after it’
‘Sold two aardvarks for a pint’
‘That I did not know’
‘Unless you care for them he’ll drink the whole farm away’
‘Very well – I’ll stay alright’
‘Well done son’
‘eXcept I do still want to be a dentist, one day’
‘Zoological dentist…?’

Alphabetic Dialogues 2 Cursing HR

‘That’s inappropriate’
‘Unless you’re going to quote some policy…’
‘Various staff have complained about your behaviour’
‘Well they can fuck right off’
‘eXpletives are high on their list of concerns’
‘You’re clearly taking this personally’
‘Zesty language doesn’t bother me’
‘And yet you’re bringing it up now?’
‘Because of the volume of complaints’
‘Could you clarify the number please’
‘Don’t try to divert it into bean-counting’
‘Every swear word, or every occasion in which there’s been swearing?’
‘Fine, you want numbers? I’ll give you numbers’
‘Helen organised the list by curseword’
‘I cannot wait’
‘Jizz came surprisingly high on the list-‘
‘Kitonaks! We were talking about Star Wars – the fat jizz-wailer in the Cantina is a Kitonak’
‘Lying won’t make this any better for you’
‘My interests in science fiction have always been a target’
‘No, that’s not true’
‘Oh, and I suppose I’m not allowed to call you Number Two either’
‘Personal attacks are strictly forbidden by our HR policy’
‘Quim. Is that in there too?’
‘Right, I’m putting that on the list too’
‘Stick that list up your arse you twatting shit maiden.’

Alphabetic Dialogues 3 Galaxy Team

Galaxy Team villains The Vermouthinator and his crony Gutshank are in pursuit of the hated Galaxy Team…

‘You are an exexcrable wretch Gutshank.’
‘Zymon showed great promise, until we arrived’
‘And so your excuse is what, poor research?’
‘But everything pointed to Galaxy Team being here’
‘Could you just control your whine for one minute’
‘Death to Galaxy Team!’
‘Even your enthusiasm irritates me today’
‘Failing you is the worse than seeing them live’
‘Good. Despite your failings you are my favourite, Gutshank’
‘Happy to serve Lord Egregious Vermouthinator sir’
‘I know’
‘Just wanted to make sure sir’
‘Killing Galaxy Team shall, I suppose, be delayed by at least one day’
‘My god, can you not even speak fully anymore?’
‘No master, I’m sorry – eleven days until we can catch up with Galaxy Team’
‘Of all the cretinous activities: you’ve brought us to this abysmal rock of morons and cost me eleven valuable days?’
‘Perhaps you’d like a martini’
‘Quelling my rage with gin are we Gutshank? I could just expel you into vacuum you odious-‘
‘Ready now Your Eminencial Vermouthinator sir’
‘Slip another olive in. I feel dirtied.’
‘That’s better master, there we go, just sip…’
‘Unless you have any strokes of brilliance you may leave’
‘Very well sir, though I have one thought that might cheer you up’
‘Well, go on then’
‘X-Rays. Blast the Zymonians into glowing skeletons; you always love that.’