Astro Bikle and the Missing Benefits

Relatively early one morning Bikle makes his way into the kitchenette area of his flat, to the sound of Vwuuuk, “Barvellous!” Slam! and the sight of his brother kneeling in front of the fridge.

Buckle: “Bordig Bikle, you’re up early today. Do you dow what, whed you oped dis thig here, you’ll dever guess what you find! Dat’s right! And dat’s abazig, because earlier today, I had ad idea dat dere would be…”

Bikle: “Ho god spare be dis agaid, it’s too early. I deed by custobary glass of Do Frills cola drigk before I cad listed to dis rigbarole, dow get out of by way so dat I cad get idto de fridge.”

Buckle: “You dow best big brother, but it’s very chilly id dere, ad if you could avoid squashig by cheese dat would be dice.”

Bikle: “You ducklehead! I dod’t bead get idto de fridge, I beadt, oh dever bind.”

He retrieves his pop and pours some out into a smeared pint glass.

Buckle: “Adyway, what’s beed goig od while I was asleep?”

Buckle: (thinks hard) “Dow let be see, Í got up ad brushed by teeth like a good boy, ded I had a gabe of pig pog id de bathroob, ad sobe of your thigs got broked, but I wod! Den I got scared because I thought dat dere was a ghost id de washig bachide, but de Postbad looked ad said dat it was just ode of your dice shirts, ad den…”

Bikle: “Wait a bobedt, de Postbad? What was he doig here, it’s dot by giro day.”

Buckle: “Oh he had sobethig to deliver for you.”

Bikle: “Ho really? Did he have a bill?”

Buckle: “As a batter of fact he did, it was Postbad Johdsod!”

Bikle: “Give be stredth, I cad’t take buch bore of dis, what did he deliver?”

Buckle: “What did who deliver Bikle?”

Bikle: “De Postbad you dubskull! What did de Postbad brig be?”

Buckle: “Oh dat. I thought dat you were talkig about de bad frob de coudcil.”

Bikle: “What bad frob de coudcil? Please Buckle, do bore of dis, I shall go badadas.”

Buckle: “De bad frob de coudcil dat helped be get by leg out of de toilet.”

Bikle: “Your leg out of de toilet?”

Buckle: “Whed I was playig pig pog silly. Ad he brought you a letter too, just like de Postbad.”

Bikle: “Ad where are dese letters den you awful bastard?”

Buckle: “Oh I hid deb id de cupboard where you keep de beads,” he looks frightened and continues in a whisper, “I didn’t wadt de ghost to get dem.”

Sighing deeply Bikle retrieves the letters and opens the envelopes, Buckle returns to Vwuuuk “Barvellous!” etc, until he is alarmed by a pitiful shriek. Bikle has staggered back against the filthy microwave, a look of shock and horror etched upon features that are even more pallid than usual.

Bikle: “I bissed ad appoidtbedt at de dole office, dey’ve stopped by idcobe support ad de coudcil have cut off by housig bedefit! Ad dere’s do appeal!” He clutches his head in his hands and a low moan escapes him. “Ho god, I’b goig to have to get a job!”

The next thing he can hear is.“Bikle?! Bikle! Are you alright? Wake up Bikle!” Blearily he begins to open his eyes.

Bikle: “Oh by god, Buckle I just had de bost frawful dreab! I’d bissed ad appointbent at de dole office and by bedifits had all beed cut off!”

Buckle: “Ho, dat sounds terrible Bikle, I bean twice id ode day bust be awful.”

Bikle: “Yes it bust, waid od a binute, what do you bead twice id ode day?”

Buckle: “Well you were sayig subthig like dat before you collapsed! First you waived dis letter around, den you said de thig, den plop dowd you went!”

Bikle: “H’what?!” sure enough, it is not the sofa nor the grimy bed he that he finds himself upon, but the cold dirty floor of the kitchen-living room. “Ho god! It wasn’t a dreab!”

Buckle: “Look Bikle I’ve drawd a picture on de letter page, dis is bister cheese and dis is his friend de eyeball bonster ‘fri’m cobig to eat you bister cheese!’ ‘oh do please don’t eat be, I’b your friend bister cheese’ ‘yes but I’b hungry for cheese’ Actually Bikle, I’b hungry for cheese, I’b off to de fridge to check”

Moments later the same ol ‘vwukk, barvellous’ duet can be heard. Bikle picks himself up and looks at the scratty letter with Mr Cheese and the eyeball monster scrawled over it and sighs.

Bikle: “Right den, odly ode way to deal wid dis crisis, ged de job and cuddigly be reboved so dey have to give be de boney back. Hmmb but what could bi do?”

At this moment a leaflet appears through the letterbox. Bikle picks it up and reads ‘Gardners wanted for country estate, no previous experience necessary but must be handy with tools’

Bikle: “Ho by ho by fris dis serendipity of h’what? Dis job has by dame all over it, country estate, tools, Barvellous, baybe I won’t even want to leave, baybe I’ll becobe head gardeder o o o, dow let’s see. ‘Applicants bust dial dis number and wait outside de squalid flat to be picked up’, ho dis gets easier by de bobent!”

Bikle dials the number and waits. The phone rings at the other end for what seems an interminable time, after a while a gruff familiar voice picks says “are you stupid? Get outside the flat now!” Unperturbed and still excited about his easy entrance into the world employment, Bikle pops on his cloak and heads down the dingy staircase to wait outside in the sullen morning air. The scene is somewhat reminiscent of Albert Jackson’s wait for a lift in a tale gone by.
Bikle hangs about on the street corner for quite some time awaiting developments. A van full of workmen drives past and they all jeer and hoot in derision. “Wheeeey! How much for a short time then bumboy?” one yells, bouncing an empty can of red bull off Bikle’s forehead. More time passes, and children start passing on their way to school. The younger ones are hurried quickly past by their parents, many of them crossing the busy road to avoid him, but the older children hurl stones at him chanting “Shit man, shit man, has his christmas dinner from a baked bean can!” Eventually a battered ford transit pickup arrives, and Johnson motions for him to get in. He goes to open the door, but Johnson indicates that he should get in the back. Bikle is clambering aboard with some difficulty when Johnson starts off with a lurch, sending him onto his hands and knees among a number of overflowing bags containingparticularly pungent fertiliser. As he scrambles into a sitting position, Johnson brakes violently, sending the odourous, oozing sacks cascading over him. Finally the van arrives at Morris’ house and Johnson indicates that Bikle should get out. Gingerly letting himself from the tailgate he tries to question Johnson, but receives only a derisory Mwaeerk! as the van speeds off. Attempting to brush off the worst of the filth, he only succeeds in rubbing it into his clothes. Not really knowing what else to do, he trudges up the path and knocks on Morris’ door, which swings open with a menacing creak. Inside, Morris is playing “Hungry hungry hippos” with Johnson. Turning, he looks at Bikle with irritation.

Morris: “You is it cocksnot? What brings you here? And make it quick, this is the deciding game.”

Bikle: “Berr, bi cabe about dat gardedig job?”

Morris: “Gardening job? Gardening job? You’ve got some cheek! Think I’d let a deadbeat like you participate in the horticultural maintenance of my prize orchids? Not bloody likely sunshine! Besides the job’s gone. Johnson got it.”

Bikle: “Gode? Oh do! Please Borris! I’b desperate fos a job, de bastards dowd de dole office have stopped by bodey!”

Morris: “Hard cheese nobsocket, that’s hardly my problem is it?”

Bikle: “Ho cobe od Borris? Dod’t be a piker!”

Morris: (pauses and rubs his chin thoughtfully)“Well, seeing as how Johnson got the gardening job I suppose you could have his old job. Dependant upon a successful interview of course.”

Bikle: “Brilliadt! Ad what job is dat boss?”

Morris: “Ho ho, why Johnson of course. Now lets do the interview.” Johnson grabs a pad and pencil and perches a pair of pince nez precariously upon his beak. Morris looks stern. “Now then Mr Shit. I mean Shit boy. Shit bag. Sorry, I meant to say Mr shit puff, you don’t mind if I just call you Shitty do you? We’re all very informal here. Well then Shitty, and you do in fact stink like shit, just thought I’d draw your attention to that, not that it will prejudice your interview in any way of course, what qualities do you think that you would be bringing to the team, assuming that a) you get the job, b) that I do not burn you to death in the next few minutes, and c) bearing in mind that I do not consider smelling like shit a desirable attribute.”

Bikle: “Err well, I’b a botivated ad flexible worker, ad I work well either as part of a teab or usig by owd iditiative…”

Morris:”And of course you smell of shit. I think I’ve heard enough. Johnson? Any input?”

Johnson: “Mwaerk!”

Morris: (nods) “Johnson here raises a valid point,”

Bikle: “Let be guess, is it about be sbellig of shit?”

Morris: “In fact my associate was querying whether you would be willing to opt out of the European Working Hours Directive, but now you mention it Johnson, I did detect a faecal miasma emanating from your loathsome and, may I add, tedious personage, still we are a broad church here at Morris inc, and I’d hate to let a little thing like that stand in the way of a young man like yourself making his way in the world, standing up on his own two flippers and so forth. In a nutshell, the job’s yours, I assume that you can start at once, in fact, well you have started at once haven’t you? Look!”

Bikle looks into the mirror that Morris indicates, and sees that he is decked out in a tatty and stained white feathery bird suit, which is complemented by a strap on beak and a pair of large scuba flippers.

Morris: “Johnson will now commence the induction program and do not forget you are on probabtion, one false move and it will be back to the squalid flat and no bananas. Johnson, health and safety and training, now!” Unfortunately for Bikle, Johnson has wandered off to do the gardening job leaving on himself. “I said Johnson, commence training shit boy! Hang on a minute where has he gone?” Bikle looks confused. “What you waiting for Johnson, get looking for him this instant, sloping off like this on his first day, it’s outrageous!”

Bikle: “Berr but Borris, it’s be in de Johnsod outfit!”

Morris: “Who said that?”

Bikle: “Bi did Borris, I’b right here!”

Morris:“SB, what are you doing dressed up like Johnson?”

Bikle: “Berr you dressed be up as Johnsod, for de job rebember?”

Morris: “Why would I do that exactly?”

Bikle: “Berr you said the job was Johnson.”

Morris: (looks at him quizzically) “’The job was Johnson’ is it a Johnson, one of those abstract ones? A Johnson who emanates the past tense of state of particular employment? Or possibly a statement, a new catchphrase to indicate something positive or possibly negative about a job that happened. That would be a sticky wicket, as of course Johnson by himself has no particular bias, thus the statement would need to be ‘the job was a bad old johnson’ to render it at least partially intelligible.  Ah and here comes ‘a bad old Johnson’ now to administer the training and induction.”

A bad old Johnson is a nasty looking piece of work. Slightly crooked and worn by his long years, his eyes gleam with an uncanny malevolence. His feathery personage is housed in a crumpled black suit and he helps himself along  with thing cane that bends upon each compression. He looks Bikle up and down with some disgust before barking out a series of loud “Mwaaerks!” Bikle looks non-plussed and horrified and is rewarded by his lack of action with a sharp ‘thwack’ to his person from the long thing cane

Bikle: “Frouch, dere’s do deed for dat!” It seems Bikles voice only infuriates him further as another series of blows reign down upon him “Frouch! Frow! Stop dis baniac Borris!” Morris’ attention has largely wandered but slightly smirking he looks back round

Morris: “Yes well, he is one of the more draconian Johnson’s here, notwithstanding Rhadamanthine Johnson whom I fear you would fair even less well with. I should try and get with the lingo, it might quieten him down a bit.”

Clearly frightened of  ABO Johnson Bikle sees nothing to do but give it a go “err bwaaerk!” he proffers. Abo Johnson’s onslaught is stayed at this and shooting him a scowl he gestures that Bikle should follow him.

Apprehensively Bikle follows Bad Old Johnson down Morris’s hallway. Imperceptibly the suburban hall segues into a gray painted industrial corridor with signs pointing the way to such locations as “Prop Room #9” and “Level 2 Armoury”. Eventually, after walking for some time they take a narrow passageway past a cheerless canteen where several hundred Johnsons sit drinking tea and munching baked potatoes, before descending a steep spiral staircase made of clanging perforated steel, and Bikle finds himself propelled with a shove through a door marked “Training Annexe.” Once through the door, he is stunned by the enormous size of the room, which stretches away seemingly endlessly. Around this vast cavern are dotted myriad Johnsons, who are being coached in a multiplicity of tasks, some, close at hand are spot welding the frame of what looks like a robot scorpion, near to them, a squad in Dutch national dress is executing a nifty clog dance. A short distance off they are butchering swans, abseiling, churning butter, glueing seashells to trinket boxes, repairing the gearbox on a Vauxhall Viva, sumo wrestling, rigging a top sail, sharpening punji spikes and a thousand other random tasks. Bad Old Johnson prods him with his cane towards a suite of rooms running off the side of the main room. He hustles him straight past the first room, labelled “Advanced Training”, hesitates for a moment outside “Basic Training”, before propelling him through the third, marked “Remedial Training.” Once inside, Bad Old Johnson pushes him roughly into an uncomfortable plastic chair and points at a projector screen on the wall. Pushing a few buttons Johnson retires into a side room, settling himself into the chair as best he can, Bikle hears the unmistakeable noise of a cork being pulled from a bottle. Bikle sits in the darkness for several minutes, then jumps as the screen bursts noisily into life. Set to a pumping dance music soundtrack, the video shows various bright eyed Johnsons engaged in a number of activities such as water skiing, judo, motocross and mountaineering. Clearly this is a recruitment video, and halfway through, Johnson stamps angrily back into the room and fiddles with the controls. The picture switches to a grainy, jumpy faded instructional film, obviously shot in Morris’s living room. The man himself is standing looking bored and smoking a roll up.

Morris: “Is this fucking thing on? Do I have to do this Johnson? Oh very well, let us get it over with then, I have a game of hungry hungry hippo’s with Johnson pencilled in for this morning.” Turning to face the camera he  stands there for a moment smoking. After a moment Johnson comes back into shot and mwaaerks at him. “Eh? I thought the training film followed on?”

Johnson: “Mwaaerk!”

Morris: “This is the training film? What are we training? Oh SB right. The first part of the film is entitled how not to do your job. Roll the film Johnson.” The screen changes and now Bikle can see a kind of kitchen living room. Further inspection reveals it to be his kitchen living room. Suddenly a gangly figure leaps across shot and then starts to gambol around on the floor. At first it seems it might be a kind of humanoid dog, but closer inspection from Bikle reveals it is in fact Buckle with socks on his ears. Clearly he is involved in some kind of game. Irritated Bikle watches as he crashes around the room knocking various things over, including the remote control which once again ends up behind the back of the radiator.

Bikle: “By rebote!” he cannot help but shout, only to rouse the ire of abo Johnson who rewards him with a rap to the hand. “I bean Bwaaerk!”. The scene continues with more of the strange game until a moment which Buckle on all fours attempts to leap on the kitchenette work surface. Sadly there is a tea towel covering part of it which is pinned to the surface by a pile of dirty dishes. Upon Buckle’s leaping up he attempts to gain purchase by grabbing at the tea towel covered portion. Inevitably this has the unfortunate consequence of bringing all of the dirty dishes down on top of him as he tips backwards. The last scene is of him rolling around, socks on his ears in a pile of filthy broken crockery. Morris reappears on the screen in his living room laughing

Morris: “Oh my Christ did you see that! Ho ho, oh my grief Johnson, socks on his ears, marvellous. Hmm that gives me an idea, get shit boy to put socks on his ears, he looks about the same as that un.” Bikle bristles at this but has little choice but to continue watching. “What’s next? Oh yes, how to do the job properly. Good at his job Johnson will now demonstrate. Johnson set up the Hippos!” The scene is then, Morris sitting in an armchair near by the central coffee table whilst Johnson can  be seen retrieving a box from some kind of shelving to one side of the room. He the carefully displays the hungry hungry hippos box to the screen before carefully unpacking the contents onto said coffee table. All actions are executed with competence and precision until finally a perfect and ready to play Hungry hungry hippos for two is set up. Morris looks at it quizzically for a moment before shouting “Are you playing ‘landa?” to which the muffled reply “No I’m not playing that fucking hippos game again Morris!” can be heard. “Ok Johnson you were right, just us two, I’ll go first!” Johnson looks minorly aggrieved at this as clearly Morris always goes first but doesn’t risk a comment. The rest of the ‘training video’ is just the two of them playing. Bikle sits there in the dark staring at the strange spectacle of Morris playing Johnson. First Morris wins a game, then Johnson, then Johnson again! Bikle finds himself egging Johnson on. Morris looks displeased and says “alright Johnson best of 5”. He then wins the 4th game. “Right Johnson, this is the decider!” he says before being disturbed by a knock at the door. Off shot Bikle can now hear his own voice saying “berr Bi cabe about de gardedig job…” and the whole scene is played out as earlier up to the point at which his interview starts then the screen goes black. Bikle has been sat there for an  age it seems and now Abo Johnson can  be heard snoring in the control room. Fully aware of how deeply he is lost in Morris’ cavernous dwelling, he now has no idea what to do.

He considers waking Johnson to ask for further instructions, but decides against it, rightly concluding that a bottle of Croatian cabernet sauvignon is unlikely to have improved his mood. He sits idly for another half hour, growing ever more bored, then thinks he will have a roll up. He feels in his pockets for his tobacco tin, only to realise that he is not wearing his own clothes of course, but the Johnson outfit, and all he finds are a discount coupon for a baked potato outlet and a tatty keyring with a small rubber Astro Bikle toy attached. He lays these scanty gleanings on the desk and continues to be bored. Eventually, out of sheer boredom he begins to play with the key charm.

Bikle: “Ho look at be, I’b de fabous Astro Bikle! I’b a big rubbish phodey! Real Bikle is buch better dad be!” He keeps this up for a while, then, growing more involved begins acting out a series of adventures starring Astro Bikleand his arch nemesis Captain Coupon, who it appears has a bad Scottish accent.

Captain Coupon: “Ho, och aye Astro Bikle, yous are too late! Fidally by defarious plad has cobe to fruitiod ad dow you are doobed, I shall disidtegrate you wid by bidvisible death ray the doo!”

Astro Bikle: “Dot likely Captaid Coupod! By sbace cloak will degate de perdicious effects of your bagdetic weapod, ad we’ll settle dis like bed! Wid our fists!”

He then proceeds to bang the toy and coupon together reapeatedly, adding dialogue and what he feels are appropriate sound effects. “Take dat you tyradt!” *Pow!* “Och do, you take dis idstead!” *Zap!* “Ha you bissed be, dow I’ll cripple you!” and so on, Bikle gets so enthused that he keeps forgetting who is who, and doing Astro Bikle in a bad Scottish accent. Eventually AB gets the upper hand, and with a flurry of thwacks, zaps, oofs and och ayes, defeats Captain Coupon, who makes a moving death bed oration.

Captain Coupon: “You have defeated be Astro Bikle, on this braw bricht moonlicht nicht, ad dow all by plads for de dobidatiod of de cosbos lay id ruids, ye ken. De better bad wod, You are de baster of de udiverse dow! But I ask ode last request of you, dot as a dotorious sbace villaid, but as a father, wod’t you take care of by daughter whed I’b gode? *koff koff choke*”

Morris and Johnson, who are watching this all on the monitor, are in absolute hysterics,

Morris: “Ho ho ‘Landa, this is priceless, come and watch Shit Boy playing with himself!”

Yolanda: “Morris! That’s disgusting! And I’m trying to get ready for my Modern Dance Class.”

Morris: “Not in that sense Yolanda, rather in the sense of him making a juggins of himself live on the internet. And I wouldn’t get your leg warmers in a twist, apparently the community centre has burned down with considerable loss of life, so your class will have to be cancelled.”

Back in the Remedial Training Room meanwhile, things are starting to heat up. Faithful to his oath to the dying Captain Coupon, AB has sought out his ravishing teenage daughter, the lovely Princess Voucherella.

Voucherella: (falsetto) “Ho Astro Bikle, eved do you burdered by father, I ab udable to resist your basculide charbs!”

Astro Bikle: “Well dat’s dot surprisig bodob, you are odly hubad after all. Do wobad cad resist de fabous Astro Bikle.”

Voucherella: (falsetto) “I cad see why, you big space hugk, kiss be!”

Astro Bikle: “O.O.O.O. You dow Pridcess Voudcherella, dat space suit doesd’t really suit you, but it does bake you look ebidedtly fuckable.”

Voucherella: (falsetto)”Oh you are so bad, I cad’t keep by hads off you! Take be dow!”

Astro Bikle: “By pleasure you binx! Cobe here!”

He then starts once more to bang the toy and the voucher together, this time adding a 70’s jazz funk soundtrack to the appropriate sound effects. Morris and Johnson are literally helpless with laughter. Even Yolanda, initially furious about the incineration of her dance class, is giggling.

Yolanda: “Actually Morris, this is pretty funny, poor old SB, he’d be mortified if he knew we were watching.”

Morris: “Not just us my little floating bookshelf, but the whole world is watching, or at least the portion of it with internet access, ho ho, old shitty has gone viral.” from the speakers comes Bikle’s voice, clearly excited now.

Astro Bikle: “Take dat you bitch! Ad dat, ad dat, ad dat! Say by dabe!”

Voucherella: (falsetto) “Ho yes Astro Bikle! You are bagdificedt, do it harder!”

Yolanda:”Jesus Morris this is awful, but I can’t stop watching. He’ll never be able to leave the house again after this. Oh god what’s he doing with his other wing? Is he…?”

Morris: “Touching himself? Indeed he is, vigorously. And on work’s time too. I take a dim view of this sort of thing. This is clearly a disciplinary matter Yolanda, this could cause irreparable damage to the good name of Morris inc. However it is most amusing, so we will let it continue a little longer.”

Yolanda: (pulls a face) “Euww, this is getting out of hand now.”

Morris: “Judging from what I’m seeing my dear, I should say exactly the opposite was the case”

Yolanda: “No Morris, I mean I’ve had enough.”

Morris: “and so has Princess Voucherella by the sound of it! Ho ho. Never mind my little Teatime Assortment, I shall put an end to this debacle. Johnson!”

Johnson: “Mwaaerk!”

Morris: “Go and wake up Bad Old Johnson and the pair of you fetch Bizarre Onanist Johnson back here sharpish, in one piece ideally, but don’t worry if he gets a bit damaged en route if you catch my drift…”

Johnson: “Mwaeerk!” nods Johnson eagerly and hurries off.

Back in the remedial training room things get yet more complicated. Astro Bikle is enmeshed in a passionate embrace with princess Voucherella when suddenly

Buckle: “But den here comes de eyeball bonster, oh doh! Princess Voucherella you’re cobig wid be!”

Bikle is taken aback as an eyeball floating in a liquid encased in a plastic ball (weighted so it always looks upwards) smashes into the lovers, knocking astro Bikle flying and the princess heading for the abyss beneath his seat.

Voucherella: (falsetto) “Astro Bikle save be!” he hollers instinctively before emerging enough to observe how the eyeball monster can be intervening in the situation. Horrified he sees Buckle animating said eyeball monster from the adjacent seat

Eyeball Monster: “Dow frastro Bikle Bi’m goig to eat you up!” Buckle is deeply involved in the narrative and the horrified Bikle can only hope he can hide his erstwhile activity from Buckle, not least to avoid all the questions that will likely follow. Simultaneous to this endeavour is the sense of

Bikle: “What de fuck are you doig here Buckle?”

Buckle: “Ho don’t stop playing Bikle, dis is good, de Eyeball Bonster grabbed Astro Bikle by de cloak, he was powerless against it!”

But something in Bikle doesn’t really like this, grabbing the Astro Bikle figure he begins to animate it once more

Bikle: “But den Astro Bikle, beat de eyeball bonster easily and rad off wid de princess!”

Buckle: “Do Bikle de princess has falled idto de chasm of doob and the eyeball bonster is too strog for hib!”

Bikle: “Do he isn’t Buckle, Astro Bikle would be buch stronger and larger dan ady eyeball bonster!” but dow to Bikle’s horror, Buckle has fished princess Voucherella out of the chasm of doom and foisted her into the clutches of the eyeball monster

Eyeball Monster: “Cub wid be princess, you cad rule the eyeball kigdob wid be!”

Bikle: “Do Buckle, she wouldn’t want to rule de eyeball kigdob, dere’s odly wod eye ball kigdob de pridcess wants! O o o!”

Buckle: “What do you bean Bikle? Bikle?” Buckle suddenly peers at him quizzically “why are you wearing a Johnson outfit wid de flies undone?”

Bikle: (Perceiving the best means of defence is attack quickly retorts) “Dever Bind about dat? I’b deep id de biddle of Borris’ caverdous dwelling, how de fuck did you get here?”

Buckle: “Ho I don’t do, I had a bit of ad accident wid de crockery so den I went out for a walk, I opened a door id de park and it lead id here, den I saw you playing wid yourself so I decided to joid id!”

Bikle runs cold at the choice of words but it seems Buckle has clocked nothing of it “cad we keep playig dow?”

Bikle: “Dot likely, I’ve got work to do!”

Buckle: “Ho what work is dat?”

Bikle: “Its berr, frimportant work for Borris, where’s dat door, you go back to de park, I’ll see you at hobe for tea!”

Buckle: “Right you are den Bikle, cad I take de Astro Bikle toy ad princess voucherella?”

Bikle: “Berr dot at de bobent Buckle, i’ve got to give dem back to Borris later! Yes dat’s it!”

Buckle: “Ho, righto Bikle see you id a bit!” and with that Buckle disappears as bizarrely as he appeared.  Bikle rapidly fumbles for the characters and tries to get the mood back.

Voucherella: (falsetto)“Och aye Astro Bikle ye have saved be frob de eyeball bonster, you are such a hero, I biss your embrace”

Astro Bikle: “Cobe to be Voucherella, lets resube de bobent !”

Voucherella: (falsetto)“Oh yes Frastro Bikle, take be dow!” and the same rigmarole ensues with gusto. Suddenly though, from out of nowhere there is an intrusion. 

Buckle: “Den bister cheese popped round for a cup of tea and a slice of kedgeree!”From out of nowhere Mr Cheese interrupts Astro Bikle and Princess Voucherella inflagrante. Bikle does look not pleased.

Bikle: “Ho fuck off bister cheese! Said astro Bikle and de pridcess!”

Buckle: “Ho dat wasn’t very kind of dem, Astro Bikle is always kind id de prograb!”

Bikle: “Buckle what de fuck dow!? Can’t  you leave dem alode for a bobent?”

Buckle: “What for Bikle? Bister cheese is thirsty for a cup of tea and wants a slice of dat kedgeree cake, he won’t stay for long”

Bikle: “Gib be strength, ball right den”

So mister cheese pops in and has a slice of kedgeree cake and a cup of tea whilst Astro Bikle and Voucherella make sullen small talk with him so as not to prolong his presence. Eventually mister cheese takes the hint and leaves and Buckle once more disappears.

Bikle then picks up the tiny figure and the coupon once more.

Voucherella: (falsetto)“Astro Bikle we’re alode at last de noo.”

Astro Bikle: “Aye dat we are by sweet, dow down to busidess agaid!”

Voucherella: (falsetto)“You’re such a brute, but I like it!”

Astro Bikle: “Frov course you do froo fritcha, dow where were we?” The scene resumes once more in all its seedy detail when suddenly the door is flung wide open and light from the corridor outside shows Bikle in all his avian, wretched pathos. Temporarily dazzled by the brightness after the gloom, Bikle shades his eyes against the glare with one wing, attempting to cover his wilting tumescence with the other. The brightness increases if anything, and he can only vaguely make out a number of bulky, indistinct shapes.

Bikle: “Err, Buckle? Is dat you ad Bister Cheese agaid?”

The only reply is a tinny amplified “Mwaerk!” as half a dozen Riot Squad Johnsons rush in and subdue him with blows from their clubs. “Frouch! Get off be you six! Ow dat hurt! Dere was dothig about dis id de recruitbedt video!” The only reply is another flurry of truncheoning, there comes a final cry of “By testicles!” and then silence, broken only by the sound of whimpering and something being dragged across the floor.

The next scene is Morris’ living room, which now features a massive shiny executive style desk, behind which Morris himself slouches in a leather swivel chair,flanked by several sleekly efficient looking corporate Johnsons, smoking a roll up and trying to look angry. The Riot Johnsons drag the bedraggled and battered Bikle in, and dump him on the floor, before saluting smartly and marching out. Morris nods at one of his aides, who judging from his name badge is Security Manager Johnson, who proceeds to prod the recumbent wretch with a stick. “Mwaerk!” Bikle flinches.

Bikle: “Dot id de balls agaid I beg you. Can’t you kick be id de head for a chadge?”

Johnson is about to oblige when Morris gestures for him to refrain.

Morris: “Not yet Johnson, I want a word with him first. Get up off the floor then Shitty, or at least struggle to an awkward semi kneeling crouch, that’s the ticket. Welcome to your disciplinary hearing by the way. Incidentally would you like a coffee or anything? Not that I’m offering mind, just curious. According to the employee handbook you havethe option of being represented by a colleague, looking at the rota, the available people are Staunch Presbytarian Johnson, Red Hot Poker Johnson, Hates That Bikle With A Passion Johnson, Ghengis Johnson, and Brilliant Advocate Johnson.” Bikle looks up hopefully, but Morris continues, “Sorry, bit of a misprint there, that should be Brilliant Advocaat Johnson, he’s in our liqueur manufacturing division, Hates That Bikle With A Passion Johnson’s brother in law, thick as thieves them two, wouldn’t advise it to be honest, so we’ll just crack on shall we? Says here Gross Misconduct, gross being the operative word frankly Shit Stuff. So before you have even finished training you decided to have a bit of “me time” did you? Treat yourself? Indulge in a marathon orgy of autoeroticism on company premises? What have you got to say for yourself? Not that we’ll pay any heed to it, or indeed listen, but go on anyway,let’s have it.”

Bikle attempts to frame a dignified response, but understandably under the circumstances, finds it difficult.

Bikle: “Berr, erb? It wasd’t be! It bust have beed sobebody else, berr, Johdsod, dat’s it, it bust have beed Johdsod!”

Morris: (frowns.) “Trying to pass the buck eh? Not exactly a team player are we Shitty? Make a note of that Johnson. Now here’s the thing bumface, you turn up at my door, smelling like shit, interrupt a very promising game of Hungry Hungry Hippos, and beg me for a job. Against my better instincts, and certainly against the advice of Johnson, I give you a chance, and how do you repay me?” Bikle opens his mouth, but Morris continues, “Zip it Mr Spanky, rhetorical question, and one I shall answer myself, as indeed is largely the point in deploying such a technique, you repay me by seizing the first opportunity to, well, sieze yourself, and engage in a frantic bout of pocket billiards in the Remedial Training room. Hardly professional that is it? Rhetorical again I should point out. No it is not professional, and it gives rise to concerns as to your future with the firm, indeed your future in a wider sense, inasmuch as you have such a thing. Now how can I trust an employee who is liable to enthusiastic, no holds barred sessions of self love at the drop of a hat? Who, when I particularly want him to run an important errand for me, is all too likely to have succumbed to his unclean lusts, and to have, as it were, caught the train to Wankytown? When I said that the job would provide you with “hands on experience”, this was not what I was implied, far from it in fact. Now we have a nice quiet family business here, me, Johnson, Coco and the Morlocks, and then we have you. The thing is Shitlord, and let me see now, how can I put it nicely? I won’t bother. You’re sacked. Fuck off.”

Bikle: (horrified) “Sacked! Oh do! Dow I’ll dever get by bedefits back! I’b ruined!”

Morris: “Should of thought of that before you decided to get jiggy on the job shouldn’t you then stringbean? Clear your desk, you’ve got 5 minutes before I set the bees on you.”

Bikle: “But I dod’t have a desk.”

Morris: “Is that so? Then what the fuck are you doing still here?”

Bikle: (looks pathetic) “Dod’t I get ady wages?”

Morris: (spluttering) “Wages? Say you managed half an hour before deciding to tickle your pickle, now after deductions for cleaning, no make that incinerating, the uniform, you actually owe me eight quid, but I’ll waive that just to see the back of you, now do one pissbag you sicken me.”

Bikle: “By clothes ded?”

Morris: “What clothes? I don’t see any clothes etc etc.”

Bikle: “Berr, cad I keep de udiforb ded? As a bobedto?”

Morris: “As a prop for your pervo fetish you mean. Not a hope.”

The Johnson suit vanishes much as it appeared, leaving SB clad in grubby off gray underpants and a “Ready Steady Mwaerk!” t shirt stamped LOSER.

Bikle: “But I cad’t go hobe dressed like dis!”

Morris: “Bit late to worry about your dignity now I would of thought Shitty, but you can take this piece of waste insulating material if you want. Now fuck off and don’t come back. Johnson!”

Human Resources Johnson grabs SB by the scruff of the neck and neatly externalises him. Tying the shiny silver insulating material round his neck to try and keep off the icy rain, he glumly tramps down the garden path.

Bikle: “Ho what ad appallig day. Still at least thigs cad’t get ady worse I suppose! I wonder what Borris beadt by dose cryptic partig words of his? Why would I wadt to google de words “duck suit retard self abuse? It’s a bystery! Still I dod’t suppose dat it’s dat ibportadt. Dow I just have to walk dowd half a dozed busy streets ad past baybe ted or twelve rowdy pubs ad I’ll be hobe. Barvellous!”

Bikle sets off down the street wrapped in the pitiful attire. It is not long before a car drives past honking its horn loudly whilst the driver hollers some kind of remark in his direction. Not being entirely unfamiliar with this kind of behaviour he shrugs it off. But then it happens again, and again. The fourth time he can hear something like ‘oi duck wank retard!’ Alarmed he presses on. But as anticipated, as he approaches the more central region of the town he begins to enter a busier district. People milling round immediately observe him and snigger. This too he can reconcile with familiarity and the impoverished get up but when a gobby hipster shouts ‘eyyyy it’s bird wank boy! did de pridcess like dat?’ he flinches in incomprehension and embarrassment. What’s going on? What does he know? How does he know? At this moment he goes past a bench with some young people on it crowding round a phone, in horror he hears his own voice tinnily emanating from the speaker ‘take dat and dat and dat!’. The young people laugh uproariously at this and the horrifying realisation begins to dawn on him that, some horrible how, this morning’s job experience at Morris inc have somehow gotten out and about. Now as he enters more of the throng, the looks, the comments, the obscene hand gestures and the shrieks of princes voucherella come thick and fast. ‘Ho by god’ he thinks, head down, ‘just ged hobe den lock de door’. It doesn’t stop, it gets worse. Shouting and calling turns to pushing from unknown hands. Some people are displeased. His head reels, his legs feel like jelly, he’s perspiring badly. Another push and down he goes head in his hands. “Leave be alode, I’vd god do bedefits!” comes a plaintive cry from some part of his mind. People stand around,  some are taking selfies, some are laughing, some are feeling slightly guilty at pushing this wretched man to this level of distress but hanging around anyway as there is something of a party like atmosphere to it all. “Eww look! He’s weeing himself!” says some onlooker. Sure enough from the heap of industrial material, undwear and wretch comes a steady flow of liquid oozing from the sodden grey pants. The crowd part slightly to avoid it in a curious inversion of Moses crossing the red sea. The wee trickles off the pavement and down into a gutter. At this moment a vehicle pulls exactly on the edge of the road where said gutter meets urine. The crowd’s attention turn and it turns out to be an ambulance; clearly someone has taken pity of the figure and done the decent thing. Two white coated Johnson’s quickly get out of the back and rather roughly shove the cowering figure onto a stretcher before quickly carrying him into the back of the ambulance. As for Bikle he can scarcely tell what’s going on, his self righteous indignation is all but disintegrated and all he can feel is a terrifying anxiety that now his denuded of all its particular contents. This unpleasant sensation persists, he can do nothing but feel and be it, there are a series of loud ‘Mwaaerks!’ that seem directed at him in some way but he is utterly unable to answer or acknowledge them in any form. At length he can feel a small jab in his arm and then there is nothing.

The soothing blackness persists, beautiful nothingness is all he knows. After a while though, neural circuits begin to reemerge. Images begin to float about, incomprehensible symbols as yet unconnected to full consciousness. Look here’s some cheese, here’s a Johnson, a filthy toilet, a coconut, a reclining chair. Single images merge, a kind of vista appears, a road, he’s walking down the street what could be more normal. Bikle is walking down the high street, suddenly out of the bustling throng he is accosted by a couple of garishly dressed American tourists.

Mr American: “Hey, sir, hey yeah you with the cloak!”

Bikle: “H’what? Be? H’what do you want?”

Mr American: “Hey excuse me, but gee aren’t you the guy that plays astro bikle?”

Bikle: “Ho well bi’m dot sure about dat!”

Mrs American: “Hey he even does the voice, oh honey the kids will be so jealous.”

Bikle: “Do Do I’b dot Astro Bikle, by dames Bikle”

Mrs American: “You brits are so coy, sure you’re Astro Bikle, I mean there can’t be more than one freak like you around can ‘dere’’

Bikle: “Dow look here boddob, I’b dot standing around here to be frinsulted!”

Mr American: “Oh you brits are so sensitive, listen if you’re in town for a while maybe you could come to our hotel and say hi, I could pay you well just to turn up for an hour or so”

Bikle: “Pay be?”

Mr American: “Sure, the kid’s would be stoked for ‘Astro Bikle’ to pop round, how does five hundred of your funny English pounds sound?”

Bikle wants to decline, but ‘five hundred pounds to turn up at a childrens party and pretend to be Astro Bikle?’

Bikle: “Well Bi suppose Bi could, I’ve lost be bedefits you dow!” They look at him quizzically “bedefits! You dow bedefits!”

Mrs American: “I don’t understand him honey, you deal with it from here!”  

Mr American: “Ok so here’s the deal, Mr Astro Bikle, we’re at this hotel near the gas station, you know it?”

Bikle: “Yes I dow de petrol station, sobe tibe I buy by rizla from dere!”

Mr American: “Okay so good, pop round to reception in an hours time and come up to room 67, 2nd floor, we’ll be waiting”

Everything has changed, but sort of it hasn’t. Now Bikle is near the petrol station. He goes in and it’s a hotel reception run by an indian man selling tobacco and sundry confectionaries.

Bikle: “Berr I’b goig to roob 67 okay!” he says to the receptionist who replies with a polite “Very good sir!” in an indian accent, he then gestures to the lift. In a trice Bikle is on the second floor corridor and there is room 67. He knocks on the door and Mr American answers. “Hey buddy come in, right on time!”Bikle walks into the plush apartment “they’re in there!” says the American in hushed tones “Go and do a bit of Astro Bikle at them! They’ll be thrilled”

Bikle goes opens the door that is indicated and enters the room. Inside he is confused and disturbed to see a large piece of card or paper lying back on a sofa. Further inspection reveals the card has a kind of crown on one end of it. Suddenly it speaks in strange high pitched voice.

Voucherella: “Ged out Astro Bikle it’s a trap!”

Bikle re perceives the card to see in fact it is a giant potato coupon which exerts a curious allure over him, his loins stirring in some obscure manner he goes over to the coupon.

Bikle: “Pridcess Voucherella? What are you doig here?”

Bikle: “Ged out Astro Bikle! He’s dot dead, he’s behind you!”

Bikle turns round to see another similar potato coupon that this time gives off a much more menacing effect. This he recognises to be captain Coupon

Captain Coupon: “Aye, you thought I was a deid, Astro Bikle but Necromancer Johnson has a brought me back!” a quick glance round the room reveals necromancer Johnson is also there, he seems to be playing scrabble with Mrs American and winning easily.

Astro Bikle: “But I’b dot Astro Bikle!”

Captain Coupon: “Aye well you would be sayin’ that wouldn’t you no, when ye have no sbace cloak to protect ye, now taste death ray ye sassedach!”

Voucherella: (screaming) “Astro Bikle run!” . Captain Coupon fires the death ray and Bikle is incinerated. He feels the incineration intensely and screams! He feels himself continue to scream and scream and now he can feel arms on him holding him down. He opens his eyes. Johnsons,  a tall white coated angular faced man with long hair tied back is lookin at him intensely

Dr Bikle:“Br Bikle, Br Bikle, Calb Dowd!” Bikle stops screaming and looks around him. He is in a hospital bed with a clean white robe on. Either side of him is a kind of Johnson nurse but most curiously is the doctor who appears to be yet another Bikle.  “Dat’s better. Dow what seebs to be de probleb youg bad?”

Bikle: “Oh Doctor Be! I’b so glad dat it’s you! I bead be. I’b havig a bonstrous day. First dey took by bedefits, den I got covered id shit ad Buckle lost de rebote, den I got poked with a stick by a bad ‘un, ad ded I got sacked ad beated by pedestriads! Ad ded Captaid Coupod fridciderated be wid his death ray ad dow here I ab! You’ve got to help be!”

Dr Bikle:”Calb dowd, dod’t get yourself idto a tizzy dere, we just deed to bake a few tests, just routide. Dow by associate, Doctor VS Johdsod here is just goig to take your tebperature.” Dr VSJ holds up an enormous rectal thermometer.

Bikle: “Hwhat! Get hib away frob be! Dat’s dot a therbobeter, dat’s a rollig pid!”*wunch!* “Yaroo! By bottob!”

Dr Bikle: “Hbbb, dat seebs dadgerously high. Ho dow youg fellow be lad, do deed to get excited, hbbb, you seeb quite agitated, baybe you deed sobethig to help you sleep?”

Bikle is about to agree enthusiastically when he notices DVSJ is now hefting a large cartoon style mallet.

Bikle: “Errr baybe dot, you dow doctor I’b feelig a lot bettter dow, barvellous job, dod’t wadt to waste your tibe, bust be gettig alog dow.”

Dr Bikle: “Ho if you fridsist, although I really could’t advise it. But id dat case, I bust idsist od givig you sobe bedicatiod. Take ode of dese every two hours.” so saying, he holds up a tablet the size of a cricket ball.

Bikle:”But I’ll dever swallow dat!”

Dr Bikle: “Do probleb suddy jib, it’s a suppository, dow oped wide, O.O.O.”

Bikle: “H’what? Do! Get away frob be wid dat!”

Morris/Dr Bikle:”Ho ho this is brilliant, give ‘im the needle Johnson!” DVSJ obliges, pumping a dose of luminous green toxins into Bikle’s already addled system. Bikle shrieks and bolts for the door, green hospital robe flapping about his scrawny pale buttocks. Dr Bikle / Morris wipes a tear from his eye. “Marvellous work there Johnson. I am thoroughly enjoying myself today. Fancy a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos?”

Bikle meanwhile is racing headlong through corridor after corridor, desperately seeking an exit. It seems to him that the faster he runs, the further away the end of the passage gets, as if he were on some kind of infernal treadmill. His breath comes in hoarse rasping gasps, the walls seem to move, rippling and billowing in upon him in time to his stertorous breathing. At first he thinks it is just the wheezing and whistling of his lungs, but then he hears it with more clarity, a familiar falsetto.

Voucherella: “Help be Astro Bikle, save be frob de eyeball bodster!”

Despite himself, he finds himself shouting.

Bikle: “I’b cobig Pridcess! Astro Bikle to de rescue!”His spindly legs pumping, he races down the pulsing corridor, whose walls have taken on a pinky reddish tinge, “Hag id dere Pridcess! Your hero is od his way!”

Voucherella: “Hurry, oh hurry Astro Bikle! De eyeball bodster has tord off by sbacesuit leavig be daked ad vulderable!”

Bikle redoubles his pace, haring frantically along, bouncing from the walls, which are strangely yielding and moist.

Voucherella: “Oh bercy! Bercy! Dow it’s probig be wid it’s proboscis!”

Bikle: “Dot od by watch it isd’t!” he snarls, “Dobody probes by Pridcess but be!” The tunnel seems to be narrowing, the walls red and laced with purple veins. Bikle is struggling now to make any headway.

Voucherella: “Oh where are you by beloved? Why dod’t you save be frob beig ravished by dis edorbous bodocular edtity?”

Bikle, crawling through the fleshy mucous covered walls which pulse and throb and seem to close in on him, weeps with frustration.

Bikle: “Oh by darlig Voucherella, be brave! I’b cobig! I’b cobig!”

He can hardly breathe now, but with a supreme effort, he wriggles and twists and squirms, and finally emerges into the light. Standing there gasping for breath, he looks desperately around, seeking Voucherella. The landscape is at once familiar and somehow alien. There is no sign of the princess, or indeed the eyeball monster, but a seemingly endless vista of yellow sand lit by a blazing white sun. Dotted around are huge stone images, reminiscent of Easter Island, only instead of enigmatic faces of solemn majesty, upon these are graven the unmistakeable goofy features of his brother, Buckle.

Bikle: “Pridcess! By darlig! Where are you?” Her voice is distant and seems to come from all around him,

Voucherella: “Save be! Save be! De bonster is tryig to ravish be wid it’s tedtacles!”

Bikle: “Doooo! I’ll cripple dat bodster!”

Desperately he looks around, but save for the Buckle heads the desert is empty. Then he somehow senses that he is no longer alone. He whirls round and there beckoning silently to him, is Mister Cheese. He pads over the blistering sand towards Mr Cheese who is as his name suggests a large archetypal comedy triangular segment of cheese complete with holes. As Bikle approaches he becomes confused as to how he can have gained the impression that Mr Cheese beckoned him. Still the unpleasant spatial phenomenon no longer drags his foot steps and he reaches the aforementioned cheese character easily.

Bikle: “What is it, where’s de pridcess?” he implores.

The cheese is silent for a moment before looking him up and down.

Mr Cheese:P “All I wanted was de fuckig Kedgeree cake ad a cup of tea, you and de pridcess were, very rude you dow!”

Bikle is alarmed then gathers himself.

Bikle: “Berr yes I’b sorry about dat, but you dow how it is, I just wanted sub alode tibe wid her”

Mr Cheese ignores him and then asks: “Did you think I’d be here?”

Bikle: (non-plussed) “Do, why would I? I didn’think there’d be cheese here, wherever de fuck I ab!” At this statement the Buckle heads erupt in a  stoney kind of ironic laughter.

Buckle heads: “Did you hear dat?”  “yes he didn’t think dere’d be cheese!” “Dat’s a laugh!” “I thought’d there’d be cheese!” “Yes Be too, earlier today I was thinking and I thought dere’d be…” and on goes an awful golem babble about the presupposition of cheese which rapidly is entirely dissociated from Bikle’s original comment and is just a garrulous noise on the topic, the sum total of which is an extended agreement on the proposition.

At length Bikle looks back at Mr Cheese, who returns his gaze unsympathetically.

Mr Cheese: “How de fuck do you think I feel it’s dot you dere talkig about! De pridcess is id de chasm of doob, she is lost!”

Bikle: “Lost, by Voucherella! But it can’t be!”

Mr Cheese: “Deal wid it suddy jib! She’s dot cobig back!”

Bikle: “Den I’ll die here in de desert!” and he lies down on the blazing sand to face his fate. The heads who have ceased there babble stay silent for a while. After a while though one starts up.

Buckle Heads: “Bikle, Bikle!” trying to die with dignity he stays lying down ignoring it, but they will not stay quiet “Bikle! Bikle! I can see de bood frob here!” “Ho be too!” “I’b goig to fly to de bood, look at be I’b astro Bikle!” Seeing this isn’t a peaceful place for to die, he raises his head.

Bikle:L “One, you fridiots, dat’s dot de bood! Dats de Sud, and two you’re dot Astrobikle, I’b Astrobikle!” The Buckle heads are quiet for a moment before suddenly starting again .

Buckle Heads: “Barvellous, look it’s Astro Bikle, fly to de bood Astro bikle!” “Do sub bagic Astro bikle!” and other such calls. Bikle looks on, lost and sad.

Bikle: “But I can’t, Captaid Coupod has taked by sbace cloak and suit.”

Buckle Heads: “Ho don’t worry Bikle! Dere’s a sbare over dere!” says a nearby head. And sure enough lying in the sand is an Astrobikle outfit, complete with rocket boots and space cloak.

Bikle: “Barvellous!” says Bikle, racing to put the fresh outfit on “Dow to rescue de Pridcess and get de fuck out of here!”

Buckle Heads. “Ball right Bikle, see you id de flat later!” (in various ways). Feeling buoyed by the powerful feel of the suit, Bikle activates the rocket powered boots and takes to the sky. But then slowly realises he has no idea where he is going. Flying on aimlessly over the desert he sees suddenly sees a terrible dark abyss in the sandy scape below.

Bikle: (excitedly) “De chasm of doob!” he flies down down into the darkness. He uses his space torch to see where he is going and after much descent finds himself on the cold rocky floor of the chasm. “Pridcess!” he calls but no reply. Then he fancies he can hear a shriek and moves towards it. There it is again, louder now “hold od voucherella Astro Bikle is cobig!” The space torch shines far into the distance and in the direction of the noise he can make out a strange dome like house with a veranda and solid looking front door. Feeling sure his quarry lies within he flies up over the rocks to the door and bangs loudly on it. He can hear a shriek and then nothing. “Let be id you brute or I’ll blast de door down wid by sbace ray!” silence for a moment, Bikle is fumbling with the controls on what looks like might be a space ray when footsteps approach the door and it creaks open. In front of him is princess Voucherella with a dressing gown on, not done up properly revealing a skimpy negligee underneath.

Voucherella: “Astro Bikle, oh it’s you…” she says a little flatly. Immediately disarmed by this cold greeting he simply asks.

Bikle: “Berr cad I cobe id?” She thinks about it for a moment before saying.

Voucherella: “If you want, just for a bit.”

She follows him through to a comfortable looking plush living room, with mood lighting a rich velvets as décor. Sitting on the large settee is the eyeball monster who’s eye follows Bikle with cold distaste.

Voucherella: “Cad I get you adythig AB?”

Bikle: “Berr pridcess, baren’t you overjoyed to see be? I’b Astrobikle, your hero!”

Voucherella: (turning her head away) “I’b sorry AB, but I  caddot be wid you, I’b wid de eyeball bonster dow. But please take a seat!”

There is only one seat left, a cheap looking plastic chair in between the large armchair and the settee. A double take by Bikle on the scene reveals the Turkey is sitting in the large armchair with a camcorder. Princess Voucherella sits back on the couch close to the eyeball monster whilst Bikle perches uncomfortably.

Clancy: “BLblbllblbp! Don’t stay long! Making a film blblblbp, what do you want?”

Bikle: (with seemingly no control to his voice)“I just wanted a cub of tea and a piece of dat Kedgeree cake.”

Accommodatingly  the Turkey serves the tea and cake. Everyone sits around making sullen small talk whilst Bikle noisily eats the cake and eschews the tea which he didn’t want anyway. After a while the Turkey eyes him balefully.

Clancy: “Blblbllblblp! Bad gooseberry, time to leave!”

Bikle:“Dow wait od a binute, I’ve had dow chadce to win her back!”

Clancy: “Blblblbp, had your cake, blbllp off you go!”

Voucherella: “Yes AB it’s really best you go dow!”

The eyeball monster gurgles his agreement and Bikle says good bye and shuffles off through the house and out the front door. Outside in the chasm of doom its dark, and now the space torch has run out of batteries. The lights of the house from behind him have mysteriously gone, everything is black, black black, arms flailing, the floor has gone, nothing around him, his self elides with the void and there is stillness once more. The next thing he hears in dim awareness is a loud “Mwaaerk!” and then can feel himself being bodily lifted by arms and legs .

Bikle: “Help be! Help be!”

Opening his eyes he can see his is being carried out of the back of a van by two burley Johnsons. Emerging into the light he can see in fact he is just outside the front of his flat. The Johnsons then unceremoniously hurl him towards the front door and head off back to the van. It’s clearly early in the morning and no people are around. Luckily the door is open to the block, he scrambles in and up the stairs. The flat door to is open and he collapses inside gasping.

Buckle: “Ho Bikle! Dere you are!” says a familiar voice.

Bikle: “Buckle, ho by god ab I dearly pleased to see you, I’ve had such ad awful tibe!”

Buckle:“I’ve had a barvellous tibe Bikle!  Oh and dere’s a letter for you dere!”

Bikle: “God give be a bobent Buckle, I’ve just got to get a cloak and froutfit od!” So in a moment our old friend is back, a little worse for wear maybe but essentially looking the same. He opens the letter and a smile comes across his face “Dis is Barvellous, it’s a letter from the hospital, dey say I’b bental and bunfit for work, dat beans I’b gettig by bedefits back!”

Buckle: “Oh dat’s dice Bikle, I dow you like your bedefits! Baybe you’d like to watch dis episode of Astro Bikle and de eyeball bonster dat’s od youtube!”

Bikle: “Berr dot likely! I’ve had edough of Astro bikle for a life tibe I think!” and then leafing through the circulars in the post a potato coupon drops out and falls floorwards.  A folorn longing is cast across his being, followed, after a moments thought, by a sudden upbeatness. He reaches down and picks the coupon up. “You carry od though Buckle, I’b just off to de bath roob to, berr… freshed up, yes dats right!” and with that he and the potato voucher lock the bathroom door behind them.

 

 

 

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Published in: on April 13, 2016 at 3:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

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