ABSURDIS EXTREME // Case Study #1952 [13/09/1985] by B.A. Loney

This is the story of a portly Italian plumber who had a flair for acrobatics that was as impressive as his moustache. By the way, his name was not Mario for obvious copyright infringement reasons (so please don’t sue us, Nintendo!).

Every day, after a hard shift full of leaking pipes, clogged toilets and unnervingly sentient toadstools, not-Mario would visit the famous not-Bab-omb Bar that isn’t in Dinohattan. And he wasn’t getting drunk before blue snots with his portly moustachioed colleagues who may or may not have been called Luigi, Waluigi and Wario. Not at all. He was proudly taking to the stage to pole dance in front of all the not-Mushroom Kingdom folk, wearing high-heeled lacquered boots and spritely shined bustier, and his moustache powdered in pink and gold.

He was like Freddy Mercury up there, strutting the length of the stage and back again, and even somehow strutting up and down the pole. Even wall jumping where there were no walls with loud wahoos. How could he do this? He was not-Mario, that’s how! And for some bonus gold coins, he’d satisfy some of the kinkier clientele in the audience with dominating butt stomps to their faces. All this while doffing his bright red cap and racking up a bonus number of 1-ups!

The cheering and applause was off the hook. Everyone tried to touch not-Mario’s moustache for good luck and domestic bliss and whatever else they could think of. Some folks in the audience also thought that if they put one of his moustache hairs in their wallet, this would bring them riches beyond imagining. Maybe even protect them from not-at-all copyright infringing pests such as Piranha Pants, Cry Guys and wayward warp pipes. After all, it was a dangerous world out there and they needed all the luck they could get!

Not-Mario tried to retreat backstage as the audience began to swarm over him like a zombie horde, but to no avail. One particularly aggressive not-Koopa groupie swiped his moustache off with a well-aimed swipe and held it above her head like a trophy. Like a woollen jumper being unravelled by a loose thread, not-Mario’s pixels began to come apart. Is this what it was like to die with no continues? Why? The injustice!

He opened his mouth to cry out to the Miyamoto God but nothing came forth—and nothing downloaded from the Cloud to save him. All not-Mario’s pixels just sparked out of existence, and the only thing to indicate that he was ever there was a static-filled ‘Game Over’. His colleagues wailed mightily, tearing their clothes in an unrestrained display of grief. Their pole dancing queen was no more—and the most skilled plumber in the city by the way. Since then, not-Dinohattan sank in grief and shit. Amen.

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

100 WORD SKITTLE // Gravity Falls

She was at her favourite author’s book launch. Nay, he was a literary god with a cannon to launch said book into the stratosphere.

Seated in the first row, she tugged at the hem of her miniskirt and adjusted her combat helmet. A notebook was perched on her knees—her readers needed to hear about this!

BOOM!

Off went the cannon. Where was the book? His false teeth were hurtling into the air but… no book. This had become quite the jaw-dropping event!

She hoped she would be lucky enough to finagle an autograph and a sloppy wet kiss afterwards.

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

TATI’s & TONY’s DEAD POET TOUR // The Parrots by Wilfrid Wilson Gibson

Somewhere, somewhen I’ve seen,
But where or when I’ll never know,
Parrots of shrilly green
With crests of shriller scarlet flying
Out of black cedars as the sun was dying
Against cold peaks of snow.

From what forgotten life
Of other worlds I cannot tell
Flashes that screeching strife;
Yet the shrill colour and shrill crying
Sing through my blood and set my heart replying
And jangling like a bell.

by WILFRID WILSON GIBSON (1878-1962)
Public Domain Poetry

hedgehogs in the fog

blue sky, yellow grain
winter’s leaving ukraine again
a ploughman’s cycle without end
i say life for all & death to kings

god’s got his tombstones all in a row
dominoes waiting for the drop
it’s all i can do not to cry a river

here in the dark breath is adjourned
i’m checking notifications again
you were last seen five hours ago
does god really think no one’s looking

so i’m trying to remember instead
the shape of hope & all that’s to come
& the hedgehogs we saw in kyiv

the warm hearth of your mother’s kitchen
your father’s childhood in chechelovka
our river walks & your brother’s games
the shadow cat i left behind in dnipro

so i’m trying to remember instead
shared sun salutes in an upstairs room
it’s all i can do not to cry a river

do you remember the hedgehogs of kyiv
i wish them well in forever sleep
& stand with ukraine in the fog of war
i’m thinking of you & the shape of hope to come

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

PERFECTION IN ACTION // Operation Vexillology

“Blue is sky and yellow is wheat!”

“Nope! Yellow is sun! Blue is water!”

They glared each other down from opposite ends of the table, ready to fight. Of course, they’d need a running start—the table was so long it crossed three international time zones.

Ready, steady, GO!

Somewhere at the epicentre of that domestic warzone they suddenly noticed something. It was Putin entering the room.

When they finally left said room, they were kicking something around that looked suspiciously like somebody’s very tiny balls. And they were no longer incensed by one another’s stance on the flag debate.

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022