THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 193

Gigantic sparkly spurts of light increase in brightness and popping sounds, not unlike farts, make themselves heard except these aren’t farts at all.  Lightning and thunder appear.

The monkeys give the ropes one last tug and one white, slimy cocoon squirts out of the whale’s back end, enwrapped in the monkey’s ropes.  It is enrobed in smoke and jelly.

“Phew!” Labaguette exclaims.

“These monkeys aren’t sick,” the King says.

“They’ve grown,” the Captain remarks.

“The COMMANDER!” Labaguette exclaims, “he’s HERE!  Look, look, look!”

The Captain and the King attempt to perceive the hint of the face they know with all their might.

“It’s a large bug,” the King concludes.

“Nothing more,” the Captain adds.

The monkeys secure their ropes and are frantically pulling up the cocoon back onto the ship’s deck.  Now, small blasts burst out of each of Belchiore’s orifice.  But it’s no longer mere fire and noise coming out of her belly: there are memories neatly tied in small bundles, objects mixed with day-to-day thoughts, anxious light bulbs and literary emotions of all kinds neatly woven into intricate knitted patterns, as if Belchiore’s stomach and bowels can’t take it anymore.

Is it possible that she caught the monkey’s disease as they healed going through her insides?  Did the Commander’s devilish ways sent her into a deadly spin she can’t overcome?  Maybe, it’s a little bit of both.  Maybe it’s not one or the other.

One can’t really tell viewed from the Insatiable Princess’ s bridge and the King, the Captain and Labaguette rush to the monkeys’ help except they’re healthy: don’t need help.  They’re already standing on the deck, securing the Commander in his cocoon against the edge of the ship.  He can’t move, he can’t see and he can’t speak.  Can he breathe?

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 192

“Is that—?”

“—He’s got the ropes, he’s got the Monkeys and he’s got Belchiore,” the Captain says.

The King shakes his head in disbelief.  Labaguette reappears.

“They’re alive!  They’re alive!  They’re alive!” he repeats nervously.

And as they bend over the edge of the ship, what they see doesn’t register with them.  Belchiore’s rear end is open, not like that of a wounded mammal, but like she has some door underneath her tail.

“It’s confusing,” the King says, “is it a door or is it—“

“—There they are!” the Captain exclaims, pointing at the young monkeys hanging from their ropes out of Belchiore’s back door.  They’ve started to swing their ropes and seem to be increasing the swing more and more as the ropes unravel slowly beneath Belchiore’s tail.  As the swinging becomes evident, it is clear that the monkeys will soon reach the Insatiable Princess to land back on her deck.  There are sparks coming out of that door too, smoke and small flames.

“Where’s the Commander?” the Captain asks the monkeys, as if they could reply.  But they barely give the Captain a look in return.

“She’s going to explode!” Labaguette screams, “I’m sure of it.”

“Whales don’t explode,” the King says.

By now, the monkeys have swung so far that they’ve reached the rudder.  There, they secure the ropes and before they climb back up the ship, they pull at each rope one last time, tugging very sharply and powerfully.

“Someone stops these mad monkeys,” Labaguette says, “they’re going to pull Belchiore’s entrails out and I sure don’t wanna see this,” he says.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 191

Now the Captain rushes inside his beloved only to resurface pulling a couple of solid white ropes, those the white monkeys had extended inside the hull.  He attaches the ropes to the mast and out he throws them overboard hoping they will find their missing link somewhere inside Belchiore.

“Belchiore is gone,” the King says, “it’s too late”.

“Shut up.”

Indeed, everything is lost as darkness, silence and despair envelop them.

“See?”

“I’ll never believe ever again,” the Captain says.

“What?”

“That the earth is flat.”

“You’re entitled to your own beliefs.  It’s all to do with perspective.  We’ve been through this before.”

“I would have taken a different route.”

“No point in regrets, no point at all.”

“This is all a waste of time and the rum trade isn’t the better for it.”

“Without you?”

“Yes, without me.”

“Is that all you think about, rum?”

“I want a normal life.  I want a simple brain with simple thoughts.”

“Too late for that.”

“You don’t care?”

“This is entertaining.”

“We’re as good as dead.”

Tick, tock: may be a long time goes by, may be only a little.  You can’t tell.  May be the King and the Captain see a yellow bus drive past the Insatiable Princess, and may be Jimmy the driver waves to them.  And maybe they wave back.  It feels like an eternity for the Captain.  It feels like a few seconds merely ticking slowly for the King.  As to the Insatiable Princess, her wood, her masts and her rudder shiver and shudder at the thoughts their travels might have ended within the confinement of a dark universe they can’t understand or get away from.

Then it happens.  Then, they hear Labaguette’s unmistakable, fervent squawk.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 190

But the Commander takes one last look at the three of them and before any of them can mutter a single syllable, jumps into Belchiore’s mouth, two thin white ropes attached to his ankles unravelling fast and faster.

“Commmaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnder!” Labaguette shrieks.

“Where’s the Commander?” the King says in disbelief, “another act of cowardice from him I suppose.”

“The MONKEYS!” the Captain shrieks, “he’s got the MONKEY!”

“He didn’t tell us the end of his story,” Labaguette continues, “what do you mean he’s got the—“

Two white monkeys fly spinning past Labaguette and narrowly miss the King just standing there.  Down they fall, fall, fall, unable to untie themselves, forced to follow the Commander against their will, their strength dwindling every second that passes, their eyes opened, looking at the Captain, Labaguette and the King looking at them falling into Belchiore’s infernal and monstrous maw.

“We’ve lost them,” the Captain insists.

“There was nothing we could do for them anyway,” the King says.

“What if they sparked something?” Labaguette asks.

“A quick death is better than the slow agonising death that awaited them had they stayed aboard,” the King says.”

“Not at all.  They would have got better if only the Commander had jumped.  Once they would not have felt his evil presence around them, they would have got better for sure,” the Captain maintains.

“I can no longer see Belchiore,” the King says.

“She closed her mouth,” the Captain concludes.

“I’d better fly down and see for myself,” Labaguette says.

“Don’t get overly adventurous, bird of doom,” his Captain says, “you never know what you might find down there.”

“Coward!” Labaguette utters as he flies lower and lower underneath the Insatiable Princess.  Soon, the Captain and the King can no longer see him.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 189

“Crap!  Holly, shitty blasphemous crap, Labaguette!” the Commander interrupts, “the creatures Belchiore captures are those that need to be shown the way.”

“The way?” Labaguette asks.

“Shut up! Everyone, ab-so-lu-te-ly everyone must be told and made aware of the horrors the creatures caught in Belchiore’s belly have committed, else there’d be no progress.”

“You mean there’d be no hope”, the King says.

“You look bad, you speak well of evil but you don’t seem to be able to act bad.  ‘Tis all a big front, isn’t it?” Labaguette enquires.

“The curse in Belchiore’s belly is that, having to repeat each other’s story means there’s indeed no privacy and that, really, identity is lost by all.  Belchiore’s belly contains a large community within a shared space that spreads amid stomach juices, liver, bowels, etc. with no secrets untold.  There’s only transparency and no privacy, no respect for the individual as such.”

“You didn’t answer me,” Labaguette insists.

But the Commander jumps on the edge of the ship:

“I killed them all,” he says, almost repentant, “I killed all those on my planet.”

“It happens,” the King utters.

“We all go through stuff,” the Captain adds.

“I killed those I loved first,” the Commander continues, “they never saw me coming.  They don’t know I—“

“—You’re a traitor,” Labaguette says, “basta! Basta! basta!  Take thy tentacles from off our ship and take thy ugly face from off our lives.  Be gone!  Jump!” Labaguette commands, “jump!”

“Remember,” the Commander says, “Belchiore appears when you least need her and she knows.  She knows.”

“You don’t mean to jump,” the Captain says.

“Never,” the King adds.

“She knows what?” Labaguette asks.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 188

“The life of parrots is long.  We’re birds, we’re observers.  And we, as birds of memories and foresight, collect information like no other.  My mother was one among many: she was special.”

“Was she bird or mystic?” the King asks.

“What kind of King are you?” the Captain asks.

“She collected the memories and rituals in her head and heart,” Labaguette continues, “she was eccentric, she knew so much that when she spoke, it was difficult for the lay parrot, unlearned and unaware of the ways of the mystic parrot to decipher her banter into anything that made sense except to the initiated, such was her knowledge.”

“Are you initiated?” the Commander asks.

“That would be pushing mysticism a little too far,” the Captain retorts.

The King can’t help laughing, “a bird of spirit?  Labaguette?  He of the soaked rum beans?  He of the utmost uselessness?  HA!”

“Rumours, lost words that found their way out of Belchiore revealed the stories of all those caught.  The Librarians kept the stories in secret books because, put simply, there are words and secrets that belong to books only.  A word that finds its way out of Belchiore’s entrails is a word that remains undigested.  It is suspected that Belchiore’s brain isn’t configured to handle certain words because her subconscious isn’t bred for every word that comes her way and there are many such words.”

“Yet she can handle hearing stories of unbearable and unspeakable horror.  How can this be? The Captain asks.

“She may be large but there’s only so much she can digest at any one time.  Words aren’t thoughts.  Likewise, thoughts aren’t words.”

“Fuck, Labaguette.  You’re confused,” the Captain says.

“Words transmit thoughts, don’t they?” the King asks, losing his confidence.

“Not quite,” the Commander continues, “thoughts may transmit through words.”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 187

“Your explanation doesn’t make any sense,” the Commander insists, “to read the vapour, you’ve got to be one of the initiated: you’re a common bird, born out of trash, will always remain trash.”

“Have a little respect, I’m born in the jungle.  You call the jungle trash?”

“Watch your words, Commander!” the Captain bellows.

“Or else what?” the Commander asks, sarcastic, “Labaguette, you’re lucky enough to be able to fly, let alone speak.  Where did you learn to read?”

“My destiny may be special,” Labaguette retorts, “I’m a trasher with reading skills.  How does that sound?”

“You may be able to read a little, but memorise?”

“What does it matters to you whether I’m trash, bird or hero?”

“Who initiated you?”

“It’s just an old poem my mother taught me.”

“Your Ma??”

“Why, mother parrot of course.  That’s enough!  Leave my mother’s spirit in peace.”

“I don’t buy it.  Who was your mother?”

“Leave my preferred parrot alone, “the Captain interrupts, “you’re upsetting him.  He’s innocent.  He’s here by mistake because he follows me everywhere I go.  He deserves better.  I repeat: leave him alone.”

“Even I don’t bother with birds,” the King adds.

“Preferred bird, huh?  For how long?” the Commander insists.

“We’re special, you know?” Labaguette tells the King.

“Labaguette has been living by my side for as long as he can remember.  His feathers were hardly dry when his mother gave him up for adoption.”

“Nope,” Labaguette says, “you took me from my mother because I looked better than the rest of me nesting brood.  This, I remember very well.

“Now you tell me you’ve got a good memory?” the Captain asks sarcastically.

“My mother was a mystic,” Labaguette says.

To be continued…