Teti-à-Tête (With Tony) #11

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Tati as TATI

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Tony as TONY

 

ACT 74 SCENE 1
CENSORSHIP & PROTÉGÉS

 

TATI: Give it back! Give me my drawing back!

Tati jumps around Tony, trying to grab a sheet of paper from his hand. He won’t let her have it, and keeps whipping it out of reach. He’s dodging and giggling while Button sits in the corner with a resentful look.

TONY: Aw, come on. It’s not that bad, and you know it!

TATI: It isn’t perfect! Look at the tail! The hip! That eye! Give it back immediately, you vile muzzle! I need to fix it!

TONY: ‘Vile muzzle’? What does that even mean?

Button sniffs as though offended, and turns away.

TATI: You! You’re this vile muzzle who wants to make a laughing stock of me!

TONY: Tati, if you keep abusing hell out of me, I’ll post not only this cute kitty but also your drawing for our upcoming ABCs book. Your Frau Earwig looks so freaking sexy!

Tati stops jumping. Her mouth is wide open from shock. How could Tony stoop so low? She goes and sits near Button in the corner, but Button gets up and moves away.

TONY: Aw, Tati, don’t be like that! I’m proud of all you’ve accomplished since I started teaching you how to draw!

Tati turns to Button.

TATI: Can you believe how shitty my life can be?

BUTTON: I can’t believe she’s asking me this…

TONY: I don’t get it. Why are you determined to hide your achievements?

Tati’s face suddenly flushes bright red. She appears to be quite shy and embarrassed. Tony and Button look at her with great surprise. They’ve never seen her like this before.

TATI: You’re a perfect artist, Tony. Your works are blameless, flawless. And mine… My cat looks like it was in a bad car accident!

She sniffles loudly.

TONY: Tati, it’s the im-purrr-fections that make your cat… well, purrr-fect!

Tati nervously bites her lower lip, but continues to listen to Tony anyway. Button seems to have forgotten his troubles and looks at Tony and Tati with interest. Tony hands Tati a tissue.

TONY: Would you let me show your cat drawing to the world?

Tati stands there in silence, and fiddles with the tissue in her hands. After a moment, she says with an icy tone…

TATI: Do what you want.

Then she hands the tissue to Button.

TATI: Hey, Button, I think you have snot coming out of your nose.

She turns away and proudly leaves the room with a look like she’s the Queen of England.

TONY: Good lord. If this silly girl would only listen to me. I’d tell her that I fucking worked my arse off for three years to get a Bachelor of Visual Arts in Animation. And that I have featured in fucking art exhibitions and… and… Oh, who am I kidding? She’ll never listen to me. She thinks she can learn and be perfect in just two days?! Oh, women…

Tony looks at Button. He thinks for a moment, then pulls out a sheet of paper.

TONY: Face or profile?

Button beams with joy and puts on his best pose.

BUTTON: Both!

Dear Readers, there’s Tony’s cat. Do you want to see Tati’s interpretation of this? Then click on the image and be welcomed to our Patreon page! There’s no waiting in line, and entry is free for our dear Patrons! Come one, come all, and see what the fuss is about!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

CRACKED FABLES // The Hedgehog and the Cactus

Hieronymous Hedgehog was extremely picky, it was true, but he never could see the point in settling for second best. Bothering to get out of bed each morning was his tacit agreement that he’d engage with the world, but that didn’t mean he had to take its rubbish as well. Crooked spines? Short legs? Sparse whiskers? No freaking way! His future wife would be the epitome of style and echination, and that’s all there was to it.

And so it happened one beautiful morning that Hieronymous Hedgehog awoke early and couldn’t get back to sleep. He’d tossed and turned incessantly, only to eventually give up, sit up, and get up. He stretched, scratched his big round belly, and wended his way downstairs to the kitchen on his short bandy legs. Okay, it was time to get this show on the road.

Hieronymous Hedgehog slammed the pantry door. It was empty again! No bugs, no worms, nor any rotten apple or nuts. He needed to end this barren reality that was his bachelorhood, and quickly, but he’d have to swing by the drycleaner first. He needed to pick up his pinhole suit with the natty pinstripes, then he needed a coffee while the shoeshine beetle got to work on his Testonis. He had a lot to accomplish today. He had to buy a newspaper to tut over the state of the world. He had to dominate his neighbour at chess. Oh, and he had to choose a wife.

Forgoing breakfast, Hieronymous Hedgehog combed his whiskers, then polished his spines with a big woolly caterpillar. He perfumed his armpits with amber musk, took an umbrella cane from the hatstand near the door, and plucked a big red hibiscus from the outside garden to garnish his suit lapel later on. He looked at his reflection in a random car mirror and snorted with satisfaction. Ruggedly handsome as always!

The dating agency was called ‘The Romance Factory’ and had a very good reputation. Its hostess, Miss Musquash, had been married about twenty times, and every one of those marriages had been very happy and successful. That’s why Miss Musquash could be trusted with the romantic business of everyone else in existence. She was clearly a true professional with years of relationship experience.

A short while later, the bell gave a little tinkle as Hieronymous Hedgehog burst through the front door. His stride bespoke purpose. Well, it was more of an amble actually, but at least it was a confident one. The office was very small and cosy, full of flowers and spider webs, and there was a drowsy secretary in the corner. Hieronymous Hedgehog could almost see the zees floating off her head—that’s how out of it she was. However, he would not be swayed; he approached the secretary and knocked on her shell.

“Sirrah!” he announced. “Is anybody in there? I need a wife, and urgently!”

The secretary jumped with a cute hiccup, and when she’d composed herself, peered at him over her equally cute glasses. Her beaked face then broke into a knowing smile. “Would you like a coffee?” she asked in a slow, nasal drawl. “A tea? Cocoa with worms? An orange?” But Hieronymous Hedgehog didn’t have time for silly chit chat or noticing others’ genders. He wanted a…

“Wife!”

Without further ado, the secretary pressed a button on her intercom. “Miss Musquash? Your three o’clock is here.” She looked up at him briefly. “A Mr Hieronymous Hedgehog.” The speaker crackled, then there was an audible intake of breath.

“Let him in.”

Miss Musquash was sitting on a sofa, chain smoking like lung cancer hadn’t been invented and there was no tomorrow. Around her were tossed folders full of the photos and profiles of potential fiancées. She gave a helpless shrug.

“Dear Hieronymous Hedgehog, you have gone through all of our applicants!” Miss Musquash indicated the folders. “Lucia was too short, and Maria was too tall. Helga was too fat, and Geraldine was too skinny.” She wrinkled her nose in distaste. “Too hairy, too squeaky, too lascivious! I don’t know if there is anyone alive that could meet all of your requirements! It’s not possible!”

Miss Musquash picked up a sheet of paper and shook it in Hieronymous Hedgehog’s face. It contained a long list of criteria that his potential future wife must fulfil. He ignored it, and began filing his nails instead. She sighed. It was clear that he wasn’t going to budge. In fact, Hieronymous Hedgehog even went so far as to sit himself down and plonk his short bandy legs on her desk. He then ever so ‘politely’ remind her that he was a respectable client and a chairman of the Forest Retirement Fund to boot. She shook her head and let out another sigh.

“Look, why don’t you come back tomorrow? I promise I’ll have something for you then.”

And so it came to pass that Hieronymous Hedgehog grudgingly left and the light stayed on in Miss Musquash’s office the whole night through. By four in the morning, the ashtray was full of stubs and a decision had been found, and it was the best of an impossible bunch.

A week later, all of the forest’s inhabitants were invited to a wedding. Yes, that’s right… Hieronymous Hedgehog’s wedding! He was the happiest groom. His future wife was the epitome of perfection—height, weight, prickliness. And, the most important thing of all, she was never going to argue with him.

This time, Miss Musquash sighed with relief. She closed Hieronymous Hedgehog’s case file, and called the secretary into her room. She asked her to empty the ashtray and order a new cactus for the lobby. And then business would carry on as normal at ‘The Romance Factory’.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

the swansong cycle (part three): swan uprising (the war-feathered gangsta rap)

yeh yeh yeh yeh…
a’ight, swans, it’s time
lay da smackdown
lay ya eggs in crack town
yolk it up
yolk it up now

wot does it matter
who eat meat from ya bone
an encroachin’ poacher
or queen elizabeth da sheen
shit still stinks, don’t matter
point is ya’ll be prone
dead to rights, bitch
yah, time they choked on yo shiny steel bean

rise up now, yo, swans of war
spread your mofo wings, yeh
crane yo neck bling, yeh, ruffle yo wrap
gaggle and flip-flap, trigger-hap, poppin’ caps
pants shat, yeh, enact da bourne phenomenon
grab yo bauers, enact da power
dey’s goin’ down for da final dirt nap

yeh yeh yeh yeh…
a’ight, swans, it’s time
yolk it up
yolk it up now

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

the swansong cycle (part one): swansea suicide (the kamikaze karaoke death metal roar)

i’d had loads to drink and got up on stage
ready to wipe their asses with my whole life’s page
so i said “blah blah” this and all blah blah that
“are you ready to be in stitches? double drat!”

“i’m the queen of the office! the boss don’t scare me!
the fucking tapeworm in her guts, not her pubic flea!
she’d better step off, man! learn her goddam place!
i’d love to see that smile slapped off her face!”

and so on i ranted in a death metal voice
feigning confidence, as though i had some choice
and then i saw her there, boss behind my workmates
while they booed and hissed like a pack of primates

but she smiled and dropped some coins into my beer mug
“if career suicide’s what you crave then your grave’s dug”
well, i know whatever happens must happen for the best
my home’s a gutter now, and i got that shit off my chest!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

100 WORD SKITTLE // Leaving the Dream (Follow-up to Living the Dream)

It came to life in an expensive arty-farty Moleskine—maybe I fancied myself as the next Hemingway. I even bought a posh Parker pen. Only the best tools, right? But as time went on and times got desperate, the Moleskine got swapped out for paper from bins and skips, and the Parker for biros I’d stolen from cheap snack-bars and post offices.

But I didn’t give up. I continued to scribble beneath dim streetlights, in dingy alleyways, and as close to the neon glow of storefronts as their owners would allow. Come hell or high water, I’d complete this book.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018