It’s not chit-chat, it’s sketch comedy, sort of. It favours attentive listening but could also serve as some quite weird background texture, I suppose. I don’t expect everyone to ‘get it’ but you know what? I bet you will.
New episodes how often? I don’t know! But let’s hope for every month-to-two-months. This shit, even at its most basic, is time-consuming! (Which is why most podcasts are chit-chat or improv.)
In recent years, too much of my limited free time has been dedicated to creative projects that stall or fail, so the very kind and supportive people who follow my work (that’s you again) don’t often get to see what the hell I’ve been up to. That’s frustrating for both of us! So I’d like to start spending some time on small, stand-alone things; things that I can start and finish by myself in the narrow windows of time that I can afford, and put straight out into the world. This podcast is such a thing; I expect some fresh Hilarity Comics will be another.
I may soon start offering memberships on my ko-fi website so that my supporters get early access to all of that, plus any bonuses I can squeeze out. In the meantime you can make one-off donations there any time you feel overwhelmed with gratitude for the intermittent trickles of pleasure I freely provide. Thank you and enjoy!
From February 2016, I worked for one year with Square Enix as the English localisation editor for Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius, one of those smartphone gacha RPGs. How about that!
The game is continuing — the story is serialised, and there are regular events, etc. — but I’ve finished working on it as of the end of January 2017.
My job was, basically, to take the initial English translation and make it prettier. The work ranged from straight proofreading to heavy rewriting, depending on the needs (and priority) of the material. Unfortunately, due to technical and organisational issues beyond my control, not all of the game text was even seen by me, let alone edited, so if you play the game, you’ll find that the text, in places, switches back and forth between professional quality and, uh, less-than-professional quality, with no apparent pattern — a fact that will always nag at me, but oh well. The parts I worked on, I improved, and I’m proud of that.
With a tiny few exceptions, I didn’t have the foresight to take screenshots of Patrick’s Greatest Edits as I played through the game. Happily, however, some players were so pleased with the dialogue in the game that they did. So I’ve gathered some bits and pieces from social media, reassembled complete conversations where possible, and plopped them into a gallery for you here. I don’t know how representative it is, but anyway, it’s a taste. Naturally, I’ve only included text that I edited heavily enough that I feel I can reasonably take some credit (or blame) for it, but remember that all of it is the product of a kind of assembly-line collaboration, from the writers, to the translators, to me.
I did my best to give the characters strong, recognisable voices, and to make the dramatic bits more memorable and affecting, but naturally it’s the bits where I enhanced the humour of a scene, or just straight-up added jokes to boring conversations, that are popular with the internet’s assorted screenshot-takers, AND RIGHTLY SO. Thank you, screenshot-takers!
Some sass from Fina
Lasswell to Carbuncle
I loved this guy
Jake vs Lid 1-1
Jake vs Lid 1-2
Jake vs Lid 2-1
Jake vs Lid 2-2
Jake vs Lid 2-3
Jake in full persona pt 1
Jake in full persona pt 2
I think no-one even noticed this joke; this is one of the few that I screenshotted myself.
Quest 3 (They weren’t all as snarky as these, I should say.)
I made MP3s of all 32 Insufficient Stories, for you to have, if that is your heart’s wish. Nothin’ fancy; I just ripped the audio from the videos. Close your eyes and believe I’m with you.
You can have them totally for free, or you can pay something for them if you want to show your appreciation for my unique and extraordinary genius. (I’m still a genius even if you don’t pay, though. Just so that’s clear.)
Jimbo ‘Gunshot’ McCluskie was the quickest draw in a Japanese peasant village in the year 910. He had previously been the likely seventy-sixth quickest draw in the Old West, but he fell through a time portal and now he was number one. Now he was top dog around here, and these heathen chinky-chonks had best pay him mind.
“Watch this,” he said, and took his six-shooter out of its holster and fired a bullet out of it, into a bale of hay. The peasants all thought to themselves, “That is definitely the fastest we have ever seen that action performed. As far as we know,” they thought, “that is as fast as it’s possible to do whatever it was that was,” and they cowered and trembled, very reasonably.
“Y’all like that?” asked Jimbo of no peasant in particular, and shot off three more rounds, into more bales of hay. The peasants threw themselves to the ground and covered their heads in terrible fear.
One young man whispered desperately to his elder: “Uncle, we must do something, or soon all of our bales of hay will have small holes in them!” he said, except in Early Middle Japanese.
“Quiet, you fool,” the old man replied. “Here is a god who holds thunder in his hand. Would you have us die for hay?”
“Uncle,” the young man explained, “as the second son of a lowly peasant in a society where powerful men take multiple wives, I am statistically unlikely to be married. Therefore I relieve myself amorously by means of congress with the bales of hay, and have become emotionally attached to them. I love the bales of hay, Uncle. I love them.”
“If that is so, boy,” hissed the elder, “then our bales of hay already have small holes in them, and few more should suit your purposes ideally. I daresay,” he added, with a sharp-toothed look, “consummately.”
“But Uncle, surely there is a principle at stake.”
While these frantic murmurings continued, Jimbo ‘Gunshot’ McCluskie realised that he had run out of bullets, and had no means of acquiring more. He reflected on this as best his flaccid brain could manage, and after some moments quietly fled. When the peasants finally nerved themselves to look up, Jimbo was nowhere to be seen.
But the next day he came back to the village, looking for food. The peasants had a good laugh and then beat the shit out of him.
John McClame, an original character, was sitting in the office of the dad from Family Matters, who had risen to become the boss of all the policemen in America. They were both old, grey, and world-weary, but only John was grizzled, and that was really the only way to tell them apart because I’m not a racist.
“You look like hell, John,” said the dad from Family Matters.
“I feel like it,” smirked John. “Nine-thirty in the morning and I haven’t had several beers yet.”
The dad from Family Matters laughed, and not a sympathetic chuckle like you would expect, but a big, bellowing guffaw, with his head thrown back and his palms slapping the desk, for about 90 seconds; it was startling and weird. Then he said: “How’s Holly?”
John did a sad squint. “She divorced me, Carl. She divorced me again. We’ve been divorced seventeen times now. That means we could get married sixteen times and we’d still be divorced. You got a light?” John had put a tobacco smoking cigarette between his lips and was patting his pockets, but he was only wearing a singlet and underpants so he didn’t have any pockets. “She don’t want nothin’ to do with me. She changed her name to Maximillian Whippet-Sharpener. She moved to France and got a job as the front half of a pantomime giraffe, in a pantomime zoo. They’ve got this… this whole pantomime zoo, Carl. Just people in animal costumes. You’ve gotta see it to believe it.”
The dad from Family Matters listened and nodded with the kindly eyes and simple wisdom of no race in particular. Suddenly fifteen trucks exploded.
“So how about you, Carl?” John said with a smirk. “Still a desk jockey, huh? Couldn’t take the heat?” He leaned out the window and lit his cigarette on a flaming truck that was flying past, demonstrating that he, John McClame, could take the heat.
The dad from Family Matters pursed his lips and looked up at the ceiling, and his hands balled into fists on the desk. You might think, “Oh, he’s inspecting the light fittings, and some mosquitoes landed on his palms so he’s squishing the mosquitoes, and also he doesn’t want any mosquitoes to fly into his mouth,” but actually it means he was sad. John noticed this due to his sensitive side.
“I shot a kid, John,” said the dad from Family Matters. “I shot a kid.”
“Jeez, Carl, I’m sorry man,” said John, smirking as little as possible.
“I just keep shooting ‘em, John. Water pistols… candy bars… yo-yos… tricycles… they all look like guns to me. I just keep shooting kids wherever I go, man. I shot fifteen kids this morning.”
“You’re a good cop, Carl,” said John, barely smirking at all. “You’re a good cop. You gotta believe that.”
“Hands, John. Hands look like guns; you ever notice that? The teacher says, ‘Now children, does anybody have a question for Officer Winslow?’ and blam! That’s twenty-five dead kids. Blam!” The dad from Family Matters put his face into his hands and began to sob. “Blam! B-blam!”
“It was an accident, Carl,” said John, smirking not even once. “Everybody makes accidents.” Gently but firmly he drew the dad from Family Matters’ hands away from his face and dried each tear with the burning tip of his cigarette. Then he put the cigarette back in his mouth and kissed the dad from Family Matters softly on the lips.
For a crucial moment they gazed into each other’s eyes. “Was that an accident, cowboy?” breathed the dad from Family Matters at last.
John pressed his calloused palm against the new friend standing between his old friend’s legs. It was as hard as a leftover twinkie from the 1980s, and bigger than average, though purely by coincidence and not for any specific, innate reason. “Yippee-ki-yay,” he whispered into the dad from Family Matters’ ear, “me-fucker.”
They got naked and made hot love inside each other; rough, determined dick-fucking with an undercurrent of grim patriotism. They were both eighty-five years old. They fucked and fucked until their pendulous old balls had run out of cum and they were shooting dusty air up each other’s arseholes. John was chain-smoking the entire time.
When it was over, the dad from Family Matters said, “America needs you for one last mission, John McClame.”
“No can do,” said John. “I always get unappreciated and I’m tired of that.”
The dad from Family Matters nodded. “I respect your decision and won’t try to change your mind. You’re an old man and entitled to a peaceful retirement. Thanks for coming in, John.” They shook hands and John McClame went home and had a nice, hot cup of tea.
Rocket Spaceman got a call from the President… of Earth! It was the future! They were both white American men with neat hair.
“Rocket Spaceman, the Earth is in danger. You must do a mission. There is only one man who can do this mission, and that man is you, Rocket Spaceman: Rocket Spaceman. This is the President.”
Rocket Spaceman looked the President in the eye, because the phone had a television on it and he could do that. “I’ll do everything I can to help, Mr President.” His manly, clean-shaven jaw moved up and down as he spoke, exactly as you would expect.
“Thank you, Rocket Spaceman,” said the President, his face squinty with gratitude, like an old war veteran looking at a flag. “I mean obviously I’m giving you an order here, though. You couldn’t have actually said no.”
“Yes but even if I could have said no, I wouldn’t have,” said Rocket Spaceman, his blue eyes gleaming with explaining his position clearly.
“What if the mission was very dangerous, though?” said the President. “Because guess what! This mission is very dangerous.”
“Yes, I assumed it was very dangerous,” said Rocket Spaceman, his noble nose giving hope to children, “and I said yes anyway.”
“Well of course you did, Rocket Spaceman, because I’m the President and you have to do what I tell you,” the President explained helpfully.
“Yes, Mr President, but…” – here Rocket Spaceman paused to think of the right words to form with his heroic mouth parts – “but I have my own reason for saying yes to dangerous missions; my own personal reason, to do with my personality.”
“Oh!” went the President. He raised his hands to his head and wagged them back and forth like rabbit ears, which in the future is how people express surprise and interest. “And what reason might that be?” he asked, cocking his head to one side and wiggling his nose.
Rocket Spaceman had become visibly uncomfortable, in a gutsy, intrepid sort of way. “Sir, I… I would really prefer that this sort of thing remain implicit; that we exchange a brief, silent gaze of mutual respect and understanding.”
“Oh, pshaw!” pshawed the President, with a good-natured sudden upward thrust of the left knee. “Don’t be shy, Rocket Spaceman. Tell me why you would do the dangerous mission even if I hadn’t ordered you to. Come on now.”
“Is it because of bravery, Rocket Spaceman? Are you brave?” The President asked this as though guessing at charades.
“Rocket Spaceman, listen to me. This is your President speaking. I’m asking you for information! It could be important! So if you’re brave, you’d better tell me. And what’s more, you’d better tell me just exactly how brave you are.” He planted a commanding stare upon Rocket Spaceman’s facial zone.
At last, Rocket Spaceman gave an obedient nod. He stood with his arms behind his back like an army person, his chest sticking out inspiringly with muscles. Gazing evenly into the distance, past all the holographic flying cars, he spoke: “I am brave, Mr President. Very, very brave. My willingness to face mortal danger, time and time again, makes me the bravest man in the world.” Then, still gazing into the distance, he held up a sheet of card with, ‘But it isn’t glamorous; it’s a burden,’ written on it.
“Oh, no, no, no,” said the President with a dismissive backwards somersault. “Surely you’re not brave; you’re just doing your duty like an everyday citizen.”
Rocket Spaceman was a little taken aback. “Well, I… Well, yes sir; in fact that’s exactly what I tell people when they call me brave.”
“So, you agree with me?”
“Uh… well… yes, sir.”
“OK! Great. Thanks for clearing that up.” The President made a note on his atomic space-clipboard, speaking the words aloud as he wrote: “Rocket… Spaceman… is not… brave.”
“No, no, wait a moment, sir,” said Rocket Spaceman. “I am brave.”
“You are brave?” echoed the President, confused. He looked back at his clipboard. “That’s not what it says here. I thought you said you just do your duty, like an everyday citizen.”
“I…” Rocket Spaceman almost winced. “I was being humble, sir.”
“Oh, I see! I see,” said the President, and made another note: “Rocket… Spaceman… says… he is… humble.” He licked the heel of his right foot for a moment, to indicate he was thinking, then turned a serious eyeball towards Rocket Spaceman.
“Rocket Spaceman, does this mean that if you weren’t brave, you wouldn’t obey my orders?”
“Oh, no, sir. I would always do my duty, Mr President. I would always” – he repeated, this time staring into the distance again – “do my duty.”
“So this bravery of yours is purely theoretical, Rocket Spaceman. It has no observable effect on your behaviour. The reason you do dangerous missions is because I tell you to do them; isn’t that correct?”
Rocket Spaceman sighed in a masculine way. “Yes, sir.”
“Very well, then. Let’s have no more of your unseemly bragging. I need the facts, Rocket Spaceman. I’m the President.”
“Rocket Spaceman, your mission is this: Erogenella, the Vinyl-Costumed Sex Queen of Jupiter, has threatened to destroy the Earth unless we send her a handsome sex slave as tribute. Our top brain scientists have determined that because Erogenella is a woman, sooner or later she will fall in love with our brave hero, which will neutralise the Jovian threat. Now this may happen as soon as she lays her exotic golden eyes upon him, but more likely, weeks, months, even years of kinky alien sex may be necessary.”
Rocket Spaceman did body language that meant he was steeling himself. “Mr President, I’m ready to make any sacrifice to protect the people of Earth.”
“I’m glad to hear it, Rocket Spaceman, because we’ve chosen your younger brother Larry Spaceman to be our tribute, and we need you to take him to Jupiter in your rocket.”
“Larry!?” cried Rocket Spaceman in valiant surprise.
“Well, as you know, he doesn’t have a rocket of his own.”
“But… but sir! Larry… Larry is…”
“Yes, Rocket Spaceman?” The President flared a concerned nostril. “Is there something we should know about Larry?”
“Well, for one thing, Mr President, Larry is overweight. It’s not attractive.”
“Oh, nonsense!” said the President, gesturing ‘sausage’ in sign language to convey a mixture of amusement and annoyance. “Perhaps he could lose a few pounds, which as you know is the standard unit of mass used all over the Earth. But Larry has a nice face and a great personality. Women like to laugh, Rocket Spaceman, and your brother is very, very funny.”
“I’m funny too,” declared Rocket Spaceman, “and I’ve never been more serious in all my life!”
“Rocket Spaceman, Rocket Spaceman,” said the President in a soothing tone. He reached through the television phone and patted Rocket Spaceman on the shoulder. “I can see what you’re trying to do, Rocket Spaceman. You want me to choose you as the tribute instead. You would sacrifice yourself to protect your brother from danger.” The President looked at Rocket Spaceman with admiring eyes, having first dug into his skull and popped out his standard-issue eyes.
Rocket Spaceman blushed like a man. “You can see right through me, sir.”
“Not with these ones, actually,” said the President, and swapped his admiring eyes for dual-purpose reassuring/X-ray ones. “Rocket Spaceman, your brother will receive the best training we can provide. Queen Erogenella is said to possess the beauty of a thousand human women, so we have gathered together the thousand most beautiful women on Earth, and as we speak, Larry is having sexual intercourse with them. First he will have sexual intercourse with them one by one, then in a number of combinations, incorporating every erotic fantasy scenario our experts predict he may encounter in the boudoir of the Sex Queen. This intensive sex-marathon will culminate in the formation of a massive, slippery fuck-pile; a mountain of one thousand beautiful naked women and baby oil, which Larry, your brother, will dive into and swim through in a wriggling, squeezing, squirting rhapsody of unbounded carnal pleasure. Incidentally you seem to have swallowed a paperclip.”
It was actually a staple left over from Rocket Spaceman’s tummy tuck, but he did not injure the President’s dignity by correcting him. “But sir,” he whimpered; “But sir,” he whispered, pouting with the heart of a lion, “What about me?”
“Oh, Rocket Spaceman!” the President cried, as enthusiastically as a shoe, which is a common expression in the future. “Don’t worry, Rocket Spaceman. You, too, will face dangers that I choose to accurately describe as sensual and dirty. Your flight to Jupiter is but the first leg of your mission, which has two legs, like a walrus, according to the best information we have about that long extinct animal. So prepare your ears to learn fully of this bipedality.”
“I have vestibular and cochlear nerves of steel, Mr President.”
“Very well, Rocket Spaceman. The remainder of your mission is this: An unmanned sanitation transporter the size of Lake Michigan has veered off-course, been drawn into the gravitational pull of a particular outer planet whose name I will mention shortly, and crash-landed. There is now poop all over Uranus. Rocket Spaceman, we need you to clean up the poop on Uranus. Wipe that poop off Uranus, Rocket Spaceman! There’s poop on Uranus! Clean it up.”
“But… but sir…!”
“That’s the mission, Rocket Spaceman. It’s all up to you. It will take you fifteen years. Goodbye, Rocket Spaceman! Goodbye!”
“But sir, you promised me danger!”
“Yes I did,” replied the President, shaking his head in the affirmative. “Good point, Rocket Spaceman. Rocket Spaceman, this mission is dangerous for two reasons. Firstly, our finest poop scientists believe that the vast flood of stinky poop now rapidly spreading across the jagged, hostile surface of Uranus may be on fire.
“Secondly, it’s possible that as a result of this accident, you may have to navigate an extremely delicate, even volatile, nexus of diplomatic tensions with the dominant sentient species living on Uranus, the Sharp-Toothed Easily Upset Uranian Penis Eaters. But Rocket Spaceman, I know that what you lack in physical strength and stamina, you more than make up for with intellect, discernment, and political nous.”
“No, sir, you’ve got it all wrong!” Rocket Spaceman objected. “I’m a sexy idiot!”
“Goodbye, Rocket Spaceman, and good luck! You have to do it. Goodbye, Rocket Spaceman; goodbye!” The President waved farewell, with his hands, because his feet were operating the controls of the television phone. He kept calling out, “Goodbye; goodbye!” while slowly fading out the audio before finally hanging up.
Godspeed, then, to Rocket Spaceman, purportedly brave defender of Earth – godspeed and toodle-oo! May the dreams of humanity lift your space rocket into the stars, or rocket fuel if that doesn’t work. Remember as you journey to distant worlds that you carry with you not only a mop and bucket, but Hope. Hope, the only choice of household detergent for the modern homemaker! Good luck, Rocket Spaceman, and fuck off!
Someone got killed, right in the guts. “The murderer could be any one of us!” everyone realised. The veneer of genteel respectability, already stretched to breaking point, was stretched even more to breaking point.
“Ma-a-a-a-a-a!” said the famous Inspector Blossom, whose gimmick is that he’s a goat. “I must ask that nobody leave Mystery Manor,” said Dr Edmonton, Inspector Blossom’s interpreter (also a goat).
Inspector Blossom talked to everyone and found lots of clues and then gathered everyone together in the drawing room. “It was Dave!” he said, via his interpreter.
“It’s a fair cop,” said Dave.
“I’m glad he confessed because I ate all the evidence,” thought Inspector Blossom to himself, in goat language.
The last whisper of cold had taken its leave, and cherry blossom petals were swarming along the bitumen in the dusty afternoon wind. Suddenly, God decided that all women have penises from now on: two each.
Confusion rolled in like a tsunami. Men didn’t know if sex with women was straight – because they were still women – or gay, because of the penises. Was actual gay sex now the less gay method of getting one’s fuck on, because it would halve the likelihood of foreign penis contact? And whichever gender men penetrated, should they even use their penises, or was that now kind of a girly way of doing it?
The most powerful people in the world were wound up like those plastic chattering teeth with little feet. “I’m not gay,” announced the President of the United States to a thousand international journalists. The response from Russia was swift: “Are you calling me a faggot?” China and Japan each demanded that the other apologise for calling them a woman. It seemed unavoidable that human civilisation would soon be destroyed by war.
Soon, human civilisation was destroyed by war. But it was a rather perfunctory armageddon. To fire a gun; to launch a missile; to insult a diplomat by holding a bottle of mayonnaise in front of one’s crotch and squeezing it out onto his face while yelling, “This is what makes me powerful!” – somehow, it wasn’t as satisfying as it used to be.
My name? Let’s just say I’m a private detective. I’m a private detective. It was just another day in the office whence I operate as a private detective, when she walked in.
Sorry, I should tell you her name first and only call her ‘she’ after that, otherwise it’s confusing for you, sorry. Her name was Gertron Whipsturgeon. “My name is Gertron Whipsturgeon,” she breathed.
I wondered if she was connected to a well-known, wealthy local family called the Whipsturgeons, and if they were so well-known why I’d never heard of them. And what was a creamy wheel of camembert like her, from the delicatessen window of high society, doing in a run-down, two-bit rat hole like mine, breathing at a half-eaten, dried up Kraft Single like me? Come to think of it though I think ‘two bits’ actually means twenty-five cents and I feel like that’s probably expensive for a rat hole; like do rats pay rent even? Does there exist in the margins of human civilisation a parallel society of rodents, with markets, currency and government? Would it be a monarchy or a republic? I mentally put five bucks on monarchy.
If Gertron had been delivered to me by the postman, I wouldn’t have accused him of theft, because she was the whole package. As I looked her up and down, I began to wonder about the structure of this theoretical rat kingdom from a macrosociological perspective, and I simultaneously hoped and dreaded that I wouldn’t be getting any sleep that night, depending on the reason.
She had legs that went all the way up to her hips, where they connected to her torso in the normal and correct fashion, a bottom that made my penis erect, and a rack you could store magazines in. Plus a great big pair of tits.
“Those are the biggest tits I’ve ever seen,” I told her.
“Yes, I breed birds and other animals,” she said. “For example, let me show you my pussy.”
“I’m not really a cat person.”
“Oh, you’ll love Duchess.”
Gertron Whipsturgeon held her pussy right up to my face, and it was all I could do not to pinch my nose and slap it away. I couldn’t believe a classy dame like her was walking around the place with a beat-up, worn-out, flea-bitten, scab-covered pussy like that. It had patches of black hair tangled into greasy clumps, stank like old fish, and was making a low, threatening growl. She reached into it and pulled out a cat.
I said, “Hello, Duchess.”
“Greetings,” the cat replied. “I am Duchess Mittens of the Eastern Alleys. You have already met my human slave, Gertron, and the two ambassadors from the Tit Kingdom, whose names are Willy and Fanny. Gertron, you may put me down on the desk. Thank you.”
The cat paced back and forth all over my realistic detective items like she owned the place. “My child, Prince Oreo, is betrothed to Melody, the Black-breasted Tit Princess – a union that may end all pain and death in the world, forever. But there is one who opposes the engagement: Premier Ronald of the Democratic Republic of Rodentia.”
“Dammit!” I said, and wrote myself an I.O.U. for five bucks.
“The matter is this: Prince Oreo has gone missing – taken in the dead of night – and we are certain that a ring of secret rat ninjas is responsible. But we have no proof. Detective, I am here to ask that you put on a big rat costume, penetrate the ring, and find out what has happened…” – and here the cat had to take a deep breath – “Find out what has happened to my baby boy.”
I never knew I was allergic to cats but suddenly my eyes felt kind of itchy. I folded my arms and stared at the desk. The cat must have heard me mutter, “Poor prince,” under my breath.
“You will help me, then? You will rescue my son, and bring the rats to justice?”
“Paw prints!” I snapped at her. “You tracked paw prints all over my desk. Look, kitty-cat: last time I checked, the sign on my door said, ‘Private Etective,’ because some kid peeled off the ‘D’. But that still doesn’t say, ‘Complete Chump,’ because I’m not one, and also because you can’t rearrange the letters that way. With a bit of creativity and a black texta, you could probably make it say, ‘Defective Privates,’ but I don’t expect that much from the kids around here; they’re not very sophisticated. The schools are underfunded. Similarly, my own education happened largely on the streets, and on those streets I learned two things: number one, don’t be a rat; and number two, don’t be a rat. You’re asking me to do both, albeit in reverse order. Do you have any idea what happens to rat rats?”
“No, I don’t,” said the cat.
“Neither do I. Because no-one has lived to tell the tale.”
I hoped that would be the end of it, but the cat and the tits exchanged a look that told me it wasn’t. Her Grace the Duchess coughed up a furball, spat it out, and slid it towards me with one of her pretty white paws. “A gift from the Eastern Alleys,” she said, “given as a token of good faith.” Then the three of them made up an excuse and left me alone with Gertron the slave girl.
Gertron sat herself down and faced me across the desk. Her eyes meant business. If they could have leapt out of her skull, dressed up in tiny little suits and gotten high-powered careers in finance, they would have. And if I were working in the same office, I’d sexually harass them, because they were beautiful.
“There’s more where that came from,” she told me. Neither of us needed to look at the furball. “I can tell you’re smart, honey. Smart enough to get through the day. But it’s hard for a man like you to get ahead, especially if he has a vice, and a man like you always has a vice.”
I thought of the I.O.U. I’d just written. In the top drawer of my desk were at least a hundred more, all of them in my handwriting; signatures on a pile of tiny death warrants. I guessed I owed myself about three-fifths of a large by now, and I was barely making a medium. What a chump.
“Your problems,” she said, “can be made to disappear. Or, they can be made to not disappear. They can be made to be, like, super-perceptible. Like a fat man in fluorescent cycling gear. On a razor scooter. Scooting from door to door, asking people if they’ve heard about Jesus. And he’s got a voice like this: HELLOOOOO!! HELLOOOOOOO!! HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT JEEE-SUS!!?”
“ALL RIGHT,” I said. I ain’t the type to flip my lid but the author had left caps lock on from the previous sentence. “All right. I’ll take the case.”
“Good-o,” said Gertron Whipsturgeon, and I lit her cigarette.
From this point, there was a three minute movie montage of me dressing up as a rat, Gertron teaching me how to act like a rat, then me going undercover in Rodentia and solving the case, all to the soundtrack of ‘You’re the Best Around’ by Joe Esposito. Except whenever I masturbated, the montage would stop, the soundtrack would change to ‘Nimrod’ from Elgar’s Enigma Variations, and the movie would progress in real time until I’d finished, at which point the montage would continue.
When I masturbated, I thought about Gertron. She didn’t respect me and I didn’t trust her, but we were a good team – and more than that, I felt like beneath that no-nonsense, nonsense-intolerant, disinterested-in-nonsense, “Nonsense? Not on my watch!” exterior, something soft and fragile was hidden. After a long day, a couple of drinks and a few laughs, sometimes, in the second before she blinked, I could see it in her eyes: buried deep inside of her, there was something I needed. Maybe something we both needed.
It must have been my detective’s instinct because it turned out she was working for the rats and had Prince Oreo stuffed up her arsehole the entire time – which post facto put an unpleasant twist on a lot of my wank fantasies but at least I got paid. Duchess Mittens had Gertron’s head chopped off, which I know because she left it for me on my doorstep as a present. I had it stuffed and mounted, as best as I could afford to, and kept it as a memento of the finest cat burglar I’d ever met. Even now, sitting in this leather chesterfield armchair, wearing my smoking jacket and slippers, I gaze at the mantlepiece, over the dying fire that faintly lights the study in the nineteenth-century English country manor where I’ve been narrating this story from apparently, where sits Gertron’s misshapen face – skin a little green now but still firm and smooth, where mine is dry and furrowed – and I raise my glass of brandy and say, “Here’s lookin’ at you, you mere female with the brain of an infant.” I’ll be here for some time, contemplating her mouldy contours, maybe because I never stopped loving her, but maybe because, after all these years, if I retire to my bedchamber and sleep… maybe tonight, the rats will come at last to give me secret rat ninja dick rabies.
The space aliens came from space and shot at us. We tried to fight them in clean-cut, conventional ways, but nothing worked. Things were looking bleak for the human race, of which we are all members, no matter our colour or creed. But then a rag-tag bunch of ne’er-do-wells did things their way and saved America and the whole world. That showed those scientists! They think they’re so smart.
Anyway – each of the heroes was given forty-nine virgins and his own planet to live on, because this is set in the future after the Muslims take over and we all have to live by Sharia Law.