THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 425

“Tell me foamy friend, what did you look like before?”

“Before what?”

“Before this.  Before the after, you know?”

“I was—”

“—Shotsky,” Bromsky says, secrets are—”

“—I sure was as ugly as you, ain’t that enough?”

“What’s the best way to wear the stuff, Shotsky?” Labaguette continues, unphazed.

“Swimming in it isn’t enough, you need to bask in it.”

“But—”

“—basking involves heat.  It’s a process.  One more reason for your lot to visit this planet.  It’ll bring peace of mind to all of you.”

Captain Traumatic finally nods his approval, embarrassed at having released Labaguette yet knowing that foam might remove the underlying resentment his bird suffers from and which pervades everything he says more than ever before:

“All aboard!” the Captain yells in spite of the empty space surrounding them, “Straight to Coffeediotic & Butts Galore, now!”

“Now what?” the King wonders aloud as he recovers his clean crown, snatching it from Birdseye’s head.

There, in the midst of a universe shrouded in mystery encompassing many a hidden world, the contours of a hazy, dark and ginormous planet is observed.  This is where coffee, cigarette butts, foam creatures and creatures yet unseen abound and this is where the Insatiable Princess powers through, tearing smoky fogs apart with a thirst for discovering new worlds she has never experienced and as one eager to leave her past behind.

“We’ve a lukewarm lake where she may park,” Bromsky says reassuringly, a well-intended host.

“Cold will do,” the Captain says.

“We’ve only lukewarm, warm or hot,” Shotsky insists.

To be continued…

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THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 424

“Here…” Bromsky repeats, “yeah, here!” he continues handing a cup of coffee to the Captain, “taste this and come visit us.”

“I know all about dark necessities,” the Captain says.

“Wipe that look of suspicion off your face!” Shotsky insists, presenting the Captain with another cup covered in foam, “here’s one not so dark to please your… hmmm, pure soul’.

“What’s that?” the Captain asks.

“Coffee, another version of it.  His or mine?”

“Can’t be, it—”

“—LET ME OUT!  LET ME OUT!” Labaguette screams from inside the Captain’s jacket and, understanding his bird’s needs to explore and experiment all things new, as well as wanting nothing more than a rest from his pest, the Captain releases his two feathers parrot.

“My!  Oh My…” Bromsky says.

“You’re abjectly ugly,” Shotsky remarks, “wonder why it didn’t struck me before.”

“’You sure is ugly’s’ would have been enough,” Labaguette remarks unfazed by their look of disgust as he plunges into Shotsky’s cup, splashing himself with cappuccino froth and a lukewarm combination of milk and coffee, singing while settling himself onto a comfortable bed of foam.

“Aaaah, I remember life outside his bloody fetid pocket!” Labaguette says, eyeing the Captain, “caffeine, full of anti-oxidants, it encourages one’s feathers’ regrowth.  Coffee today, tomorrow with froth on top, the future of designers’ coffees with all its perks and percolatory advantages.  I call it ‘froth, foam and fools.’”

“Is that creature for real?” Bromsky asks.

“What a waste,” Shotsky remarks, pinching Labaguette by his bum – (remember, there’s barely a feather left on the damned bird except for the two Birdseye let him borrow) – and, lifting him in the air before looking right into the parrots eyes: “you sure is ugly,” he adds, “you sure could do with sealing foam around you.”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 423

“We sell gold too,” Brombsky remarks.  “It’s dark and it’s called coffee.  Along with it, naturally, we sell tasty butts because one doesn’t go without the other.  Come, come to our world.  Come visit us.”

“What’s your world’s name?” the King asks.

“Depends, some say ‘Coffeediotic & Butts Galore’ because it’s how it’s known around here.  Others call it the ‘Ash Mongers.’”

“You’re alone, there’s no-one in this vicinity.”

“You’ve come to a hidden universe, Captain.  We live undisturbed by wars and clashes of all kinds.  We live in sinful peace.”

“You’re kidding!” the Captain remarks.

“Quite an achievement,” the King adds.

“We’re on the good side of sin, where one remains unchallenged, unpicked and unquestioned and where no one suffers from this sinful state of affairs.  Those who live around us apply the same principles as we do.  Living in the shadows within dark realms provides us with the safety, peace and calm required for the maintenance of sin.”

“How sinful are we talking about?” the Captain asks.

“What d’you mean?” Shotsky asks.

“Yeah,” Brombsky adds, “what d’you mean?”

“’Sin’,” the Captain adds knowledgeable, “encompasses many a state of—”

“—Whatever,” Brombsky interrupts, “it’s not complicated, we live our lives drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes till we can no more.  That’s all there is to it.  It’s a sin, ain’t it?  How else could it be?”

“We all live until we can no more,” Birdseye remarks wisely.

“We don’t promote longevity,” Shotsky retorts.

“I see,” Birdseye says.

“Neither do I,” the Captain says.

“We’re still here,” the King says.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 422

Enticed by the strange shapes Bromsky is creating with his cigarette’s smoke, and which comes out of a selection of his foam’s pores, King Krackskull accepts the offer and is immediately overwhelmed by a fit of cough.

“You’re sure gonna die,” Labaguette remarks.

“Ha! Ha! Ha!” Bromsky and Shotsky exclaim in unison, “a good cough, the first cough, it always helps clear the lungs of your types.”

“It’s no laughing matter!” Captain Traumatic insists as the King’s crimson head enlarges, ready to explode.

“No longer a King,” Labaguette remarks, “a fool and one about to conk out too.”

Then the King, in a last prominent fit of cough, falls to the ground and the stitches that held his crown tightly secured to his head give way, before it becomes separated from the King’s skull, leaving bloody marks on the torn flesh.

“YOU DID IT YOU LOT!” he exclaims, half grimacing with pain, half smiling.

“We did what?” Bromsky asks.

“You removed the crown that was stuck to my skull!” the King yelps.”

“We helped!” Shotsky repeats, as if he’d won the battle of Waterloo.

“You’re gonna die!” Labaguette repeats, “la petite mort, that’s how.”

“No voodoo on my ship!” the Captain orders Labaguette, shoving the bird, as is customary, into his jacket’s pocket and sealing it.

Meanwhile, Birdseye lifts the crown into the air, removes the particles of flesh, blood and stitches still attached to it and attempts to make it shine for all to see but, finding no light, he turns on his own goggles.

“It sparkles,” Brombsky says, admiring.

“We don’t need no gold,” Shotsky remarks.

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 421

“Is your planet worth a visit?” Labaguette asks.

“Fool!” the Captain says, shutting the parrot’s beak with two fingers, “the enemy is lurking under that foamy appearance.  You should know better.”

“They’re traders all right,” Birdseye affirms, “all about them is about buying and selling.”

“What do you know about it?” the Captain asks, releasing his hold on Labaguette.

“You should know better!” Labaguette comments.

“What type of traders?”

“Beverage traders.”

“Not interested.”

“But—”

“—We’re going back Labaguette, go perch!” the Captain orders.

“You’ve entered the realm of Cigarettes & Coffee Butts,” Shotsky says, coming back from the ship’s inspection, “you can’t go back through this gate, you’ll have to take the exit gate once it’s been widened to fit your ship.”

“Where is it?”

“On the exact opposite side of the planet.”

“It’s dark.  I see no planet.”

“It’s dark for a reason.  Worth a visit.”

“Is the smell coming from it?” Labaguette asks.

“Isn’t it scrumptious? You’ve come all this way Captain,” Brombsky says taking the Captain by the shoulder, as if he were an old pal, “experienced much trouble and now that we welcome you, you want to pass by an opportunity to discover something a planet few pass by without enjoyment?”

“All that smoke, that pestilent smell, it—”

“Why Captain, you don’t like the smell of our caramelised coffee and the taste of darkly roasted and coffee foam soaked cigarette butts?”

“Beg your pardon?”

“See?  Come, come now, Captain.  Come and see for yourself,” Bromsky insists, lighting a cigarette.

“What are you doing?” the King asks as the Captain and Labaguette stare and the three monkeys each imitate Bromsky’s gesture as best they can.

“Why, King, I am smoking.  Wanna puff?”

To be continued…

THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN TRAUMATIC – 420

“No fire,” Birdseye says.

“It stinks,” Labaguette adds.

“Tis’ smoke,” the King remarks, as the Monkeys scamper down the masts and into the hull.

“More than that,” Labaguette adds, “food, burnt caramelised food.”

Deep into the dark evolving and twirling mist they distinguish a multitude of tiny fires burning over a large surface far below under the ship.

“Tis’ a new world,” the King says.

Then, in big flashing neon lines, a giant signs by the side of the ships flashes:

“WARNING: SLOW DOWN!”

“Of little means,” the Captain says, “they’ve nothing.  They can’t fight.”

And another sign:

“TRADERS, PASS YOUR WAY!”

“We’ve got Rum?” Labaguette wonders aloud.

“Pirates, we don’t trade,” Captain Traumatic adds.

But the Insatiable Princess shudders and comes to an abrupt halt as it becomes stuck between two giant metallic towers spurting brown hot liquid into the empty space.

“Didn’t you read the signs?” a voice asks, coming from one of the towers.

“It’s poor sign management,” the King answers, “the warning should have been posted much earlier.”

“Oh Shit!” the white and gold foam creature at its post on the Tower exclaims, “Brombsky, wake up for God’s sake!”

Then, the creature opens a small tap by the side of the tower, pours a dark liquid into a tiny cup and takes the side path to the other tower and pours the liquid into the mouth of his snoring mate who wakes up and, upon looking at the ship and her crew exclaims:

“Rogue fucking traders, PASS YOU WAY, can’t you read?”

“Rather a wild guess,” the Captain retorts.

“It usually works,” Brombsky says.

“My ship is stuck between your towers,” the Captain continues.

“It’s your fault.”

“Shotsky!” Brombsky commands, “check out their vehicle while I widen the gate!”

To be continued…