The Eights’ Shift, Stories

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      And Opening.

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      Harvey, okay this is weirdo question, but is that a pink elephant which has just walked into the restaurant?

      What? … Where? Harvey looked around and shook his head with a laugh. No, that’s just an apparition, a miracle of genetics not to be believed. Freakin heck Lavender, first of all aliens, now pink elephants… maybe you should cut back on the DMT.


      “Hey, Asp” Phildendron was still chuckling at her sister Aspidistra’s reaction to the piglet news “Why don’t you make a deal with Lavender, tell her you’ll only accept the piglet if it comes with a years supply of that DMT stuff.”

      “So I can share it will you, Phil?” Asp raised an eyebrow. “I don’t like haggling though, you know what I’m like. Looking a gift horse in the mouth and all that, no accidents and all the rest of it. I mean, I must be creating this piglet gift myself, and acceptance is key, is it not?”

      “Acceptance doesn’t mean literally accepting gifts of piglets, silly!”

      “Well what DOES it mean then?”

      “It means accepting that everything is fine, whatever you choose ~ whether you say yes to the pig, or no to the pig, you’re supposed to accept that it’s the perfect choice.”

      “Well how the devil is a person to know which is the right choice then?”

      “Well that’s just it, it doesn’t matter which choice you make. Not only that, it’s not a case of just one choice, either.”

      “So what you’re trying to tell me, which sounds like absolute nonsense, is that if I choose to accept the pig gift now, I would have to choose tomorrow that I accepted the pig gift today, otherwise I would be choosing…..” Asp’s voice trailed off as she lost her thread.

      “Yes! And not just once tomorrow, but in every moment you would have to choose that you chose the pig gift ~ otherwise you’d be choosing that you didn’t accept the pig ~ and that would be a choice too.”

      “Oh don’t be silly, Phil, with so many choices to make in each moment you wouldn’t ever be finished choosing before it was the next moment, then you’d have to start choosing again ~ You’d never get anything done!”


        “Well let’s assume for a moment that you do choose to accept the gift of pig, Asp, will you change the name?”

        “Well I’m not sure I need to. He’s called Sassafras Sense, and I quite like the name ~ Sassy for short. In fact I like the name so I think I will choose to accept the gift pig after all.”


        When offered a gift of a pig
        Aspidistra remembered the Stig
        Of the Dump

        And then ran out of words
        It had never been heard
        But it happened
        And she didn’t give a fig
        Or even a hoot
        Toot! Toot!


        The Fellowship wish to extend our greetings to you young lady, and to thank you most sincerely for gracing us with your delightful presence.

        Lavender smiled encouragingly at the pointy headed gentleman who was welcoming her so warmly. Still, she was wondering anxiously why she had been summoned to this meeting of the Fellowship, when her little Essence was not due for another two days.

        Thank you, it is I who am honoured to be here. she responded politely.

        The Speaker smiled benignly at her. I sense your anxiety. Let me assure you there is no reason for concern. We are very happy with your pregnancy. However we did encounter some unexpected challenges. Perhaps, it is best if you just see for yourself.

        He nodded to one of the Helpers, who waited like silent black shadows around the edges of the room. The Helper disappeared, and returned a moment later carrying a large bundle, which appeared to be wiggling vigorously. The Helper laid the bundle gently at Lavender’s feet and unwrapped the cover. Three little striped piglets emerging, squealing indignantly.

        Yes, smiled the Speaker. We are delighted to inform you that your pregnancy has resulted in triplet piglets. I am sure even though this is unexpected, you will be as thrilled as we here at the Fellowship are.

        Lavender hoped Aspidistra liked piglets as much as the Fellowship clearly did …


        “I’m noticing alot of threes lately!” remarked Rhodedrendron, Aspidistra’s freind. “I wonder why?”

        “I keep noticing sevens” replied Aspidistra.


        “Why don’t you just gloogloo it?” Harvey asked Rodent Enron
        “you know, gloogloo dot com, the first search engine on all things Turkey? Don’t tell me you’re chicken on that too, after the fail attempt to cross the wiggling bridge?”


        A second Helper materialised, with another squirming bundle.

        Yes, as well as the triplet birth of black and white striped piglets, the pregnancy also resulted in a quadruplet birth of miniature pink elephants. A very successful pregnancy. You will appreciate the significance of the seven of course?

        Lavender didn’t have a clue, but as she had been rendered speechless, decided just to nod anyway.

        Oh and one last word of advice – if you need any assistance in caring for your new born, we suggest you use gloogloo as a reliable source of seeking information. This is the Fellowship’s search engine of choice.


        Harvey was pretty disappointed; he would have preferred a cute pygmy hippo rather than the squealing little litter of pigglets. Granted, he would have had to change the bathtub to an Olympic sized pool, but rather that than having to build a barn for elephants.

        The silver lining was that the elephants were water-hosing the pig’s pooh outside very efficiently.


        Oh! they are so cute! Aspidistra was almost overcome with emotion at Lavender’s generosity. You are such a dear, thoughtful, kind person Lavender.

        F LoveF Love

          Ann Tattler groaned. Perhaps listening wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. The latest novel was degenerating rapidly into trivial nonsense, in large part thanks to the collaborative writing efforts of her publisher, and the cleaner, Daisy. It was hard keeping quiet when confronted with such an outpouring of nonsensical rubbish.

          She wondered despondently whether even the erudite Eremurus Lemon would be able to help her this time. She opened his latest book, “How to Sing Like a Bird in Fifty Three Relatively Easy Lessons” at random.

          Take advantage of the Beast’s sleep to have some.

          Of course! Duh! How could she have doubted Lemon. Didn’t he always come through? She should be taking advantage of this time of silence! While her inner noisy beast was sleeping she should be having some.

          But some what?


          It all kept getting stranger and stranger to Harvey —or aliener and aliener, he would have been tempted to say.
          Maybe that was because of the ash blue giant aliens he’d made contact with recently. They were nice though; slender body and ample slow movements, but despite all feelings of eeriness, they appeared to be kind and loving beings. Of course, when he had told the others about it, all they had wanted to know was how many boobies they had, and whether their appendices were proportionate to their heights. Harvey couldn’t help but roll his third eye (he was tempted to wink it at first, but remembered how he failed to convey anything like this, people not knowing whether he was winking or simply blinking…).

          Funny thing was that now he was getting distorted and disrupted (or so he thought) communications even in broad daylight.

          The last one, when he was reading Grips, his favorite newspaper’s headlines on the newsstand went like:

          Home energy merely start, cave created answer
          Zhaana, Mlle friend within, needed hidden face
          view Leormn somehow warm smiled whole week

          Yesterday, after having being woken up by the squealing little piglets during the storm, he’d loitered around the neighbourhood in search for sleep, and found himself wanting to declaim nonsensical words about a girl gloogloo-dancing under the sun of Androoloosie (that’s the name he got, from some distant parallel reality).
          Perhaps he should make some podcasts out of this, they may well be the sign of a vastly intelligent design the code of which some erudite researchers could crack up thanks to his contribution.

          Yeah… crack up… They would…


          Oh bugger this Harvey pestered against his pinhole third eye monocle which had just fallen again in his tea.

          He’d developed a strange case of telepathy myopia —which he had hoped to alleviate with the monocle— that prevented him to hear the thoughts of the others when they weren’t as close enough a distance.

          Doc Limure, a strange fellow, had diagnosed him when he had told about the strange symptoms and advised him to carry the pinhole monocle for awhile. But it wasn’t really practical at all to maintain before his eye; he had to keep his telekinesis in check, and as soon as he let his thoughts drift away, the thing would fall.
          He started to wonder if Dr Limure had not made some practical joke on him.


            A sudden message popped into the bathtub.
            Opening the capsule, it was obvious it came from the future, as the color code was unmistakable.

            Well Fall is officially here now. Time to get down to business. How would up to 3k extra a week fit into your life? We have alot of fun doing it and you can to. Call the number below to hear how you can get onboard.

            The last part was more intriguing. Probably a code.

            Lester’s ex-wife keeps the milk cold. Batman316 is a nugget.

            He rose from the bubble of now cold goat milk bath for his sensitive skin, and dried his muscular body.
            For this mission, he probably would have to get onto those old generation portals. He always had a spare pants for those missions, as only bio material could travel though. He sure didn’t want his pants to disintegrate in the heat of the action.


            “Did you know there was 57 known races of NNH?”, Harvey told Aspidistra.

            But she was too busy washing the piglets to notice.


              Ann woke up thinking of Annabel Ingram. The name sounded very familiar, quite close to the name Annabel Ingman actually. The funny thing was that Ann had seen images of Annabel’s face, lots of them, a series of faces of all the ages of her life. She felt like a ‘real’ person’, whatever that meant. Ann wondered which came first ~ the ‘real’ woman that inspired the character, or did the character now have a life?


                “Well, perhaps this will inspire you again to write in the story, Ann” remarked Sally, Ann’s twin sister. Sally always hit the nail on the head.

                “Hmmm” responded Ann. “I can’t see the wood for the trees sometimes.”

                “Well, that’s a tree synchronicity, there you go! Do you want to write about the trees?”

                “Hhhmm, maybe…”


                Sha and Glo were in bad shape.
                He was concerned that the lack of moisture in the air was the cause for their demise.

                Perhaps they longed for the summer’s sun, like everybody else. Gloria was apparently more badly affected than Sharon, her long disheveled hair gone all dry and brown, but he wanted to believe it just meant she was about to flower.


                  A strange smell of fish

                  Well, what a coincidence! Ann had woken up to find herself scribbling notes in her dream notebook, nonsensical words and phrases as usual, not that she was complaining, she loved the nonsense riddles and clues. The Fermented Village, she’d written, and Shopping for Parasites. The Fermented Village had reminded her of her childhood so many hundreds of years ago in Baelo Claudia and the stench of rotting fish in the garum factory down by the beach.


                    Decimus Spurius rubbed his eyes and scratched his head, befuddled. He’d been dreaming of Antonia Ludicrus, his sweetheart, and at first in the dream they were strolling along the beautiful beach at Baelo Claudia, upwind of the garum pots. But then they were inside some kind of building, and Antonia was pressing little black squares with numerals on each one, but they were strange numerals the like of which he’d never seen, interspersed with a few familiar ones. She leaned over the greyish black slab, frowning, glancing up occasionally to a brilliant square light placed in front of her on the table.

                    Decimus sighed. The dream made no sense at all, but he was filled with longing to see Antonia again. It had been months since he’d seen her, and he hated Saltum , hated that he’d been reposted so many days walk from her.

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