“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…



“Suppose you do, I—”

“—It was a miracle.”

“Some exaggeration even by Labaguette’s standards.”

“It was real.”

“What was?  Speak!”

“The Syck Monkey.”

“He’s real, no miracle here.”

“So he caught you and brought you back?”

Chloroph merely nods and the Captain explodes in a fit of yet unmatched hilarity.

“HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!  You made my day, Chloroph.  You truly did.”

“Don’t make fun of the Syck Monkey.  He is real.  He saved me as my seed grew and flourished.”

“He got caught in a time warp or some kind of portal and one of your hooks saved him?  Or is it the reverse?”

“The Syck Monkey can travel through anything without being affected by anything.”

“The Syck Monkey constitutes a far-fetched reality.”

“It doesn’t matter what I say.  If you want this to be a lie, be it.  You chose your own reality, I’ve nothing to do with it.”

“You’re dangerous.”

“Finally some truth from you, Captain: how could such god-like creature, such myth as the Syck Monkey decide to save someone like me?”

Labaguette perches unexpectedly on the Captain’s shoulder.

“Colonel Loga is dead,” the parrot says, smiling.

“Who released you, dumb bird of mine?”

“I bring good news.”

“We must hurry,” Chloroph says, “your daft parrot is saying we still have a second or two.”  Rushing through the wide selection of soaked ropes, Chloroph pinches the edges of an extended rope, pulls it sharply before the entire sheet rolls upon itself.

Chloroph buckles under the weight of the roll and the Captain clutches one of its wooden sides.  Together they carry it back to the Colonel whose body has turned purple.

To be continued…


“HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!” Colonel Loga exclaims, “what’s the matter, Captain?  Stuck evaluating this trivial trickle’s tricky effects?”

The Captain hurls a silver stone at the Colonel’s cage.  It bounces back.  Colonel Loga laughs some more.

“This is pointless and beyond your capabilities” the Colonel says.

Birdseye insists, “you have created monsters out of the boxes, against their will, against mine.”

“Boxes are the future, always will be” Colonel Loga explains.

“They contain, restrict and create a state of permanent imprisonment,” Birdseye says.

“They are obedient, kind, compassionate and will do as I say.  They want nothing more than to multiply and create worlds within worlds within worlds.  They are born nurturers, carers and creators.  Nothing you can say will change this.”

“They do not know freedom.”

“No need for it.  Their function is purely to create and belong.  You’ve seen them: all they want is to please the master who selects them and remain loyal to them until discarded or till death.  And the latest models that you see stacked here will be used to create and perfect individuals like you.  All that is needed is a drop of the golden liquid to bring them to life.”

“Some have been known to escape.”

“Tried some did.”


“They were terminated.”

“They can think and act independently.  Some roam the wilderness.”

Then, they all hear chomping and they turn towards the darkest corner of the chamber.

“We must go!”

Labaguette is agitated and is flapping his wings uncontrollably inside his cage, knocking himself against its walls.

“The snake-worms!”

To be continued…


“We’d better stop before—”

“—You can’t stop this cage running and besides, it’s going to take us where there are others and that’s all we need!” the Captain retorts.

“We’re in danger—”

“—Whatever you know now, now isn’t the time.”

“My timing—”

But the Captain’s last word fall flat along with the cage and its contents.

“Told you,” Birdseye says calmly.

The cage’s feet have become entangled in metallic branches protruding out of the sand that are pulling the cage relentlessly underground.

“Lay flat and stay calm!” Birdseye says.

“What is it?”

“Wild bush.  It senses the cages are made using the same metal.  They’re family, only those branches haven’t been worked on nor tamed.”



But the metallic bush has ensnared the bars and is pulling the cage into the sands while some of its branches are exploring the Captain’s body, tapping and sniffing him.

“It’s going to eat me.”

“It’ll drag you under before.”

“Do something.”

“Shut up!”

Birdseye lands on top of the cage reaches for a small flask he keeps by his tights’ belt, and drinks from it before handing some to Captain Traumatic.

“Rum from the River, huh?” he asks, “my last hour has come, don’t lie to me.”

“I’m going under with you.  When I say so, catch your breath and close your eyes until it is safe.”

“When will—”

“—Do as I say, NOW!”

Birdseye lays flat on the cage before he, the cage and the Captain inside it are irremediably sucked up under sand, soil and rock.

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…


“Cousin Askis’ grand-father lived to tell the tale and he—“

“—you don’t come out of any such experience unscathed and it is much better than the rear end ending, never mind the—.”

But the cranes screech and come to a halt.  The prisoners watch, dumbfounded and terrified as the cages are deposited onto the sand, close to an arena’s colossal gates.  Fast flying policemen zoom past them while some hover and scan the area, ensuring the newly arrived are ready to be processed for their ultimate trip.

From behind the massive arena’s walls the clamour of an impatient crowd arises.

“Nothing like a good fight,” the Captain comments.

“We’re bait,” a prisoners insists.

“Bait with an edge.”

One large policeman lands by the cages.  With his baton, he taps on his box and metallic sticks appear that unfold into individual cages, sticking and clinging to the larger cages where the prisoners are held.  Guards enter and, with one movement of the tongue, instantly, remove the nauseating glue from the now tenderised prisoners by ingurgitating it.  Then, the prisoners are prodded and pushed unceremoniously towards the individual cages which snap close behind each of them as they go in.

Underneath, small metallic mechanical toes lift the cages and position them in a queue, with that of the King leading them into the arena.  Inside it, the dim is unparalleled until one strident whistle’s signal calls for a wall of silence to promptly fall onto the crowd.

A sideway gate opens up and an army of a thousand policemen, their torsos naked, in tights, high heels and all wearing dark goggles appears inside the arena.

“Fuck!” the Captain exclaims.

To be continued…


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?”


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.


“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…