Teti-à-Tête (With Tony) #11

crumble-cult-210

Tati as TATI

crumble-cult-106

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

Teti-à-Tête (With Tony) #10

crumble-cult-210

Tati as TATI

crumble-cult-106

Tony as TONY

 

ACT 26 SCENE 11
PAGE FLIPS & FLIP-FLOPS

 

Tati is sitting on a branch high above the ground. She’s almost hidden from view by the tree’s foliage. The only reason Tony can see her at all is because her legs are dangling beneath it in the open air. Tati’s left flip-flop dangles from one big toe, and Tony steps aside so that he doesn’t get a flip-flop slap between the eyes.

TONY: Hi, Tati! What are you doing up there?

TATI: What? What did you say, Tony? I can’t hear you.

TONY: Well, don’t expect me to climb all the way up there, thank you! I don’t wish to slip and break my neck!

TATI: Oh, I’ve always known you were a lazy, old, weak-as-piss arse!

TONY: And I love you too. Sheesh. The question stands. What are you doing?

TATI: Don’t try to muddle me with your loosey-goosey gnomology! Answer me this: How long has it been since we released our last book?

TONY: Erm… October 2016, I think. And what do gnomes have to do with you being up a tree?

TATI: Timber!

Tati slides down the tree trunk like it’s a fireman’s pole.

TONY: How the hell did you do that without getting splinters everywhere?

Tony gingerly touches the tree.

TONY: Nope. It’s not been greased or anything…

TATI: You’re a master of the runaround, Tony! Gnomes and splinters are foreign to my question!

TONY: Well, never mind the fact that you completely ignore mine…

TATI: I ask you, have you put together our new book yet?

TONY: YES! I have, okay? God!

Tati thrusts ‘One Pulse’ under Tony’s nose.

TATI: And where is it? I’ve reread ‘One Pulse’ a dozen times! I remember every line and every poem by heart! Don’t you think it’s time I had something new to read?

TONY: You read your own work all the time? Wow. Talk about narcissistic…

Tati is completely surprised at this.

TATI: Don’t you read our books, Tony? Please, you mustn’t tell me that you’ve failed to buy them!

TONY: Why would I buy the books that I’ve helped to write? That doesn’t make any sense!

TATI: I knew it! You’re a tight bastard! You don’t want to support young, promising poets!

TONY: How will it help us if we buy our own freaking books? We’re not gonna get rich that way!

TATI: No? Strange. I was certain it would be the most sure way.

TONY: No! A thousand times no! We need to sell these books we write to other people. That’s the only way this money-making thing will ever work. Frankly, I’m surprised I have to explain this to an accountant. You are an accountant, right?

TATI: What? What did you say, Tony? I can’t hear you.

Tati becomes transparent, and her voice distant and low.

TONY: I’m standing right beside you, woman.

Tati disappears with a soft hiss, like the bubbles that pop over a glass of lemonade. Tony looks more irritated than surprised about this.

TONY: Is she ever going to listen to me someday?

Tony rolls over to his other side and mutters in his sleep.

TONY: Such a crankypants! The manuscript is ready. The cover is ready, dammit. What more does she want?

He smacks his lips between snores.

TONY: ‘Nothing to read.’ Tsk tsk!

Tony doesn’t suspect that in exactly five minutes he will wake up because of a flip-flop slap between the eyes and a wauling Tati. Poor thing!

Yes, Dear Reader, this is all just Tony’s dream but our new book is not.

 

 

PS: By the way, one half of Unbolt Me celebrates their birthday today. In honour of this, we have prepared a little surprise for you over on our Patreon page. Don’t worry, entry is absolutely free!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

BUT IS IT ART? // Toast of London

 

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TATI: “Hup, hup!” I remember this one, Tony!

TONY: You do? I guess that means you like it, huh?

TATI: Yes, I do! I even remember we wrote a little silly poem for this picture. Do you remember it?

TONY: “Three little Soldiers stand in a row,
Two stand straight and the other bends low.
Along comes the Sergeant and what do you think?
Off pops her halter, quick as a wink.

Bless them and their tiny bazooms,
Their strap-on guns and primed vavooms.
Four little Soldiers ready to blow,
To make sweet jiggy and war not sow.”

TATI: Hee hee hee… exactly. Well, now I’m going to be deadly serious. Where are their epaulettes?

TONY: Eppa—what? I’m not sure what you mean.

TATI: And I’m not sure about ‘bazooms’ and ‘vavooms’.

TONY: Well. Erm. Ahem. Why don’t you just google those, Tati?

TATI: So google ‘epaulette’ and don’t ask questions!

TONY: Okay! Okay! Yeesh…

TATI: Have you served in the military?

TONY: I’m relieved to say that I haven’t.

TATI: I won’t blame you for that. Neither have I. What inspired you to draw this image? Why soldiers?

TONY: There’s a British sitcom that I absolutely adore called Toast of London. It has an opening title sequence that features marching girls, and it’s such a striking visual that I wanted to draw my own version of it.

TATI: Do you consider military girls sexy?

TONY: Generally, no. I don’t have a weird fetish for them or anything. I just like these particular military girls. There’s something undeniably sexy about the way they march across the screen in their bearskin hats and brief bikinis. And there’s something oddly compelling about their flat chests too.

TATI: Poor bears! I protest!

TONY: Well, you have a point there. Those hats are made from the skins of real American black bears. It’s a bit cruel to be sure.

TATI: A bit?! It’s outrageously cruel!

TONY: Yes, a poor choice of word on my part…

Tati runs away, leaving a thick dust trail behind her. Tony blinks in confusion.

TONY: I’ll never understand this flighty girl…

Tati rushes back with a piece of paper and shoves it under Tony’s nose. He blinks some more.

TONY: Erm… what is this?

TATI: A petition! Sign it! Now!

TONY: What’s it for? To get more flat chested women on telly?

Tati hits Tony over the head with the petition. He gives her a confused look.

TONY: What?! It’s a worthy cause!

TATI: Will you sign it or not?

TONY: Fine! Razzin’ frazzin’…

Tony begrudgingly signs the petition. Tati then snatches it from his hand and rushes out the door. He calls after her.

TONY: So… can I post my drawing on our blog?

Faintly, Tati’s voice comes from far away.

TATI: Not on your nelly!

Tony smiles to himself.

TONY: Did she say more flat chested women on telly? I think so. Excellent!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

SPAM® Sushi #4

Singing worship songs is sweet however. That’s not the one option to worship. Daddy mentioned, perhaps to make Larry stop singing. There are lotѕ of ways to worship.
—Lon

Well, maybe it wasn’t a great idea for Daddy to expel little Larry Flynt from the church choir because look at what he’s doing now. It seems there really are a lot of ways to worship!
—Tati & Tony (Association of the Malicious, Evil & Nefarious)

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018