|The Story||The Authors|
|From his slyconcealment behind a potted palm in the lobby of Gertrude Thurberger's Home for Indigent Men Officer Pencilmoustache jotted a note to himself on his trusty pad. Mr Tickles did it on the front stoop with a shovel. "Ah," he commented to himself, "Der Meisterplot thickens likegood gravy."|
his work finished Mr Tickles turned and once again entered the building.
|He stood in the foyer, turning off all the lights. Darkness. Alone and unaware of the world outside. For the first time in his life, he did not feel lonely. He had set everything in motion. He was no longer needed. He knew the events would follow without any further interaction on his part. Tickles sat down on the darkness. There was no sound. He removed all his clothes, putting them to one side, very carefully. He was enjoying every single minute of this silence. He smiled and thought it was stupid, since nobody could see his expressions. Taking out the note, he signed it. As he pulled the gun he had been hiding all along, he started laughing. Hard. Harder. He had never been a funny man, and in spite of his last name, Mr. Tickles hardly ever laughed when he had to make a crucial decission. Carefully, he aimed at the side of his temple. "Maybe," he thought "if there IS a God he would understand the irony." Two seconds later, he pulled the trigger. The following day, the investigators remained puzzled, when they found out the naked dead corpse of Mr Temple, lying on one side of his favorite armchair, his mouth wide open, dried tears coming out from his closed eyes, but seeming to have enjoyed each and every last second of his life. They say nobody knows what goes on thru a person's mind the last minutes before dying. Maybe he was crazy. Maybe, he was not. But the puzzling inscription on the note said: "Mr Tickles did it on the front stoop with a shovel. Signed, Mr Tickles"|
|Or at least that's what Mr Tickles wanted the cops to think after he dragged the bloody corpses of Little Socco and Marie into Madam Stretch's front parlor. He aranged the bodies as carefully as he could to appear as a simple murder/suicide. The cops would have more important things to do than look much deeper.|
|As Mr. Tickles started to leave the house, he accidentally bumped a shelf and broke an expensive antique vase. He gathered up all the pieces he could and put them in his bag. Rushing out of the door, he then sped away in his BMW.|
|AS he reached the main highway, Mr. Tickles saw 3 police cars headed toward the crime scene. He nervously drove home to dispose of any evidence he may have on him. At home, he bagged up the bloody clothes he was wearing and the shards of the broken vase and threw them in the dumpster, as he knew it would be disposed of early that morning.|
|Unfortunately, he did not realize the trail of blood from his car leading directly to his home. Soon the cops found him. When he tried to get away one of th cops shot him and the dogs tore all of his flesh off. The cops left him for dead and left to enjoy some coffee and donuts from the local shop.|
|The cops wondered about the previous happenings. Thinking aloud one of the cops asked the other "Is everyone in this freaking town Jewish" the other cop, who is also a man and a Buddhist replied "Would you go to bed with me?" Frightened by this odd question the first cop pulled out his gun and killed his partner. Then he went home where his wife told him she just became a Jewish rabbi. Suddenly a loud buzzing noise was heard, the cop turned around and to his shock he was lying in his bed everything had been a horrible nightmare.|
|As dawn slowly broke over the miasmal swamp of Woodchuck, New Jersey, Mr. Tickles closed the door of the bedroom where his brother Jake tossed and turned fitfully in his sleep. The idiot had not only opened the Christmas box of foil-wrapped Electric-Blue Dextroid suppositories he'd sent him, but had left them right out on top of his dresser. Well, "here's lookin' at you kid!", Tickles chuckled to himself, holding the dozen or so suppositories he had filched aloft in a toast to his own cleverness! He entered the warm little bathroom and dropped trou. Ah, truly! There WAS no place quite like "home"! His left hand groped to the rear for the puckered love connection. Ah,to sleep, perchance to dream. These little dextroids were the stuff that dreams are made of! Of that he had no doubt.|
|Jake, fully dressed, sat up in bed soon after Mr. Tickles had sequestered himself in the bathroom. So Mr. Tickles, Jake thought, you have fallen into my little trap. Soon you will be too fucked up to resist me and I, Jake (insert last name here), will be the new and improved Jake (insert last name here). Whatever that means.|
In the bathroom, Mr. Tickles greased himself, silently, from head to toe, with Vaseline petroleum jelly, taking extra special time and care when he reached the naughtier bits of himself. He posed before the mirror, his canines protruding over his upper lip, his eyes flashing with a Mephitic malice. He'd been up all night, directing this nightmare around Jake, and the whole cast had been costumed and used again and again, and still nothing, Jake didn't get it, Mr. Tickles had his orders, to be sure, to proceed until finished, which he certainly would, being a man whose notions of duty had been formed by several hardened Green Beret non-coms, but this, well, this was just too much, this Jake character was keeping them awake long past dawn, was obviously a complete and utter knucklehead, with a lump of half-hardened wood-glue in place of a brain. |
So this time, exhausted and in a vile temper, he aimed to give Jake something the lad was not soon to forget.
Proficiently greased, Mr Tickles stood for a moment shiverin in the cool morning air and admiring his from in the full length mirror that adorned the bathroom door. He was a sexy fellow to be sure. Even with a the bald wig covering his handsome auburn curls. Just looking admiringly at his own little pot belly was enough to cause his prodigious member to swell a bit. "No time for hat now," he cooed softly to himself. The dextroid suppository had begun to work it's magic in his system. A warm unearthly glow was begin to make itself known in his fingertips. He didn't have much time left. jake would be waking up soon and he needed to have everything ready for it. He began to hurry a little. Mr Tickles began to shave.|
With his face and nether reagions all lathered up Mr Tickles picked up his cell phone and made arrangements for Marie and the others to meet him in an hour. Jake should still be knocked out by then and they'd have enough to time to get the rest of the motel room ready.
Mr Tickles chuckled sotly to himself. It was not necessarily every day a guy like Jake got to witness his own birth. (and most especially not with such a handsome baby as Mr Tickle knew he'd make.
|He checked his watch. There remained only the matter of the man-sized Love Canal, but that would be arriving with the ladies. He checked in on Jake, who tossed and turned in light uneasy sleep. Mr. Tickles sniffed under Jake's eyelids. It would be at least half an hour, leaving him just enough time to slip out the window, climb down the fire escape and go ogle that sassy new waitress at Elmo's over a steaming mug of java and a morning smoke. Ah, he thought, life was good, once you took care of these Jake-types. He wished they'd post him to this plane more often.|
|Officer Pencilthinmoustache read over his notes and scratched his head in bewilderment. He flipped back to the beginning of his notebook and quickly read through it again. "This makes no fucking sense at all!" he shouted at no one in particular. The only concrete fact the poor confused policeman could derive from his scribblings was that the notorious Mr. Tickles had killed two people with a shovel and for that justice had to be administered.|
For his part, Mr. Tickles, pouring sugar in his coffee and staring at the brisk image of Officer Pencilthinmoustache wavering in the screen of the transelectro-duodenoscope installed in the sole of his shoe (and to think they'd only had shoe-phones in the old days!) took it as a chuckled aside from the splendid vision of the new waitress's plump buttocks circumnambulating the diner. He could smell his flapjacks cooking on that griddle back there, he could indeed, and, thinking fondly of the sort of justice he himself had the priviledge of delivering on a daily basis, he felt a brief pang of respect and admiration for Officer Pencilthinmoustache, so mired in the past. |
And now, at last, the flapjacks, the steaming oatcakes were set before him. The hungry dwarf breathed in great nosefuls of their warm perfume, then looked up at the waitress with round, luminous eyes whose irises began to spin like pinwheels. "And now," he said,
"After I have poured on the syrup," he said,
"You, my dear, are going to feed me."
"Yes, master," the hypnotized waitress replied, bending her shapely knees to sit in his proferred lap. "Your wish -- is my -- command."
|Meanwhile, back at the chaotic scene of Mr. Tickles heinous crimes... Two silent and stationary 450 pound Monsignors of the Holy Church sat astride matching Vespa motorscooters behind the large gray nondescript Vatican van into which a steady stream of workers carried crates and cartons from Mr. Tickles late residence. Getting the identical-twin "Tons O' Fun" brothers temporarily assigned to him had been Cardinal Ratfinger's very pressing goal for several days. At last they had arrived from their native South Latvian province and set up shop in the New World. (El Mondo Nuovo) This situation was now very firmly in their pudgy, but capable, hands. Their eyes barely flickered as they watched the last cases of diamonds being carried across the street and into the van. The police came and went, detectives, crime technicians, photographers, curious neighbors, yet nobody seemed to notice any of the work being carried on under their noses. Lotho and Botho were masters of clouding human minds. This was their gig. This was their baby. In a few hours all these materials would be safely stowed on the rust-bucket "Mary Contrary", and in another two or three she would be beyond the 3 mile limit and showing her true colors as the 500 thousand horsepower turbine-powered catamaran "Serafina", making for Rome! They did lift an eyebrow at each other when, along with the crates of dead parrots now starting to exit from the basement of Tickles' building, one workman advanced with a buxom, gorgeous,bound and gagged and violently struggling young blonde draped over his shoulder. They did have to simaltaneously reach beneath their robes and put on their shades. For scattering the day's gloom on a large crimson sash around the young thing's lithe torso was blazoned in the most incredible blinking and flashing of pure Zircons, the mysterious boast, "I LUV DIAMONDS"! It glanced a million watts of pure star energy in all directions at once. The brothers hooked pinky fingers instantly! Personal Jinx! Oh, yes. This lovely creature would have to have some very thorough body searches before the night was through. Onto the van she went, stowed with a thump, the dead parrots already starting to wall her in. Around a nearby corner, unnoticed, strolled Pencilthinmoustache.|
|"Hmmm," he paused when out of the corner of his eye he saw a slight movement which appeared to be two very large men sitting atop two straining vespas, Pencilthinmoustache decided it was probably an hallucination brought on by overwork, "interesting to say the least ... must be an hallucination brought on by overwork," he continued,|
|He chewed the ends of his walruslike moustache thoughtfully and stared at his shoes. Scotland Yard...it had been so long, so long since he'd last heard a saucy retort from the lips of Miss Moneypenny, or sat wearily through the debriefing procedures of his superiors, or interrogated a prisoner. This case had gone on too long, and Officer Pencilthinmoustache felt like he was losing any identity other than those few figments of personality and intellect necessary for the pursuit of this Jake and Mr. Tickles duo, international supercriminals par none...How he longed to be home, in his mum's cottage in Devon, in his old da's worn rocking-chair, feet warming on the hearth, with a pot of tea and a plate of buttered scones and the family wolfhounds, Igor and Edna, dozing on the floor beside him.|
|Instead, he was stuck here in the godforsaken country of America, in the "Badlands" of South Dakota.|
The Badlands had been replicated, to scale, in wax and papier-machˇ, by none other than the justly famous wax sculptor Madame Coquille, then placed over the stinking totality of Trenton, New Jersey in so convincingly realistic a manner, and with so an unfailing eye for the things that count, the little details, that even a displaced brave of the Brule Sioux, finding himself relocated by time and space from the territories of his tribe to the good Madame's recreation, would not have been able to tell the two apart, and though the rancid brown sludge of the Hudson river lay turning in the grey afternoon before him like a fat anaconda on day number seven of a drinking spree, still that noble savage would have blinked, and sniffed the wind, and told himself that the watery mass in the distance reeked sulphurous indeed, and was in fact but a uniquely large specimen of those bubbling thermal features for which the Dakotas are so well-known. |
This told, then, Officer Pencilthinmoustache wandered off into the day.
His first stop, as per usual, was for a double half-caf Latte' with a dash of nutmeg at Ol' Joe Starbuck's Tradin' Post (or so it was called in its Madame Coquille created guise.) The frothy beverage refreshed him well enough that he began the next portion of his daily ritual. A well tamped pipe and his morning duties, in that order. Thus lightened and fortified he began his quest anew for the whereabouts and whatfors of Mr Tickles and his nefarious band of hentchmen. Pausing only momentarily to straighten his bow tie in a storefront reflection he proceeded briskly down the Avenue towards the least likely place that his archrival might be found. Ever the assiduous detective Officer Pencilthinmoustache needed to cross a few spots off the list before he could proceed in earnest knowing he had not overlooked the unlikely.|
In the course of the morning he was able to ascertain that the dreaded Mr Tickles was not to be found in the vicinity of Bobo's House of Chew Toys, Orange Julius, Mrs Finnerty's Authentic Russian Tea Room, Crazy Leo's Discount Bible supply store, The Gap or The Rainbow Gatherers New Age candle emporium (but he was able to pick up a niftly quartz crystal medallion for his aging Mum).
Thus reassured the undaunted Officer Pencilthinmoustache, feeling a tad peckish paused for a brief repast of haggis and black coffee at Tom O'Shanter's Bar and Bagpipe Parlor before continuing on. The sweet reedy drone of the bagpipe was always the thing to put a fire in the good detective's belly when he needed a bit of inspiration. Aye, that and the buxom flame haired barmaid, Lois, with those grand and sturdy child-bearing hips he had his eye on to put a capper on a belly full of sheep bladder.He licked his thin lips greedily. So invigorated was the Inspector that he decided he would have dessert after all, and promptly importuned the lusty serving wench for a Flan (sans flames) and a glass of skim milk.
Unfortunatley for Officer Pencilthinmoustache he never had a chance to eat it.
Fir it was at that moment that the renegade band of Crow, far from home but on a mission for Sioux scalps and white women, galloped bareback into the pub and began to shoot their arrows. |
The first casualties were not human, but Scottish -- the wheezing bagpipes of the bagpipe quartet on the small stage were soon bristling with arrows, and the last, a fine tenor bagpipe, gave its final wheezing gasp and fell to the floor, stone dead.
"No makum bad music no more," said a brave.
"How! Diffcult to callum music, what soundum like dying buffalo," replied his neighbor.
"What say you, Fast Turtle, we killum, scalpum musicians, makum sure no more groaning-elk-in-heat music disturbum brave Crow war-songs?"
"I say, goodum goddamn idea, Fart-of-Bright Thunder, my brother."
And so they did.
Five minutes later the scattered, scalped corpses of the bar's customers and kitchen staff ÷ among them the pasty, bloated, tweed-clad cadaver formerly known as Officer Pencilthinmoustache, late of Scotland Yard, crumbs of his final Yorkshire pudding dribbling from his lifeless mouth ÷ all stacked now like along the bar like cordwood made useless by an unexpected rain. |
Only the barmaidens had been spared, destined to be traded into white slavery and sacrifice among the savage, bottlenosed Aztecs a thousand miles to the South. They stood bound in a corner, and every so often one of them would emit a loud, hoarse wail, only to be silenced with an icy look from the tall, ritually scarred brave watching over the captives, who ogled them with the greedy, undisguised lechery of a soldier too long on the campaign.
But even this particularly slovely character snapped to attention when a man, unquestionably the big cheese, strode into the bar with a pronounced limp and surveyed the carnage with the pitiless eyes of an osprey.
The astute reader has no doubt already recognized the dark and wounded form of that nemesis of modern man, that blight upon the days and means of Buffalo Bill, Dan'l Boone, Wyatt Earp and General Custer hisse'f...Injun Joe!
|Stumbling around the corner and into the first doorway he came across, Pencilthinmoustache entered and collapsed into an empty seat at a table near the front window. Hmm...kaff! cough! hack! The arrow through the chest seemed to be impeding his breathing. Working it back and forth seemed to do nothing to dislodge it. Was that "Born to Lose" blaring forth from the jukebox? How frightfully ironic. As he crisply snapped the arrow and withdrew each end separately, he couldn't help but notice the small "Made in Hong Kong" label identifying it as of authentic contemporary American plains Indian use. "Sioux certainly, although perhaps of Crow or Commanche employment," he conjectured as he use the tip and his own blood to add another fastidious note to his notebook. Valetroie eyed him sullenly from behind the bar. "Howdy, stranger...",she opined from across the quiet little neighborhood tavern, "what'll it be?" Pencilthinmoustached paused momentarily to notice he had taken up a perfect observation point as a large gray nondescript moving van, followed by two enormous Monsignors on identical Vespas pulled out of the square. "I believe I should like a gill of Glenfiddoch,a tumbler of ice, and a red-hot branding iron with which to perform a minor cauterization, if it isn't too much to ask?", responded the weary Inspector. Valetroie looked across at her business associate Caitlin and nodded. Caitlin's New York times crossword puzzle would have to wait. Even though their request to the Bull Dyke of Brooklyn for approval of their theme bar, "The Badlands of South Dakota" as an official Lesbian haunt seemed all but assured, the difficulty about the all-women sign erecting crews getting crushed by the first couple efforts seemed to have brought politics into the issue. With their killing course loads as Lit. Majors at Columbia's night school, there was no way they could afford to ignore this apparently well-heeled and cosmopolitan customer, whatever his gender.|
|...Thus the final thoughts and fantasies of Officer Pencilthinmoustache fluttered away like a moth on the breeze, and he expired. Injun Joe, nerfarious criminal mastermind of The Banana Splits, and Native American brujo of song and legend, deftly pulled the moth of Officer Pencilthinmoustache's soul from the air as it headed towrad the Western Lands, the land of the dead, and placed it upon his tongue. Chewing slowly, he savored the life that had been, and spat the now-soulless carcass of the Scotland Yard detective onto the ground. "Heh-heh-heh," he chortled. "An afternoon snack."|
|As he devoured the strange sensation bit by bit he was becoming transparent. Yes , he was surely going to dissolve into pure nothingness.More and more he was fading away.|
|It was, after all, the late afternoon of a long day of rape and pillage since sun-up, and Injun Joe had much to do before they could pitch their teepees for the evening. Wiping the sweat from his sundarkened forehead, he entered the bar, nodded his head at the stacks of corpses in the one corner, went to the next and began to inspect the captive barmaids, one by one, searching for the one who'd grace his teepee that evening and all night.|
|"Ah, well, thank you,my dear," said Professor Pencilthinmoustache,eying the bottle of inexpensive Mezcal,the dirty drinking glass with two ice-cubes,and the cold fire-place poker,with which Caitlin had returned. "Perhaps you would care to join me? Events on the square seem to have calmed down considerably!" Caitlin stepped to the jukebox and punched up the owner's code for another half-hour of "Born to Lose", twirled the other chair at Pencilthinmoustache's table so she could straddle it,plopped down with both elbows on the table,snapped her wad of chewing gum,tucked her chin into her clasped fingers, and looked directly into Pencilthinmoustache's soulful face. "Yeah! Sure! Waddever!",she said with a grin. "Looks like you caught an arrow?" The detective had already placed the tip of the poker carefully over the flame in the little table candleholder, and taken up the bottle of Mezcal. "If you drink with me, my dear, the etiquette of this excellent refreshment requires that we not stop until we have reached the bottom of the bottle. Notice the small 'gusano' in the bottom, a plump larval stage of the moth which pollinates the agave cactus from which this beverage is fermented and distilled. Whoever takes the last drink from the bottle is honor bound to also consume this maggot!" Caitlin dashed to the table where she had been working the Times' puzzle, took something from the pile of books and pads, returned and silently handed Pencilthinmoustache a sheet torn from one of her notebooks. He nodded as he took it. "Before I read this, my dear,it is said that some can descry the future from listening to that tiny worm by holding the bottle to their ear,as with a seashell. I wonder if you might do me the favor of trying it while I read this? I've been hearing quite a buzzing about Indians and dead heroes...now this bloody arrow business..." Caitlin had already raised the bottle to her ear as Pencilthinmoustache took up the note page and read the following: Henry James-The Figure in the Carpet "For the few persons, at any rate, abnormal or not, with whom my anecdote is concerned, literature was a game of skill, and skill meant courage, and courage meant honour, and honour meant passion, meant life. The stake on the table was of a special substance and our roulette the revolving mind, but we sat round the green board as intently as the grim gamblers at Monte Carlo."|