THE ABCs OF A PECULIAR LIFE // Earwig & Excitability (Katzenjammer in E sharp minor)

It was early morning, but Frau Earwig felt quite on edge already. She was rolling her eyes, wringing her wings and snapping with her forceps every few seconds. This was beyond her endurance! She, an honoured artist, drama teacher and fourth generation member of the intelligentsia should never have had to bear with the likes of these insufferable dormitory neighbours!

These vagabonds had lost all sense of shame. They indulged in binge drinking sessions every day, and organised vulgar karaoke competitions. They even brought home heavily rouged hussies to join the festivities. Who would’ve thought that such outwardly respectable looking kittens would turn out, in fact, to be lowdown bastard scum?

Frau Earwig sighed and took some valerian drops with her brandy, but this didn’t seem to help. Firmly resolved to end this crap, Frau Earwig flung a boa over her shoulders and took up a reticule. She then wended her way over to her loutish neighbours’ place.

The door was open, and through the crack seeped dirty jokes mixed with roars of laughter. Frau Earwig stepped cautiously past the threshold and let out a squeak. “Hello? Anybody home?” Of course, this tentativeness didn’t pan out as well as she’d hoped. She swallowed nervously. Frau Earwig forced herself to inch along, step-by-step, until she finally reached a spacious—though fuggy—sitting room. The atmosphere made her choke with a sudden fit of coughing.

That was when they finally noticed her.

“Hey, floosie! Get your ass over here and drink with us!”

Frau Earwig’s offense was betrayed by a gasp. It escaped her mouth before she could think to stop it. What? Floosie?! Then she heard another rude voice say, “Leave it, Fyodor! Don’t you see? This ‘hoptoad in fichu’ is a major bigwig! She’ll never hit the bottle with the likes of us! We’re too… lowbrow.”

What?! Hoptoad in fichu?!

It’s hard to say what happened next. After the red mist had passed from her eyes, Frau Earwig shook her head and took in her immediate surroundings. She was holding a Victorian hat pin in her trembling cercus, and a pungent smell of blood pervaded the room…

Dead bodies. Punctured bodies of dead kittens everywhere.

It seemed her Family Psychologist may have been right after all. Frau Earwig really did need to work on her anger management issues. Of course, she could always call the clinic the next day and arrange a follow-up visit with Gal. But as for here and now…

Frau Earwig stepped over to the nearest body and kicked it lightly. Actually, the fur had hardly any holes in it. Nice. It could be the perfect new boa…

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

THE ABCs OF A PECULIAR LIFE // Y is for Yellow & Yogini (Yodel in Y Major)

Who cares about aging Disney princesses? Yesterday’s fans might have been ready to tear each other’s throats out for the chance of getting Ariel’s autograph, but today? Well, today they were more likely to laugh at her bloated waistline and old-fashioned seashell bikini. That’s the kind of shit that happens to nice girls who are past their prime. Sigh.

No, Ariel was never envious toward her younger sisters. She truly loved them, and wished them only the best. But… she looked at her reflection in the water and reflexively readjusted the sea flower in her hair. Frankly speaking, she was not half bad, and could still play havoc with lovelorn hearts if she wanted. Well, she wanted very much, but was rarely given the chance. And she was good, but no longer all that popular, and so the wait between casting calls had only become longer and more frequent. Otherwise, Ariel would have eagerly taught all those meridas and tianas a thing or two. (Snigger.)

This thought cheered her up a little bit. Ariel even started to hum ‘San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)’ to herself. It was her Mother’s favourite song. She’d often drift into blissful slumber whenever her Mother crooned this song. And her Mother would endlessly make these pearly love beads. And twinkling freckles. These love beads and freckles, scattered all around the family grotto, were the fondest memories from Ariel’s childhood. And her Mother’s voice, of course. She would still hear it sometimes, even after so many years had passed. Another sigh.

Still humming her song, Ariel splashed at the water with her tail. Flounder, who was napping in the shallow end, flipped over but didn’t wake up. What a lazy ass! Truth be told, he was a very good friend, but not much of a receptionist. On the other hand, they didn’t get a lot of clients in ‘Athena’ either, so blaming Flounder for sleeping during work hours felt a little redundant.

“Namaste, Swami Yoko!”

A soft female voice distracted Ariel from her musings. She automatically pulled back her shoulders, widening her collarbones and lifting her sternum toward the sky, and lengthening her tailbone toward the rocks.

“Namaste, Mommy Dugong!” she said enthusiastically. “We have launched a brand new class: Alevins Yoga. A lot of fun and at a special price for mammals!”

Ariel gave Flounder’s ribs a furtive jab. Flounder sprang into the air with a wide eyed gasp, and plopped into the water again. He reappeared in moments with a wet leaflet, but Mommy Dugong had already moved on. It looked as though she’d been in a hurry.

Ariel waved, then went back to her hunched state and reached for a cigarette. She’d only just clicked the lighter when a ringing young voice sang right behind her back.

“Namaste, Swami Yoko!”

Ariel dropped her cigarette into the water. She pressed her hands together, hiding the lighter, and bowed with a suitably cosmic smile.

“Namaste, Maiden Stella! We invite you to Morning Mantra Meditations every Saturday at 5. Sunrise, subtle vibes and cut prices for students!”

This time Flounder was ready, and the leaflet almost dry. But Maiden Stella obviously wasn’t ready to get up at such an unearthly hour for some whimsical humming. She mumbled something polite, blurred and zipped off, hugging to herself a trunk with a ukulele.

Ariel took the cigarette from Flounder’s back. How had it gotten stuck there? “Yoga really isn’t all that popular along this stretch of coastline, Flounder. Don’t you find?” She looked rather exhausted, and her real age suddenly became quite apparent.

Flounder nodded sadly. Yes, he was truly an awful receptionist, but at least he was a faithful friend. He cared for Ariel a great deal. It’s why he’d agreed to accept the wearisome role of administrator for her yoga classes. But, really, the time had come for him to man up and act. He could see that he’d need to take the steering wheel and save this silly, semicentennial girl (and himself, of course) from their current, disastrous course. There had to be a Plan B.
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“C’mon, babe, don’t be shy! Show these green-ass pipsqueaks some real rock-n-roll!”

The ‘Yellow Submarine’ nightclub patrons were shaking, shimmering and screaming with delight, like a living entity. They cheered on a flushed, panting, but joyful Mommy Dugong who was stomping the dance floor with Little Dugong and his friends. Flounder was polishing a glass at the counter with an unabashedly happy grin.

After a little while, Maiden Stella walked onto the tiny stage. She had ensnared a huge, awkward guy who seemed to be totally embarrassed. A hush came over the crowd.

“Dear Mommy Dugong, today, in celebration of your big birthday, Kai and me want to sing this song. Hey, who’s going to San Francisco?”

The crowd shouted with delight. There was a standing ovation before the music had even begun to play! And it did. Flounder wisely turned the lights down a notch. The patrons at the ‘Yellow Submarine’ nightclub started to rock gently in time with the music, and most of them in couples.

Ariel was sitting on the porch of the nightclub, smoking. The stars in the sky were exactly like the love beads and twinkling freckles of her childhood. “Happy birthday, Mother,” she said softly, and blinked away a tiny, grateful tear.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

THE ABCs OF A PECULIAR LIFE // Iambus & Idiocy (Recital in I flat minor)

The Mosquito had been writing poems for as long as it could remember. Yes, that’s right, a very long time. Literally aeons. Three whole days in fact!

Of course, the Mosquito would accept only heroic verse. To wit, iambic pentameter. Trochee? Anapaest? These were for brain dead losers. Only real men wrote in iambic. Shakespeare, for example. Pushkin too. And now the Mosquito.

He was also a Debonaire-Vervain. The Debonaire-Vervains were titans of the corporate world. Blue bloods. Old stock. The family line went back generations. Weeks and weeks at least. Investment portfolios. Start-ups. Feelers in every pie. The Mosquito had studied at the finest schools and universities. He even lived on a posh arm all his own. Nothing but prime real estate all the way!

Anyway, the following is a poem that the Mosquito wrote for his ravishing wife on the eve of their ruby wedding anniversary. It had been two long, glorious days since their meeting! Where had the time gone? Of course, he was not yet master of his craft, and his style had yet to mature. But none could deny that he was full of ardour and passion, and it showed in his words.

Buzz me not to the buzzing of buzzed minds
Admit imbuzziments. Buzzing is not abuzz.
Which alters when it buzzeration finds,
Or bends with the buzzer to rebuzz.
O no! It is an ever-fixed buzz
That looks on buzzpests and is never buzzen;
It is the star to every wand’ring buzz,
Whose worth’s unbuzzed, although his buzz be taken.
Buzz’s not Time’s fool, though buzzy lips and cheeks
Within his bending buzzle’s compass buzz;
Buzz alters not with his brief hours and buzzes,
But bears it out even to the buzz of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never buzzed, nor no mosquito ever lov’d. *

Naturally, Madam Mosquito was impressed, and instantly gave birth to another fifty bloodsuckers. Oh, these modern women! They don’t waste time, do they? Of course, they’ll say they want a man who’s arty and edgy. But what they really crave is a domesticated homebody who embodies the traditional family values.

But the Mosquito was an ambitious sort. Yes, he’d won the heart of Madame Mosquito and gained her feeler in holy matrimony, but it wasn’t enough. He also wanted everyone on earth to hear his poems. That’s why, after being informed of a top secret mission (Code Name: Star-spangled Mooning) from a fly on the wall in the Soviet Government, he put on his best suit and tie, grabbed his latest manuscript, and caught a taxi to Baikonur. He’d decided that a rocket antenna would be the best stage from which to orate his flowery writings.

Fortunately for him, he was not at all late. The Soviet vessel was still being readied for its maiden moon shot. The Mosquito landed right on the front glass, got himself cosy, then quenched his thirst with a droplet of cherry rum. After this he pulled out his manuscript, thinking for a moment about which poem he’d be proudest to grace the airwaves with first…

And now for the main event! The final countdown!

Ten… nine… five… two… one…

FIRE!

Nine kilometres per second and history was about to be ma—

Because I could not buzz for Death
It kindly buzzed for me
The vessel held but just
Ourselves —And Immortality.*

*Thanks to Shakespeare and Dickinson for the buzzspiration.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

THE ABCs OF A PECULIAR LIFE // C is for Casuistry & Criminy

Little Sophia was the perfect little angel.

“Young lady, I thought I told you not to eat after six!”

“But this one’s only my fifth!”

Pensive Parabellum shook his head ruefully. Little Sophia was clearly in the wrong but she also never ceased to delight. Standing there with her hand balled into a tight little fist around the last cookie in the jar, she hadn’t missed a beat in delivering her response.

There was no guilt or remorse in her eyes. No shifty expression. No tell-tale blink. Nothing. She simply wasn’t about to take ownership of her wrong.

“I meant after six o’clock, and you know it, young lady!”

“Yes, Grandad.”

Criminy, she was good!

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A loud, obnoxious pop. Sophia was chewing bubble gum again, and with that same practiced, scornful look. It was a look that announced her world weariness for all the world to see. That less of a shit could be given.

Still, Sophia was Grandad’s perfect little angel. An angel sporting an ugly, beaked skull with black wings between her dainty shoulder blades.

Pensive Parabellum harrumphed. Like any grandparent, he was mortified. This was not behaviour worthy of a well-brought up teenager.

“Dolce, why did you get this stinkaroo on your back?” he asked, indicating her tattoo.

“Because there wasn’t enough space on my chest.” Another obnoxious pop.

Pensive Parabellum didn’t quite know how to respond to that.

Criminy, she was good!

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“Blond? Brunette? Or red?”

Pensive Parabellum looked up from the half-empty mug to fix his buddy with a stony stare. The last pint, apparently, was excess. He hadn’t counted on that.

“W-w-what?”

His buddy guffawed and clapped Pensive Parabellum on the shoulder.

“You’re getting old, soft cock!”

Pensive Parabellum shook his head as if to clear it. Yes, he was definitely seeing double. He shook it some more. This bucks party was well and truly in full swing, and he was barely keeping up.

“So, blond? Brunette? Or red? Don’t keep ’em waiting, mate!”

What was he choosing? Pensive Parabellum wasn’t entirely sure. He waved his hand helplessly. What he meant was ‘leave me alone’ but what he got was his buddy clicking his fingers and calling someone over.

“Hello, boys. Need a little amusement?”

Although the voice was a little rusty, it seemed strangely familiar. Pensive Parabellum turned, coming face-to-face with its owner’s fleshy, one-eyed stare. He looked up. Oh, it was the belly button of a tall, skinny brunette. Not only did she sound familiar, she looked a little familiar too. Or, maybe, it just was the alcohol haze filling his head.

“So, what’ll it be? A strip tease? Twerk? Or are you a lap dance man?”

And, as quick as you please, she turned her back and began making seductive waves with her exquisitely shaped buns. Pensive Parabellum stared dumbly as they swayed ever closer to his lap. Hey, was that dental floss between those two delectable mounds? Oh. No. She was wearing a G-string.

“Hot damn. I need to pee.”

Pensive Parabellum tried to get up. After a couple of aborted attempts and much bottom groping (purely for support purposes, of course!) he finally made it. The room erupted in cheers. This gargantuan effort had not only gotten him to his feet but had also moved his eyeline directly up the brunette’s spine to between her shoulder blades. What he saw there made his blood freeze.

An ugly, beaked skull with black wings.

“My Sophia!” he squeaked. “You would sell your body like a common whore?” He collapsed on the chair.

“Don’t grump, Grampy, I just wanted to buy you a little something for your wedding.” Sophia kissed his brow, adjusted her G-string and added, “Looks like I’m not the only one who got caught with their hand in the cookie jar, hmmm?” She walked off with a coquettish side glance and a playful jiggle of her cheeks.

Criminy, she was good!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

THE ABCs OF A PECULIAR LIFE // B is for Biff & Bugalugs

Tonight should have been a perfect ten, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t even a seven. More like a three or four really. Not even the brunette with the big tits and long neck from the finest escort agency in the land could change that. She could gob him all she liked but it wasn’t going to make a scrap of difference.

How the hell had it come to this? In a fit of anger, Joe Faust slammed his expensive, gold-tipped pen on the table and shoved the escort’s head aside. It was unbelievable that his business, his pet project, should be falling quicker than a row of dominoes in a children’s bouncy fun castle!

He grabbed his cell phone and hit ‘Redial’. The bastard wasn’t picking up or responding to Faust’s many texts pleading for an audience. He should never have made that deal with such a shady character, especially one that he had yet speak with face-to-face. Faust should have known that he’d get screwed over. God damn it!

Suddenly, there was a click. A suave Voice at the other end calmly said, “I’m all ears.”

Faust blinked in surprise. “Where the hell have you been? I’ve been trying to get you for the last three days!” He didn’t bother to hide his annoyance and agitation. The time for subtle hints had passed. Shit was about to get real, and a bit of frank talk was what was needed right now.

He felt something closing around his cock again. Faust looked down. “Who the hell do you think you are?!” he bellowed, half to her and half to the Voice. “Day and night I’ve been calling!” He kicked at the escort until she crawled away on all fours to cower between the display prams.

“Remind me, Bugalugs,” said the Voice. “Who are you?”

“You know exactly who the fuck I am!” exploded Faust. “I’m the guy who’s going to bury you unless things change around here!”

There was a slight pause. “Careful,” came a menacing growl.

Faust softened his tone. “I’m sorry. It’s just that I’m neck deep in shit right now, and I need a bail out.”

“So,” repeated the Voice. “Who are you?”

What? Was he really going to do this now? Was the Voice really going to act dumb and play out this charade? Faust took a deep, shuddering breath, and though he was sitting down he found himself having to lean against the desk for support. He swallowed hard, harnessed his willpower, and said in an almost normal tone, “I’m Joe Faust. I’m the Pram Lord.”

The Voice chuckled. “I’m listening, Bugalugs. What’s your wish this time?” Faust squeezed his eyes shut then blinked them open again. Had the Voice actually chuckled or had it been interference on the line? This call was already doing his head in.

“Do you wish for all women to give birth to only triplets? Do you wish for pregnancy to last a mere two months, thus compelling new mothers to buy new prams before the old ones become vacant?” The Voice went on. “Do you wish to start a fashion for single-use prams?”

Faust kept silent. He was confused. Was it possible? And then the Voice guffawed, causing him to wince. So, it obviously wasn’t interference. He was being made a fool of.

“No, Bugalugs. You can be as materialistic as you wish, but I’m not God. I’m only a modest wish master.”

Faust could feel the rage building.

“A modest little advertising company here or some horrible weather there—this is what lies within my purview.”

That’s it. Faust was going to have to fly off the handle. “I need cash, you bastard, not fucking sleet! Instead of reaming me six ways from Sunday, you could get off your fat otherwordly arse and get me what I actually fucking need, you fucking prick!”

There was a longer pause. Oh, shit. He’d really done it now…

“Do you wish to break the contract?” The Voice was devastatingly polite… and so very cold. “Keep in mind that Mephistopheles Enterprises doesn’t refund prepayments.”

Faust was opening and closing his mouth like a hooked guppy fish. The words wouldn’t come.

“I suppose there is one wish I could make for you… You can consider this a cancellation fee from Mephistopheles Enterprises.” The Voice was downright icy now. “From now until doomsday, you will have only cash in your pockets.”

Something clicked loudly and the line went dead. And then there was another sound. A loud clinking sound. Then another. And another…

Joe Faust woke with a start. A prim and proper lady dressed in black had tossed some coins into an alms box. Was it… Hey! It was in his hand! Did the alms box belong to him? Still reeling in a fog of disbelief, he leaned forward to inspect it. His fingers were gingerly nudging the coins around the edges of the box when he noticed someone else approaching. Who was this now?

Oh my god. It was a brunette with big tits and a long neck. Was she… lactating? There were two ginormous, screaming baby giraffes in the pram she was pushing — a competitor’s brand. Faust tried to recall where he had seen her before, and then she turned for a moment and accidentally biffed him in the ankle with her pram.

Faust grimaced. “Hey! Watch it, sleeper!”

She gave him a sideways glance. “Oh, put a sock in it, Bugalugs. Hire some other prostitute and be rude to her!”

And just as a look of recognition flashed across Joe Faust’s face, she winked and moved on. Stunned, he sat there opening and closing his mouth like a guppy fish, but she had long since vanished over the horizon, never to be seen again.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017