THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 272

“When the door is off its hinges, there’s no proper threshold.”

“I see,” the Captain remarks.

“You see?” they all retort except for Labaguette who yawns.

“Is it day or night?” Chloroph asks.

“My pins are in, duh.  Besides, at night, we become gaolers.  At night, most things are reversed.  It’s to do with logic.”

“Nothing to do with mathematical logic, right?” the Captain asks.

“Logic only.”

Mouton Blanc beams, his eyes expressing nothing more than deep gratefulness, as if he now owes his life to the Captain.  The creature has made up his mind: that Captain is smart and so understanding.  Mouton Blanc stands up and resumes his banging at the gate with renewed enthusiasm.

“I’m Mouton Blanc,” he says, “to better serve you, Captain.”

“Oh God,” Labaguette mutters, “not another yes man.”

“What do you do with the pins once they’re loose in order not to lose them?” the Captain asks Mouton Blanc, simultaneously grabbing Labaguette by his beak and tying it, “sit now!” he says to the bird, “just sit!  Sit!”

“Well, err.  This is private,” Mouton blanc says, but seeing the intense, disturbed curiosity his answer brings, he adds: “if you must know, there are holes inside the lock to hold the pins and these holes, if inserted in the right order by the right pin, could open the gate, except I am not mathematically inclined and can’t work the right order to do so.  It’s a safety mechanism set up for those occasions when keys get lost but a tricky one.  Far too complicated.  All I can do is to keep banging on the lock.”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 271

“Mouton Blanc, my name is Mouton Blanc.”

“Who’s they?” the Captain insists.

“Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!” Labaguette exclaims, laughing his head off. “Fuck it!  White Sheep?”

“My mother was French.”

“Yeah right,” Labaguette retorts, burying his head inside his wings, as if to sob, except this isn’t quite sobbing and the Captain knows it.

“Labaguette!” the Captain orders the parrot, “Get back to your post and shut the fuck up!”

“All right, all right, all right.  I was only trying to—“

“—I’m creature.  I’m immortal, isn’t it obvious?”

“You’re a prisoner because you’ve been wearing those shackles for an awful long time,” the Captain suggests philosophically, “if you got rid of them, you’d be able to get out, wouldn’t you?”

“Get out where?” Mouton Blanc asks.

“To be freed.”

“From what?”

“Those pins look painful,” the King adds, wondering if this creature, if this Mouton Blanc has got what it takes to make any sense, any sense at all, and if perhaps they’d better be off making their way off to God knows where and avoid this Mouton Blanc of a kind.

“They hold me shackles secure,” Mouton Blanc answers, “they’re useful at night when I can remove them to take the gate off its hinges and let fresh air in, but during daytime it gets too hot.  The pins hold the shackles to hold me body together.”

“The pins hold—”

“—I’d melt without them.”

“You could walk out when you get the door off its hinges?” the King asks, “all you have to do is step over the threshold.”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 270

“Welcome aboard,” Chloroph says, “join the crew, we all understand the deeper meaning of ‘stuck’”.  Three monkeys scamper and disappear back inside the hull.

“What, who are you?” the Captain asks.

“I’m a prisoner.  I lost my keys.  Can’t open this gate.”

All look at him bewildered.

“But,—“ Labaguette begins.

“—Really?” the Captain interrupts, joining the creature on its little pad, circling the gate with his hands behind him in a tight fist, an irritated smile on his lips.

“That’s right, mate,” the creature answers, “I too can walk around this gate.  All the same, can’t be opened.”

“Because you lost the keys.”

“Because I did.”

Now the King scratches his head and rolls his eyes to the sky as Labaguette listens assiduously, trying to understand, trying to follow his Master’s teaching even if there is none.

“Where do you come from?” Chloroph asks.

“We lost keys too,” Labaguette attempts, “they weren’t ours, they fell out of his pocket.”

“Fell where?” the creature asks.

“Down.”

“How far down?”

“Down below there, bottomless.”

“Whose keys were they?”

“Never mind.  Irretrievable.  Where did yours go?”

“My keys have been missing since the beginning of time.  This is why we’re prisoners.”

“You’re alone,” the King says.

“You’re my prisoners, I am your prisoner.”

“We’re lost, that’s different.  We’re not prisoners,” the Captain retorts.

The creature resumes its crying louder than before.

“What’s your name?” Labaguette asks, “Are you creature or are you mortal?”

“They all say that,” the creature continues, “they never listen.”

“Now, now, then.  They?” Captain Traumatic asks in an attempt to soothe the creature.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 269

And for a while, some white, oblong and cylindrical object is travelling through the skies, having come out of one of the portals spread around to soon enter another.  The Captain reads aloud:

“NASA, Recovery Space Shuttle no 593 – CT mission.”

“There’s a clue Labaguette” says.

“What does it mean?” the King asks.

“I’ve seen it before,” the Captain remarks, “it’s a rocket.  They build rockets to reach the moon these days.  I’ve read about it.”

“There are many moons,” the King adds.

“None in sight,” Labaguette says.

“It was silent,” remarks Chloroph.

“Can’t hear anything else for the bloody dim,” the Captain adds, turning his attention to the immediate and forgetting nonsensical flying objects, reaching out for corks which he cuts and fills into Labaguette’s beak.  The parrot distributes the lot to all for ear protection when at last, their eyes can see the source of the clamour.

There, immediately ahead of them is one gigantic barred gate, closed, with one creature covered in chains, metallic bracelets and shackles of all sorts wrapped around his wrists, neck and ankles, standing behind it, banging its lock with a hammer.  The creature is looking at them, huge eyes imploring for forgiveness, for compassion, for help.

The Insatiable Princess shudders and stops by the side of the gate and the creature’s eyes begin to fill with tears until, unexpectedly, it sits down and starts crying, stopping the commotion at once and filling the air with the sound of sobs.

“Boy O Boy!” Labaguette exclaims.

“What’s the matter?” the Captain inquires.

“I’m stuck,” the creature says.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 268

“ARE YOU ALL BLASPHEMOUS NUTS?” Chloroph yells from below the ship, thoroughly pissed off by the conversation leading nowhere and these unnatural, God damn sounds ceaselessly invading his skull, keeping his senses on alert.

“The rustling of leaves,” he continues, his voice echoing from below, reaching them, “the worm crawling through, the fluttering of wings of insects.  This is what we should hear and nothing else.”

“You’re below us for a reason” snarls Labaguette, “stay put and be silent, will you?”

“We must return, get the Insatiable Princess to turn back where she came from,” Chloroph insists.

“Ha! Ha! Ha! And get back through that same hook we came from?” the Captain says, exasperated, not only because he didn’t quite rid of Chloroph but also because the din is getting to his head and is threatening to undo the peace and calm he thought he and the others had finally been able to achieve in spite of their circumstances.

But the noise won’t cease.

Now, three monkeys come out of the hull wincing in pain, pushing their fingers inside their ears and the crew realises that something in the very nature of these sounds has to be looked at, studied and attended to.  It is as if the noise is here to attract their attention, to distract them and ensure they don’t fall into the regular pattern of those whose lives are built on straight lines.

All look to the direction where the sounds are coming from, trying to distinguish any shape that may be coming their way when, above them, a bright light illuminates the sky.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 267

The breeze passing through the Insatiable Princess calms and refreshes.  Labaguette, exhausted by his mixed wishes and confused thinking, and before the Captain realises it, flies off and cradles into his regular, selected nesting pocket inside Captain’s jacket and falls into a deep slumber.  His dreams are full of Hooks, of key holes incrusted planets and of gigantic palm trees and seaweed intermingling to create new awesome singing plants under Chloroph and Stromae’s direction.  Gobbling shells are present, shells that swallow Labaguette’s meals causing the shells to grow in numbers and sizes.  Shells getting larger.  Shells everywhere.  Everywhere, everywhere…  He must choose one, get inside it and see what’s in it for him.

If only the Captain would stop hammering metal on the surface of a rum barrel to seal it against leaks.  Trust him to disturb the peace.  Couldn’t he bang somewhere else and hinder someone else’s dreams?  Labaguette opens one eye lid.  The metallic sound is still infiltrating his fast fading fantasy.  This sound is real.  Labaguette emerges from lethargy and looks at the rum barrel Captain Traumatic has repaired.  Then he hears the Captain snoring.  Captain Traumatic is fast asleep.  The background clamour is getting closer.

Now they all hear it.  The sound of clanking, of chains rattling and metallic doors slamming.

Surely not, the Captain thinks, surely not another yellow bus.

But the Insatiable Princess gently, breezily journeys through the unfamiliar depths of these unrecognisable skies, oblivious to the approaching, multiplying sounds.

“We’re going to jail, Captain!” Labaguette says, “fast and straight into the horrors of your initial wish.”

“Don’t be silly,” the King retorts, “there’s always an explanation.  An army of loyal and trusted knights perhaps?”

“From Mordor?” the Captain asks.

“300?” Labaguette insists.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 266

Where to from here? Labaguette wonders.  Nothing to do, nowhere to go, stuck in the space time continuum of it all without any Hadron collider in sight, not even for dear entertainment’s sake.  Even his wings’ flapping doesn’t appear to stir any particles into any type of action.

“How could you possibly know about it?” the Captain asks Labaguette.

“Huh?”

“The collider?”

“THE collider?”

“Are you deaf?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Oh for God’s sake, Labaguette, you mentioned the Hadron collider a second earlier!”

“Yeah.  Hem.  That?  Maybe.  Captain, surely you know by now that sometimes, my brain, any bird’s brain, intercept roaming thoughts particles and translate them into words.”

“Is this your best attempt at an explanation or are you just dumb?”

“How do you explain intercepting my thoughts, Captain, huh?”

“It’s different, I—“

“—This isn’t so bad after all,” Labaguette retorts, “I’ve just avoided being lost in space for the second time in my life.”

And so it goes that the Captain chooses to fix his rum barrels, avoiding the uneasy and confronting belief that Labaguette may have lost it altogether.  What a shame, the parrot used to be such a gifted and funny companion to have around.  His imitations were witty and unmatched but now the parrot wishes he had been endowed with a second brain too.  How disappointing the Captain reflects.

To be continued…