Greetings, felicitations, and fluffy dice.
GREETINGS, FELICITATIONS AND FLUFFY DICE
Now, you probably don’t know me, so let me introduce myself. My name is Jack Rowlands, although people tend to call me Mad Jack. I can’t think why.
Anyway, for my day job, I am an Alley Cat. What’s an Alley Cat, I hear you ask? In a very strange voice, I might add. Well, the Alley Cats are the Bomb Disposal team of National Security Command. So, if you’ve got something that you think is going to blow up, just give me a ring.
It’s a real man’s life in the Alley Cats. We do real man things, like weight training, marathon running, knitting, and highland dancing. And don’t believe everything you hear. One ballet lesson, ONE. Do they let you forget? Do they drumsticks! So, by way of relaxation, I entertain the team with a few of my hilarious stories. Well, I think they’re funny.
In among my own totally awesome original stories are ones based on tales I have heard. Some of them could be described as traditional. My grandfather would have heard them. Others are more modern. Now, I have tried to establish the copyright of these stories, but I have not been able to trace the authors. If you feel I have breached your copyright, first know that it was not deliberate, and accept my apology. Secondly, please let me know, and I will be happy to amend future issues. Now, is that or is that not fair?
Wednesday, 16 August 2017
It had started out as as normal day until something roared across the sky and exploded over the city, spreading a sickly sweet smelling blue fog through the streets. Chuck had been on an underground train when it happened, which is probably why he wasn't affected.
When he came out of the station, everything was in chaos. Cars and shop windows were wrecked. There were screams and howls from all around him, and the people. The people. Their skin had turned dark blue, their hair bright green, and they had a look of crazed anger.
At first they were just fighting amongst themselves, then they saw Chuck. Chuck ran. He felt weak. He felt as if he was going to throw up, but, most of all, he felt afraid of what these things would do if they caught him.
The mob had gone past. Chuck was safe for a while. He picked up his bag and continued to his destination. He turned a corner, and saw a double decker bus on its side. As he approached, three blue skinned things crawled out. Chuck ran again. He realised that he was headed into the centre of town. There would be too many people.
That is when Chuck’s luck changed. He saw an abandoned car, the keys in the ignition. He knew that the owner was probably changed or dead, and he also knew it was his best chance. Chuck stole the car.
He drove as fast as he could, narrowly avoiding other vehicles that had been left behind. Sometimes there would be a mob of blue people trying to block his path, but he closed his eyes and ploughed through them, trying to blot out the awful noises they made as the car hit them.
After a hellish journey, he arrived at his home. All looked clear as he grabbed the bag from the back seat. He practically collapsed into the house, exhausted. After a couple of seconds, he was aware of a shadow over him. He looked up. It was his wife, Annabel. She was unaffected by whatever it was. She just stood there, drinking from a mug of tea.
Annabel opened the bag. “It's no good.” She said. “You forgot the milk. You’ll have to back and get it.”
Later that day, a pair of trousers walked themselves down the high street, and several shirts flapped and glided through the air.
Naturally, the call went out to Doctor Roxy Muller and Danny Scurry. Muller checked the socks for radiation and chemicals, while Scurry plotted the reported incidents.
“What do you make of it, Roxy? Science or magic?”
“I don't believe in magic, and you know it.”
“Well, what's your best guess?”
“And I don’t guess. I go by the evidence.”
“OK, what does the evidence tell you?”
“It's a substance called Nescio. It's actually made up of microbes that are supposed to digest dirt in clothes, and is then washed out. Somehow, these have formed a kind of hive mind and control the clothing, apparently bringing it to life.”
“We have to stop it.”
“We can. A mixture of these three chemicals sprayed onto the clothing will disrupt the hive mind and kill the Nescio.”
Half an hour later, Muller, Scurry and several other agents were going through town with spray packs. The clothing was everywhere; suits, dresses, shirts, underwear all creeping or walking or flying. A blast of the spray, and they became still. Just then, a call came in. There was trouble at the local monastery.
The team burst through the doors to see robes, cassocks and albs swirling around. Scurry sprayed them. Nothing happened. Muller joined in. Still nothing happened. It took all the agents to spray every every drop of chemical for the clothes to fall to the ground.
“Why were these so difficult, Roxy?”
“I guess old habits die hard.”
“Thank you Johnny...”
“Bob. I'm not Johnny, I'm Bob Marsh.”
“OK. Anyway, the pole with the Climbing Gertrude represents the Asclepius, The area is to remind people that most medicines are derived from plant material, which is why it is important to preserve natural areas that we have not yet fully investigated.”
“Thyme heals all wounds?”
“No. There are many herbs and plants that have medical uses.”
“Well, I have a painful hand condition similar to eczema, so I made an emulsion of thyme, olive oil and water. It has proven to be very effective. I used some this morning.”
“So you have thyme on your hands?”
“Er, yes. Anyway, thyme is a very useful herb. The other day, a piece of fence fell and caught me below my right arm, bruising some ribs. I made a poultice of thyme and mint, and that took away the bruising.”
“Good thing you had thyme on your side.”
“Sorry. Bob. Is this going to go on like this?”
“I don't know what you mean. Anyway, what herbs do you have in that part?”
“I SAID WHAT HERBS DO YOU HAVE IN THAT PART?”
“Anyway, we have borage over there.”
“Good for breakfast?”
“Look. This is getting silly.”
“Well, to be frank, this is a silly garden. I mean, what are those mange tous doing in a herb garden.”
“It's a pun, isn't it?”
“Well, go on, say it.”
“It's peas in our thyme.”
“And those herbs made into blocks. What are they for?”
“My assistant Norman uses them for exercise.”
“So what do you call them?”
“Thyme weights for Norman.”
“Well, I guess our thyme is up. Thank you, Mr Knight.”
Thursday, 3 December 2015
In the Eighties, the Israeli government commissioned a number of settlements to be built. One such settlement was Ain Makvim Chezh in the Negev. Work was suspended when surveyors discovered a sealed cave, partially underground. Benjamin Sukenek of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was sent to investigate.
The team marked off the area to be investigated, then took photographs and measurements. The ground around the cave entrance was carefully examined, and the artefacts that were found were photographed in place, extracted, and then catalogued. They found several coins and pottery shards, but nothing extraordinary.
It was a full three weeks before they turned their attention to the cave itself. The surface of the cover stone was examined for inscriptions, and then a portion of the substance used to seal the stone was sent to the university for identification.
Once they had formulated a plan to remove the stone with the minimum of damage, they prepared to enter. Inside, they could see that they had found a tomb. There were six vaults along the sides five of them were occupied.
The corpses were wrapped, indicating they had gone through funerary procedures. It was likely that the bodies were well preserved. Carefully, they transported the figures to the university for further study.
Beside each corpse was a pottery jar. These jars were also sent to the university. With their usual care, the team opened the jars, which each held a parchment written in Hebrew.
The first parchment told of Enoch. A soldier in the Israeli army. The parchment told of how he had gone to Egypt and Babylon on secret missions for the King. The team soon discovered that this man was more than just a soldier. He was a spy and an assassin. The scrolls in the other jars told similar stories. These were the King's elite agents.
The bodies were scanned using a variety of methods before being unwrapped. As hoped, they were well preserved. So much so that it was evident that each soldier had had their tongue surgically removed. The explanation for this was recorded in other parchments found in the cave.
The spies were part of a group created around the 10th Century BC for King Solomon in order to keep an eye on neighbouring nations. They voluntarily allowed their tongues to be removed as a test of loyalty, to show that they would never give away the King's secrets. All their communication was in writing, or in a series of pre-arranged signs and gestures.
That is when Sukenek realised what they had discovered, After all this time; all this searching. They had found the secret of King Solomon's Mimes.
Thursday, 3 September 2015
“I got as many points as both of you put together, You know what that means, don’t you? A bard in a Honda is worth two in a Porsche.”
Sunday, 28 June 2015
“I don’t know, you can lead your Horace to Walter, but you can’t make him drink.”