THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 291

“You spent too many years believing in your abilities to—“

“—a feminist, we have a FEM-IN-IST on board!” Labaguette yells, “get rid of women!  Get rid of feminists!  Get rid of anyone or anything that ends with an ‘IST’! and—“

At supersonic speed, one monkey jumps where Labaguette is perched, unceremoniously snatches the bird, and shoves it into the Captain’s jacket’s pocket with its beak neatly tied.

“—Where will this lead?” the King asks.

“The monkeys can create a system of ropes and pulleys that will pull the ship down without much sweat on our part.”

“Ambitious.”

“Feasible.”

“We’re no longer prisoners?”

“My rum supplies is dwindling.  If I can’t replenish soon, we’ll truly be in trouble.  Wanna get out of here?  All down in the net now and let’s begin the work.”

The fact it that the Insatiable Princess no longer looks like a ship and, were it not for the carved siren at its bow, a goddess of the sea whose indomitable spirit cannot be tamed as seen in the Captain’s mind’s eye, any outside observer would swear they’re looking at a small, floating island.  Perfect Palm trees, pine trees, baobabs have sprouted all over the lawn covered deck.  Their perfection is such that they look like some plastic imitations, the King thinks.  Spreading on each side of the ship’s keel, long, dense grass grows uncontrollably among exotic plans never seen before except here.  Intoxicating scents of plants reaches the crew’s nostrils, inviting it to memories of their planets to fever pitch as well as to the rise of unsuspected instincts.

“This isn’t going to work,” the King mutters as they cram into the net under the ship, all wanting a part of the action.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 290

“It’s daylight,” Labaguette continues, “the creature has melted.”

All of a sudden, the three monkeys begin to run around impatiently, running towards Labaguette, jumping, pirouetting and trying to catch the parrot.

“Hey, guys!” Labaguette exclaims, “I can fly, remember?”

The monkeys aren’t deterred and it seems they are ready to do anything to get their paws on the bird.

“ENOUGH!” the Captain yells.

The monkeys pause, sit and start to drum their fists on the wooden floor rhythmically, their eyes staring deeply into Labaguette’s.

“It won’t work,” the parrot says, “I don’t give in so easily, why would I?”

“When day breaks,” the Captain continues, in turn looking into each of the monkey’s eyes eloquently, “we will be out of here.”

A serene veil descends upon the Insatiable Princess.

“I have a plan,” the Captain adds, “underneath the ship where Chloroph had his nest, a long rope as solid and as a flexible trunk extends below.”

“Which is it?  Rope or trunk?” the old woman asks.

“A mixture of both.”

“How far below does it go?” one guard asks.

“The extremity can’t be seen.  We must gather inside the net and pull the ship down to reach the end of the rope.”

“This ship’s too heavy.  It will crush us,” the old woman says.

“We won’t know until we’ve tried.  You won’t need to do this, you can overlook—”

“—I may be old, I may appear weak and I may be a woman, but Captain, don’t let appearances deceive you.”

“I don’t understand your species.”

“I’ll pull the ship, don’t you listen to my bones’ creaking.  And please add this to your library, Captain: a woman, young or old but willing, is as good as a hundred rum fuelled and infuriated pirates.”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 289

“You pushed him overboard?”

“What’s wrong with my beak?”

“What did you do to him?”

“Where were you?”

“Where is he?”

The Captain approaches the grey residue glued to the deck and rubs some between his thumb and forefinger.

“Sticky,” he says “Mouton Blanc melted?”

“Daylight came.”

“You said you don’t know where he’s gone.”

“I don’t.”

“If he’d melted, you would have seen it.”

“It all happened so quickly.  You should have seen it.”

“I was asleep.”

“It was horrible.”

“Try me.”

“As I said, it happened very quickly.”

“So quickly you don’t know where he’s gone?”

“If you’d been here, you’d understand.”

“Sleep happens.  It caught up with me at the wrong time.”

“I don’t need any sleep.”

“Sooner or later, it’ll catch up with you.”

“Some scare tactic.”

“How horrible was the melting?”

“Hellish, drop by drop, as if Mouton Blanc was dribbling all over himself.  He was screaming, begging and—

“—what the flaming hell did you do to Mouton Blanc, you, patchy-feathered, headless chicken?”

“I’m no chicken,” Labaguette retorts, turning his back on the Captain.

“You talk and act like one.”

“For a start,” Labaguette continues, “headless chicken can’t—“

“—We’ll never get out of here, now.”

“What is it you know that I don’t know?”

“Go fetch the others.  A new exit must be planned.”

“You said  we’d never—“

“I don’t believe every word you say, I suggest you do the same if we’re ever to speak the same language.”

Soon, three monkeys, two ancient guards and an old princess reappear on deck led by the parrot.

“Chloroph has vanished,” the Captain announces, “unless he’s transformed into the vegetation that surrounds my Darling Princess.”

To be continued

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 288

As quickly as he began dropping, the parrot remembers his worst nightmare: falling, and deploys his wings as he hits a small branch protruding from underneath the ship.  The branch bounces slightly, enough to wake Captain Traumatic, still sleeping on a bunch of leaves and branches that have almost completely taken over the ship.

“Labaguette!” the Captain utters as he opens one eyelid and the bird flies back up, ignoring the Captain.

“Mouton Blanc?” Labaguette whispers.  But silence surrounds him like never before except for his own voice and that of the Captain: “Mouton Blanc?”

“LABAGUETTE!”

The parrot looks at the unfinished drawing etched on the edge of the ship.  Not that bad: the strong beak is recognisable, he thinks, to do with a way with words and refined taste buds, all tell-tale signs of royal French ancestry.  Pity there are no colours because, depending on your viewpoint, he more or less looks like a dark, hopeless and exaggeratedly creepy bird.  Aren’t caricatures meant to be funny he wonders.

“LABAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGUEEEEEETTE!”

“Mouton Blanc?  Are you truly gone?”  Labaguette investigates.  “They were only pins, you know?  I had to prove immortality doesn’t exist.  I’m smarter than I look.  It’s your fault.”

Nothing but silence.  Labaguette, still sitting and teetering by the side of the drawing, is unsure how he feels and how, really, he should be feeling, except he is all alone and scared of falling yet again.

“What’s this mess, Labaguette?” Captain Traumatic asks, appearing from below deck.

“Not a mess, Captain, not a mess.  It’s me.  Mouton Blanc drew me.”

“I mean that wet, sticky patch, you, puffed-up beak bird.  Where is Mouton Blanc?”

“I dunno, gone I suppose.”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 287

Bit by bit, the process begins: Mouton Blanc starts to sweat heavily while looking into Labaguette’s eyes.  Huge, grey and greasy drops of sweat run down his body collecting more droplets as they slide along his belly, his legs and feet before falling in the cosmic vacuum below.  Mouton Blanc looks as if he might be losing weight.

“What is happening?” he asks, “I’m melting, no.  It’s not day light yet.  I don’t understand.  I—“

“—Don’t fret, it’s just sweat,” Labaguette comments, waving his wings in front of his nose as if to get rid of some stench.”

“I’m immortal.  I’m creature.  I’m creature that cannot die.  Never can die.”

“You’re a drama queen.”

“I can’t be going but I am.”

“Stop this and finish my portrait!”

“This drawing etched on the Insatiable Princess that you see here, Labaguette, is proof that I cannot die.  You will remember.  You will come to regret.”

“It’s a caricature.”

“It’s you.”

“Stop crouching like this.”

“I—“ but Mouton Blanc’s last words are lost as his head has reached the floor and his mouth is melting, eyes imploring.

It is too late: Mouton Blanc liquefies and drips into the void below, as other bits of his melted figure slide along the ship, finding their way underneath the Insatiable Princess.

Labaguette gives one disgusted and contemptuous stare at what remains of Mouton Blanc.

“Another one of your tricks?” he snarls.

This parrot’s soul shall be lifted no more is a thought that hits Labaguette as he recalls another bird.  When all that is left of Mouton Blanc is a grey puddle marbled with black lines and bubbling with sticky matter, Labaguette is overwhelmed by a sense of usurped satisfaction and loses his balance.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 286

Labaguette perches onto Mouton Blanc’s shoulder, looks into the creature’s eyes and smiles.  Mouton Blanc smiles back, revealing a sparkle of innocence blended with ignorance, believing that despite their differences, it, creature of some sort, prisoner, gaoler, monster, may have a friend for the first time in its long and almost never ending life and that all it takes is a mirror.

“Take a good look at yourself,” Labaguette says, “and tell me what you see.”

Mouton Blanc holds the mirror and looks at his face, observing, unflappable: there might be beauty in his features and he knows beauty when he sees it.  Then, he looks back deep into Labaguette’s eyes, imploringly, with an impending and contained sob resisting its unavoidable exit, tears welling.  There are no words, no sounds Mouton Blanc can muster to describe what he has just seen.  Hot fat tears roll down his cheeks.

A mere slight pang of guilt grabs Labaguette.  Still, this is the moment he’d been waiting for all along:

“I’m sorry, you’ll never be as famous as you’d hoped.  You can’t draw.  Admit it.”

“Why?” Mouton Blanc asks, “Why?”

“Because I’m going to be famous, you dumb, silly creature.  I’m special, I’ve been chosen.  No one ever got anywhere without a mother, proper drawing lessons and an ugly face.  You’ve no real sense of your place in this world.  Satisfied?”

“Labaguette,” Mouton Blanc pleads, “I thought…”

But the parrot’s insistent stare into the creatures eyes which are filled with an innocent expression, like that of a child who can’t understand a cruel, cruel world of some kind, interrupts any of its thoughts.

Labaguette realises for a quarter of a second that maybe, maybe only, he’s been a little over handed, a little trivial.  That’s life, he thinks finally, that’s life and life can be cruel, so what?

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 285

“I forgive you, Mouton Blanc.  How can you understand beauty if you’ve never come across it?  For you, torture, would be to look in a mirror and face the ugly truth.  But there’s no one to show you what you look like, what you are about, the true and sincere ugliness that is reflected from and within you.”

“It takes one to know one.”

“You’re alone, isolated like no other.  All alone.  No one here to share your deepest concerns, that of the sheer disgust you inspire.  Fact is, Mouton Blanc: you’re ugliest as can be, you’ve never—“

“—I’m not alone.  I don’t feel alone.”

“There’s a difference.  Where are your peers?”

“We could have been friends you and I—“

“—don’t try this on me.  You’ve never seen or never had any, huh?  They’d be too scared to look at you.  They’d flee.  Your mother abandoned you.”

“How do you know?”

“Abandoned you to your own fate.  As soon as she first laid eyes on you, you repulsed her.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Do you remember her at all?”

“You’re a goddam fussy, insignificant and dickless ball of tangled feathers with an incoherent demon between your ears.”

This is when Labaguette chooses to fly off to Captain Traumatic’s cabin and, in a flash, comes back holding a mirror in his beak.

The fact is that there’s more than one ruffled feather in Labaguette’s body and soul: there’s an ego fuming, a pressing need for justice as seen from the eyes of a demented parrot.  This creature is ugly, stupid and has been holding them prisoners for no reason the parrot thinks, except for its need for company and control.  It deserves a lesson it will never forget.

To be continued…