Albert Jackson (PI)

Albert Jackon PI

In the wee small hours of Monday morning albert Jackson contentedly popped open another can of shandy bass. Closing the refrigerator door he shuffled back across the tattered carpet and settled himself gently into his worn and greasy armchair. Old Jackson, as he was known to the other occupants of the block, was a harmless soul, happy with his shandy, his bread and cheese. His one extravagance was a pension day purchase of an ounce of black cherry tobacco, of which he rationed himself to a pipe morning and night. He slowly poured the contents of the can into a smeared and chipped glass, taking care to lose none of the foamy head in the process. He looked down fondly at his drink, mouth pursing in anticipation, but before he could take a draught there came the unfamilar sound of a knock upon the door. The knock sadly prompted some primordial reaction within him and suddenly woofing loudly he leapt out of his seat sending the unfortunate shandy bass flying into the air partially soaking himself as well as the chair and carpet -both of which were used to this kind of thing and wore this familiarity in stains and smell.

From here he hurtled his aged body towards the door. Slamming against it he growled and woofed towards the unknown percussionist. A letter began to poke its way through the letter box, quick as a flash Jackson grabbed at it, pulling it through before chewing on it fiercely. Inadvertently he ripped the letter open and the contents fell out. By this time the knocking had not repeated and hence albert was able to regain some sense. As his rationality returned he began to read, all the while cursing the loss of another can of fine shandy bass…

“Dear Mr Jatson, our records indicate that…” Another damned circular. Couldn’t even spell his name right. His outburst had left him feeling drained. Always the same. Ever since he was a pup, no blast it, since he was a child. This cursed canine tendency. It had made him a laughing stock at school. The other boys throwing sticks, shouting “fetch!” even the teachers, smirking as they patted him on the head, “Good boy Jackson!” How he had longed to be normal.

The sound of heavy feet clattered up the stairs. Somebody singing, the tune “Row row row your boat”, but all the words were “Mwaerk mwaerk mwaerk mwaerk mwaerk mwaerk.” A body lurched drunkenly against his door, then carried on down the hall. Old Johnson, been out on the tiles again, lord knows where he gets the money. Anyway, what’s this letter about then, “Dear Mr Jatson, our records indicate that you have been selected to win a lifetime’s supply of shandy bass. Everyone loves a shandy bass, the smooth taste, the subtle sweetness, the mild inebriation if you can force your way through dozens of the fucking things, then urinating urgently, sometimes on yourself in the ensuing addled state. Anyway Mr Jetson, this could be you.”

The image below showed a fellow Jackson stretched out on a sun-lounger next to a pool in some hot clime sipping a frothy headed golden drink from a fancy glass with a cherry on a stick in it. His smooth fur and lolling tongue showing his health and contentment.

“All you have to do to claim this prize is dial this number. But Albert Jackson had never been great at numbers and found them hard to read. He tried to read it like it was a word but it made no sense. Or did it? Was the word OBLstqbtqb? How could you dial OBLstqbtqb? What does it mean? Albert Jackson became distressed and began to howl and as it was the wee small hours of Monday morning, this was not well received by the other residents of the block. People began to bang and shout that he should be quiet, but this just made old Jackson further lose the plot and thinking, there was now something going on so he began to bark loudly.

Eventually someone who had had quite enough, ventured through the winding corridors and stairs all the way to Jackson’s flat and knocked on the door. As they did so they spoke softly “Mwaaaerk?” Albert stopped barking immediately, and ran to the door, carefully undid the latch and opened it. In stepped the kindly but still largely inebriated Johnson from the floor above, so pleased to see him was Albert that he leaped at Johnson and licked his bill, noting immediately he had been drinking bersiernex gold and had popped in to the 24 newsagent for a pot spud snack on the way back (so good was his sense of smell and taste).

Johnson swayed a little and patted him reassuringly on the shoulder. Jackson showed him the letter, explaining his predicament excitedly. Johnson looked a little bemused at the notion of anyone being so het up about bloody shandy bass, but smiling indulgently, reached for the phone and dialled. “Mwaaerk! Mwaerk, mwaeeerk, mwaerk, mwaeark, mwaerk. Mwaaeerk.” Hanging up, he shrugged, grinned foolishly and toppled sideways onto Jackson’s hearthrug, as drunk as could be. Jackson was just in the process of covering the now loudly snoring Johnson with a threadbare old blanket, when there came another knock at the door. After the inevitable, and much regretted canine furore had died down, Jackson found he was holding another letter. Tearing it open he eagerly scanned the contents, “Listen Jepson. Any more tricks like that and it’ll be so much for worse for you. Now we are reasonable men, and we are still prepared to cough up the shandy bass, but the deal has changed. You will be collected by automobile in one hour, then dropped into the North Sea two miles off Orfordness, into an area which has been specially seeded with a horde of venomous jellyfish. If you can force your way through dozens of the fucking things to reach the shore, and alleviate the hideous pain by urinating on yourself, then this could be you.”

The accompanying image was substantially the same as that contained in the first missive, save that in this the figure of the reclining Jackson was disfigured by innumerable red swollen sores, and his face was fixed in an expression of dreadful agony. The Jacksons though are not known for their ability to process  complicated implications. A number of pieces of information went into Albert Jacksons mind. Something about jellyfish, something about a car, something about stings, something about weeing on yourself, something about pain but most importantly: something about a lifetime’s supply of shandy bass. He looked at the picture. He howled. He was told to shut up again. He scampered around the flat. Then he decided he had better lick the sleeping Johnson on the nose –as he was beginning to feel quite lonely. But it was not long since the Johnson had fallen into his drunken slumber and there was no waking him. Howling and whimpering, sleep deprived and shandy bass obsessed, Jackson decided there was nothing for it but to go out onto the street and look for the car.

Opening the door to the flat he was greeted by the dank stairs that led down to the ground floor.  A dim hall light was on the verge of going out –on a timer no doubt- as the day could be seen to be poking through the top of the door below. Jackson made his way down the stairs, undid the security latch and made his way into the morning. The day seemed pleasant. The college across the street, still empty (for it was too early for students), reflected the early morning light and a fresh smell wafted down the road –which made a change for the stagnant air of the apartment block. Where was the car? There was the car! Jackson ran at the nearest car, barking excitedly. The car was forced to swerve (for it was moving at the time) and nearly hit a post box. Wrong car. Jackson started again with another car and another accident was narrowly avoided. There was early morning chaos outside of the apartment block.

A busy body newsagent owner from nearby reached for his telephone to make a call, peering disapprovingly through the glass as he did so. The dog madness went on. The newsagent proprietor came out brandishing a rolled up newspaper, shouting something at Jackson.A police car pulled up. “there’s the brute h’officer, h’where’s the marksman?” came the bald man’s cry. Two long curly haired police men got out of the car and attempted to stop Jackson from his antics, speaking to each other as they did so “Uhuhuhuh get that dog Pete!” “Uhuhuhuh yes I’ll get him with this utensil” “Uhuhuhh maybe I can with this implement”.

The police did not seem up to the task and Jackson easily evaded  them and the newsagent. Then a different car honed into view, screeching up the road with a terrifying alacrity. Such was its urgency that it drove straight into Jackson. Jackson was brutally knocked onto the pavement. Whimpering in great pain he lay on the side of the road. The car stopped and the door flew open, two black suited Johnsons leapt out, one grabbed the hapless Jackson, whilst the other opened the boot of the car. Still in confusion and pain, Jackson found himself hurled into the boot of the automobile, there was a last flash of daylight and then SLAM. All was dark. There was a screech of tires, and Jackson felt the car accelerate away rapidly. Stunned by the initial impact and disorientated by the darkness and bumping he soon felt himself slipping into unconsciousness.

He awoke to find himself being roughly dragged from the boot of the car and hauled through a gate into a sunlit patio. The Johnsons dropped him unceremoniously onto the terracotta tiles and stood back. Shaking his head muzzily he looked around uncertainly. A stab of fear struck him as he heard a familiar voice. “Alright Jackson? Don’t just lie there, grab a pew. Cigarillo?” One of the Johnsons pulled him upright, and propelled him into a deckchair. The other stuck a cigarillo into his mouth and lit it, closing his zippo with a contemptous snap.The sweet taste of the smoke awakened distant memories within his addled brain. Looking up he saw the figure he had dreaded. A tall skinny, hard faced cove, dressed in handmade Italian shoes and a tailored suit in a loud grey and lilac pinstripe, a battered blue conical hat with faded astrological symbols completing the ensemble. “Have a snifter?” he continued, nodding to one of his henchthings. “Calvados wasn’t it?” Jackson gratefully gulped the proffered liqueur, feeling the warmth spread through his battered body. The voice went on. “Look at the bloody state of you son. Let yourself go haven’t you? Well you have, look!” A full length mirror was wheeled in front of him. Peering at his reflection, Jackson had to admit to himself that he did look something of a wreck, shandy stained, crumpled cheap suit, bloodshot eyes, straggly whiskers. “You used to be one of my best men, er dogs, er, things Jackson.”

He stared moodily out across the azure seas lapping against the beach. “Is there any of the old magic left Jackson? Any of the old razzle dazzle?” He turned to stare fiercely at Jackson, who gave an involuntary yelp. “I need you to do me one last job. A very delicate job.” He nodded at the Johnsons. “These boys are spot on for the rough stuff, but they’ve no subtlety, no finesse. You may have noticed that from the manner of your arrival.” Jackson nodded heartily, earning himself a poke in the back of the neck from Johnson.

There was a crackle and the whole image changed to a Johnson carrying a plant pot with a potato plant in it. The wizardly viewer looked on disgustedly

Morris:             “You know my dear, they really hyped the return of Albert Jackson PI, but it looked bloody rubbish to me and I cannot abide rubbish entertainment as you well know. I believe in all earnestness that I could do a better job of the programme. Indeed I have done a better job of the programme, look at the new edition”

Morris flicked the remote off ‘Growing potatoes with Johnson” and back to the channel with Albert Jackson PI on. The scene was now a vet’s surgery. Albert’s Jellyfish stung body lay on the table in front of a vet. The curious looking vet appeared to be Morris in a rather spaceman like outfit, in his hand a hypodermic needle. A saddened figure stood near the table weeping for his imminent demise

Newsagent:     “Ho h’are you sure h’there’s nothing  h’else can be done?”

Morris(vet):     Booming from out of the suit “The stings are too severe, it’s definitely for the best, he won’t feel a thing!”

Grinning Morris injects the hapless canine with a garish steaming liquid. The remains of Albert Jackson pulsate with a incandescent glow

Newsagent:     “’Ho god h’what have you done??”

Was the last thing that uttered from the newsagent’s voice as the dog exploded with terrifying ferocity. Through the smoke dimly can be heard the wizardly tones

Morris: “Tune in next week, for Albert Jackson’s resurrection, ho ho ho”.

Yolanda:         “Morris! That was horrible! Poor Albert!”

Morris:            “Do not fear my dear they’ll bring him back next week, campering and scraping, hampering and pampering, lepering and papering, cramping and stamping and…”

Morris’ face is screwed up and the expression is unpleasant.

Yolanda:         “Morris stop it, that’s weird”.

Morris: “Very well my sweet, now what is on the other channel?”

Yolanda:         “Can’t we watch ‘Growing Potatoes with Johnson’ I do love that show. Or look later on there’s a film ‘the adventures of Don Juan de Casanova Johnson’ I bet that’s good, or there’s the late night special ‘largest at the party’ but we’ve seen that a dozen times. ‘The adventures of fisting mary’ I don’t like the sound of that, oh oh no I’ve misread it’s umm ‘the adventures of farting Mary’?” Yolanda looked disgusted “that  can’t be right can it? Come to think of it the first one hardly sounds like evening TV?”

Morris is sat in his chair laughing to himself

Morris:             “Ho Ho!” you should see your face Yolanda!”

Yolanda:         “Morris! Stop changing the schedule and put the fucking potato programme on!”

Morris:             “Ho ho, do not allow yourself to grow agitated my velvety little hardy shrub, remember that the vestiges of Dr Venomous Snake Johnson’s potato based toxins are still lying dormant in your adorable lymph nodes, and any chartable increase in your heart rate could all too easily flood your central nervous system with mischievous amines, plunging you into a state of retching, spasming agony, whereupon your major organs will shut down and begin to liquefy, your skin tightens and yellows, splitting as it constricts, causing your bones to erupt through muscle and epidermis in a sanguinary crimson fountain…”

Yolanda:         “Morris!”

Morris:             “Yes my pungent noctilucent stinkhorn? How can I be of assistance? Shall I plump your pillows and mop your fevered dying brow?”

Yolanda:         “Morris! For fuck’s sake, just put something nice on the television!”

Morris:             “As you command my grubby little nematode, I shall put something nice on the television. In the meantime, would you like a wagon wheel? A flagging seal? A dragon meal? A sagging eel? A blagging…”

Yolanda:         “Morris!”

Morris:             “Hello caller! You are through to Mystic Morris, please state your dilemma. The stars will make all clear. If you are experiencing problems at work, please press one. If you are experiencing goblins that lurk, please press two, if you are experiencing a hobbling fat Turk, please press three. If you are unlucky in love, please press the star key and wait for an operator.”

Yolanda takes a long swig from her hip flask.

Yolanda:         “Look over there dear, isn’t that one of nice Hobsons from number twenty six struggling with that antiquated lawnmower of theirs? Perhaps you could lend them a helping hand?”

Morris:             “Send them a yelping band? Very well my inchoate gaseous mass, I shall do so immediately. I know just the place. Where is my Atlas? I can’t remember the grid reference of my recommended kelping land. Perhaps there is something nice on the television? Or perhaps there is something nice inside the television. Something forbidden but deliciously nice. Any guesses my sweet parallelogram? A trifle maybe? Everyone loves a nice trifle especially the Hobsons from across the road. A curious phrase as I always considered the Hobsons to look as they have been crossed with a toad. Possibly that is why the lawnmower is such an ordeal for them. Tell me munchkin do you consider a toad trifle combination to be a good or bad combination?”

She pauses believing he will just rant on but he appears to want an answer

Yolanda:         “It’s a bad combination Morris, a nasty combination.”

Morris:             “Ah but is it my sweet? Consider the benefits to trifle and toad. The once immobile trifle lacking autopoetic prowess now saddled with amphibian dna can achieve great leaps forward in its destiny. A bit like this”

And with that he leaps with extraordinary athleticism off the sofa on to a strange lily pad like chair that seems to have come from nowhere

Morris:             “I am the lord of all toads, bow before me or I will swallow thee into mine unholy gullet!”

Yolanda:         “STOP IT MORRIS! Can’t you just behave? You’re frightening me!”

Morris:             “I assure you that I am not my dear. I am merely signalling to my batrachian subjects that I am not a man to be trifled with, no pun, needless to say, intended, and I would not harm a hair upon your head for all the wealth of fabled Tartary.”

At this a shot rings out, and an ornamental plate shatters on the wall behind Yolanda.

Morris:             “A standpoint however, which this fellow clearly does not share. I should take evasive measures if I were you my little measuring jug. He appears to be bent on mayhem, presumably infuriated by your treasonous failure to pay homage to his lord and master.”

In the corner squats a large warty green creature struggling to reload a flintlock with his stubby webbed appendages.

Yolanda:         “MORRIS! What the hell is that thing?”

Morris:             “A toad with a rifle!” He chortles, “Do you see what I did there? Now, pass me the remote control Yolanda…… I believe that there is something nice on the television.”

Yolanda:         “It’s not ‘Dancing on Mice’ again is it Morris? That really upset me. Those poor animals.”

Morris:             “Really? I thought that it was the spectacle of the bloated, waterlogged reanimated cadaver of your former associate Fred Astaire Johnson lurching through a cha cha with a terrified newsagent in a hideous parody of his former terpsichorean excellence which caused you to become upset? Oh well you live and learn eh my dear, now what shall we have? ‘H’I’m h’a h’celebrity, h’get me out of this h’furnace’? ‘CSI: Johnson.’? ‘Debbie does Dolphins’? ‘The Revenge of Fisting Mary’? ‘The Revenge of Misting Fairy?’ ‘Hupla Johnson: Jazz Warrior.’? ‘Clam Clam Pinkie and The Bandicoot’? ‘The Last Days of “Tickle Me Elmo”‘?”

Yolanda:         “Christ Morris, do we really have to do this? I’d really rather just burn somebody to death. Just put the cunting potato programme back on.”

Morris:             “Of course my dear, allow me to switch to pay per view and we can both enjoy ‘Cunting potatoes with studstar Johnson (and his tool)’ Would that cheer you up my little peregrine?”

Yolanda:         Exasperated “Oh for fuck’s sake Morris I don’t want to watch that, that sounds horrible, I just want the nice gardening program?”

Morris:             “The mice gardening programme? I am not sure you will enjoy it, ‘Gardening on Mice’ is not a programme for the faint hearted my wistful pedicure. How about ‘Hardening Rice with Anneka Rice (Johnson)’?  Perhaps we should not be so rude and ask our guest what he would like to watch?”

He gestures to the toad creature which looks on interestedly still clutching the carbine.

Yolanda:         “Morris make that thing go away or at least make it put down it’s gun.”

Morris:             “Of course my dear, drop the gun Toadsome or I will incinerate thee!”

The toad obligingly lays down the rifle and looks on, it then makes a loud ribbet.

Morris:               “He suggests a game of cards my dear and what could be more fun than that, especially as there is nothing nice on or inside the telly. So what shall we play? Wist? Poker? Pontoon? Fish?”

At the word fish, the Toad gives a shuddering chuckle like noise before belching out a partially digested fish onto the coffee table.Morris falls about laughing.

Morris:             “Oh ho ho, did you ho ho ho see that my dear, I said fish and he, oh my goodness hohoho that’s hilarious,”

Yolanda predictably looks on disgusted, the toad digested fish smells repellent

Yolanda:         “Fucking hell, clean that up that is horrible, make him clean it up now!”

Morris:             “Ho ho, you’d… ho, ho , better do as she says Toady, she’s not to be trifled with!”

And both toad and Morris fall about laughing. Suddenly there is a knock at the door.

Morris:             “Who could that be my little blancmange?”

Yolanda:         “I don’t know Morris. Please make it clean the fish up! I’ll answer the door.”

Morris:             “You heard Toadie, clean it up!”

Yolanda can see out of the corner of her eye that the toad is re-eating the fish up. Shuddering she presses on to the door. Opening the door a quasi bipedal dog with a smoking jacket on races past her, panting excitedly as it goes straight through to the living room.

Morris: “Well well my dear look who it is!”

Yolanda:         She returns to the room “Who the fuck is it now?”

Morris:             “Why it’s Albert Jackson of course! Back from his last difficult mission. I knew you could do it Jackson, now do you have the amulet?”

Jackson barks loudly before producing a small packet from a pocket of the plush garment.

Morris:             “Excellent work! Now we were about to have a game of cards, so why don’t you pull up a pew?”

Jackson slides easily into a handy chair and accepts a large calvados from Johnson. Toad boy flaps about a bit, before accepting a scotch and soda. Yolanda is not best pleased.

Yolanda:         “Oh marvellous. Why don’t you invite a few more idiots round? Let’s make a party of it!” There is another peal from the doorbell.

Morris:             “No sooner said than done my little rudely stitched felt haversack, that will be our guests now. Johnson’ll get it won’t you Johnson? Giving you time to pop into the kitchen and rustle up a few vol au vents and such.”

Before she can give forth with an angry retort, the living room door swings open and in strides Johnson, pushing a cart in which sits a large lump of shiny gray black rock topped with a tricorn hat.

Morris: “Weeeeeey Flinty!” enthuses Morris, “A tankard of Grog for the Cap’n!”

Close on Johnson’s heels comes……a crowd of various minor characters, Johnsons, historical figures and mythical horrors (although upon any but the most cursory inspection the bulk of the latter two camps are clearly also Johnsons, in varying levels of disguise), whom Morris greets with a cheerful stream of badinage.

Morris:             “Why here’s an old face, it’s my dear golfing pal, Rat Pack Johnson, the Martinis are on the sideboard there, Count Front of Brass! It must have been an age! Goodness, and if it isn’t old Crab Arms Johnson! Why I haven’t seen you…at all prior to this if I’m to be honest, but still in you come, move over Toady, make a bit of room for old Crab Arms, don’t be shellfish! Ho ho ho. And the mighty Kraken! How are the sunless deeps? Really? Well I never did. Doctor Livingstone I presume? There’s some nibbles in the kitchen, try not to get lost… Mussolini is it? Well don’t just hang around! Pull up a chair…… Ho ho ho, isn’t this fun my dear? Why don’t you pop across and ask the Hobsons to drop in?”

From outside can be heard the familiar tones

Bikle:               “But Bi don’t want to go in dere! Ged your flippers off be!”

There is a crash and Bikle is hurled unceremoniously through the front door into the house.

Morris:             “Ah SB glad you could make! There are no proper chairs left, you can have the dirty stool from the kitchen! Yolanda where are those snacks, get the potato oven fired up! No you may not use the microwave, or Crab Arms here may be wanting  a word or two.  What’s your poison Beansy?”

Bikle:               “Berr oh by God, Bi’ll have Budweiser?”

Morris:             “A what?”

Bikle:               “A Budweiser Borris!”

Morris:             “Hmm it is a strange request but as it happens I can grant it! Here is Horatio, winner of wisest bug competition 2014. Most definitely he is wiser than you if not most of the other chumps here. Say something wise Horatio.”

Horatio is a frightening looking cockroachesque black beetle with a yarmulke on. He is seated between Bikle and Crab arms Johnson. At Morris’s behest he makes a horrible hissing noise Morris:     “wisdom indeed!” Other characters nod solemnly.

Johnson:          “Mwaaerk!” in a convivial mood of joining in

Mussolini:        “…then I’ll hold-a the butter till it a melts-a!” He finishes and they all fall about laughing.

Yolanda marches through with a tray of Bersierneaux and other drinks, receives scant thanks for this and retreats back to the kitchen. Morris produces some cards

Morris:             “So gentlemen what shall we play? Or what shall we pay? A dozen chimps told me this tale, if you pass me my wand I’ll sing you a whale!!”

They look on non-plussed

Morris: “Whist? Rummy? or Poker!” At this point he looks at Bikle.

Bikle:               “H’what?”

Morris: “Your line I believe Beansy!”

Bikle:               “Ho God…”

Morris: “Come on out with it!”

Bikle:               “Berr ballow be…”

Morris: “that’s it carry on!”

Bikle:               “ to play poker…”

Morris: “With! With what?”

Bikle:               “berr with by tool…?”

Morris:             “that’s right Mackeral man, though really I think we wanted ‘allow me to poker with my tool’ but it will have to do. Beansy says poker, I don’t mind that, we’ll play stud tool horse poker. Crab arms you can deal. The lowest hand goes in the furnace!”

Crab arms picks up the cards and shuffles them with surprising dexterity. Most of the attendees sit back and kibbitz as Morris, SB, Lucky Pierre, Son of Dracula Johnson, Toady and Albert Jackson PI pick up their cards. The first hand goes surprisingly conventionally, Lucky Pierre being summararily consigned to the furnace when it is discovered he has a hand consisting of the jack of diamonds, two beer mats and a tortilla chip. With the exception of SB, who is clearly not enjoying himself, the others hunch down to some serious cards. Soon the play is fast and furious. Morris is now sporting a green eyeshade and garters on his sleeves. His old compadre Mexican Bandit Johnson has drifted in and stands behind him impassively, rolling a foul smelling cigar in his beak. Cards are discarded and dealt, the pot grows larger and larger. Tension mounts. The players eye one another across the green baize…

All of a sudden there is a commotion outside, the already battered front door slams open with a frightful bang. A noisome stench, redolent of swamp water and charnel house blows in. A hideous hopping figure lollops into the room. Greyish rotting skin, tattered cerements clinging to a bloated froglike carcass. As the monstrous creature shuffles further into the light, it can be seen to be wearing a woollen shawl and clutching an old fashioned handbag with a pair of knitting needles protruding from it. Toady emits a croak of fear and hides his eyes behind his webbed flippers. Morris guffaws and nudges Son of Dracula Johnson.

Morris: “Ho ho, ho Johnson, he said he wanted to see you raise the ante!”

Another hand passes. Yolanda is asleep in the kitchen. The pot is now an absurd pile of cash, trinkets, valuables and other oddments. Bikle, who has played a fair game is pleased with his hand, 4 aces. Morris looks vaguely disgruntled. Albert Jackson (PI) lolls his tongue on the table, taking the occasional sip of yet another Shandy Bass.

Morris:             “I have very little left to bet, so I will have to raise you the fabled amulet of Koth Hotep, as obtained by Jackson here earlier –much obliged.”

A Jackson:       “arf!” Barks Jackson excitedly, as his name has been mentioned.

Suddenly a sound goes off, “Mwaaerk! Mwaaerk! Mwaaerk! Mwaaerk! Mwaaerk! Mwaaerk!”

Bikle:               “What the dickeds fris dat?”

Morris:             “It’s the fire alarm! Leave your belongings and your cards and make your way to the exit”

“Mwaaerk! Mwaaerk! Mwaaerk! Mwaaerk! Mwaaerk!” it continues until the host of characters are assembled outside the front of the house. It’s dark now.The Hobsons peek out of their windows to see what is going on then, upon seeing the gathering quickly close them.

Morris:             “We’ll have to wait until fire inspector Johnson gets here for the all clear I’m afraid”

Bikle:               “Bar you sure dis is decessary Borris? Dere’s no fire, banyone can see dat!”

Morris:             “Can it beansy! Ho ho get it, can it beansy? I am not transgressing the laws of health and safety and risking our all burning to death, now wait quietly like everyone else!”

Son of Dracula Johnson plays fetch with Albert Jackson PI, whilst the other characters generally mill around the street. No one has fetched Yolanda out. After some time a milk float with a flashing light hums into view. Fire inspector Johnson (wearing an ill fitting childs fireman hat) drives it and hops out at the scene. Morris exchanges some words with him before he nips inside shiftily. He soon emerges with a cheery beckoning “Mwaaerk!” The characters traipse back in to the house and Fire inspector decides to stay for a few bevvies and helps himself to some of the cold baked potato on the side. Bikle settles into his seat with glee. Picks up his hand only to see with dismay that his previous 4 aces have turned into train tickets with what looks like a potato print of a smiling Johnson on each one.

Morris: “Let’s see your cards then Beansy!” with restored glee “Hmm potato tickets eh? Too bad. I believe my four aces wins the pot, eh Johnson?”

F I Johnson:    “Mwaaerk!” nods fire inspector Johnson between mouthfuls of potato.

Morris: “One more hand? Winner takes all?”

Bikle:               “Ho dow wait a bobent! I had 4 aces!”

Morris:             looking concerned. “Poor SB. No, I’ve got four aces, look! And you’ve got 4 potato tickets. And that is how the state of affairs stands, and indeed always has. You must be confused due to smoke inhalation during that terrible fire. Here, have a noggin of this leading brand of non-drowsy decongestant. Johnson! Deal the cards!”

Bikle:               “Do, Do, Do! Dot double or dothig! Bits a fortdight til by dext giro, and bi’m on de ebergedcy credit as it is!”

Buckle:            “Cobe od dow Bikle, dod’t be a piker! Double or dothig!”

Bikle:               “H’what? Ho god. Where did you sprig frob?”

Buckle looks around at the others, rolls his eyes and taps his temple meaningfully.

Buckle:            “Ho h’ive beed here all alog, poor Bikle, you bust be codfused.” he says in a maddeningly patronising tone of voice. “H’we’ll just fidish dis hand and you cad go hobe ad have a dice log lie dowd. Wod’t dat be dice? Ad if you are a good boy bi’ll…..bake you a dice bug of cocoa wid barshballows floatig id it.”

Bikle:               “But I dod’t drink cocoa, as you jolly well dow!”

Everyone looks at him wordlessly. He looks down and discovers that he is holding a large mug half full of chocolaty liquid. The mug bears the legend “I’m a Cocoa Nut!” Mussolini hands him a mirror in which he can see that he has a large cocoa moustache on his upper lip. Morris leans over.

Morris:             “Listen Shit Boy, I’m not a cruel man. I can see that you’re not on top of your game. If you want to bottle it, and just crawl humiliatingly away to wallow in your shame, then I’d be the last person to stand in your way.”

Buckle:            “Ho, isd’t dat dice of Borris Bikle?”

Mussolini:        “Datsa right, Signor, you just a run away with a no trousers, everybody gonna understand, you just a big a failure.”

Albert Jackson lurches to his feet and makes a chicken motion with his upper limbs, everyone hoots with laughter, specially Buckle,who is quite taken with the joke.

Buckle:            “Ho look Bikle, h’Albert’s pretendig to be a chickid! How barvellous! Look at be! I’b a chickid! Just like by brother!”

Off he capers around the room, elbows flapping, his head bobbing up and down on his scrawny neck. Fire Inspector Johnson laughs so much he almost chokes on his potato, and Toad has to slap him on the back.

Bikle:               “Ho! Stop dat! Leave be alode! Dis is bullyig!”

Morris:             “Indeed it is. And most amusing it is too. Keep poking him with that stick Mussolini!”

Bikle:               “Ho get off be you two!” he involuntarily shouts at the clearly singular Mussolini poking him with a stick

Mussolini:        “Hey allow a me a to poke a you with a my a stick a!”

Bikle:               “ow!! Stop dat, dis isn’t even funny!” Mussolini thinks he’s onto a winner with his new found joke and continues “Allow a me to.. oucha!”

Bikle, having had enough punches Mussolini hard on the nose causing sanguinary effluent to burst forth, in a second move he grabs the stick off him and pokes him hard in the stomach with it causing a nasty bruise.

Mussolini:        “He a hit a me!” wailing and looking plaintively looking at Morris.

Morris:             “So he did, and who can blame him as you were taunting him and poking him with a stick. I do not approve of such behaviour you are hereby banished from the game, banished to be lame “ his legs cripple under him “banished in your shame, looking like a dame!”

The appropriate outfit appears on him, whimpering and bleeding Mussolini drags himself off on his now vestigial limbs.

Morris:             “Captain! Come and take spaghetti features place!” Johnson wheels Captain Flint on a flat base trolley, but sadly has drunk too much himself, Captain Flint wobbles with Johnson’s inebriated motion and weighs inevitably too far to one side and topples off onto Toady who had just hopped off for another drink. There is a dreadful popping squelching sound and the Captain’s terrible mass squeezes the life out of the amphibious creature. Morris looks on with digust.

Morris:             “Eww, Flinty, there was no need for that. Johnson! Johnson! Get this mess into the incinerator, whilst you’re at it, give the Captain a wipe and help him onto his chair.”

There is a general pause in the proceedings. Characters chat and mill about, Bikle, seemingly having forgotten about the cheating, is somewhat buoyed by his victory and is chatting to Son of Dracula Johnson about his cape whilst Buckle and Albert Jackson chase Horatio around the utility room pretending to be chickens. At length the table resumes with Captain Flint perched precariously next to Bikle.

Morris: “Right! Now where were we. Double or nothing. Yes?”

Bikle says nothing, but raises his eyebrows at son of Dracula Johnson. The cards are dealt, when suddenly the door flies open, and a ragged, battered, exhausted Johnson bursts in “Mwaaerk!” he predictably cries as he squeezes through towards Morris. Upon reaching him he whispers something in his ear before collapsing. Morris’ expression changes slightly, thoughtfully. He spies around the table. Dimly in the background the wind can be heard to be picking up.

Morris: “Let’s get on with the game, potato tickets are high.” He says nonchalantly. Bikle glances at his hand at his hand and cannot believe his luck to see the same four smiling potato tickets beaming back at him, one of them even winks or so it seems.

Bikle:               “Leds play dis gabe den!”

The hands are revealed, Morris’ has half a broken ruler, a spud snack wrapper some old beer mats. Similar hands manifest round the table, all except Bikle’s which displays the gleaming potato tickets.

Bikle:               “By pot by think! Eh Borris!”

Morris: said in a perfectly congenial tone. “Yes well played Bikle, you have certainly deserved it.”

The wind has now, picked up to a howling gale and the keen observer can see that there are now no streetlights, moon, or stars visible through the window. What is more the temperature seems to be dropping fast. These details are lost on Bikle, staring wilding at the gleaming pot of cash and goodies. Buckle is pleased too

Buckle:            “Cad we get somb cheese from the garage on de way back?”.

Without any further warning the large window explodes inwards showering the room with vicious slithers of glass. An iniquitous smoke pours in through the gaping aperture and in a maelstrom like tone can be heard:


Bikle looks horrified down at the pot. Morris is stood whistling to himself by the remains of the window with his hands in his pockets, turns, a mildly interested look on his face.

Morris:             “What’s that about an omelette? Now you mention it Johnson, I am a bit peckish. Right then troops, off to that 24hr Omelette shack on the ring road. I’ll sit in the front with Fire Inspector Johnson here, you lot can jump in the back.”

He heads towards the door, only to be confronted by the hovering sentient death cloud. ”

Morris:             “Oh evenin’ Koth mate. Didn’t see you come in. We’re just nipping out for an egg based snack. Do you want owt fetching?”


Morris:             “Ooh your amulet you say? Can’t say I’ve seen it lately. Oh hang on a minute, dull goldish? Sinister carvings? Set with an ancient gemstone? Didn’t you have one of them Beansy? In fact if I’m not very much mistaken, there it is now… …right in front of you in fact. In that pile of items there, look! Well well well, whoever would of though it? Old Shitty a tea leaf! Just goes to show eh Flinty? Can’t trust anyone these days. Well, I’ll leave you to it Koth pal, these omelettes aren’t going to eat themselves.”

As he and the others make for the door, Koth Hotep seems to expand, and surround the terrified Bikle. Angry flashes of lightening scintillate within the cloud, and the well-remembered spiny tentacles begin to unfurl…

Bikle:               “Ho god! Do! Please! Dot de tentacles! Ho please! Hi’ll do adythig!”

The mass rolls and boils above him. There is silence, save for his pitiful whimpering, and the muffled sound of Jackson and Buckle still being chickens in the utility room. Eventually the horrid voice booms again.

Koth Hotep:    “AAAANNYTHIIING?”

Bikle:               “Ho yes! Hadythig! Hadythig at all your bighty berciful bagnificedce!”

Koth Hotep:    “HMMMMM. I MUSSST THIIIINK.” Koth Hotep hangs motionless as Bikle abases himself before him. Eventually the hideous tones of the ancient devil god ring out once more. “YOOOOUUU MUSSSST DANNNCE AAA PASSSSIONAAAATE TAAAANGO WIIITH NOOOTT QUIIITE RIIGHT IIIIINN THE HEEAAAD DISGUUISSSED ASSSS AA HOOORSSSSSE JOHNNNSSSOOONN.” There is a stunned silence, then an afterthought. “AAAND DO ITT NAAAAKED.”

Bikle:               “H’what? I bean, hag od a bobent…” The tentacles again start to curl menacingly towards him, Bikle panics and begins to undress frantically. “Do, Do, Tango, daked, h’certaidly! H’cobing right up your balevoledt badjesty!”

A spotlight appears, and Flamenco Johnson strums a few introductory chords. Not Quite Right In The Head Disguised As A Horse Johnson lumbers across and seizes Bikle agressively, pulling him extremely close…Flamenco Johnson launches into a lively tango tune, assisted by Lobster Arms Johnson who uses his claws as impromptu castanets. N.Q.R.I.T.H.D.A.A.H. Johnson, despite any unmet support needs, is clearly a master of the tango, and is soon flinging the gangly, pallid Bikle around the dancefloor in a spectacular fashion, and after every fling, bringing him back and grinding against him in an overtly sexually aggressive manner, forcing his oily, scorched, eyeless horse mask against his cheek. This awful humiliating spectacle goes on for a good ten minutes, as Johnson, encouraged by the hooting, clapping crowd, performs ever more virtuoso moves, using the hapless Bikle like a rag doll. Occasionally, over the music and Johnson’s explosive grunts his plaintive, despairing voice can be heard.

Bikle:               “Help be! Dot dere, dod’t put your wing dere! Ouch! Dat hurt by spide!”

Finally, with a last magnificent flourish, and an awful equine/avian yell, which comes out as “Neighaerk!” but is clearly intended to be an “Olé!” Johnson flings Bikle to the floor like a discarded toy, stamps his hooves victoriously, bows, and makes his way out, leaving his victim panting and trembling in an exhausted, sweaty heap. Koth Hotep’s voice rolls forth a final time.

Koth Hotep:    “NNOOWWW, REMOOOOOVE YOOOURRSSSELF FROMM MY PRESSENNCEEE!” Bikle painfully drags himself to his feet. He makes as if to grab at his trousers, but a spiny tentacle flashes out and catches his naked form.

Bikle:               “Yow! Ok I’b goig, I’b goig! Let be out of here!” As he staggers towards the door Koth Hotep bellows after him


The seething mass enfolds Bikle, he screams a terrible scream and is gone. Then they all fall about laughing. Morris, wiping the tears from his eyes turns to Koth Hotep, whom it is now somewhat implausibly, revealed to be Disguised as Koth Hotep Johnson, in a black sheet draped with twinkly fairy lights and holding a megaphone. The tentacle is an old bit of garden hose pipe wrapped in barbed wire.

Morris: “Ho ho, nice work Johnson, now let’s go and get those egg based snacks!”

The milk float drives off through the night. Weaving it’s way slowly through from suburbia out to the ring road. Up ahead can be seen the lights of the roundabout and nearby services.

Morris: “Nearly there lads.”

In the street lit gloom at the front of the building it seems there is a figure with a kind of sign on its front. Closer inspection reveals it is a giant chicken. Closer still now and Morris identifies the oddity.

Morris: “Look ahead! Isn’t that Beansy I can spy?”

Sure enough, Bikle stands in front of ‘Eggs U Like’ now dressed in a shoddy looking chicken suit, with a board attached to his front with the less than catchy phrase ‘I’m crackers about eggs! All white?’ shouting.

Bikle:               “Omelettes! Fried eggs! Scrambled eggs! Get dem here bwkarrk! Ho by god de hubiliation!” he stops momentarily as the milk float pulls up “Omelettes! Fried eggs!…Oh god it’s dem!”

The crowd dismount the milk float and all laugh and jeer.

Johnson:          “Mwaaaerk!”

A Jackson:       “Woof!”

Buckle:            “Dat’s fuddy Bikle! We said you were a chicked berlier! And dow look at you! Ho by! you do look silly!”

Captain Flint:  “                                                          !”

Bikle:               “Bah!”

Morris:             “Ho ho ho! Looks like the yolk’s on him now! Eh readers?”

Published in: on June 10, 2015 at 3:29 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] too.” “Who the fuck is Herbert Jackson?” “He is the nephew of the deliciously departed Albert Jackson. He popped round to borrow a spanner the other day and we engaged in a reverie upon his late uncle, […]

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