There once was a man from Nantucket, Who really liked to plant things,
he flew his helicopter one day, to express his love for the....(S)
countess de Sad-ish, a world renowned authority on Apium Graveolens, one
of his most dearly loved forms of plant life. Countess de Sad-ish had
always shown somewhat of a weakness for his favorite : Solanum
tuberosum. It was while transporting this valuable gift to his loved one
that the airframe of his vehicle lost its aerodynamic stability under the
stresses of high explosive ordnance, detonating in close proximity....(I)
Unaware of his plight, the Countess pondered how best to greet Her Man.
That's how she liked to refer to him, as Her Man, which he undoubtedly
was. The phrase 'wrapped around her little finger' definitely applied here, he
fawned over her to the point where he'd get aboard a helicopter just to
deliver firsthand her favorite flowers. But, even though he would jump
through hoops for her, it wasn't one-sided. She truly DID love him, even
though she'd never said it out loud. And, tonight, she decided that she was
going to show him just how much, and if he was up for the task, she just might
show him two or three times tonight. Which was the reason she was now idly
pawing through her considerable collection of silky lingerie, looking for that
one special flimsy item that would be the right one to raise his temperature
a few more degrees. But, which would it be? (B)
The Countess often dressed Her Man in her frilly female unmentionables, much
to her enjoyment and very much to his chagrin. But, what a fool love can
make a man. The Countess did wonder why Her Man was late. This wasn't like
him at all . . . . . Meanwhile . . . forty kilometers away, a swarthy squadron
of Bedouins picked through flaming potted plant and helicopter debris. They
were shocked and stunned to find a terribly wounded man in the wreckage.
They babbled in their native tongue as he regained consciousness. "Who am I??"
The Bedouins babbled more. "I'm Gunga Din??" (N)
Gunga Din aka 'the Sunflower Snatcher' aka 'the Pansy Poacher', could
have been an average plants 'n flowers selling merchant. But in these vast
and dry regions, which deserts tend to be, there was a price on his
head. And you can take that quite literally. Sheik El-Salaam desired
nothing more than Din's head on a silver plate. From the moment the sheik
had become the ruling authority importing plant life was declared illegal.
Though he didn't mind sniffing the occasional flower and caressing the
occasional shrub himself El-Salaam decided such merchants were foul fiends
(because of the searing sun no daffodil or nightshade was to survive).
The Bedouins were very much aware of this all and when they examined the
heavily scarred person more carefully and noticed the remains of the
flowerpots, they screamed with utter delight. Little did they know that
they hadn't exactly found Din. Nobody could have known; the resemblance
was striking. So before our man had even shaken off his weariness they
tied him up and put him on the back of a black spotted camel (which
remarkably suited his outfit, or what was left of it). The Bedouins took
off heading towards the palace, convinced that they had found the right
guy who had always managed to avoid the weary eyes of the bounty hunters.
Arabian versions of 'Man, finding him is like better than sex' were in
order considering the abundant award they'd receive and even at a great
distance their exalted laughter could be heard. Although, not far enough to
reach the poor countess. Her hot passion had cooled down a few degrees,
slowly changing into anger and then into plain anxiety. (L)
Or plane anxiety, that sounded more fitting. She went back to her dresser
and contemplated herself in the mirror. Her black negligee and her
corrugated face staring back at her. Her voluptuous breasts rising and
falling at increasing speed, clear sign of impelling tears. She had felt, as
clearly as she was feeling her breasts now, that something was going to go
wrong. Her Ficus Beniaminus had lacked its usual verve and her Iberis
sempervinus had lost its wonderful white flowers and was now wearing, or so
she thought as she looked at it, grim gray flowers. The Gaillardia Kobold
and the Clematilde Niove had just confirmed her suspicions. Something had
gone wrong. She stood up and slowly walked to her office. She opened her
desk and took a bunch (again, bouquet would've been more appropriate) of his
love letters. He would address her by calling her wiv a different flower's
name in each letter.
He paused. Thinking of the Countess' pink complexion and then at the
changing colour of the Hydrangea. He mentally pat himself on the back,
knowing she would've liked that. He rummaged around his cell and found a
thorn. He cut his finger, a different one this time, and proceeded to dip
the feather in the trickling blood. He then wrote: (C)
My sweet little rose petal, how I wish I were with thee. But, alas, I am not.
Please, my sweet honeysuckle, do not fret over much. Know that in my heart,
I am with you, as I surely will be in the flesh sometime soon. If I could be
with you now, know that I would be. Unforeseen problems have arisen, so my
trip to your petal soft embrace has been delayed. I have even sadder news,
my darling rhododendron, the Solanum tuberosum I was bringing to you has
passed on. I know that this news grieves you as much as it does me but do
not let it get you too down, my cherry blossom. I will find you another one
and fetch it to you when next we are together once again.
As always, my heart,
Max, put down his thorn, stuck his finger in his mouth to stop the flow of
ink (blood) and carefully fanned the letter dry. He vaguely wondered where
he could post his letter but the sound of boots in the hallway distracted
his train of thought. He quickly, yet carefully, folded up his letter and
stuck it under some loose stones and rat bodies on the floor of his dungeon
cell. Then he shuffled back to the pile of filthy straw he humbly called a
bed. That was where he spent most of his time, where the guards always found
him at when they came to get him for his next round of "questioning". Max
figured that if he wasn't ever found in the dark rat body infested corner of
the cell, the guards would never think to look there for anything. It wasn't
just the various letters to his tantalizing tulip that he was concerned
about. He had found the means for escape in that dark, far corner. He just
needed some more time and a little bit of luck. (G)
As the guard passed his cell he stopped to take a look at the prisoner. As usual the guard only saw what he was meant to see by Max. A pitiful looking human huddling in a corner on top of the old straw. To achieve that look wasn't difficult concerning the circumstances. The guard, obviously content with what he saw, moved the sliding panel, shoved in the bowl and closed it. As a parting shot he said, in the dialect of his tribe, "May the fleas of a thousand camels infest your armpits," and walked away. He would have been truly surprised had he known that Max understood him word for word. Max thought, 'Well I don't know about a thousand camels, but I think I already have acquired enough of the little buggers to make sure there are a dozen camels or so that are free from fleas.' He got up and shuffled to the door. It wasn't that he was injured that bad. But those leg irons didn't permit more movement than a slow shuffle. He picked up the bowl and very carefully made his way back to his favorite spot. Meanwhile making sure not to look in the bowl,which was rather difficult because he had to keep his head down to avoid the last rays of sunlight hitting him square in the face.
Once he was back on his 'bed' he dug in to his meal remembering that protein is supposed to be good for you, even if most of it comes in white wriggly packages. He went over his plan to escape once more. No matter how he looked at it, he needed Lady Luck to be on his side. He knew he had to get through that wall before he became too feeble, too beaten up, too broken down. So it was a race. A race between him and his captors. Could they tear him down before he could puncture the wall. Washing the last morsel down with the gruel it had floated in he returned the bowl to the door. Cursing his bad luck they used such soft material for it. 'Oh well, back to the rat bones and the race,' he thought. 'The rat race',he giggled. As soon as he realized it, he stopped. "Damn, am I starting to lose it?",he took a couple of deep breaths and made a resolution, "Tonight, it has to be tonight." (P)
Just outside the wall of his cell stood a juvenile boabab tree. Knowing that its roots could tear apart
foundations, Max had immediately found that the wall in one corner had been severely weakened. He
knew also that the leaves of the tree were hard and dry, offering neither nutritional nor water content
when eaten, but he doubted that this would be of any relevance in his escape. The damaged wall was
more promising: it was still a foot thick and very sturdy but this should offer little resistance to
someone with superhumanly enhanced strength and claws like steel.
The preparations were arduous, and would have to be made with haste: the sun had set and the faint,
lingering false light of dusk would soon be gone. Seating himself as he had been taught so long ago by his
yogic master, he gathered the carefully sharpened rat bones and began to trace the arcane sigils of
Natural Law into the packed earthen floor of his cell. Murmuring the Mantra of Night Flowers to focus
his mind, he dropped into a light trance as his hands automatically performed the intricate task of
scratching out the sealing signs. With his mind released from bodily constraints, he directed his will to
harden his hands and then, at the precise moment of appearance of the first star, drilled his arm with
superhuman strength through the crumbling wall in the dark corner of his cell.
His scream split the calm night with the anguish of ripped nails and flayed skin. Cursing his stupidity and
vowing never again to embrace that stupid hippy mind-focus rubbish, he nursed his bruised hand and
wondered why he'd ever been so deeply into it in the first place. Yogic Flying may be the salvation of
the world, but it helps if you're on strong drugs at the time. From the mess hall across the compound,
he could hear a guard coming to investigate who was torturing the prisoner without asking anyone to
watch. He knew that he had only minutes to enact his backup plan and quickly grabbed one of the
sharpened bones, hissing through his teeth at the pain in his hand. Sparing a brief worry that it might
take months before his fingers would be up to the delicate job of pruning his Fuscias, he picked the
basic lock on his chains and began to flail at the wall with the heavy iron links. (S)
Max tried desperately to damage the wall but to no avail, the bricks were well set, he didn't know that several occult seals guarded the walls from damage. He heard the rattle of keys and the door was unlocked. The guard wasn't alone. He entered the cell, a companion stood behind and to the left of him, in his arms a Kalashnikov rifle that was promptly pointed to Max's chest. The guard cocked the weapon and sighted down the barrel. The finger tightened on the barrel.
"God," thought Max, "don't let me die here". With a slow grin the first guard took away his empty plates, while the guy with the gun in broken English told Max what they had installed for him. This included dragging him through broken glass splinters under hid fingernails, and the favourite "hot poker up the bum".
As the guards retreated laughing evilly Max really started to panic, it was just like the time back at Oxford, and he wasn't going to go through it a second time, especially not the poker!! Looking around his cell worrying like crazy he noticed, obscured by shadows, a stating "if escape is needed press button below" card. He lifted the card and sure enough a button was there, upon pressing the afore mentioned button the wall at the rear of the cell moved up revealing the helicopter pads. He couldn't believe it, three sodden weeks stuck here a busted hand and he could have escaped at any time.
He snatched up the letters and did a brilliant impression of Carl Lewis. Max reached the pad and the recently refuelled and armed AH64 Apache. He remembered the story saying several had been stolen, but Bedouins? The world was one crazy place. He looked down at his hand, no way could he fly with the damage done, he had to try and find alternative transport out of here and not a sodden camel. (S)
...He took his time, being sure none of the guards around the
god-forsaken place saw him. Not only were they carrying rifles, but
also some odd sort of instrument with hooks and wires that they had
simply referred to as "The Thingy". What exactly "The Thingy" was used
for was unclear, but he certainly had no desire to find out.
Suddenly, he saw it, a perfect chance at escape...some strange craft in
one of their huge hangars. Though it was unlike anything he'd ever
seen; there were no windows, and the only opening in the craft appeared
to be through a rounded, thirteen foot tall door. Fortunately for Max,
the door was open and no one was nearby. Snickering to himself, he
entered and wandered down a long, white hallway. Upon coming to a door,
he reached instinctively for the handle, all the while looking this way
and that to see if he'd yet been seen by someone.
Curiously, the door *had* no handle.
"Hrm," he remarked slowly, "I wonder how I am supposed to open the
blasted thing!" And oddly enough, as if responding to the sound of his
voice, the door slid upwards with a soft 'shoooop' and he stepped into
what seemed to be a bedroom. The door closed behind him.
He sighed, as there appeared to be no handle on *this* side of the door,
either, and took in what little he could of his dim surroundings. A
bed, a small table..perhaps a closet across the room. Max
frowned...there appeared to be someone sleeping on the bed. He wandered
over, on tippy toe. If those ballet lessons were good for anything, it
was stealth. He had to see if it was a guard, or some sort of
The figure who seemed to have been sleeping sat up suddenly, switching
on a nearby light. Max nearly screamed. It was...HIM! "B-b-but you're
The curled lip of the sleeping man turned into what could only have been
a grin of southern charm. "Uh-uh, there fella. Ah' just wen' home." It
appeared Elvis hadn't lost any weight while he had been away, either.
Max almost demanded an explanation, but then he felt the sensation of
movement...wherever 'home' was, he was about to make the trip too...
Yawning open in front of him was a widening interdimensional rift,
glowing with rather dated psychadelic special effects. Max quickly
recognised this as being the work of Gene Roddenberry from many
nights being caned and watching Star Trek.
"Hold on...", Max
muttered. "Elvis was from Saturn...everyone knows that." He spent a moment in intense
"That means...You can't be Elvis!!!", he declared in shock and leaped
steadily warping figure. Fingers grasping at the slightly sweaty flesh of
convincing Elvis-impersonator this side of Vegas, Max felt his
to drift in concentric patterns as they were sucked into the rift.
Wakening with the urge to be violently sick, and to punch all Las Vegas
singers, Max opened his eyes, and was horrified at the sight that
greeted them. "Oh no! It's...it's the Pokemon!!", he gasped...(T)