Thursday, July 27, 2006

A moment in Putzenbleu

Putzenbleu France seemed one blue, begillion light years from Greenback, Tennessee and yet to Hans he somehow felt as if he'd just come in from the hay field.

His normally coiffed copper locks where now tassled about his face like the dung-twisted tails of the red oxen from the farm. Daggerfjord was all too familiar with the lousey backsides of those lumbering beasts as he had followed them on seeming interminable treks through the rolling hills and dales that were Greenback.

Plowing with a team of oxen was the only way to plant the pods he and his Father had experimented with as a new form of bio-fuel. The pods had to be planted deep, and so the oxen were used in conjuntion with over-sized plows to furrow rows the depths of the trenches of France from the battles of World War I.

As Hans looked around Putzenbleu, he noted that the landscape belied those battles of yester-year; this coupled with the horrific burden that he now shouldered was enough to elicit the memories of his time in the trenches of Greenback.

What they (Hans and his Father) found in their new fuel was just what they had hoped. Once ignited, the oils of the plant were clean burning and provided an incredible release of energy. Rapid decomposition of the highest order. The problem was not an instability during this gaseous expansion, but rather, an instability that existed in its steady state - at least where humans were concerned.

For you see, refined oils of the plant (distillation the preferred method for providing the fuel additive) proved unbelievably toxic to humans. One glance at the rising gases would cause the eyes to melt from one's head, and should the olfactory nerve sense any minute molecule - instant death.

They learned of the trouble on one hot August day. The oils do not become problematic until the plant (oragisidae oopsa-luksae, or "Uh-oh Orange" in the venacular of Greenback) has become mature. It was on this sweltering August day that the plant began to ooze oils from the ends of the tassled fruit it bears on its twenty foot stalks.

One of the farm hands, Shimmel "Shimmy" Platudinor had ventured out to collect some of the fruit for the laboratory of Hans and Germie Daggerfjord. The hot August sun caused one of the bulbous cob-like fruit to explode at the top of the towering stalk and basically atomizing the oil sending it spewing in all directions like an Italian prostitute.

This should have meant "curtains" for poor Shimmy, but luckily Shim had always had trouble "holding his water" during times of extreme duress.

"Mei eisse, mei eisse...dey burn, dey burn," Shim shrieked in his thick, brakish brogue.

The shrieks of Shim caused Hans to take pause from his morning shave. He liked to keep his beard neat, like his kilts. He wrote it off to those pesky Dalton street kids. They were always causing trouble.

"Mei eisse...dey burn, dey burn..." the shrieks now caught his attention. They sounded like an infected Edinburgh rooster.

At this point the excitement became far too much for Shim and his bladder burst sending urine into the air streaming from beneath his kilt like a loose fire hose at full pressure.

Urine, you see, is the only known counter-agent to the oils of the oopsa-luksae plant.

Fortunate for Shim, his normally unfortunate and embarrassing physcial condition neutralized the harsh alkalines of the plant oil...but it was the discovery in the burning of his eyes that opened the door to the alternative, more sinister nature of the compound. For in its inert, albeit heavily distilled state, the gas is not known as an octane boost for petroleum, but would come to be known by a poisonous alias - nerve agent XZ-27.

This plant had been sent to Shim originally as a food source by his beloved and eccentric uncle from the jungles of the Amazon.

"This my uncle", Shim related, "is considered somewhat of a holy man to the locals".

Shim's father had always said his brother was a bit of a hippie. Dressing in odd robes and wearing his beard like some beat poet of the 1950's - and then becoming a hermit in the Amazonian jungles...all too weird for the middle brother Platudinor - but he over-looked it all as all the Platudinor brothers were as tight as a cockelburra in a poodle's butt - and Cyrus "Platu" Platudinor loved his brothers as well.

This from a letterr attached to a crate of fruit-

"You must try this new corn I've found in the jungles. It is superior in all ways to what we have in Greenback. Kernals the size of an elephant's tooth, and the ears of corn like artillery shells I tell ya. A bit of an after-taste, admittedly, but man oh man...what flavor! Try popping it! I know we could sell it at the Greenback Carnival. One kernal could feed ten hungry kids, and imagine if you carmalized it. Gotta go. Love ya Bro!".

What could not be known by any at the time was the lethality from the combination of chicken manure fertilizer (Red Island Reds), the radioactive levels of Greenback soil (years baking in the hot, Greenback Sun) and the strange photosynthesis process inherent in the plant itself.

This perfect combination was the recipe for for an extreme weapon, and a powerful new fuel that was the answer to the prayers of a gas- starved nation.


Hans was startled from his memories of the farm by something that caught his eye in one of the distant trenches there at Putzenbleu...he could barely make it out. Was that?

"Eureka, IT IS ! "

There waving on a giant stalk was the all-too familiar umbre tassle of a mature oopsa-luksae.

Hans picked up Elsa and kissed her, deep. Real deep. He almost forgot about his discovery.

"Yeur kidz shood reeaaaly find zee ree-ume fer zat," Qusleau's words split the moment like one of Daggerfjord's engorged lips and the moment was forever lost in a provincial French sunset that slowly turned an amber sky first to violet and then to black in the tiny, tiny townlet of Putzenbleu.


Herman Mao was not pleased. He stood on the beach, the lights of Singapore behind him, the endless warm waves of the Indian Ocean before him. The waves seemed luminescent under the full moon. While he stared out his eyes focused on a point somehwere between the sea of green and the bejeweled sea of black, his fingers were busy sending one text message after another on his ultra-slim wireless. He was not pleased, but he was not entirely displeased either, for he was waiting for Angelista. Would she bring Timmy to him as he had asked her too? It was a coin-toss.

"How black the night. How black the soul of man." He thought to himself. He drew in the sand with his toe the following shapes. A hammer, a nine pointed star, a five petaled flower, a saddled fish with wings, and a spindly legged wombat. He knew the meanings of each. Then he began to dial the sequence: 11235813213455... He knew the number and he knew its secret kin.

About 200 yards from shore, beneath the glowing water a massive dark shape began to emerge. It was ellipsoidal, windowless, doorless. He needed no ruler to know that it was 23.14069 meters long and 2.71282 meters in radius. As it surfaced, the sea water poured from all sides It was blacker than the sky above. A smaller shape just under the foam was rapidly closing the gap between Herman and the submarine.

Herman, put the wireless back in his pocket. With an explosion of saltwater, the horse and rider emerged from the waves. The massive snorkeling gear made the horse's head look insectoid, its body fitted as it were in an equine wetsuit looked eel-like. The four horse flippers gave it the appearance of a platypus. The man, similarly outfitted, seemed to merge with the beast. But Herman knew that this was none other than Juan Henri McGill of the Andoraccan Mounted Marines.

Juan pulled the mask from his face. "The Queen is fittest!" Juan called out. "Survival of the fittest." Herman replied.

"How goes it brother."
"We have failed. Timmy spoke."
"That is unfortunate, but hardly unforseen. You must put into action the omega plan."
"I am afraid so. What is recombinent must remain recombinent."

Juan dismounted. He slapped the sleek beast on its hind quarters and it dived back into the emerald sea. Juan looked reflective for a moment, his chest swelled and deflated in a deep but silent sigh, and the corners of his lips beneath the bushy mustache turned down by a fifth of a radian on each side. "Is she coming?"

"I don't know."

Just down the beach but out of sight from the Andoraccan operatives, the hulking bear-like man dressed as a nutter butter, stumbled out of the shadows on his fatal approach.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Storyline: The Hammer Falls

Thunderous applause filled the colossal Howard Metzenbaum Ballroom of the Singapore Jewel Palace Convention Center. From where L'il Timmy Rompkins stood at the podium, and endless sea of black-suited scientists beamed up at him, their ubiquitous spectacles reflecting light back upward. For L'il Timmy, this was a moment without equal. He turned his head slightly from the panolpy of humanity to glance back at Professor Klimmingstock, who simply nodded his dried-apple visage once in appreciation. A vivacious pleasure ran through Rompkins, for, while a humble man, was not immune to the viscitudes of scientific prestige. Gazing back over the crowd again, he resisted an impulse to raise his arms in triumph. Instead, his eyes blurred with involuntary tears - whether from emotion or pain, he couldn't or wouldn't know.

And that slight blur in his eyes was a manifold blessing, for it blinded him to something a more alert observer would not have failed to see. For amidst the sea of black-suited scientists, several individuals stood out rather shamefully. The first was an odd couple - a long-haired redheaded male of approximately 6 and a half feet of bruises, clingingly girlishly to a stunning Malasian in an eskimo parka. Several tables over, there was a blond-headed muttonchopped ape of a man in the unmistakable uniform of the Royal Canadian Mounted Marines. A table beyond that was a small passel of Singaporean policemen, and diagonally from their table, closer to the front, was a table of perhaps seven bland young men in tweed jackets and leather riding boots.

But perhaps most bemusedly, at the front table, normally reserved for guests of the keynote speaker, there was a winsome woman with flaxen hair contrasting sharply against her black leather coat.

As the applause died slowly away, Professor Klimmingstock spoke into his microphone.

"Zee zpeaker vill now take ze qvestions - ve have time for only three. First, ze chair recognizes Professor Guido Guicciardini of Polytecnico Torino."

Professor Guicciardini steeped to the microphone in the center of the hall. From L'il Timmy's blurred perspective, he was just a smudge of darkness in the center of the hall. But a more lucid observer would have seen a short, swarthy man with a five o'clock shadow and a preposterous cowlick shooting up from his helmet of black hair.

"Dr. Rompkins," Guicciardini began, in his flawless english accent, "Could you clarify the sequences you described on the recombinance slide..."

"Jutht a minute," L'il Timmy responded, as he clicked through the carousel of overheads

"You passed it! You passed it!" yelled several from the crowd.

"Thorry," Rompkins responded, reversing direction

"Slow down! You passed it again!" yelled several others. After a moment or two more, Rompkins settled to a slide.

"Thith one?" he asked Guicciardini.

"No, I'm afraid I meant the slide in the recombinance series, not the neurotrasmitter series."

"Oh... sorry" Rompkins replied, beginning another hunt through the carousel to the encouragement of the crowd.

"Thith one?" he asked again.

"Yes - that's the one. You cite D, A, F, and Charlie as the dominant sequences. Doesn't this conflict with the Gherkin data?"

"Oh yeth! It doeth! Thatht'th the trouble with the Gherkin data. It'th inverted. Thee how theeth pairth thort of flip flop around? Thath becauth ith'th backwardth."

A great sigh of appreciation went up from the crowd, and Guicciardini bowed and sat back down.

Klimmingstock spoke into his microphone again.

"Zee chair recognizes Dr. Farkin of zee Urnstacht Institute"

Dr. Farkin stepped to the microphone, his utterly undistinguishable form taking up a certain volume of space in which there would otherwise have been air.

"Dr. Rompkins, from a purely ecological standpoint, in no way meant to address biogenesis concerns, let alone biodiversity, not to diminish these, of course, but to indicate that after all, everything has its place, and in your talk, having focussed exclusively on the biogeny, bioprogeny, and bio-whateveryamightcallit, you have failed to distinguish between the macro and the micro, and in pursuing parmeceum and germs and whatnot, you have skipped over many telling points that those of us who are more interested in the overall interplay of ecosystems might like addressed with a little more detailed analysis at a conference that supposedly has an ecological subtext."

"Uh... yeth." Rompkins replied, and the crowd roared with laughter as Dr. Farkin, oblivious to the humor, stepped back.

"Zee last question," Klimmingstock began, "in zee time honored tradition of zis conference, shall be to a randomly chosen member of the audience with no particular zientific zpecialty. Zee chair recognizes Mr. Darkins."

From the table of tweed-clad young men, one nondescript man arose and approached the microphone. His pale, waxy face bore no trace of emotion, and his bloodless lips parted only briefly as he spoke.

"Dr. Rompkins, could you explain to us two things? Why was your work financed, by Earl Platudinor, and what is its connection to nerve agent XZ-27?"

A palpable murmer ran through the crowd.

"Zis iz outrageous!" Klimmingstock began, but Rompkins cut him off.

"Mr. Platudinor hath a particular love for the thplindly legged wombat, Mithter Darkinth. Thath why he funded my rethearth. And I've never heard of nerve agent ektheetwentytheven. Thank you. Good night"

With that, Rompkins backed away from the podium, his feeling of triumph fading quickly as he began wondering what the hell was going on. As he made his way through the curtains on the left side of the stage, he tripped, and would have barrelled into an off-stage drum kit had he not been caught suddenly by a beautiful flaxen haired woman at the last minute. He looked up in wonderment as she ushered him through the tangled curtains and helped him to a chair. He could hear Professor Klimmingstock's muffled closing remarks from the stage beyond, but he couldn't take his eyes of this gorgeous russian.

"Whath your name?" he asked her, splitting his lip slightly in the process.

"Call me Angelista" she replied.


There is no plot discrepancy, gentle reader. It was, indeed, Angelista Rasmussen herself. Unknown to Fats Patinki, Angelista's candy-apple red Porsche Boxster had been custom modified. It had to be, since this is 1987, and the Porsche Boxster wasn't even introduced to the market until 1993. But nothing was beyond the abilities of Sultan Zhpat, and when he outfitted his assassins, he didn't mess around. Under the seat of the Boxster was a specially packaged fire protection system, that expanded radially into a massive-damping foam that could absorb enormous energy. Simultaneous with the explosion of the fourteen pounds of C5, four small accelerating charged propelled Angelista and her chair up through the roof of the Boxster, across the parking lot, and down into the lounge of the Classy Inn of Covington, which, strangely, was named "Smithreens" after its proprietor, Luann Smithreen Lubbel. So, gentle reader, ask not how Angelista re-enters our story, for after her catastrophic descent through the roof of Smithreens, she quickly realized that she had just survived an attack by one of the Hungarian Brothers assassin team. Collecting herself, she discovered that her chair had landed atop a lithe young woman, the waitress of Smithreens, who was now most definately deceased. Seeing no-one else in the lounge, she dragged the lithe young woman's body out to the flaming Boxster, and seeing no sign of a 1970's muscle car (preferred by the Hungarian Brothers), she pusehd the young woman's body into the midst of the wreckage, thus providing the third stiff referenced by Lieutenant Frank Corky. Proceding quickly through the underbrush on the edge of the parking lot, she hitched a ride with a young couple on their way to their honeymoon in West Virginia, got dropped off near an ATM, used the ATM card she kept hidden in her leather coat, withdrew $300 in American dollars, and hired a taxi to drive her to the Lexington airport. From there, she took the direct flight to Greenback, Tennessee, beating Frank Corky by 72 hours, retrieved her luggage from the Greenback Hilton, and found the fax at the front desk directing her to proceed immediately to Singapore.

And now she was only hours away from victory. All she had to do was seduce young Rompkins, gain the secret of nerve agent XZ-27, prize away his means of contacting Earl Platudinor, get him to divulge the home address of his brother Big'un, and find out how much he knew about the Inuits.

Angelist smiled at Rompkins, winning him immediately. But her deep stare that so captivated L'il Timmy proved her undoing, for in staring at him, she didn't notice the hulking bear-like man dressed as a nutter butter, stumbling out of the shadows on his fatal approach.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Storyline: So Dark the Night

It took a long time for his eyes to become accustomed to the darkness; in fact they could not become quite accustomed but that there seemed to be darker shapes amid the otherwise ubiquitous shapeless gloom. Bigoyle tried to shift from his seated posture, but the ropes were too tight, and too well-tied. Yet he was conscious of an enormous lump growing on th eback of his ead where he had been clubbed by what he could only guess had been a frozen kangaroo tail.

The silence, like the darkness was stifling, he tried to make some sound but though he felt himself screaming at the top of his lungs, he could hear nothing. Bigoyle soon lost all sense of time and the space around him. He forgot whether his eyes were opened or shut. His body, grew numb from remaining in the same position, and he began to even lose the sense of his own existence.

Thus, when the symbol appeared before him, it was as if another universe had opened up. The symbol, five petals circumscribed within a pentagonAt the center of the petals, another pentagon, and within that pentagon another set of petals. As he stared, he could sense that the symbol began to grow and he knew that within each pentagon was a flower and within each flower a pentagon and his mind began to penetrate the endless cycle, the flowers and pentagon and flowers and pentagons, and they began to whirl around him and he fell deep within the pattern.

Then the voice said: "Yeeha dude thinks he can bust a cap? Shi' ain' no thang he can do now. Gotsa learn to freak! But canst freak whens he al' bust up. "

Bigoyle heard his voice call out "Who are you master? Are you Sultan Zhpat?"

"Zhpat shmat, I'se da bomb. Da BOMB. And Zhpat is jus the trick in my crib. Even now, that Li'l Timmy is eatin' yo lunch. Let me open up your mind and then you'll see da whole truth."

The symbol suddenly stopped and it grew intolerably bright, the last thing Bigoyle knew before he ceased to be Bigoyle was that he was screaming.

"So you see, the antidote to the Ch-Ock viwus can onwy be found AH-CHOO! in two pwaces. The first is in the extwact of the mushwooms which are the pwefewwed diet of the Spindwy wegged Wombat who dwewls AH-CHOO! in excwusion wight here,"

"Und the zecond Timmy?"

"The second pwace, AH-CHOOO! is in a special type of artic mowd. We haven't been able to isowate the mowd yet, but we know that the Inuit have accumuwated vast quantities of the mowd. They gave us a wittle sample, AH-CHOO! but it would hawdwy be enough to cuwe the tens of millions who will contwact Ch-Ock if the govewments of wowd don't act soon."

Li'l Timmy blinked the tears from his watering eyes and then sneezed up more blood. He held the handkerchief to his nose and sneezed again, if possible more violently. The blood seeped through and another sneeze propelled crimson droplets, spattering them accross the professors glasses leaving a similar residue to the debris left when a tree frog explodes from the dreaded bugyo-byugo intestinal virus.

He and the professor were sitting together at a sidewalk cafe. It was only minutes until he was scheduled to talk, but his broken nose kept on bleeding and the infernal sneezing was becoming more rapid and dangerous.

"Timmy, I know zees is verrry important talk you are to geeve. But I think ees best to get you to a hospital."

"Pwease Pwofessa, I must give this talk!"

"Timmy, the world needs your great mind, to lose it now through your nostrils would be a terrible disaster."

It was at that moment that a hulking bear-like man dressed as a nutter butter stumbled out of the shadows and began his fatal approach.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Storyline: Pickle Tower


The door to his suite closed, and Big'un Rompkins heaved a sigh and lowered himself onto the chaise lounge. Only about half of him would fit onto the lounge - his full 7 foot height was simply too much to be easily accomodated in a Cincinatti hotel room - even in 1987.

He was at peace, in body, mind, and soul. His brother L'il Timmy was safely on the other side of the world, probably giving his speech on biogenesis at this very moment. And more importantly, his very presence in Pickle Tower had served as an irresistable bait to three of the most notorious assassins in the world. And now all three were dead. Lucky Luko at the hands of Angelista Rasmussen, Angelista at the hands of Fats Patinki, and Fats at the hands of Big'un Rompkins himself, thanks to an ingenious revolving door accelerator that Rompkins had devised in his underground bunker/lab in Mondora.

Big'un snatched up the remote control and pointed it at the Zenith TV that projected boldly out of the hotel room armoire. Flipping through the channels, he caught tantilizing glimpses of the world that he called his own. Oil disputes in Alaska, vacuum-fishing off the coast of Mozambique, clear-cutting in the Amazon, munitions to the Contras of Nicaragua, apparitions in Madjegorie; these were all Rompkin's handywork and his stock-in-trade.

For Rompkins was that most desperate of men - a corporate accountant.

As he raised his glass of Canadian Club whiskey to his lips, his thumb inadvertantly pushed against his cherry-red cheek, which in turn agravated the empty eye-socket of his right eye. And suddenly, the sense of peace and contentment was gone, and Rompkins was back in Thailand on the roof of a passenger train, staring up at the imbecile face of Clive Darkins' manservant, Brutus.

Rompkins' screams echoed in the hotel suite, unheard in the loneliness of the 115th floor of Pickle tower.

Storyline: Greenback Boyz

There wasn't much to see in Greenback, Tennessee. Just a few quiet streets, one main intersection and a smattering of businesses. Aside from the Git-n-Go Market, the Israeli Night-vision Optics factory, the 40-story headquarters of Bieruichiban Corp, and the American offices and Well No. 78 of the Central Twillings Oil Works, one might pass through Greenback and not even know it was there. That is, one might pass through and not even know it was there, if it were not for the 1500ft Greenback Tower, a monument that had been constructed in the shape of a Nutty-Buddy ice-cream treat, due to the mad inspiration of Greenback's legendary billionaire recluse, Earl Platudinor.

Or so he was known to his enemies and the public at large. In truth, Earl Platudinor was known by a much different name to his friends and confidants. A name the clever reader has no doubt guessed by now.

But, of course, the clever reader is at home, comfortably perusing this work in a high-backed leather wingchair, surrounded by tomes of learning, and sipping Glenfiddich single malt whiskey from a high-ball cup with an engraved duck on the side. In other words, the clever reader has all the advantages, and was not, like Frank Corky, staring up at the imposing edifice of Greenback Tower, and wondering where the entrance was.

Frank's walrus moustache tilted sharply sideways as he squinted and stared upwards. There was a four lane road leading to the Tower, and the road terminated in a large round parking lot, circumlocuted with bradford pears and Japanese cherry trees. One small pebbled path led from the parking lot to an aluminum extension ladder, which rose five stories upward to a small round hole in the side of the conical building. This was, apparently, the entrance, but Frank knew there had to be another way in. There had to be! he thought, for he could no more negotiate that ladder than he could sprout wings and fly. On the one hand, Frank was terrified of heights, thanks to a near-defenestration he had experienced on his honeymoon in Prague. And on the other hand, he was cuffed to Melanie Lustiger, as he had been for the last 72 hours. And on the other hand, he was unable to bend his knees, thanks to a double knee injury he had suffered in Vietnam.

This last limitation had proved no mean source of amusement to Herve Quisleau, who was still tagging along. Although now Herve was in the back of Corky's squad car, unable to get out since Corky had put the child-locks on before leaving Cincinatti. This gave Corky a brief reprieve. And so to delay the inevitable difficulty in getting into Greenback Tower, he turned to the strangely attractive Melanie.

"Alright - what's the big idea?" he asked, brusquely.

"Whaddayamean?" Melanie replied, shifting in her stance and pulling up her tube top for the 100th time.

"I mean what's the big idea? You drag us 300 miles down to this giant ice cream cone telling us we're going to meet some big wig Playdough character that's gonna explain this whole stinkin mess. Meanwhile, I got three stiffs in the morgue - one of 'em looking like a pumpkin on the day after Hallow'een, another one with his face missin' and a .40 cal bullet hole in the back of his head, and the last one blown into smithereens in a high-dollar Porsche registered to some guy named Sultan Zhpat."

"Oh... that" Melanie answered, biting her lower lip and trying to look cute. Corky waited for her to continue, but Melanie just stood there, chewing on her lower lip and batting her eyelashes.

"Yeah - that!" Corky spat, "Yeah that yeah that yeah that!"

"Huh?" Melanie answered. She was greatly regretting having spilled the beans last night, but after being picked up by the Convington police and interrogated for 48 hours straight, she had lost her cool, and babbled almost incoherently about everything from the Inuit Secret Service to the strange fetish of Luko Dbrovnik.

"Let me take this nice and slow," Corky replied, smoothing his moustache with his free hand, and stiltedly wobbling toward a park bench he had just spotted. Melanie was forced along in tow.

"What's the big idea?" Corky began

"Huh?" Melanie answered.

"Where's this Playdough character at?"

"He's here."


"Here... in Greenback."

"Where in Greenback."

"I dunno."

Friday, July 21, 2006

Storyline: El Tangentio

And at that very moment of Daggerfjord's reflection, on the far side of the world a young woman was being thrown out of a hotel window.

It was not Melanie Lustiger's first time being thrown out of a window, though perhaps it was the strangest. As she landed in the boxwood bush, which gently arrested her fall, she looked back at the open window, not a foot above the bush. A few dollar bills came fluttering out of the window to land around her in the foliage, as the window was rapidly shut.

Yes, for Melanie, as she gathered up the bills to stuff into her sequined purse, the whole incident was a sad reminder of how far she'd fallen, metaphorically. Here she was, a pathetic street walker in Covington, Kentucky. Forced to accept cash from pathetic specimens of manhood so that she could feed her addiction to truffles. She had been more than this, she thought, half rising out of the boxwood and pushing the tangled purple hair out of her eyes. Yes - she had been more. In an instant, her mind brought her back to the windswept days in Alaska. To warm igloos, hiding secret entrances to the vast underground complexes of the Inuit Secret Service.

Far from being a common prostitute, Melanie Lustiger had been a rising star - an intelligence agent without peer, moving amidst the highest circles of the ISS. And perhaps she would have continued to climb, had she not met that vortex of doom, that irrisistably attractive Colonol Rupert Snack of the Royal Canadian Mounted Marines.


As Melanie adjusted her leather skirt and naugahide tube top, and shuffled off into the Covington night, the man who had thrown her from the window watched her go. He couldn't help but admit a certain satisfaction - an quasisexual impulse that had been gratified by throwing the hooker out of the window. But the satisfaction was not complete, for there had been only a two or three foot drop before she had landed in the bush, and for Luko Dbrovnic, it wasn't quite the same if the fall was less than five stories.

Of course, it was one thing to pay a hooker to allow herself to be thrown out of a ground floor window, and quite another thing for Luko to have tossed a strumpet off of a skyscraper. Luko could not afford to indulge in a real pleasure, for he was anticipating that most sublime of thrills, a paid assassination.

Yes, Luko was going to have had a great year. He had defenestrated men and women on every continent, in 25 different countries. And tonight, in Cincinatti's Pickle Tower, his greatest achievement of all would be complete. And maybe then, he could finally earn the alias he so longed for. For no matter how much he desired to be known as "the Mad Defenestrator," people kept calling him Lucky Luko.

Filled with these thoughts, he grabbed the satchel off of his bed and opened the door from his room. Stepping out into the hall, he heard no more, and as the hydrashock bullet expanded into his brain, Lucky Luko was lucky no more.


Angelista Rasmussen sheathed her .40 caliber Beretta in the holster at the small of her back, and let her black leather coat fall back into place. It had all been too easy. Trailing Luko from Greenback had been among the easiest missions of her life - the man had left a trail of defenestrated prostitutes that could have been followed by a blind rat-catcher. Angelista stepped into Luko's room, looked around briefly before stepping into the bathroom to make sure her makeup looked ok. Ravishing, as always, she thought to herself, and she smoothed a couple of those flaxen hairs back into place. Making a quick surveil of Luko's room (and wrinkling her nose at the odor), she decided there was nothing more worthy of note, so she stepped back into the hall, did a sort of skipping/hop over Dbrovnic's body (difficult in heels!) and slowly walked down the hallway of the hotel.

Angelista had good news for her employers. Not only had she taken out Lucky Luko, but she had done it with a bullet, not allowing the Czech to have the glory of being thrown from on high. In taking out Luko, she had not only fulfilled the terms of her assignment, but she had done so efficiently and with minimal expense, and this would matter more than anything else to the accountants who really ran the show at the Central Twillings Oil Works. Angelista, more than anything else, wanted to please her employers. It was a sort of defect - one that she was aware of, but one that she was helpless to divest. Ever since she had graduated summa cum laude with her masters degree in Dynamic Accounting from the Japanese University of Vladivostok, Angelista had known she was meant for the big time.

Sure, there had been those five years working as a stripper in South Korea, but she was one to seize her chance we she got it, and the day she saw the accounting team from CTOW walk into the lobby of the Chilseongno Grand Hotel, she knew her ship had come in. A couple of lap-dances later, she had the opportunity to talk general-ledger with a young Brit named Clive Darkins, and from there everything had fallen in place like a well-balanced clearing account.

And here she was, triumphant; a short plane ride away from glory. She opened the door of her candy-apple red Porsche Boxster and revved the powerful engine. A moment later she was blown to smithreens as fourteen pounds of C5 detonated below the driver's seat.


One of Angelista Rasmussen's stiletto heels landed, smoking, not five feet away from the polished black saddleshoes of Ragnar Patinki. Ragnar smiled, and extended a metal pointer, lifted Rasmussen's shoe into the air. He held it up to his Ray-Ban Aviator glasses, where it was reflected, still smoking, against the blaze that filled the night outside the Classy Inn of Covington. In the distance, the lights of Cincinatti were as bright as they ever got. And Patinki had an appointment at the Pickle Tower.

He negligently tossed Rusmussen's shoe onto the blazing remains of the Boxster, and strode away toward his more modest vehicle, an aging Chevy Impala station wagon, rust colored and decrepit, but masking the four-barrel 350 engine that would outmuscle anything on the road.

Patinki had long disdained these professional assassins with their sports cars, high heels, and lipstick. Particularly the males. He was old-school. Wet-work meant dirty-work, and a man wasn't a hired gun if he wasn't up to his ankles in Krispy Kreme donut boxes and Skyline Chili bags. In fact, Patinki had to push quite a mess of them aside as he leveraged his 400lb frame into the Impala. Unoticed on the pavement as he sped away was one of those aforementioned Skyline Chili bags, crushed flat and bearing the none-too-subtle tread marks of a 1983 Goodyear radial.

The drive into Cincinatti was short and boring, passing famliar landmarks and ruminating on the versimilitude of life. The bridge over the Ohio River was crowded, but Patinki weaved his way through traffic carelessly, taking the exit on 70 past Riverfront Stadium. A couple of detours later, and he was pulling into the Valet Parking at Pickle Tower - the astounded valet nodding mutely as Patinki pushed a 50 into his pocket, as yet more junk food bags fell from the Impala onto the polished pavement of 1 Pickle Place.

"Back in an hour", Patinki said, as he strode toward the revolving door. It was a revolving door he would never leave alive. For just as he entered, a shower of sparks were emitted from the hub at the top of the door, and the door began to spin at 4400 rpm. The force of the plate glass slapping the 400lb Patinki in the back caused a ripple in the air that flattened a half dozen tuxedo-clad porters in the lobby beyond. It was more than enough to instantly kill the Hungarian hit-man.


"Look at this damn mess," drawled Lieutenant Frank Corky of the Cincinatti Detectives Office, "looks like a polar bear playing patty-cake with an oyster."

"What ze fug are you talking of," responded Herve Quisleau, his thick Parisian accent betraying his impatience, "polar bear playing ze patty cake? What does zis mean, you stinking American heelbilly?"

"Up yours, you damn frog bastard," Corky replied. He was sick to death of having to haul this Frenchman around Cincinatti, ostensibly for the protection of that mild-mannered visitor in Pickle Tower, but more, Corky thought, for the opportunity provided to Quisleau of tormenting his American hosts.

Expensive Love (but darn well worth it)

The rain began to fall in tiny whisps, hardly enough to be called droplets, yet not so fine as to be a misting rain but still, gaining momentum in the Singaporean jungle forrest.

Daggerfjord felt as rejuvenated as the drops of moisture rising up from the depths of distant seas and carried by winds on high to rinse the jungle peat from he and his jungle princess.

A small cuplet of water formed in the frond of a catacleiss plant just beside the pair and in an instant a voice broke the jungle silence.

"Daggerfjord. It is I, Platu. You've probably never heard of me, but I was with your father's father on San Juan hill"...

A look of confusion added to what is already a typically confused look and forced Daggerfjord's face to take on the likeness of a primate. A higher primate, to be sure (not like a Gibbon, but more, a lemur or ring-tailed monkey - with a little more effort he could have resembled, although not entirely as his lanky frame would not allow it, but of or like a silver-back Gorilla, or perhaps Orangutan, but again, it would have taken some effort, but, perhaps, not too much).

Hans began to wonder if there was more in her kiss than met the eye. It is not often he has heard voices coming from water collected in the fronds of a leaf and especially not of someone connected to his relative.

He had heard of Platu before. His father liked to talk of the times that his pop spent with Teddy Roosevelt during the war, and in later years in the Amazon. Platu had been an almost mythical figure that his father would relate as some paragon of higher reason and thought.

To hear his father tell it, Platu was solely responsible for all modern conveniences - or at least, his musings were the inspiration for the same.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Goodnight Mr. Menlo, where-ever you are

"Daggerfjord, poor, poor Daggerfjord". It would seem that this wizard of a man would come to say this all too often as he gazed into the crystal tubes that formed a portion of the brain of his Elniak 5000 super-computer.

It was state of the art in the 1950's, but today had become somewhat an antique. But it still served Edsel Menlo quite well. Edsel was considered somewhat of an eccentric man with his trademark, white linen suit complimented by an art noveau necktie emblazoned with camoflauge print reminiscent to him of time spent in the jungle fighting the whaat-tzoopies.

A fierce tribe, they were. It was in one of these battles, after taking a 50 caliber shot to his brain bucket that Edsel began with the visions.

At first, they were simply of bowls of vanilla ice cream that looked so delicious all covered in chocolate syrup, but he would always be awakened from his trance upon tasting the delicacy only to find that it was in fact fifty-weight motor oil rather than chocolate - and not ice cream, but whipped rhudabegas. This as a matter of course would explain his absolute love of all things related to Molasses.

Not long into his indulgence of Molasses confectionary (ju ju molasses, molasses dollips, peanut brittle molasses, molasses n grits), his visions began to get darker. They always would involve this fellow who he could only see in profile. With long, red locks covering most of his face, all Edsel could make out were these massive, protruding lips jutting from the frizzed and straggling locks.

In due course, Edsel was working on replacing some tubes in his Elniak 5000 when one of the visions appeard to him inside one of the solid-state tubes that banked the back portion of the processor like soldiers in rank and file.

The vision was of a young man and woman. The man had a strange resemblance to someone he had seen before. A dapper young fellow, he had close cropped red hair and muttonchop sideburns. He wore a kilt, and shoes with shiney buckles where the laces should be.

A lass looking to be all of seventeen or eighteen years of age was dressed in some strange sort of Malaysian mini-skirt of umbre linen - her tresses twisted and shimmering with strands of gold dust she had collected from the jungle floor. You could see that there was great love in her eyes for her young suitor.

Edsel figured she was of a mixed descent as she had the most remarkable green eyes - like emerald, or jade. Her pupils were fixed and dialated not unlike a shit-house rat, but they were locked on the lanky lad, and like her heart, would never leave him (somewhat like the rat in the shit-house who would be perfectly happy there in the stench as long as the stench remained).

But this love definitely smelled of roses and red wine, and a bit of earthy peat both from the jungle beauty and the lad who it appeared probably slept in peat bogs.

Little did Edsel know that this was not a typical love story he was watching unfold. Soon he would step into a role that he'd never imagined in his years of tinkering with computers. Now he would become a wizard-like god-father - able to communicate with the world of a man named Daggerfjord.

He first noted that the couple had become aware of his presence when he was typing in an e-mail into his Elniak. It was as if with each completed word and sentence, the couple were hearing voices from beyond. He began to play around a little by using emphatic, bold fonts and noticed that they would obey his "commands"; he thought of the implications.

"Clothe thyselves in white" he told them. But it seemed, only the girl would listen, which Edsel really didn't mind anyway as it was she that he enjoyed dressing up like his sister's barbie doll on the typical Friday night. He preferred the white to the umbre linen as it would cling to her in the warm jungle mist and would prove a bit like one of those t-shirt contests he'd seen on Spring Break, which he also found was also a real plus in his role as the sage "from beyond". Made it all worthwhile.

And thus began a new chapter in the lives of Edsel Menlo, Daggerfjord and his dame, Elsa - it is a chapter that would be full of tribesmen, our old friend, Platu from the Amazon and a mounted Marine and his side-kick elfin, Jezebelle, who so loved to ride in his pant's pocket.

A chapter of intrigue, magic and lust, defined by a torrid affair between Platu and Jezebelle played out in her pocket hideaway and much to the delight of the Mountie, Monty who was always so happy when his dear, dear Jezebelle was in sheer delight.

You might wonder, gentle reader, how a full-grown philosopher of Platu's stature would be equipped for a trist with a tiny elfin. Owe it to the concoction that Platu would sometimes add to his pipe. You see, Platu loved his time in the jungle, wearing his toga and stroking his soul patch while pondering some great philosophical paradigm involving the hill people. It was in this state that he'd often try a variety of dried jungle plants in his meershem pipe shaped like the bust of a hoola girl.

The stem of the pipe formed the rest of her body, and she was perched on her elbows, chin in hand. The crown of her head formed the bowl of the pipe, and her ample bosom the grip. He would always be greatful to that fellow who piloted the paddle boat up the peepsqwana, a puny tributary to the great Amazon. He left the pipe with Platu in exchange for Platu's sister who the "cappie" of the ferry desired as a first mate (probably due her Schwarzenegger-esk arms and legs...yes. yes.).

He so loved the different flavors and the aroma that the wide variety of jungle plant would bring to his time of transcendental meditations and his long musings on the implications that the hillbilly tunes would one day have on the state of world affairs (for the hill people always sang songs with far-reaching implications involving great nation-states, like France and Lichstenstein).

Once, on "taking the leaf" as he called it, he discovered that he could control his physical size by either pinching his nostrils and blowing into his hands to inflate himself, or by ratcheting his chin to reduce his size.

He once was carried away with the ratchets at which point he met Jezebelle whilst standing on a pebble on the bank of the river(this while she was vacating from Monty in an intsy-bitsy pootu boat cruise down the Mighty Amazon) - well after this, he was forever playing with his chin, of course.

Unfortunately the concoction would prove to be both a pain and a pleasure as he was not certain exactly from which plant he had gotten the dried leaves, and to be honest, when not under the influence of the leaf, he wasn't even sure that Jezabelle was anything more than a figment of his imagination.

No matter - he would still be on constant quest for the herb for he had only a finite amount in his ditty bag, yet somehow, he never seemed to run out. Most curious, indeed!

It was while upon a quest for the leaf that he first came into contact with the voice of Menlo, which strangely he found emanating from the beak of a Toucan. Somehow, Platu understood where Menlo was coming from and did not fear him. He had always liked Toucans. However, he thought Menlo rather boring at times, and would tell him so, but Platu needed to maintain the contact in order to explore the "world on the other side of the beak", or, Menlo's world.

The connection between the two, Menlo and Platu would surely one day have great implications for our hero of the Dagger's Fjord (Hansel).

Monday, July 17, 2006

Storyline: What Price Love?

But this was in the future, a future that would be formed out of the deeds of Daggerfjord and Rompkins, in a manner so innocently resembling a young boy shaping melted candlewax into the image of his dog, or perhaps his cat. This droopy, malformed future was as yet even congealed; its viscous nature was proved by the immediate events that tore Daggerfjord from his reverie.

Suddenly, a voice spoke beside him from the deep Singaporean brush - a voice that awakened every nerve in his body, and sent a thrill down his spine like the electric jolt of an East German streetcar.

"Oh... smooth move there, Ex-lax" said the voice. But it was not WHAT the voice said, but HOW the voice said it, for just as Daggerfjord's normally libidonous ears became aroused to the breathy/sultry voice beside him, his eyes focused out of their blur onto the face of an angel - or a succubus.

"Eltha?" Daggerfjord spat, blood flowing afresh from his engorged lips. For indeed it was Elsa - that raven-haired beauty that filled Hansel's dreams and tortured his conscioussness; that vixen of vixens who had torn aorta from ventrical in her incandescent rampage through his heart. There she was, beside him, a strange expression of calm on her face, her lips (never so full as Daggerfjord's) slightly parted below her petite Malaysian nose, her forehead unwrinkled, and with her smiling green eyes peeking out from inside the massive sherpa-hood that engulfed her slightly ovular face and her skin the color of creamed coffee.

"Je suis, mon Hansel... c'est moi," Elsa breathed again, as she rose slowly from her haunches to her feet. Hansel could see her, partially silhouted in the strong Singaporean sun. She pulled her sherpa-hood back, her black hair turning blue in the light, particularly when contrasted with the silvery wolf's fur that lined the hood. For a moment, one tress of her lustrous locks became wrapped around the hilt of the massive claymore sword strapped to her back, before she freed it with a negligent wave of her delicate hand.

Peering forward through the palm leaves and fronds, she observed the beginnings of the Singaporean's search through the brush, for Corporal Ying had taken Colonol Snack's orders, and seemed intent on locating "The Scotsman."

Elsa McConkey thought wryly that this was quite amusing - Singaporean police, acting on behest of a Canadian Marine, scouring the scrub looking for a battered Scotsman (who was in fact of Norwegian/Gypsy descent) all the while being observed by an actual Scotswoman - or, that is, a Malasian/Scotswoman. Elsa pictured herself for a moment, stripped to nothing but warpaint, drawing the claymore and descending from the scrub, yelling in Pictish as she lay about her with the enormous blade. The vision of battle lust almost overwhelmed her, and she caught herself just as one hand inched toward the lip of her parka. No... no matter how much she must feed the beast inside her, she must bide her time. There would be killing later. For now, she had to get Daggerfjord to safety. For she could lose the opportunity to slay, but she could not, again, lose the man she loved.

Slowly she inched backward, quieting Hansel with a finger to her lips. Holding Hansel's artificial arm under the crook of her elbow, she grabbed the leg of one of Daggerfjord's trouser legs with her free hand, and slowly began pulling his lanky frame down the hillock and toward the raft. Hansel groaned as he slid across the abrasive jungle floor, as nettles and burrs were ground into the back of his head, and tangled in his scarlet locks, to flow out freely behind him in the dirt, he wondered whether the intense pain of being dragged by one leg was anything compared to the pain in his heart; the deep soul-ache awakened now to the torment of having every bodily sense assailed at once in the never ending rigours of Prometheus chained to the mountain and slowly flayed alive by birds of prey. No, he thought. He could endure the beating of Singaporean gendarmes, brace himself against any manner of physical torture. But how could he endure the touch of Elsa?

For her part, her heart was atwitter at proximity to this man she adored. And yet, despite the strange lightness - the intoxication of his nearness, her mind probed her conscience, and she wondered how she could ever tell him that she was being forced to work in an Andoroccan Death Squad since Sultan Zhpat had kidnapped their baby, the love-child that Daggerfjord didn't even know existed.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Storyline: Synopsis

And so, gentle reader, you may wonder how Hansel Daggerfjord, who one moment is observing Colonol Snack of the Royal Canadian Mounted Marines, is, the next moment, charging across the Yukon and startling Duck Hunters.

For, you might be justified in wondering, "how far must we go afield? To what heights of tangent must this story go? For in the glories of exposition, might we not, as gentle readers, have some claim upon that noble band of authors to give some sign or portent of how Daggerfjord and Snack, Rompkins and Bigoyle, Zhpat and Klimmingstock, Inuits and Singaporean, and Juan-Henri McGill" - in short, how this varied and diverse cast of unlikely denizens might possibly juxtapose in anything but a nonsensical raving.

And well too might McGill wonder, for at the very moment that Daggerfjord was slipping into a hallucination, which he was unaware was caused by his proximity to a certain famous Singaporean mushroom, of which type and variety both Rompkins and Klimmingstock would have been glad to elucidate, and whose pungent aroma made Daggerfjord unaware of all but fanciful dreams on Yukon plains, in short, it was at this moment that Juan Henri McGill, who at this time was far from the legendary soldier's soldier, but was rather a sort of short-order cook on holiday... it was at this time that McGill, though thousands of miles away, found himself caught up in the burgeoning adventure.

For Daggerfjord, dreaming of a mad rush toward Alaskan oil-fields, rolled over in his stupor, which he was prone to do, as he had no right arm, as was previously hinted at in an earlier section of this narrative. And Daggerfjord's roll was most unfortunate for the biodiversity of Singapore, for in this roll, he flattened the very mushrooms that had been prompting his flight into the arms of Morpheus - the same mushrooms that were the only food source for that rarest of creatures, the spindly-legged Wombat of Sentosa Island. And from this small event, thousands of miles away, and inexorable chain of events would be set forth, in which the fates of many would find their culmination in that cataclysmic struggle which began in Greenback Tennessee thanks to Daggerfjord's otherwise innocent luigie upon McGill's blue cap.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Favorite places and dreaming of favorite places were a favored pastime of Daggerfjord's; one might say it was his only chance at repose. Busy man, he was. Busy, and preoccupied with women. Somehow, he seemed to manage both activities with equal zeal, that is, dreaming of favorite places such as hillocks, billibongs and butts, (not unlike Mollie's but never discounting others)and still managed to be an ace at his principle endeavor - daring do.

Was he ever about to get his fill of it all. Fullfillment of his dreams of faraway billibongs and butts, tripping the light fantastic with beautiful women like Margott from the watering hole, or Bridgute from o'er in Siler City. Exotic women from far-away lands he'd only heard of as a young boy of twelve whilst at his Uncle Thud's knee-cap.

Tangling with the Texan, Bigoyle and that damned Zhpat would prove quite a fanciful adventure for the soul of the boy trapped in that haired-over suit of the man, Daggerfjord.

Always the one to put his best foot forward, Daggerfjord pondered a while longer on the beauty of the hillock and at once was awakened to reality by the cackeling of some horrific and horrifying screech. A sound not unlike the synchonized slow death of one thousand civilizations in a terrible encounter with a meteor that rained not firey brimstone, but rather, a viscous and warm, amber fluid that would remind one of that which emanates from the homeless after a mad-dog night of cigarettes and frothy, warm swill.

Yes, he suspected, it was the distant screech of the White Mallard. Oh, but wait. He then heard the voice of his Mother calling out from far away "It is only a story, Wit" for that is what she called him, Daggerfjord, as a lad "Wit, you must not give in to fantasy. Life can be quite challenging without all that rubbish.".

So, he shook it off as something related to bad swill and decided to arrange for transport. But where would he go?

Ah, he'd heard once that the Mallard hailed from a land to the North. Now, given his penchant for Shakespearean tragedy, he'd decided that fantasy or not, all the ghosts that had been talking to him in his noggin this morning must be a harbinger of some sort.

To the Northlund it is. "Alaska, here I come!".

Over a distand hill, a group of near-sighted hunters could be seen chasing wounded geese through a field. One of the more lucky among them (for he had actually killed his quary) caught sight of a man dashing across the open range with a stick raised in triumphant charge yelling "The hunt is on! The hunt is on. North to Alaska, North, the rush is on!".

The pensive hunter rubbed his chin whiskers, shrugged his shoulders and wrote the whole affair off to one of those crazed gold-digging mad men heading for some chunk of shimmering bounty wrestled from the frosty and frigid mistress that is the Yukon.

He went back to dealing with his own gold, the goose that would tonight be cooked to golden brown and he thought how he hoped that the fool in the field would not find a simlar fate to his feathered friend atop this ice-covered cleaning board of death.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sunday, July 09, 2006

From his vantage point atop the hillock, Daggerfjord could indeed see much, and there was much to be seen, and what could be seen in no way illuminated the shadowy nature of the cryptic occurences. For Daggerfjord could not have been aware that on the other side of the world, even now, the chess pieces were being moved yet again. For, atop the dusty brown treeless pinacles of Andoraco, upon the crumbling parapets of a citadel fortress that once guarded the frontier between Andoracco and Mondora, a twisted thin figure in turban walked alongside a great hulking bear-like man in a cowboy hat.

"This bidness makes me a might uneasy Sultan Zhpat." The Burly man was sating as he practiced his quick draw. "I reckon there's no way ta know fo' sure that this here Rompkins fella ain't gonna give that thar talk o' his and wesun's be in a might bit a trubble. "

"If you may take some advice Mr. Bigoyle, I think you have spent too much time in the hot Texas sun." Zhpat's gnarled hands tightened on the end of his cane. He stopped and raised it as high as Bigoyle's navel. "We have a saying here in Andoraco. Never let a monkey share your underwear. Though we have no Monkeys in Andoraco, indeed other than scorpions, flies, tarantulas, and the deadly spitting asp we have no wildlife at all, I do believe the saying is very true."

The Texan looked perplexed and he pushed up the brim of his hat with the muzzle of his colt 45. "Wuz it s'pose to mean, Sultan?"

"It means, my lone-star friend, that a wise man keeps the better part to himself. I can not tell you all my plans."

Bigoyle seemed to grow a foot taller and his hat a gallon bigger. "Is you callin' me a monkey?"

"Be at peace. Even if he does give that speech, which I do not believe he will survive long enough to deliver... but even if he did, other operations are proceeding. You see in Andoracco we have a saying, 'never spit unless you are standing.'

"We sayin summin like dat in Texas, 'never piss up wind.'"

"Yes, I have heard of that. Have you heard the Andoracan saying 'It is easier to peel a locust's wings before you eat it than after?'"

Bigoyle scratched hi stemple with the muzzle of his six shooter than holstered it. "Reckon not. Butl let's jus say that I'll be a might happier when the last Inuit is pushin' up icicles and we can move ahead wid our plan to turn all of the great white north into a giant cariboo shootin' oil drillin' bay seal clubbin' ponderosa."

Zhpat resumed his walk. "And I will be equally satisfied when you deliver to me the secret nerve agent XZ-27."

Friday, July 07, 2006

Story Line: Interlude

As L'il Timmy Rompkins and Professor Klimmingstock rode off in the rickshaw, Hansel Daggerfjord lay on the ground, a bleeding mass of fleshy pulp and red hair. It was indeed a sad state, particularly for Daggerfjord who was more than a little vain. His Jaggerish lips were now so swollen that has face had the monstrous appearance of Carly Simon in a vacuum chamber. One of his eyes was swollen shut, and his roman nose was cocked at a dangerous angle. If not broken, then certainly begging for it, if only from medical necessity.

With a strange, coordinated high-step manuever, the Singaporean police collected themselves into ranks and did a sudden about-face, turning to attention just as a bearded Canuck in a scarlet blazer stepped into their field of view.

"Ree captulled him, la" said one of the Sinaporeans, ringing out his oriental patois with its characteristic verbal punctuation.

"Corporal Ying, I am afraid that this unfortunate Scotsman is not the man we are looking for," replied the Huskyhumper. From where he lay, Daggerfjord could easily assess this newcomer. His gold tasselled epaulettes, crested black riding flippers, serge bulbous pants, and swimming goggles made it quite clear that this was one of the Royal Canadian Mounted Marines, that rare breed, dispatched from the Yukon to serve as frogmen during the second world war. As mythical as Delta Force, and as feared as the Department of Health & Human Services.

"But Cororrerr Snrarck" Corporal Yang protested, "You say allest the mahrn rith rips rike ritter prumpkins,la?"

"No Corporal Ying, I said arrest Little Timmy Rompkins, not arrest the man with lips like little pumpkins. I'm afraid that Rompkins has eluded your grasp."

"Eruded are glasp, Corerrerr?"

"Yes. Eluded your grasp. By now he is probably secreted away with that damned Professor, and the two of them are preparing to unleash hell. I say? Where has that unfortunate Scotsman gotten to?"

For Daggerfjord, recognizing at length Colonel Snack of the RCMM, chose this time to exit the scene, by rolling slowly toward the thick foliage until ensconced in a massive fern, a maneuver made much easier after he detached his artificial left arm. He knew that the blood trail he left would make it quite clear where he went, so he sidled through the underbrush and into a small stream. Making a small raft out of two elephant magnolia leaves, strands of his hair, and an aluminum canoe, which had fortunately been left next to the stream, he pushed off and floated until he was approximately fifty yards away from the clearing. Then, bellycrawling over the thick jungle loam, he raised himself up on a muddy hillock, to better observe Colonel Snack and see if he could piece this mystery together.

Royal "Mounties"

"Ah those prats in the Royal Mounted Police..." the words sprayed from Hans' mouth as if the very air itself was stained in bloody disdain, "such nasty fellows are they. Why, they wear woolen underwear. Bohemians, really".

Klimmingstock eyed the lad as if for a moment to be a bit concerned, but then moved on, "Yer, yer. Prats dey ah, but prats dat wid bonk yer noggin if dey take dee notion. E'en more dan deez hooligans."

For a brief moment, Timmy was transported to a time in the Yukon, a time that was before his lovely Elsa decided to take up with one of the Mounties and become the house maid in a way station somewhere in the Northern-most of the North country, but he was quickly brought back to reality by some a delivery boy clanging the bell on his bicycle. Timmy thought it odd that the boy was carrying a broad-sword sheathed on the handle bars, and reapeatedly yelled the phrase "up the inuits".

"Peculiar, eh Doctor? I wonder what that was about?".

Klimmingstock shrugged "probably zee anarchy of some kind...der nozes are always out of dee joint about der sumthin. Poor inuits. Yer know, dey kiss wid der snoots. But enough - we moost git yer out of dis place toota sweeta."

Timmy breathed a deep breath as if to bolster his fortitude and allowed the good doctor to help him board a carriage bound for the Institute.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Enter Klimmingstock

And Lo! Who should emerge from the subteranean transport but that self-same Professor Klimmingstock carrying in his arms a box full of international edition books on topics ranging from the life cycle of the tape worm to biodiversity among the West African fruit fly. Upon seeing Timmy a look of intense pathos wrinkled his face until his forehead nearly touched his chin.

"Eeez that Timmy Rompkins among all zee gore? What haz befallen you my dear contemporary. Are you hurt?"

"Profetha Klibbingstock! Oh Profetha Klibbingstock, thank heabens its you!"

"Und who eez dat being pummeled by ze police? Eez he a friend of yourz? Ah! I can zee dat he eez not your friend but a common Soccer Hooligan in for zee match dees afternoon. Come Timmy let me help you." He started toward Timmy then shook his head in sad regret. "But too bad I can not becauze I am carrying deez very heavy box. Perhaps we can wave down a taxi."

Klimmingstock's face was mostly mustache and eyebrows, but between them perched on a nose that resembled in texture a pineapple were a pair of unusual glasses. Though obviously clear, regardless of the position of light source always reflected more than they transmitted so that the color of his eyes were hidden.

Klimmingstock managed to shuffle his arms about and somehow find a clean handkerchief in his pocket without dropping the heavy box and Timmy took the proffered cloth and pressed it against his nose.

"Tell me Timmy have you finished your paper on zee pandemic cH-Ockh virus? I have decided dat you will be zee keynote speaker since all zee world awaits a cure to dees horrrrible dezees. Und eef you can not find zee cure we doubt anyone else can too. Then zee governments of zee wurld will collapse und a dictatorship ruled by the Queen of Andoracco will surely arise and subjugate all to her power. Even now we have heard that zee Royal Mounted Marines have sent zee covert agents here to kill you."

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Story Line: Redux


However, it was not a loogee that saved L'il Timmy Rompkins from a severe caning, but rather Hansel Daggerfjord's uncannily poor ear for music. For as the Singaporean police advanced toward the bleeding Rompkins, their mufti caps bobbing in unison, Daggerfjord opened his monstrous Mick-Jagger lips and started belting forth a version of Belinda Carlisle's cover of BB King's "Mockingbird".

There were two things that Daggerfjord should have known about the Singaporean police. First, that almost all Singaporeans are greatly enamored of Belinda Carlisle, and the police in particular, ever since her famous "Somerset Maughm Concerto" had raised $50,000 for the widows of Singaporean policemen. And second, Singaporean police are required by law to have completed four years of music theory before entering the police academy. These two facts, taken together, meant that Daggerfjord was caterwauling to a highly discrimanating band of heavily armed Belinda Carlisle fans. Not good.

Or, not bad. Depending upon your perspective. For while the Singaporean police were pummelling Hansel Daggerfjord until his nose spat blood the color of his hair, L'il Timmy Rompkins was staggering off, clutching his mouth to contain his own blood, and wondering how in the world he would explain this to Professor Klimmingstock.

Saga Loogiete Continuum

If the intrepid albiet slightly knuckle-dragging reader would be so kind as to indulge a moderate departure from the story of Hansel, the loogie and the uniform, blue - there is a story within this story that simply "screams" to be told - it is a story of the genesis of the loogie, from a time Hansel spent in the Amazon.

Yes, "genteel" reader, the Amazon. The place of snakes, and Teddy Roosevelt's bout with consumption.

It is a place manifest in the might say, (one being, that is, a potentially knuckle-dragging consumer of fine lit), one such as this might say, that is, it is THE place of the loogie.

In fact, there is is one group of indiginent and highly advanced yet counter-culture and anti-progressive locals there who DEFINE loogie as "Amaxonian Conglomerati" - meaning, of course, "big green mass of goo".

They are a wonderous and somehow strangely peculiar tribe reminding one of some sort of Greek philosophers. In fact, there is intimation that they might just find their roots in Greek society.

Their leader, "Platu", it is thought, derives his name from that obvious paragon of ancient thinking that has so vastly shaped modern thinking, Plato.

But I digress.

When TR traveled the Congo, he left behind a strange disease that it is thought he developed whilst charging San Juan hill. Yes intrepid hairy-backed reader, San Juan hill. It is thought he caught it from a horse, which one can imagine, had massive, massive concerns with excessive spittle (so much so that it had a tendency to "looge" through the nostril of the beast).

Now as everyone knows, TR was quite the lover of horses. "Baby cakes", the horse behind the horse on which he trollipped up the hill - well my dear heavy-browed reader, TR had a tendency to kiss her every night after feeding her a bucket of oats.

Modern forensic scientists are quite certain (but of course, they are not willing to risk their reputations on it) that this is the source of the modern green glob.

Now it is said that TR, upon taking repose on a large rock whilst taking a "breather" in charging ol' San Juan, happened to "hock one up" and, lacking the gentleman's cuspidor, and having found that his valet, "Tutie", was wrestling a rather large crockodile, (something TR found peculiar as he had not expected to find such a creature on the rocky and desolate hills of San Juan - but also something that historians trace as a possible motivation for his later descent into the Amazon to determine how the "blasted beast" had wondered so far from home), spat said hock into wailing crock and thus ended the cavorting between the beast and Tutie.

Tutie, of course, was quite happy in all this.

Now TR made a pet of the crockodile, and called him, appropriately, "Winky" (this due to the infection that set in his eye from the expetorate TR had launched into his eye).

It is said that TR and Tutie, in much later years, took Winky with them on their excusion deep into the Amazon.

Top medical pathogenic historians believe that the source of the modern loogie is either something TR left in the Rain Forest, or perhaps from an encounter that Winky had with a member of the Philo-Pliny tribe (rivals to Platu's group, known locally as "that bunch from up on the hill).

And thus was set in motion the events that would later infect our protagonist, Hansel, when he journeyed the Congo in search of himself - oh yes, and that business that the Society of Royal and Painful Gentlemen had funded for him to find an answer to that age-old question - who wears the pants, Pliny the Elder, or the younger? .

Now, on with the story of spittle that fizzled like a North Korean missile.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Thus was he musing intently in great disregard for his path and consequently walked directly into a wall breaking his nose in twelve places and bloodying his lips. In a swirl of confusion he heard the whistles of the local police. He tried to pull himself up kowing that in Singapore, bleeding on the sidewalk is a misdemeanor, a crime punishables by forty strokes of a hollow read upon the bare buttocks.

And this would have been his fate had it not been for the spittle wielding Hansel Daggerfjord who chose that moment to draw off their attention.

Story Line: Back Atcha!


"How," you may well wonder, O gentle reader, "did SA Mcgill leap from the precipice of conjuncture to land firmly upon the appellation of that selfsame Hansel Daggerfjord?"

For, Mcgill being but one of thousands of blue-capped soccer fans, and with Daggerfjord having merely out of boredom taken in a match between Putsnob and Twillings during their annual "World Cup Exposition" in Greenback, Tennessee, one might think that Daggerfjord was the farthest thing from Mcgills' mind, streaming red tresses or no.

And yet, when reflecting on the tortured history of this unwelcome symbiosis, one cannot help, like Mcgill, but see the cosmic certainty that if anyone was the owner of that loogee, it must be Daggerfjord. And so, gentle reader, we necessitate the flashback:

April 3rd, 1987. Sentosa Island. Singapore. The thin and reedy speakers on the caravan train were trilling out a muzak version of "Welcome to the Jungle", as the car negotiated its way amonst the comedically inept recreations of the British Expeditionary Force's embattlements of World War II. The air was humid - the kind of humidity that makes you wish you were a mermaid in a packing case full of industrial dessicant. But for Sentosa, humidity goes with the air like Haight goes with Ashbury. In other words: humidity is a faggot.

But such thoughts were far from the mind of L'il Timmy Rompkins. No, indeed, L'il Timmy was not thinking of humidity at all, but rather, was contemplating biogenesis, making sure he had covered all the possible questions he might encounter after he gave his invited presentation tomorrow at the World Biogenesis Forum at the glittering Singapore Jewel Palace Convention Center.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Story line continues

Had Hansel been aware that the particular blue cap that was the beneficary of his phlegmatic missile happened to belong to Seargent-at-Arms Juan-Henri Mcgill he may have chosen to spit down his own shirt; for Juan-Henri was the pride of Her Majesty's Royal Mounted Marines - Special Urban Combat Commando Squad. Upon that blue cap was the hammer emblem striking down a happy face.

Juan-Henri doffed his cap and taking a Q-Tip from his belt pouch, swiped the spittle. He then placed the Q-Tip in a zip-lock bag and placed that bag within a larger leather bag and filed that bag among the many pockets of his flak jacket. He patted the pocket with his white gloved hand. Then - for those with ears to hear - a deep satisfied hum emanated from deep within his bronchioles. He rumenated on the reflection in the glass-panels of the adjacent building, a flashing red mane burning brightly in the midst of an otherwise dung-colered populace.

"Hansel Daggerfjord"

The hound had the scent.