A Symphony unto Oneself

A Symphony unto Oneself

Chapter 4

     The Story The Authors
Gurn Blansten and Little Socco dug their heals into the soft muddy forest floor but it was to no avail. They were too far outnumbered by their Dextroid captors. Gurn decided he'd try to reason with them. Calm, cool reasoning, that would do the trick. "Listen, fellows, you are making a big mistake. We've nearly got Pencilthinmoustache in a trap. If you let us go, we can retrieve him and bring him to you like we promised." Valetroeie stuck his finger in Gurn's nose and said "IUt's rtoo lsatew fgor rthart nmow. FGranmd Ploobah Brecchibrecchibrecchi issd tirted ovf wauitnfg for youu tpo gvbring bsack Pencilthinmoustache. NMwow uyou wiull play weith your lkives." With that, Vetroeie took his finger out of Gurn's nose, slapped Little Socco three times on the top of his head and they continued on towards Jungakelchenborn. cuddles
As the party neared Jungakelchenborn Gurn stopped suddenly to point into the sky. High overhead a tiny sleigh drawn by 8 tiny beasts was disappearing into distant wisps of cirrus clouds. And floating down over the swamp land was an enormous wooden crate suspended from 3 huge cargo parachutes! "Look," shouted Gurn to their Dextroid captors, "cargo is floating down from 3 huge parachutes!" Tom L.
"Consarn it!" cried the Dextroid Flinganboodle, "I distinctly ordered green parachutes! Someone will pay for this!" Hans Svensen
Suddenly Valetroie, whose gender had not been completely established by Gurn or by Little Socco, although the little fellow had been doing his darndest to cop a peek under Valetroie's scanty outfit, burst into clear and perfect song. A tale from a long-lost childhood book of poems by the Keary sisters, sung as she stared after the now vanished sleigh- "CURLY clouds of snowy white, Fleecy islands in the light, Prettier than cotton-wool, Come and be my bed to-night. E'en a king would not disdain Golden cloud for counterpane, White ones for the sheets so cool, Pillows like a silken skein! Oh! to sleep and dream, and wake With the cloud's first morning shake, Hear the broad Earth stir below, Watch the shining daylight break! Lying safe upon my cloud, Feeling like a fairy proud, Sailing softly I should go, Singing like the larks aloud!" All the other Dextroids, who had been rushing towards the crate, stopped dead in their tracks. To listen in fascination. The shadow of the deceptively onrushing crate made a lovely growing circle around the nasty little fellows as they listened raptly to their leader's song. The parachutes suddenly turned red. Tom L.
Oh, the parachutes. Of all the lucsious colors in the world, why red? for red is the color of evil, is it not? and red is the color of love. shall we fear red or embrace it in welcome arms? or shall we shy away from the prospect of love? what to do, what to do. kim
That was what the Dextroids were thinking as suddenly the parachutes broke and the cargo squashed them. Only Valetroie and her companion Caitlimn survived. "Owwwm," groaned Caitlimn, "the catrhgo hoit my gfoot!" "Shiout oiup..," said Valetroie, "at leadst wae atre mnoyt sdead. Noe w help me get ythese sgioutys home, them mn there;s'll be omne fot r each of ius." "Yealh.," said Caitlimn, "as ifm, tyoiu are like the qiueen of baifgamy you knoew that? I;s'ssl vbe liuchkey if youi evemn give me one of their kids!" "Oh Caitslimn.," said Valetroie, "whiuy woiulsd I do that? I get the boig one, tyoi u get the little one." "Aww come on CXValetuyuuitroie," whined Caitlimn, "hes not onlsd enougnh to be any fun! Why axcant we both get the big one/?" "But yutjhemn we;'s d gfhoave to take turmsns!" Whilt Caitlimn and Valetroie argued, Gorn and Little Socco snuck away. They were almost free when... Carolyn
Mr. Tickles snapped the television off with a curse. He couldn't stand that show! Why, even public television had become incurably corrupted by greed and by sitcom characters so lacking in even a single appealing characteristic they deserved their own subsection in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Revised Third Edition).
He drew back the curtains and looked outside. "Heh-heh-heh," he cackled; "What game shall we play today?" he asked himself, or the room, or no one, his eyes slowly but surely fixing with a mad gleam upon St. Mary di Giovanni Apostolic Elementary School across the street, where juicy young children in uniforms ran and screamed across the playground. Yes! Yes indeed. He felt the ends of his upper fangs with his fingertips. Yum-yum. He smacked his lips. Juicy children for dinner, ho-ho. Yum yum yum.
Philip
He retrieved his binoculars from the bedroom closet and set about taking a closer survey of the children playing in the schoolyard, determined to find the plumpest, tenderest one among them. Just thinking about it made Mr. Tickles salivate. He would roast the child with onions, strips of bacon, fresh black pepper and a pinch of rosemary. A bosc pear would go in the child's mouth, and cloves of elephant garlic in its ears and nostrils. A thin line of drool extended from his lips nearly to the floor! Yum-yum, he said again. He scanned the playground. His eyes returned once, twice, a third and finally a decisive fourth time to a chubby lad of about nine, who sat by himself near the jungle-gym and slowly ate his lunch from a lunchbox emblazoned with the colorful branding of those infernal Dextroids from the television. And weren't they just everywhere! Such shows ought to be put out of the public's collective misery. Why, they threatened the very moral foundations of our society! Well, they'd have one less captive consumer after tonight, that was certain. And so he congratulated himself on that, the little dwarf did, and poured himself a thimblefull (and what a mighty big thimble that was) of whisky. With the whisky ruddying his cheeks and burning down the back of his throat, he took one last look through the binoculars at the boy in the schoolyard, and then set about perfecting his Plan. Philip
After Much Thought And More Whisky He Decided That He Would Lure The Child Into His House With A Giant Can Of Pork And Beans, And Then He Would Kill It With Chloroform, Which Would Be Inside The Can. But For Starters, Mr. Tickles Turned On The Oven And Began To Toast The Bread With Which He Would Make The Stuffing He Would Stuff The Child With Before He Roasted It. It Would Be Chestnut Stuffing. It Would Be Really Good. He Scratched Himself. He Was Hungry. He Was So Hungry He Had To Be The Hungriest Dwarf In The Whole World...He Wanted To Phone His Friend Sophocles And Tell Him This, And Share His Joy, But Unfortunately Sophocles Was Dead. Jesse
When Mr. Tickles had finally decided, he went to find the boy. He had to get to that boy. The boy was the only fat one left in the whole school. All the others had either been eaten by him, or excercised, dieted, and lots weight until they were in the relatively safe crowd of skinny, athletic kids like Jenna. Mr. Tickles wanted to arf when he thought of eating Jenna. She was the ringleader, as well as the tallest and skinniest kid ever. Except maybe for those teenagers with eating disorders. Skinny kids were awful. He had tried one once and it was horrible and tough. Even with all that shrimp sauce. Mr. Tickles told himself to concentrate. He would be moving to a new city tomorrow morning, so he needed that boy for his dinner and tomorrow's breakfast. He emerged into the schoolyard. All the kids screamed and ran inside - all except for Jenna, who didn't seem to care, and the fat boy, who didn't seem to notice. Mr. Tickles stepped toward the fat boy. "Look out, Fatty!" called Jenna. "Wha-" said the fat boy, and then noticed Mr. Tickles. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! Irlrt's thwe fat kisd waeatimng monster!!" Mr. Tickles stood there, stunned. The fat kid was a Dextroid! Dextroids tasted so bad, they made skinny kids seem appetizing. Mr. Tickles was about to go home when he realized what he had just thought. He looked at Jenna, swinging tauntingly on the monkey bars just out of his reach. Was she worth it? Jenna, meanwhile, was having her own thoughts. That stupid dwarf. She wished that there had been a better way to teach those fat kids to shape up. Well, she didn't need to worry. She was the skinniest kid in the whole school. And as for the fat boy, she hated him anyway. Jenna flipped over and jumped gracefully off the monkey bars. And suddenly Mr. Tickles caught her!!! Carolyn
Mr. Tickles proceeded to the bedroom and entered the cavelike empire of his giant, walk-in closet, looking for that giant can of pork & beans. It had to be in there somewhere, he just couldn't remember where. He'd received as a "Secret Santa" gift at an office Christmas Party, several years back when he used to work for the Post Office, before the 'accident' happened. He rummaged through the well-stuffed closet, among shoes and hats, a stuffed and mounted jackalope, boxes and boxes of the antique Kentucky Fried Chicken receipts he collected and preserved between panes of colored glass, a pith helmet, a night-cactus (ouch!), an unopened Ant Farm, a sweet potato autographed by Julia Child and now forever young inside a glass jar full of formaldehyde, and a great many pornographic video cassettes, sadly all in european PAL format, which meant he had no way of watching them. But no giant can of pork and beans. Now where in tarnation could he have put it? He glanced down at the luminous hands of his watch -- sweet mother of God, he had to hurry! School would be letting out in less than two hours, and he still hadn't rendered any fat from the last child he'd lured into his house. He stopped for a minute then. He shook his head. No pork and beans, then no pork and beans, and if that meant it had to be the goddamned cat suit against, so be it. Anyway you cut it, as long as he had that child to roast up for his supper, it was fine with him. He returned to the kitchen and began to sharpen his cleavers and his knives. Philip
Jenna, though, wasn't worried. Why should she be? After all, she was the tallest and skinniest kid in school, maybe in the city, or the whole world even. Mr. Tickles cackled to himself. "Hmm.." he mused, "I should cackle more often." Jenna began to worry. If Mr. Tickles was that desperate, who knew? Jenna tried to run from Mr. Tickles, but her efforts were not rewarded. Just then walked by Sir Jubalee, the new substitute. Sir Jubalee was young, the youngest teacher in the school, or city. Maybe even the whole world. He had just graduated and it was his first day. All this would not hold any signifigance whatsoever if Sir Jubalee were not as fat as he was. Sir Jubalee was the fattest THING anyone had ever seen. And he was just a kid. Sort of. Mr. Tickles contemplated. kim
He wasn't that old...and he certainly did have a lot of meat on him, but -- but no! Absolutely not! One must have some standards! One did not just go around indiscriminately eating adults, who tasted bad, who tasted of their small petty souls and bad personal habits and rancid grey diets. Now children, on the other hand, are delicious! Mr. Tickles had kidnapped a young child of four just the week before, and grilled him over a mesquite fire and served him with a delicate sauce molé. He had never tasted anything better. It would have to be that boy, no matter what impertinent Jenna suggested to him. As a female alter-ego, a ripple in his Jungian shadow, she was something of a pain in the ass, so he folded her up and returned her to his wallet where he kept her between an old condom and the business card of one Thomas Augenthaler, Mesmerist. He jammed the wallet into his back pocket and returned to the sharpening of his cleavers and knives. Philip
Meanwhile across the street at St Mary di Giovanni Apostolic Elementary Sister Mary Donatien Alphonse prowled the halls looking for infractions. She was in a foul mood. A thin prickle of sweat shone on the downy hair of her upper lip and her ill fitting dentures rattled beneath her chiding tongue. She'd had a rotten day. A splitting headache and a nasty rash on her buttocks had not improved her temperment. Even the soft squeak of her own orthopedic shoes on the much polished linoleum was driving itself deep into her skull. But ever determined and patient she knew that if she walked along long these halls long enough she would eventually catch up with some minor miscreant who could pay for the throbbing of her temples. But to her ever increasing annoyance the children seemed to be behaving especially meek and humble today just to spite her.
Her left talon clutched at her ruler. It had been made especially for her for her 25th anniversary at the school. It was a shining piece of pollished ebony with specially fitted finger grooves carved into the well worn section at the lower end. Its usefullness as a measure had been dubious to begin with (although it was precisely 12" long, it lacked entirely any other indications of length along its shining black back.) but now the only thing it seemed to measure was yelps and gasps and the occasional drop of blood from children's misbehaving knuckles and backsides.
Just as she was about to give up temporarily and scuttle her way back to the teacher's lounge for another Chesterfield king and her umpteenth cup of weak industrial coffe when she spotted fat little Jeremy McDougle furtively shove the but end of a Hersey bar between his rotund cherry cheeks. The grin she broke into made the little black hairs on the mole that seperated her eyebrow dance. She had found exactly what she was looking for.
Lanark
"Jeremy McDougle!" snapped Sister Mary. "I know you're a Dextroid, and you want to be different, but get real! You're the only fat kid in the school and you know it! Don't you realize what happens to fat kids?" "Biout >KMtrs. Alplhionse.,..." he began. "No buts, young man," said Sister Mary. "Biut he sdoesmnt't eat CDedxteewtyr-" Jeremy's laat word broke off suddenly as Sister Mary slapped him with her ruler, so hard that she was catapulted out the window and landed in Mr. Tickle's closet with Jenna! Jenna, who on failing to get out of the closet for the 63d time was on the verge of tears, explained her hopeless situation. Mr. Tickles was about to butcher her and eat her for dinner just as soon as he cleaned and sharpened his 478 peices of cutlery! And Mr. Tickles was a faster utensil preparer than anybody would have guessed. "Well," said Sister Mary, "the solution is simple. Mr. Tickles likes fat kids. We could just give him that bratty Dextroid Jeremy! After all, you're so much skinnier than he is." Then Jenna explained how Mr. Tickles had chosen her over Jeremy against all odds. Sister Mary wanted to say that Jenna had been pretty careless and stupid, but seeing the tears of despair well up in Jenna's eyes, and remembering that Jenna had been a straight-A star student for three years straight, she decided to forgive her, just this once. And after all, she could get good publicity for preventing a murder. Suddenly the door swung open. There was Mr. Tickles, with 478 peices of clean, sharp cutlery piled behind him... Carolyn
Meanwhile... Deep in the Level IV Control Room beneath the Vatican, the Pope dismounted from his 1/2 hour excercise romp on the special "My Prettty Pony". Towelled off, he turned to Cardinal Ratfinger who waited nervously in front of the World Wide bank of Patent-Leather Shoe-Cam Monitors blinking out their dismal assessment of affairs in 438 Countries and 7 miscellaneous Cities and Protectorates. "What about the Cargo Crate, Ratty?", he inquired. "The Bozo-Meters have been off our charts for 24 hours now!" Tom L.
Meanwhile... Deep in the Level IV Control Room beneath the Vatican, the Pope dismounted from his 1/2 hour excercise romp on the special "My Prettty Pony". Towelled off, he turned to Cardinal Ratfinger who waited nervously in front of the World Wide bank of Patent-Leather Shoe-Cam Monitors blinking out their dismal assessment of affairs in 438 Countries and 7 miscellaneous Cities and Protectorates. "What about the Cargo Crate, Ratty?", he inquired. "The Bozo-Meters have been off our charts for 24 hours now!" Tom L.
All the way on the other side of the Universe, Schlong is watching. Watching, and waiting. For what, you may ask. Only Schlong holds this knowledge, only Schlong knows what he wants with us. Some say he wants to control all beings and is monitoring the patterns of civilization and will strike when the time is right. The real reason is.. kim
he is psychotic and should die right away. John
he is psychotic and should die right away. John
he is psychotic and should die right away!!! John
fart in his face. jorN
fart in his face. jorN
Which is what he'd always dreamed of. vanblah
Mr. Tickles regarded the Nun coldly, "Your Jedi mind tricks won't work on me, Sister." He reached behind him and selected a ten-inch butcher knife. Unfortunately, while he had been under the influence of Sister M.'s considerable space-time altering capabilites during the previous twenty seven seconds Jenna had rearraranged his cutlery. Subtly, to be sure, but enough that when he was positive that he was holding the butcher knife it turned out that he was, in fact, holding a twelve inch soup ladel. It's blade had been dulled by years of love and use, in fact it was so careworn that it didn't really have much of a blade left (since it was really a soup ladel). It occurred to Mr. Tickles that he was now entirely fucked. vanblah
But bad words wouldn't help. Mr. Tickles now. He searched through his cutlery for his ten-inch butcher knife. While his back was turned Jenna snuck out of the house, safe at last. When Mr. Tickles had finally found his butcher knife, he turned around - and found himself locked in place by Sister Mary's steely gaze. "Say 'Im a Decxyutuyroisd now, Sister BNMLatruy.'" said Sister Mary. "I'm a Decxyutuyroisd now, Sister BNMLatruy," said Mr. Tickles without thinking. Then he realized what he had just said. "No!" he screamed, "No! I;'vnm not a SDecxtroisd! I'm Mtr, . Tichjkles!! NLooooooooo!!!!" But it was toolate. Mr. Tickles was a Dextroid! He was so shocked that he killed himself with his own butcher knife. Sister Mary went off to join Jenna, who had collapsed with releif under the monkey bars. Carolyn
"Jenna?" Sister Mary prodded the young girl's ribcage with her iron tipped boot, "I have one question for you, child." Jenna regarded the nun coolly, "What is it now, Sis M?" The nun reached down and grabbing a fistful of hair yanked the girl to her feet, "HOW DO YOU SPELL RELIEF?" vanblah
It was eleven thirty in the afternoon and three days later that Mr Tickles regained conciousness clad only in a sticky pair of Power Ranger underoos and one brown sock. He'd soiled himself. There was a loud ringing in his ears and his eyeballs felt as dry and salty a pair of old olives he'd found behind his stove one time. His entire diminuative body ached. His hair hurt. He tried to swallow as gently as he could. Even that hurt him. There was an evil taste in his mouth like he'd been frenching a camel. "God " he thought to himself, "I've got to lay off of those damn Dextroid tabs, the hallucinations are even worse than that homemade PCP I made in high school chemistry." Gingerly picking himself up from the wadded pile of newspapers where he'd made an uneasy drug addled bed he stumbled over to the window. Bright sunshine knifed its way into Mr Tickles still dilated pupils. He pulled the shade. A shower and a shave and he'd feel right as rain. Mostly. Then maybe a snack.
The gleeful sound of playing children made his stomach rumble.
Lanark
Meanwhile, back in the Vatican... Down on Level VII one eminent personage reigned supreme. Cardinal Ratissimus "Ratty" Ratfinger! And he was in the foullest of foul moods! "Where are those FOOLS?", he shouted at the nearest assistant, who cringed in abject terror, nearly losing his grip on the red-hot and pulsating Iron Sausage with which he was about to enlarge another of Little Socco's orifices. Even Little Socco clanked his chains in a good-natured effort to shrug at the Cardinal. In case the question had been directed at him. The Cardinal kicked a remnant of the True Cross so hard it skittered off into a corner and clanked against the Holy Grail, which he had hurled there a few moments earlier. He was pissed! Moans, groans, and strange noises echoed abject fright from the nearby cells and holding pens. It was going to be quite a night! Tom L.
"WHERE IS MR. TICKLES?" shouted the Cardinal. "I'm only giving you one more chance, Little Socco." He took the red-hot sausage and jabbed it at the boy's quivering body. Suddenly Little Socco pulled the costume off. The Cardinal was just a little red cardinal bird! Little Socco cast off his chains and went to look for his school. And Jenna. The girl of his dreams. Meanwhile, Jenna was relaxing in the school infirmary trying to remember how to spell relief. She didn't mind having to miss class because of a stress headache - after all, she was way ahead in every subject. Little did she know that Mr. Tickles was still alive... and seeking revenge on her!!! Carolyn
Meanwhile,back in the Vatican... none
the Pope, not realizing that the Lone Ranger had disguised himself as an ashtray, stomped his butt. vanblah
Ratfinger tore off the Cardinal bird-body suit, and re-emerged temporarily in his real manifestation as the gigantic 80 foot "Giant Rat of Sumatra"! With a slight shimmer he morphed comfortably back into his Eminence, Cardinal Ratfinger! "I TOLD you we'd get to the bottom of this!" he chortled to his slowly assembling and smiling band of associates. He bowed to their appreciative hand clapping as they slowly moved in around him to hear the next brilliant move in his scheme. Ah, yes, he was delighted with the way things were moving now. He had been convinced Little Socco was at the bottom of the whole sordid mess, and it was beginning to look as if he were right! Torture! Was there anything it couldn't do? Tom L.
Or so she thought.
Mr Tickles for his part couldn't have given two farts for the irritating little whelp. Even a single fart would have been a stretch. The unfortunate truth of the matter was that little stalker was utterly insane and obsessed with him. He couldn't get rid of the whining brat. She was defiantly stalking him in some strange and misguided idea that he was some ultramega evil alien or some such nonsense. Everywhere he turned the pint size Xena would be appeared and challenge him to a fight. One too many episode of the warrior princess had apparently addled her prepubescent mind and now everytime he left the house she would leap at him from someplace making that truly exasperating "yip yip" Tarzan yell. It was getting to be an ordeal just to go to the corner store for a bottle of scotch. A good spanking and some electroshock therapy would definitely set her straight. But right now he had other things to worry about.
Taking a quick glance at the street outside to make sure the coast was clear Mr Tickles slipped from the door and made his way to the storage shed behind the apartment building and pulled out his minibike. He had an appointment.
Lanark
Oh, he thought, if only the handbag had not got stolen. How is he going to explain to Mistress Stretch that he'd lost her year's supply of Horny Rimmed Glasses. Mr. Tickles (better known to his friends as Licks) knew trouble when he saw it, not being as blind as most folk, and suspected that when Mistress Stretch discovered his blunder, the real price of his ineptitude would soon be revealed. Would it be too much to ask, Licks wondered, for her to at least pick a forfeit that involved some form of pleasure for one of them? Or, would she go on a rampage of pain and humiliation. At least, that would be a distraction to the Xena thing that was following him around. On arriving at Mistress Strecth's home, he parked the bike in the only empty space left on her street, locked the anti-theft device he had just purchased that morning, when Xena Warrior Princess, (the real one, not the wimpy little imposter that had been stalking him) came flying through the air with one of her now-famous yells and landed at his feet. "I've been looking for you everywhere" she said calmly and not at all out of breath. "Licks, why do you keep avoiding my emissary? I've been trying to get a message to arrange a meeting with you for the longest time. Are you trying to avoid me?" She asked standing there in all her glory, hands on hips, towering over him by at least a foot. "That's torn it" Licks replied throwing his biking gloves to the ground in frustration. Dany Broadway
Reaching deep into the hidden pocket inside of his leather biking jacket Mr Tickles pulled out the last two Dextroid capsules and pitched them into the sewer grate. "I've had enough of these freakin' hallucinations now to last me the rest of my life." Of course he didn't throw out the baggie of crystal meth or the tiny aluminum foil package of grade A Porky Pig blotter acid with them. He needed something for New Year's Eve.
He picked up his gloves and glowered at Xena. Of all the goddam things he could hallucinate why did it have to be this leather clad Amazon. He'd had enough of her type in his circus days. The leather bikinis and the heaving cleft of buxom breasts squashed behind metal plates just left him cold. He for one always prefered to be on the other end of a whip. He snorted in disgust and turned to head up the stairs into Madam Stretch's parlor leaving the now translucent figure of Xena to evaporate or whatever it was that hallucinations do when you ignore them.
unfortunately for Mr Tickles this didn't happen.
Lanark
By now Mr. Tickles was more than a little irritated. School had let out hours ago and he still hadn't had a morsel to eat. The Xena apparition was not about to be ignored. She appeared in the stairway before him. "Begone, wicked varletess!" Mr. Tickles hissed at her. His curse did the trick and she vanished forever, even from television and there was much rejoicing. He was about to continue up the stairs to Madam Stretch's massage parlor and den of evil when he was stopped by a familiar voice from behind him. He turned to see his long lost twin, Little Socco who was well-dressed and well-kemt, the exact opposite of Mr. Tickles. "What do you want?" Mr. Tickles growled at his brother. "I've come to save you from yourself, my evil twin. You're wicked ways will surely destroy you." Little Socco said with an angelic voice. "Well, that's my own goddamn business. Why don't you go get yourself laid, then we might have something to talk about." Mr. Tickles turned and headed up the stairs. cuddles
Socco turned away from the departing figure of Mr Tickles to hide the bitter tears he was shedding for he knew that his dopelganger had turned away from the True Path of righteousness and was entering into a den of iniquity. He sat on the stoop and reflected briefly on the sad state of Mr Tickles tattered and rendered soul. He pondered on the dilema he faced and was filled with despair. How could he, Little Socco reach out to one so wicked and lead him to the light. Was there Hope to be found? "Perhaps", He thought to himself as hot emotional tears burned across his cheeks, "Mr Tickles is a soul beyond redemption and damned to live his wayward life of sin and horror until that fateful day of judgement comes and he is cast into the pit with the other lost souls." He, Mr Tickles, his brother and body double to spend eternity roasting on a flame licked spit . Cursing the life he led and screaming the agony of the damned. Socco shuddered and let loose a low moan at the thought.
But his despair did not last long for he had the strength of his faith to guide him. There was hope for all people who walk the Righteous Path, some just need a bit more coaxing to find it. He would be that person for Mr Tickles. He would lead him to the light. With a gasp of new found goodwill and joy Socco turned his wee little eyes heavenward there on the street corner to let out a prayer for Mr Tickles deliverance from evil.
A heavy leather handbag smashed across his forehead. "Pervert! Try to look up my skirt, will you!" and again the bag came crashing down.
Lanark
All at once through his cringing Socco heard a familiar voice cry out. The handbag hit the sidewalk with a sodden thump behind him, and Socco, though he scarce dared look beyond, could not help but notice the ring, snugly nestled on the fourth finger of that trembling hand. And then he knew all at once who it was. Marie had dropped several packages in her shock. "Is ... is that really you?" "Well, of course it is. Would anyone else be picking up your bags, instead of asking you why in blazes you were cracking his skull with your bag?" "Oh, Tickles, dear, how I've missed you! I heard you'd be in the city -- but -- I only could hope -- and I knew there wasn't a prayer of seeing you -- and it's as though -- Oh, how ever can I tell you how sorry I am?" Socco could not help taking one last jab at his twin, though he knew Marie would take it from him in blood later on. Or at least, she would take it from *one* of them. "You've no need to be sorry, my love. When I think how I acted... trying to be holier-than-*you*! How could anyone ever do that?" Marie blushed. "Why, Tickles, sweetie, you *do* say the dearest things... But whatever were you doing hunched on the street corner like that? I do say you *were* trying to peep at women, weren't you!" The big question. Why *had* he been kneeling on the sidewalk? Well, half a truth was as good as none. "Oh, it's my brother Socco. You know, the one who always walked in on us at the most, um, interesting moments? I told you he had a thing for you? Anyhow -- he fell in with that `church' group. The occult folks in the whitewashed building? Yeah. I talked with him -- oh, I don't know how long ago, it's all a blur to me -- and I was suddenly moved to utter a prayer for his soul. To think of him, my double, my doppelganger, spending all his eternity wallowing in Purgatorial filth... Oh! How terrible! But I don't suppose -- I mean, you'd have to be a twin to understand..." Marie would take it better if she thought he were the villain, mused Socco. "Would you -- would you pray for my brother? That he may be brought back to the Way of Righteousness?" Nathan Rasmussen
A shadow of suspicion crossed Marie's face. "Pray, Mr Tickles? That's a bit unlike you." She knew Mr Tickles well enough to be wary of any sort of personality changes he might feign. usually such episodes left her broke or broken. She took a careful step back to get an advantage if she needed to run.
"What the hell are you on now. Xtascy? Opium again? or is those foul dextroids you stole from my private stash a couple of months back?"
Socco tried to smile beatifically. It didn't work. Marie became even more suspicious.
Lanark
Unable to control himself, Mr. Tickles picked up a large shovel lying conveniently nearby and bludgeoned the both of them to death.
When it was over, gobbets of blood, brains, and bone flecked the ground with the precise, cheery hues of a bouquet of carnations in pink, white, and red.
Mr. Tickles wiped the sweat from his brow. Would they never cease to plague him, these quarreling, useless dextroid fleabags? Would he never know peace?
Ah, fuck it, he sighed. Life is life. We go on regardless. This year its Dextroids, next years it'll be Binky and the Inflatable Flying Whifferschlumps, and the year after that, Baby Amphetamine -- "the doll with more energy than your own child!" And in the end, what did it matter, all that passed into our graves with us anyway. I'm getting old, thought the dwarf to himself. I even smell different.
Philip