Tales of Tw’Elves

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        On the marina, Sue Flay, wrapped in hot pink towel sprinkled in horseradish and buns crumbs started to feel dizzy and possessed.
        Her poodle had bitten her savagely, and her right breast was bleeding profusely.

        “May I be of assistance?” an tonsured man with a genial face and white girded loins asked, handing her a raspy paper towel.

        Without knowing why, Sue started to sob like a huge meringue.


          In the corner of a nearby street, Todd reverted back to his prefered form. That of a brown dwarf. His dream was to be a star, so he liked the irony of it.
          “Finally done with this irritating ex-pron star and her antics” he said chewing on a bone leftover while heading for his ride, a red convertible, gift of the Sh’elves. “She had it coming after all, she should have libned quietly like she was supposed to.”

          Next on his plans was to liaise back with Neb, but he feared his friend had not in him to complete his mission. Hopping in the car, he wished he wouldn’t be too late on his way to the ranch, with all those cracks and holes in the road.

          Wiping his mouth still full of blood, an insidious concern crept into his mind. What if he too had been affected by the bloody fwicking kraken disease. But that was too early to say.


            Through her tears Sue Flay caught a glimpse of the sun flashing on the shiny foil purple party hooter lying at her feet. Curiosity halted the sobs that were vibrating the wooden decking under the cafe terraces, much to the relief of several dozen Italian tourists, who were busily mopping up the coffee that had sloshed over their cups and onto their buns.

            Who sent me this purple party hooter? Sue asked, blowing her nose on Fray Mentos’ white loincloth, providing the Italian tourists with an eyeful of Fray’s crown jewels which were momentarily exposed to the salty marina air.


            “ ‘Allo, ‘allo, what’s going on here then?” said Seargent Ted Marshall, “Those look like the crown jewels stolen from King Apil-Sin of Babylon, around about the same time his purple flowers went missing!”

            “Curses!” muttered Fray, “It’s the steely-eyed and ever-vigilent Seargent Ted Marshall! What’s he doing here?” Instantly he regretted his spur-of-the-moment decision to gird his loins and enter the bun fray wearing only a frayed white loin cloth.


              After his epic escape, Loard Koala had found refuge, unbeknownst to even the shrewd and some said foxy Ted Marshall, in the depths of the Great Green Wall of Afraka. There, under swarms of migrating magpies cackling like a horde of harridans lamenting about the miseries of their existences, he was planning his return… secretly hoping for a celestial pardon from the Elvens.
              From the top of a towering eucalyptree, smoking a large makeshift cigarillo from its leaves, he could see Canaria and its bountiful promise of a new world, and sighed contentedly.


                “You know, I think they got a name for your condition” Franlise said while throwing another piece of rotten furniture and a dusty half-plucked stuffed pheasant from the window.
                “Oh no!” Elizabeth was crestfallen “not my favourite plucked pheasant, let’s at least keep this! A perfectly functioning piece that one, Lewis Someteenth, French expensive furniture dammit!”
                “You’re a bloody compulsive hoarder, that’s what you are!” Franlise said authoritatively. “Now, move along, let me do my job.”
                “Your job? And what are you now?”
                “A professional organiser, of course.”


                  Elizabeth gasped in horror. She shrank back, making the sign of the crossed feathers. “Organiser?”


                    “Feels a bit empty now, doesn’t it? A bit of bloody hoarding wasn’t all that bad after all,” Elizabeth now mused amused, while her newly acquired pet lemur was massaging her cheeks with velvety paws.
                    All had been oddly strange lately. She’d even felt in the mood for some sweeping,… not to mention managing to remind something to her editor.
                    That was a first, as memory matters had usually been all shades of grey for her.
                    swat SWAT!
                    What next she would create, she wondered.

                    The drowsy lemur voiced a shriek of panicked anguish when she abruptly left her armchair.
                    “Oh, you bloody shush now, don’t get all bossy on me just because I forgot where I put my bloody satisfied-or-your-money-back coupon.”
                    Malicious as it were, the lemur had been for a purpose, and was quite good at it. Fly swatting. She wasn’t getting a refund on the rascal, dead flies were piling around, almost blocking the door, and that was a sight she reveled in.


                      She was right. Maybe he needed a job as a janitor instead, and draw on walls, or write some sotteries pardon my Medieval French.
                      “I’m leaning towards valuing the imagination parts of me.” he’d answered, not quite convinced, as though it were told by someone else, or something he’d read earlier somewhere, on a wall probably.
                      The vole was still there when she’d left. She’d kept moving back to give it space to run off up the dry road, but no, the little thing even held its hand up when she tried to pick it up as if to say NO! thank you I’m fine.
                      He too was fine, surrounded by converging ripples of emotions, but oddly calm.
                      “Too neatly organized stuff gets dusty and boring” he’d said to her.
                      “I know,” she’d answered, ending their brief encounter with a limerick

                      The housekeeping lady of China,
                      Said she’d never seen anything finer,
                      than a wacom of dust,
                      that she sponged and brushed,
                      that housekeeping lady of China…


                        “Rendezvous at Hunchies in an hour” whispered the housekeeper, furtively looking over her shoulder as she pulled off her rubber mask. The elevator doors opened as she was shaking out her sweaty red hair, the lank strands whipping the bowler hat of the man who was rushing out.


                          “Solar flares alert at noon, take shelter” the electronic sign was saying when she left the building. Rubber masks coated with lead-like substance were designed to alleviate the exposure to what authorities qualified as dangerous radiations, but she was wondering what good it had brought her, listening to those darned authorities. Of course now, there was a variety to contend with every possible taste: one could find designer masks on the market, even ones that made you look like Jeanne Roberts, the famed actress from the naugthies québecquoise telly series “Sept ETs à la maison” (inaptly translated as “Sethies at home”).
                          However, dissident reports had transpired that the flares were not the health hazard they talked about, and maybe could actually be good for you. Theories were that they helped trigger beneficial mutations of your body, that would then go through a slightly disturbing period of adaptation and heightened hypersensitivity, but that later… your potentials would start to get limitless, well, whatever that meant.
                          She wondered what good becoming a limitless housekeeper would bring her… more bloody work, that one was certain.


                            ‘I had lived in Shanghai for about two months when I learned that behind every building which fronts the street is a second and far more enticing world: a labyrinth of winding lanes and alleyways that contains all kinds of eclectic little businesses and historic houses.’ Emily Prager failed to add that the second more enticing world of Shanghai, or indeed anywhere, was quite immune to the solar frights and rubber mutations of the disturbing period prior to the annual global rapture “fuck off to higher realms if you can” event. Behind every construction lies an intriguing world of signs, signs of the timeless, signs of the damp sometimes making landmass patterns on the peeling wallpaper, and signs of jubilation, coloured paper streamers fluttering in the tail end of the tornadoes, and floating on the subsiding waves.


                              The end of Being Veronica’s season four coincided strangely with the end of time day. She had eventually become a channeler. Still full of images and sounds of time travels, space projections and probabilities, Yann decided it was time for him to go fetch some Shanghainese food for the evening. They were going to Taipei for the week end with Yurick, meeting with an artist friend who’d promised to show them around.

                              Outside the air was chilly, it almost had that peculiar smell Yann associated with frost. When he first decided to come to Shanghai, it was with the secret hope it would be warmer than Paris, but currently it seemed to be as cold and chilly a city. At least, Taipei would feel a bit warmer, he thought with a misty sigh, the weather forecast announced at least 23°C. What better occasion for the beginning of the new timeline.

                              The store was not very far from the house, you just had to turn left at the corner and it was right here after the laundry service. It was a small shop, with only tangerins, oranges, a few apples and bananas. The shopekeeper and his wife greeted him. Yann was still feeling shy with the Chinese, mostly because he couldn’t speak their language yet. He’d begun taking lessons, but there was so much to learn. He smiled and quickly resumed his focus on the fruits. Some bananas were calling him, quite ripe actually. He hesitated, took them and almost put them in a plastic bag, but he noticed they were maybe too ripe, the skin was cracked in some areas and he could see the white flesh of the fruit turning brown. He nonchalently put them back on the stall as the shopekeeper was showing him the strawberries.

                              Yann smiled and he couldn’t remember how to say no, so instead he laughed and waved his hand in protest. The man didn’t insist and went back to the counter. He didn’t seem to be concerned by the end of time.


                                Notwithstanding the child who was asking questions to his nanny just behind them, the flight to Taipei has been rather quiet. It was a three hours flight, quite short compared to the twelve hours ones Yann had been doing lately between Paris and Shanghai. Fortunately, the seats of the Dragoneer company were big enough, which was another strange element of these Chinese planes. Instead, the French Airways’ ones had narrow seats with so little room for one’s legs. He slept for most of the trip. Awoken merely when the flight attendant brought the food. Some rice dish again.

                                As soon as they landed, they were welcomed by a troup of taichi dancers, resembling Tahitian dancers with their loincloth. It was hot. The weather of course, not the taichi dancers who seemed unaffected by the temperature. Their slow movements were relaxing and a bit hypnotic. It was a contrast with the rapid dance of Tahiti Yann remembered from their last trip.

                                A woman in a red coat and sunglasses was walking behind them, looking around suspiciously.


                                  The world didn’t end that day.
                                  But maybe it should have, or at least the endless list of senseless rules, silly obligations, half-compromises and clever-yet-too-often-outdone-by-stupidity ploys to defeat them.
                                  Stuck in the middle of his twelfth failed attempt at booking a flight for the Land of the Long Cloud, he found himself dreaming of buying… well, no— buying was sorely overrated nowadays. With all the rules on how you could or could not spend your money, he’d found it impossibly difficult to buy his friend the new camera of his dreams.
                                  So, let’s dream of building something instead: a dream submersible airborne trailer, or maybe just a flying house with giant wheels, to soar above the pettiness of this world, and to go unfettered wherever fancy called.
                                  He knew why the shark tank in the department store had exploded last week, killing only the sharks and turtles. It probably wasn’t being boxed, as much as being forced to look everyday at the headless consumers that killed the creatures. Whatever the reason might have been, in all fairness, they’d managed to boldly go beyond the end of their world.


                                    How would they call this new blue planet? “XAIO353-57+” had been suggested by the High Klashtram Mothtar, but it would probably take at least one gyros before the Science council would unanimously agree.

                                    Bashashish 20-13 was actually the communication attendant who’d discovered that promising planet, thus effectively defeating promises of uninteresting and failure-ridden work at the Cosmological Administration for Variable Explorations, where she’d been sent after unimpressive academic studies. The C.A.V.E. was one of those administrative hideouts producing nil but tedium, full of crannies which had not seen a cleaning ladybug (nor any clean ladybug for that matter) probably since its creation.
                                    BashTT (short for Bashashish Twenty-Thirteen), after many of her cocoons left there at the institute, and as much boredom, started to play with some of the old equipment she’d found in a broom closet (needless to say, all brooms had been eaten long ago), and had found some unusual waves coming from a corner of the Sector 114116.

                                    It took her more gyri to gather more solid evidence, tinkering with the planet’s waves in order to test whether the blue marble had intelligent life. So far, it had been mostly conclusive. She’d managed to connect to broadcasting waves and also to the transportation systems. She tinkered with the stream of data in order to go local, and by replacing another’s booking with her personal information, managed to book a few craft tickets for herself. This would be perfect for when she’d visit around the planet’s locations when she would arrive with the official delegation.
                                    She was particularly fond of the Land of the Hobbit breathtaking sceneries, and wished she could get an appointment in Rivendell with the wizard they called Grand’Alf who seemed able to talk their mothty language.


                                      Tina was working in a very unknown departement at the online payment company. Part of her job was to make sure the information provided by the customers were genuine and she only had to validate the payments in a mouse click.

                                      That day however, she was feeling a bit mischievous and when she realized her mouse wasn’t functionning correctly, instead of asking for a new mouse, she continued with it a bit. At first it had been random transactions and she found it quite boring. But when one person was persistant enough to go again through the pain-in-the-ash process of paying online, she felt a tingly feeling in her chest. She clicked with her dysfunctionning mouse and invalidated the transaction again.

                                      Several minutes later, she realized it was the same person again. Apparently a French guy. God, she hated France ! They eat frogs, frogod sake!
                                      He was using another website to make his transaction. Obviously not knowing that all the payments were coming through the scrutiny of that secret service departement. She exulted and clicked again. She was so excited that her colleagues looked at her suspiciously when she made that hysterical laugh of hers.

                                      Click! Click! Click!

                                      She had even been hesitating to have a break lest he would present his transaction again and would pass through her vigilance.

                                      Tina ?”

                                      Her boss! A moment of inattention and it was over! She felt a surge of disappointment flooding her when she realize the transaction had been taken by another of her colleagues… and validated.

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