DARWINIAN // Fish ‘n’ Chips

“So, she’s telling her friend that her vagina’s beginning to smell like potato chips.”

Calix looked at him with a straight face. “Which brand?”

“What do you mean, which brand?” Darwin gave a rueful shake of his head. “Does that even make a difference to genital fragrance?”

“Of course! Every detail matters.”

“Well, they didn’t cover that, strangely enough.” He rolled his eyes. “If anything, I was more concerned with the fact that two women were openly discussing chips and vaginas on public transport!”

“I’m more concerned that you care about the bullshit people discuss on public transport.”

Darwin bristled at this. Calix had a special knack for turning his statements back on him, and he hated it. He made a point of sniffing haughtily but she took no notice. She was being all nonchalant instead, sitting there writing the next article for ‘Hooves, Horns & Rhododendrons Monthly Digest’ like she didn’t have a care in the world.

“Well, it was hard not to listen!” he muttered defensively. “They were talking loud enough.”

“Darwin, you’re lucky enough to be deaf! You get to choose if you listen or not.”

Calix’s nose was wedged firmly in her laptop. He watched her absentmindedly nibbling on a ballpoint pen, intermittently jabbing at the keyboard. How on earth had they even become friends? They disagreed on everything! And yet Darwin couldn’t imagine life without her. God, he hated that.

“I’m too dependent. That’s my problem.”

Calix looked up from the laptop and fixed her eyes on his.

“Shit. I said that out loud, didn’t I?” His cheeks flushed with embarrassment.

“On what?” Now Calix seemed almost interested. “What are you dependent on?”

“Erm, nothing. I’m just rambling again.”

Darwin backed away and turned to leave the room. It was time to make himself scarce before the conversation got too awkward. But Calix wasn’t having a bar of it.

“No, hang on! Where are you going? Don’t you want to talk about vaginas and chips any more?”

Darwin slumped his shoulders. Yup, that had stopped him in his tracks. She always had to have the upper hand, the final say in everything. He hated that so much. In fact, this friendship had too much hate going on. Was that normal? Perhaps ‘hate’ was too strong a word to be using in this context…

“Let’s start with chips. Could you go to the kitchen and bring me the paprika chips? I think I left an open pack on the table.”

Nope. It was the right word.

“And feed the goldfish. I think it needs to eat more than twice a week.”

“Yes, mum,” he grumbled under his breath. “Three bags full, mum.”

And suddenly Darwin recalled the night before… How had that damn goldfish ended up in his toilet bowl anyway? He wanted to ask Calix about this, but her unbearable acerbity would beat reason out of anyone. Perhaps he’d ask later when he was feeling up to the challenge.

With these thoughts swimming in his head, Darwin shuffled to the kitchen. He took up the open pack of chips, sniffed it, and shrugged his shoulders. No vagina he’d ever encountered had smelled like this. He sniffed again. Yeah, this was completely ordinary.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2019

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

or: EPISODE 6 // Where Tati Supercalifragilisticexpialidociouses Tony to New Heights

 

In our previous episode, Tati was about to interrogate (torture) the mysterious man in black when he got wiped out by a falling meteorite. Emergency services began to arrive on the scene, so Tati and Tony felt it best to make their getaway…

“Erm, Tati, we should get the hell out of here, don’t you think?”

Tony tugged at Tati’s elbow. She yanked it away, more than a little irritated.

“Hey! What gives you the right to paw at me, you old pervert?”

Tony eyed her in a mixture of apology and wild-eyed fear.

“You can hold my hand, okay?” she said, her frown softening to a look of concern. “Let’s get out of here!”

Tony grabbed her whole arm again. “Let’s!”

Tati poked at Tony’s ribs with a huge, colourful umbrella. Tony winced, reeling in surprise. Where the hell had she suddenly pulled that from? It wasn’t anywhere a moment ago!

“Is that a…” Tony blinked dramatically. “Is that a fucking umbrella? You do realise it’s not about to rain, don’t you?”

Tati hoisted it, pointing the tip at the clear blue sky. “It’s a fucking whatchamacallit!”

“Huh? Could you stop saying words that I can’t comprehend?”

“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

“Jesus.”

Tati grimaced at him. “Your Messiah won’t save you, but I will. Grab tight!”

Tony glommed onto Tati like a vice. “Does that make you my ‘Missiah?'” He grinned like an idiot at his own stupid joke.

“Do you want to fall?” Tati asked with a hint of menace in her voice.

“Wha—?!” Tony shook his head in panic. “No. Of course not!”

“Then hold on!” Tati jabbed at the sky for emphasis. “Less words. More action!”

And with that, her umbrella popped open with a puff of air, and they shot off into the sky like a bottle rocket. Tony screamed as he tightened his grip. He hadn’t expected their lift off to be so… well, sudden!

“Shit!” squeaked Tati.

Tony blinked. That’s all he seemed to be doing lately. “What?”

“Suitcases!” Tati looked angry. “Did you bring your fucking baggage?”

Tony refused to look down as he was scared of heights—but he knew the suitcases were still scattered around the lip of the crater. Tati looked down, and her scowl deepened.

“Do you really need your suitcases?” Then before Tony could muster an answer, she added, “Never mind. It’s too late now anyway.”

Tati was right. The ambulance, police and fire service had arrived on the scene. People in various uniforms were already striding about with purposeful resolve, pointing at things, crossing things off lists, and getting shit done. And yet, Tony had to whine, “But I need them!”

“Why?” Tati pretended that her question was dictated by common sense, not curiosity. Tony gave her his best, saintly, longsuffering ‘martyr’ look. She rolled her eyes, but he wouldn’t let up.

“All my good underwear’s in there!”

Tati found it difficult to imagine Tony wearing undergarments. The thought made her giggle. “Nice try, you silly boy.” She lightly kissed the top of his head. “Do you have other options? You’re going to need them.”

Tony realised that the reason was going to have to be more serious than the one he’d offered. Otherwise, this nasty girl with fake face fungus was never going to agree to return and get his suitcases back. Tati could be quite difficult to sway once her mind was made up.

He thought a little bit, and then said, “Well, I suppose I can tell you, but it’s a big secret. The reason I want to go back for my suitcases is…”

 

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
EPISODE 5 // Where Tati Grabs Tony’s Shirt

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

Wordy Mikado (Fragment #017)

I stowed the wreckage of the broken poem in my pockets and dragged myself to my room. It was there that I shook out this mishmash, onto the little table in the corner, and I fell to thinking how it could be rearranged into a new poem. Some lines stuck out awkwardly here and there, and I suddenly recalled how in my childhood I would play Mikado. This flashback was so quick and so bright that it slashed through my mind like a lightning bolt.

We preferred to play with fine aluminium wires, not with woody sticks. We bent the ends of the wires into loops, hooks, and waves. This made the game more difficult because every move had to be executed with surgical precision. (By the way, I’d heard of a variation of this game that was part of the professional practice of pocket lifters.)

I found myself mindlessly poking my finger into the pile of words. My angriness fumed away. The professor’s voice echoed in my head: “And don’t spoil such precious words for glamorous bullshit.” We played with literal junk when we were children, and we did it with style. Why should I fuck with such high class stuff now?

I pulled out a long, shiny wire from the pile and smiled. I knew what I needed to do. I accurately stowed all the wordy bits into a little box and went to the library.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017

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