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      Ricardo had finished cleaning the tea cups in the empty office. He liked the job alright, it was a bit silly of him to surmise people would clean their own cups, and do their own teas. That was what he’d meant with the team job comment.

      Connie and Hilda were right, totally right about it; he couldn’t expect too much, he’d just arrived, he was just a simple intern in a prestigious journalistic establishment. He’d come here to learn the tricks of the trade, when he’d answered the wanted: secretary and cleaner ad of last week.
      So far, there was only so much golden nuggets of weirdo news he could find. You’d need some serious training to get to the level of Hilda and Connie, the dynamic duo.

      For now, he was content to being put to menial tasks, it helped know the colleagues better, support them as he could with the pressure on the deadlines. And also, improving the typos and legibility by cleaning up the loose letters dropped during typesetting.
      His own headline baiting skill was still rather low —it was an art to create the perfectly sexyied up heading, not too tacky, but enticing enough to captivate the readership’s attention.
      If Hilda was the queen of headline fishing, Connie was undoubtedly the empress of headline baiting.


        Ignoring the peculiar behaviour of Finnley, who seemed to be having a strange turn (Flove only knew what had happened to her during her absence), Liz continued with her explanation.

        “It’s the new exercise in the Mandala of Ascensions group. There are Leader Personalities, and there are Supporter Personalities ~ and let me be perfectly clear, there are no in betweens or other categories in this particular exercise. Members of the group must choose one category only.”

        Liz paused to light a cigarette, and turn down the background chatter emanating from the puerile radio show, which was distracting her from her train of thought.


          Geoffroy du Limon had felt confident that he had the skills to act the new role, considering his notable career in the theatre in the old story. He liked his new name: Miles Fitzroy suited him perfectly; and he anticipated resonating with London (although he would have preferred New Zealand: he’d heard that his old friend Francette Fine had been assigned a new story there). He found himself floundering, however, in unexpected ways.

          The most unsettling factor was the absence of a back story. Without associations or automatic habits, he was unsure how to play his personality. Without triggers, where was the humour? There was simply nothing dramatic, comedic or tragic, nothing to make the play thrilling, exciting, or enticing, if everyone was an innocuous beige blob. A present beige blob is still a blob and not very interesting.

          Roll up! Roll up! Come and see the show! Watch the cast focusing on themselves and not reacting to triggers! Nothing to judge here, folks, Roll up!

          Geoffroy had no idea that having so few limiting guidelines could be so difficult. One had always assumed that it was the limiting guidelines that boxed one in, held one back, he mused, not the other way round. It was indeed a challenge, and he found himself feeling nostalgic for the old story.


            “Oh, what a perfectly splendid idea.You are a genius.” Evangeline smiled to herself as she imagined Ed fingering his moustache—a sweet little habit he had whenever he felt embarrased— and blushing at her praise.

            “Well I don’t know about that; let’s see if it works first,” said Ed gruffly. “Insanitization en masse at a bake sale is no piece of cake.”

            He paused significantly but when nothing was forthcoming from the lovely Evangeline he added a little impatiently: “No piece of cake. Get it?”

            Evangeline (who had not got it) quickly tried to make amends. “Hahahahahaha you are a droll fellow!” she chuckled, just a tad too loudly. It almost sounded like a cackle and if there was one thing Ed Steam was renowned for it was his ability to sort out the chuckles from the cackles.

            There was a strained silence.

            “Anyway, Evangeline, who made this latest cackling complaint? Are they going to cause any trouble or are they just your usual run of the mill cackle complainer?

            Bea somebody. She just moved to Cackletown recently and we don’t know much about her yet. Or what she is capable of. I think we need to keep a close eye on that one.”


              “We have registered your complaint and our Noise Control Officer will be around shortly.”

              The smooth voice of the woman on the other end of the line did little to placate Bea. In fact, she could feel herself working up to a frenzy.

              “The damn officer will come around and that cackler will stop cackling and your officer will say: we can’t do anything about the cackling if we don’t hear the cackling for ourselves. Because we have to measure the decibels of the cackle and we have to ascertain the cackle is indeed loud enough for us to warrant confiscating the cackle.

              Bea knew she was getting agitated and took a deep breath. Just breathe. Calm down.

              “It really is most annoying to be woken up continually by cackling. What would you do in my situation? she asked, miserably imagining the red manicured fingernails and perfectly coiffured hair which surely must be attached to a voice this calm and imperturbable.

              “Have you tried talking to the Cackler? It’s always best if people can work it out between themselves. Point out to them how their cackling is impacting on your quality of life. I am sure they will be reasonable.”


              In reply to: The Hosts of Mars


                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.


                  Liz went to the patio followed by her rat poodle who was wearing a pink adidas jacket matching perfectly with Liz’ pink rabbit sleepers.
                  “Oh gosh, I forgot the little dirty thing”, she said rolling eyes.
                  Sonia, that was the dog’s name, barked like only rat poodles know how to bark, with a classy snappy high pitched tone.


                    Flora came to her senses muttering something about a coachload of American tourists in Italy. Bert had been the first to arrive at the scene of the accident. Not one to flap in a crisis, he calmly picked up the injured woman and carried her to the sofa in the living room, instructing Prune to fetch the mop and clean the blood off the floor. By the time Bert had seen to the wound on Flora’s head, she was starting to come round, muttering gibberish and apparently confused.

                    “Where am I? Is this Florence or Rome? Am I late?” she asked, telling Bert she was perfectly alright now thank you, although she clearly wasn’t.

                    “No, you aint late, dear, it’s still quite early,” Bert replied soothingly.

                    “But I must get to the Vatican Library, I must be getting on now,” she said, trying to stand up.

                    Bert gently but firmly pushed her back down, saying, “Have a nice cup of tea first, plenty of time for that later.”

                    “What the dickens is going on now?” asked Mater. “What’s all this about Rome? Anyone seen my reading glasses?” she asked, peering around the room from the doorway.

                    Bert explained briefly, and asked Mater to sit with Flora while he went to make the tea.


                      Another bang on my bedroom door, my hands suspended over the keyboard. “Go away Prune!” I shouted, exasperated. “If you bang on my door again, I’ll come out and give you such a wallop, now bugger off, will you!”

                      “It’s me, Corrie” came Clove’s voice. Walked over to the door and unlocked it. A chat with my sister might help me with this project. Unlike Prune, who would be guaranteed to disrupt my train of thought.

                      Locking the door again I tell Clove what I’m writing about. We don’t go to school, me and Clove, we’re what they call “homeschooled” but what that actually means in our case is that we’re left to our own devices most of the time. Aunt Idle asks us (when she remembers) what we’ve been working on, and as long as we’ve been writing something or researching something, she’s happy.

                      So when I saw the group project about alternative timelines to avoid the disaster timeline, I had some ideas. Well, to be honest, I didn’t have any definite ideas until I saw the other suggestions. All Americans, and all of them talking about changing the timelines by changing the results of presidential elections!

                      “Not much chance of a different timeline there then!” remarked Clove astutely.

                      “Exactly!” I knew Clove would get it, she knows were I’m coming from, but then, everyone knows twins are like that.

                      “So this is what the plan is, right: “The goal of this exercise is to discuss amongst the group and choose significant past moments, and then As a Group, focus on creating alternate histories, thus sparking alternate timelines. We should vividly imagine moving forward from those probability forks and creating a more viable and desirable future.” Oh, and this bit here: “ our current timeline is convoluted to the point where many probabilities are leaning towards a disaster scenario simply to shake out of the current focus.” And then all these suggestions about different presidents, and then this: “My suggestion would be also to consider how we would like our current time frame to appear,” so I’m thinking…”

                      “I’m thinking” interrupted Clove, continuing my train of thought, “Of all those states and communities that got with the programme ten years ago, and took their kids out of school and built those Earthships so they didn’t need money for water and electricity..”

                      “And started cooperative worker owned businesses like they do in South America….”

                      “And they all started a guaranteed basic income years ago, so everyone was doing what they did best, especially the kids, cos they had such great ideas and weren’t stuck in boring schoolrooms…..”

                      “and there was no poverty, and nobody without a home…”

                      “Yeah, and they all stopped paying taxes so there was no money for the military, and then loads more people stopped paying taxes too…”

                      “Good one, Clove!”

                      “So nobody gave a fuck what president was elected anyway, because they were all sorting themselves out, and those states and communities were doing so well…”

                      “Because they’d already been doing it for years” I added.

                      “…that other states and communities started doing it too.”

                      “So that it snowballed, like dominoes, and there were more and more of these places..”

                      “And they had exchange students and stuff like that to learn from each other, and shared stuff online..”

                      “So when the disasters struck, it wasn’t half so bad because there were already a bunch of people managing perfectly well without dollars or oil, and they could help the people in the disaster. Makes more sense that electing another blimmin president, huh?”

                      “Bloody obvious if you ask me” replied Clove. “Pity we don’t have basic income, did you see Mater’s face when she was talking to that debt collector?”

                      That made me laugh, remembering her waving the stick around. “Her face was as purple as her cardigan.”

                      In unison, we both starting singing Start Wearing Purple and dancing around, acting the fool. I had a purple wig hanging on the back of my chair, so I put that on, and Clove grabbed a purple feather boa off the coat stand. No shortage of wigs in this town, though god only knows why. Just about every damn trunk in every empty house is full of wigs.


                        Second Journey ~ August 24th, 2014

                        Duration 24 minutes

                        Directions : Meet with your power animal, ask them to lead you to the upper realm to meet with your guide. Ask the name of your guide and what they will be likely helping you with. Ask them for your personal symbol and how you can use it. Then follow your power animal into showing you the potential development for the stories.


                        My snake animal guide appears very fast, I see its eyes first. It shifts into a powerful cobra, and fans out its hood into multiple heads, like Ananta (Shesha Naga), and says I can call him Nagini (like in Harry Potter, that’s also the playful name I give to the plush snake at our doorsteps).
                        It wraps its multiple heads around me like a ball, and we woosh into the ground to what I guess is the underworld, it seems like a long coiled path around a sort of vortex, after a few moments in a sort of crystal cave, I’m a bit skeptical what we’re doing there, I catch a glimpse of a white horse from the back, so I guess Jib’s Conan is checking on us, and restate my intent.
                        I go though the light of one of the brightest glowing crystals, and the travel resumes, this time like the giant snake wraps ourselves in coils around a column of rocks, and we climb that high mountain very fast. It reminds me of Mt Meru in Buddhism or the Immortals palace in the Chinese Buddhist tales (like in the 2014 movie The Monkey King).
                        The place is like a beautiful platform/palace of giant proportions, with a golden light. When we arrive, the snake becomes much smaller, and golden too, and wraps itself around my left arm. It guides me to explore different places, a temple, a place over the clouds where there are dances, etc. I decide to rest under a tree and meditate and be open to possibilities.
                        The snake shifts around in various forms as if to reflect the nature of my mind, a giant parasol, or a stream of many paths at my feet. It connects me to a picture I saw of a Buddhist painting where the mind represented as an elephant is led by the monkey brain around a snake-like path. I realize the person I saw briefly earlier is the guide that helped Sunwukong (the monkey king) and seems to be the guide I’m looking for.
                        (I find the name later is Puti or Subhuti).
                        When I mentally ask for a name, the name Pachacamac comes strongly. He shows me many things related to my symbol. As a spinning cube with the floating feather in the middle and the arrow pointing towards the heart. The spin of the cube creates illusion within illusion, the arrow wobbles but stays towards the heart.
                        He shows me a chasm and how to create a bridge over the clouds, by showing me the mirror image in my heart chakra. The bridge is built inside. At the same time, I was trying to focus on the music to deepen the trance, and realized outside (one storey below) was Jib’s music played on the speakers, aligned with the one playing in the headset, although a few seconds off, the rhythm was perfectly in synch…
                        He also shows me another image, of a deep well deep inside the mountain that we can see from above the clouds. The image inside is dark and fluctuates with the water’s surface, and also reflecting quite a small portion of the beautiful landscape around.
                        He explains that the well is the world we create, the mind and the perception is the water’s surface. It’s the external world, while the heart is all that we perceive as we discuss.
                        There are other things shared at a subjective level.

                        After I connected with my power animal, we went to the upper world. We went through water to get there until we came to land.
                        I asked for my main guide.
                        I think I took on the characteristics of my guide. by that I mean I felt myself become a different being, and then switched back and forwards between myself and the other. It was very clear. The other was masculine, strong, very alert, very watchful, powerful.
                        I asked for the guide’s name and received the answer, Carlos.
                        I asked for the area which the guide would work with me. I have had a sharp pain in my left abdomen under my rib for half an hour. I felt my guide reach in and do something energetically in that area. The pain left and has not returned.
                        I asked for a symbol and saw what looked like a key-hole shape.
                        There was a key too.
                        It was a very particular shape.
                        There was a door. And the key hole was up very high in the door.
                        I had to reach up high to get to it. And I put the key in.
                        I wasn’t sure if those were symbols.
                        The key hole and the key were shapes.
                        I was tracing them with my hand.

                        I settle in myself and arrive directly in a kind of lava world. There are stalagmites and magma puddles, it’s very fiery and earthy. Then I call my horse who just nudge my left shoulder, he was already there.
                        I ride him first and take time to bond with him. Then ask him to take me to the upper realm to Michel. Without much transition I am there, I feel a definite difference of feeling and texture. I say hi and ask Michel if he can show me the use of my personal symbol or particular aspects to it.
                        The he focuses my attention to the octagon and the connection with the number eight. He shows me how it connects with the musical octave and sounds as a resonator. It can also be used like the shamanic drum. The coil inside is connected with the circle, the spiral and the labyrinth. My symbol is a kind of labyrinth with the diamond representing the central room where the graal is, so to speak.
                        He shows me other stuff that I don’t recall at the moment.
                        When I realize that it will be all, I ask my guide if he can introduce me to another guide that can help me with the use of my symbol. He sends me in a direction that goes up in a cave world. There are faceless figures, I don’t pay much attention to them. When I arrive, the guide sits me on the ground and a journey inside my symbol begins. With the octagon connecting quite strongly with the lava and earth again. I am in a lava world again, which is strange. I ask the guide what is his name and I suddenly understand it is Athumbra the Dreamwalker from whom I’m fragmented.
                        He shows me the connection of my symbol to the fire and earth, and the depth of the world. He suggests me that instead of focusing on the shape of the symbol I connect with how the different parts connects together and to other aspects of consciousness, and how they are representative of my own energy personality. Not try to look outside for an answer in a way at the moment.
                        So I begin to experience the shapes, and it turns like a clock, take different colors, etc.
                        This will be something I’ll have to do again.
                        Then I ask my power animal to show me what would be interesting to me to explore in the story now.
                        He shows me a nest and I connect it with the stork nests I’ve been talking about in the last comment and that I used in the quote of the week picture. Without consciously connecting the two. I’ve written the comment before making the picture.
                        It will have to do with how the nest is comfortable but don’t make you learn much about life and your potentials.
                        Then he showed me something related to ants and colonies, that I connected with Mars, the colonies of Mars. There is something about community and social network for me to explore.
                        Then I asked him to help me decipher the energy transmission Eric sent to me the other day, and it had something to do with networks again and how we create a space of something through our relationships, the space of love, the space of friendship, and we create fields and connective tissues that we nourish through experience and attention and involvement.
                        At some point in the beginning I briefly wondered what was happening with you guys and felt propelled into something like water and impression of struggling with current, there were two moon crescents holding together by their “backs”, and purple or pink colors.

                        The Zebra walked towards me across a grassy plain then I circled him, floating, and we went down a slope through the trees, an old road paved with stones. We wound down and came to a great expanse of metallic pink water, like a wise (typo! wide) river.
                        There was a guy in much heavy stone coloured rough clothes on with a very old face who didn’t look at me, he was on a raft with a long pole for steering. Asked his name and got Frudo. (was slightly skeptical that I got the name right) The symbol was like a clubs of cards, 3 circles interlocking with an in flow of the stem part. Domain was water, flow and fluidity (and dams, apparently).
                        We went down with the raft on the wide pink river, and the pace increased and there were people of all kinds lining both banks, watching. The wide river came to an immensely steep and deep waterfall, but there were pools and much smaller waterfalls on either side of it. All the water was pink.
                        We navigated from pool to pool on the right of the waterfall mostly, each pool had people, some of the pools were dammed, and some were more open and easily flowing to the next pool. Some dams were high and some pools had people looking over the edge at the waterfalls below their pools.
                        In a pool on the right, a very fat pink baby was sitting in the middle, I picked him up and held him and asked his name and it was Ezekial.
                        Then a fly landed on my right shoulder and I looked to the right and saw a scrunched up face of my mother, with a tight smile. My breathing started to get constricted and I saw mustard yellow mangle of tubes like intestines in that pool.
                        Then there was a lot of fingers stroking and pulling threads out of the dam around that pool, like pulling soft pink wax. Breathing continued to be restricted, and some becoming vapour or mist stuff that wasn’t very clear or droplets leaping from pool to pool as an alternative route to surface pools and waterfalls….
                        Then went down down down into a vast pool of pink water, faster and faster towards a narrow tube at the bottom, and then flipped over onto my back and saw the sun far above and rose slowly floating towards the surface.
                        Several times I saw purple and light green.
                        The breathing thing was interesting if not so pleasant.
                        The personal symbol may be connected to the flow from pool to pool somehow.


                          Lazuli Galore looked back over his shoulder to make sure that the three travelers were following him. He retained his shapeshifted elephant form for the time being for high visibility purposes in the fog, and so as not to confuse the new arrivals with a sudden change of appearance. The first thing was to gain their trust and ensure that they followed him. His job was to monitor new arrivals and escort them inside the walled city of Gazalbion before they could start any more settlements in the free zone. The problem of new arrivals had escalated post 2014 as more and more people developed the art of teleporting, and the island to many was considered a promised land, a land of wine and cucumbers, attracting the world weary and the bored, the adventurous explorers, as well as the merely curious day trippers. Had they all been regular tourists of the old fashioned kind, who came for a determinate short stay and spent lavishly on the resident occupants provisions, it would not have been a problem, it would have been welcomed. But these people were staying, leaving only for brief trips back home to attend to their responsabilites there, and returning, bringing ever more people with them to settle in the free zone. They were arriving in droves, and it was of paramount importance to contain them, and shield the free zone from their incursions.

                          Lazuli Galore was pleased to see that the three travelers were running to catch up with him. The other one would have been more trouble, and Lazuli knew he was right to despatch him to the elsespace arrangement with a perfectly executed parachute drop. It was the first time he had tried the novel approach of a parachuting elephant and was pleased with the result. It would not be long before that guy found his way out and came looking for his companions, but Gazalbion wasn’t far and Lazuli was confident that the three would be safely locked behind it’s walls before he reappeared.


                            Irina gave an appreciative look at the holographic map that Mr R had made of the island.
                            By a simple triangulation technique combined with sophisticated echolocation, the robot had managed to come up with a rough estimation of it, even though scattered patches were black, representing the blind spots, apparently due to the abundance of water bodies on the island that created interferences.

                            “Well, it actually looks better than I expected, the coast is a bit rocky, but probably more temperate and less humid than here. Some of those spots here seem to hint at habitations…”
                            “Madam is absolutely right” Mr R opined with confidence, and a glimmer of pride in his forehead interface.

                            “When the girl is well enough to travel, we’ll leave.”
                            “She’s still a bit cold and delirious.” The robot assessed, “Her condition has improved steadily, if not quickly. There is a good chance the green won’t go, but she will live.”

                            “Have you finished the sentinel?”
                            “Yes, Madam. It is complete and will serve well in monitoring the gate. Besides water rats and wrecked boats, not much seems to have went through recently. Although…”
                            “Yes Mr R?”
                            “I’m not quite certain Madam, which is confusing for me, but there was a moment were my sensors noticed a presence of a young person, but it lasted only for a few nanoseconds in a row, then I could not perceive it… It probably was a malfunction of my sensors Madam, I apologize, but the humidity…”
                            “I don’t believe your sensors malfunctioned Mr R. I do believe someone’s been trying to phase in, but didn’t succeed. Make sure your sentinel can detect such things…”
                            She went on: “Another thing, before I go for my astral meditation. Did you manage to get me a date? I’m no rocket science expert, but it sounds easier to get than your quite astonishing map Mr R.”
                            “Madam is too kind. And as as always, perfectly astute. This should be easy, but again this modest robot has run into a profoundly perplexing paradox.”
                            “A paradox, how exciting. What is it?”
                            “According to the shifting position of constellations during the nights and the sun’s elevation, the results differ from one day to another. We have to run a few more test to be conclusive…”
                            “Is is a local occurrence?”
                            “It seems to be true for the whole island, Madam. It is currently fluctuating between a series of years, some of which I mapped to the following years, in no particular order: 555, 777, 888, 1010, 1111, 1212, and so on until 2121, and as well, a series of related geographical points on the Earth.”
                            “No wonder it seems to be the garbage collector of the entire universe”, she sighed.

                            Then, something hit her.

                            If myths of such places were to be trusted… Could it be… the mythical Avalon ?
                            If that were the case… Who could well be the mysterious resuscitated bog mummy?
                            One of the island’s Queens ?”

                            She smiled to herself, brushing off the notion. Irina, you’re such a hopeless romantic…


                              Mirabelle and Adeline sat in the morning sun on the verandah, appreciatively nibbling the perfectly formed sliced toasted bread and marmalade.
                              Almost six months had passed since they’d been found on the beach, confused and soaked, babbling incoherently. An early morning beach walker had found them (she had wondered if she was dreaming or hallucinating), and had attempted to engage them in conversation. A rudimentary smattering of French acquired during a grape picking sojourn in France many years ago helped. Much of what the bizarrely clad group said was incomprehensible, but it was clear that they were lost and hungry, so Lisa invited them back home with her. They were reluctant to get into the car, fearing a trap, and when she started the engine, they panicked and scrambled to get back out until Boris calmed them down and suggested they had better trust this stranger because frankly, what were their options? She seemed kind and helpful, even if she was shockingly under dressed with her legs exposed for all to see, and had an invisible and very noisy horse pulling her carriage.
                              Lisa lived in a relatively new community of creative and forward thinking individuals who were in the process of renovating an abandoned village in the orange groves. They called the village the Trading Post, a name that was a loose play on words on the social media platform where they had first become acquainted and traded and shared posts. They were a diverse assortment of people from all over the world, united with the common goal of experimenting with a new type of anarchist culture, a novel creative and expansive playful approach that was becoming increasingly popular.
                              Pierre and Étienne’s knowledge of French had come to the rescue upon the first arrival of the group, as they unraveled their strange tale. After much confusing conversation and translations for the rest of the occupants of the village, it became clear that the group were time travelers, although somewhat accidental and clearly unprepared.
                              While the travelers rested after an unfamiliar but welcome meal, the villagers discussed the situation with much interest and curiosity. It was decided that they would keep the news of the travelers a secret for the time being, and gradually assist them with learning about their new timeframe, current customs and the local languages.


                                The next morning, Linda Paul consulted her mailbox. Seventy three messages. She had a nervous laugh. ‘Incredible’, she thought as she sifted through the mails. More and more incompetence, that was all there was in the mails. The maintenance team had been unable to unclog the time sewers. They were writing mails after mails to show that they were working. Linda Paul felt an urge to answer back ‘Stop writing mail and work!’ But instead she remembered the Love and Shine training she went with Sadie last month. “Breath in, deeply, blink three times slowly, and exhale”, she said inwardly. Already she felt better.

                                They didn’t have much time, which was a bit of a paradox considering that they had a time sewer at their disposal, but the more it stayed clogged, the more difficult it would be to find the precise way out.

                                She put on her blue and silver work suit. It really fitted her. Doubled with artificial mouse fur, very warm and good for qi circulation. She had silvery stripes added to make it more queen-like. She chose her platform boots carefully, she didn’t want to get too muddy nor stay stuck in the time muck.

                                The time sewer central hub was not at the bar. This was merely one of the numerous available entry points. It was hidden in the calanques near Aubagne. She had to drive her Subaru SUV to go there. Which was not an easy task with platform boots. When she arrived on site, she realized the work team was not there. She squinted her eyes. That was suspicious. Who was sending the mails if nobody was doing anything ?

                                She went to the hub and almost puked before she could get close enough to see what was inside. The smell was terrible, all the scum of the ages seemed to have disgorged here. She found a gas mask, which fit perfectly once she had gotten rid of her Darco Barbane meringue wig. She saw her face in the side mirror of a truck. She looked a bit like Bobba Fet. She pushed away the irritation to have to go to such length with her pride to have the work done.

                                It was much better with the mask, she realized. So it was a small price to pay to the drag-style. When she arrived to the hub, it looked worse than she had imagined. The edge of the sewer hub was covered in white moss, which seemed to be pulsating slowly. She thanked her Love and Shine training once again, it helped her keep her smile on as she went on. What she saw next alarmed her. A few people were lying there, unconscious. Yet, some of them were wearing masks. Not a good idea to go further.

                                She’d always been proud of her quick wit. It had helped her a lot when guys were mocking her wigs at school. Now she needed it for another kind of life threatening situation. She looked around, trucks, barracks, more people on the floor, a ginger cat licking its balls… she laughed nervously. Strange that the cat didn’t seem affected. She noted that somewhere in her mind, she might need it later. Then she saw exactly what she needed. The dildo truck. She never remembered the real name, but it sure looked like a giant dildo in the front of a truck. She didn’t know what was its real use of course, but years of gauging the size of men’s attributes allowed her to see that it fitted perfectly the sewer hub.

                                “Hard on, ladies”, she thought as she climbed in the front seat, saying a silent prayer to all the Queens of all ages. She started the truck and began to move. She had the weirdest impression to understand what it mean to think with your dick. She stopped the truck, facing the sewer hole with her dildo. She noticed a small red button on the dashboard, it had a tag on it which read “lubricant”. She pushed it several times and nothing happened. Go to hell, she thought.
                                Then the queen revved up the truck. “Love and Shine, biiiitches”, she said as a mantra, and let it all go.

                                The mind has a tendency to forget unpleasant things. All she could remember was that she had to get in and out several times. And that nasty suction noise. But in the end, she could clean wash the white moss with the water jet incorporated in the truck. She turned the sewer back on and threw the gas mask in the hole to check it. As good as new, and the smell was gone too. Her incredible memory allowed her to register that the cat as well was gone.


                                  “Aaahahah…” Linda Paul ended her laugh abrutptly and looked fearsomely at the three newly dubbed Musqueerteers. “You thought the competition was over, girls ? It had only just begun.”

                                  The girls swallowed in unison, all pouting disappeared from their young drag faces.

                                  Sadie Merrie will guide you through the Time Sewer Machine, and your next challenge will be to arrive clean and shiny at your destination. A broken nail… A lost eyelash”
                                  The crowd of defeated queens and the other clients gaped as Linda Paul’s kept silent longer than necessary.
                                  “And you’ll be out. Ahahah. Everybody here will watch you and follow your every moves for this mission. So remain dignified, you represent all the Queens of our time”


                                  When Linda Paul had talked about the Time Sewer Machine, Maurana had silently hoped it was a typo for Time Sewing Machine. But her hope faded away like a crying widow make-up when she saw where Sadie Merry had led them.
                                  They sadly left the buzz and cheer ups to go through a small door in the backstage of the club. It opened in a dark courtyard. It was already night outside, and a breeze made the young Queens shiver. No light. There was a black hole in the middle of the yard and they could smell what was inside before they could see it.
                                  “Phew”, said Consuela, “It’s worse than inside Maurice’s pants”. It didn’t help relax nor clear the atmosphere.

                                  They heard the noise of an engine starting and suddenly the lights went on. Maurana looked behind her back and saw Sadie Merry near an electricity board with blinking lights. Their was something shiny about her whole being. It looked like a protective extensible gloss suit fitting her sobre attire and her beehive wig perfectly. It didn’t seem to touch the clothes or the humongous wig, and yet it was moving graciously around.

                                  Terry looked at the sewer. The content had begun to turn around and was soon turning fast enough to create a kind of vortex of garbage. “Where are our suits ..?” asked Terry with a hopeful smile, looking around. The older Queen’s gaze killed this hope in a squish.

                                  “You have to shout your team slogan, girls”, Sadie said flatly.
                                  “A slogan ?” asked the Musqueerteers. They looked at each others, and Consuela giggled.
                                  “Wigs for all”, she tentatively offered.

                                  Sadie Merry rolled her eyes and pushed them in the sewer which was now glowing purple. She could hear the crowd inside the club chanting “Wigs for all! Wigs for all!” She jumped in the trashole, wishing she hadn’t eaten barbecue pork chops before coming.


                                    One could very well wonder why, when thoroughly appreciating a most exceptional ramble along uncharted or at least long forgotten territory, one would experience a back ache. That is, until one realized that without the back ache, one would have perhaps continued the walk, or, upon arrival home, engaged a few of the usual morning activities; instead of picking up a cold cup of tea and sitting down immediately at the computer to recover, enabling the perfectly magical incident of a perfectly timed conversation, far from unconnected to the initial ramble.


                                      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.


                                      In reply to: Tales of Tw’Elves


                                        “You know, I think they got a name for your condition” Franlise said while throwing another piece of rotten furniture and a dusty half-plucked stuffed pheasant from the window.
                                        “Oh no!” Elizabeth was crestfallen “not my favourite plucked pheasant, let’s at least keep this! A perfectly functioning piece that one, Lewis Someteenth, French expensive furniture dammit!”
                                        “You’re a bloody compulsive hoarder, that’s what you are!” Franlise said authoritatively. “Now, move along, let me do my job.”
                                        “Your job? And what are you now?”
                                        “A professional organiser, of course.”


                                        In reply to: Tales of Tw’Elves


                                          “The interesting thing about the Godfrey2012 meme” Elizabeth said, “is that it seems to have completely backfired. In much the same way that your cunning plan to try and corral me into continuity by being unravellingly discontinuous failed.”

                                          “Pass the peanuts” sighed Godfrey. “What are they saying now?”

                                          “Well, what happened next, notwithstanding real, perceived, imagined, distorted or merely misinformed sequence, what appeared to happen next was that the plan completely backfired, although one does have to wonder if anything backfired when it appears to have worked out perfectly”


                                          In reply to: Tales of Tw’Elves

                                          AvatarWhite Panther

                                            “Yet another splendid piece of synchronicity!” The Leprechaun praised himself, while eyeing the delicious-looking chocolate cake with three layers of vanilla cream that simply willed itself into different flavours before his delighted, excited taste buds. Just as he was about to take his first bite into the scrumptious cake, a multi-coloured portal opened before his very eyes. Unsurprisingly, the host of elves, each in a different physical manifestation, jumped out of the portal and dusted the stardust off their garments.

                                            “Mr Leprechaun,” one elf began. He took the form of a Spanish gentleman by the name of Raul Iniesta. “Raul” (as he will be called for the time being until he shifts shape) had long, black hair that he had no intention of bounding, instead allowing its blackness to flow freely upon his neck and over his shoulders like a nightly waterfall of moonlight and starry gazes. He had an almond-shaped face, and his skin was gently golden-brown, as if his physical birth took place on a beach at sunset. His eyes were sea-blue, glimmering gently in the luminescence of his own aura. He spoke in a gentle voice that was mightily influenced by a touch of spanish mixed with french accents.
                                            “I see you have taken the form of a Leprechaun-” Raul stepped closer to observe the essence’s current physical. “How quaint.”
                                            The Leprechaun dryly stared at Raul. “I don’t see anything wrong with my physical form Mr INIESTA,” he replied, placing emphatic strain on ‘Iniesta’. “Would it have made any difference if I were a flower?”
                                            “If you were a flower you’d fit perfectly with my body of hair!” Raul exclaimed. The Tw’Elves laughed heartily at the joke, and an iridescent beam of energy simultaneously rose from their esoteric beings, giving forth a ray of happiness, albeit for a short while, towards the inhabitants of the sleeping dimension.

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