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    Mavis, Sharon and Gloria were looking like icy popsicles in their cubicles, with only their heads popping out.

    Berenice, still under training, was overseeing the process, daunted by the alarming number of blinking buttons from the apparatus. She tried to look composed, knowing full well her aunt Barbara wouldn’t make preferential treatment if she were to make a blunder.

    “BWAAAAHA!” blurted out Gloria coming out of what appeared to have been a very lucid dream.

    “WHAT NOW?! Bloody hell Glor’ you’re goin’ to get us all a tart attack!” Sharon shouted from the adjacent cubicle.

    “I just got meself the most horrid dream Shar’, you know wot?”

    “Don’t say, my Glor'” Mavis said, having left her ears on the nearby table with her shining teeth too. “It’s that about anuther wet dream with Flump?”

    “Good Lord no! WORSE even!”

    “WOT now?” Sharon couldn’t help but ask, shushing with a mean eye the poor Berenice.

    “NURSE TRASSIE! She was comin’ fur us!”

    “Oh bloody hell. Haven’t they confined her already?” Sharon dismissed with a shrug that made the whole concrete floor vibrate like a panzer washing machine in dry mode. “Look lassies, that’s more interesting.” She nodded towards the haggard Sophie lying on one of the tables. “Brought us some competition on the looks area it seems.”

    “What?” Mavis strained to hear.

    “Look dammit! The poor fashion-impeded soul that landed on a waiting list for one of our spots. Gosh, that latex thingy she sports makes me all blushy! But don’t you worry. She can’t be competition to us, ladies. That cryo-treatment is already working I can tell.”

    She felt the need to add and punctuate towards Berenice “And no thanks to you, young lady. You should learn from me. Never been afraid to push a button in my life!”


    In reply to: The Stories So Near


    As it happens…

    POP-IN THREAD (Maeve, Lucinda, Shawn-Paul, Jerk, [Granola])

    Maeve and Shawn-Paul have left the Inn in Australia to travel to Tikfijikoo. What they are still doing there is anybody’s guess. Might have do with dolls, and rolling with it.

    In Canada, Lucinda has enrolled in a creative fiction course, and is doing progress… of sorts.

    Granola managed to escape the red crystal she was trapped in, after it cracked enough due to the pull of her friends’ memories.

    FLYING FISH INN THREAD (Mater/Finly, Idle/Coriander/Clove, Devan, Prune, [Tiku])

    The Inn is back to its normal routine, after the bout of flu & collective black-out.

    Connie and Hilda have come out of the mines.

    The others, we don’t know.

    DOLINE THREAD (Arona, Sanso/Lottie, Ugo, Albie)

    In the Doline, Arona has reunited with Vincentius, but is not ready for a family life of commitments.

    NEWSREEL THREAD (Ms Bossy, Hilda/Connie, Sophie, Ricardo)

    Sharon, Gloria and Mavis, are undergoing some cool fun in the cryochambers for beauty treatments.

    Ms Bossy & Ricardo are speechless. Literally.

    LIZ THREAD (Finnley, Liz, Roberto, Godfrey)

    There’s always something happening. Listing it is not the problem, but keeping track is.

    DRAGONHEARTWOOD THREAD (Glynnis, Eleri, Fox/Gorrash, Rukshan)

    Rukshan is in the doldrums of the land of Giants’, an unexplored parallel dimension.
    Gorrash has started to crystallize back to life, but nobody noticed yet.

    Cackletown & the reSurgence (Bea, Ed Steam & Surge team, etc.)

    Ed is back to the Cackletown dimension after some reconnaissance job on the whole dolls story interference. Might have spooked Maeve a little, but given the lack of anything surgey, have sort of closed this case and gone back to HQ.


    “Wot you ‘oping for then, Sha?” whispered Mavis. “I mean, wot you bloody ‘oping for from the Doc?”

    “Wot’s that, Mavis? Can’t bloody ‘ear you if you don’t speak up a bit,” said Sha.

    “Keep your bloody voice down, Sha!” said Gloria.

    “I said, wot you ‘oping for? Out of this beauty treatment?” repeated Mavis in a loud hiss.

    “Oh, that’s a bloody good question, Mavis. You always were a thinker. I’m not thinking to look twenty again, or anythink like that. It’d be nice but I’m realistic, me. I dunno really … Thirty maybe? Wot you ‘oping for Gloria?”

    “I’m thinking we should ‘ave bloody thought this through before! And now, ‘ere we are, sat ‘ere in his bloody waiting room. It’s too bloody late to wonder wot we’re doing ‘ere now! If we go back, that bloody Nurse Trassie will skin us for garters!”

    “Blimey, Glor, wot’s got you in a ‘uff?”

    “I’m sorry, Luv. I didn’t mean to ‘ave a go. I’m scared is wot it is. I read summink in the fine print just now, about the Doc, wot’s worried me,” said Glor.

    “Oh, bloody ‘ell! I didn’t bother to look at them bleedin papers they gave us to sign. Couldn’t even read it, the writing was that bloody small. Wot’d it say then, Glor?” said Mavis.

    Before Gloria could answer, Barbara walked briskly into the waiting room.


    “How far is it?” Gloria was starting to complain, after the blue powder’s effects started to wane and give her a fit of anxiety mixed with intense boredom.

    “Oh quiet!” snapped Sha, “it’s not enough we had to drag you along, don’t you start to complain. I need to concentrate.”

    Gloria turned to Mavis quizzically. The bus took a bump in the road, and she giggled madly as if under the influence of laughing gas. “Look at her!” she said pointing at the vibrating cellulite around Sharon’s ankles.
    “She’s got to have a brainwave, and you’ll know what next!”

    Sharon started to shout “STOP! Now! Bus 57 express to Glasgow airport, then we Brexit to Norway!”

    “Wot?! No bloody way! It’s going to be cold ‘ere!” Glo whined.

    “Of bloody course it is!” Mavis giggled hysterically, drawing glances from the other seats “it’s going to be a cold beauty treatment I read all about it on the Gloogle!”

    “The article said: a party will meet you in Bodø, Norway! It’s clear, no?”

    “I have no idea ‘ow you managed to mouth that ø, but we better catch the blimin’ bus express; got a feeling diabolical nurse Trassie is goin’ to catches up on us trail!”


    Gloria stared at Sharon accusingly. “You aint, ‘ave yer? Well that’s gorn and blown it. You’re too fat for us to carry. If you fall asleep we’ll ‘afta leave you ‘ere.”

    “We can’t leave ‘er ‘ere, you daft cow,” said Mavis. “Lucky for ‘er, I got a bit of summat wot’ll ‘elp.”

    “I’ll ‘ave you know I lost a pound last week,” retorted Sharon, taking umbrage at the reference to her weight.

    Gloria cast a critical eye at Sharon’s thighs spilling out of the sides of the rocking chair and replied, “Yes, but you found it again in the meantime. But never mind that, whatcha got there, our Mavis?”

    Ooh, is that something from the doctor?” asked Sharon, eyeing the little packet of blue powder that Mavis was carefully pouring into a little heap on the glass topped coffee table. Gloria tittered and glanced at Mavis, who merely rolled her eyes.

    “It aint all for ‘er, though is it?” Gloria faked a loud yawn. “I need waking up a bit myself.”

    “Don’t be daft,” Mavis reminded her. “But Sha’ can have double to counteract the effects of that sleeping stuff in the water supply.”


    In reply to: The Stories So Near


    Newest developments

    POP-IN THREAD (Maeve, Lucinda, Shawn-Paul, Jerk, [Granola])

    Maeve and Shawn-Paul are travelling separately to the Australian bush, and end up together at the Flying Fish Inn where they discover they’ve been given the same coupons. Maeve is suspicious of a mysterious man following her.
    Maeve has an exchange with Arona, and sketches her and the cat for her collection of ideas for new dolls. They discover that Arona has the key from her doll.
    Little is said of what happened after Maeve’s Uncle Fergus appears in dramatic fashion.
    After the collective black-out, all bets are off as to the next steps.

    In Canada, Jerk is killing time at the mall, and Lucinda is possibly taking care of Fabio who might be distressed as he’s peeing the doormat regularly.

    Granola after hopping between threads and realities, detected a psychic blast from the Doctor and while trying to investigate, ended up trapped in a tiny red crystal at the Doctor’s lair.

    FLYING FISH INN THREAD (Mater/Finly, Idle/Coriander/Clove, Devan, Prune, [Tiku])

    After the dramatic arrival of Fergus and the guests, some flirting of Sanso and Idle, Mater’s fashion show, Prune has decided to get back to school after an indigestion of medicinal lizard.

    Some of the guests, namely Connie and Hilda have gone to explore the mines. Possibly with Devan and Bert in tow.

    Fergus has mysteriously disappeared after the black-out.

    DOLINE THREAD (Arona, Sanso/Lottie, Ugo, Albie)

    Arona, Ugo, Albie and Mandrake have left the Australian Inn, after a dramatic chase by unknown assailants, possibly the magpies sent by the Doctor. They reappear in the Doline, in Leörmn’s pool, having managed to get the magpies off their trail.

    NEWSREEL THREAD (Ms Bossy, Hilda/Connie, Sophie, Ricardo)

    The Doctor has managed a psychic event of dramatic proportions. He’s noticed a glowing red crystal that seems to have interfered with his machine. He’s starting to study it, and unravel its secrets.

    Sharon, Gloria and Mavis, the dynamic trio is planning their escape from the nursing home. The psychic blast seems to have alerted Gloria somehow as to the fate of Granola (B), as she somehow guess it’s linked to the Doctor’s experiments (beauty treatments). They plan to go there to investigate (after a fashion).

    LIZ THREAD (Finnley, Liz, Roberto, Godfrey)

    Finnley has disappeared, Liz and Godfrey are to fend for themselves.

    DRAGON 💚 WOOD THREAD (Glynnis, Eleri, Fox/Gorrash, Rukshan)

    Muriel has left the cottage, and our friends are preparing their travel to the Land of Giant, while some tales are told.
    Glynnis is teaching bits to a birds’ choir.


    “B’s in trouble!” Gloria cried out, waking up the two other snoring ladies who almost fell from their rocking chairs.
    “Whatcha sayin’ my Glor’?” Sharon was the first to react once she put her hand on her teeth.
    “Sayin’ that our B’s in trouble!”
    “Can’t let that be, cannit?” Sharon retorted “But where daya think you got your intel’ love, ain’t our B dead last year?”
    “Sure thing but I got up one my brainwaves, t’was vivid as day, like when I got my cataract all strung up and the good doctors lazered my eyes aye. She was stuck in a big ruby!”
    “Ahaha, that’s got to be a big ruby fossur’, remember ‘ow big our B was!”
    “Oh shush Shar’, lemme thing alright. Think it all links back to our beauty treatments I’m sure, hasn’t anybody answered our advert’?” Gloria asked Mavis
    “Oh bleedin’ hell no, I forgot to check, lemme get my spectacles, dear!” Mavis answered.

    THERE, THERE!” Mavis jumped at the article. “A time and location for a rendez-vous.” she said suggestively. “When do we sneak out?”

    “Tonight, tonight alright, all my store of Stillnox is already in the water supply, everybody’s going to snore in no time.”

    Glor’, I think we’ll have a problem.” Sharon said plaintively. “I drank plenty of the ol’ water supply alright too, the doctor said I needed to drink plenty with my lady problems and all.”


    “So, ‘ow we going to find ‘im then, Glor?” asked Sharon, taking a slurp of thick muddy-looking tea. “Ow! That’s too bloody hot. I’m going to ‘ave another word with the Matron about that Nurse, I am.”

    “You do that, Sha. Nurse Trassie wasn’t it?”

    Sharon nodded and pursed her lips tightly. “Bloody uppity tart. We bloody pay enough to be ‘ere, I reckon. They should get the tea bloody right.” Her eyes narrowed menacingly. “ Anyway, she’ll keep. So,‘ow we going to find ‘im then, Glor?”

    “Whose that then, Shar? Oh, you mean the doctor who does the beauty treatments? I’d forget my bloody ‘ead if it weren’t screwed on, wouldn I!”

    Gloria scratched her head vigorously, perhaps checking it was still there, before taking a moment to examine her fingernails.

    “Wot’d Mavis say then?” she asked at last. “When you did that texting thing to ‘er?”

    “‘Ere let me find my phone and I’ll read it out loud to you. Oh, blimey, ‘ave you seen my glasses, Glor?”

    Gloria’s generous curves wobbled and gyrated as she convulsed into fits of laughter.

    “They’re on yer bloody ‘ead!” she said pointing and gasping for breath. “Oh, I nearly peeed myself, ya blimmen muppet!”

    “Thanks, Glor. Wot I’d do without you, I don’t bloody know. Don’t mean to make you pee yerself though. It’s ‘ard enough getting them nurses to give out them extra thick pantyliners. Blimmin uppity tarts. Expecially that Nurse Trassie. Anyway, she’ll keep.”

    Sharon peered at her phone. “Mavis says: Wot a bloody brainwave! I need a makeover for my new fella!!’ LOL! “ She frowned. “Wot’s that word mean, LOL, Glor?”

    “Oh, it’s text talk. The younguns talk like that now and our Mavis always did like to keep up with trends. Lots of lust it means. That saucy cow!”

    “She always was a saucy one that, Mavis! Look at us stuck in ‘ere and ‘er with a new fella. Lucky sod. Maybe after our beauty treatment, we might get us a new fella too.”

    “I don’t know ‘ow we’re going to track down the Doctor though, Shar. I don’t know ‘ow we’re going to track him down when we’re stuck in this bleedin’ ‘ole.” Gloria shoulders shook and she began to sob loudly.

    “There, there, Glor. Don’t cry,” said Sharon, rubbing her friend’s back. “They’ll put you on more bloody pills if you cry. Oh! I know wot will cheer you up!”

    “Wot’s that then,” asked Gloria, sniffing loudly into her hanky.

    “I’ve ‘ad one of my bloody brainwaves!”

    “I knew you would, Shar! You’ve always ‘ad brains. I’m all agog!”

    “We’ll get Mavis to go to the papers! Put in an advert to find ‘im!”

    “You’re a blimmin genius, you are, Shar!”


    In reply to: Scrying the Word Cloud


    red bag looking party
    tried ancient wonder
    met gloria
    sometimes wait dark
    herself key fresh explore
    finly story heat comes check


    Sharon, Gloria and Mavis continued to transition at various locations on the island, making very little progress in linear terms with belief shedding, as they were having so much fun conjuring up handsome Russian men, and then disappearing them when they were done.


    “They said seventeen seconds, but I never would have believed it! Did you see that?”
    “Seventeen seconds to barbecue a fish that size? Take a bit longer than that, Sha” replied Gloria.
    Sharon rolled her eyes and turned to Mavis. “See that, our Mavis? See how that fish landed right on our barbecue?”
    “Another trick out of that book you’ve been reading, was it?” Mavis replied. “Not bad really, but why were you asking for a fish? None of us like fish.”
    “Ah, well….I wasn’t asking for a fish exactly, no. But the way it landed seventeen seconds from when I changed my energy, well…”
    Gloria rolled her eyes and yawned. “When you work it out, I’m sure you’ll let us know. What did you ask for, anyway?”
    Sharon blushed. “Remember that hot Russian guy I had a dream about the other night?”
    Mavis and Gloria looked at the fish, looked at each other, and burst out laughing. They were still laughing when Igor landed in the strawberry pool just a few feet away from where they were sitting, soaking them to the skin. The barbecue took a direct hit from the pink deluge, and hissed.
    Igor took a deep breath and dived under the water as Sharon staggered into the pool, while Mavis and Gloria hooted from the shore.


    “How about this one, it looks like one of them safari parks or petting zoos” said Sharon, pointing to a photograph of El Refugio in the Abalone blurb.
    “Those little cabins look cosy” agreed Gloria. “And all them animals to take photos of.”
    “On the coast too, the beach looks nice,” added Mavis. “Are we all agreed then? Shall I book the flight?”


    “…you will find out that the island named Abalone has some unexpectedly aware people tucked away in secluded pockets of their own dreamlike experiences…”
    “Oooh, I like the sound of that one, Sha, and it looks like it’s got plenty of attractions and theme parks; we might get bored with the secluded pockets.” Gloria replied.


    “It’s been years since we ‘ad a bloody ‘oliday Glor, fancy a nice vacation somewhere?”
    Sharon and Gloria were watching a documentary about changing landscapes ~ lakes appearing in the desert, islands emerging out of the sea, giant holes appearing in the tundra, rivers coursing along new and unexpected routes and other such things that were appearing with increasing regularity. So much so, in fact, that there was enough material to have a weekly programme on the topic. It was Gloria and Sharon’s favourite show, and they always made a point of sitting down together to watch it.
    “Oooh I dunno, Shar, me back’s always playing up these days, what if I ‘ad a bad turn in some foreign place miles from anywhere?”
    Sharon nodded in sympathy. “I know what you mean, it’s like me and my night turns. I have to get up in the night and eat ice cream and walk about a bit, bit awkward when you’re away.”
    “Like me and my stomach” piped up Mavis, poking her head round the door.
    “What oh, our Mavis! Didn’t ‘ear you come in. How about you, fancy an ‘oliday?”
    “Wouldn’t dare, not with my stomach, I have to have special foods, and what if I had a trapped wind while I was in a strange place with nowhere to go?”
    “Listen to us!” shouted Sharon, suddenly standing up and glaring at her friends. “Just listen to us, will yer? What’s become of us!”
    “Age?” asked Mavis drily.
    “Are we washed up then, over the hill, is that it, is it? Too old for a bloody holiday? Well, I tell you, I’m not done yet, oh no! I’m going on a holiday, even if I have to go on my own!”
    “Calm down, Sha, bit emotional, int yer?”
    Sharon sank down onto the sofa again, and replied quietly, “I been thinking about it a lot just lately. Wondering where my get up and go went. We used to do so much more!” She looked imploringly at her friends. “We was always off galivanting and ‘aving adventures.”
    “Yeah, and remember what you said after the last one? Never again?” Mavis reminded her.
    “I think she’s right,” Gloria piped up. “I think we should give it a go. What’s the worst thing that could ‘appen? And what difference does it make where it ‘appens?”


    When Igor read about the three women, Gloria, Sharon and Mavis, he had a sudden inspiration that they were connected to the three maids in some way. Yes, surely there was a connecting link. Perhaps it would provide a clue, a direction to start his search. But what would Fanella be doing in a military hospital in Antarctica? It didn’t sound like a good place to be, but it did sound like a marvellous place to be rescued from. Igor closed the book with a decisive snap. Snap! he exclaimed. The SNAP projection technique will get me there, thank goodness I read about that on the loo this morning.


    “I still don’t know what we’re doing here, Glo. Azerbaijan in the middle of bloody winter?”

    “The nightlife, Sharon, the nightlife!”

    “So what do we do during the day, then? Besides freeze our ample tits off?”

    “Let’s have a cuppa somewhere and decide. I saw some lovely pastries in that cafe over there, come on.”


    Sharon licked the crumbs from her fingers and leaned over the table, whispering to Gloria. “Can’t help but eavesdrop, did you hear what those two on the table behind me just said? Something about buying carpets. I could do with a new rug for the bathroom, shall we follow them? They seem to know their way around here.”

    “I dunno, Shar, they look a bit tipsy to me. Look at all those empty Guinness cans.”


    “Now you’ve gorn and done it! They’ll all know that Shar is really one of ‘them that shan’t be joked about’!” exclaimed Mavis.

    “What the fuck are you on about, our Mavis?” asked Gloria. “You mean the Shards what started off as Windows? Is our Sha one of them Shards then, what’s doing them chemtrails?”

    Mavis gasped in horror. “You mustn’t talk about the Shards like that” she whispered, looking nervously behind her.

    “I happen to know that this is the Lupin Express” replied Gloria, who was transitioning strongly.


    “Jig up in a tree!” Armelle said quickly, scratching her wings on top of the grinning Snoot.

    “The Snoot has been expecting those nasty buggers”, Gloria said sadly as a magpie started to wave.

    STAY CLEAR!” the magpie giggled. She beamed at Gloria. The confusion was now clear. She could feel it. She could consume it and become one with Armelle and the Snoot and Yuki and Rafaela , Anita, the spiders, Akayli, the werelynx, the mummified parents, Claude.

    “The good thing is”, the Snoot whispered to Armelle, “you may have noticed i am twice my usual size and I may be more than happy to lend Al Becky’s children, ingested a few days before the conception”.


    In reply to: Strings of Nines


    “Oops, I got me directions wrong again” said Gloria, “I think we’re a trifle overdressed. I weren’t aiming fer the nudist beach, I was aiming fer the prehistoric cairns.”

    “Trust you to land us ‘ere, Glor!” Sharon replied, averting her eyes from the spectacle or milk bottle white flesh and unappetizing dangly bits. “Speaking of tea bags, I fancy a nice cuppa.”


    “No bloody tea bag icon” grumbled Gloria.


    In reply to: Strings of Nines


    “There!” announced Sharon triumphantly. “‘Ow was that, then?”

    “‘Ow was what, Sha?” asked Gloria, frowning.

    “I inspired ‘er, I got the message through!”

    “That aint proper inspired channeling, you daft cow, that’s nonsense! Yeah, you got a message through, but talk about distortion! Blimey, Sha, that aint enlightened channeling, that’s just more rubbish!” Gloria said, disparagingly.

    “I ‘ate to tell you this, our Glor, but it’s YOU what aint enlightened. That was me new Distraction Tactics, and if I do say so myself, it worked a treat.”

    “Distraction Tactics? Aint she scattered enough already? It’s direction and focus what she wants, not more blimmen distractions!”

    “You just aint getting it, are you, our Glor?” Sharon replied. “Answer me this, you enlightened tart, how’s she supposed to find any focus or direction if she’s pushing her energy in a hundred directions at once looking for meaning? Wait a minute, I tripped meself up there,” Sharon corrected herself, “What I meant to say was, why would she need a direction in the first place? She’s going where she’s going, and that’s direction enough.”

    “Well you answer me this then, if the direction she’s going in is enough, why did she wake up disgruntled?” Gloria retorted, adding “Rude tart” under her breath.

    “I ‘eard that!”

    “Well? What’s yer answer to that then, eh?”

    “‘Ang on a minute, lemme see if I can channel God’s Flounder fer some answers.” replied Sharon, closing her eyes, and starting to breathe noisily and purposefully.

    “Oh fer Gawds sake, Sha, not that bloody breathing again. We all knows ‘ow to breathe already, honestly, it’s as if breathing’s just been invented or something. And not only that” she added “You’re dead, why are you breathing anyway?”

    “Eh, good point, our Glor” said Sharon opening her eyes. “I’m wondering now if the dead are supposed to channel for answers, aren’t we supposed to HAVE all the answers?” Sharon was confused.

    “Well I dunno about HAVING all the answers, Sha, but we’re supposed to be able to access them, aren’t we? Then pass ‘em on to the living ~ those what’ll listen, that is.”

    “I think we’re making a mistake here, Gloria, but I can’t put my finger on it. Who’s our Oversoul anyway? Aint they supposed to be guiding us here?”

    “I think we’re both focuses of the Great Flounder, our Sha.”

    “Oh blimey” her freind replied. “P’raps we aint been dead long enough yet, to know what we’re doing, like.”

    “How can you be ‘long enough’ if there aint no time anyway, that’s what I want to know.”

    “Well there’s one thing I do know about being dead” said Sharon, brightening up, “We can ‘think’ ourselves anywhere at all. So whatddya say we go somewhere else and forget all this floundering?”

    “Bloody good idea, where shall we go?”

    “Oh dear, unlimited choices are so difficult, aren’t they? I don’t know where I want to go!”

    “Follow me then, Sha!” Gloria suggested, and in an instant the pair of them were standing in a field in Dyffryn .

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