“And if it doesn’t take well?”

“’The damage remains, the stench fades and the seed grows out of control in unexpected ways and you’d need me to fix things up, if it isn’t too late.’”

“Why wouldn’t it grow well?”

“A seed is very sensitive and reacts to the subtlest cue from the environment it gets planted into.  If a single particle of soil doesn’t suit, the seed reacts in ways that are unexpected, damaging and uncontrollable.  It could be any other reason, you can’t always tell.  Now, planting is subject to mix & match terms & conditions.’”

“Terms & conditions?”

“’They aren’t readily available, Yourmajesty, my apologies, I left them on Chloromate.   Besides, they need translated.  Suffice is for you to know that it is extremely rare for a seed not to take well.  I’ve seen it only twice in my entire lifetime and each time I had an inkling that the seed wouldn’t take and I could avoid much damage being done.  At the time, the acquirer wouldn’t listen to me and boldly went ahead with planting the seed and, as can be expected, put the blame on me.  See how my third nostril is blocked for ever?  There’s a bad seed in it that can’t be removed because of how it was injected and how it has incrusted itself in there.

Ever since then, I make sure everyone is on my terms.  The truth is that all you need to be aware of is that if I advise you not to plant a seed and you do it anyway and it goes awry, I don’t fix the damage done, as stated in the disclaimer at the end of the terms & conditions, unless I’m at fault, which can’t possibly happen.'”

To be continued…©



“Oh but it is thriving, don’t you see?  Besides, I enjoy seeing as far as my eyes can take me without any disturbance altering my horizon and my thoughts.”

“’Your vision and thoughts may take you afar but I have here in my brown paper bag many a seed which could improve your thinking in ways you can’t even begin to imagine.  They’re many like these,’ he said, pulling a minuscule square seed out of his bag.”

“‘My seeds are obedient.  They might be precious diamonds, they might be coal,’ he continued, ‘but most of all, they’re the future.  Some of them are good, some of them are bad and some of them are deadly.’”

“Deadly, huh?”


“Evil or deadly?”


“Describe them to me.”

“’Well, as you know, without seeds, there’s no growth.’”

“There are no seeds here, I’ve no idea.”

“’That’s where I come in handy: Coatingsdale needs seeds, entertaining seeds that is.  The trick is that in the beginning, when you plant the first seed, you can’t tell if it’s growing well or not because once planted, and it has nothing to do with the ground’s quality, the seed will go through a particular blooming stage which you must go through as well if you want the seed to thrive: see, it begins to rot and a stench emanates from it which sometimes destroys everything around it within a 5km radius.  You need a mask and a suit for protection until it can be observed that the budding plant is doing fine.  It is only after it has started to grow healthily that the damage becomes undone and the stench disappears.’”

To be continued…©


“’Should I plant a seed within its compounds?’”

“On my head?”

“’Where else, it’s organic matter isn’t?’”

“You really don’t know?”

“’I’ve met all sorts of creatures before you and I will meet many more, but none expressed the desire to have seeds planted on top of them.  If I do, will I be free to go?’”

“I told you: it all depends on your complying with my need to be greeted according to the protocol pertaining to my rank and to She-Coat freeing you.”

“’She obeys you, does she?’”

“’Your Majesty’, it’s ‘Your Majesty’.”

“’Pleased to meet you, Yourmajesty.  I’m Chloroph.’”

“She’s at my command.”

“’Could you have her release me now, Yourmajesty?’”

“I could.”

“’She’s sucking the life out of my roots.’”

“It is customary for Coatingsdale’s guests to entertain their host.”

“’You’re making this up as you go, Yourmajesty.  I thought you wanted me to plant something between the walls of your crown.’”

“I’m not making anything up.  I’m the King you must please if you want to live.  Entertain me or die: which will it be?”

“’Your land is bare and barren.  I’m a gardener by trade.  I can have plants of all kinds grow and flourish anywhere you like, even here, right under your very feet.’”

“You’re on ‘Coatingsdale’.  Indeed, the land appears barren but don’t be fooled by its appearance.  Below, the soil is rich in organic matter which feeds She-Coat who surrounds and envelops this Kingdom’s surface firmly and protects my shoulders.”

“’Why, if the all-encompassing She-Coat would only give way to a small piece of uncoated land, you could find your horizon unmistakably and usefully altered for the better.  Your planet could begin to thrive.  It would be entertaining.’”

To be continued…©


A gardener’s body has got unusual and specific qualities attached to it.  For example, when a gardener stays too long in one spot, his feet begin to grow roots, something She-Coat just cherishes.  Some of them have fingers that generate organic matter that oozes out of their finger and toe nails, spreading much like honey.  Once that matter is ingested, be it through mouth or soil or any other means, it feeds well and makes for long life and abundance of flora.  A single gardener’s nail in oozing mode could feed Coatingsdale or any planet for thousands of years to come.”

“Foul! Repulsive!” Labaguette exclaims, to which the Captain replies:

“You’d eat anything as long as it’s soaked in Rum, in fact I—“

“—And it wouldn’t take more than a single drop of it for you to have a taste of parrot flesh!” Labaguette retorts.

“—ARE YOU LISTENING?” the King exclaims, “I found the gardener standing with his thighs having disappeared half way into She-Coat’s thickness, still restrained and controlled at that point, She-Coat knowing there was more to the gardener’s tasty legs than first presumed.  The gardener didn’t seem frightened, as if he’d been expecting someone to turn up and save him.  He was polite, but forgetting basic protocol.”

“What?” Labaguette interrupts.

“’Good Morning, Sir,’ he said,”

“Your Majesty, it’s ‘Your Majesty,’ can’t you see I’m wearing a crown?” I said.

“’All creatures are one and the same to me, Sir,’ he said, ‘besides, we may be made differently, but we’re merely creatures who live and die.’”

“Are you prepared to die for ignoring my crown?”

“’I see it, your Majesty.’”


“How can I not ignore your crown?  Do you wish me to touch it?’”


To be continued…©


“Good, I shall continue with my story,” the King says.

“This monkey can’t stay on the Commander’s shoulder forever and his brother needs him,” the Captain retorts,

“Then came Chloroph the gardener,” the King says.

“And?” Labaguette asks, captivated.

This is how a majestic, crownless King carries on with his story as if there was nothing else he could possibly do, ignoring the monkeys, the Commander and the Captain, merely thrilled by a parrot’s enthusiasm.”

“Help me out here!” the Captain insists, sweating, fearing and wondering how it can be that he has so little power over his own crew now.

“Tomorrow might not happen without stories being told,” the King remarks, and then: “the gardener had that many tricks in his brown and insignificant paper bag, literally.  He pulled special pots from it.  It was full of an inexorable stream of all the seeds and plants you could imagine, and much, much more.

He appeared out of everywhere and nowhere, like they all do, on Coatingsdale.  And like all who came before him, he was in trouble.  According to She-Coat, he was delicious and one of the best meals it could have if only I was willing to grant it that wish.”

“Surely She-Coat doesn’t need your permission to gobble up what it wants and when it wants it?” Labaguette inquires.

“It all depends,” the King says, “it’s complicated but the general rule is that She-Coat is allowed to eat anything that is mundane and that is not expected to add anything to my life, such as with good entertainment.  When She-Coat begins to swallow a creature, it emits a signal which I can feel and I know immediately if the creature being gradually absorbed is of any interest to me.

To be continued…©


“—Let him go!”  The Captain orders the Commander.

“He ought to know when to shut his gob,” the Commander answers.

The Captain draws his sword and the King attempts to restrain him gently with one arm.

“What’s up Commander?” the King asks, “what were you thinking as we helped the monkeys and you just stood there, huh?”

The hair tentacle releases Labaguette from its stronghold.

“Belchiore stopped because of you.”

“SHUT UP!” the Commander yells at the King.

“You’re the reason the monkey’s sick, and Belchiore holds it against you,” the King concludes.

And before the Commander has time to use one of his thick hair strands to electrocute the King, Captain Traumatic brandishes his sword, swings it above his head and cuts the unwelcome hair strand: it falls onto the deck with a metallic sound, emitting weakening and dying sparks before it comes to rest.

“Ha! ha! ha!” the Commander says in battle mode, his cut hair fast growing back independently to reach and wrap itself around the Captain’s neck, squeezing tightly.

“WILL YOU STOP?” Labaguette interjects, flapping about vainly trying to bite the Commander’s wild hair but then having to avoid its fiery and deadly purpose.

The Commander isn’t one to be persuaded and influenced by anything.  He is much stronger than all of them and his hair strands now wrap their necks, ready to strangle and burn them until the Insatiable Princess has a new master.  But a white monkey appears with lightning speed, jumps and lands on the Commander’s shoulder before his brain can even gather but a single thought as he too now turns into white, chalky stone, his hair emitting a light white powder that spreads and vanishes.

To be continued…©


The Captain’s a Captain after all and the monkey obeys.  At once, the King recovers.  The Captain carries the sick monkey, wrapped up in his white ropes turned into sheets, his brother following and jumping onto the Captain’s shoulder who remains immune to the monkey abilities to turn anyone or anything into stone.

The Captain lays the sick and unconscious monkey on his own bed inside the cabin and the monkey’s brother lays by his brother’s side, wrapping his arms around it with their bodies melting into each other, a mere bundle of flesh, ropes and sheets solidifying and turning into white, chalky stone.  The Captain looks at them as he makes his way back onto deck, being aware that with universal monkeys, nothing can be taken for granted or predicted.

Belchiore begins to pull the ship and once again, they’re moving.  Labaguette is suspicious.

“You didn’t lift a single finger!” he tells the Commander.

“Mind your own business!” the Commander answers.

“You could have helped,” Labaguette continues.

A small hair tentacle lifts off the Commander’s head to wrap itself threateningly around Labaguette’s throat.

To be continued…©