“Enough!  I shall now remedy to this situation.  It has gone on for far too long.  It’s time for She-Coat to do what she should have done long ago because eventually, it’s all the same to me: pride or no pride, honour or none, I’ve had enough.  You’re no good to me.”

“’Wait.  Only wait.  I beg you.  Please!  There’s so much more to it.  Surely you want to know about it?  We’ve gone such a long way already you and I, we—‘”

“—I didn’t agree to this.  You just got—”

‘”—What follows is going to be fun, I guarantee it, just… will you listen for God’s sake?

“Don’t you speak—“


“I was stunned, couldn’t say anything to that.”

“’The UGE, the governing body for all space gardeners is what drove me to you,’” Chloroph continued,‘”every mistake must be repaired with only once chance allowed.  My time was running out and you were my next opportunity, a good one, a—’”

“—a gullible one?  Read the bloody instructions or I’ll kill you myself right here, right now!”

“Fascinating,” Captain Traumatic interrupts, “so you’re a Hook Master, huh?”

“Shut your gob, Captain!” Labaguette orders, “keep going King Krackskull!”

“We could use a Hook or two to get us out of here,” the Captain suggests.

“I’ve no seeds with me.  I could summon one of them.” the King answers.

“Nah.  We don’t want to move from being ‘stuck somewhere’ only to end up ‘stuck anywhere’” the Captain adds.

But there’s no time: wild flames engulf the bucket that covers the Commander’s head.  Simultaneously, Belchiore whines and begins a steep climb, the steepest yet.

To be continued…



“’—If you’d got any instructions wrong, you and I would wouldn’t be here to talk about it.’”

“You never hinted at this before.”

“’Warning you would have resulted in death.’”

“You’re crazy.”

“’It’s all part of the instructions.’”

“Are the instructions set in stone?”

“’More or less.’”

“’So it was all right for you to push me into getting this Diploma and endanger my life?’ I asked, as Chloroph’s face turned blue with anguish and he remained ominously silent.  He waited for a few moments and said:”

“’I didn’t think we’d pull through, that’s all.’”

“’We?  THAT’S ALL?’ I bellowed.  ‘Why didn’t you stop me if you thought your own life depended on it?’”

“’The last sod who tried died because of me.’”

“Right, so you feel guilty and you don’t care if you live or die and take along my life with yours?”

“My ability as a universal gardener has been questioned and is under review.  If I don’t provide a new Hook Master to the Universal Gardener’s Establishment in good time, I’ll be made destitute and chucked out of the UGE.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“’Honour.  ‘Tis best to die an honourable death than face disrepute.’”

“At the cost of my life…?  You didn’t land on Coatingsdale by chance?”

“’Coatingsdale was close and its barren and fertile grounds made it a first class subject.‘”

“I should have let She-Coat do what she does best.”

“’That’s my point: I didn’t stand much of a chance with She-Coat anyway.  I was convinced I was on a suicide mission.  Nothing mattered and my honour—’”

“—Well, congratulations!  You made it through!  How does that feel?”

“’—I, err—‘”

To be continued…


“’You might say that some creatures are addicted to toxic situations, but it is a way of life in its own right.  It’s a choice.  A Hook is a choice, any Hook is a choice.  You’re a Hook Master, you won’t have to worry about going through any of them unless you wish to save someone or call for truce.’”

“That’s a lot to take in.”

“’We’ve plenty of time.  You need to practice.’”

“No practising needed, I’ve got my diploma.”

“You are required to implore each Hook for your Diploma to show: ‘Welcome Aboard the Hooks’ Mystery Mastery’.  You ought to give yourself a tap on the shoulder’”.

“I’m quite happy as it is.  Have some self-respect.”

“’Aren’t you glad we made it alive through the instructions?  You know, that was incredible, absolutely unbelievable, you’re very special, one of a kind!’”

“I think it was interesting, entertaining perhaps; yes, quite possibly entertaining.  And so that you know, there’s only one King of my type.”

“’I’m so impressed by your strategy to get there and become a Hook Master.  Surely, you must have been through many battles to maintain such level of composure and persistence through it all?’”

“She-Coats looks after the enemy.  I merely watch.  I don’t get involved; it’s none of my business.”

“’You’re far too modest, Yourmajesty.  Right now, you’re a brave and valiant King and without it you might be dead meat.’”

“What’s with the brave and valiant repetition and what does dead meat look like to you?”

“’I’ve carnivorous seeds, I know what meat looks like, dead or alive.’”

“What makes you think I might be dead?“

To be continued… ©


“’—Please, let me finish.  With this Hook, there’s an ultimate and pre-conditional condition of the utmost that requests that before you get sent into the unknown business of the third Hook, you pay a compulsory visit to nine minor space Hooks of varied strengths and survive through each of them individually before being fully accepted into the world of the third Hook.  If you succeed, you are then sent into a dimension no one knows anything about but which might be pleasant at last, even if the experience gets repeated forever in it.’”

“And should you fail the nine Hooks test?”

“’Well, if you fail any of them, you get kicked, bounced and passed around each of the nine Hooks repeatedly without a chance to get anywhere else.’”

“In other words, you’re doomed.”

“’What can you do?  It’s a risky business.  Fortunately, if the worse happens, the death that follows is one of the quickest to go through: then, as your exhausted body and weary soul get pushed around, your will to live dwindles and you die, eventually, depending on how much pleasure you’re able to derive from the experience.’”


“’It’s a big universe out there.  As I said, some creatures want to experience things to better feel them and when they do, no matter how much pain they endure, they’re able to enjoy it.’”


“’You got many obsessed-with-war creatures, suicidal creatures, creatures with nothing to lose, feel-nothing-might-as-well-feel-before-I-die-creatures, not to mention sadomasochists psychopaths and many more.’”

“Pathetic.  So in fact, the Space Hooks is the stuff for evil dudes.”

To be continued… ©


“’Ah, mental pain, yes: the more you experience it, the more you can sustain and, as you get stronger, you get used to it, you no longer see it as mental pain and take it in your stride.’”

“An excellent technique that could be used to rule over creatures and make them obedient and submissive if you ask me.  Fortunately, I have She-Coat.”

“’Err, sure.  It is worth noting that the device Hook is usually the least painful and most predictable of the Hooks.  I believe that watching creatures choose their own form of pain and endure it is exactly what you’re looking for.  You’d be entertained in so many more ways than one.  Are we clear on that point now?’”

“I suppose so, keep going.”

“Now, with the creature Hook, you may become worm, leaf, hair, egg yolk, anything that is organic and living and, really, it speaks for itself.  This may be the most physically painful choice as death involves frequent violent events and transformation into another creature can only occur once the creature you inhabit or that inhabits you dies of old age and that you’ve exhausted the life span…  Luck, destiny, whatever it is that is at play here is important.’”

“Who inhabits who exactly?”

“’Never mind that.’”

“You’d have to be mad to—“

“’—As to the space Hook, it requires mental agility and strength in addition to physical resistance and prowess.  Those who chose it often live in some kind of hell for infinity.  It’s as if they get stuck into some vacuum, unless they’re successful.  You may live any experience through it.  ’”

“You’ve lost me.  Why would anyone want to—”

To be continued… ©


“’The experience,’ he said, ‘keeps you into the reality of objects and matter and this is the only hook through which pain may not be felt at all, although, from a mental point of view, it’s a bit as if you lived in a square room with every day repeating itself until there’s a change in scenery and the repeating starts again.”

“You mean that the great pain and suffering take place at a mental level?”

“No, with objects, pain shouldn’t be felt but it’s not uncommon for some creatures to enable life within the object they’ve transformed into to the extent that pain becomes a reality, as if suddenly the object had nerves.  I mean that some creatures project what they feel onto inanimate objects’”

“And the objects become alive?”

“’You might say so.’”


“’Think about it: if you’re a sensitive box—‘“

“—one that can feel pain?”

“’Listen God dammit!  Yes, a sensitive box can feel pain and if you happen to be one that’s being ripped apart for any reasons, then you feel like you’re being torn apart, got it?’”

“What’s the point of it all?”

“‘Hooking’ is a choice even if never an easy one; it’s to do with wandering souls, that of creatures who’d rather live something, even if painful, rather than never feel a thing in their entire life which, as you might know, is a common predicament anywhere you go.  Hooks belong to the realm of bored, lost and desperate souls, be it pleasant, painful or merely plain.

“Doesn’t make any sense, none at all.”

“’Have you ever felt anything?’”

“That’s beside the point.  You haven’t answered my question.  And what about mental pain?”

To be continued… ©


“I didn’t ask for this,” I said, “you said I would be entertained without leaving the comfort of my home and now—“

“’—Chill out.  You, as a Hook Master, won’t suffer.  You’ll be able to watch, try, experience if you wish but you won’t feel pain.’”

“How can this be?”

“’Becoming a Hook Master implies being particularly brave and valiant.’”

“I?  Brave and valiant?  I hadn’t considered that.”

“’Besides, only creatures from out there who come to you to apply for a hook will be the ones experiencing fun, pain or both, depending.  You’ll be a mere witness, just like with She-Coat.’”

“Ah, but I could feel what the creatures feel, could I not?”


“Chloroph had a point,” ‘there are many facets to a King,’ I said, ‘who are you to judge?’”

“Ha! Ha! Ha!  Chloroph knew who he was dealing with!” Labaguette interrupts abruptly as the Captain slams shut his beak once more, this time holding the damn bird tight under his arm, squeezing him until he can barely draw a single breath.

“Keep going!” the Captain orders, hanging by the King’s lips and as if nothing else mattered.

And the King to add: “’If you choose the device hook’ Chloroph said, ‘you become an object that lives until it becomes obsolete or gets destroyed.  Then only can you move on to being another object.  You select what object you’ll turn into.  You may be tyre, cardboard box, space junk, brick, or anything that isn’t organic but made by creatures of all types.  Usually…‘”


“’I heard.’”

“You don’t know?”

“’Wait, shut up and listen!’”

To be continued