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    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.


    “Sorry love, I was a tad busy with the whole time travel department reorganization. Had to call HR to fire some of these incompetent nincompooptarts. Can you imagine they not only manage to send you in the wrong period but also… I’m ranting now, sorry about that sweetie pie.

    “Look, there’s no nice way to put it, so I’ll cut to the chase. The show’s been canceled by the cable network big potatoes. Too darn expensive not enough audience. You know all that jazz. I tried to argue, but all they wanted was excitement, glamour and bitching and yeah, all they got was a black tunnel and some green vomit. Got to admit, there’s no amount of special effects and sewing mojo you can raise to make your bitches look great in those dresses. Face it darling, they deserve gorgeous, but they’re still as ugly as sin.
    Hell, I guess those shareholders twats just couldn’t stand the marvelooks of us…, now I’m ranting again.

    “Long story short, forget about the ferret, keys and whatnots and get your pretty asses all right back as fast as you can or they’ll pull the plug out of the time sewers. And you know very well what that means for ye all.”

    An ominous sound effect played from the ezapper. Darn Linda Paul always had to amp up the drama.


      Anna’s voice and young face trailed off as the Queen emerged from her dream. Confused for a moment, she tried to get rid off the undefinable guilt she always felt when dreaming about her late sister. You simply didn’t speak about Anna. And you couldn’t take pleasure in childish dreams.

      Her guilt soon transformed into a mild irritation and she frowned as she remembered the cavagnol game of the previous night. She had lost again. The amount didn’t really matter, it was more about the principle. She always lost. But she took a momentary pleasure in thinking that Jeanne-Antoinette also lost most of her bets.

      With a sigh, she looked at the big ornate windows. Someone had opened the heavy velvet curtains while she was still asleep, and it certainly didn’t help keep the air warm in that time of year. Nonetheless, she enjoyed seeing the sky when she woke up, even in winter time when it was still dark or like today, when the colours of dawn preceded the Sun. She couldn’t believe she had slept so long.

      It always was a too brief moment alone. As if summonned by magic, three maids entered the room silently, two of them holding her morning dress, that they carefully deposited on a chair, and the other holding the copper basin of fresh water for the Queen’s quick morning ablution. The maid put it on top of the sauteuse chest made of rose wood and carved beautifully. One of her daughters once told her that she swore the chest in her bedroom was alive and would jump on her bed at night to play with her.

      One thought leading to another, she looked at her collection of stuffed toy, unconsciously counting them and checking if they were all in order. She had two cabinets made of rose wood especially for her “friends” as she used to call them. She had begun to buy them after she almost died giving birth so long ago. At first it was just a simple gift from the King. She first thought it to be a lion, but apparently it was one of those Asian dogs. The finish was crude, it had small beady eyes and the curly tail didn’t hold very long on its bottom, but she developed a liking for it. And after a few weeks, she felt it needed a friend, so she had a lion made as a companion for her asian dog.
      Her ladies-in-waiting, began to bring her new ones, little dogs (she had a liking for them), zebras, fluffy cats and dwarf goats, she even had an owl and two rabbits, one white and one cerulean blue.

      Her eyes almost missed the twin ferrets, offered to her by Saint Germain after a gambling party. He had said they would bring her luck. She didn’t really liked them, they were scrawny and heavy, certainly weighted with lead.

      It was time to get up, she had her weekly Polish concert to organize. One of her small pleasures.


      The e-zapper’s signal was dropping until it was gone, while there were eerie hoots and echoes in the tunnels.
      Sadie’s report to Linda Paul would wait till a few hours. The broadcast wouldn’t start until the afternoon anyway, so they had time to relax. The carriage wasn’t so comfortable, but the blue lights provided a smooth reassurance, and the zebras were now trotting at a regular pace.

      Sadie looked with fondness at the boys in drags. A fondness which even surprised her. They were starting to reveal more of their true self as they were lulled to sleep in the carriage. How funny she thought, how a few drags and accessories can both hide and reveal parts of your personality.
      Cedric, was a white guy from uptown actually quite challenged to grow a real beard, and he was playing that sassy bearded lady queen Consuela.
      Amar the second-generation North African guy was raised in the suburbs before he chose to become the shiny Terry Bubble, while Reginald from the same neighbourhood was playing Maurana the big burly black queen,…

      The more Sadie spent time with them, the more which labels they chose to be called with started to become inconsequential.
      She was actually more and more confident they would do a great job at blending by simply hiding in broad daylight. Their eccentricities would be a rousing success at the royal fête, they just had to hone their alibis a bit, and align on their story. As soon as they would be in Versailles, with the Russians from the competing cable network in toe, they had to be at the top of their games.


        The impending strategy and budget review was now quickly upon them.

        The much questioned old new authority of the Surge Team had decided all the countries had to join for that week long first round of strategy plan and as Long Poon was too much of a reminder of work (they said, but many suspected too much of a reminder of Ed Steam’s empire), Madam Li had graciously offered to host the venue in Shangpoon, where they had managed to corner 15,000 floating piglets and her services were still probably needed.

        All the thirteen chief operatives were busy setting things in order, and delegating current tasks during their business trip. Some of them were still hopelessly fumbling in spreadsheets and slides —a inane exercise in style they thought, but still…

        “I can’t stand it!” Cornella almost exploded in front of her computer, now returned to decent level of cleanliness since Aqua’s return. She was sick of this old ageing alzheimering authority. Not that she missed Ed too much now. He was a pig —and gawd, this waxed mustache from another epoch… A pig they all liked because they didn’t know better at the time and his charisma covered for all the tiny slips of behaviour or even judgement. She’d seen that same feeling when the ceremony was held for his ashes spreading; most of the tears shed there had looked a bit contrived.

        The mission to replace the pope with an alien-reconfigured Jesuit was a success, thanks to clever team work and her stellar delicate planning skills. A plan hatched before Ed’s demise, but that the old guys had been glad to call theirs. That was the waking call for her. If they could get rid so easily of the papacy, she would blow that budget convention from inside.
        That required thorough planning though, and a bit of luck. Most of the chick would gladly be on board with this.
        That’s when the mysterious vanishing dog legs cabinet came back to her attention.


          The phone rang while she was preparing her cabbage with soy sauce. It triggered a memory of a blue helmet. Quickly gone.
          She hesitated a moment and stopped what she was doing to pick up the phone.
          Her mother began speaking straight away.
          “Where have you been all this time ? You’ll turn me mad. You’re so like your father, keeping to himself all those times when he was out playing mahjong with his friends. But I knew where that bastard was…”
          Her voice was raspy after years of never being able to be speechless, and most astoundingly, she never repeated herself. The woman was even a sleeptalker. No wonder her husband would rather sneak out of the house to play with his friends.
          Aqua Luna had developed an opposite habit, she would find her solace in silence and in doing house cleaning. But this time, the voice of her mother was fascinating. Something in it seemed different.

          A blue flash interrupted her fascination. She almost jumped out of her pajamas.
          Listen carefully”, was saying the blue helmet.


            Aqua Luna woke up. She was in her bed. She spent a moment wondering how she got there. She had no recollection whatsoever of what happened and her last memory was about the time she left work and met Tony in the parking lot.
            She was craving. She went to the kitchen in her green frog pajamas, automatically turning on the TV on her way. The program was about the recent retirement of the Pope. The reporter was saying something about a possible blackmail by a secret society famous for their recent appearance in a Benjamin Goat’s movie.

            She winced. The fridge was almost empty except for a few chinese cabbages and century eggs.


              “Doesn’t it strike you as odd?” a perplexed Lady Appleton turned to her husband (the fifth and last of them) Lord Appleton.
              “Yes, I know, dear, it has been all so sudden…”
              “You mean, Ed’s death, don’t you?”
              “Well, of course I do, but that’s not it…” She fidgeted the ornate golden disk at the center of the tall dark mysterious cabinet.
              “What it is my dear? We can very well continue with the plan notwithstanding his unexpected demise…”
              “Oh sure, that we can, so long as Cornella remains unaware of it… Last time was too close… But anyway, that wasn’t what I meant at all. You see, if Ed was really dead, one would expect he would take no time contacting us. I wonder if he’s stuck in transition, or if the surge’s energy had something to do with this improbable leave of absence…”


              In reply to: Synchronicity


                Eric July 2010

                A blubbits alert Rabbits disrupt project to map the universe A million pound project that hopes to map the history of the universe is being disrupted by rabbits which are chewing though vital cables.


                  “Where the frick is Ed?” mused Pearl looking at the mess of bodies behind the opened door. How unprofessional of Mari Fe, typical of her to leave a trail of evidences like this…
                  “Maybe we should call her” ventured Janet.
                  “Oh, forget about it, let’s make those bodies disappear through the portal anyway, and go for a snack. I’m having the silliest cravings for onion buns lately.”
                  “What about that man with slim lips?” Janet was always the careful meticulous one, to the point of being annoying. “That sounds silly, but he does look a bit like Ed, if you squint a little. Maybe we could use him as a decoy?”
                  “Oh don’t be silly, Ed without a waxed moustache, that’s about as impossible as a hairless Santa.” Pearl’s reasoning as usual was irrevocable. “Let’s flung that one too, grab onion buns, and look for Chicken Little, and that elusive bugger of an Ed Steam. And don’t keep that moonshine bottle all for yourself!”


                    “I wish I knew, Ed. And don’t call me Chicken!” she added crossly. Mari Fe wasn’t sure what to do next. She needed to keep an eye on Ed, but she needed to revive Baltazar and get him in place for the exchange of the Kings during the parade.

                    “Help me carry him up to the attic, Ed. I’ll tie him up and we can decide what to do with him later.” and then exclaimed, “ Oh lordy, what now!” as the doorbell rang. It was Rogelio from next door, the man who was to play the part of Baltazar in the parade.

                    Mari Fe didn’t know what to do so she hit him over the head with a handy tagine that was displayed on her old Micronesian teak cabinet.

                    “Firmly handled, Chicken”, Ed said, “But why on earth would you do that ?”

                    “Don’t call me Chicken!” Mari Fe replied, thinking to herself I really must stop resorting to violence. “Help me carry him up to the attic, and we’ll tie him up with B… with that man.”

                    Halfway up the stairs Mari Fe had an impulse to hit Ed over the head, with the detachable head of one of her mannequins. Plunging headlong from one disaster to another, she wished she had done it after the other two bodies were already in the attic. Now she had three large men cluttering up her stairs, and nobody to help her carry them up to the attic.

                    “I’m in a pickle now”, she said. “I hope Bee arrives soon, with Janet and Pearl.”


                      Lulla Spinosa and Vera Pappaloosa were set to meet in Pohnpei , at a few nautical knots and cable length (as the gulls fly) from the Marshall Islands in the beautiful deeply aquamarine middle of the Pacific Ocean. 🐳

                      Lulla was the first to arrive, and feeling hungry after the sea trip with the amphibian red corvette, bought a pan seared squid skewer from the street vendor at the jetty. Something Vera would certainly have disapproved of, with her uppity glances, perfect gloss lipstick and mascara. Not the kind to nibble on such barbaric foods. Anyway, too bad the street vendor had run short of garlic, she would have gladly paid extra for it, just for the priceless look on the princess’ face while they would ride for the next hours in the confined car to their assigned destination.


                        Glo, ‘tis me or the story site is very very slow to load a new page today?”
                        “Bugger if I know Sha! I s’pose it ain’t nothing to do with the rodents chewing cables in the cellar, init’?”


                        In Langley’s most underground basements, the Department of Future Boons Investigations had diverted a significant amount of processing power towards a little known website that they had found held distinctive quantum resonance towards the actualization of future events.
                        In short, they believed its random nonsense held key to future events. However the level of encryption had baffled even the most expert specialists.
                        “Major! We had a breakthrough!” Johnny Ingrish passed his head into the smokey office.
                        The Major didn’t like to be disturbed during his morning nap, but this was important. Indeed, a word too strange to be random had appeared a few times:
                        Tartessos – Event probability: 103%
                        103% ! Even the computers couldn’t think straight about it… It had to mean something.


                          Cornella had been enjoying the bamboo shoots until she found out about the dog leg broth they were cooked in. “Really, I can eat no more” she said unhappily, pushing away the bowl and glancing around the room. “What the devil is that?” she exclaimed as her eye fell on the tall dark mysterious cabinet. “Where did that come from?”

                          Lord and Lady Appleton glanced at each other. “I told you to be more careful, Jedward” whispered Mirabelle. “What’s that doing in here?”

                          “Oh, ha ha, why that’s just a little trinket I picked up in Long Poon, Cornella. It’s nothing, nothing at all.” Lord Appleton cleared his throat noisily. “Just an old cabinet, nothing really.”

                          “What’s inside?” asked Cornella, moving towards the dark wooden doors. “What an interesting insignia, it reminds me of something.”

                          “Don’t open it!” shreiked the Appletons. “It’s, er, full of dog legs.”

                          Cornella frowned, wondering why dog legs kept popping up.


                          In reply to: Snowflakes of Tens


                            The entrances to Faerie (and indeed to other alternate realities and dimensions) had been shrouded in disbelief for several centuries, but times were changing and the fog of scepticism was dissipating, evaporating like river mist on a hot summer morning. Looking for the entrances deliberately, Blithe found, wasn’t the most efficacious method. Sat Nav alone would be unlikely to reveal them, unless the locating device was used in conjunction with impulse and intuition. Any device and method could be used effectively when combined with random impulse, even Google Earth or Google Moon. Blithe’s friend and colleage Dealea Flare was making good use of this device on her travels, using it as a personal non physical airline and space shuttle service. Dealea could get from A to B and back again in no time at all, or even from A to well beyond Z and back again in no time at all using this device in conjunction with impulse and large dose of intention and focus. Blithe had the impulse down pat but still had difficulty with the focus, which was largely a case of having too many intentions at once, most of them somewhat vague.

                            The more random and impulsive Blithe was, the better her investigations went, often leading her into a new and exciting exploration which may or may not be linked to the current intention. Such was the case when she went on a mundane shopping trip to the Rock of Gibber. As she sat sipping coffee at the Counterpart Cabana sidewalk cafe listening to the locals conversing in Gibberish, she noticed the extraordinary tangle of pipework on the building opposite. It reminded her of the steampunk world she had been investigating in her spare time. The text book steampunk world was intriguing to say the least, but rather grim, and tediously full of victims and fear. The inhabitants always seemed to be running away from someone. The steampunk world she was beginning to sense in Gibber was quite different in that it was a sunny cheerful alternate reality held together with a vast labyrinthine network of water pipes, scaffold, and connecting cables.

                            Blithe paid for her coffee and strolled off, noticing more and more scaffolding and tangles of pipes as she climbed the warren of narrow winding streets. The air was different the higher she climbed up the winding uneven steps, the sunlight was sharper and the shadows denser, and there was a crackling kind of hush as if the air was shimmering. Cables festooned the crumbling shuttered buildings like cobwebs, and centuries of layers of crackled sun faded pastel paint coated the closed doors. Open doors revealed dark passageways and alleys with bright rectangles of light glowing in the distance, and golden dry weeds sprouted from vents and windowsills casting dancing shadows on the uneven walls.

                            The usual signs of life were strangely absent and present at the same time; an occasional voice was heard from inside one of the houses, and there were pots of flowers growing here and there, indicating that a human hand had watered them with water from the pipe network. There was no music to be heard though, or any indication that the cable network was in use, and there were virtually no people on the streets. A lady in a brilliant blue dress who was climbing the steps from Gibber Town below paused to chat, agreeing with Blithe who remarked on the peaceful beauty of the place. The lady in blue said “Si, it’s very nice, but there are many steps, so many steps. If you are coming from below there are SO many steps!”

                            There was a boy watching a white dog watching an empty space on the pavement, so Blithe stopped to watch the boy watching the dog watching nothing. Eventually Blithe inquired “What is he looking at?” and the boy shrugged and continued to watch the dog watching nothing. Blithe watched for a little while, and then wandered off. A small child was giggling from inside a doorway, and a mothers voice asked what he was laughing at. The child was looking out of the door at nothing as far as Blithe could see.

                            As the sun climbed higher, Blithe began to descend into Gibber town, winding and weaving through the alleys, wondering how she had failed to notice this place half way up the Rock until now. She came to a crumbling wall with a doorway in it that looked out over the bay beyond the town below. This must be one of the entrances, she deduced, to this alternate world in Gibber. “Entrance”! Blithe had a revelation. “I never noticed that the word ENtrance and enTRANCE are spelled the same.” Later, back at the office, Frolic Caper-Belle said she thought it was probably a very significant clue. “I’ll file that in the Clue Box, Blithe”, she said.

                            {link: entrance}


                            In reply to: Synchronicity


                              A blubbits alert :bunny_head: :chomping: Rabbits disrupt project to map the universe A million pound project that hopes to map the history of the universe is being disrupted by rabbits which are chewing though vital cables.


                                Dear OW’s and Favourite Daughter,

                                I had a dream last night. It went like this . . . . I was in the garden when I noticed an alien space ship coming down from a great height above me. It was humming, humm, hummm, humming. Like that. There was a smell of old cabbages and kitty litter.

                                It landed a few feet away from me. It was like a saucer and coloured olive green. A door opened on the underside and a ladder lowered. The ladder was made of wood, which surprised me. The aliens started down the ladder. They had no arms or legs. Just heads. They came down the ladder using their lips.

                                There were eight of them. The leader (at least I took it to be their leader as he had the biggest head) approached me. He said “Where can we get some hats ?”

                                Next thing I remember I was in the back of a pickup truck eating a prawn cocktail. Next to me sitting on some old sacks was the head alien slurping down uncooked carrots direct from the tin.

                                He said to me “We would like you to make a tv commercial for us”.

                                Then I woke up.

                                I’m afraid to report this encounter with the third kind to the authorities in case they just laugh at me.

                                I need your advice on this one. What should I do ?

                                Uncle Garnet


                                “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.


                                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.


                                “Now, steady on, folks! There’s no need to be rushing headlong into this, I think a little tete a tete is in order here before we all lose our heads completely.” Aunt Dolores de la Cabeza had arrived unexpectedly, and not a moment too soon. “Possibly a tad too late” she muttered, glancing around at the headless New Peaslanders and Saucerers. “This is a fine pickle, I must say.”

                                Pickel beamed at his aunt. “Oh, I don’t mean you, you silly boy!” Dolores chucked him under the chin affectionately, except that he had no chin. “You’re a chinless wonder, m’lad”

                                “I’m a girl, not a boy, Aunt Dolores” piped up Sis Lilly.

                                “is that a fact, young lady? And since when do girls have blubbits in their knickers, hmmm?” replied Dolores tartly.

                                Lilly started to cry. Well, Dolores assumed she was crying, although she wasn’t quite sure how she knew that. “A fine pickle indeed” she repeated, frowning.

                                Pickel flushed with pride.


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