MMORPB // Tati & Tony in Raiders of the Lost Snark Part Five (Moderately Multiplayer Online Role Playing Book 18+)

or: EPISODE 5 // Where Tati Grabs Tony’s Shirt

 

In our previous episode, Tati and Tony apprehended and interrogated a mysterious man in black who tried to steal one of Tony’s suitcases. However, the man in black was not about to cooperate…

“Okay!” crowed Tati. “Now we’re getting somewhere!”

Tony was concerned at how forcefully she was shaking the man in black. He wondered if he should intervene.

“Um…” he began carefully. “I think maybe…”

Tati looked at Tony, raising her eyebrows in challenge. They began a furious discussion with their eyes. Obviously, Tony wanted to help the man in black to a hotel, offer him bed and breakfast, but Tati wanted to systematically torture and break the man. They managed to convey all of this to one another without any words at all.

But destiny, as always, had other plans. A huge meteorite for example.

When Tati and Tony finally concluded their silent (yet no less heated for it) argument, they looked back to the mysterious man in black. Or, to be more precise, to the place where he’d been some moments ago. There was now a smouldering crater with a humungous orb glowing an angry orange in the centre.

Tati dropped the two seared scraps of fabric that remained of the man in black’s shirt. Tony just fell on his arse. They were both in shock.

“What the ever loving…” Tony didn’t have it in him to complete that statement, so he let it trail off.

Tati shook her head, scratched her moustache, gave a defiant grunt then grabbed Tony by the scruff of his shirt. “Get up.” Her tone indicated that he’d better do what she said, or else. He got up.

“That was my favourite suitcase too.”

Turning away from the crater, Tati counted the rest of Tony’s suitcases. “How many bloody suitcases have you got, Luigi?”

“My name’s not Luigi!” Tony bristled. “And I don’t need to justify what I bring on our trips to you!”

But Tati wasn’t listening. “Three? Okey-dokey. It looks like all of them are here. Let’s go to the hotel!”

Tony gestured helplessly at the crater. “Well, minus one.” He was sure that one of the suitcases had gotten disintegrated along with the mysterious man in black. “But I guess you’re right.” He gestured at the ones that remained. “There are three others here.”

“Hey!”

Tony winced. How had he pissed her off this time? “What now?” he moaned.

Tati pointed. “Does this one have a slightly different hue, or am I dreaming?”

Now Tony wasn’t even sure of his real name. He squinted at the offending suitcase. “I don’t know. Yes? Maybe? Or we’re in a group hallucination.”

“No.” Tati gave her moustache another thoughtful scratch. “I think all of them are similar.”

“Sure,” sighed Tony. “Whatever floats your boat.”

He just wanted to get away from the crater. The police and emergency services were beginning to arrive. Names would be taken and questions would be asked. He didn’t have the mental wherewithal to cope with that.

 

Catch other episodes in this series:
THE PILOT // Where Tati Makes Tony Blush
EPISODE 2 // Where Tati Makes Tony Choke
EPISODE 3 // Where Tati Gives Tony a Fungus Face
EPISODE 4 // Where Tati Rescues Tony’s Suitcase

 

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

SCHEHERAZADE’S 1,001 BYTES // Return to Sender

I fidgeted with the big yellow envelope. I’d found it poking under the front door that morning. It was quite unremarkable, with nothing inside, and the flap was wide open as if to say, “So what?” I tossed it on the coffee table and walked away.

I’d managed to busy myself with some household chores, so by the time I returned to the lounge room I had quite forgotten all about this enigmatic piece of stationery. I even found the cat curled up in front of it, quite unable to tear her eyes away. Perhaps it had a specific scent that was especially attractive to cats? I tried to beckon her away. “Here, kitty kitty!” She hissed at me, not once taking her eyes from the envelope—no, not even for a moment. Her tail twitched nervously. The envelope remained unmoved.

I tutted at her as I shrugged on a coat. I then headed down to the grocery store, thinking perhaps she’d get bored with the envelope and go searching for sparrows in the tree outside the kitchen window. This was her favourite thing to do, and she was flighty at the best of times so I wasn’t too concerned.

However, when I returned with a frozen pizza, coke and cat food, I noted that nothing had changed. The cat continued to stare at the envelope, as if hypnotised. She didn’t even react to the sound of me popping bubble wrap. That was something that usually got her attention, but not today. I cocked my head in befuddlement, then lay the bubble wrap at her side. Perhaps she’d notice it when she got bored with the mysterious envelope and then everything would return to normal.

I decided to get busy clearing out the small vanity cabinet in the bathroom. It was a task that I had put off for far too long. My ex had left behind a lot of stuff when she moved out, and I’d find things of hers laying about here and there, which would often dredge up old hurts. Sure, it had been six months since our relationship disintegrated, but that simply wasn’t long enough. This time, I found her favourite hand mirror, the one with an ornately carved face on the back. I picked it up between thumb and forefinger, holding it like the disgusting turd it was. I made for the yard to find a trash bin.

When I passed by the coffee table, it seemed at first as though the cat was gone. I let out a sigh of relief. Perhaps her strange behaviour had been purely a figment of my imagination. I continued my way toward the door, but then a strange sound from above made me stop short. I raised my head, and that’s when I noticed where she actually was. I recoiled. The mirror dropped from my hand and shattered on the floor.

The cat… she was on the ceiling! What the hell?!

I ran around in panicked little circles for a bit, then made myself stop. I couldn’t lose the plot just yet. There had to be a rational explanation for this. A scientific one! The cat was walking around on the ceiling because… because… well, there had to be a reason. I just had to pause, take a breath, and figure it out. I craned my neck and made myself really look at her. She was curled there on the ceiling, now grooming herself, as though this was a completely normal everyday occurrence. How could this stupid cat be so calm?

I walked out of the room. Where was that stepladder? I’d wear one of my thick, long-sleeved shirts and those heavy-duty gardening gloves with the reinforced padding and get that damn moggy off the damn ceiling, no matter what. She could try to scratch my eyeballs out. I didn’t care. I wasn’t having this kind of nonsense going on in my own house, thank you very much!

The stepladder was laying next to the wading pool in the backyard, down by the big blue gum near the perimeter fence. Puffing and panting, it took a lot of doing, but I managed to drag that ladder all the way back to the house and into the living room. Ten minutes alone were spent trying to enter by the door with that blasted ladder—I almost shattered a window! I was so pissed off and impatient by that point that I decided against trying to find the gardening gloves and shirt. I would just have to take my chances.

I raised the ladder upright and locked it into place. My foot was on the first rung when I looked up and… well, can you imagine my reaction when I saw that the cat was no longer there? Yes, I was really rather fucking annoyed by this point. In fact, I was morally outraged! Had there been some kind of cat ombudsman that I could have fired off an angry missive to then I surely would have done so. I certainly wasn’t going to wander about the house with a heavy ladder looking for a missing cat like some kind of idiot.

My shoe crunched on something. Oh, I’d forgotten about the shattered mirror! My eyes dropped to the floor, only to see that the cat was there. She was licking at one of the larger shards, and somehow not cutting up her delicate little tongue in the process.

And then I took a step back.

What was I seeing here? She was inside the mirror shard, oblivious to my shock as she set to licking her arse, one leg stretched high above her bobbing head. What. The. Fuck. That was the final straw. Fucking cats and their strange tricks!

I nervously swept all of the mirror shards into the envelope and sealed it up. I licked the back of a stamp and stuck it to the front, then wrote on it ‘Return to Sender’.

Besides, I’d always wanted a dog.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

MMORPB // Tati & Tony in Raiders of the Lost Snark Part Four (Moderately Multiplayer Online Role Playing Book 18+)

or: EPISODE 4 // Where Tati Rescues Tony’s Suitcase

 

In our previous episode, Tati and Tony tried to disguise themselves as a pair of famous videogame plumbers after meeting at the Greater Cachalot Mall in international waters. Little did they realise that something dodgy was happening right behind them…

Right in front of their very eyes was a mysterious man in black, and he was trying to make off with one of Tony’s suitcases. Tati didn’t even need to think. She immediately dug into her pants pocket and withdrew a mint lollipop. In one smooth over-the-shoulder movement, she lobbed it at the man in black and hit him squarely between the eyes. He crumpled to the ground like a tarpaulin full of bricks.

“You! Hey, you!” Tati lightly kicked him with the tip of her shoe. “Are you alive?”

“What the hell?!” hissed Tony like a goose. “There’s no need to sink the boot in! Isn’t it enough that you knocked him down?! What was that anyway? A candy cannonball? Jesus!”

Tati stood there confused. She thought she had done the right thing. “It was just a lollipop I bought in Zhmerynka’s Duty Free. Do you think it could be expired, and that’s why it’s so hard?”

“Either that or it’s got a tiny anchor in the middle of it.” Tony kneeled beside the man in black. “He’s out cold.”

“No, look, he’s coming around.”

The mysterious man in black opened his eyes, but the sight of two squabbling Mario brothers made him go faint again. And who could blame him? Anyone in his place would have done the same. One brother was strangely effeminate, and the other had two moustaches, one of which was stuck to his brow.

“Nope. He’s out again.”

Tati looked around. “We need a bucket of water.”

“What? Are we gonna drown him now? I think the guy’s had enough!”

Losing patience, Tati shrugged her shoulders then grabbed the man in black by his shirt front. She yanked him into a sitting position. “Who are you?” she growled to his face. “Why were you stealing Tony’s suitcase?”

I don’t think he can hear you, Tati.”

Tati pulled a vial of acetone from her other pocket.

Tony regarded her with a not unwarranted degree of suspicion. “Erm, why are you carrying stuff like that with you? And how the hell did you get it through customs?”

Tati gave an annoyed tut. “Don’t ask questions you wouldn’t like the answers to!” And, with that, she shoved the vial right into the man in black’s nose. With an almighty fit of spluttering and coughing, he opened eyes.

“Good sir,” asked Tony politely, “could you please let us know why you need my suitcase?”

Before the man in black could respond, Tati shouted, “I’d just like to know who the fuck died and left you stealing other people’s suitcases!”

The man in black whispered, “Please, don’t kill me, mighty Mario brothers. Let me live and I’ll reveal a big secret to you.”

 

Catch other episodes in this series:
THE PILOT // Where Tati Makes Tony Blush
EPISODE 2 // Where Tati Makes Tony Choke
EPISODE 3 // Where Tati Gives Tony a Fungus Face

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

MMORPB // Tati & Tony in Raiders of the Lost Snark Part Three (Moderately Multiplayer Online Role Playing Book 18+)

or: EPISODE 3 // Where Tati Gives Tony a Fungus Face

 

In our previous episode, Tati and Tony met at the Greater Cachalot Mall in international waters. As they nitpicked at one another, a mysterious man in black turned up and quietly made a beeline for Tony’s suitcases…

Tati sighed. “Okey dokey. Let’s go to reception. I’m dying to take a shower.” She pulled a map from her pants pocket and unfolded it over a nearby café table.

“Why couldn’t we have met in front of the hotel itself?” asked Tony, scratching the top of his head with a quizzical look.

“Conspiracy!”

“Conspiracy?” Tony blinked in confusion.

After ascertaining the most confusing and circuitous route to the hotel, Tati rummaged through her backpack and withdrew a couple of items. “Now, take this moustache and cap. No one should recognize you!”

Tony took one of the moustaches from her hand and put on the green cap. “But I already have a moustache!”

“It doesn’t matter. Stick that one over it.”

Tony blinked slowly at his reflection in a nearby store window showcase while Tati put on a moustache of her own, and a red cap too. “Seriously, we look like the Mario Bros.” She giggled at Tony’s comment. He had two moustaches on his face, and he did rather look like a famous, portly, videogame plumber’s brother.

“Does this make me Mario?”

Tony blushed. “A female Mario, yes.”

Tati folded up the map and stowed it away. “Okay, you can stop scratching your mushrooms, brother. Let’s a go!”

Rolling his eyes, Tony turned to retrieve his suitcases…

“What th—?”

 

Catch other episodes in this series:
THE PILOT // Where Tati Makes Tony Blush
EPISODE 2 // Where Tati Makes Tony Choke

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018