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      Queen Marie, Our Good Queen, as the little gents liked to call her, had not been as excited at the prospect of the salon since a long time.
      She ringed the bell for the servant girl to bring more wood, as drafts of chilly air were coming from outside. Although quite modern and shiny, the palace was not as equipped for the cold season as the old castles from her mother land. Worse, with age and soft weather, she’d grown accustomed to being warm, and couldn’t bear the cold any longer.

      The crackling sound of the pine wood inside the small chimney was comforting and brought her back to her thoughts. A salon, full of delightful witty people, with laughters and costumes, entertainment and champagne wine. She’d heard a special batch of barrels from la Maison Ruinart would be brought especially for the Royalties. Of course, she knew most of those were small favors for the King’s mistress, Reinette, but she didn’t care. Oddly enough, she didn’t mind the woman, who had been always very delicate and considerate towards her, almost affectionate. To be honest, she was a blessing, as the inextinguishable appetite of the King for the flesh and woman beauty was now too hard to bear.

      But a party like this, ah… She reveled in the thought of seeing again monsieur de St Galle and the mysterious Comte de St Germain who always was the light of the party with his extravagant stories.

      The servant had finished to dress her for the night, putting her new powdered wig on the parakeet shaped wig-holder. She’d bought the wig with its lacquered holder in the morning from a small shop in Paris, which was had quite an aura of mystery she’d heard. Naturally she’d wanted to see for herself.
      The wigmaker was a gaunt and unassuming young man who notwithstanding made an impression on her. Jean-Baptiste’s wigs were simple and elegant, albeit not terribly inspired. His eyes, on the other hand, had a piercing yet soft gaze about them, and didn’t seem embarrassed to look at her, almost through her, as if she were a person, instead of the Queen surrounded by a retinue of bland people eager to please.
      “Let me draw you some fingers” he’d said to her, changing abruptly the topic from his rambling about books he was inspired to write about symbols. He’d forgotten the traditional address of “Your Majesty”, yet wouldn’t be stopped —regardless of the shocked expressions on the people’s faces.
      “You see, I love symbols, and when I draw people’s fingers, I can foretell events to come”.
      So that was it, she’d thought, the reason why everyone was ranting about him. He’d better be more inspired at that than wigs, as her patience was wearing thin.
      She’d had fortune tellers draw her cards a few times, but the fingers drawing part was curious enough to entice her into removing the glove off her eburnated fingers and letting him do his trick.
      An eldritch feeling crept though her spine as he was uttering words for each of the fingers he drew on with a slight pull of his hand, just enough not to crack the joints.

      In the bed warmed to a delightful temperature by the bouillotte, she began sliding into deep sleep, while a mixture of words half-forgotten or half-remembered danced around in her mind like the swirls of snowflakes dying on the warm window of her chamber: “funny moment, cold diversion, dream parade, house moustache pink, blue wonder carpets, possible king turned, green mirror travel, understand whole large parade”…


      The verdict was definitive. The competition had been fierce and now only the best of the best would go to the final and mysterious mission.

      Terry Bubble couldn’t believe her ears and fanned her glistening face with her powdered hands batting her eyelashes to contain the swelling tears when she heard Linda Paul say in her snarkily uppity voice : “Uhuh, that dress, oh that dress sweetie, that was an offense to good sense, but you did lipsynch to perfection with this pouty mouth of yours… Terry Bee, you stay with me.”
      Then, turning to the other competitor, the gorgeous Tina Turnover look-alike in her glittery purple dress, a.k.a. Shantay Mûre. “Shantay, you go away.”

      Terry bowed to the jury, firstly Linda Paul herself, of course, then the sultry sulky Sadie Merrie, and finally took an extra second for Lady Gugu, who she was sure tipped the balance in her favor. She never was a big fan of the ageing star, well-known for her antics and poultry dresses, but there was no denying she earned being the sensation she was all over China —or that he was, there were lingering suspicions about this, which of course didn’t matter in the drag race.
      It had to be thanks to her ; maybe she was fond of sardines. Otherwise, how could self-doubt-ridden Terry Bubbly, like her friends barely over their teens, could hope to compete with the other seasoned divas, like Pseu Flay with her lion-mane wig à la Cher, who were nonetheless one by one eliminated by a strange turn of events.


      The selection had gone flawlessly. Linda Paul was boucing with effervescence and delight.
      “Dearies, dearies, you have been competing fearlessly against one another, now is time to be a team. Or find a time in which to be…”

      The three queens looked stymied. They were not used to share the limelight and shine in pairs, much less in a trio.
      Terry, Consuela, Maurana, you will be our three Muskqueerteers, fearlessly donning on wigs and shiny attires on a mission to retrieve a precious item for me.”

      The screen shined brightly to reveal a glittery pyramid, announced by the anchor’s male voice “The Queen’s Ferrets au Rochet!”

      “But of course, I cannot send you back without a chaperon. Fear not, fate has decided for us, that among the jury, it will be…”

      Terry hoped for Lady Gugu, she already looked like Elton Jaune in a wig, and would do great with Louis XIII, or Richeliou for that matter.

      “… Sadie Merrie!”

      “Oh good grief…” Terry’s shiny Elton Jaune in her thoughts suddenly was transphormed (as if they all had been into a huge deFørmiñG mirror) into that of Milady of Merry.


        Thank Flove for the daily random quote, that was a life saver. The deFørmiñG mirror to the rescue, coming hot on the heels of The Formula: (note the word form appears twice, just like with a mirror, but unlike a mirror reflection, is not an exact replication):
        “The formula for creating your reality is: You project energy. You reflect that projection. And you either react or engage choices in relation to the reflection. Generally speaking, if you are not aware of what you’re doing you project energy, you reflect energy and you react to the reflection. When you are aware of what you are doing you incorporate choice rather than reaction. In this, what you have presented to yourself is a significant step. This is the beginning step in the movement into genuine recognition of your genuine self and in that the beginnings of genuine recognition from genuine self of how you create your reality; therefore the formula. This formula can be called a sort of deFørmiñG mirror…”


          Consuela” continued Pseu, when she had recovered her composure, “I think you should know that the mirror you are all looking into is a deFørmiñG mirror. They are not mirror images you’re seeing as you gaze upon your tarty features, but reflections. Reflections are another matter entirely.”


            Ed was indulging himself in one of his little guilty pleasures. Listening to Mozart’s 21st piano concerto in a pink tutu. As the first notes flew out of the speakers, he was looking with contempt at his newly grown moustache in his starlight mirror. It was perfectly waxed and shiny.


              Katarina knotted the scarf under her chin and grinned at her reflection in the mirror. The disguise was comfortable, colourful and effective. The carpet shop was located on a coordination point in an alley off Fountain Square, easy enough to find with a CP nav ap. There were several ordinary carpets hanging in the window and piled up near the door, in case any unsuspecting normal tourist chanced on the CP, but the new stock of old flying carpets was ready in the back room, awaiting approval from the Surge Team representatives, ready for the flight to Moscow.


                Sir Ed Steam admired his reflection in the mirror for a few minutes. It was such a pity to have to cut off his beautiful waxed moustache, especially as it was such a hit with the ladies, however, if his plan was to succeed, he needed to be able to pass unrecognised. Still, it really was a dreadful shame . . .

                “The key to a good moustache wax is being firm yet yielding, stiff yet malleable with staying power,” he mused out loud. Sir Ed made his own moustache wax out of beeswax and petroleum jelly. His was a connoisseur’s moustache requiring maximum grooming and a whole lot of wax.


                In reply to: scattered grasps


                  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.


                  In reply to: Snowflakes of Tens


                    “Do leaves really talk?” she wondered as the smoke of the herb tea dissipated off the kitchen’s mirror credence. “Let’s see about that,” she continued, carrying the tray with the cup of tea and the scones to the computer room, from where a few oink sounds were beckoning her.
                    Probably her friends asking for a chat, some random rubbish or the last juicy news about the president’s wife who happened to be visiting in the area. In truth, she wouldn’t have even known, had it not be for her foreign friends. The local neighbours really couldn’t give a fig. That was figuratively speaking of course. The fig trees were already full of green fruits, that if odds were good wouldn’t turn up as half-sodden half-rotten food for snails on the cobblestone pathway this year.

                    She added a zest of fresh lemon to the tea. She liked it bitter. The leaves were starting to settle at the bottom of the cup while she lit up a cigarette, throwing a cursory glance at the tens of messages waiting for her to peruse. Which was more interesting? She could figure out wavy things as feeble and changing as her cigarette’s smoke in between the leaves patterns, as well as in between the lines of haphazard messages from all the contacts. But those she loved the most were the pages she leafed through her books.

                    Yesterday, she started to do something purely daft, as she liked — a sort of challenge, if you will; or perhaps, a strong repressed desire. Sometimes it takes you years to do things you were thinking about when you were but a child. The moment you allow yourself the pleasure to indulge and overcome the resilient beliefs that it’s something forbidden or insidiously wrong is all the sweeter.
                    And she was tasting it like a sour sweet, with a touch of forbidden and the zest of excitement. Or more like horseradish. Ooh, does she live the green stuff too. Prickly at first, going up to your nose, and living you crying but begging for more. She makes a note to buy some next week (note that she’ll probably forget).
                    So what did she do? She took some of her precious books and started to tear up and cut through the pages. A blasphemy almost, for someone like her who revered books. Of course, at first she only took the bad ones, the romantic rubbish and the dog-eared now useless kitchen books, but then realized, what would be the point of gathering new information by assembling random pages cut off from a variety of books, if it wasn’t made from quality ingredients. Well, it surely stands to reason, even though her culinary reason had been on voyage the last twenty years as far as she knew. Anyway. Those leafs were starting to talk better than any bloody tea leaves could.

                    [link: talking leaves]


                    In reply to: Strings of Nines


                      They were thick as theives, freinds for thousands of centuries, or even more; sometimes thick, sometimes theives, and anything else you might imagine. They got together again and again in this time and that, here, there and elsewhere, just for the fun of it. There was nothing they liked more than a puzzling occurance, or a riddle, or a basket full of clues to ponder over, unravel, and turn around and around, toying with meanings until they found one they liked. They had a home in The City, sort of a home base so to speak, where they met regularly each night in the dream state, regardless of which time or place they spent their waking hours. It was sometimes a releif to meet up at home in The City and always a pleasure: sometimes it was hard to stay under the radar back down on the ground, it was part of the job to stand out in the crowd, which often resulted in a lynching, or a ducking, or the stocks, at the very least. All too often it ended up on top of a bonfire, tied to a stake.

                      One day in one of the Decembers, in amongst all the sweet dreams they often shared, they started having some unsettling group dreams, where they all felt like they were betwixt and between, falling through the cracks you might say. It was a feeling similar to dying of thirst, although it wasn’t really a physical thirst, it was more than that, a hungry yearning sort of thing. Some of them had strange nightmares, of a monstrous beast, and some of them actually saw beasts in the daytime too, especially on those falling through the cracks days. When they met up at home in The City, they compared notes about the beasts, and not always, but sometimes they found they were mirroring each others beasts. That often ended up in a heated debate, because the more mirroring that occurred, the more real the beast seemed. Some said that the beasts that appeared when you fell through the cracks were in a deep ravine, in a manner of speaking, and not of this plane at all. Others argued that if the beasts appeared through the cracks, then they were on this plane.

                      And so it went on, and on. There were many more puzzling occurances to come, and lots of meanings to be considered, rejected, or taken on board for the friends, as thick as thieves, to turn around and around, and hold up to the mirror for closer inspection and dissection. They were making a tapestry, a huge rich colourful tapestry, and all the puzzling occurences, and even the beasts, were depicted in the colourful threads and patterns. They were the warp, you might say, of the weave. Love was the weft.

                      “Congratulations, LizGodfrey remarked drily. “Are you supposed to use three months worth of creative writing challenges in one entry?”

                      “Don’t be silly, Godfrey, of course not. Rules are meant to be broken, that’s what they’re for.”


                      Gremwick was glad the Fisherman had come to repair the Cloud Fishes of the Inner Aerial Pool of the Worseversity.

                      It’s been a few days that he’d noticed an unusual lack of randomness in the swimming patterns of the little Cloud Fishes.
                      As they were usually used for the divination courses, no sooner was the issue identified than the students had to temporarily recourse to the use of pigeons for their assignments —which sadly left a stinking trail of devastation on the usually pristine marble floors that greatly infuriated Charity, the cleaning lady, otherwise known for her great patience and candor, who’d kept cursing like a sailor against the winged demonic creatures the last past weeks.

                      The incident in itself was not of immense consequence in the grand scheme of things, but it felt worrisome for the Dean that these swimming creatures known for their quite reliable and, yes, totally unfloundering randomness had suddenly decided to adopt a monotonous pattern.
                      In that disposition, they were merely echoing the requester’s requests in a manner of a mirror instead of evoking strange and obscure meanings from the depths of the universe.

                      It had amused the students very much, as it was making their assignments apparently far easier —there was no thing left in need of deciphering, unless the students’ requests were themselves incoherent, which could on occasion happen especially after the Special Crop Circle Lessons. As no incident was without meaning, the Dean had pondered this one, but without any satisfactory answer as of yet.

                      At least, it had been the occasion to meet the Fisherman, and to ponder on the plainness of a world without unpredictability.


                      In reply to: Strings of Nines

                      “Don’t be silly Phoebe” a voice whispered in Jane’s ear in between a few copious sneezing.

                      Jane didn’t really know why, but suddenly the whole scene about Mark leaving her became essentially a farce. She could feel some sort of burlesque in that whole event that would have been difficult to explain. As though she would never have really cared for the man, or any other man in the world to provide for herself.

                      She was starting to feel different. She could feel a strong assurance building up, and even her body started to feel different.
                      Still, she couldn’t tell who she was; there was still that dark hazy cloud the shadow of which was cast over her memories, but it wasn’t from her memories that this sudden surge of power was coming. It was coming from deeper inside; the very core of her being, and it was making her different.

                      She reached for the pocket mirror in her bag to apply a fresh layer of make-up on her plump cheeks and blue eyes.
                      She didn’t notice the differences right away. One sometimes gets caught in the repetitiveness of usual and mundane actions and really forgets to see. And of course, the mirror’s size and angle was preventing her to see anything but her eyes if she didn’t think to use it differently. But her eyes were now different; not deep blue as before but a subtle shade of ash blue with hints of violet.
                      And then… She noticed the wrinkles. The plump cheeks had left place to a thinner face. Strangely, she found it even prettier.
                      And as she expressed this appreciation of her new features, she noticed that her blond mane was now a little more greyish.

                      She knew it wasn’t aging, and no she wasn’t delusional. She didn’t remember her name, but apparently she knew how to shape-shift.
                      Would it make her quest to remember her identity more difficult? She couldn’t have told, but she knew that something in her never forgot a single bit of her whole self.
                      That new self she was now who felt more like her real self than “Jane” needed a more adequate name.
                      Phoebe definitely had a ring to it that seemed appropriate.


                      In reply to: Strings of Nines

                      When she opened her plastic bag with the pink fish pattern on it to count how much money she had left to pay for that trip to the Cayman Islands, Jane could have sworn that there was anything else altogether than the last time she’d checked.

                      Was her amnesia playing tricks on her? There was now a credit card instead of the wet stack of dollar bills, and a paper with a few numbers jotted down on it in place of the previous account number —maybe a PIN number?…

                      Puzzled for a moment, she wondered if that was a sign. After all that thinking she’d had the past night, about what to do, and how she didn’t feel like moving already, there was a new set of possibilities opening for her.
                      She was almost done distractedly packing the few personal belongings she had gathered during her weeks of convalescence when somebody knocked lightly on the door.
                      Even if she’d not already recognized the footsteps, she knew who it was and blushed spotting in the wall mirror a few wild hair in her otherwise perfect blond hairdo.
                      Mark Devoiteur was the man who had found her stranded on the beach, and had taken her to the hospital. He’d been checking on her every day since, and was visibly attracted by her.

                      She folded the plastic bag in her handbag and closed the little suitcase. She was ready to go.


                      In reply to: Strings of Nines


                        Franlise was pondering the distorted image she knew Ann had of her. Of course Ann was perhaps not the best judge of character. Her seven failed marriages bore testament to that indisputable fact.

                        It is a bloody good thing, she mused, that I am so confident of my own inner loveliness. All these disparaging remarks could really begin to get me down otherwise.

                        Casting an admiring sideways glance at herself in the large, and somewhat dusty, mirror hanging from the wall in Ann’s office, she hurried off for her 3pm meeting with the Fellowship.


                        In reply to: Strings of Nines


                          The Daily Mirror!


                          a bit rude. :face-plain:

                          Who said that? oh well, not to worry. I can edit it later.


                          In reply to: Strings of Nines


                            :yahoo_nerd:“I dont know how you can read that paper, Franlise, really I don’t.” Ann said sniffily.

                            “Oh I like to keep up with what’s going on, it’s interesting, it’s the end of an era you know, fascinating really,” her cleaner replied.

                            “Yeah, you’re right, it is interesting,” Ann had to admit that Franlise was right. It WAS interesting, and newpapers like The Old Reality Harbinger wouldn’t be around for much longer. She made a mental note to buy some to put away in case they became valuable artifacts in the future.

                            “Well interesting it may be, but only in small doses. I prefer The Simultaneous Times, myself.”

                            “The Daily Mirror’s my favourite” replied Franlise.



                              “Speaking of infinite details,” said Björn who was watching a circus program with a muscular looking man who balancing his contortionist partner who was attempting to balance plants on her face.

                              “What?” said Iris who was already dozing on the couch.

                              “Sorry dear, I was just talking to myself, have nice dreams”, he said, stroking gently her freckled face.

                              He continued in his head, slightly dozing off himself.

                              “One two, one two. Testing the acoustics… Sounds good.”

                              “Funny how these thoughts come in and out… It occurred to me something funny.”


                              “Can you add a plush toy in your dream?”
                              “Oh sure darling. What kind of?”
                              “A baby aardvark”


                              Björn wasn’t very comfortable yet, he started to toss and turn until he realized he was seated on Iris’ plush aardvark. He fondly placed the little soft thing in Iris’ arms and returned to his thoughts.

                              “There, it’s inserted…”
                              “Now, your reality can be viewed to some extent as the most complex, yet the most simple of assemblage. You may liken it if you will to a room with mirrors (*). Ancient Indian mystics have spoken of Indra’s net where droplets of waters are each reflecting all of the other ones; these are the same images.
                              It is not new information to you, the fact that you are seeing your reflection in your world, or that it is a sort of illusion reflecting you, but this is not the point we want to highlight here.

                              Consider that the room in which you are is reflected an infinite amount of times in every direction. In a sense, they are all the same. They are you. Now, we come to the interesting part. You may very well decide to explore the room next to you with its shining details, by going through one of these mirrors. Some individuals quite enjoy such explorations, they call it past or future or even probabilities, other dimensions etc. And by moving into the next room, it becomes their present.

                              You now realize that you have not really moved, since all rooms reflect only you. And you may want to continue in the direction you are exploring and go into more rooms. It’s alright. But some individuals realize that all rooms are equivalent, and that from where you stand, you can view the point you wish to explore in one part of the mirrors reflections. This is being present. You shift your attention, and expand your vision of the tiny part, rather than moving towards it with great efforts.

                              Now, when you are dreaming, the very nature of dreams is the same. It gives you a whole fractal hologram to ponder. You may get carried away by wanting to remember all the tiny details, because in doing so, what you are doing is simply opening rooms upon rooms upon rooms. And more details will be created for you! Or you can simply realize that the details are all contained within your feeling of being present, and standing in the middle of one of these rooms, and not one of them is more important than the next.

                              Connect to your feeling, and all the natural movements of your explorations will be automagically connected. And we bid you a nice fractal dream exploration.”


                              The door of the garage opened with a creaking sound, and Madame Chesterhope sped up into the gritty alley.
                              In that dimension where she had hidden her command base, people were a bit sloppy about roads and tarmac, so she had designed a little modification on her machines to be able to levitate in some of the less practical areas; but she had to admit,… she loved the vibrations and bumps that the motorbike created with the friction of the ground surface.
                              She started to giggle, all enthusiastic about the speed and the wind in her hair, that she ignored the road sign indicating that the road was flooded some miles ahead. The rain had been pouring cabbages all past hexades, so much so that her leather suit was in all honesty the best thing she could have worn, not to mention the fact of course, that it was making her totally sexy.
                              Two peasants were coming her way, looking at her with wild eyes like they had just seen something otherworldly. Ahahah she laughed, the fools would soon have forgotten everything about it (another handy and sly magical modification she nodded to herself). Looking in her rear mirror, she could still see them wiggle their hands in a frenzy… What the fl…!


                              On the road, the two peasants wondered what in the name of Shaint Lejus was that rider… But worse, it was heading straight to the pool that the swollen river had made recently, outpouring on fields and little sniggly and thorny paths, like this one. Making desperate signs to be seen and warn it, they watched in horror the black podgy thing with flabby flapping schpurniatz arms sink straight to the bottom of the pool.


                              The landing was a bit bumpy, but she found her balance quickly. Those transdimensional puddles were a bit rough to get accustomed to, but once you knew how to manipulate it, you couldn’t forget it.
                              Now, all she needed to got to the location she was heading to was to hop through a few more transdimensional puddles.
                              Actually, all sorts of puddles could do the job, water puddles, even oil puddles… or run-over poodle puddles for that matter. She preferred water ones, for the quality of water was very fluid, and allowed for easier defocusing. Lately she had tried transdimensional exhaust fumes clouddles, but that was a bit disorienting more than helping.
                              As far as she could tell, this first one had been projecting her to a dimension in between Earth and the Duane. Incorporating vibrational qualities of the two, with a little more rigidity though. The machine needed a little time to stabilize and get prepared for the next transdimensional jump.
                              As far as she could tell, she was in a place that was not unlike her birthplace, in the countryside of England. There were occasionally some giveaways that she still wasn’t quite there yet, like an erratic flying schpurniatz, but she was close now.
                              A few meters in front of her, she could see a lovely puddle that could do for the next jump. A bit small for her… well, motorbike, what were you thinking… but that would probably do it. She took another breath, then pushed the TDPP (Trans-Dimensional Puddle Propeller) button.


                              Bugger, bugger…. What the bloody heck!

                              Straw was flying all over her hair, and obfuscating her vision… Darn last puddle had to much mud in it, and her concentration went off for a split second, heading her towards a field of barley.
                              Turning round and round for a moment in complete disorientation, she finally pushed the levitation button to take a little altitude.
                              Oh, now,… at least she could tell she was in England, because she knew that place.
                              How perfect! She could now just move into the dimension to the Pacific island. The GPS included in the modern expensive motorbike had been bipping as soon as it had found again the satellites, and it was now pointing the direction.
                              Giggling again, she pushed a new button and disappeared into the sky in a supersonic puff of smoke.


                              a few days later, Chestershire, UK

                              AFP - 2008-07-21 - An new amazing design has been reported by eye-witnesses
                              on a crop of barley of a local farmer along with reports of strange booming sounds
                              and orbs of light. A sight to behold, the delicate intricacy of these interwoven
                              patterns is believed by many to be the work of the Crop-circle Makers, some
                              alien intelligence desiring to communicate with us. The theme of this crop-circle
                              is thought to be a variation on planet Venus cycles, and would be highlighting
                              the number of cycles lefts until the notorious end-date of Mayan calendar,
                              Dec. 21st 2012. Scientists have brushed off the allegations of elderly pranksters,
                              as this one seemed to have required levels of astronomical knowledge far beyond
                              human intelligence.

                              Madame Chesterhope went to the garage, to get one of her preferred modes of transportation.
                              She had dressed for the occasion in black leather, shouting a spell in a hurry to the mirror which had been flippantly reflecting back at her some awfully podgy image. Voodoo mirrors weren’t the quality they used to be these days. Bloody buggers of Goblinkeas manufactors… She would have a word with them soon.

                              There it was. A shiny Farley Travinston motorbike.
                              With some magical modifications, of course, but it had retained overall form and purpose closely similar to the original design. How she loved those machines! She had started to gather them for centuries (in Earth way of counting time), and she could still remember her very first one, the wreck it was compared to this one
                              Of course, she had no use for them, but wasn’t that the point of decadent treasure piling up?

                              All geared up, she hopped on the seat, and started the trans-dimensional engine. Where was it already? Pacific island… That could sound like vacations she smiled to herself…


                              Wow that had been bizarre! Veranassessee stood at the bathroom basin and splashed icy cold, reviving water on her face. She knew she’d had sex with Agent Gabriele … however the experience had a slightly surreal quality, not unlike a dream, details slipping elusively away from her as she tried to grasp hold of them. She giggled nervously as she dried her face with a towel. Did she really want to remember? She had just passed Agent Gabriele in the corridor and he had winked at her, saying he couldn’t wait to try the ‘reverse cleaning maid ‘ again. A sudden image came to mind and she saw her skin darken in the mirror as a hot wave of embarrassment flooded her. Good Grief! She thought guiltily of Mahiliki. She hoped the other island had not been too badly affected by cyclone Ycart, so far it seemed Tifikijoo had come off quite lightly.

                              Veranassessee had already checked on the guests, Jose Maria and Paquita were still in their room, Mavis was huddled under her bedding and informed her in a muffled voice that Sha and Glor had gone looking for her.


                              Well she’s not in her bloody room so where is she eh? Gloria and Sha were on the warpath, determined to get some answers from Veranassessee.

                              ‘Ere, Sha! Bloody hell! Glor shook her head in disbelief.

                              What’s up Glor?

                              Bloody magpies … there are bloody magpies in ‘ere!

                              What! Nasty little buggers those magpies. Poke yer bloody eyes out if yer aint careful.

                              ‘Ere what they up to eh? Bloody hopping all over that whats-a-ma-callit-doo-dacky machine.

                              They’ll be going for the shiny bits I reckon. They do that those magpies. ‘Ere we’d better stop them, might never get our bloody beauty treatments if they bugger that machine up.

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