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      Before leaving the castle, the fake Viscountess needed to check something on the skull…
      Was it a genuine one? She had almost trusted the so-called experts of the auction room, while she knew perfectly well that they only could see what they knew. And they didn’t know as much as her.

      To her knowledge, there was only a handful of genuine old crystal skulls. But counterfeits were legions and a plague for such a skillful cat burglar as she was. Well, cat-burglar,… perhaps not as acrobatically as she used to… As a matter of fact, her life-long search for these skulls had suffered the competition of a little embonpoint… — the good thing being that those few sticky superfluous pounds had been perfect to impersonate the Viscountess.
      In the past, she had come across a few of these fake skulls and most of them bore very similar indications leaving her to think stakes were high that they were coming from the same con-artist.

      She methodically drew a little dagger from a scabbard at her belt. Going to one of the window, she drew one of the curtains a few inches to reveal the pale sun of Shropshire which was already fading.
      Then, she turned the jeweled hilt in such a special manner that a soft clicking sound was heard, and a beam of light started to converge from the sun rays into the dagger. She directed the ray coming from the tip of the dagger’s blade into the bottom of the skull, and hold her breath in expectation.

      Soon the skull started to glow a bluish light, and light poured out of the skull onto the walls in dancing symbols, while a soft buzzing sound was being heard around, started to drown her in a slightly dissociated state.
      She cut the dagger’s beam very quickly, her heart pounding at the validation. It was a genuine skull. One of the six.

      She had to hurry, she needed to proceed on her investigations to find the missing ones.

      The trunk was there. She took another key that she had around her neck, leaving the first one on the cupboard’s lock for the Viscountess to be freed as soon as she would be out.
      With the key, she proceeded to open the high-tech lock of the armored trunk which opened with a blow of air.

      Her jumpsuit was here, along with the two turbo-reactor powered condor-wings that she strapped on her jumpsuit in very professional movements.

      A few moments later, with her big dark sunglasses that gave her the appearance of an obese fly, Carla was flying high over the countryside of England, enjoying the soft gliding on the slightly damp air.


        Rafaela stopped her meticulous grazing and smiled, as far as a goat can smile, at the newcomer.
        We were waiting for you… and your other half so to speak.

        Kay looked at the goat suspiciously. He had never seen a goat speaking. And it was not an spirit animal. He automatically began growling.
        Grrrrowl… who are you?
        He looked successively at the lynx, the owl and the rabbit.
        Who are you 4?

        — Oh a dog!!

        Anita got on her feet quickly and began running toward him. That was when a winded Akita choose to appear in the clearing.

        Kay, why the hell did you run after that… What is a little girl doing in the middle of this jungle? he muttered, trying to catch his breathe.

        And he can’t see you guys, apparently thought the spirit dog.


          Veranassessee cursed under her breath. Her mind was working swiftly, weighing up her next actions. The Doctor was becoming a liability to the success of the project.

          iko va baba bula makuba she muttered.

          She made her decision.


          Agent V, he said. I have been expecting your call.

          Operation Spider is in danger. I need instructions.

          We can’t abort at this stage, it has gone too far. He thought for a moment. Mobilise plan B.

          One more thing you need to know, I have seen evidence of increased Magpie activity in the locality.

          He swore softly. Are you sure?

          Pretty sure, they are keeping undercover, shapeshifting, but I sense their presence.

          Bugger those thieves. I feared they would sniff this out …. keep me posted Agent V

          Will do.

          And Agent V …. good work.

          Veranassessee felt a moment’s pleasure at his unaccustomed praise, quickly fading at the tremendous racket coming from the cupboard behind her.


          This aint bloody right Glor.

          We’ve been here for bloody hours, my lumbago’s playing up something dreadful

          ‘Ark Glor! I thought I ‘eard a noise

          oh let’s shout out, on the count of three


            On Channel TV-5, Tobi the ventriloquist’s show was on.

            The usual gang was gathered in Al and Tina’s flat, to enjoy the popular show. Becky, who was a huge aficionado of the show had made it to the flat before everyone, despite her suffering from apparently unexplainable pains in the chest.
            When the show started, Becky felt a little better though she couldn’t really breathe easily. The Yeath Lady, in her ash-blue mummy outfit was making her giggle. It wasn’t very good for her floating ribs, but she couldn’t help, and decided to giggle softly.

            Al was trying his best to munch some pop-corn but one of his tooth was still moving in his mouth, and it wasn’t time to get some pop-corn implanted into his gums…


              Becky coughed painfully, and shook her head in confusion. She coughed again, clutching her ribs and wincing as her bruised chest muscles screamed.

              I am so out of the loop I fear I will never catch up, she wailed sadly.

              She coughed again, clutching Chump close to her, as if the wiry little dog could soothe her tormented breathing with his warmth.

              How will I ever catch up, Pork Chump? she moaned, stroking his scruffy scrawny body.

              Chump winked at her and said Catching up and keeping track, don’t you know that is a wild goose chase? You may observe me, when I chase a goose. I chase the goose for fun, for a moment of fun. Do I wonder where the goose came from? Do I wonder where the goose went? Do I worry about the gooses mother, or daughter, or son?

              Becky was momentarily nonplussed; after all, Chump had only winked and laughed at her before, she had never heard him speak.


                Chris, I demand you tell me what’s going on! What was that … that thing! Nurse Bellamy was visibly upset, her cheeks flushed, her voice tremulous. She had no idea what had just happened, but she suspected that even coconut milk might not make it better this time.

                Are you going to tell her or do I have to do it? asked Veranassessee. Because if you can pull yourself together I have a couple of guests locked in a closet, and now a mummy on the run to deal with! It had been a tiring day and Veranassessee was furious.

                V’ass what’s going on, Chris, will someone please tell me ….!

                I will tell her Veranassessee. Dr Bronkelhampton slumped in his chair and wondered where to start. A plan was beginning to form in his head. V’ass had always said Nurse Bellamy should be told the truth, now it seems that, as usual, she was right. But of course, he smiled to himself, as Dr Lemane, his erudite Professor at medical school had always said, there are many sniggly variations of one truth. Well, it was something along those lines he said anyway.


                Oh this is the bees knees! what do you reckon about this room then Sha? Do you think the treatment has started?

                Perhaps it is special beauty air in here. It smells different don’t it?

                They both breathed deeply. Oh Yes, Yes, YES! giggled Glor



                It’s a bit odd though don’t you think? I mean nothing like what I was thinking.


                The mummy headed towards the dense bush, her brain was foggy but she knew she had to find cover. Her limbs felt heavy. Keep going, just keep going …


                Nurse Bellamy could not stop crying. Oh Chris … oh you poor man. I always thought there was something odd about Veranassessee. Oh what shall we do my darling, she must be stopped!

                Quite right, she must my little poppet, soothed Dr Bronkelhampton, stroking Nurse Bellamy’s hair gently, and thinking quickly. But for now, keep it to yourself. It is a very delicate matter. Can you do that my sweet one? Just for me?

                Oh yes Chris! whatever you think best my my darling.


                  Instantly Elizabeth regretted her spikey, voodish behaviour and scrambled to retrieve the telepooh. Her mother was Vood by nature, a particularly dysfunctional personality type, and Elizabeth had struggled all her life to avoid similar behavioural patterns. Her friends, and certainly her ex-husbands, would say perhaps with only partial success.

                  Apologies Bronkel, I was engrossed in my writing. How can I help you?

                  Bronkel appeared to be covered in bandages from what she could see of his upper torso, giving him the appearance of a rather odd mummy like creature. He was constantly searching for new beauty treatments to extend his youthful goodlooks, however at 167 years more and more desperate measures were being called for.

                  Elizabeth! Thank God, Where in Flork’s name have you been? he shouted at her. His pudgy, prouty little face was scrunched in peevish vexation. I can’t talk for long, I am on the Island for a month and the connection is flork. Where in the name of Fock is the story you promised me?

                  She could not find the words to reply to Bronkel. I wonder if I am mindblown? she mused. She had read of this horrible phenomenon, and seen the sad pictures of those thus afflicted. Poor wandering creatures, strange erratic behaviour, always travelling, always seeking. But for what? Hell on Dearth indeed. She shuddered.

                  It is getting urgent you know, spluttered Bronkel. Every day I am reading of new treatment centers opening for those undergoing crisis due to the prolonged absence of the Fickle Four in their lives.

                  She sighed, Pull yourself together Elizabeth, her bloodshot and tired eyes were drawn to the planetary horrorscope on the monthly calendar. Todays “Words of Comfort for the Descending” quotation was from the famous philosopher Lemone. She particularly loved Lemone’s ideas. Many considered him a nutter, a few thought he was a genius ahead of his time. For herself, she did not really know, only that his profoundly beautiful words offered a kind of solace or balm to her tortured soul at times such as this :

                  Sometimes it takes a single sniggly thorny path to go through to reach Elysian avenues much more efficiently ~ Lemone

                  Absolutely fantastic Bronkel, I think this is going to be the best novel yet! My God what an effort it took to say that, but for some reason Bronkel appeared to believe her and began to calm. Thank you Lemone, I could kiss you! she breathed an inward sigh of relief.

                  Poke its eyes out! screeched Robert X exuberantly.

                  A sniggly thorny path indeed, she thought, hanging up on Bronkel. She had fun using him and his island getaway for inspiration in her last novel. Fun, what happened to the fun? Is this what descended beings do, sit around in a dank, dusty office writing trashy novels?

                  She began nervously smoothing out pieces of paper and tried to decipher the scribbled notes; …big soup party …..pointy teeth like cannibals…..tribal wedding ….

                  Elizabeth put her head in her hands and groaned in abject despair. Twelve of the twenty mongoats fainted at the fearful sound.


                    Home, at last… Bernie Eleonara Mynd, Viscountess of Shropshire sighed, dropping her hairy salmon coloured hermine fur coat to the butler.
                    Now, leave me alone Vigor, I don’t want to be disturbed.
                    Madam, Vigor bowed deferentially

                    A smoking teapot of fine herb tea was prepared on the glass coffee table just near a black silk pouch. With a greedy look on her face, she untied voraciously the pouch to reveal the crystal skull she had just acquired.
                    After a few seconds of beholding the priceless possession, she lifted the teapot lid with a stiff face which eventually smiled blissfully at the smell of the fine Earl Fuchsia crop which was infusing.

                    Good Lord, that trip was exhausting!… she growled in a very deep voiced that suddenly sounded more male than before.
                    Didn’t know I had to go as far as Spain to get that darn skull!

                    Bernie suddenly ripped her fine chignon from her head, revealing a bald head with a few short black hair on the top. She spitted her false teeth, peeled off some wrinkled patches of latex skin, smeared the mascara around her globular eyes and scratched her crotch…

                    A ruffled sound and a “mmm mmm” suddenly caught her attention off the itchy body parts.

                    She went to the cupboard, drew a key dangling from a necklace deeply buried inside her ample bosom, then stopped for a moment, and muttered a “bugger” before unbuttoning her tight blouse and removing the corset that was constraining her breath.
                    Smiling wickedly, she proceeded to open the cupboard, but recoiled at a pale tied and muzzled figure who looked much similar to whoever she was impersonating.

                    Oh, Lordy, what a stench! There’s no point in making such a fuss Viscountess, this will soon be over… I just needed a few things, and will soon be off, tonight to be precise…

                    The pale figure whined with pleading eyes.

                    Oh, just don’t make these eyes at me…

                    Bugger! I can’t bother with her now, she said to herself, closing the cupboard’s door oblivious to the plaintiff whines. Now, got to move on real quick, before they realize something was wrong with the transaction.


                    Juan had insisted that they all spent Christmas together before Paqui and Joselito went for their trip. He felt that there was more to this trip that he could grasp, and wanted to share these precious moments now, not wanting to live on regrets.
                    Now, the new year was here, and he was alone. At least, he’d been more than glad to see Claudio move out. It had all been a lot easier than he’d thought at first. Obviously, when Paquita had said to that maggot that she was going to accompany Joselito to his trip on the whachaname-Kikkoo Island, Claudio had been outraged, probably thinking a good playing victim act would soon make things right for him.
                    But he’d been wrong altogether. It was not about love for him or the other. It was all about freedom and being what she wanted. And emotional blackmail very quickly proved besides the point.
                    His father had been proud at Paquita. Her decision obviously was made, and it had been the first time he had seen the frail girl unwavering at the arguments.

                    The situation had soon proved unbearable for Claudio, who had no longer any reason for hanging around Juan and Paqui’s house, and one day he’d moved out, rather discreetly, not to be heard again. Somehow, Juan was aware of the town’s gossips, that he had acquired some unexpected sum of money, not sure if all very legally, but the thing was that he had decided to take his chances by going some said to Nicaragua, others to Brazil or even to the US…
                    But who really cared?


                    On his plane for Valparaiso, Claudio was looking at the letter he’d found in the family trunk. It was a brief correspondence between his grand-father and a certain Cillian Mc Gaughran, and it was linked to the skull he had sold such a handsome price. Perhaps he could get more information about them, if the recluse old man was still alive, that is…


                      It’d been two hexades that the Abbot Hrih Chokyam Lin’potshee had been laying in bed in poor condition.
                      At first, he had wanted to be as strong as he had always been towards hardships, but he’d finally admitted that quelching the pain wasn’t doing any good to him. So he had agreed to be taken care of by a young monk, and to lay in bed as long as was necessary.
                      He knew that he was very likely not to get out of that bed but with his body covered by a white sheet, nevertheless, the thought was still something distant. The pain in his body was making him so present to himself that the only thing that was still blatant was that he was.
                      More than the body, it was all his faith that was shaken. He had thought he would leave this life without mess, without pain, probably very discreetly in his sleep… But now, his head was wincing at every noise, even the nature’s sounds that once felt like music to his ears, he was eschewing them now as much as he could. His very skin was hot and couldn’t bear even the soft contact of the bedsheets.
                      What was the point of all of this? He had never doubted that everything had its purpose, but now, he was doubting…
                      He was even trying to find some reasonable reasons for what was happening, he who never trusted in reasonable reasons in the first place. Perhaps that was because of his seating under the chilly air and the warm sun in front of the Meditation Wall, reading for all of the poems that had been written by the monks who had dared to write. Perhaps he had “taken cold”, whatever that means…
                      “Perhaps not” the voice kept saying softly in his head.

                      Now, his whole succession was feeling like a moot point. After all, he was not even capable of saving himself from anything, then how could what he created make the slightest difference? These were all like an extension of his body, bound to decay and come back to Earths.

                      Not so many monks had dared write upon the Wall about their highest truth. A few jokesters had begun at first, helping the others to participate.
                      One in particular had had Hrih laugh for quite a while.

                      A toad is a toad
                      Unless kissed
                      Endless Bliss

                      Then a dozen of others had flourished upon the wall, until Aum Geong decided to write his own. He’d not wanted to go first, to allow the others to express without the burden of comparison, and also to have some more time to write something deep and thoughtful. But that profusion of nonsense between some occasional pearls of wisdom made him write his own.

                      Unattainable is the Truth
                      For in the Dust of things
                      All in our View is bleak

                      Doing Wrong we forswear
                      For Dust to be lifted
                      And Wisdom we seek

                      In the deed of the Elders
                      And the Faith in the Community
                      Light and Trust bespeak

                      All the monks had been quite impressed, but Hrih had not been entirely satisfied by it… To be honest, he even completely disagreed with it.
                      Now, however, stuck in this bed, the poem was playing in his head and suggesting that the Worlds were something terrible that he had not yet understood, or be willing to avoid seeing. Perhaps Aum Geong was wiser than he was.
                      Perhaps all that Hrih had put as foundational to his life had all been Dust…
                      “There is no Dust, and you know that” the voice whispered softly.

                      Now that he is about to die, what difference will it make anyway…
                      He reach out for a bowl of water, and almost let it fall, as the weight of it surprised him. He was becoming so weak… He never had been so self-conscious in many many many years.

                      After he had propped himself up to drink a few burning swallows of the lukewarm water, he noticed something folded on his bedside, that had been put under the bowl… Young Franiel had been the one attending him with Jog Lam, so it must have been the doing of one of them. He intuited that was Franiel.

                      As he read the stanzas, tears were in his eyes…

                      I am the driftwood
                      the wave carried me
                      I was buried in sand

                      I am the flower
                      the butterfly touched me
                      I fell in love

                      I am the raindrop
                      the cloud released me
                      I became the ocean

                      The Young monk had probably not dared write it on the Wall, especially after most of the monks’ vocal appreciations of Aum Geong’s poem…
                      “Perhaps not” the voice again spoke.
                      Another reason for it formed into Hrih’s mind. Franiel perhaps didn’t feel ready for such responsibilities and his role and fulfillment in this community was not form rules nor to continue it.
                      It was more to inspire them, and perhaps to start his own discoveries.

                      Hrih wrote a note behind the paper. He wanted to leave something for Franiel, for him to keep faith in his coming adventures during these coming times of change.
                      After a deep breath, he took another paper that was with him for already such a long time, wrote down some words, and signed it, the aura of his hand burning a glyph that was his signature in the paper. He then called for Jog Lam.

                      — Jog Lam, my friend…
                      — Elder?
                      — I’m dying…
                      — I know Elder
                      — Let me continue. (Jog Lam nodded)
                      First, will you give that paper to Young Franiel after the cremation ceremonies. (Jog Lam nodded again)
                      Second, I want you to relay that I have made my decision, and that Aum Geog will succeed me (Jog Lam’s surprise was noticeable in his eye). He is, to date, the most adequate successor for this monastery.
                      — I will do as you want.
                      — Thank you my friend.
                      — Elder…
                      — Farewell, my friend, I am always with you.

                      When Jog Lam stoically left the room, Hrih Chokyam laid down, his eyes on the ceiling. His body was so weak that all he could do was to project behind his closed eyelids and see the starry sky, even if he would have wanted something different for his death. He would have loved something like a nap in a sunlit meadow with a little singing brook.
                      But seeing the actual World was something even more precious to him. The barren mountains of the icy season, the clear unclouded sky. His mind was so full of energy that his body lacked.

                      With a deep feeling of gratitude for his body, he bid it farewell.


                        Sam was feeling like a human being shaped balloon… not in rubber, but more in some waterproof material… with holes in his hands and his feet…
                        It was like him as essence was blowing the air into the puppet to give it more or less consistency, more or less presence.
                        At times his action would not be on the blowing into the bodily structure but on the looking of its canvas, its blueprint… the puppet would appear slack or flabby.
                        At times his action would be the blowing into the structure, and how he would insufflate the air into the structure, how he would direct it through the canvas would create different actions, different movements of this energy pattern, some wavy, some more rigid, and some pulsing.

                        He currently felt he was trying to block the air from coming out of the puppet clothing… blocking the flow of the attention, of the energy into something absolute… he felt he was doing that to understand what he could create in doing it. It was not a continuous action and not something he wanted to make last much longer. Only the understanding of the movement of the air through his body was interesting him.

                        He just breathed in and out and decided to do something different. He had what he wanted of it now.

                        There was a click in his right ear, and he could feel his attention and his energy movement beginning to shift. :recycle:


                          He was falling. At least that was his impression. Not floating, maybe because he’d expulsed all the air in his lungs.
                          He was feeling his attention fade out, like it was flying away from his body… or swimming away in that watery environment.

                          It wasn’t cold. Maybe because he’d lost his sense of touch. Maybe his body was too numb for him to feel anything… Did he think about breathing? He didn’t remember how to tell his body to do it.

                          He was feeling good. He would think of breathing later if he remembered how to think.


                            He was lying on a raft, floating on an even ocean.
                            No wind.
                            A dim light. There was no cloud. There was no sun. Just a dim light. No particular color or shade, the only difference was between this light and the ocean.
                            No wave…
                            So still was the water.
                            The raft was floating for days… The only choices seemed to stay on the raft forever or to dive into the stillness of the ocean.

                            The raft was comfortable because he knew it so well. So many years floating.

                            Now he was pondering about this other choice.

                            Diving into the ocean.

                            Would he float on the surface?
                            Would he sink?

                            Would he be able to breathe?

                            No rush though… it was just the beginning of his wonderment.
                            He was so well lying on the raft. No sensation from the contact of his body to the raft. He couldn’t remember the last time he changed his position.
                            Did he move? It was so still.
                            Was he even breathing…


                              That Abe sure is ugly as a burnt boot and crazier than a run over coon, aint he, said Isadora, one of the saloon girls who Twilight didn’t cotton on to much. The other girls laughed.

                              Twilight was real fond of old Abe, and truth was she was feeling right tetchy and pernikity and itching for a fight, and she weren’t much in the mood for dancing that night.

                              And your brain cavity wouldn’t make a drinkin cup for a canary Isadora. So why don’t you just shut that big old stupid mouth of yours before everyone cottons on to the fact that you are studying to be a half-wit.

                              Why you are nothing but a no-good little strumpet, screeched Isadora, lunging at Twilight and trying to grab her blond wig. Twilight stepped nimbly out of the way.

                              And you aint nothing but a stupid little buckle bunny, taunted Twilight. You got nothing better to do then follow those rodeo fellows around?

                              Snakes Alive! exclaimed Madame Butterbutt. Will you both hold yer tongues and stop yer bitching. And will you get a hurry on Twilight. Yer ain’t even dressed yet.

                              Isadora started crying. That Twilight started it, she snivelled.

                              Sooner i get rid of this damn one horse town the better, muttered Twilight under her breath. She touched the jewelled dagger lodged between her breasts. Those damn liquor breath cowboys better not mess with me tonight.

                              Old Abe, propping up the bar, chuckled


                                Sirielle looked through the crystalline window.

                                A humpback whale was passing by. Sirielle loved the song of the whales. Gorgean whales like this one were males, singing all during the rut to attract females miles away. Every season they would keep most of the same music, adding variations at times to the melody. This one was a sly one, Sirielle could tell. With its beautiful purulent budgeonic spots on its back, it was an old mighty male whale that she had seen already the past seasons, but its song had changed ever so slightly. It had probably plagiarized some of the most successful songs from other whales to become more attractive and that would make him a bit over the top.
                                At least, the females had a good parade for such insistent huge males, they could just put themselves upside down, close to the surface, so that the indelicate male could not have access to the holy of holies.
                                Sirielle felt so close to the whales.

                                Today, she had noticed the first changes on her body. She was growing gills, and soon would be able to breathe underwater. She was already a proficient swimmer, from a young age, as her hands and feet had grown swimfins. But the most interesting modification wouldn’t occur before a certain age.
                                When she had entered the room of Crystals, she had been a bit disappointed. She had expected some great ceremony with old wizened long-bearded robed priests to operate the crystals, but there had been only a young man not much older than herself, and a distracted middle-aged woman.
                                The Crystals had the ability to beam some specially focused light and provoke realignment of the patterns of the body. It was like the vibration carried by the light and enhanced by the crystal would be modifying the vibrational quality of her organism, and make it change itself quite naturally from the inside.

                                She couldn’t wait to go out in the oceanic depths and test her newly grown organs to swim with the huge cetacean.


                                  Ted Marshall swaggered into the saloon and ordered a tequila. He adopted a casual pose against the bar, tipped his pith helmet back with one casual finger, and surveyed the scene. He cast a disninterested glance over the dancers, and tut tutted under his breath when he recognized Twilight. That girl was too big for her scuffed boots!

                                  A charismatic character caught Ted’s eye, a handsome man in a stylishly crumpled white linen suit, stretched taut against his bulging biceps. Success, drive and determination seemed to exude from his very pores, the slick sheen of raw power.

                                  Ted edged himself closer to the larger than life character, and glared at the tall lean man who had just walked in.


                                    Sanso breathed a sigh of relief to find himself once again on his own. He’d found the flighty and changable Arona hard work, if truth be told, and was rather offended that she’d marched off with the baby Yikesy without even so much as a backwards glance at him. Sanso was a bit sad to see Yikesey leaving, (or Zacquer as he chose to think of him) but he knew he’d meet him again…somewhere, someplace, sometime…..

                                    He had to admit he was glad to see the back of that horrid cat, at any rate.

                                    Sanso didn’t really have a plan at that point, so he just started walking, walking along the cave tunnels, trusting that he would find another portal/cave entrance soon to another adventure.

                                    Such was his trust and superb state of allowing,that no sooner had he thought of finding a portal and a new adventure, as he rounded the very next corner, a blaze of sunshine streamed into the cave and a gust of hot desert wind.


                                      Of course, as soon as they had stepped into the powerful magnetic field generated inside the T.R.A.P., the reality around them was transphormed as if they all had been into a huge deFørmiñG mirror, that they could shape with their strangest thoughts.

                                      Obviously, they had all started to hallucinate some funny stuff…

                                      It was happening so quick, Sam noticed. Sean’s breath was smelling of whiskey, and Sam felt Sean had forgotten something on his way to New York. He felt compelled to ask him if there was something on his mind…
                                      — Peregrine!
                                      — Who’s that?
                                      — Oh, he will be so disappointed… Sean started to sob. I’m such a bad father!

                                      Sean couldn’t find a composure. Hopefully, Becky wrapped her sensual arm around his shoulders, and hugged him tenderly.

                                      — Hey, look, she said, the children are more adept at these games than we are,… if we want, we can have him project here from his bedroom and share the fun with us. What do you reckon?

                                      And she started to yell:

                                      — Peeeeerrrry ! Peerrrry !


                                        Then she had an idea. She went into the bathroom and got a new razor out of the packet. She paused for a moment, but only a moment, and then took a deep breath.

                                        Ten minutes later she surveyed her new look in the mirror. Bald as a coot, and so CUTE! Her delicate elfin features were perfectly suited to the new sleek streamlined style. Becky rummaged in her trinket and jewelry box, and selected some chunky silver Tuareg earrings to compliment the new style, applied deep cranberry red lipstick, and chose a vibrant multicoloured silk dress.

                                        Wow! Becky had to admit she looked absolutely stunning.


                                          New Venice, year 2101

                                          In the waiting hall, Bart was pacing the floor recklessly. They were having their first baby, but the doctors had hushed him out, because there were some complications…
                                          All he could do was wait.
                                          They were one of the first couple to have tested the new program that allowed same-sex couples to procreate without requiring the assistance of a third-party so to speak. In fact, it had been hypothesized to be possible a long time ago already. Well, theoretically… because the most challenging part had been to bring acceptance to the people, as the old beliefs were still alive in a few moribund activist groups. But what,… nature was doing even more exotic things in the realm of creatures…

                                          Now he was thinking of Oscar, who had chosen to be the bearer of the child —a girl that would be… will be, mentally corrected Bart to himself. Funny thing about genetics was that male-male couples could have either girls or boys, but female-female couples could only have girls. Only because the male “Y” chromosome was carried by men.
                                          It had been a painstakingly long subject of discussion among scientists and philosophers as to the unbalance it would create, but well, for the time being, it was the chosen design for our human natures.
                                          As long as new ways of bypassing this restriction had not been invented, better enjoy it than stretching one’s mind around it.

                                          Looking at the window which showed the stilted structures above the waters, Bart was thinking how it was all an incredible story… What were the probabilities for that to happen?
                                          Bart couldn’t help but feel grateful for all of his blessings.

                                          At the same moment, the big breasted nurse appeared at the door crying with a large smile “it’s a healthy girl!”
                                          Bart burst into the room.


                                          They had already decided how she would be called. Midora, they had agreed.

                                          When he entered, Oscar Wrick’s young face was tired and sprinkled with beads of perspiration, but he had the happiest look on his face. He was still feeling a bit self-conscious about the changes the pregnancy had generated in his body, but for now he was all absorbed by the little breathing thing resting in his arms.

                                          After a warm embrace, Bartholomew Jobsworth thought that he should spread the good news to the family, at least to his mother, dear sparkling Indy and Bart’s parents, Eugenia and Cuthbert. He also had felt the presence of his Dad, Bill, during his wait and was deeply thankful for all of their support.


                                            …’s just that it does sound rather simplistic, I mean ……Tina frowned at the script.

                                            Well, it depends doesn’t it, Becky replied. As it’s a fictional recreational piece of performance art, certainly it wants a few complications, a few twists, a few riddles…..

                                            The phone rang, interrupting Becky’s rambling. Tina rather rudely snatched the phone just as Becky was about to answer it, suddenly seeming to be a bit breathless and pink in the cheeks.

                                            Just then a garbage truck came to a grindingly noisy halt outside and Becky was unable to eavesdrop on Tina’s oddly furtive conversation.

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