The King, Labaguette and the Captain all stare at this gold-pink policeman of a kind, wondering about his looks, words and actions but especially about his intentions as the monkeys screech and carry on from their cage.

“Once upon a time,” Birdseye explains, “were better times.  You must feel the flow, Captain, feel it under your feet and pierce the abscess for deliverance.”

“You don’t make no sense at all, Birdie” the Captain says, “give me a single reason why I should trust you.”

“He’s made of more than one feather,” Labaguette says, “I trust him.”

“My name is Birdseye,” the pink feathered policeman replies, grabbing Labaguette.

“Prepare yourself, Captain!” Labaguette says before Birdseye transports him back to the Colonel while the exasperated audience chants and demands blood.

“The Rum River flows right beneath these grounds,” Birdseye explains, “the arena is built above it because the exterminators – the monsters that lie within these grounds – feed off it waiting for the next sacrifice but it is impossible to reach the River because of them.  Colonel Loga believes that a time will come when a prisoner will fight the exterminators and get to the river.”

“Do you believe it?”

“I know so.”

“None of the prisoners are made aware of this, how can—”

“—if the prisoners knew, they would try and if any succeeded, the Colonel would lose face and power.  It can only happen unexpectedly such as the monsters going away or dying because of indigestible prisoners or any other unfathomable cause one could think of.”

“I don’t understand, the Colonel is desperate to get to the River.”

To be continued…



Now the Master of Dance stands before Colonel Loga, sweating profusely, his gold and fuchsia feather tail raised high behind and above, shivering.

“No one stops a dance, no one, not even you Colonel!”

“GO GRAB THE DAMNED PARROT!” the Colonel yells.

“The audience comes first.”

“It doesn’t, it’s not all about your performance, Birdseye.  Bring Labaguette back and remember your place.”

“You can control him.  Why don’t you?”

“Labaguette will listen to you.  Besides, the audience needs to witness obedience, loyalty and submission.”

“Colonel, attending to it yourself would show your power.”

“Dare you challenge me?”

Never mind Birdseye thinks, finally conforming and flying, half-bird, half dancer-policeman on his shining podium, a bright and shimmering sphere, to retrieve Labaguette, still sitting on his Master’s shoulder.

“Got a plan Captain?” Labaguette asks.

“I am a prisoner on a strange planet with strange creatures of stranger habits,” the Captain says.

“My GPS can be turned on at any time by Colonel Loga and I’ll disappear,” Labaguette explains, “hurry, what do you want me to do?”

“There’s no time to waste,” Birdseye says, landing on top of the Captain’s cage and crouching, his long fingers grabbing the cage like that of a sophisticated and hungry bird.

“Fuck off Birdie!” the Captain replies “get your ugly claws off my cage, take your shape from off my roof and—“

“—Need a new life, huh?  Shut up!” Birdseye says, “there’s no time, do not let my appearances fool you, Captain, I’m on your side,” the Policeman-dancer says, almost inaudibly, as the crowd’s impatience grows disproportionally with every second that passes.

To be continued…


“Don’t be fooled, nothing to do with practice, they’re new-borns, it’s in their genes,” a prisoner utters, seeing his fascinated companions caught in some hypnotic trance at the perfectly synchronised dance.

But then, the dancers turn to display their large shoulders to the audience, tensing their muscles and stretching them until two vertical slits open on each shoulder and metallic silver wings gradually unfold and deploy, each wingspan reaching at least over two of their dancing comrades on each side.  The crowd cheers, the prisoners are transfixed.

“FLY my friends, FLY!” Colonel Loga calls as the dancers, using their podiums, lift in turn to fly above the audience, their wings flapping elegantly at the beat of the drums, under the command of their golden-pink leader.  They rise in a vortex until splitting and spreading high above the arena in swarms, creating patterns instantly recognisable: Colonel Loga’s face, Labaguette’s face, an elusive River fading in the distance, the words “Heroes” appearing at regular intervals.

“Why?” the King asks, “if they can’t fly?”

“Beauteous evil,” the Captain remarks, “nice and useless.  Colonel Loga is frustrated and we will pay the price for it.”

“There’s always Labaguette,” the King says.  Just then, Labaguette lands on Captain Traumatic’s shoulder.

From afar, the glare in Colonel Loga’s eyes, not missing a beat, attempts to burn some hole into the chore of his saviour pet’s heart.

“STOOOOOOP!  STOOOOOOP!” he thunders, interrupting the performance in its track, one line of dancing policemen stopping so abruptly that wings clash, interlock and dancers fall to the ground, crashing as the audience stands humming in disapproval and forming ‘zeros’ with their thumbs and indexes.

To be continued…


The audience stands, hums for a few seconds to acknowledge Labaguette’s presence before sitting again.

“I have every confidence that he of the colourful world of feathers and words will find a way, THE way to the Rum River.  Welcome to my new found friend, Labaguette LaMaison-Blanche!  Welcome to the new hope he brings us!  Welcome to our new saviour!” Colonel Loga calls before whispering, threatening in the bird’s ear: “the GPS is off, don’t you dare try anything,” as he releases the parrot for a reconnaissance flight around the arena.

“Are these wings?” the King utters, “he sounds like a large bumble bee.”

“’La Maison-Blanche?  La Maison-Blanche?’” the Captain repeats, “that bird always had impossible dreams… I hope he can understand them let alone understand himself.”

“But here it comes,” Colonel Loga continues, “here is the long awaited introduction to the latest progress attempts made to new-born policemen devised this month by our very own scientific team, the RymoRum River team.  They are the most extreme group of policemen, the winged dancers of the future: the wonderful, whimsical and wondrous ‘Birds of Featherdom.’”

In no time, the cages are flogged to walk their way to the edge of the arena while the goggled, slim and elegant policemen spread at regular intervals over the arena’s grounds and begin a dance of sorts, as if warming up, at the beat of enormous drums.  They are led by a Master Policeman of Dance dressed in a skin tight, gold body suit adorned with pale pink and mauve hues that appear intermittently, as if floating all over the suit.  He is wearing humongous gold rimmed and diamond incrusted, black goggles of inscrutable depths.

To be continued…


“I reiterate: this is no punishment.  On the contrary, it is a prize and I have no doubt that one day, those soon to be executed, dutiful prisoners will appreciate the good deeds done in delivering them from their sins through the supreme power of everlasting physical transformation.

Prisoners, you have been made prisoners because you disobeyed the Law and the Law is the Rule and—“

“—THE RULE IS THE LAW,” the fervent crowd adds.

“It may be that you were made prisoners for reasons outside of your will.  It has been brought to my attention that some of you were born out of boxes’ breeding programs, unlawfully, or born unfit to meet THE Law and under suspicious circumstances.  I empathise: times may have been harsh on you and your circumstances are unfair and unjust but the Law calls for justice and this is why you are being returned to your origins.  It is your duty to understand the inherent message of deliverance brought by the Law because the Law is the Rule and—“

“—THE RULE IS THE LAW,” the crowd thunders.

“As to those prisoners who came here as primary disobedient creatures and wilful breakers of THE Law and THE Rule, you shall meet your fate as taught by the Rule of Law and beyond.

To think I once believed I’d be able to knock some sense into this Policeman the Captain muses.

“We are here united once again for this 556th Summit of RythmaRymosthesis.  Before the fun begins, I would like you to help me welcome the arrival of a special bird, a blessed newcomer who successfully passed the flight test and is fitted with a GPS for a sense of possibility and direction.”

To be continued…


“What’s that you’ve got for wings?” the Captain retorts.

“There are limitations but I—“

The parrot’s sentence is cut short as his wings take him back to the Colonel’s shoulder against his will.

“The GPS,” he tries to explain, squawking, “it controls the—“

The Captain can only guess Labaguette’s inaudible last words as the Colonel moves center stage in possession of the parrot, ignoring the prisoners.  It seems his chest has once again inflated and the brightness of his fluorescence surpasses anything they’ve ever witnessed before.

“Don’t ever humiliate me like this again,” the Colonel threatens.

“Colonel, I—“

“—This isn’t about you.  This is about the Law and the Law is—“

“—the Rule and the Rule is the Law,” Labaguette answers, conforming, his eyes filling with tears, in a desperate bid of make-believe.  He is all too aware of what awaits the prisoners.  Time is of the essence, he repeats to himself, a useless mantra of sorts.  After all, what can he do about all this, hero or not?

“Good.  Now then,” the Colonel says as he positions himself above and center stage before addressing the crowd:

“Fellow Citizen Policemen and Lower Folks!” he states, “we are here today to revel in yet another display of nature’s power of control.  Dangerous Demeanour and Disobedience are rewarded with Death by Display and all those selected few that you see here exhibited will not live to regret this fact nor regret to live it,” he insists while the Captain scans his library for meaning.

To be continued…


“Voodoo stuff,” the King mutters while the Monkeys cling to the top of their cages.

“Their latest mutations: beautiful, mesmerising and useless” a prisoner says.

“Inspired by the Rum River song: Good River Gone Wild, this planet’s anthem,” another ads.

“Colonel Loga’s hedonist tendencies, can’t resist visual and sensual perfection, some obsession.  Can never get it to work though.”


“The flying, never quite there.”

“What’s the point?” the King asks, “we’re never going to get—“

“—they’re the latest models, the new generation,” one prisoner continues, this is the monthly parade before the real entertainment begins, there’s always—“

One baton well targeted stops this prisoner’s babbling.  From the central stage’s main podium, a policeman, larger and taller than most and with a bird perched on one shoulder, steps onto his box and flies around the arena, inspecting and greeting.  He too wears goggles.

There is something unmistakably familiar about him, the Captain thinks.

“Colonel Loga!” he calls out finally, as an extended snaky tongue pokes out of his guard’s mouth with speed and cuts a hair strand protruding from the Captain’s head.  A pearl of sweat ominously drips from the Captain’s forehead down onto the strand of hair.

The Colonel reaches the prisoners, glances at the Captain and passes him by and the King.

“Colonel!” the King yells.  But the policeman ignores them and continues his tour, not realising Labaguette, a slight mechanical buzz emanating from his new set of wings, has taken back to his natural habitat, that of the Captain’s Traumatic shoulder.

“Is this really you Captain?” Labaguette asks, pecking at his shoulder to get a feel of reality.

To be continued…