“That flying small being of his, half object, half creature.  Calls it a bird.  But it’s not.  Not really.  Wings aren’t real.”

“Captain Who?” the Captain insists.

“It has no names, has identity issues.  Speaks in mixed tongues.”

“Says ‘non-non-non’ often?”



“Yeah, like that, speaks just like that.”

“He can fly?”

“New wings on top of his old dysfunctional ones.  He refused to have the old wings removed and the experiment worked.  They say the feathers did it.  Got a GPS too.”

“Labaguette may be alive but we’re trapped by this muck,” the King complains.

“Makes us softer, meatier, juicier, smellier and more palatable” one prisoner insists.

“I,” the King retorts, hesitant, “I am with crown.”

“Ha! Ha! HA!” echoes around him.

“The better the enjoyment.”

“This place is about Rum,” the Captain continues, “nothing to do with cannibals.  The policemen aren’t cannibals.  What—“

“—Numerous experiments gone wrong, that’s what,” the prisoner says, “creatures born out of unwilling boxes forced to comply to orders from above as well as the disorderly, disobeying policemen willing to try anything to be noticed.”

“No policemen would ever try to—“

“—the tampered with, the damaged, Captain.  Through birth or through circumstances.  They never recover.  Usually, it remains unseen until it bursts out of their being all of a sudden, for any reason.  They turn into rogues.  Look around you Captain, what do you see?”

“They’ll listen to me.  I can lead all to calm.  I can rule,” the King states.

“Long time without practice,” the Captain answers.

To be continued…



There is no such thing as a drink on this planet and, aside the elusive River, the Captain knows it.  As he surrenders the crown to the guards, a hose is inserted inside his cage and all the prisoners inside it are sprayed with the same thick muck that came out earlier from the guards’ mouths.

“Told you,” the King says, sitting the crown back on his head, “these guards fear me.  GUARDS!  FREE ME!”

But, upon uttering these words, the King is unable to escape being squirted with the same sludge and, like the rest of them, finds it difficult to move under its sticky weight as it holds them glued to the cage, their heads barely protruding from it, gasping for air.

“It’s time for the parade,” one prisoner explains and as he says so, a deep rumble comes out from the rocks the cages are attached to and gigantic cranes emerge from the rock itself, carrying the wildly swinging cages high in the air, moving forward slowly.

“What parade?” the Captain asks.

“The chosen ones will be selected and sent for amendments.”

“He means experiments,” another explains.

“They want the healthiest, the better looking too.”

“They’re looking for new leaders, huh?” the King inquires.

“Strong shoulders,” another ads.

“For wings.”

“The Captain will select a few.”

“I’m flattered,” the Captain says, “though—“

“—Not you, the Captain.”

“It’s about time Colonel Loga paid us a visit and gave us an explanation,” the King says.

“Colonel Loga never comes here.  This is the rejects area.  Only the best of us make it out of here.”

“Who’s his Captain?” the Captain asks.

To be continued…


Disgusted, disgruntled but undefeated, the Captain wonders about this planet’s inhabitants.  All had seemed so orderly from afar: policemen ruling other policemen taking care not to be out of step nor to step out of line or to overstep but these half-way policemen and mutants redefine the understanding he had of this planet.  The Captain places the ill-fitting crown on his head, in defiance.

“You’re asking for trouble,” the King says.

“That’s what I do.”

“Stick to the Rum Trade.”

“How’s that?” the Captain asks posing majestically in spite of his abject stench and miserable appearance, “King for a day, I’ve always dreamed that—“

Two guards cut short his fantasies, lengthen theirs sticks, pass them through the bars to keep the Captain close to the edge of the cage and stop him from moving.  Then, in unison, they spit some more.

“Told you,” the King sneers.

“Rejects,” the Captain comments as if unaffected, “use-by-date policemen, underdogs.”

But guards are just that: guards, it’s what they’re born to do.  Here, on RythmaRymosthesis, they mind prisoners in original ways and aside the spitting, they bang on the sides of the cages, generating notes of discord that reach the prisoners’ ears until their faces are contorted by displeasure and pain.

“Are they related to Mouton Blanc?” the King utters, struggling with ear ache.

“These creatures are the results of experiments gone wrong,” the Captain states, still apparently unaffected by his ordeal, “where could they possibly have got those ridiculous short pants?  And what about the hooves?”

“Captain, make them stop!”

“As to the distorted podium underneath them and those protruding out of their flesh and bones, really…  I need a drink.”

To be continued…


“Spinostress too is lost.”

“Couldn’t be caught.  She’s untouchable.”

“I suppose she’d make a meal of this place.”

“—Why did they separate you from us?”

“Born a King, always a—”

“—Cut it out.  You no longer look like one.”

“Anyone can tell.  Nothing to do with looks.”

“Pass me your crown!”


“Trust me.”

“If you miss—”

“—Throw it!”


Captain Traumatic catches the crown and in less time than it takes for a tenth of a second to elapse, a shift occurs.  It’s in the air.  Anyone can sense it.  All that is regular and ritualistic about the day’s occurrences on RythmaRymosthesis disappears, giving rise to a stifling sense of unease and conflict: the neighbouring prisoners shuffle, awaken by intensifying tensions and indignation they are unable to understand but that they can feel.  They stand by the edge of their rotating cages, walking around them to stay in one spot for the view, for the distraction.  All stare at the Captain with sombre, inquisitive eyes.

Invisible dust rises from the ground and the thick, penetrating mist swirls as a multitude of shades of orange, vermillion and pink mingle, confuse and blind.

The guards abandon their posts to gather by the Captain’s cage, their eyes spilling disapproval and scorn.

“Get away from me!” the Captain yells as one guard prods at him with his stick, spitting at the Captain.  The Captain spits back.

“Ya fool!  You’ll never beat me at this game.”

Undeterred, the guard then spits an uninterrupted stream of dense pink and pale green saliva that reaches the Captain’s face, throat and chest.

To be continued…


“The podiums will be directed to procreation: they will be worked on to generate winged policemen.  First, we need more of me with one difference: I with wings.  Once experiments on willing or selected policemen have been conducted and the wings are safe to grow on policemen, I will be set with the first official working wings and the podiums will be enabled to give birth to fully winged policemen without the need to install the wings.”

“An elite breeding program?” Labaguette comments.


“I’ve got a migraine,” Labaguette says before closing his eyes and being carried by Colonel Loga to the very special operating room that has been set up for him.

It doesn’t take long before Labaguette falls into a deep slumber.

Half way across desert lands of RythmaRymosthesis, where the orange mist never rises above the surrounding peaks and all that can be seen never fails to betray, giant cages, not unlike that of birds only larger, much larger, filled with distorted podiums and creatures that look like policemen but not quite, hang from shifting rocks, keeping the cages rotating high above the ground, disabling any attempts of escape from its captives.

“I’ve no doubt he didn’t make it,” the King says, standing in a cage separated from the others.

“Only two jumped,” Captain Traumatic says, “eyes and scanning abilities aren’t failing me.  The third Monkey is out there concocting something, I can sense it.”

“He’s dead.”

“No wonder the crown you seized doesn’t fit.”

“It’s isn’t mine.”

“It’s a crown isn’t it?”

“Not mine.”

“He’s well and truly alive.  His brothers are happy.  Look at them, amused, grinning and keeping to themselves chains and all, as if they know something we don’t.”

To be continued…


“Home no longer exists, it was destroyed by a once in a billion year catastrophic planetary alignment of our own devise.”

“You aligned the planets?”

“In celebration of the Seventh Millennium of the Rum Trade.”


“—Our planet was in the middle of that alignment when a humongous asteroid hit the neighbouring planet and sent it flying on the opposite trajectory.  It hit the third planet from the edge which came straight into the path of the internal 5th sun from beyond.  The rest is history, the 5th sun inflated and gobbled up everything on its path: planets, suns, batons, policemen and all rum supplies.  I must have been the only one of my kind saved thanks to the quick thinking of my procreators.”

“Who made you?”

“They were the ruling royals.”

“You’re related to them?”

“Mum & Dad.”

“You had the technology to avert this disaster.”

“Yes but we didn’t plan on the universe getting chaotic and disrespectful of the order of our system’s planetary alignment at the wrong time.  It happened so fast barely anyone escaped.”

“What order?”

“That which you see before your very eyes, Labaguette, and which you will learn more from soon.”

“The order of the Policemen.”

“Quite right.  Listen, bird, the time has come for your feathers to be amalgamated with specially formulated wings.”

“Is the operation dangerous?”


“Your first guinea pig, huh?”

“First bird.”


“If you survive.  After this, we will be able to grow wings on policemen too.

“What will become of the podiums?”

To be continued…


“Your intimidation tactics are lost on me, bird of contempt.  All about you is about words, any word: what suits the circumstance is best and can be altered at any time… but hey, what do I know?  If it weren’t for me, you’d never fly again.  But for now, hear me:  I landed here in a capsule as a toddler, with a bottle of wild Rum, an iPet, various electro-mechanical, optical devices, chemicals to experiment with and learn from and a revivable bird.”

“What type of bird?”


“I mean—“

“—unfortunately, some of the instruments were damaged on landing and parts of the instructions to help create others like me were irrecoverable.  I’d no idea how to construct the female version of my species.”

“You did rather rather well.”

“I duplicated, triplicated and reciprocated until this planet was populated as you see it now.  I concocted a formula of my own design which, on the face of it, works perfectly or at least in a truly ingenious way.”

“Except for the Rum River, let us say I understand now,” Labaguette musters, trying hard not to roll his eyes and spit in bored disbelief, “and the revivable survival bird couldn’t survive its revival.”

“Smashing!  You got it, Labaguette.  The Rum River’s story is as simple as can be: as I grew strong on wild Rum, I thought I’d better get the self-regenerating principle of its biological formula to work on these ground but as I did so, I accidentally broke the Rum container and the Rum escaped. That’s all there is to it.”

“Wild Rum, huh?   Where did you say you come from exactly?”

To be continued…