THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 432

Time has ran out for Bromsky because he too has thoughtlessly, mechanically and almost simultaneously brought the remnant of his burning cigarette butt to his moist and sweetened lips: Bromsky bursts into flames before his ashes fall lightly, much like greyed snowflakes, onto the two remaining friends, the sound of his last words echoing into Labaguette and the Captain’s minds:

“Hasta La Vista Baby!  Hasta La Vista Baby!  Hasta La Vista Baby!”

“It means ‘we’ll be back’ in Russian,” the Captain explains.

“D’you think they mean it?” Labaguette asks.

All around them, incandescent ashes float in the air for a few more seconds.  Then, as the ashes spread over the foam cauldron and its surroundings, sparks ignite, bits explode and flames run amok until everything burns flamboyantly and menacingly.

“Damn!” Labaguette says.

With no time to waste, the Captain shoves the parrot inside his jacket’s pocket and runs towards his beloved ship where Birdseye, the King and the Monkeys await them, ready for lift off.

As he boards the Insatiable Princess, Captain Traumatic stares penetratingly into Birdseye’s goggles.

“Why didn’t you stop us if you knew?” he asks.

“I warned you.”

“Didn’t.”

“Got the King to help.”

“Call that a warning?”

“We’d better head off now!”

“Not so fast mate, next time there’s—”

“—NOW IS THE NEW NEXT TIME!” Birdseye screams, his goggle faintly fluorescing in terror.

A ginormous explosion is heard at a short distance behind them and the entire planet engulfs in flames with some licking the ship’s hull.

And so, with one click of the fingers, off goes the Insatiable Princess, her sails blown by the smoky and coffee laden winds.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 431

“—You got your feathers back, didn’t you?” Shotsky says

“Stranger things have happened before,” the Captain remarks, “you don’t look like a demon Labaguette, stop whinging and—”

“—Demogorgon,” Shotsky interrupts.

“Quoi?” Labaguette asks.

“Huh?” the Captain adds.

“Demented,” Bromsky continues.

“Like I said,” the Captain insists, his eyes rolling up to the sky bored by the absurdity of it all, “stop whinging and let’s head back to the ship!  You’ll be able to fly again in no time,” he adds, offering more rum to his friends and to Labaguette.

And so, as fate has it, Labaguette feels content for once, although he is unsure why.  So much so that he experiences a rare display of generous and kind disposition:

“Let us share a ciggy!” he says, and at once the Captain snatches a match and lights the cigarettes Labaguette is handing him, one after the other, before passing them over to a beaming Bromsky and Shotsky.  Soon, the four companions stand united in silence, enjoying the pleasure of their common senses, drinking rum, coffee and smoking cigarettes in a world that reeks of coffee dust, cigarette butts and babble.

“We should head back,” the Captain insists.

“We must finish our ciggies properly,” Shotsky says.

“We never not finish ciggies properly,” Bromsky adds.

And almost as soon as he says this, the burning cigarette butt in his mouth ignites Shotsky’s rum soaked foam lips before his entire body is up in flames in a quarter of a second, and in a second more, ashes float and fall down innocently to the ground as if all along, Shotsky had been a mere frothy and fiery fickle inside everyone’s imagination.

“Damn!” Bromsky utters, looking at his disintegrated companion in front of a bemused Labaguette and Captain.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 430

There, in the space of 2 hours, 37 minutes and 51 seconds (earth time), Labaguette bathed in a mixture of beige and golden foam under the protective eyes of Bromsky and Shotsky who ensured the foam was aplenty, constantly being replenished and renewed for the sake of this parrot’s feathers’ growth and in spite of the holes in their shoulders.  When Labaguette climbs out of the fluffy froth and bubbles, the caffeinated cells contained in the mixture have renewed and re-energised his skin, and already a thick layer of small baby feathers is sprouting.

“My shoulder is showing some strain,” Bromsky remarks after getting down the giant cauldron.

“It’ll get back to normal, won’t it?” the Captain says, “you could submerge yourself into that foam for some good old fashion healing once we’ve gone, couldn’t you?”

“Captain!” Labaguette interrupts, “how do I look?”

“A golden child!” Shotsky says, laughing, “look at him!  Not half as ugly as before.”

“Ugliness better managed, that’s all,” Bromsky adds.

“Labaguette…” Captain Traumatic says, hesitating.

“What?” Labaguette asks, wondering about the smirk on the Captain’s top corner lip.  Then, after taking a second look over his own shoulder, the parrot realises that his feathers shine, that they have turned a vibrant beige displaying sparkly white streaks mingled with speckled glittering gold.

“Will this go away in time?” he asks, befuddled.

“Don’t know,” Bromsky answers, smiling.

“You’re the first,” Shotsky says.

“First to experiment a foam bath?”

“First bird.”

“I’m a parrot, not Alice in Wonderland, will my colours come back?”

“Maybe,” Bromsky says, “but then again—”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 429

“The grinder is what it is,” Shotsky answers, “now, you must either fly up there or climb the ladder,” Shotsky says, “which will it be?”

“I’ll get him up there,” Captain Traumatic says, somewhat compassionately.

“You’re too heavy,” Bromsky remarks.

“He must fly,” Shotsky insists.

“Carry the damned bird then!” the Captain orders.

“We’re foam, don’t you get it?”

“Get what?”

“My claws, Captain,” Labaguette remarks, “they’re scared of my claws.”

“Here, have some of this,” the Captain says, handing his flask of rum to Shotsky and Bromsky, “it’ll increase your courage ten folds”.

“Not scared,” Shotsky says, grabbing the flask, pouring some in his instantly made cuppa coffee.

“What do you take us for?” Bromsky asks, gulping his own mixture.

“No point in trying to buy time” Shotsky asks.

“Offerings will not change our position,” Bromsky says.

“This is to thank you for your efforts, kindness and for opening the discussion,” the Captain insists.

“Discussion?” Shotsky asks.

“Ain’t nothing to discuss,” Bromsky points out.

Then, the Captain drinks a shot from his flask, burping aloud, a twinkle of satisfaction and what’s more in his pirate’s dilated pupil.

“Only a matter of time,” he says, “only a matter of time.”

“Yeah…” Shotsky says, keen to imitate, ‘yeah’ after burping as loud as possible.

“Where were we?” Bromsky discovering burping some more.

“Me inside’s burning,” Shotsky says.

“Reckon you could take Labaguette to his foam bath now?” the Captain reiterates.

“I told you, you can’t—”

“—It ain’t nothing you can’t do,” the Captain says pointing at the parrot, “look at him, ugly, vulnerable and light weight.  How much damage could he really do?”

“I s’pose,” Bromsky answers.

“Don’t do this to me!” Shotsky retorts.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 428

“There’s foam for the greater good and foam for the greater good,” Bromsky says.

“It could be no different,” Shotsky remarks, “the legend, a true story, has it that there are two cases on record of creatures who found the trees and ended up as fodder for those trees because they aren’t purely carnivorous, they also have a voracious appetite and will eat anything that comes their way, except for their caretakers since they’re related.”

“But a plant’s a plant and to remain healthy, it must be kept from tainted blood,” Shotsky adds, “’cause a plant’s a plant.”

“Yeah” Bromsky remarks with an unusual spark of intelligence and inspiration illuminating his foam head.

“Sure,” the Captain says, nodding, understanding that there are things better left misunderstood while Labaguette tries his best shot at mental gymnastics:

“But,” Labaguette attempts, “the implications of ‘foamed’, what—”

“—Oh that?” Shotsky says.

“Foamed means being poured into milk, shaken and twirled till you’re nothing more than hot, tiny white bubbles.  It is an honourable death.  It’s useful,” Bromsky explains.

“Every particle is recycled,” Shotsky says, “Froth becomes proteinated and is what you get when you ask for the energiser shot”.

“Must be expensive,” Labaguette says.

“Nah.  Fools abound,” Bromsky says, “most of us are anti-hero’s superheros who—”

“—You tried to—”

“—and besides, we all like to live our lives according to our motto, it creates variety,” Bromsky finishes, avoiding Labaguette’s last question altogether, “you know, burning the butt—”

“—and the grinder?” Labaguette insists.

“Shut your flaming gob Labaguette!” the Captain orders.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 427

“You’ve many?” the Captain enquires, a perfect guest.

“It’s very common.”

“There must be ways to—”

“—we don’t mind so much,” Shotsky says, “We enjoy making the most of life.”

“While you have one.”

“Precisely.”

“But—”

“—I know, we burn the butt at both ends, it’s our motto.”

“Interesting folks,” Labaguette remarks in the Captain’s ear, “is anything worth trading with them?”

But the Captain, bored with the parrot’s incessant rambling, raises one eyebrow and then looks at Bromsky who points to a raised, large container, much like an oil tank held by two giant brown cranes.

“We’ve four tanks like these at each edge of the city.  This is the South tank.  The underground supplies the coffee.”

“Your oceans and rivers all made of it huh?”

“No.  The coffee bean is treated and supplied from underground by the coffee-zoffees who work tirelessly to meet the demand,” Bromsky says.

“Coffee dust derives from the grinding of coffee grains and pervades everything,” Shotsky adds, “the winds carry the dust and transform our oceans and rivers in what they are now.”

“Where does the coffee grain come from?” Labaguette asks.

“The coffee tree,” Bromsky answers, looking surprised at Labaguette.

“I see no trees,” the Captain adds.

“You see,” Shotsky explains, “no one above ground has ever seen one.  The coffee-zoffees hold the secret to their location and it would be heresy to try and find them.  The trees are protected by law.  Anyone found looking for them is immediately foamed or condemned to the grinder, depending on the severity of their quest.”

“Foamed?” Labaguette asks, concerned.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 426

“You’ve no rivers, lakes or seas?”

“O’course we do,” Brombsky says.

“But,” the Captain says, “where—”

“—Here?” Shotsky interrupts, “it’s perfect.  Quiet and all.  It’s always at the same temperature and no one on this planet enjoys that type of environment.  Your ship runs no overcrowding nor burning risks.  Besides, her wood will soak up the lake’s mildly burnt flavours: she’ll smell nice and her wood will shine and be invigorated.”

The Captain nods and the Insatiable Princess lands, relieved she can float on real liquid again.  Then, he pulls out a bucket from the dark water, dips his index finger in it before inserting it in his mouth.  A deep frown of surprise folds in the midst of his thick eyebrows.

“There are stronger tasting coffees Captain,” Shotsky remarks, “but they’re sought after for their perfume and flavour and are overcrowded.  Besides, the Insatiable Princess’ central nervous system would suffer from it, your privacy would be gone and all would come to get acquainted with your life forms and what it has to trade.”

“Where is my bath?” Labaguette asks.

“This place stinks,” the King remarks.

“I shall remain posted here,” Birdseye adds, “stay with me King! You shall help.”

“Help at what?”

“Help at helping.”

Followed by the Captain and Labaguette, Shotsky and Brombsky lead the way to a city of high towers made entirely of solidified foam reinforced by cigarettes and cigars’ butts of all types: thin, thick, fat, still smoking and burning.  The towers’ walls are streaked by long, brown and roaster matter, the streets presenting layers upon layers of the same mixtures except that they are constantly soaked in coffee soups.

“It keeps the number of blazes down,” Bromsky remarks.

To be continued…