“Reality and perception are flexible.”

“You acknowledged the Earth was round, Captain.”

“Aye, aye.  The fact is that rules, any rule, enjoy bending.  And a fact’s a fact.  How else could universes of books and creatures like Mouton Blanc and Spinostress exist?”

“The Syck Monkey intends to get back to Earth,” Birdseye says.

“I reckon he wants us to bring the Mother land to him.  That way, he can’t be rejected again and on top of it, he can boast about it.”

“He would have Superman’s story in his collection,” Labaguette says, “he must know he could get back there a hero.”

“Something to do with his Ape status,” the Captain says, “he’s certain that he and his descendants are a threat to humanity.”

“They’ve no female in their species,” Labaguette remarks.

“They only need one egg, mostly through a bird’s help, although…”

And while the Captain muses and the three of them debate on theories of universes, apes and eggs of all kinds, the Syck Monkey directs his children to write on the Universe’s wall, in large black letters:

‘The Shuttle is the Saviour.  Birdseye’s wings move mountains.  The Insatiable Princess falls in love with a blue bayou.  Labaguette sits with A. Lincoln.  Captain Traumatic rises.’

Now the Syck Monkey has their undivided attention.

“He thinks he is the next prophet,” Labaguette says, “he and his puppets.”

“You understand what he is saying?” the Captain asks.

“Some prediction.  When you can’t utter a word and you live amongst shadows, the only way to power is to cast more shadows by pretending you know it all and not doubt yourself.”

“Delusional?  Can’t be.  Far-fetched.  What are you talking about Labaguette?”

“The Syck Monkey is trying to help,” Birdseye maintains.

“Yeah right!?” the Captain and Labaguette remark in unison.

To be continued…



“I don’t.”

“You had no seeds left.”

“Once my fingernails are fully grown, they fall off and new seeds are born.”

“You lied about this.”

“You’d have me killed then.”

“Where is the Rum going?”

“Where it’s meant to go.”


“Let’s just say this Hook is a garbage collection device which transforms matter into nothing.”

“I’ve learned that even nothing doesn’t exist.  Everything is matter, even at the smallest—”


All turn to the voice.


“Not again,” Chloroph says.

“That is no policeman attire, did Colonel Loga send you?” the Captain asks in disbelief as he looks at the creature that has emerged from beneath the ship, half-man, half-rag.

“I’m the collector.”

“Who sends you?” the Captain asks, seeing no hovering box under this hovering creature”

“CollectOrus, that is my name, Sir.”


As if to save part of the day, Birdseye joins Chloroph and three curious monkeys to better stare at a mildly fluorescent creature bearing an upper torso filled with drawings of symbols they can’t understand and whose lower parts are covered by numerous rags of a universal nature.  In his right hand he carries a pink, large and full bin bag leaking dust from one of its torn corner.  In his left hand is a long wand: a walking stick, unless it has anything to do with hovering.  He stinks.

“Rubbish,” Birdseye says.

“Precisely.  Rubbish of a third kind.  It exists.  I’m its living proof,” CollectOrus says.

“Are you related to Mouton Blanc?” the Captain asks.

To be continued…


“Desperate he may be but he’s catering for number one’s needs: himself.  He’s got enough hidden Rum supplies to survive for some time to come.  It’s all about control, a policeman permanently on duty, feeding on his own power and being addicted to it.”

“But he could control everyone better with the River.”

“The River is wild, he’d have no real sense of control anyway.  Remember Mouton Blanc?”


“Mouton Blanc.”

“How?  How do you know, what do you know about it?  It’s got nothing to do with—“

“I know.”

“Why help us?” Labaguette asks, seeking a glimpse of Birdseye’s eyes through his dark goggles and seeing none yet sensing a sharp sting of sadness piercing his bird’s heart and seeping through his feathers.

“I will reap your wings off publicly, mongrel,” the Colonel says as the pair lands by his side.

Birdseye smiles but Labaguette panics.

“Colonel,” Birdseye says, “let this parrot see his friends being sacrificed.  Then you may torture him in public for as long as you like.”

Perching Labaguette on his hand as a display, a golden chain now uniting the Colonel’s wrist to the parrot’s neck, the Colonel prepares for his next announcement as Birdseye winks at Labaguette before resuming his position as leader of the dancers.

“The time has come.  ARE YOU READY?” Captain Loga roars to the crowd as all stand waving flags, ululating their approval.


Three loud, earth shattering thumps signal the start of the games.  The floor trembles as sands shifts on the arena’s ground, the prisoners’ cages are opened and the prisoners prodded to get out, unprotected.

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…


It must be he who misled the Captain onto the flat, mundane and immoral path.  Unless, it takes two?  Hey, who needs guilt when survival is essential?  As to the burden of one’s feathers, it is far too heavy.  To hell with death, he attempts to convince himself once more.  I shall be the hero the Captain’s always wanted me to be but didn’t know I could be.

Yeah, the Books Planet had something to do with it and there might have been more letters to the alphabet than thought in the first place.  Besides, the Hooks were heavily involved and he shouldn’t have dreamed of anything.  Then, there was Mouton Blanc, he shouldn’t have, you know?  He didn’t do wrong.  Pas ma faute.  Not my fault.  Nopey, nope, nope, nope.  Non.  By now, had everything gone well and truly better, he could be feasting on his favourite rum soaked grains from the comfort of the Captain’s small, damp cabin or from atop his preferred wind swept mast, and this from the beginning of time as he’d been meant to, right?  Good food and a roof to protect him from the elements, from the wilder than wild wilderness that required action, heroic action.  One day, Mum will witness my star rising high above the skies of the Hexagonal Holly Woods I was born into, wherever she maybe: it shall brighten her skies and she will seek me.

“You on drugs?”  The Policeman inquires, knocking Labaguette back into this unanticipated, horrendous reality.

“I’d—“ Labaguette starts, staring into Colonel Loga’s eyes looking for certainty and comfort and finding none, preferring to close his eyelids and give up.

To be continued…


“Surely…” the Captain says, “surely this will stop for good…”  He looks above at the Monkeys and in turn at the creatures standing by their gates who, unable to bear the whistling frequencies, collect their hammers and tools, re-open the gates by pulling the door, as if in their own minds being ‘closed, locked or opened’ meant something entirely different, and step back inside the portals disappearing, leaving the gates open.

“I’ll be damned!” the King exclaims, “Captain, do we proceed to the net or should be jump overboard?”

“Hmm, the sound of silence,” Labaguette mumbles, recovering.”

“King Krackskull, would you ever consider abandoning your castle?” the Captain asks.

“I left my planet, I didn’t quite mean to—.”

“—Is this the sound of gurgling of water I hear?” Labaguette continues.

“Mouton Blanc has re-generated,” the old woman ventures.

“Death by drowning,” the King says.

“He was never alone,” the Captain remarks.

“He’s come back to haunt me,” Labaguette whispers.  He’s doing this on purpose.  He wants my soul.”

“I hear an ocean coming,” the King adds.

“We all know what you did last night,” the Captain answers.

“Huh?” the King retorts.

“Did what?” the old woman inquires.

“He was a demon, a ghostly entity of wicked intent,” Labaguette adds, “never in the world would I—“

“—I may not have the full picture, Labaguette,” the Captain says, “but what I do know is that what you did to Mouton Blanc calls for punishment.  He melted during night time, an impossibility for that type of creature.”

“That iz right,” Labaguette retorts, “you do not know the full story, non, non, non.  I reiterate: it was day time.  What would you know about the difference between day and night under these latitudes?”

To be continued…


“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