THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 439

Then the King, jingling his bells to signal a change of course, climbs up the mast in a flash, as if he too were a Monkey.

“What’s gotten into you King Krackskull?” the Captain asks.

“King Umbilicoberto,” the King yells.

“Dark waters,” Labaguette says, “I shall not dip a single feather in it.”

“What’s gotten into you stupid bird?” the Captain asks.

“The King is no longer a king and he’s gotten himself a new name.”

“He already has one.”

“The latter is honest, he can handle it.”

“He’s still a King.”

“STILL AMM!” the King adds.

“Not for long.”

“Beg your pardon?” the King asks.

“What would you know about it?” the Captain continues.

“You’re still searching, are you not?” Labaguette asks the Captain.

“I’ll stand by my name, there’s no need for alterations.”

“Sure.  So, who are you?”

“I shall lead this conversation,” the King insists.

“I am who I am!”

“He changed his looks and changed his name, he’s—”

“You’re nothing more than a chameleon, fuck off!” the Captain says to Labaguette.

“The truth—”

But the Captain has clicked his fingers faster than Labaguette’s last word and one box has come out of its orderly lot to rescue Captain Traumatic and entrap the parrot before flying off and settling besides Birdseye.

The remaining group of boxes keep hovering above the surface, observing it, taunting and tempting it, spitting sweat, trembling, fidgeting, uncertain of their ways until the more adventurous ones take the lead: they land on the surface, bob up and down and then disappear reshaped into black oily bubbles that bubble up some more before being gobbled up without further ado.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 438

“What’s changed?” the Captain asks Birdseye, “you were confident swimming or flying in it, or whatever it is you did.”

“That I knew.  Anything else, dangers, I don’t feel.”

“Because there’s no imminence and you can’t call it at will,” the Captain concludes.

“Slow!” Labaguette says, “you’re too slow Birdseye.”

And this is how, with barely one single syllable words, Labaguette convinces the Captain to stay.  And this is how, with so little foresight available, Birdseye convinces the Captain to send a few boxes out as explorers of their peculiar environment.

Even the Monkeys are it.  They have decided that the water is ice and smooth glass all at the same time and they are sliding on it using their feet, hands, bellies and anything else they can think of so long as they can muster a giggle.

“This is no party ground, you monkeys!” the Captain yells as the boxes come out of the ship’s hold and begin scanning the area, led by Birdseye.

“There isn’t much to explore,” the King says, “there’s nothing to see, it’s a flat, smooth and transformable lake.”

“Your vision is no longer fit for a King,” Labaguette says, “you don’t look like one and you don’t act like one.”

“Where’s your modesty?” the King remarks.

“Looks matter,” Labaguette answers, “I’ve up-ranked since my feathers have been cosmetised and my flying ability restored.”

“This new outfit is kingly and I feel happy in it,” the King says, “I feel renewed.”

“Then this water is holy,” Labaguette remarks, “you’ve been baptised.”

“It’s no water.”

“It’s magic.”

“It’s science.”

“From now on, I’m Umbilicoberto.”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 437

When the King gets up again, all look at him in astonishment: his tiny crown is now a wide brim golden hat bearing colourful lozenges and its tip jingles with a golden bell.  In his left hand is a gold staff with three more golden bells topping it up and he is wearing a shiny and colourful body tight suit.  He is wearing slippers made of glitter that curl up at the toes.

“My, My!” Labaguette exclaims, “from King to—”

“—Tis’ nice,” the King remarks, “She Coat will be jealous.  I’ve never had something to suit my rank.”

“Your rank?”

“It is a perfect fit,” the Captain interrupts looking at Labaguette with one eyebrow raised, “fit for a King of your standing.”

“You should try it Captain.  Your old jackets smells of—”

“—Non, non, non Capitaine!” Labaguette says, “I beg you not to exchange your jacket for—”

“—I’ve no intention to rid of it,” the Captain maintains, “You’re pooping on it has added much needed padding to my shoulders Labaguette and, besides, it’s been with me since the beginning of times.”

“I wonder,” the King says, “have I been made the new leader of this platform?”

“What’s there to lead?” Labaguette asks.

“Let’s give this place more time,” the Captain says, “we need to explore it.  What has your wisdom got to say Birdseye?  Any danger we need to be aware of?”

“I see nothing, I feel nothing.”

“That’s it settled then.”

“I mean I see nothing, I feel nothing.”

“I heard you.”

“No.”

“No?”

“Disabled.  I cannot see and I cannot feel.”

“For how long?”

“This place.”

“We’d better go then.”

“Wimp!” Labaguette says.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 436

“You urged me to do some magic.”

“But—”

“—I’m not all show.”

“His feathers are as precious as mine,” Labaguette says.

“Labaguette,” Birdseye says, “we’ve all made it alive, isn’t it—”

“—He’s a different breed from you,” the Captain intervenes.”

“We’re sitting on the sky of this universe,” Birdseye says.

“Suppose the Insatiable Princess isn’t floating,” the Captain says, looking at Birdseye with suspicion weighing heavily inside the bags under his eyes, “how can she be flying?”

This is when Birdseye decides to get off the ship.

“Watch!” he says, as he slowly descends into this sky, or liquid, or whatever it might be, and begins to float.

“Holy Parrots’ Saint!” Labaguette exclaims, “are you duck or peacock?”

But Birdseye paddles to the edge of the oceanic platform and launches himself off it.

“Treacherous waters!” the Captain exclaims as Birdseye is out of sight, “mermaids made him do it.”

And as he says this, Birdseye reappears in plain sight flying high, gently flapping his arms, flying, enjoying this moment in case it never came back.

“Fuck!” the Captain says before the King descends into these waters and floats, paddles before nearing the edge of the platform.

“You’ve no feathers!” Birdseye warns, hovering above the King.

“You’re using your arms, not your wings,” the King retorts, before smiling back at all and letting himself off the edge.

Quickly, not unlike a superhero or a bug, Birdseye swoops and catches the King, carrying him painstakingly back to the ship, letting him drop onto the ship’s planks like a dead weight.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 435

“Can’t catch up,” Labaguette mutters, “what’s going on?  It is all so nonsensical, there’s no meaning in all that we think, do or live through.”

“You don’t see.” Birdseye says.

“I smell burnt sails,” the Captain says, looking up the masts, “Monkeys, attend to them!”

The monkey clamber up the masts pulling the white ropes out of the deck which they unfold to replace the damage sails while the Insatiable Princess lands, gliding gently on the flat reflective surface creating a soft ripple.

“This is liquid?” the Captain exclaims, before throwing a bucket to retrieve some.  But when the bucket lands, it meets a hard surface, in spite of the Insatiable Princess gently rocking sideways.

“Now what?” Labaguette asks.

Captain Traumatic opens his flask and pours rum on the surface and immediately, the Rum forms a stain not unlike oil before it detaches itself from it, solidified, and floats off, up and up into the air, disappearing into the vast emptiness surrounding them.

“It’s too quiet,” Labaguette continues.

“Suspicious,” the King remarks.

“Evolution,” Birdseye says.

“What evolution?” the Captain asks, “be helpful, will you?  Are we safe here?”

“We’re safe so long as we think we are.”

“How could we possibly have switched from hell to whatever this place might be?”

“Why, Captain, I granted a wish.”

“You what?”

“I’m only small and vulnerable,” Labaguette says, “besides, I intend to keep these newly grown feathers for good and I—”

“—I did not allow you to make a wish, you moronic misfit!”

“I obeyed your command,” Birdseye answers.

“Suppose you did.”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 434

“Speed,” Birdseye utters, “speed”.

“We’re going extremely fast, how fast do—”

“—Why, light speed,” Birdseye insists with considerable wisdom.

“We’re surrounded by a weird universe.  It’s dark, roasted and this is a ship.  Perching on your shoulder is Labaguette; over there you have the King and the Monkeys holding hands.  And here is I, Captain of this ship.  It’s got nothing to do with science fiction.  Do YOU understand?”

Right then, a piece of solidified coffee cuts through one of Birdseye remarkable feathers.

“If speed won’t do,” Birdseye adds, “another dimension will.”

“This isn’t the Enterprise, nor a wild roaming red phone box.”

“And there are no flees on the upside down,” Labaguette says somewhat satisfied.”

“First things first,” the King adds, “a portal, a Ho—”

Now Labaguette firmly and decidedly plants his wing on the King’s mouth.

“Sacrilege!” he whispers to the King, “don’t you know better than risk our lives for a Hook?  Never, ever, ever mention that word again in front of the Captain.”

A burning chunk of Ash Mongers sets the main sail on fire.

“Help us Birdseye!” the frantic Captain insists, “Summon some trick, some magic, do something!”

“WISHFUL THINKING!” Birdseye answers, “WISHFUL THINKING!”

“Mad birds,” the Captain mumbles, “mad birds think of nothing else than bright feathers, flight and diamonds… and now, Darling’s on fire.”

Then, and as suddenly as the fire started, a cool humid wind blows across the sky and all of Ash Mongers’ debris and all the stars and planets that can be seen disappear, leaving only a clear smooth transparent surface like a flat sky made of clear nothing and shimmering mirror light.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 433

“Whereto?” Labaguette asks, popping out of his pocket bedroom.  His golden feathers have grown and Birdseye lifts the parrot with one finger, admiringly.

“Outta here!” the Captain says, his eyes darker than ever.

“Fine bird,” Birdseye says, “fine bird,” as the two settle atop a mast facing winds of considerable speed and the Captain rolls his eyes in disgust.

“He’s back to normal,” the King remarks, “he deserves some admiring.”

“He’ll never be normal,” the Captain says.

“Let’s supposed you did remember your name,” the King recaps, “would it make you less different?”

“I wonder,” Birdseye says, taking advantage of this timely intervention to slide one of his more prominent feathers between thumb and index, smoothing it, “what a new breed of birds will do to the universe.”

“Stop talking and help us take some speed, can’t you see—”

Right then, Ash Mongers explodes.

“There she goes!” the King says, “butts and coffee going up in smoke.”

“FASTER!” the Captain yells at his ship, “FASTER!”

“Look at it!” the King insists, staring at the expanding debris approaching the ship.

“HUUUURRRYY FOR FUCK’S SAKE!” the Captain continues.

“We’re back in business,” Labaguette muses, smiling.

“Whatcha looking at, evil bird?” the Captain asks, “get working, now!”

“Danger ahead!” Birdseye signals calmly.

“I saw it coming from a distance, get the glue off your goggles birdman!” the Captain says, as the first caramelised pieces of coffee, foam, creatures, metal and cigarette butts reach the ship, sticking to everything solid it encounters, piercing the sails with their sharpness, their threat now a real and present danger.

To be continued…