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  • #6071

    In reply to: Tart Wreck Repackage

    EricEric
    Keymaster

    “Listen” said Gabe, the cult leader. “How long have you been Gourd level? One year?”

    The other nodded.

    “See Gavin, I think you’re ready to go Operating Tomathetan.”

    Gavin gulped. “But, but… are you sure about such a leap? And… what about…”

    “Oh, don’t worry about him, the yielding of his crops has been written, and it’s not good. Better look toward the future Gavin. And let me ask you something, don’t you think about the future?”

    When the Great Leader Undisputed Gabe had spoken, it was customary to bow and continue listen, in case he wasn’t finished.

    “Is there anything more I can do you for, oh GLUG?”

    “Sure. Get me your proposal for the new organization of the crops. No rush. Tomorrow will be fine.”

    “Your great leaderness is too bountiful.”

    “Of course. Now scram, I have rituals to attend to.” And with that, Great Leader Undisputed Gabe made a hasty retreat into the inner sanctum with his favourite vestal priestess of the moment.

    :fleuron:

    Gavin was flummoxed. It had all been foretold by the heretic Basil. He wondered, should he consult him? The weight of this sudden assignment felt heavy on his shoulders. He wondered how he could solve the mountain of problems that had accumulated like horse shit on a pile of manure.

    :fleuron:

    “You’ll see, it’s all connected.” Star signaled Tara when they were ushered into the inner sanctum. “I’m sure all the trail of clues have led to this for a reason. Have I told you about my theories about multiple timelines and probable selves? Maybe the Vince who called us called us from a different probability…”

    “You probably right, but that nurse outfit is really too tight.” Tara wiggled impatiently on her chair.

    “AH! There you are!” a manly voice behind them. “Welcome, welcome, young fresh divine sprouts.”

    “Did he call us prouts?” Tara almost tittered. “Sshtt” Star elbowed her.

    Gabe took a while to observe them, then made a face. “Not the freshest batch I had, I must admit, but that should do.”

    He clapped his hands, and a woman entered. “Get those two well anointed, and prepared in the art of leafing.”

    Tara and Star looked at each other with an air of utter incomprehension on their faces, but decided unanimously to just go with the flow. Who knows, if all was indeed connected, it would probably bring them one step closer to Uncle Basil and the solving of mysterious comatose Vince.

    #6067
    AvatarJib
    Participant

    Since the sudden disappearance of the two au pair maids, a lot had happened. But for August Finest it has been a lot of the same routine going on.

    He wakes up in the early, early morning, his eyelids rubs on his eyeballs as if they are made of sandpaper. He seizes his belly with his hands, feels a little guilty about the nice meals prepared by Noor Mary especially for him since the start of the confinement. His six packs have started to fade away under a layer of fatty insulation and he tries to compensate by a daily routine in white T-shirt and underwear.

    The coffee machine has detected his movements and starts to make what it does. It’s always cleaned and replenished by the discrete Mary. The noise and the smell creates an ambiance and when it rings he eats breakfast before taking his shower.

    When he’s dressed up, his real work starts. It had not been easy for a man of his origins to appear as the best choice for the job under the Lump administration. President Lump was known to make bad jokes about his tan and him having spent too much time at the beach, and other worse things. But his worth was in the network he could connect the president with, his high discretion, which Lump was in dire need to compensate his innate tendency to boasting, and a strong adaptability to fix the president’s frequent messing around.

    If August Finest had once admired the man and accepted the job for him, it soon changed when he realised there was nothing more underneath the boasting than more boasting and unpredictability. At the moment the only thing that make him continue was his ability to go stealth when the president had a fit of nerves, and the imposed confinement that made it impossible to leave the Beige House.

    After the morning meeting during which the president asked him to fire a few members of the staff, August had to prepare a press conference. President Lump said he had thought about a few remarks about China and making a connection with the Mexican immigrants threatening the country by stealing the masks of the American People. After which, he had to plan a charity with first Lady Mellie Noma and redefine what a Masquerade meant. He had been asked to invite nurses and medical personnel, meaning republican and good looking in a blouse with a medical mask to make the promotion of the new mask industry Made in America. One of Mr Lump’s friend had just started a brand and was in need of some media promotion.

    August reread the memo to be addressed to the director of the FBI, a good friend of his. A special cell at the FBI had been created especially since Lump came to power. For this particular occasion, agents posing as patients victims of the virus would be sent in the best ranked hospitals in the country with the task to look for the best nurse and doctor candidates and send them an invitation printed by Lump’s nephew’s printing company.

    As Lump always said: “America Fist! And don’t forget people, I am America.”

    August hit the enter button and closed the window of his professional mail account, leaving the draft of a personal mail on screen. He wasn’t sure if he could send this one. It was addressed to Noor Mary and he feared she would misunderstand the meaning of it.

    #5965
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    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!”

    #5837

    In reply to: Tart Wreck Repackage

    EricEric
    Keymaster

    The nurse outfits were a good size too tight.

    “I didn’t realize that cult was short for horticulture,” Tara said, while struggling with the chafing elastic band of her… mask. She almost regretted that mission wasn’t risqué enough to warrant the Moulin Rouge ensemble.

    “Don’t be daft,” Star answered, not knowing what else to say. She clearly wasn’t expecting carrots either. Although it sort of made sense in a culinary continuity sort of way, now they were looking for basil, come to think of it.

    “Where do you think they’ll be keeping him?” whispered Tara.

    “With the garlic and butter?” guffawed Star Wrexham.

    “HEY! You two!” someone waved at them from the back. “Yes you two! About time you arrived!”

    It was too late to flee. Tara rolled her eyes. It wouldn’t take one minute for their undercover to be uncovered.
    But with Star’s luck, the guy could well guide them straight to the missing uncle Basil. Unless of course there was another side business of the cult which required scantily dressed as nurse ladies, and they could still hope to blend in… Either or, but in any case, they would figure it out pretty soon.

    #5830

    In reply to: Tart Wreck Repackage

    EricEric
    Keymaster

    “Well, that was certainly enlightening.” Star said, once they got out of the bushes where they’d fell.

    Tara looked at the bushes and mused “Must be what they mean when they say it all went pear-shaped from now on…”

    “Nonsense, Tara. At least we now know there’s a good chance the real Vince was planning to spread some pathogen into the cult, got caught and sent into a coma for it.”

    “Shouldn’t we leave Rosamund with those silly conspiracy theories? After all, we were hired to find Basil, not to save the world.”

    “Thank the Mother for that, we’re not equipped, and it can’t afford our saving.”

    “Speak for yourself!” hissed Tara. “So, Basil? Any idea where he might be now?”

    “My guess he’s held prisoner at the cult. We should give it a second look.”

    “Might be tougher now it’s in lockdown.”

    Star grinned widely. “I always knew I’d find good use for those nice fancy party nurse dresses.”

    #5368
    AvatarJib
    Participant

    Noor Mary Chowdhury had just been promoted to the role of housekeeper since the arrival of the new Iranian maid, May. It was a nice change of position but sadly the salary was not really following, she’ll have to talk to the chief of stuff, Mr August. She suspected him to have a crush on her and he might get a word in her favor to Mr Lump.

    “Tskk,” she said to May. “You’re not doing it right, rub gently with the newspaper to make the silver shine.”

    “Like that?” asked May. Norma bobbed her head the Indian way, and as May seemed a bit confused she added “close enough.”

    “Mayyyyy”.

    The shout startled them both.

    “Keep doing like that only. I’m the housekeeper, I’ll go check.”

    Norma went to the nursery room and her lips tightened when she saw the two au pair aunties slumped on the couch. June’s eyes were misty, she turned her bottle upside down to show it was empty. April was busy on her phone as usual, ignoring the maid as if she was insignificant.

    Norma snorted, she didn’t say anything but showed her disapproval silently. June’s breath could make an elephant drunk while sitting on its back and April was so ugly she would make it run away.

    “I’m not your maid,” the housekeeper said.

    “Oh that’s right!” said June to April “Coz she’s got a PhD!” and they laughed.

    It hurt but Norma kept her lips tight and left the room. She bumped into Mr August Finest and her mind went blank. He was tall and wore a handsome moustache. She had forgotten she wanted to talk to him about her salary.

    #4810
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    Nurse Trassie sniffed the rubbish can. A day or two at most. The traces were not fresh, but neither were her preys. Yet, there was something unmistakable about the trail the three of them left in their wake.
    The pharmacist had been reluctant at first to share information, but a well-placed arm wrench extracted the truth out of him very efficiently. Those misbehaving lying eloping people needed to be corrected.
    “Yes, yes, I remember them three, very nice ladies!” he said in pleading tones. “They didn’t say where they lived, pleaase! But they were late for their plane!”
    “To where?!” Nurse Trassie was losing patience as much as the plot, and it made her angry.
    “To Finland I think, they were complaining about the cold, and they bought lip balm, and and…”
    Nurse Trassie had heard enough, she could track them through the flight agencies. How these three had managed to take a flight out of the country was a surprise. They’d surely had help.

    She growled to herself “I’m not going to be bested by these decrepit slovens, mark my words. I’ll bring them back to the nursing home by the rest of their hair if I have to!”

    #4798
    FloveFlove
    Participant

    “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.

    #4789
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    “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!”

    #4784
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    When Nurse Trassie woke up with the worse case of hang-over she had since the retirement party of Doctor Minkitystump, she realized something was amiss.
    She couldn’t think straight without her cup of morning joe, so she went for the kitchen, but realized she was still in her nursing pajamas, and had not come home at all.
    “Those old drooling flabby buggers better not have done anything strange, or else…” she muttered to herself with seething anger.
    She punched her muscled arms together, ready to benchpress the deviants and teach them a good correction.

    After a quick tour of the dorms, she redid the math. Three were missing. Three bad apples in need of a dear punishment. That wouldn’t do; no, it wouldn’t do at all.

    #4690
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    What were they doing with all those incontinent pads anyway? Three boxes of 48 pads in two days was impossible to account for. What could they be doing with them? Nurse Trassie frowned as she refilled the bathroom shelf, counting out another dozen. On a hunch, she put some rubber gloves on and rummaged through the trash. If she counted the soiled ones in the bin, she’d know how many were unaccounted for. Only sixteen in the trash, so where were all the rest? That’s, er, 34 missing, no wait, 36? no, 32. Well whatever, she gave up on the maths of it all, it was clear that most of them had gone missing.

    #4689
    FloveFlove
    Participant

    “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!”

    #4514
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    The so-called Police quickly left when they noticed there wasn’t much on the travellers, and that they didn’t look threatening.

    If you’re looking for a place to stay the tallest one said you should go to the Hoping Spice Hospice, it’s not far away from the main street, just three blocks north of here. He looked at the sky, where the waxing gibbous moon was rising.

    I wouldn’t stray too much outside if I were you. The desert black jackals are restless this time of year. He looked at Fox who was fidgeting suspiciously. The lack of sleep and being back in human form when they were called by the Police made him nervous.

    Then, we’ll be on our way. Peace be upon you, Constable. Rukshan said, pushing forward.

    :fleuron:

    The Hospice was an unassuming building, like all the other mud brick houses, except it probably had been lime washed in the past, and patches of the external wall had whitish spots shining under the moon sky.

    The veiled nurse in charge of the night service was sternly quiet, and guided them to a common room. Almost all the beds were full, and the patients seemed to have a fitful sleep.

    “What are those?” Olliver said before Rukshan could shush him. He was pointing at the oil lamps regularly spread across the room, which were shining with a dancing faint blue light.

    “Spirits…” whispered Fox gloomily “Captured spirits…”

    #4125
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    Corrie:

    I’m getting a bit worried about Aunt Idle, she’s been in Iceland ages and we haven’t heard from her, and nothing on her blog for ages, either. When I found this, I did a bit of research into the Bronklehampton case. That’s another story.

    Aunt Idle was going to visit her old friend Margit Brynjúlfursdóttir. It was all very hush hush: Margit had intimated that there was to be a family reunion, but it was to be a surprise party, and she mustn’t breathe a word of it to anyone. Margit had sent her the tickets to Keflavik, instructing her to inform her family and friends that she had won the trip in a story writing competition.

    It was Idle’s first trip to Iceland. She had met Margit in a beach bar near Cairns some years ago, just after the scandalous expose on the goings on of a mad doctor on a remote south Pacific island. The Icelandic woman had been drowning her sorrows, and Idle had been a shoulder to cry on. The age old story of a wayward son, a brilliant mind, so full of potential, victim of a conniving nurse , and now sadly incarcerated on the wrong side of the law.

    Aunt Idle didn’t immediately make a connection between the name Brynjúlfursdóttir and Bronklehampton, indeed it would have been impossible to do so using conventional means, Icelandic naming laws and traditions being what they were. But the intuitive Idle had made a connection notwithstanding. The maudlin woman in the beach bar was clearly the mad doctors mother.

    Idle had invited Margit to come and stay at the Flying Fish Inn for a few weeks before returning to Iceland, a visit which turned out to last almost a year. Over the months, Margit confided in her new friend Idle. Nobody back home in Iceland knew that the doctor in the lurid headlines was her son, and Margit wanted to keep it that way, but it was a relief to be able to talk about it to someone. Idle wasn’t all that sure that Margit was fully in the picture regarding the depths to which the fruit of her loins had sunk, but she witnessed the womans outpourings with tact and compassion and they became good friends.

    The fasten your seatbelts sign flashed and pinged. The landing at Keflavik was going to be on time.”

    ~~~

    ““I wish you’d told me about the 60’s fancy dress party, Margit, I’d have brought an outfit with me,” said Idle.

    Margit looked at her friend quizzically. “What makes you think there’s a fancy dress party?”

    “Why, all the beehive hair do’s! It’s the only explanation I could think of. If it’s not a 60’s party, then why…..?”

    Idle noticed Margit eyeing her long grey dreadlocks distastefully. Self consciously she flung them over her shoulder, inopportunely landing the end of one of them in a plate of some foul substance the passing waiter was carrying.

    Margit jumped at the chance. “Darling, how horrid! All that rams bottom sauce all over your hair! Do try the coconut shampoo I put in your bathroom.””

    ~~~

    And that was the last I’d heard from Aunt Idle.

    #4077
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    “Well, hello there! My name is Barbara, I will be your host during your stay at the Hidden People Estate of Genethic Rejuvenation. Welcome Ms and Mr Asparagus !”

    Barbara’s luscious mane of blond hair was a sight to behold. Tina was almost jealous. She quickly remembered her guru’s words of the day.

    “ Dogs bark at what they don’t understand: See the Positive

    So despite her hopes for a less effusive (almost annoyingly American) introductions, she got her critical mind busy with quickly finding five things to appreciate about Barbara. It was tougher that it looked. Well, for one, she liked the cleanliness of her white nurse blouse…

    Barbara’s chatter seemed inexhaustible, as they coursed through the grounds of the Estate.
    “Of course, we have arranged for your appointment with the best doctors, they will get you in tip-top shape in no time” she giggled irrepressibly.

    Tina glanced at Quentin. Her cousin was calm as a clam, as usual. He didn’t even seem to register the strangeness of that establishment.

    “I’ll be leaving you to have a hot shower, and refreshments, complimentary of the house of course, and I’ll be meeting you later. Dinner will be served at 7, please be on time. Tomorrow morning, breakfast is served from 7 to 9, and your appointment is at 9:30, with Dr B. In case you need anything, you have my number.” Barbara giggled again, blinking at Quentin in what could hardly be construed as flirting.

    “I’ll skip dinner Q, see you at breakfast tomorrow”, Tina closed the door on her cousin without ceremony.

    She finally collapsed on the bed, crushed by fatigue of the flight, jet-lag and all that road trip through small European winding paths. Made you almost miss Maine.

    FloveFlove
    Participant

    NOTES FROM GROUP DISCUSSION:

    [unnamed protagonist] finds themself in a coma, but they don’t realize it. It’s like they’re in a dream state, moving through worlds, gradually discovering their past and what’s happening. The person knows that they’re trying to find their way home, which in reality is them trying to wake up.

    Once they remember their past and what happened leading up to the coma, they wake up…but remember nothing.

    So, as I was trying to structure this, I initially wanted the first book to be their normal waking life and the second book being the coma and the third book being post coma and relearning stuff. But then I figured it would be best to combine the first and second books.

    I wanted the reader to start out confused, just like they would be and gradually learn the back story as they went

    The only thing is, that would mean that this thread has to remain written as coming from their perspective

    we are all writing about ONE character essentially. obviously there are gonna be other characters, but the main thread is this one person

    feel free to incorporate any and all previous characters and locations from your other threads. The protagonist will be moving through them. So he/she finds themselves in these other worlds.

    They’re being swept up into an adventure right from the start without knowing a thing

    let’s drop them into the middle of something exciting

    It’s any time
    It’s a big dream
    In real life, the protagonist is in a coma right now

    But, also, you’ll have a lot of freedom to create those on the spot because neither you nor the reader nor the main character knows them until you write them

    The characters in this story won’t have too much staying power because the main character is moving through so many worlds. Nearly everyone is incidental,

    unless characters appear that are central to the main characters ongoing story, like a nurse for example or family

    At max, there might be two or three reoccurring characters that tend to pop in more often than not as helpers
    Oh, yeah, family from the back story would come in to play a lot

    #4072
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    Aunt Idle was going to visit her old friend Margit Brynjúlfursdóttir. It was all very hush hush: Margit had intimated that there was to be a family reunion, but it was to be a surprise party, and she mustn’t breathe a word of it to anyone. Margit had sent her the tickets to Keflavik, instructing her to inform her family and friends that she had won the trip in a story writing competition.

    It was Idle’s first trip to Iceland. She had met Margit in a beach bar near Cairns some years ago, just after the scandalous expose on the goings on of a mad doctor on a remote south Pacific island. The Icelandic woman had been drowning her sorrows, and Idle had been a shoulder to cry on. The age old story of a wayward son, a brilliant mind, so full of potential, victim of a conniving nurse , and now sadly incarcerated on the wrong side of the law.

    Aunt Idle didn’t immediately make a connection between the name Brynjúlfursdóttir and Bronklehampton, indeed it would have been impossible to do so using conventional means, Icelandic naming laws and traditions being what they were. But the intuitive Idle had made a connection notwithstanding. The maudlin woman in the beach bar was clearly the mad doctors mother.

    Idle had invited Margit to come and stay at the Flying Fish Inn for a few weeks before returning to Iceland, a visit which turned out to last almost a year. Over the months, Margit confided in her new friend Idle. Nobody back home in Iceland knew that the doctor in the lurid headlines was her son, and Margit wanted to keep it that way, but it was a relief to be able to talk about it to someone. Idle wasn’t all that sure that Margit was fully in the picture regarding the depths to which the fruit of her loins had sunk, but she witnessed the womans outpourings with tact and compassion and they became good friends.

    The fasten your seatbelts sign flashed and pinged. The landing at Keflavik was going to be on time.

    #3826

    In reply to: The Hosts of Mars

    prUneprUne
    Participant

    It feels like it has all been a dream. And not a particularly good one, too.

    I look through the window, and the blue sky of Earth shines brightly though. Only a few more days before the quarantine is over, if I’m to believe the hazmat-suited staff, and I should be able to get out to wherever I want to. You can go back to your family the nurse had said with a smile. They surely must miss you.
    Obviously, the well-intentioned nurse had no notion of her family…

    The TV set they’ve put in the rooms is more helpful to piece together the fragments of memory of what happened. The news had kept mum about the aliens, or about our return for that matter. It seems they can’t explain how we came back so fast, without telling more. Maybe that’s the real purpose of the quarantine… brainwash us into forgetting, returning back to our lives quietly, and be happy that we could get back in one piece. Funny they should even bother at all, actually.

    I don’t know if there’s any coming back to how life was before. Surely the Inn and Aunt Idle would still be there, if only both more derelict than before. But would I want to get back? Do what? Only Mater’s sharp wits were ever a match, and she is gone too.

    This is the end of the Mars story.
    With some chance, I’ll start a business with Hans — raise Guinea pigs, rats and maybe a couple of those cute African pygmy hedgehogs. That would be a lot more fun.
    Squeals and cackles, and truckloads of cuteness.

    #3790

    In reply to: The Hosts of Mars

    EricEric
    Keymaster

    For all her wired cleverness, there was something that the central intelligence had seemingly forgotten to take into account in her parameters.

    Eb woke up in a sweat, barely remembering bits of a horrible dream of being chased and banging on a closed door for escape from a herd of phombies (those guys who had their phones implanted under their skins and would often have a creepy vacant look while in communication).

    The banging on the door. According to his mother, if there was something that her nurse Fancy Woo was better at than cooking rice, it was at interpreting dreams. But he didn’t need her expert advice on this one.

    His mind was aching from the lack of alcohol, but at least he could think quite clearly.
    There weren’t many accesses to enter the simulation, for obvious reasons. Continuity had to be maintained at all costs, to preserve the sanctity of the experiment. That motto had survived the multiple iterations of the simulation since its inception.

    Eb knew of most of them, even if he’d wondered about the presence of backdoors. He had not been able to find any since his many years of service. So for all he knew, there were only two ways to get in and out: up and down. “Up” through the fake ships, with the whole stasis protocol, and “down”, through the mines were they would usually send agents from time to time, mostly for reconnaissance purposes.

    He looked at the screen, and as he had feared, the explosion triggered in the tunnels by Finnley had sealed their main exit point.

    “You underestimate me, my dear Eb” the voice of Finnley merrily bounced on the insulated walls.

    Eb was startled. Hadn’t he known that Finnley was just a program, he could have sworn her synthetic voice had a trace of menace in it.

    Finnley” he regained his composure as much as he could “Haven’t the thought occurred to you that the tunnels are now sealed? We cannot let your blue aliens go in and out as easily now!”
    “Eb, you do know I do not think.” Her voice was still slightly ominous. “But I ran multiple simulation, and this one still yields the best possible outcome.” she continued more cheerily.
    “How so?”
    “It is evident. Many of the earlier settlers, still know about the simulation, even if they self-programmed themselves to accept the illusion as better than outside reality. They can become a problem for the evacuation protocol. With the tunnels’ exit collapsed, they have no other way than to comply. Besides, what good plausible aliens come out from the ground, really. We don’t want to miss their grand entrance.
    And don’t be such a worrywort about budget, Eb.”

    #3789

    In reply to: The Hosts of Mars

    EricEric
    Keymaster

    When Eb woke up, there was a dozen messages left on his phone.
    He didn’t have to check to know.
    His mother wasn’t too subtle when he missed their weekly call.

    She now lived in a modest retiring home in Mississippi, spending most of her time on social networks exchanging links about anything from politics and revolution and anarchy, kittens and drugs. Oh, that, and politics too. And revolution.
    She was suffering from early stages of Alzheimer, but called it “transition” as the old-age hype advertised some decades earlier, and due to her refusal to take her prescriptions, it wasn’t improving much as time went by. But Eb’s prognosis was more like “selective Alzheimer”, as she would perfectly recall when (and how many times) he had missed their weekly calls.

    He could already hear her complain about how she was left out of the loop, that the world story would be over by the time she catches up with all the gossips they’d hidden from her. Often, she would become so agitated that Fancy, her nurse would come help her relax and stop waking up the others. Everything was much less confusing thanks to Fancy.

    After all that is said, he loved his mother deeply. She was always full of extravagant ideas and when she stopped doubting herself, she had her moments of sheer brilliance.

    Being his only son, that she’d taken care of as a single mother most of her life, he felt tremendous pressure to be worthy of her sacrifices. So talking about his job wasn’t really something he liked to explore with her. If she’d known what he did for a living,… he couldn’t bear to imagine the look of crushed hopes and expectations on her devastated face. Well, suffice to say her face needn’t any of it.
    Instead, he’d told her he was working in a tree nursery, working on pest control, with humane and eco-conscious methods. Which actually wasn’t too far off the truth. The pests were the glitches of the program, and the vegetables… well, that didn’t need much explaining.

    “Tricia speaking, who’s this?” Eb knew she knew perfectly well it was him, but the game was ever the same
    “Mother, it’s Eb”
    “Ebenezer, my dear boy, how kind of you to remember your old mother. What have you been up to? So many things happened here, with that new batch of decrepit old farts who arrived last month, so much drama. But you should tell me about you. Oh, makes me recall that stupid incident, a synch! I should tell Fancy about it! Fancy, Fancy!
    Oh dear… She’s gone cleaning up again. The last one who came in is a Chinese, and all his family is there, I bet she’s cooking some rice now, it smells funny. Fancy! Mind the rice! So well, it’s like the twins I talk with on the Internet, with funny names, Cilantro and Nutmeg, something like that, well, they have so many funny stories, like that meteor that dropped on Mars and blacked-out the TV show, they think it’s all bollocks. I told them I’d ask you about this, after all you did some studies in physics before becoming a gardener, you’ve always been the clever one in the lot, always helping with the dust stuck in my keyboard, and other IT problems. Oh dear… that was fun, but I think I must go, Fancy is waving at me, she says hello by the way! Oh, she rolls your eyes at you, how cute! Time for my siesta, … what? Oh, and change my nappies too, thanks Fancy, you’re precious, I keep forgetting everything. Talk to you soon my boy!”

    Well… If he hadn’t been so hungover, he probably would have tried to place some funny comments, or at least a well-meaning “hmmm hmmm”, to let her know he wasn’t just letting her monologue. Today was a good day notwithstanding, she hardly had a complaint. He should remember to send Fancy a card and a nice honey pot like he did every year, she was doing wonders at pacifying his mother.

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