The Eights’ Shift, Stories

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      And Opening.

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      Auntie mac Assar was the next to arrive. “Doily!” she exclaimed in surprise. “Fancy seeing you here!”


      Dolores de la Cabeza came from St Andrex of Sauce, in the Canary Islands. The Canary Islands were so named because of the preference of the population for the colour yellow. Needless to say, this did have rather a curious effect on their perception when exposed to other colours, which was inevitable when travelling abroad.


      Almost unperturbed by the sudden distraction coming from the remarkably head-in-the-clouds Doily, despite her seemingly headlessness-lessness, and applying instead his famous adage, Better stick to one’s own nonsense than follow another’s Mewrich thundered “Well, if you don’t mind, I’ll explain about the beard, so that we can all get back to our business, and you out to your quest (and off my home)”.

      “Yes! Will you finally tell us about the bird, the notes, and all that buggery to get to that Eighth dimension and vanquish the darn blubbits invasion!” Pee Stoll almost cried out.

      Carefully, Mewrich reached out for a tiny peacock in his aviary, a poor thing which was plucking its feathers after all that noise, that he may as well have chosen at random from the menagerie.
      “Take this bird, and make it sing four notes, I said FOUR! not one more, not one less! in front of the great portal of Nibabuz and you should be able to get past the old Keeper… JUST DON’T try to interrupt me, by the coils of the great Snakipooh, you rude tart!” “You have to get past the Keeper, but he’s old and a bit arthritic, so all you’ve got to do is have him walk on his beard, and get past him.”

      Dolores was about to add a little flourish, but all of them, the headless Stoll family, and Doily’s eccentric entourage where ushered out of the cave by the angered Saucerer. And every Peaslander knew you wouldn’t anger a Saucerer without having to deal with dreadful consequences. The green wig of Dolores being probably the remnant of one of these consequences.


      A tinkling bell notified Josephine that someone had found the object. The prophecy was right, things were beginning to get into place, and soon, it will be revealed. Unfortunately, she was busy making a very delicate potion for one of her patients and the sound of the bell distracted her and she took a very dangerous spider venom instead of the toad juice she had intended.
      She didn’t realize her mistake, and maybe it was part of the prophecy too. Soon, it will be revealed.


      SOON IT WILL BE REVEALED!” thundered Pickel.

      The others, after recovering from their shock, looked at Pickel in surprise.

      “What are you on about boy?” asked Pee.

      Pickel was as confused as the others. “I don’t know,” he stammered. “It just came from .. no where…”

      “Well keep it down will you, you will scare the bird we are taking to the Keeper of the Portal, whose name eludes me but he has a long beard and is old and arthritic, in order to get the bird to sing 4 notes, no more and no less, in order to open the portal and get to ED and save New Peasland from the plague of the Blubbits.”

      Pee was feeling a need to clarify. Not for the first time he was wondering if volunteering for this dangerous mission had been wise. He fortified himself with the thought of Mungibbs.

      “What are Mungibbs, Daddy?” asked Silly.

      Pickel was quiet. He could feel the silver object burning a hole in his pocket.


      The pop-corn rain usually laid a crunchy crusty yellow blanket on the lands of Peasland, a mild contrast with the pea-green tint of the lands in the season of Spea’ing.
      In late Summer, New Peasland’s weather used to be the season of subs-tractors, big-wheeled vehicles which harvested the blown up corn of the fields, one of the rare alternatives to pea soup and marmite. Sadly, with all the blubbits around, hardly a few popcorns were left for the noble people of Peasland to eat, spread in muddied pools tainted of blubbits poohs.

      “This has to cease!” Pee Stoll muttered after another raucous gurgling of his belly. The great portal of Nibabuz was a few days walk, and they would need all their strength to get there. Blessed was his dear Penelope, who’s been gleaning the few edible popcorn from the last shower and was feeding their heads on the mantelpiece.


      Almondus Blondor, the Keeper of the Old and notwithstanding Great portal of Nibabuz was on his way to Josephine Moodoo the Great Priestress of OzMoosis, and occasionnally witch-doctoress. It was for this last talent that Almondus had taken his day off. It was actually his first day off since the last century, but his arthretic was now becoming unbearable, and had on many times almost have him become nuts, a fate altogether far more enviable than the one of losing one’s head he would say (as he wasn’t truly a native Peaslander either).

      So, this arthrectic was painful, terribly painful, the result of considerable arrhythmical calculus mixed with jointless restlessness. A few times he had to mend his limbs back together, and feared the witch would blame his indulgence on koomaroo, a variety of sweet potatoes he craved at the expense of following the ancestral Peaslander’s peas and marmite toasts usual diet. For that, he was often call Mr Koomaroo by the little neighbours, those nasty pests.
      But as we said earlier (heed, heed, little Pooh), he was no native Peaslander either.

      So, during his day off, he had appointed his young apprentice, Bentworth Sadnick, a local and remarkably headless fellow, who wasn’t very wise for his seventy-year-young age ; as since the last decades, no one had tried to activate the Great and notwithstanding Rusty portal, he thought he could have that little day off without much trouble happening.

      Josephine would surely repair him in a snap of her delicately podgy fingers (they reminded him of delicious sweet potatoes) and everything would be forever again perfect… at least for the next ten decades.


      “So,” Pee looked up to Dolores and Auntie mac Assar, who where both a full head taller than he was (which annoyed him a bit) “are you too coming with us to the portal or were you just there because you saw lights?”
      “Of course,” and his voice softened a little, as he was seeing S’illy’s eyes moisten at the thought of already leaving her funny and eccentric aunts, a thought he hardly shared for any of Penelope’s sisters… “of course, I’m not chasing you, but this trip may be perilous” and he couldn’t resist adding “you may well lose your head along the way…”


      ‘No problem for that’, retorted mac Assar, ‘we bought one of these brand new head-fastener, “they help you keep you head on” the ad says!’ she continued merrily.

      Pee hold his breath and his first thoughts about this kind of accessory; some customers associations were pitting against these head-fasteners as they were said to make you loose your head more quickly with age. The Alsa Meyer syndrome was wreaking havoc on the pea-ceful peaple of New Peasland these days and the medical corpse didn’t know how to stop it. But Pee would be there when she’d loose her head!

      Silly broke the cone of silence by telling her aunt that her new head-fastener looked like a horse, which made Auntie mac Assar and Dolores laugh heartily, and made Pee blush forcefully.

      ‘Never say that to a lady’, said her aunt.


      He was lying on her massage table, his nudity covered with a blue satin towel. Josephine had really soft hands and was a really good masseuse. Almondus Blondor had been waiting for so long for this massage that he wouldn’t let one bit escape his awareness; though, he was feeling as if he was inexorably slipping into the drum world, his heart was pounding, more and more present. His attention was merging with his old drum self, when he could remember clearly how it was before he came here through the portal himself.


      Josephine was using the very potion she was preparing when she heard the tinkling sound… and she was unaware that her hand had taken a wrong ingredient, one of the most important ones. Even if she had known, she would have been unable to tell the consequences of the switch. Almondus could just disappear, melt, transform into a big giant dragonfly… at the moment, she was into a trance, far even from the idea that she could do such a mistake. She never did mistakes!


      Bentworth Sadnick was all but confident in his new appointment by his peaster. He had never been alone at the portal before, and he feared most of all that someone would come ask a question. In his mind, it was unthinkable that someone would even dare ask to open the portal…

      He was lost in his hamster wheel, too exhausted by the race to do the usual chores —sure his peaster would notice when he comes back. But what if some official came by? It would certainly be a disaster, Bentworth would be caught stammering and that would only add to his confusion. Wasn’t it hot here? So hot, maybe if he could just put his head aside for a few moments… no, it was forbidden, his peaster had repeated it thousands of times to him, and had him repeat it ten times more… though it could help, sure, release the pressure in his head. His hands reached the hook of his head-fastener and a sudden release of pressure popped into the silence, ending in a harmonious whistling sound.

      Holding his head in his hands, face turned to his chest, he was unable to see the strangers coming from the distance. He sat on the first step of the stairs climbing to the portal, his head resting on his lap, looking at his belly button (his clothes were too short for him, and he was looking like a child grown too fast). Though he was the only one present and when he suddenly heard a raucous voice asking if he could make his bird sing, he feared that it was some kind of sexual offer and were his head on, it would have blushed, but it was still releasing pressure and the sudden squirck sounded like a yes.

      That’s when he lost his head, he stood up briskly and his head rolled on the ground, hitting a stone in the process. His head was knocked out, and he couldn’t use it for the moment. What had his peaster told him so often: “Always do as if you know what to do! Don’t let people see you don’t know, even if you don’t… pretend that you have all the answers. You’re here the most trusted Peaslander and everybody will trust what you say.”

      “Sh-show mme yu-your bi-bird!”

      The Aunt and Dolores looked at each other… the others being headless it would have been pointless.
      “Are you the Keeper of the Old and notwithstanding Great portal of Nibabuz.”

      As he was about to say yes, another release of pressure from his unconscious head made a squirmish sound. As they were waiting, he said the word that would seal his destiny.


      That’s when Almondus, falling asleep, farted. Was it the mixture of Josephine? Was it that he hadn’t done a detox cure for centuries? Nonetheless, that had the disastrous effect of inducing Josephine in a lethargic state. She stopped massaging him and stood there still. Her spearit gone, far worse than if her head had popped out on its own.


      One tiny thing that Pee and his family wasn’t entirely aware of, as well as poor Bentworth Sadnick, was that the Old Portal was indeed… old.
      An ancient generation’s which allowed only transfer of biological entities, whereas all things manufactured, such as the latest shiny head-fasteners, wouldn’t be passed through the portal.

      This would have explained to the inquiring minds why there was an inordinate amount of plastic garbage in front of the rusty and Old Portal to the Eighth Dimension.

      But no one thought of asking, forgetting for the most part that the elastics of their pants were made mostly of inorganic stuff…


      Before Josephine passed away in a pharting spell for worlds better, she uttered a meaningful sentence which sadly went lost to cataleptic Almondus’ ears, but not to everyone.
      She indeed briefly uttered in a last rattle: “Soon it shall all make perfect sense,… soooon.”

      A mysterious sentence to which the unwitting eavesdropper, covered in blubbits pelts, couldn’t help but fancifully (and equally mysteriously) add “…sense my posterior”.


      “Well, bugger all that good sense my lads! Eighties, here we come!” Pee Stoll exclaimed (quite bravely we shall say, although a bit foolhardily) after the bird’s singing had opened the Old Portal in front of them.

      “Maybe we’ll soon learn how to cure Peasland of our blubbits misery!” sighed Auntie Looh —short for Dolores (de la Cabeza).
      “Well, good thinking you’ve got me to remember anything of the cure, if it exists at all!” snickered Auntie Toot —short for Patou (Mac Assar, née Patou Tsweet).

      Seeing his aunts started for another longwinded and pointless argument, Pickel took his S’illy sister by the hand, and jumped headfirst (in a manner of speaking) into the transparent liquid film which had appeared at the birds’ summoning.
      Pee seeing that he could not place it any politer, kicked the ladies’ way through the Buttal… err Pothole, aaah Portal! then followed with the bird which closed the gate again, leaving Bentworth Sadnick all panting at the unusual and exhausting amount of activity the day had brought to him.


      Penelope was looking fondly at her family’s heads on the mantelpiece, comfortably seated in her armchair in front of the dancing flames.
      “This is so much better than TV or embroidering… Toot and Looh really don’t know what they’re missing!”


      “Can you see something?” Pee was calling out.

      “Good gracious, what are these disturbing oinking noises?” said Autie Looh (or was is Auntie Toot) who’s been trying to catch her head ever since she’d tripped on it after it had rolled over (as, of course, her brand new head-fastener had not travelled through the portal).

      “Oh dear Glord, all my panties are loose now!” Auntie Looh exclaimed, after she tucked her dangling head under her armpits. “I’m starting to hate this bloody place!” she said, after managing to knot her pride back under a fold of her tummy.

      “Howdy!” Auntie Toot cried out “I think I can see something glowing in the dark… There! Whoohooo! … Or wait, is it someone glowing?”


      The poor Peaslanders were utterly disoriented by the blatant lack of sense in the Eighth Dimension. It was such a blessing they had for most of them already lost their head, kept safe by a dear member of the family.

      Once in front of them, the glowing figure uttered ominously:

      “opened everyone eye ball,
      Worserversity nonsense portal deep
      sheila Elizabeth bird gone surprise
      come speak thread
      face cat Godfrey later create”

      And then the figure disappeared in a fit of oink oink’s.

      “I think it’s her shoes that make the strange sucking sounds in the mud” aptly remarked little Pickel.
      “How come you know it was a ‘her’, it could have been a cloud as far as I know…” retorted Autie Toot who never got a chance to get a good look, with her head upside down in her arms.

      “Silence!” ordered Pee Stoll more raucously than he had wished to “We need to concentrate! This riddle may be the clue to the plague of blubbits, can’t you see?!”
      “Well… It’s not that easy, you know” Auntie Looh objected sheepishly, while still struggling with her garments as well as with her head.

      “I think it’s fairly simple” ventured S’illy (whom nobody ever listened to, probably owing to her tender age as well as her melodious voice) “We got to find the Worseversity, they probably have worked on a cure; our contacts there will be a sheila called Elizabeth… and a Godfrey will provide a cat to eat the bird and put us back to our dimension…”

      “Darn riddle!” sweared Pee furiously who hadn’t paid any attention “It’s probably just another bunch of nonsense!”
      “I guess we’ll just go anywhere then!” merrily suggested the Aunts each going in opposite directions while the bird rolled its eyes.


      “Has anybody noticed the moon is blue?” Pickel said pointing at the stars.
      “Looks indeed like one effin’ big blubball now you mention it, lad” Auntie Looh’s head answered.


      Meanwhile somewhere else in the Eight’s, where the cuckoo sang the new year’s song

      Harvey had been quick to wish his friends Aspidistra a merry new year full of reindeer pee by the gallon dripping from the roof. That’s how they wished the best to their friends here. And sure he wanted the best for Aspidistra.

      Now he had to find the shaman, because that shadow leaping on the wall was that much he couldn’t bear. He had to buy that new light sprayer and have it cursed by the shaman of the Space Bar of the Fool Breadth (or was it Foul Breath?) to have it move to the light, and quick, that frigging bugger of a shadow.

      In the meantime, he firmly believed that were he to keep being merry, it would repel it away further and further.
      So, his mood was twittery, and he felt like singing, and dancing, and hoola hooping with all the furniture and cutlery available in the mouldy cupboards all finely balanced on his nose and appendages, all the way down to the metro.



      “Aaah, that feels better” he thought after a squab tubby lady, all pimped up like a stolen truck, came to ask him in a vulgar trailing voice of a transsexual hormonal troll if he had any carton box left up his nose (too bad he had not thought of asking her whether she had already looked up her ass).


      I ache all over… arrrrgghhhhhhhh Aspidistra was complaining on the phone all the while being intrigued by Harvey’s positively good mood.

      “Oh you know,” Harvey began to tell her “the secret of the hyper-mel mode (a.k.a. “HMM”) is to be happy and screaaaaaming at the top of your lungs all your merriness no matter whut.”
      “And of course,” he added, “punctuating it with occasional profuse weehooes (and some wheehoees now and then).”

      “Woa… I will need more coffee for that” she said yawning while Harvey was continuing “and put your hands in the air, your fingers mimicking stars glitter! Wheeeha katcha twinkle twinkleepooh!”

      “Oh, don’t mention hands, I dropped the milk twice this morning” Aspidistra was distraught again.

      “Owlright, and have you rejoiced on having milk spilled all over the goddess body?! Mmhhh? YES! YES!”

      “And I’ve got arthritis in my thumb!”

      “Uh-oh, arthritis… even better! rhymes with Weehooohees! … or giant squid… architeuthis!”

      “Achy tits, yeah…” she moaned plaintively. “And all that milk spilled with my poor thumbies…”

      “You see, you get the hang of it,” Harvey was bouncing “got to go dearee, spread the good joy,… see you soon! Weeee…”

      And off he was, hanging on Aspidistra while her ears where still full of the echoes of weehooees.

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