Circle of Eights, Stories

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      Back from the depths of his sleep, the dragon Naasir exhaled in a puff of smoke. He’d just woven a wonderful dream —for all dragons and creatures do dream of course, even if most humans doubt it.

      Yawning, Naasir stretched out his long slithery body. Fully stretched, his body was an impressive sight to behold. He was quite old by human standards, while in fact, he was still in his youth, and could very well stay as rambunctiously lively for many other long centuries.

      He had given the final touch to a new world he had been creating in his dream time for many nights now, and was rather proud of it —even if dragons knew no such thing as pride, his feeling at this very moment was very akin to being proud.

      He had filled this world with many wonders, dragons of course, and other creatures yet to be named. And magic was all pervasive in that world, and so slightly cloaked, that it could be used by many.
      It would be a great playground he thought, for he was not a possessive and dictatorial dragon. In fact, he could feel some others were about to step in, and tell and live the story of that world.

      Sighing in delight, like a sleepy cat of majestic dimensions, he cuddled again, about to sink deeply into the harp music playing in his mind, ready to dream and let that story be told again…

      Another Never Ending Story

      Malvina. That name had been thrown into a conversation Yann and Quintin had had together, during which Quintin had felt images come into his awareness. He had instantly liked that name.
      He was feeling the aura of a woman, long hair of a pale rosy color, with a noble bearing. That name had been around, and they had played with it to find more impressions.
      And they had felt it linked to breeding of dragons, in a sort of rookery.

      They’ve both felt her connected to Malika, an online friend of them, whose gentle touch and kindly influence, as well as her passion for dragons seemed to fit in quite interestingly.

      Then on an impulse, Quintin had begun to paint an image around it, letting his feeling guide his movements. He’d loved the peaceful environment he’d drawn, and even if he was not wont to share “unfinished” drawings, he immediately shared the initial sketches with Yann and Fiona.

      They both loved it, and Fiona even considered for a moment adopting one of the cute baby dragons to be born.
      “Buckberry” : that was the name Quintin felt for the baby dragon… But he did not see any character in that picture for Fiona. She would have to decide to step in, to get that baby dragon. What character would she be? A young impetuous rude adventuress, or an o(w)ld wizened witch? Perhaps a bit of both?

      These thoughts were now coming back to him.
      Ever since he had seen Yann’s pictures, those taken when he’d been in Old Albion, he had felt that something strange was manifesting.
      One of these intriguing coincidences: the picture of a cave that Yann has been visiting looked so strikingly similar to Malvina’s Rookery… And that playful kid in the cave was probably linked to Yann.

      So, now that the painting was finished, perhaps he could have people join in the fun. All that was required was imagination…

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    • #1150

      Dory was often reminding herself (and anyone within hearing or blogging distance in the process) of one of her favourite catch-phrases: what you are looking for is probably right under your nose.
      It seemed of particular relevance these days, Yurick was noticing, for a variety of reasons.

      First, his glasses needed some dusting… He’d have to finish that monologue later then.


      What was he about then? Yes. The tillandsias near the window. Last week-end, they’d been to a crystal store with Yann, and mildly interested by crystals, Yurick had been wondering loudly at the heaps of strange plants in the middle of the paraphernalia of rocks, shells and starfishes. The store owner had proceeded to explain those were aerial plants, known for gathering the elements of their sustenance out of the air.
      The curiosity would probably have ended with those quick answers, had the guy not not given them on an impulse two little specimens just when they were about to go with Yann’s newly acquired amethysts.

      Cute. New plants to interact with. Yurick had to say he preferred plants to rocks. Yann for his part had found them funny names. “Sha” for the witchy hairy one, and “Glo” for the pineapple-looking one. Why not…

      The tilland… Well, “Sha” and “Glo” (you had to give credit to Yann for granting the reader a good respite from long unpleasant names) had been there in the bathroom for a few days, and only now had Yurick found some interest in investigating more about them.
      The capacity they had to live apparently without any strings attached was very appealing to him, and it was like a symbol of focusing on one’s own vitality, and finding the means to live out of that elusive “new energy”; of not feeding off something outside of self.

      Now, he was finding even more interesting facts; a picture that Yann had taken of a blooming plant recently was of the same genus of plants, and it reminded Yurick of plants which had fascinated him in a botanical garden, that were also from this species.
      Interestingly, he found out that the plants were named after a Finnish botanist (Elias Tillandz )… He couldn’t help but notice the similarities with another focus of his: Elias Lönnrot.

      The string of clues suddenly filling up the previously empty corridors of his mind were sparkling a renewed interest for focus hunting.


      Angela Wing was getting impatient. It had taken the fat white goose many months to reach a state of impatience, being such an accepting sort of creature, but really, she was wondering if she would ever have even so much as a walk in part in the Reality Play. Sure, she was a player behind the scenes, often appearing in the dreams of the players, but heck, a little bit of limelight would be nice occasionally.

      She preened her brilliant white feathers, thinking how well they would show up under the lights, as it were. It was all very well lurking in the shadows of the ill remembered dreams all the time, but Angela felt the time was ripe for more exposure.


      Becky yawned. Where on earth did that come from? she wondered, as she tried to rouse herself from her long nap. I wasn’t even dreaming about Angela Wing! All I can remember dreaming about is a book cover, something to do with eights…


      “Don’t you think time is ripe, Ratirat?” Angela asked, turning to her friend Seth, the brown furred mouse.
      “None of us are ever equipped, for general purposes, to perceive reality in all of its forms.” Seth started in a squeaky voice.

      “That’s interesting” nodded Angela, though she would have been in trouble had anyone asked her to explain what she just heard.

      Seth continued in his unnerving high-pitched voice “The pyramid gestalts can do this, and we help the pyramid gestalts perform this feat.”

      “I second that” said Freako the black and white ferret.
      “Bloody good point!” Weirdy, the damsel weasel managed to say among the growing cacophony.

      “Don’t be zilly… I don’t zink people outzide of this zoo are ready for us” snapped Joppy the baby pygmy hippo.

      “Zwines!” grumbled Angela, innocently mocking Jobby’s strange accent.


      “Wow, it’s big…” Theresa was raptured by the sheer size of it. “I’m not sure I can maneuver it on my own…”

      “Yep. A shame the bloddy rabbits ate half of it…” Phlynn answered nonplussed.

      “Oh, it’s still the biggest butternut squash I’ve seen in a while… We shall have it for dinner.”


      Marvin Scrozzezi was thinking he should really start to find a more suitable title for the movie…

      Teri, one of the actresses he had in mind for the much desired role of Finnley, —in fact the actress, that he had almost wrote the part having her in mind— had refused to audition because of the script’s working title with that undignified ‘R—’ word (a hint to the reader, it’s not what you think)…

      He was thinking… French people had romantic and colourful ways of expressing the same thing… sweeping the chimney, leaking the leek… Argh… forget it…
      He wasn’t sure that “T’Eggy Finds a Big Butternut Squash” would be better either.

      He really sucked at finding titles.


      “Hey, Leo, look at this here in the newspaper ~ my book’s being made into a movie!”

      “What book’s that then, Bea? Not that dreadful ‘T’eggy Gets a Good Rogering’, surely.” Leonora replied dismissively.

      “Oh they’re not calling it that for the movie…..”

      “Bloody good job if you ask me” Leo interrupted, and then exclaimed “OH!”


      “Book sync!”

      “Book sync? What book sync?”

      “I forgot to tell you, Baked Bean Barb called…”


      “You remember, we met her in that bar down on the coast awhile back, remember? We got talking over a few tapas ~ found we had some mutual friends back home and all…”

      “Funny how that happens, eh ~ small world, innit? So what did she call for then?”

      “Well, it’s the funniest thing, she said when she was rummaging around on the rubbish tip….”

      “Oh now I remember, you mean Baked Bean Barb! The one that’s lived in her Ford Fiesta for 15 years, and finds food in dustbins? That one? On the run, wasn’t she?”

      “That’s the one! On the run for 30 years because of that Baked Bean Incident that was in all the papers”

      “You meet all sorts down here, eh. So what did she call for?”

      “Well” continued Leonora “It’s the strangest thing! She said she found a book on the rubbish tip, which was in English, so she says she took the book ~ she reads alot you know, Barb does, even though she’s only got one eye. Dunno how she manages it really, her glasses are always so dirty…”

      “Will you get to the point?”

      “Hang on, hang on, I’m getting there….she found this book, right, so she goes back to wherever she’s camped up, you know, with the other travellers, all them old hippies on their way to Morocco for the winter I expect….”

      “We should go with them next winter Leo, might be fun”

      “I reckon it would Bea ~ well with Jose coming back soon from that island, we’ll have to go somewhere ~ anyway, as I was saying, Barb starts reading this book, she says it’s the most peculiar book she’s ever read, never read anything like it, she says, but she can’t put it down she says ~ well, you’ll never guess what!”

      “I can’t guess, Leo, I’m waiting for you to tell me.”

      Barb says we’re in the book!”

      “What do you mean, we’re in the book?”

      “We’re in the book! ‘Leonora and Beattie’ are in the book! Renting a finca from a ‘Jose’ and living in the mountains in Andalucia!”

      “You’re having me on!” exclaimed Bea. “I’ve gotta see this to believe it.”


        “Companions, we should start an aaadventure!” Angela the White Goose stammered to her friends.

        Freaky the Ferret couldn’t help but notice the stammering which heard like a typing typo. “Speaking of which, it’s been weeks we haven’t got any news from Arky the Aardvark, have we?”

        “Go figure,… my bets are on an aliens’ abduction” said Weirdy the Weasel rather gloomily.

        “Don’t tell that!” Angela’s look of horror on her face was leaving her paler than the white of her pristine white feather —if that would have been possible, of course.

        “You know the aliens… Zey’ve started to move a few days ago… I heard the zoo-keeper tell about it” added Jobby the baby pygmy hippo with his most funny conspiratorial look.

        “And they brought in a big lady anaconda, it came yesterday from nowhere!” Angela chimed in.

        “Perhaps she knows something…”


          Mademoiselle Mongoose was the Director of Public Relations at the Z.O.O. (short for Zoological Organization of Outcasts) which was no easy task. Her job entailed ensuring that the members remained Outcasts whilst endeavouring to foster an attitude of Acceptance from the general public. The dilemma was that oftentimes, once an Outcast was Accepted, he no longer qualified as an Outcast and according to the rules, was no longer eligible to remain at the Z.O.O.

          Mlle Mongoose couldn’t find the new Outcast anywhere. The enormous Anaconda, affectionately nicknamed Nana Croissant, was Absent Presumed Escaped Soft, which was one of Mlle Mongoose’s biggest headaches at the Z.O.O. There seemed to be a disproportionate number of A.P.E.S. at the Z.O.O.

          Mlle Mongoose sighed. If Nana Croissant couldn’t be located, Mlle Mongoose would have to report the disappearance to her superior, Sir Raphael Cabra-Chevre. Thankfully the Z.O.O. also had a disproportionately high population of R.A.B.B.I.T.S. (Rare Intermediate ‘Best Bait In Town’ Stars), to cover for the erratic and unpredictable behaviour of the A.P.E.S., ensuring that there was plenty going on for the General Public at all times. (It may be noted by the S.W.A.N.S. ~ Sumafi Workers Affiliated Normal Society ~ that R.I.B.B.I.T.S. would be more technically accurate, however they were generally accepted as R.A.B.B.I.T.S. to Those In The Show ~ otherwise known as T.I.T.S.)

          Mlle Mongoose decided to enlist the help of the C.A.M.E.L.S. (Central Agency for Missing, Escaped & Lost Softs) before alerting Sir Raphael Cabra-Chevre.

          The Case of The Disappearing Aardvark was another matter, though. Mlle Mongoose decided to call in the M.E.E.R.C.A.T.S. (Missing Entities & Essences Roll Call and Time Share)


          “You tempestuous fool” Becky cried and slapped Gayesh soundly across the face. “Don’t give me those unspoken looks!”

          Gayesh sighed. “Ah, the infinite pleasure I had in mind is naught but an elusive dream.”

          Elizabeth read the last two lines she’d been working on to her publisher, Godfrey Pig-Littleton.

          Godfrey snorted. “Elizabeth, really! You jest, I hope.”

          “Well, I was just trying to fit each of the four themes into one chapter, they all seemed to fit together so easily” Elizabeth replied. “Why not? Tempestuous, Elusive Dreams, Unspoken Looks, and Pleasure”

          “You seemed to have fit them all into two sentences, never mind a chapter. And your characters sound like characters in a play.”

          “Well they are characters in a play, Godfrey” replied Elizabeth.

          “Ham actors, that’s what I meant. Anyway, Liz” Pig-Littleton said with a slightly mischievous grin, “What if Gayesh doesn’t want his face slapped by Becky?”

          “What do you mean?”

          “What if Becky doesn’t want to slap Gayesh?”

          “Well, she will if I write it into the play, surely!” Elizabeth started to frown. She knew that once she invented her characters that they continued to exist in a reality of their own, being free to create their own realities in whatever probable dimension they found themselves in, but she had never really stopped to think about the ramifications of her continuing to write incidents into their lives.

          “Maybe Becky has moved on from where you left her last time you wrote about her, in a completely different direction” Godfrey continued “And maybe she doesn’t want to play along with your theme word game. I mean really, is it fair to make her? Maybe she was having more fun doing whatever it was she was doing while you weren’t even thinking about what she should do. Quite rude really to interrupt her just so that you could do your word theme games. Bit of a cheek, I’d say.”

          “Oh Godfrey, that’s easily explained” Elizabeth had remembered Probabilities, which was always a handy excuse in continuity disputes. “Another probable character will do what I write for them to do, there are probably hundreds of probable characters now, all going in different directions.”

          “Is that wise? Really Elizabeth, that sounds outrageously irresponsible. Hundreds of probable characters running amok, and you have absolutely no idea what they’re all getting up to.”

          “Well they’re not my responsibility Godfrey, for heavens sake!”

          “Well if they’re not your responsibility, then who’s responsible for them?”

          “Nobody is responsible for them!”

          “Well that sounds like a recipe for chaos if you ask me” Godfrey said with a sniff. “You’ve unleashed hundreds of probable Becky’s into reality, not to mention Leo’s and Bea’s….”

          “And Pig-Littleton’s” Elizabeth interjected under her breath.

          “… and Sanso’s and Dory’s” Godfrey, who hadn’t heard Elizabeth, continued to reel off the characters names. “I mean how big do you think reality is? The rate you’re filling it up with probable characters there’ll be no space left!”

          Elizabeth started to laugh. “Oh Godfrey, you’re a case. Ahahah! They don’t take up any space at all! Anyway, GodfreyElizabeth turned back to her notepad. “Listen to the latest chapter and tell me what you think:

          “You tempestuous fool” Becky cried and slapped Gayesh soundly across the face. “Don’t give me those unspoken looks!”

          Gayesh sighed. “Ah, the infinite pleasure I had in mind is naught but an elusive dream.”

          Godfrey Pig-Littleton was impressed. “Elizabeth, how perfectly you incorporated the four themes into one brilliantly short chapter”

          Elizabeth closed her notebook with a satisfied smile and yawned. Let them all do whatever the bloody hell they all want to, I’m off to bed. Plenty of probable characters available in the morning, waiting in the wings.


            broadcasting seeds of absurdity in the cornfields and the meadows of the hay hoo down dooly…Baked Bean Barb opened the book at random again and read a few lines. It was an odd book for sure, but strangely compelling. You never knew what you’d find on rubbish tips. Baked Bean Barb liked the sound of that, broadcasting seeds of absurdity.


            Perhaps I was a bit hasty in firing dear old Bronkel, poondered Elizabeth with a twinge of guoolt. Sure, he was mad as Almad and obsessed with deadlines, but at least he didn’t do my head in with all this psycho-booble like Godfrey PigLittleton.

            She sighed, and cast her eyes towards Lemone’s quote of the day for the descending. All morning she had been pondering the implications of his words:

            Clarify certain aspects, and take responsibility for how your energy is displayed, and do not rely on the machine to do it.

            Do not rely on the machine! Of course, herein lay the answer to all her diloomnas! She had been relying far too heavily on the machine.

            Which one though?

            She strongly suspected the compooter but she also knew he was a tricky booger that Lemone. Always talking in riddles.


              Rneyl ba na Bpgbore zbeavat. Gurer vf gur cebzvfr bs urng va gur fxl ohg sbe abj rirelguvat vf pbby naq fgvyy. Fur bcraf gur onpx qbbe bs gur pbggntr naq naq fvgf qbja pnershyyl ba gur jbbqra fgrc. Ure obql uhegf sebz gur avtug.

              V xvyy guvatf, fur guvaxf, fheirlvat gur qel oebja cynagf va gur fznyy tneqra fur unq gevrq gb perngr.

              Fur jbaqref vs gurer vf fbzrguvat gung jnagf gb pbzr gb yvsr vafvqr bs ure, gura uvqrf sebz gur gubhtug. Abg orpnhfr fur qbrf abg jnag vg, ohg orpnhfr fur vf nsenvq. Fur qbrf abg xabj ubj gb oevat guvf guvat gb yvsr. Gur fueviryyrq cynagf orne funec grfgvzbal gb ure snvyher…

              [ encoded in ROT13 ]

              “What is that?” she asks. “It doesn’t come from The Book, does it?”
              “Well, our best team of psychic archaeologists just got it retrieved from purported old discarded bits in the Crypt.”
              “of…? You mean… apocryphal part of The Book? Are you serious?”
              “Quite possible, you see. Do you know what’s the ancient meaning behind that word ‘apocryphal’?”
              “You tell me.”
              ‘those having been hidden away’… But the intricacy of this reality makes it possible for us, in the future of The Book, to re-insert it directly into the past.”
              “So they’re no longer ‘apocryphal’…”
              “You could look them up actually, and perhaps you’ll find even the part where they’re speaking about us finding it even…”


              — Aaaaalbert! You’re not ferreting again in my old discarded files, are you?
              — Err… No, of course not Tina.

              Al quickly changed the view on the cyputer and added with a hint of malice in his voice “You don’t have anything to hide from me anyway, isn’t it?”
              “Don’t be silly Al, and you’d better prepare yourself. We’ll be late for the big Hallowe’en party at the Father Chase Memorial Garden. Becky’s supposed to make an apparition at the party, remember.”
              Becky? You mean… The Becky?”
              “Yeah… You’re so absent-minded sometimes sweetie, good thing you got me, Sumafi as you are. Yes, that old twaddle-speaking silly exotic Becky, the one and unique!”


              Day of the Dead soon, Leo, might be a good day to go through that door” Bea said.

              “Well that’s the day that Baked Bean Barb is coming round with that book she found, Bea” replied Leonora.

              “She can come with us, the more the merrier eh! We could have a bit of a party you know, maybe have a bonfire on the top of the mound and then go through the door, might be fun.”

              “It’s all very well you saying we’ll just go through the door, Bea, but it’s not that easy.”

              “Why not?”

              “Because it isn’t a door, that’s why! It’s a pile of boulders blocking a cave entrance!”

              “All the more reason to invite lots of people to the party then! It will be a boulder moving out of the way of the door party, and when the door way is clear, we can all go through it. Aren’t you dying of curiosity to see what’s inside that mound?”

              “Yeah, I am. And we have to do it soon, because Jose will be back and then we’ll have to move. Might not be so easy then. Ok, let’s go for it. I’ll make a list who to invite.”

              “Some nice big strong strapping lads is what we need.”

              “No kidding”

              “To move the boulders, I meant” Bea said, rolling her eyes.


                Becky looked at the pebbles in her hand and then looked up at the little jars of sand on her kitchen shelf.

                “Pompeii and Ville Franche, I’d like you to meet Grand Canyon, Valley of Fire and Zion” she said ceremoniously, and placed the little shard of black rock and the smooth taupe pebble on the shelf next to the jar of Zion sand.

                In her hand she still held the aquamarine quartz crystal. “You’re different” she said “And I’m not sure what to do with you yet.”

                The previous evening she’d found herself holding the sea green stone in her hands as she listened to an unexpected voicemail from Jane. As Jane sang the Sumari song, Becky had felt the crystal glow and vibrate. She wasn’t quite sure what it all meant, but somehow it seemed significant that these unexpected gifts — the aquamarine quartz, the pebbles from Pompeii, and the Sumari song of Creation from Jane — that arrived on the same day, were all connected.

                The second voicemail she felt sure was for SeanJane singing Molly Malone , and at the end of the voicemail, laughing.

                Becky smiled. Whatever it was, it felt good.

                “Aquamarine is excellent for the 5th, or communication chakra. It can help singers and orators get the full quality of expression by releasing emotions that get blocked in the throat.”

                “Well, what a coincidence!” exclaimed Becky. “Singing sync! That’s a good start”

                She returned to her research.


                on a Yukailli Airlines Flyboat, Cruise#557
                Long Pong vicinity, International Waters, October 2008

                “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We are sorry to tell you that for unexpected reason, the flight has been rerouted to Auckland, New Zealand. Our final destination, Tikfijikoo Island is under strict quarantine for an unknown…

                — “WHAT?!” Dory was drawn out of her clouds contemplation by the voice of Ignoratio Elenchi
                — “Shhht!” Becky commanded her a bit rudely.

                Then, after the voice of the captain faded out in an incomprehensible muddle, “Oh, great! Now, we didn’t get what’s happening…”
                “Oh, as if we care for the reasons…” Dory said pragmatically. “Such a strange creating we did this time. I was so expecting to get to this island, and now it’s closed to tourists?”
                “Don’t worry, we may get there later… At least, this time we got to board on this strange airline, even if just for a round trip.”
                “Good point, Beck’!”

                Then, as if a sudden idea had just stuck her she added with a gleam in her eyes “Hey, that’s a really nice creating actually; we may be back home just in time for Day of the Dead celebrations…”

                Sometimes things seemed to work in cycles and round trips she thought to herself…


                Elizabeth’s strange new way of spoocking Ooglish was starting to become oorie.

                That is, until she found a recoonforting quote from Lemone, as usual:

                “You all notice a change in vowellness of your Ooniverse. Even those who are unaware notice a changing shift in vowellness. This is a new emergence into a wonderful vowellness that you have all agreed and decided to accomplish.”


                  a hotel room in Auckland, New Zealand

                  Veranassesee closed her report silently.

                  What a mess it all had been. Given the circumstances, she had acted with unbelievable self-possessed strength and wit.
                  She had little doubt she would be fired though. The Confregation wasn’t exactly known for their blanket acceptance of excuses for people’s short-failures —or worse, for their lack of accepting their own responsibility. Quite the contrary.
                  She would be expected to resign, and even the smoldering hot and sexy Agent Gabriele’s intercession wouldn’t be seen with a complaisant eye.

                  “No matter…” She had managed to keep everyone she could out of trouble or certain death, and for that she was quite proud of herself. Even if her job was most of the time to actually make sure they would meet their death more quickly. Perhaps she was getting too soft for that job.

                  The phone rang abruptly cutting her off her trail of thoughts.

                  “Yes?” (…) “Mmmhhh mmmh” (…) “Okay. Fine. Thank you.”

                  She would be presenting her report’s conclusions at the hearing tomorrow, and then would be free to go. Start a new life maybe; or get back to Mahiliki who was for now confined with the aircraft’s pilot in one of the Confregation’s detention centers for interrogation. They’d say it wouldn’t be long; they wanted to make sure no crucial information had leaked.
                  She couldn’t really pity Mahiliki; he was cute… harmless in many ways; she was sure he would be out in a matter of days,… and unsurprisingly get back to his peasant’s life on Fikitupi.

                  As for herself… that may be a whole other story.


                  Military hospital, Scott Base, October 2008

                  “It’s BLOODY freezing ‘ere!” a hirsute mop of hair was whining on a camp bed next to two others.

                  “Would you just shut the flove up, Glo! You’ve been whining for ‘ours now! It’s not bloddy believable…”
                  “Like Mavis says, Glo! We all got in that same bloddy boat ye know… It’s no bed of stinkin’ roses for us either!”

                  A long sigh came from Glo, again interrupting the silence.

                  “A bloddy pity, you have to admit; being a lady, with PMS for years… At least I could console meself I didn’t have to shave like a man for Pete’s sake! And now we’re over with bloddy PMS, we are as hairy as gorillas!”

                  “Don’t be silly Glo, they said they’d find a cure… innit Sha? T’is not what they said? Vessie promised us!”
                  “Yeah, just before that little trollop ran away with the others, leaving us in quarantine… Not even a consideration for our efforts to help her seduce the sexy guy …”
                  “Ungrateful yeah… When we could have stolen the guy’s heart easily…”
                  “Ahahaha, no blimin’ way! not with your new hairdo Sha dear… Ahahah, don’t mean to be rude!”
                  “Hey girls, any idea where’s Askitoy?…”
                  Akita ?”
                  “Put him in confinement I reckon… The poor bloke was delirious, saying he was a WWII soldier…”
                  “Good thing the bloddy honeycomb didn’t make us loose our sharp wits, eh!”


                  Antarctic Ocean, International subwaters

                  Good job my dear ones! “ the voice of the Baron was echoing strangely inside the metallic hull of the submarine.

                  In front of the screen, Pavel, Claude and Jarvis were sipping vodka martinis in celebration of their new crystal skull acquisition.

                  “It’s got a really extraordinary quality.” Jarvis answered after a moment of silence “I’ve been starting to study the skull and it’s taking some sort of aquamarine colour with the pressure variations, it’s impressive. And it seems we’re attracting an unusual amount of cetaceans in our trail too…”

                  “Fascinating! I can’t wait for you to bring it to me”



                  “What do we do with your old friend?”


                  “Yes. We made sure she was properly treated, as per your orders, and she’s got access to the bare minimum so that she doesn’t play any trick on us.”

                  “Good. Well, I suppose you can release her on any friendly coast of your liking. She is greatly able to go on from there, though she will probably not like having been outwitted in stealing abilities… Whatever. Do as I said, and don’t get too mollified by her apparent frailty, she’s tougher than she seems.”

                  “Okay. See you at the meeting point then.”


                  “See you on Saturday then, Barb, hasta luego!” Bea said, hanging up the phone. “Baked Bean Barb wants to bring a few friends to the Day of the Dead party, Leo, I said it was ok”. Turning to Leonora, who was hunched over the computer. she asked “Ok with you?”


                  “I said…”

                  “Friends of Baked Bean Barb? Have you ever met any of them?”

                  “One or two, yes,” replied Bea “They were quite a colourful bunch, I thought”

                  “Colourful!” Leo nearly choked on a mouthful of coffee. “They’re colourful alright! Smelly too, most of them”

                  “Oh don’t be such a snob, Leo! You’d be smelly too if you lived in a car.”

                  “Good job the party’s going to be outside, that’s all I can say. Anyway Bea, have a look at this” Leo turned back to the computer. “This Reality Play thing I’m subscribed to, they’re spitting out new entries left and right this afternoon, I can hardly keep up with it”

                  “Shove over then, let’s ‘ave a look”

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