“Why put me through this?  How did Jimmy know I needed help?”

“You were supposed to have nice dreams,” Chloroph continues.

“I’ve met you before,” Jimmy explains, “my bus and I are one.  We knew you were in danger.  I know of the third Monkey missing.  I had no choice but to come and get you.”

“You don’t owe me anything.”

“This is what I do.”

“You’d save anyone, foe or friend.”

“Depends on the feedback I get.”

“Feedback, feedback!” Labaguette squawks, “I like that, ‘feedback!”

“You know what I mean,” Jimmy continues, “you feel it in your bones, is the enemy deadly or merely an ego slayer?”

Now the Captain, the King and Chloroph are truly interested.  The Captain’s eye brows rise inquisitively.

“A soul destroyer, huh?” the King tries.

“Without a soul, you might as well be dead,” Jimmy continues, “this is why our sort live in the company of shadows, so that our souls can’t be seen or perceived by the enemy lurking in the dark.”

“Shadows and darkness are one and the same thing,” the Captain interrupts, “and bus drivers don’t need a soul.”

“Try and think before you speak, Captain,” Labaguette utters, “and listen.”

“An ego eradicator is…. King Krackskull, you know about this don’t you?  You lost your crown to the big wild universe.  Can you honestly say you feel like a King at all times?”

“I’ve no time to consider such—,”

“—You were the victim of darkness without being aware of it,” Jimmy insists, “else you’d still be a crowned King. You’ve begun to change without realising it and your ego might be lost forever.  You might turn into a—“

To be continued…




“We were being pounced on from all sides, and by all sorts of creatures,” Jimmy insists, “the latter being those who got us back here, those odd, hostile spiders.  They wanted us to pledge allegiance to Spino-something, what was that again?”

“Spinostress?” the King asks.


“Ha! Ha!” Labaguette says, “sounds like she’s stuck behind that Hook.  I wonder how it can be that—“

“—Are they really gone?” Jimmy asks, “or was this—“

“—T’was a fucking series of nightmares, a fucking never ending series of damn sticky and shitty nightmares, that’s what!”

“Fuck Capitaine!” a horrified Labaguette continues, how about honouring your second brain and all the knowledge and culture that it brought you?”

This is when a mug of rum narrowly misses the parrot because, should this not be common knowledge, it is conceivable that mugs and rum can be found anywhere across any Universe, provided one’s mind is applied to finding some.  This is an easy feat for the Captain, a pirate driven by now legendary instinctive planning talents, a two brained creature with expandable knowledge and whose actions are made easier by serious guiltlessness and a lack of readily available wise thoughts.  After all, two brains might have to do with speed, not depth.

“How did you make it out of here?” the Captain asks Chloroph.

“Me?  Err.  I never—“

“—Don’t you dare!” the Captain snarls, “you fell in it with me.  O but it is clear.  You knew how to get out of it, and quickly too if you needed it.  Explain yourself.”

“I’m a Hook Master, I should know how to get out of a Hook fast and easy.”

To be continued…


The bus is then secured to the edge of the Hook in an upright position, at last.  A platform stretches between the Hook and the bus.  The soldiers roll Jimmy and the Captain to the brim of the Hook.  One last push and they fall out of it, across to the other side.

“CHLOROPH!” the two of them explain as they stretch arm and legs and stand back again, and: “LABAGUETTE!  KING KRACKSKULL!”

“It wasn’t that difficult, Captain, was it?” Labaguette asks.

“What?  Where am I?  Are you for real?”

“Do you remember who you are?” the King continues.

“Could someone drag me bus this side of the Hook?” Jimmy inquires.

Two monkeys pull the ropes one notch harder and the bus is dragged across the Hook.

“Did you enjoy the experience?  Wasn’t that an interesting trip?” Chloroph asks.

“Shouldn’t you be dead?” Jimmy asks.

“What the fuck!” the Captain can’t help, “you should be dead and beyond.  I’m gonna squeeze the juice out of your brains till it’s all dried up, you moron!”

“Capitaine, your language,” Labaguette says, “you can’t—“

“—Shut up, Labaguette!  You don’t know what we’ve just been through.”

“We kept waving at you from behind the veil below and you smiled back at us.  You didn’t look in a hurry to get back here at all,” the King says.

“That’s right.  You were enjoying yourselves so much you didn’t seem to mind that the bus had broken down.  You looked ready to spend a lifetime on that side of the Hook,” Chloroph continues.

To be continued…


“We are going to make it out of here at last.  Bless these creatures!” Jimmy utters.

The Captain is flabbergasted.  His shoulders have slumped and the dim glint of hope that sparkled in his eyes a minute earlier has all but gone.  From one nightmare to another.  Which is best he wonders.

“The child of the Syck Monckey himself along with soldier spiders!” Jimmy continues, “Who would have thought?” he asks, beaming.

“This is the enemy,” the Captain tells him.

“You’re in a worse state than I thought.  You’ll need an extended period of recovery behind a wall of some of our best shadows, just for you.  There’s a cure to everything.”

The Captain looks at Jimmy, knowing this time that silence is best until Jimmy can figure out what type of nightmarish truth they’re heading straight into.

The two spiders spin Jimmy and the Captain into a tangled web of strong and wiry thread, a cocoon of some sort, leaving only their head free.

“Hey!” the Captain yells, “get your slimy threads off my body or I’ll call on my army of parrots and Kings!”

Across the veil, Labaguette, the King and the Monkey have stopped carrying on, ashamed they felt they had to attract their friends into Spinostress’ treacherous warring path once more.

“What the hell is this?” Jimmy asks, hesitating, “surely the nightmares haven’t got the better of us?”

“We’re not out of them yet,” the Captain retorts, “this isn’t just the end of one nightmare and the beginning of a recurring one, it’s a whole lot more than that.”

To be continued…


“I’m your only chance,” Jimmy tells the Captain, looking him in the eye as if his word was the only existing truth, “nothing that you see around us is real.”

“You too?”

“I’ve been through this before.  You’ll learn. For now, you must trust me.”

“I’ve no intention to come here again.”

As Jimmy and the Captain attempt to pull up the rope to lift themselves to the edge of Hook’s entrance which they can’t even see, they discern two faint and familiar creatures ahead of them.

“Do you see what I see?” Jimmy asks.

“You told me that—“

“—not if we both see the same thing.”

“You did see Labaguette earlier!”

“I knew you did, that’s all.”

“Impossible!  I—“

“—We’ve no time to waste.  Now, DO YOU SEE WHAT I SEE?” Jimmy reiterates.

There is a veil, a thin transparent curtain undulating.  Behind it, although indistinct, the King’s and Labaguette’s shapes can be seen waving and cheering, signalling Jimmy and the Captain to join them, amidst a world of airborne parrots, Kings and crowns only seen by the Captain.

As the bus is hoisted higher and closer to the Hook’s entrance, a white rope, stronger and whiter than any white object they’ve ever seen before wraps itself around the bus tightly.  The Captain recognizes it instantly.

“We’re saved!” he yells, trying to reach out for a hovering crown passing him by.  They can now distinguish the King’s and Labaguette’s features as well as that of one Monkey.  Then, two of Spinostress’ warrior spiders descend and criss-cross their web to help along with the vehicle’s final climb.

To be continued…


There can only be one King, the Captain thinks.  The only tangible reality in this nightmare is Jimmy and the King.  No sooner has this last thought reinforced itself inside the Captain’s head than another King appears, flying gently, a crown snatching King, oblivious to the peculiar life unravelling before him, wanting nothing more than his station reinstated, be it as a paper, cotton or ivory King.

“Got it!” Jimmy shouts, “secure the driving wheel and come up here, Captain!”

This must be the answer, the Captain contemplates, Jimmy is the only creature that doesn’t fit here.  He must be eliminated.

“That’s the way,” a voice whispers, “this bus is yours, Captain.  It could pull the Insatiable Princess out of its precarious and demeaning position.  Why, have you ever seen a ship caught by a tree?  My O my,” the voice insists.

“Stop dreaming!” Jimmy carries on, “use your brains, Captain!”

“My brains, my brains,” the Captain mutters, “I’m going to kill you!” he says, stepping out of the vertical bus.

“Grab the rope!” Jimmy orders the Captain, paying no attention to him.  The Captain fetches the rope with one hand, puts his large palm around Jimmy’s neck and begins to tighten his grip.

“What do you see around me?” Jimmy asks, still undaunted.

“Labaguette has mult—“

“—Here!” Jimmy says, fetching one of the numerous parrots flying by with one hand, see how friendly he really is.”

Captain Traumatic releases Jimmy’s neck to get hold of Labaguette but the bird disappears as soon as the Captain’s fingers touch the bird.

To be continued…


This is when the Captain hears more sounds of flapping on the side of the bus and a clear pecking at the window.  Here is Labaguette, again.  What?  But, the Captain thinks, surely that isn’t… That can’t be…  There are two of Labaguette now.  And behind, a third clone of the parrot, a fourth here and above, below.  All of them appearing from every corner of that strange universe made of bad dreams come true, or is it?  The Captain feels he has no other choice and closes his eyes.  One, two, three, four he counts until he reaches ten and stops to observe this plausible reality still unfolding all around him.  He pinches himself.  No.  He isn’t sick.  He hasn’t swallowed anything either.  Where is Jimmy?

“Jimmy!” he yells, “Jimmy!”

“Shut up and keep driving up!” Jimmy yells back.

A crown is now hovering, floating gently in the air outside the bus.

“The King’s crown” the Captain remarks.

“King Krackskull!” he shouts, “King Krackskull!”

There, at the back, behind all these parrots claiming to be who they might or might not be comes a King, approaching like only he knows how to, except he isn’t interested in getting back with The Captain, because his crown is all he can think of.

“We’ll get you another crown!” Captain Traumatic says, understanding the King’s predicament.  But soon, it isn’t just Labaguette who has multiplied, but the crown as well.  There are large, small, tiny crowns, gem encrusted, paper made and rusty crowns… all enticing a King to catch it, one way or another.

To be continued…