Teti-à-Tête (With Tony) #14

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Tati as TATI

crumble-cult-106

Tony as TONY

 

ACT 103 SCENE 54
A SPOONFUL OF SARCASM & WOE

 

Two weeks ago…

Tony’s kneeling near the living room wall in sackcloth and ashes, wailing his sad little heart out. He’s smacking his brow against the wallpaper very hard.

TONY: No sleep, no rest for my tormented soul!

Tati walks in, licking a spoon smeared with cherry jam. She wonders what the hell Tony’s wailing and smacking about. She can see that the wallpaper’s taking quite a beating. She mutters under her breath.

TATI: And no money for new wallpaper.

TONY: Oh, I weep!

Tati sighs with great resignation. She senses a tedious conversation ahead. Time to make it interesting.

TATI: The only logical explanation for this is you’re rehearsing ‘Prince Igor’.

Tony stops smacking and wailing, and turns to face her.

TONY: Huh?

TATI: If so, I suggest you perform the ‘Polovtsian Dances’ in the second act. It’s my favorite part. I bet you have the voice of an angel.

Tony’s heart warms with gratitude.

TONY: Aw, what a lovely thing to say!

TATI: A castrated angel.

He looks at her like he’s been slapped with an electric eel.

TONY: Well, I never…

Tati gives her spoon another lick. It’s clean now, and she seems to be quite pleased with herself.

TATI: Never say never. Anyway, what’s gotten your panties in a bunch this time?

TONY: It’s our Patreon. Ah, me! Ah, woe!

TATI: Did you forget the password again?

TONY: No. I have it tattooed on my inner thigh.

Tati makes a mental note to change the password as soon as possible.

TONY: We’ve lost a patron. And now we’ve gone down a whole dollar! We’re going to starve! We’re going to die!

Tati looks at her spoon. That’s food for thought.

TATI: And you suppose your wailing will attract a new patron? I think not! More likely you’ll chase the remaining ones away. You could do something more useful than ruining our flat in an orgy of grief you know.

Tony puts on a petulant face.

TONY: Oh, and seducing new patrons with your saucy condiment licking skills is more useful?

Tati gives her spoon a musing lick.

TATI: There’s nothing saucy about jam.

Tony is quite exasperated now.

TONY: I don’t give a damn about your jam, Tati! We need more bloody money!

TATI: And you need to chill out. There’s always a solution to these things.

TONY: Then tell me what it is!

Tati looks at her spoon again. Unlike Tony, she seems calm and collected, almost contemplative even.

TONY: You and that fucking spoon…

Tati ignores him.

TATI: I’ll tell you what we can do to give our Patreon a new lick of life. We can make our own comic.

Tony’s voice takes on a sarcastic tone.

TONY: Comic? What an unexpected solution! Isn’t this something we do already? Oh, and by the way, the expression is ‘lease of life‘.

TATI: Yes, comic. But a better one. A super-puper wonder comic. One that’s exclusive to our Patreon. And maybe our Ko-fi too.

TONY: I don’t drink coffee!

TATI: Who cares? I do.

Tony rolls his eyes.

TONY: So, Super-Puper Wonder Woman, what is this comic going to be about?

TATI: Do you remember those two creatures you callously killed off in your ‘Crumble Cult’ webcomic?

TONY: Killed off? No. I’m afraid I’d remember something like that.

TATI: Think. They were tiny… and completely, utterly helpless.

TONY: This isn’t making me look very good…

Tati points her spoon at Tony in an accusing manner.

TATI: They even had names! How could you?!

TONY: What the hell?! No, I don’t remember this at all!

TATI: Exactly what a killer would say! Mork? Brandy Snap? Do these names ring a bell?

TONY: OH! Marth and Bramwell!

TATI: Yes, exactly what I said. Anyway, we can resurrect them. We can kill them on!

TONY: That makes no sense…

Tati ignores him.

TATI: They can be the main characters of the new comic we’ll write and draw. And I have an idea about the first strip…

Tati gives her spoon another lick before remembering that there’s not one dollop or iota of jam left on it.

TATI: Let’s discuss this over biscuits and jam.

Tony slowly gets to his feet, spreading ash everywhere.

TONY: I’ll go to the kitchen then.

TATI: No, you’ll go to the store. There’s no jam left in the house.

A sarcastic tone creeps into Tony’s voice.

TONY: Fine. What flavour does her royal highness want?

TATI: Hm. Peach. I’m feeling very peachy today.

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Present day…

TONY: Well, what shall we write for our introduction? We’ve got to let people know about our new comic strip.

TATI: Let’s discuss this over biscuits and jam.

TONY: I’ll go to the kitchen then.

TATI: No, you’ll go to the store. There’s no jam left in the house.

TONY: I’m feeling a sense of déjà vu. Let me guess… peach?
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Dear Readers,

While Tony tries to navigate his way through the supermarket revolving door, and Tati plays a hyperviolent video game where she kills waves and waves of mutant jam roly-polies, you have time to hop over to their Patreon page to read the first instalment of their new bilingual comic strip, ‘Marth & Bramwell’. And you can also read it on their Ko-fi page if you prefer.

This strip will be a free, ongoing feature that you’ll be able to read at any time. It will be updated monthly with a fresh episode. You can even bookmark their Patreon or Ko-fi page so that you won’t miss a single one. They have plenty of adventures in store, so stick around and please enjoy!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2019

BUT IS IT ART? // Moon Me

 

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TATI: Tony, if you were an art gallery guide, what would you tell the visitors about this picture?

TONY: You mean, other than it was drawn by a rank amateur? Damn. I don’t know. Do I have to comment at all? How’s about I say it’s a silly little scribble that has no real meaning? Would that be good enough?

Tati takes on a nerdy expression and a dull academic tone.

TATI: Nope, I mean something like: ‘This picture presents a crescent man with a pretty athletic pair of legs and a sexy butt. Its arms look weak, and despite it being an Olympic athlete from ancient Greece it has a lot of trouble because of its heavy head. It can’t run and it falls over every time. This fact frustrates the crescent man, and makes it yell from helplessness and despair because it didn’t win Dolichos in 720 BC.’ A professional description, dude.

Tony goggles at the picture with a slack jaw.

TONY: Are we seeing the same thing?

TATI: ‘The artist’s intention is to show the tragedy of the character, its physical and spiritual torments.’

TONY: Oh, okay. Sounds good. Let’s roll with all that stuff you said.

TATI: And it should be a discobolus, not a runner!

Tony is starting to warm to this now.

TONY: That sounds feasible. Someone give the moon man a discus!

Tati waggles her finger before Tony’s nose.

TATI: I suppose it has a discus already.

TONY: Or maybe it is the discus?

TATI: Exactly. It could try to grab itself by the nape and throw itself as far as it can. But, alas, its hands, as I mentioned before, are too weak.

TONY: Yeah, that seems a bit strenuous for the poor geezer.

TATI: It hasn’t got a chance in hell.

Tony sniffles. He looks at the crescent man with deep pity. He had no idea that the character had been leading such a dramatic life up until this point.

Tati smiles and pats his shoulder.

TATI: See, Tony? It isn’t so hard. You take a turn now. What would you tell the visitors about this picture?

TONY: Erm, let’s see: ‘Drawing of a middle aged moon man whose parents would have liked him to have made something of himself but he only ended up disappointing them with his poor life choices. He is screaming in frustration at having been outshone by the surrounding stars and planetary bodies. Now both of his parents are dead, and his hopes of redeeming himself in their eyes are dead too. The drawing has rough pencil linework that has not been cleaned up for the final version, and the background is of a nebulous, unspecified setting because the artist couldn’t be arsed to render it in any detail. The moon man himself hasn’t even been carefully posed, therefore it looks like he’s puking up one of his legs. God, the artist is a hack. Tear this drawing off the gallery wall and burn it immediately. It’s a silly little scribble that has no real meaning.’

TATI: WOW, Tony! That’s a horse of another colour!

TONY: No, a horse has four legs.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2019

Teti-à-Tête (With Tony) #13

crumble-cult-210

Tati as TATI

crumble-cult-106

Tony as TONY

 

ACT 99 SCENE 5
TWO AND TWO MAKE FOUR

 

TONY: 23,770… 23,771… 23,772… and… 23,773! Whew!

Tony wipes the sweat from his brow. He’s sitting cross-legged on the lounge room floor, peering intently at a laptop screen. He seems to be quite chuffed about something.

Tati comes into the room chewing bubble gum. She notices Tony at his laptop, and approaches with no small amount of curiosity. She leans over his shoulder, popping a whopping big bubble right next to his ear.

TONY: Jumping Jehoshaphat! Tati, what the hell?!

TATI: Well, pardon me! I thought you had your hearing aid turned off.

TONY: Why would I do that? I need to hear when you’re creeping up on me!

TATI: It looks like it isn’t coping with that task, otherwise you wouldn’t have jumped out of your pants!

TONY: Ha bloody ha. How very droll.

TATI: Anyway, what are you counting? Or do you just enjoy the fact that you can count?

TONY: I didn’t graduate kindergarten only yesterday! Give me some credit.

He indicates the laptop screen.

TONY: I’ve been counting our blog comments.

TATI: Really? And the point of this is…?

TONY: It’s nice to see how far we’ve come. I remember the days when we were hardly getting any comments at all. Don’t you?

TATI: I do, but what’s the point of counting them?

TONY: It reminds me to be grateful for all the attention we’ve been getting.

TATI: I get it, Tony. I’m not dense! But still I ask, what’s the point?

TONY: Well, these high numbers are getting me kinda giddy with excitement. I think I wanna go set off firecrackers in some letterboxes now… you know, to celebrate.

Tony offers a self-conscious smile.

Tati pushes past Tony and grabs the laptop. She starts to poke her finger around the touchscreen.

TONY: Hey! You’re getting your greasy mitts all over my lovely, pristine laptop!

TATI: What?! They’re as clean a newborn’s ass!

Tati licks her hand and shoves it under Tony’s nose—palm up—as proof of her claim.

TATI: See?

Tony wrinkles his nose in disgust, visibly squirming where he sits.

TONY: Erm, okay.

Tati lets rip a snort of victory, and continues to fidget her finger over the touchscreen.

TONY: Okay, seriously, what are you doing?

Tati opens the admin panel on their site, and pokes at the section ‘Comments’.

TATI: Got it?

TONY: Nope. I’m not at all convinced that I’ve ‘got it’.

Tati rolls her eyes.

TATI: Look!

She jabs at a particular point on the screen.

TATI: There’s the exact number of comments in parentheses!

TONY: I can see that! It’s at 23,781 now!

TATI: Well… 23,784 actually… but I’m trying to figure out why you’re counting them manually? Are you some kind of pervert? Do you have a number fetish?

Tony’s face turns redder than a stop sign on Mars.

TONY: Erm… no. I just didn’t see the little number in brackets…

Tati looks genuinely shocked.

TATI: Really?!

Suddenly realising the magnitude of his mistake, Tony looks at her with heartbreakingly wretched hangdog eyes. He says in a tiny squeak…

TONY: I know. I’m not a man.

TATI: And how long have you been counting for?

Tony’s voice is now a pathetic whisper.

TONY: Three hours…

Tati suddenly remembers that there’s bubble gum in her mouth. She resumes her chewing, her face taking on a musing look.

TONY: Why are you looking at me like that?

His voice has risen above a whisper again. Tati pops another bubble.

TATI: Honestly? I’m torn between contempt and respect.

TONY: Okay, just gonna go hide in a cupboard now…

TATI: No no no! You really are a lovely idiot, Tony. You’ve valiantly spent three hours on this fruitless task.

Tati ruffles his hair.

TATI: Let’s finish it together, yes? After all, we have a lot of readers to be thankful for.

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Dear Readers,

We at Unbolt Me have a special message for you.

WE LOVE YOU!

Seriously, we could not have lasted these five years without your unflagging support. The fact that you keep coming back to read our silly little offerings means more than we can adequately say. In fact, we’re not particularly adept at conveying gratitude at all, and now neither of us is able to think of an elegant way to conclude this thank you message.

So… let’s just stop there, shall we?

(At this point, Tati is whispering to Tony in a menacing tone. She hopes he hasn’t actually been counting followers too. Tony’s tapping his hearing aid, pretending that it doesn’t work.)

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2019

Teti-à-Tête (With Tony) #12

crumble-cult-210

Tati as TATI

crumble-cult-106

Tony as TONY

 

ACT 77 SCENE 549
DUCKIN’ & RENOVATIN’

 

Tati walks into the living room to see Tony standing on the wall, jutting out horizontally. He’s inspecting a mark on the ceiling.

TATI: What is this? A new kind of fortune-telling? Using spider webs and desiccated flies?

TONY: Nope. I just thought I’d try looking at life from a different perspective for a change.

TATI: Uh huh. And how does it look?

TONY: Erm… Very skip trowelly, I guess?

TATI: What? Your life looks like you’re skipping a trolley?

TONY: No! Skip trowel. It’s a type of finish that ceilings can have.

TATI: Tony, I don’t understand. Are you gazing at the ceiling or at your life?

TONY: Can’t it be both? Perhaps this ceiling represents a developmental point that I cannot get past as a human being. Perhaps this is symbolic of my personal limits.

Tati peers up at Tony with a long musing look, then leaves the room. She’s back a few moments later with two large pick axes. She climbs up onto the wall and stands near the ceiling with him. Then she hits the ceiling sharply with one of the pick axes. Tony looks at her, wide eyed and open mouthed, as bits of debris rain down on them.

TONY: What are you doing?!

Tony swallows some ceiling, and begins to cough and splutter.

TONY: Jesus. That can’t be good for my asthma!

TATI: Yes, Tony, you’re not Michelangelo. Where’s your swing?

A bird’s nest and some cockroaches fall onto Tony’s face. He splutters some more, and very quickly flicks them away.

TONY: Well, duh, I’m not Michelangelo! What’s your point?

TATI: My point is this stone. Would you be so kind as to help me with it, Tony?

TONY: What stone?

A huge piece of ceiling stone clocks the side of his face.

TONY: Oh. That one.

Trying not to pass out, he holds it up for Tati to see.

TATI: Hit it! HIT IT!

TONY: The stone?

TATI: No, drop the stone. Hit the ceiling!

Bemused, Tony drops the stone. He takes his pick axe and tentatively swings it at the ceiling. It catches on the edge of the hole Tati’s already made, and more debris comes tumbling down.

TATI: Watch your head! Duck! Duck!

Tony and Tati duck and weave like Neo dodging bullets in ‘The Matrix’.

TONY: Wow! Are we naturals or what?

TATI: Nope, we’re supernaturals!

Tony stumbles and falls over. Tati chuckles and helps him up again.

TATI: Rise up, Neo! Rise up!

And so, they keep swinging their pick axes and hacking a larger hole until finally they’re satisfied. Tati and Tony down their tools, and climb back onto the floor.

TONY: That was fun!

They lay on the floor and gaze back up through the hole in the ceiling, taking in the view of the night sky with its many twinkling stars.

TATI: So, what is your limit, Tony?

TONY: Through that ceiling and beyond!

TATI: That’s it!

They continue to lay there happily, but then…

TONY: Is that…

TATI: Yes. Rain.

TATI & TONY: Dammit!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

BUT IS IT ART? // Man’s Best Pal(indrome)

 

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TONY: There’s a time when I wouldn’t have dared to draw something like this.

TATI: Uh huh. You usually only dare to draw dildos and boobs.

TONY: Yes, now I can add shit to the list.

TATI: Wow. Now you can be considered a mature artist.

TONY: What does that even mean anyway? How mature is it to draw a dick and balls instead of covering them up with a pair of underpants? No, I just drew these things because I wanted to. Nothing more, nothing less.

TATI: Definitely, the name of Tony Single shall now be featured alongside those of Odd Nerdrum, Pieter Bruegel…

TONY: Who?

TATI: Artists. Who drew shit.

TONY: Oh, what they drew was shit? Or they literally drew with shit? And it was shit? Or brilliant.

TATI: They drew shit. Literally.

TONY: Oh, shit. Really?

TATI: Shrilly.

TONY: Well, aren’t you just in a silly mood today!

TATI: And you’re in a shitty mood.

TONY: Well, I’m trying to have a serious conversation about god being a palindrome of dog—god being a dog’s leavings, if you will. Perhaps god’s not the great almighty being we make him out to be. Perhaps we ought to hold dogs in higher esteem.

TATI: What a weird concept. Was it a car or a cat I saw?

TONY: Huh?!

TATI: Perhaps cars are not the great almighty beings we make them out to be. Perhaps we ought to hold cats in higher esteem.

TONY: But… but… Cats. Cars. They’re not palindromes! You’re completely ruining my whole point!

TATI: But… but… Your ‘shit’ doesn’t spell ‘Tony’ backwards!

TONY: Are you calling me shit?

TATI: No way! I’m honestly trying to follow your shitty logic.

TONY: I’m wondering how many times we can get away with saying the word ‘shit’ in this discussion…

TATI: I suppose we’re going to get beans anyway, but not because of some doo doo balls on your picture, Tony.

TONY: I literally have no idea what you just said.

TATI: I suppose our readers will tell you. I just know I don’t want to get beans.

TONY: What the shit does your ‘get beans’ mean? I’m so confused!

TATI: Wait and see.

TONY: Erm… Okay? How about we just move on from shits and beans and… well, talk about the ‘god’ part of my illustration?

(Tati begins to walk away.)

TONY: Tati? Hey! Wait! TATI?!

(She pays absolutely no attention to him.)

TONY: Well… shit.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018