The Time-Dragglers’ Extravaganzas

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      “Whatever you proclaim as your identity here in the material realm is also your drag. You are not your religion. You are not your skin color. You are not your gender, your politics, your career, or your marital status. You are none of the superficial things that this world deems important. The real you is the energy force that created the entire universe!”

      RuPaul , Workin’ It!: RuPaul’s Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Style’

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      Jonbert had developed an interesting theory while doing his morning ablutions about time travel and catching butterflies. He had a gorgeous butterfly nursery inside the submarine, and got the strange idea that trying to fiddle with time was like catching a prized butterfly among lots of others looking alike.

      His thoughts were interrupted when the horn signaled they had arrived in 2222 in one of the blind spots of the ocean’s depths close to the particular spot where… some interesting butterflies would be attracted.

      The submarine was mostly entirely roboted. There was little for him to take care of, so instead of pacing around in his tartan kilts, he sat back in a comfortable 1980s garish sofa from his antique collections, and revisited his memories in his memory palace.

      He had taken him great patience and cunningness to hatch the plan. Through many of his Time Tourist outlets and a few shell corporations, the last of one which was named Vague, he had manipulated events to design and hire the Drag Queen time contest. Drag queens wasn’t the original plan, more of an unexpected deviation, not that it really mattered. All he needed was just one mission. Then, he only had to make sure the contestant would be diverted to a carefully selected time zone, and given a key to smuggle.
      The key wasn’t really important, what it collected along the way was.

      For him to be able to breach the Time wall of 3333, he needed vast amounts of gold, and to his knowledge, it could only be accomplished through true transmutation.
      Artificial gold, like artificial crystal wasn’t created as good as it gets in nature, and for some reason wouldn’t remain stable enough as the machines were propelled too far in time. Of course the irony of that was a conundrum in itself and wasn’t lost to him: after all, wasn’t transmutated gold just artificial too? After what centuries had managed to push as boundaries and envelopes, he wasn’t sure any longer what was artificial or natural. And it was his last ditch effort at living everlastingly.
      He didn’t care if he could just chose another of these holobodies to project his thoughts into, he was old school, and stubborn to a fault. He had to see it through, even if, and especially if so many before him had failed.

      The key was designed to capture a complete hologram of the person who seemed to have accomplished the transmutation recipe he desired: St Germain.


      The three maids waited in the balloon for most of the night, in increasing agitation. Mirabelle’s face was like thunder, imagining Igor ravishing the Breton wenches as they slept in their beds. As is often the case during a long tense wait in the black of night, the maids thoughts turned increasingly murderous, worry transposing to anger and thoughts of vengeance.
      The truth was that the Russians were having a great deal of difficulty finding any food. The peasants were starving and there was nothing to steal. Dreading returning to the balloon empty handed, they continued the fruitless search.
      Meanwhile Pseu was leisurely perusing ceramic tiles in the Locmaria quarter, unaware of the difficulties of the Russians.
      Eventually, the three men returned to the balloon, with nothing to show for their nights escapades. Mirabelle snorted derisively, resisting the urge to slap Igor.
      “It’s getting light” said Boris, “We really must leave now, food or no food. Let’s go!”
      The balloon rose just as the sun was casting a pinkish glow and the river mists were rising in ghostly wisps.


      Exhausted from lack of sleep, the occupants slept, taking turns to stay awake. Fanella was on the first watch, shivering and grumpy with hunger. Surreptitiously, she gobbled down a few foul tasting handfuls of lard. When it was Adeline’s turn to keep watch, she had a similar idea, and likewise swallowed some greasy globs of lard, thinking, as Fanella had done, that a few handfuls would not be missed. When the others took their turns on the watch, they also had similar ideas, erroneously assuming that nobody else had thought to do the same. By lunchtime, when they’d all had sufficient sleep, there was not a great deal of lard left. A dramatic and judgemental argument ensued with everyone accusing each other of monumental stupidity, but as Boris wisely pointed out, they were all equally to blame.
      “But we’re over the sea now, and we’re losing height!”
      Uh oh, said Pseu to herself. I can increase the wind speed to hurricane force, but that might be a bit too risky. Or I can allow the wind to resume it’s prevailing westerly course, but that wouldn’t help, they’d end up back where they came from and that would be catastrophic.
      “Perhaps I can help” whispered Belen telepathically. “If you think you can land the balloon on my decks.”
      It would be a tricky landing, but there was no other option. Quickly Pseu worked out the likely coordinates of the ultimate descent and beamed them to Belen.
      “The homing parrot will help” added Belen. “Follow the bird and adjust the wind direction accordingly.”


        Whale time travel reached an unprecedented level of popularity in the 2020s. Whales were quicker to learn the skills needed than their human counterparts, less constrained by belief constructs and generally more relaxed and fun loving, less hidebound with responsibilities and worries. There were accidents of course ~ some accidentally teleported onto land, as in the case of the many “beached” cetaceans, humans mistakenly assuming that their swimming techniques had been faulty. Another common misconception was that whales spotted in waters that they normally did not frequent had been swimming off course, for reasons unknown but generally assumed to be because of pollution, radiation or underwater sonic disturbances related to the military. It was true that sometimes these factors were a motivating aspect, but primarily whales teleported and time traveled for the sheer fun of it. Time traveling back to times and places where whaling ships dominated the oceans was considered to be a sport for the dare devils and thrill seekers; time travelling to the future for those more interested in a relaxing holiday. Some whales had a particular interest in archeology ~ shipwrecks and underwater cities and so on, but the dates of arrival had to be timed correctly, as underwater cities were not always under water and a miscalculation could result in a stranding on land in the middle of a town square or atop a pyramid. Many an ancient legend of monstrous other worldly beings had arisen from such a faux pas.
        Whale teleport practice portals had sprung up all over the seas in response to the increasing demand from young up and coming whales eager to try their fins at the new pursuit. Most of them were static, and related to land mass locations, such as the waters between the Pillars of Hercules at the western mouth of the Mediterranean, or the area offshore from the Hercules Tower on the Galician coast. In fact, the whales surrounding the shores of Spain had been at the forefront of the explorations, and these two portals were well established.


        Linda Paul was reviewing the leather-bound copy of the anthology of Walt van Wharff works she’d received weeks ago from an anonymous source. Van Wharff was apparently from XVIIth century in Newherland a leading authority in walvissen wetenschap or whalology as it were.
        Linda wasn’t really even remotely interested in whales, but the book had picked her curiosity, or more exactly, the pink post-it on it, signed with a glitter lipstick lips mark, on which was written in some mysterious handwriting PBWY AND BO if you see that dearie, you know what it means

        She had no clue what it was about, but the antique book had some interesting qualities, and she soon had found herself inexplicably engrossed in its reading.
        The theory behind it was baffling, dealing with whale sightings, aperiodic tiling and crystal diffraction, but she managed to intuit that it had to do with detection of whale migratory patterns.

        Given the literary quality of the book (or lack thereof) and his very confuse language constructs, its author was by no doubt dead in a state of miserable unfamousness. Notwithstanding, Linda Paul understood there was an unfinished equation that would reveal when they would appear next, which was likely to reveal a huge crystal of exotic properties.
        So long as it glittered, she was already hooked onto that quest.

        A few investigations and equations-solving on her ezapper later, she had found the next coordinates that she’d texted to her only current operatives, Sadie and her misfits.
        She hoped they wouldn’t sabotage this one, and thus offer them all a second chance to book a full season for their adventures.


        Maria del Mar first met Pseu at the Estate in the City. Maria del Mar had been projecting to the City regularly during her sleep states (the kind of sleep that land based humans would consider to be a hypnogogic state, which was the natural sleep state for whales). Pseu had been showing Maria del Mar the tile collection for the Folly and explaining about KILTs (Key Incident Link Tiles), and her friend Janice had been sharing her collection of Story World tiles. Maria del Mar described to them a similar system in her undersea world, whereby whales (and indeed other cetaceans) used energy imprinted markers for various purposes, such as teleport and time travel portal markers, and more importantly, for tracking the crystal’s time-shifting location (time shifting the location of the crystal was a necessary safety feature during the uncertain times preceding the end of the 21st century). Some of the markers were large (relatively speaking, not so very large for a whale) such as the ghost galleon the Santa Rosa, and some were small and inconspicuous, resting on the sea bed, but easily detected by connecting to the energy contained within them.
        One such marker, a tile shaped piece of ancient coral that was designated to mark a particular portal to Atlantis, had been reported missing. A small earthquake off the coast of southern Spain had dislodged the coral marker tile from it’s location in the Alboran Sea in the western Mediterranean, and it had washed up on the beach. It was unusual for a marker tile to dislodge, but a particularly strong pooling of energy had been a factor, drawing the coral tile magnetically to a beach not far from the land based timebridgers portal in a beach bar further up the coast.
        Someone walking along the beach one summer morning (coincidentally the same person who had designated the beach bar as a Timebridgers portal just a few kilometers away) had found the tile and taken it home with her, entranced with the unusual appearance of it. The morning beach walker had felt the pull of something that she couldn’t quite explain, and despite the weight of the strange object, she felt compelled to carry it home with her, and display it on her patio.
        Maria del Mar, Janice and Pseu discussed various other ongoing adventures and projects, agreed to assist each others explorations, and established a network of energetic links for ease of communication.


        How many ways to stab a pea with a syringe? Jonbert woke up from his nap with the most peculiar question on his mind.
        At 153, he’d started to get those annoying narcoleptic fits. He would go down in a blink of an eye into a deep dreamless sleep, and wake up to the most embarrassing of situations.
        He felt like kicking someone, and mumbled under his breath “Just bloody once, before it gets puréed”.

        He could have sworn he heard one of the butler robots titter silly. Those darn robots were getting smarter every day, he would have to get them a good canning.
        But more pressing matter were on his mind, and he blisslessly ignored the wondrous display of flying manta rays around the eight-flippered submarine.

        Time-landing around Big Island was always tricky, he was glad the darned bots got this one right, tittering notwithstanding.
        Why so tricky, he could hear minds wonder. Why can’t those minds just read the bloody Time Traveling Manual! he exploded. The Island is expanding, creating new land every day. One miscalculation, and your expensive submarine would be enclosed in molten lava! How many times he had to repeat it.
        True enough, his temper had not improved with age, but that kept him alive well, thank you very much.

        That’s were they were supposed to collect the travelers, to entertain and train them a bit before leading them to the whale’s hotspot.
        He would have to remain discreet for now on, and the prospect of having to refrain swearing loudly at ghosts seen by anyone but himself got him nervous all of a sudden.


        They’d felt the Time Sewer get cleaned up, although it took a time to reach them. The frogs were paddling like crazy, and then the bubble reached them, propelling the jelly-bean shaped carriage like a rocket to their destination.

        “Brace yourseeeeeeelves!” Sanso sung in the key of F, ending the frogs’ symphony with a perfect 5th.

        “The mind has a tendency to forget unpleasant things…” Sadie was saying to the queens in a way to soothe their increasingly worried faces “It will be over in a minute”.
        The last part didn’t get them any less worried.


        “Alohaaaaa” the frogs sang as they arrived on the place of refuge, Pu’uhonua O Honaunau.

        Their wigs were a bit misplaced, but the queens were fine.
        It didn’t take seconds before the ezapper buzzed.

        “Here’s the plan ladies” Sadie read while trying not to roll her eyes. “Time off on this delightful place to get a rest, then we’ll be invited for a tour in a submarine. The owner is a bit reclusive, so we’ll mostly have that luxury water balloon all for ourselves.
        Then we’ll see who stays a Queen in a diving suit. Just for now, enjoy the beach. With Love, Linda Paul.”


        While she was adjusting her bikini over her fake boobs, Maurana Banana felt a sudden pang of panic. Nothing that could be lipsynched away with bursting into some Name Game song

        Everything was here, yet she didn’t feel fleshed out enough. She wasn’t talking about gaining some padding, she had plenty enough of that, but more about depth and character. At times, she even felt highly suggestible.

        The sound of the waves crashing down the rugged black volcanic stones under the white sand was soothing. The others’ shrills of delight could be heard miles away, they were hoping for a dolphins’ pod sighting and had even abandoned the Goochi platform shoes to be more comfortable.

        Sadie was very quiet, and at times felt almost like she was about to say hello and run out of conversation. However, she told something that had struck the Reggie inside the Maurana’s persona. That she should act on her highest excitement, and that there was no more to life than that.
        Easy enough when in drags, but when out of the wigs, make-up and fake eyelashes and acrylic nails, it was like being an out-of-water dolphin. Nothing but a big fat stranded sardine without appeal, just good for an extra pouring of olive oil.

        Before being a drag queen, Reginald worked a few jobs since a young age, mostly deliveries. The last one he got was more stable, a job as a security guy. He’d almost blundered at the interview, he laughed at it now, when he’d forgotten to remove the Gothic styled nails from the night. Instead of hiding them and look stupid, he had the good sense to invent those crazy stories like the ones he would tell his teacher when he forgot some homework deadline.
        Security was better than delivery, there was no denying. Being in a position were people were not quite paying attention to you, but still eyeing you from the corner, as if you could do something vicious or bully them out of the building. She liked that.
        There was always excitement as there were plenty of crazy people each day to be escorted out, so following excitement wasn’t difficult. Following yours was more of a catch.

        She’d joined the drag contest to win her own highest excitement. She already got points for being the first pick-up of the jury before Consuela and Terry, and also for being the one to snatch the key.

        She put the last touch of green on her eyelids with a hand flourish. She was perfect. For now, that was something to get excited about.

        F LoveF Love

          Sadie had been giving Linda Paul’s strange suggestion some thought. Was Linda Paul drinking again? she wondered. She had heard the rumours at the Happiness Academy about how he used to frequent the bars, tittering to himself, and apparently trying to telepathically freak out other bar patrons.


          The lard had run out and the descent was swift. Pseu deftly manipulated a few strategic updrafts to keep the balloon out of the water, causing the occupants to alternately shriek with fright and cross themselves fervently. HuHu the parrot was nowhere to be seen, and there was no sign of ghost galleon Santa Rosa.
          The ghostly image of Marguerite Isabeau the 14th century mystic, appeared in Igor’s mind, and her scarlet lips seemed to whisper to him. “You let me down, young man, and now I shall let you down, down down down to the bottom of the ocean, to punish you for leaving me waiting in the chapel yard……”.
          HuHu! HuHu!” called Mirabelle anxiously.
          “This is no laughing matter!” said Adeline sternly.
          While Mirabelle was rolling her eyes, she spotted the parrot, silouetted in the orb of the sinking sun. “Over there!” she cried, and Pseu responded with a final gust of such force that the six passengers toppled right out of the balloons basket into the sea.
          “Bugger!” exclaimed Pseu. “Bugger that!”


            Despite the exotic tropical scenery and the balmy air, Cedric was preoccupied with thoughts of the handsome Russian that had failed to appear for their rendezvous in the chapel yard. Try as he might, he couldn’t stop thinking about him, and his attractive accent. He puzzled endlessly at the way the fellow had mysteriously called him Marguerite Isabeau. What was the connection?


              Determined to land the balloon (or more precisely, the balloon basket which the key had fortuitiously not fallen out of) on the decks of the Santa Rosa, Pseu sent an urgent telepathic call out to any dolphins in the vicinity. “Six landies in the water, keep them afloat!”


              Huhu dived in an unexpected move and snatched the key while tittering in a manic parrot cackle.
              “So long floaters, and thanks for all the fish.”

              Obviously it wasn’t by mistake that a parrot was lurking in Versailles biding for its time.


              Meanwhile, a cucumber free Irina was trying to get the hang of the commands of the new p-box that could allow for entering the minds of animals.

              On the empty box lying at her feet, one could read the usual side effects caveats, especially for the birds section: Birds are very tempting, but a p-boxer may soon lose contact to the mundane things of earth, and want only to fly.


              So this is 2222, thought Sadie, relaxing back in the warm sand. Not bad so far! I wonder where we are. Further along the beach she could hear the sound of laughter and bickering as the boys and Sanso practised their moves for the upcoming show—the details of which were still under wraps. Linda Paul, now she had sobered up, seemed to have forgotten her strange request for Sadie to take on a drag queen identity. ”Thank Flove!” Sanso, however, with unexpected enthusiasm had taken on the non de plume “Miss Titters” and insisted that he was going to join the 3 divas on stage for their closing number.

              “Miss Titters! A bit childish,” Sadie rolled her eyes, then noticing that it did not feel good to be judgemental, chastised herself. That didn’t feel good either so she chastised herself for chastising herself. Fortunately at that moment a Juicy Lemon came through on her e-zapper interrupting her rampage of chastisement with perfect synchronicity.

              Oh just release that little bird


              Irina perched on the edge of her antique Rocchetti sofa—a beautiful piece of furniture over 200 years old, made from faux fur and crafted in the shape of a cartoon bull—and looked critically at the hologram of her mermaid outfit rotating in the centre of the room.

              “What do you think, Mr R?”

              ”It is an exquisite piece of design engineering, Ma’am. The organ you see in the chest cavity can operate as a lung or a gill enabling you breathe as a human or to extract oxygen from the water. The circulatory system has been engineered to withstand different water pressures. The skeletal system is light and pliable and designed for speed and agility under the water. The eyes have been designed to ensure you will be able to correctly focus both above and under water. The intricate design of the ears means that you will be able to hear as a human above water or use sonar communication under water.”

              ”Yes, yes, most interesting, Mr R. But do you think my bum looks fat in that tail?”

              ”Not at all, Ma’am. Your figure is beautifully proportioned and the tail only accentuates your womanly curves.”

              ”I think that shade of pink is much better. What do you think, Mr R?”

              ”The carmine pink suits the undertones of your skin most favourably, ma’am. It is preferable to the cerise pink you chose earlier. Although that was an excellent choice too, of course”.

              ”Wonderful! Print it out then, Mr R. And print out your Octopus suit at the same time. I feel an unusual emotion which may even be excitement. Hawaii, here we come”


              Although there were many dolphins in the Bay of Biscay, there were none close enough to the drowning balloon travelers to help ~ not without teleporting. Six pink dolphins from the rivers of the Amazon jungle were the first to respond to Pseu’s call. The shapeshifting time traveling pink dolphins home base timeframe as it were, was the beginning of the 21st century ~ in this particular incident, 2020 to be precise. They were regular visitors to Maria del Mar’s home base time location in the Alboran Sea, between the Pillars of Hercules, and thus, they were familiar with the ghost of Belen and her affiliation with Maria del Mar.


              On the cruise ship, an inebriated crew of hundreds of rich Italian tourists were popping Brachetto bottles of sparkling wine and having the time of their lives.
              The cruise was organized by a section of the Happiness Bureau to provide strange sightings and spiritual encounters à la mode.
              They had to resort to the sparking wine as to keep the excitement at its peek.

              The Management at the helm was holding its breath scanning the horizon for bleedthrough signs of the famed ghost ship.


                The Russians and the French maids were losing consciousness with the extreme cold of the waters of the Bay of Biscay, and the pink dolphins instantly and unanimously agreed to teleport them to warmer seas as a matter of extreme urgency. The rendezvous on the decks of the ghost galleon would have to be synchronized later.
                The obvious choice of destination and time frame was Maria del Mar’s home base. The pink dolphins shape shifted their fins into tentacles with which to clasp their passengers, with strict guidelines not to engage in any hanky panky ~ everyone knew what dolphins were like with regard to coupling at any opportunity.
                The warmth of the dolphins embrace started to revive them and they had regained consciousness as they arrived with a series of spectacular water displacement flumes in the bay of Gibraltar.


                  “Over there” shouted Allegra. “Mama Mia! Did you see that?”
                  Her inebriated friends lurched to the railings of the cruise ship deck. The sea was like a sheet of molten gold in the light of the full moon, and the ripples from the waterspouts had left enormous interconnecting circles on the waters surface.
                  “What the…”
                  A moment after the flumes, the dolphins breached; glowing pink and draped in the voluminous skirts of the maids, they were an extraordinary sight.
                  “They’re mermaids!” said Alma in astonishment, “Obese mermaids! I’ve never seen such fat mermaids, well not on this side of the Atlantic, anyway.”

                  F LoveF Love

                    Irina wondered why Management was insisting she take a vacation in January. The memo she received only raised more questions, both of a philosophical as well as practical nature.

                    Your mission is to get the time travellers to trust you. Then await further instructions.
                    Faithfully, Management
                    Appendix 1: there is no such thing as trust
                    Appendix 2: believe in trust totally, and believe in it not at all.
                    Appendix 3: if you are trusting that there is no trust then you are trusting in something.
                    Appendix 4: FOR THOSE WHO NEED TO KNOW: it is January 18th, 2222


                    Mirabelle and Adeline sat in the morning sun on the verandah, appreciatively nibbling the perfectly formed sliced toasted bread and marmalade.
                    Almost six months had passed since they’d been found on the beach, confused and soaked, babbling incoherently. An early morning beach walker had found them (she had wondered if she was dreaming or hallucinating), and had attempted to engage them in conversation. A rudimentary smattering of French acquired during a grape picking sojourn in France many years ago helped. Much of what the bizarrely clad group said was incomprehensible, but it was clear that they were lost and hungry, so Lisa invited them back home with her. They were reluctant to get into the car, fearing a trap, and when she started the engine, they panicked and scrambled to get back out until Boris calmed them down and suggested they had better trust this stranger because frankly, what were their options? She seemed kind and helpful, even if she was shockingly under dressed with her legs exposed for all to see, and had an invisible and very noisy horse pulling her carriage.
                    Lisa lived in a relatively new community of creative and forward thinking individuals who were in the process of renovating an abandoned village in the orange groves. They called the village the Trading Post, a name that was a loose play on words on the social media platform where they had first become acquainted and traded and shared posts. They were a diverse assortment of people from all over the world, united with the common goal of experimenting with a new type of anarchist culture, a novel creative and expansive playful approach that was becoming increasingly popular.
                    Pierre and Étienne’s knowledge of French had come to the rescue upon the first arrival of the group, as they unraveled their strange tale. After much confusing conversation and translations for the rest of the occupants of the village, it became clear that the group were time travelers, although somewhat accidental and clearly unprepared.
                    While the travelers rested after an unfamiliar but welcome meal, the villagers discussed the situation with much interest and curiosity. It was decided that they would keep the news of the travelers a secret for the time being, and gradually assist them with learning about their new timeframe, current customs and the local languages.

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