Thursday, December 17, 2009

Directly Outside 10

Directly outside my window, a Stormkeep Flickermarch battlecruiser blots out every star.

Its psi-beam plays across the glass, and I’m sucked inside the hovering leviathan like an old trope abducted by a clichèd chestnut against a backdrop of hackneyed deja vus.

Today, it seems, I am Admiral Norman Gusty. And the universe stands on the brink of Armageddon.

“It’s Slim Whitman,” says my lieutenant, handing me a report.

My science officer tentacles me an update. “His Greatest Hits album, to be precise.”

“Track four,” adds the beautifully coiffured technician with the salt cellar grafted to her ear. “I Remember You.”

I study the reports. Seems every living organism with prehensile flaps and a larynx is belting out the chorus in unison, over and over and over.

“If it gets any louder,” says the ship’s computer, “the Cosmos as we know it will end.”

The technician eyes the hologram console with suspicion. “How can you be so sure?”

“Pack it in, the pair of you,” I say. “We don’t have time for a jealous spurned android / philandering computer love tryst retribution sub-plot. Pass me the greasy stick-on moustache! I’m going into the Vortex!”


Night falls on the furthest reach of the Universe. Another millimetre and it would have dropped off the edge.

I stand in my anti-plasma rhinestone denims, peer into the Vortex. Of all the misspelled celestial phenomena, the Vortex is the most mysterious. It monitors every unvoiced thought in the Cosmos and spins whole galaxies from the almost-whispers. But now it’s got hold of Slim Whitman. Scary music. Goosebumps. Sopping wet pants.

What was it my science officer said?

Never cast a clout till the flagellatrix’s second atrium turns a pale amber-blue and your bioscanner reads precisely 58.752% Methane.

No. That was over lunch last weekend. Before he kissed me.

“He said,” comes a bizarre yodel, “creep up on the imprisoned Whitman and perform a moustache meld, thereby sealing his mouth tight shut.”

I turn to see the slick-haired crooner emerge from the Vortex like a voodoo doll on a Brylcreemed water flume. “That’s exactly it. Thanks.”

“Too late for creeping now,” says Whitman. “One final chorus and it’s Armageddon time.”

I think about leaping through the air and wrestling him to the ground before he can open his mouth, but there’s a good twenty feet between us, and these rhinestones are tight enough to rupture me. But then — a brainwave.

“Not so fast, you foul pseudo cowpoke,” I cry — and fling my stick-on moustache at the inhaling villain’s mealy lips like a tomahawk. It lands — SPLAT — below the smooth fiend’s own neatly clipped whiskers and silences him, binds him tight. That’s when I leap. And rupture myself. And yelp into the Vortex.


I wake up in the Medi-Lab.

“You did it,” says the Doc. “You saved us.”

Something about his voice sounds familiar, like it was me talking and he was some kind of ventriloquist’s dummy.

“Who you callin’ a dummy?” he grunts. Oooops. Forgot he was a telepath.

The Vortex took a shine to me, it seems. And now the whole Cosmos speaks with my voice. Annoying, but better than Armageddon I suppose.

The crew throws a party in my honour, with sausages on sticks, paper hats and endless games of Pass The Parsec. Then the psi-beam pulses me back to my cell.


Every echo chitter chatters.

From wall to ceiling to wall.

Back and forth back and forth all day long.

Still, I am trapped in this place.

Doomed only to witness as the world spins by, directly outside...


Scarlet Blue said...

Yes, but whatever happened to that nice Val Doonican and his jumpers?

Whirlochre said...

My thoughts exactly.

Somewhere, I have a copy of The Stories of O Rafferty, which I must dig out.

And a jumper wouldn't go amiss either.

Robin S. said...

Wow- the whole COSMOS speaks with your voice? Damn. Makes the Jag commercial kind of a cosmic wannabe, huh?!

Bernita said...

Whirl, you are endless delight!

Whirlochre said...

I've no idea whether they still make Jags with leather seats, but what a health risk they were. Hit any bend at 30 and you were practically through the window.

Now you've made me feel like a big trifle...

McKoala said...

*^%$! Scarlet stole my joke!

Which was: Episode 2: The Val Doonican Invasion

May you never sober up.

Whirlochre said...

If the demand is great enough, I'm sure we can get some hot Doonican action on here in the New Year...

Robin S. said...

I took the Doonican quiz before I reread this and saw the Doonican thing/person again. So, yeah, I went with calling the doc.

Whirlochre said...

As it happens, Doonican is on some BBC prog about cardigans later this week.

It's in the Christmas Radio Times, but I forget what page...

Scarlet Blue said...


writtenwyrdd said...

Good stuff, Whirl.
Have a Merry Christmas, as well.