Saturday, 25 January 2020
THE SHINERS REACH A CONSENSUS fourth chapter of BRAIN GAMES ON QINSATORIX
BRAIN GAMES ON QINSATORIX
FIRST THREE CHAPTERS
CHAPTER 4: THE SHINERS REACH A CONSENSUS
Pippa felt both relieved and delighted when Slim appeared for Sunday morning breakfast in the Hotel Las Fuentes. She was amused when her buddy Dreyfus scampered up with the coffee and burnt toast, and felt surprised that he had such a clear head. Hers often felt fog-ridden until well after lunch.
"You're looking much too skinny this morning, Dreyfus," she teased. "You should try to put on some weight."
Dreyfus smiled, and flexed his very masculine chest while imagining that he resembled a thoroughbred pegasus. "I'm working on it, darling. I've just polished off a large bowl of wheat crunch."
"I thought that jobby catchers had gone out of vogue," grunted Slim, who hadn't quite woken up yet.
"Of course they haven't, you stupid coot," retorted Dreyfus."They stop the roaches in the kitchen when they try to crawl up my leg."
"I do hope you had oodles of fun during your trip to the Hotel de Wash, Slim dearest," intervened Pippa, with a quizzical smirk.
Slim smiled as weakly as a clapped out mad hatter. "It was O.K, I suppose.Some of the dancing freaked me out, and the Gina Turner oldies evoked bad, haunting memories."
"Maybe you should have danced into the night at our Ceilidh. Dreyfus and I had bundles of fun,"
"Wish I had, I suppose, though there was all sorts of weird stuff in Fantasia, and that gave me considerable cause for reflection."
"Would you like a dollop of purple marmalade?" purred Dreyfus. "I like reflecting too. It gives me strength"
"One day we will rule, and they will have cause for reflection," burbled Pippa, out of her inner id.
"It's much too early to think deep," yawned Slim. "I guess I'd prefer raspberry goulash s'il vous plait, Captain Dreyfus."
"You're looking remarkably altogether this morning," replied the teenage Apollo Unicorn, with a crafty wink. "A modicum of corny humour too. Maybe you were touched by an angel during the night."
Slim went bleary-eyed. "Yes I was, and I've had a change of mindset. I'm gonna stop being an evil Knievel for ever and anon."
At that, the celebrated mind-body therapist Dr. Alistair McCull appeared on the scene, puffing his hash-pipe.
What's the ghastly headshrinker up to now? wondered Pippa. We must be in for some nasty surprise or other. But that's what shrinkotherapists are like!
McCull grinned contentedly. "I'm glad to have caught up with the three of you loveable muppets all at once. We've had a change of plan. You'll be very excited about this, kiddies! Later today, we'll be taking a copter trip over the lofty peaks of Fantasia and landing on the magical Isle of Mainau for even more Shiner hospitality. Maybe we'll get some lemon meringue pie this time."
Fuck this chancer! thought Dreyfus, giving McCull the evil eye. "What's the catch, Herr Head Doctor?"
"There's no catch, you impudent, monocerosic whipper snapper. Tomorrow is St. Crispin's Day, and that's an official holiday at Alpha-Omega. So we don't need to fly back to Caleb until late Monday evening. You'll enjoy our stopover on Mainau, and several of our Shiner amigos will be travelling with us."
Slim munched his burnt toast, burped, and tried to retch. "Why that shitty cesspit, Herr Lord and Lector?"
"I'll make you sweat buckets for your truculence! We're going to meet the Grand Incarnate of the Shiners, of course. He lives in the 'Ape Swans' Nest' on Mainau."
Pippa passed wind. "What the feck is the Ape Swan's Nest?"
"You're heading for an old-fashioned dose of orang-u-tang potion, young lady. The nest we're going to nestle in is a bit like the Eagles' Nest way up there in the Salatian Alps, where the Snazi leadership once hung out. But it's in the middle of the Isle of Mainau and below sea level. The Grand Reincarnate feels safe there from his enemies, whether real or imagined. He verges on post-perinatal paranoia at times, like many great men of his kind."
"What the fuck does that phoney toad-eater have to do with anything?" asked Dreyfus, with a fierce twitch of his snout.
"You're none to bright for a unicorn! His Gracefulness is the thirty-second reincarnate of the Sir Adobe Adebe Manake who founded the Shiners fully a thousand years ago, and a finer spiritual leader you could never hope to meet. He leads the Shiners by shining example, a knight in shining armour if ever there was one. You should feel privileged to be invited to meet him."
"I don't feel privileged," moaned Pippa. "I wanna go home to feed Scatty."
"Who's in Hell's name is Scatty?" spluttered McCull.
"My pet otter, of course,"
"Yet another figment of your vivid imagination! I'll ask the travelling Shine-shrink to magno-infuse your receptors with a psychosis debilitator during the lunch break. Your God forsaken receptors too, Mr. Quick, but with eight hundred extra milligrams of concentrated mahi mahi. That should settle your nerves for the rest of your day, though you may slurp a bit."
"Not in my spleen!" howled Pippa. "This isn't a Quaker Retreat! You're trying to control us for your own deceitful purposes!"
Dr. McCull smiled. "It won't be in your spleen, young lady."
Mercy on us! agonised Slim, turning into a jellybean.
Later that morning, all the Shiners and Attenders(apart from the party-revellers with bladder-busting hangovers) took part in a Quarterly Regional Business Meeting in the Emperor Artorius Auditorium, an Era Nouveau building with a leaky roof in the grounds of the Hotel Las Fuentes. After soothing each other's seriously punctured skin with lashings of i-base lotion, Pippa and Slim felt well enough to attend, and so they did.
Pippa knew that the Shiners had, like the leading mathematical logicians, long since discarded democratic voting as a rational way of making group decisions. It can, for example, lead to ridiculously contradictory conclusions when three or more motions are put to the vote.
Pippa was therefore looking forward to seeing how the Shiners' much-vaunted 'Decision Making by Consensus' worked in practice. Slim couldn't understand how anyone could ever know whether a consensus had or hadn't been reached, and Pippa couldn't comprehend how anyone would understand afterwards what had really been decided. Notions like 'The Spirit guides us', 'It's Yahweh who decides' and 'The ignorant should hold their peace' simply didn't seem to hold water.
When Pippa arrived at the meeting,she was surprised to see a delightfully pretty ape swan on the podium, exchanging pleasantries with the red-nosed Grand Clerk, and busily shuffling and re-shuffling the papers on her colourfully engraved black ebony desk. Piper wondered why the ape swan was there, since the highly discriminatory Shiner rules only permitted homo sapiens and Icarians to attend their official meetings.
The Grand Clerk began the meeting by standing up and waving Sir Adobe Adebe Maneke's little blue book around his head. "If there are no objections, I will record the Minutes of our March 2712 meeting on the Isle of Thrush as read and approved. Thank you!"
That was a bit quick, thought Pippa. Maybe he's trying to hide something important.
"By special arrangement with the Grand Reincarnate, who has just returned from the Planet Daedalus," continued the Grand Clerk. "I have invited his political consultant Lysistrata, here present on my left, to attend this important business meeting, purely as an observer of course, so that she can communicate our decisions back to him through his telepathic mind-wave receptor. Any objections to the presence of a sub-humanoid bird-animal in your midst? No? So we have a consensus! That's passed then."
So that's why there's a sub-humanoid in the meeting, pondered Pippa. I wonder what the cocky ape swan is really about?
"The only item on the agenda is 'The Approval of our Annual Meeting Report'," added the Grand Clerk. "I would therefore like to put the Higher Elder in the light, and to invite him to address this issue in further detail."
The Higher Elder was a very elderly Icarian with flowing, pinkish-white hair, and a wrinkled, well-scrubbed face. After various multitudinous procrastinations, Pippa was beginning to see rabbits running round the walls when the speaker finally got to the point.
"And so the major conclusion of our retreat should be that 'love makes the planets go round,'" pontificated the old fool. "There's a little bit of love in everybody, and everybody should forgive everybody else their little bit of mischief. Everyone should recognise that anybody else might have a totally different opinion; just live with it! Love is the essential ingredient of our faith. When we have love then nothing else really matters. Love, love, love!"
"Is that a motion?" inquired the Grand Clerk, cleaning his ear with a toothpick.
"Of course it is. I so move!"
"Seconded!" cried a squat gnome in the peanut gallery.
"The motion has been proposed and seconded, and is therefore on the table," declared the Grand Clerk, clapping his hands together and clenching them as ponderously as a gorilla from Crockville.
When the Higher Elder sat down there followed a respectful, deathly silence. But after a few minutes, a green-skinned lady wearing a morning suit and a top hat leapt up to speak. For reasons best known to himself, the Grand Clerk stared at the ceiling and studiously ignored the lady, and when she flopped back into her seat she was furiously biting her lip.
Several very quiet minutes later, a prim Icarian gentleman in a pin-striped suit rose to his feet, and peered at the Grand Clerk through his monocle.
"The Higher Elder is effectively restating our Articles of Faith, as decided by our forbears in Madron in AD 1972," he lisped. "Maybe this year we should include a few more specific conclusions in our report. In particular, some of us seemed to agree yesterday afternoon that the valiant efforts of Aid and Abet to assist the convicts in the Southern Swamps by taking them free, chemically enhanced bars of Galaxy should be highlighted in Shiner Tit-Bits. Furthermore, a bunch of insightful Junior Shiners from Lapperland advocated free tamponage for all high school girls with a GPA exceeding 3.2. I propose that we include all such seminal items in our report in order to emphasise our socially pro-active agenda."
What a good idea, thought Pippa. They could give them free squeegy-rubbers too.
A dozen or so further Shiners and Attenders got up, at sporadic intervals, and the six who were acknowledged by the Grand Clerk made a variety of further suggestions for enhancing the annual report.
The Grand Clerk was about to sum up when the ape swan official observer hurried over like a busy body on heat and thrust a sheet of pink paper onto his pearl-encrusted desk .
The Grand Clerk twitched his remarkably long, thin, red nose. "Thank you, Lysistrata----Whoops!----and many thanks for reminding me about this. During a top secret meeting last night in the Hotel de Wash, we agreed to parley with the indigenous Icarians in Aztalan with a view to brokering a Treaty of Peace and Reconciliation between indigenous Icarians everywhere and the Qinsatoran Parliament in Trivoli, in particular regarding the redistribution of wealth from the Monte Carlo Casinos around our planet.---- I'll minute that!"
"Wot top secret meeting?" inquired a flaming redhead with a pentagon of udders for breasts.
"You're out of order!" screeched the Grand Clerk. "Sit yerself doon!"
"They're just trying to siphon off the revenues from the casinos in Aztalan," howled a highly offensive yuppie hipster in excessively ubertight, velvet pants."Corruption! Fraud! It makes me wanna crap and vomit. All over you, you creepy sucker!"
"You're out of here! Security guards!
There was another deathly hush while four Apollo Lions tossed the exceedingly rude and obnoxious hipster in the air, and hauled him away, flashing his mankle, like a carcass of sweaty meat.
This is surreal, thought Pippa, scarcely believing her eyes, but good riddance to that wanker..
After a short period of reflection, Prince Alfredo Saxie-Montieth of the Homo-Erectus rose pompously to his feet.
"Thank you all so much for considering this epoch-making Peace Treaty at this seminal point in time," he burbled, clearly his mucous-lined nostrils. "It was debated during an ad hoc meeting late last night while we were relaxing together in Fantasia on t'other side of the creek. Those present included a Superior Elder, myself and your very own Lady Jemima Sunkist, the cherished daughter of our much revered Grand Incarnate and his dear, sadly-departed wife, the Duchess Matilda-Maria von Hapsburg of Hohenlochwort-uber-Rhein. Indeed, several of us are planning to stop off in Aztalan this very afternoon to initiate the peace negotiations with the High Priest of the Aztalan and his tribal elders, before proceeding to Mainau to report on our progress to our much beloved Sir Aristotle Sunkist himself."
Slim thought that was quite a turn up for the book. Such a secretive meeting in such bizarre surroundings! And Lady Jemima sticking her oar in once again. Like daughter, like father, he supposed. And the Shiners seemed to be operating on several different levels at once. Slim thought that they were a bit like the insidious, multi-fanged Q.I.A, a sort of Yurassic dragon perhaps, like a brain machine where some bits don't know what the other bits are up to.
The next deathly hush lasted fully ten minutes, while Pippa's crazily reactive thoughts zigzagged through her grey matter like out of control wheelie-dodgem-boards. The Grand Clerk finally roused himself and banged his desk with his heavy-metal gavel.
"It is now the appointed time for the Clerk to prepare the Minute!" announced the petty megalomaniac, selecting an elegant feathered pen from his gold-encrusted Quill Pen rack, specially imported from the third moon of the Planet Dallium.
After several minutes of frantic scribbling, the Grand Clerk rose to his feet and read out loud, "During their Retreat on the Isle of Lismore during September 2712, the Shiners decided to emphasise that love makes the world go round, since when we have love nothing else matters. It was also decided to pursue our pre-existing socially pro-active agenda with due diligence. It was furthermore decided that we should initiate Peace and Reconciliation negotiations with the indigenous Icarians in Aztalan--- That really made my knuckles ache, folk. Anything else?"
An exceedingly tall and thin gentleman wearing a floppy white toga rose solemnly to his feet. When he spoke he sounded like the Roman orator Publius Cicero. "I must say how much I admire the Grand Clerk's thoroughness and eloquence, which does him credit before the Living Gods: Yahweh and Asherah, Jovius, the All-Seeing One, and the eleven Alephs, all in one. I wonder, however, whether a few of the new socially pro-active projects which were proposed yesterday afternoon might deserve an honourable mention? Some of them seemed to be both creative and imaginative."
The Grand Clerk blew his prickly nose, a touch noisily, and looked the Romanesque gentleman straight back in the eye.
"Insufficient consensus," growled the clerk, flashing his jet black eyelashes.
How about that for a lark! Pippa was still recoiling in shock when Slim Quick leapt to his feet.
"Wot about Aid and Abet's scheme to help the convicts in the Southern Swamps?" he persisted. "They're worked to the bone, dying of thirst, and getting rhino-whipped and slowly garroted at the whim of the sadistic Apollo Serpents. If love is universal then we should show love to those who suffer, much more so than to the filthy rich fat-cats who propagate the lies and deceit."
The Grand Clerk went glazy-eyed, but he recovered quickly and raised his bright purple eyes to the Heavens. After a few seconds, he nodded as if in effusive agreement with unfathomable divine forces above, and banged his desk three times with his hefty gavel.
"The Higher Elder's motion and my amendments and none other are passed by Yahweh-inspired group consensus and are therefore the sanctified Word of the Living All-in-One God," he sanctimoniously declared. "This meeting is thereby automatically adjourned. We will next meet on the Isle of the House Dogs during March 2713, at which time the Minutes of the current meeting will be presented for your kind and generous approval."
And so that was that.
During that Sunday afternoon, Pippa, Slim, and Dreyfus stuffed their bags full of loot and set off for the nearby Bubbly Bojo's Bubblecopter Pad. They were greeted on the amazingly smooth, titania-enhanced tarmac by their four travelling companions, who they'd nicknamed 'Creep-face' McCull, Ket Fartingale, Prince Alfie O'Muggins, and Lady Slippery Fingers, though they daren't tell them that to their faces.
While the seven Creatures of Yahweh were busy confabulating, they were disturbed by the wail of a Rozzer siren coming from across the bridge. The wailing grew louder and louder as a pig-mobile sped across the hotel forecourt and onto the tarmac, where its flashing crimson and orange lights caused consternation among the chumpmunks and sent them rushing to the bushes.
The pig-mobile was closely followed by an extremely long yellow limousine which ground to a halt just in front of the massive, multi-rotor bubblecopter.
Slim was wondering which very important personages would alight, when a middle aged Apollo Gibbon in a lounge suit and carrying a red brief case stepped out of the car. It was Dirk Eradacus, the Foreign and Alien Secretary of Qinsatorix no less, the gibbon who was responsible for much of the political intrigue around the planets, the person who decided when to start wars and when to end them, a humanoid to be reckoned with.
Eradacus was accompanied by the ape swan Lysistrata, the political consultant who'd participated in the Shiner business meeting earlier in the day. But, to Slim's consternation, the motley pair were followed out of the limousine by a forlorn, red-haired teenage girl with bruises covering her face. He recognised her immediately. She was the slender redhead who'd asserted herself in the Celebrity Suite of the Hotel de Wash during the night before, the girl from the harem who'd so bravely told the lecher prince where to get off. Slim felt his shamrock-shaped heart pulsating in unison with the human heart of this unfortunate victim of predatory abuse.
Slim noticed a striking resemblance between Dirk Eradacus and the glorified pimp in the Celebrity Suite, the Apollo Gibbon who called himself the Head Theropithacus. Slim surmised, perfectly correctly, that Eradacus was the nasty pimp's younger brother.
Power and corruption are much too closely entwined on this planet, concluded Slim. I wonder whether is was like this in the Milky Way Universe. I guess that it's safe to assume that it was.
Dr. Alistair McCull rushed over to greet the Foreign Secretary. "I'm honoured to be travelling with you, Dirk, old bean, " he blithered. "It will be fun putting those Aztalan through their paces together."
Eradacus blinked, and peered, with due decorum, down his handsome nose. "You're welcome, my good fellow. You will have met my colleague Lysistrata this morning. And this cute teeny is my fiancee Tamzin ---Tamzin Soyabean as I remember. They have such stupid last names in Bethlehem, and I blame that on the village idiots. I simply love the way this one walks, and she has the choicest thighs in the whole of Christendom."
"Soon to be Tamzin Eradacus," purred Lysistrata, "Dirk's fourth surrogate-wife."
"The first three were sent to the Isle of Limbos." explained Eradacus, with an ape-like grin.
"How utterly charming," blethered McCull. "I simply love her human breasts."
When he boarded the bubblecopter, Slim was encouraged by Ket Martingale to sit next to him, in an aisle seat. Thinking that he had property rights, Ket took a firm grip on Slim's knobbly right knee and didn't release his grip for the entire trip. Slim felt imprisoned, and thought that this was all because he'd behaved like a very naughty puppy dog the night before, at the whim of the high-powered government economic advisor.
But that was a wonderful, exotic memory, thought Slim, wot happened between us in the power shower. Hopefully it will erase some of the more horrendous memories of my youth. Yes, it was such hilarious fun while it lasted. But in terms of sensitive feelings that's all there was to it.
The distraught redhead Tamzin Soyabean was sitting immediately across the aisle, next to Pippa who was in the portside seat. Pippa gave the much battered stripling some ointment to rub into the bruises on her face. When Slim glanced at Tamzin, the poor girl turned her head and sobbed.
When the copter soared towards the clouds, Pippa imagined that she was a Barbie-doll inside a huge watertight bubble rising towards the surface from the deep depths of Oceania and that the birds were dino-fish escaping from the hippo-sharks. When the copter levelled into the horizontal, a thousand feet above the mystical mountain peaks, Pippa imagined that the peaks were purple killer bear-whales rising through the water to eat her. When the copter dived towards the North Fantasian Steppes, Pippa thought that she was about to be buried feet up in the ocean deep.
Slim was peering through the perfectly transparent floor at the thousands of sub-humanoid peasants toiling in the fields below, when two Imperial battle-cruisers zoomed by, at five hundred feet, and engulfed the supposedly intellectually challenged hordes in clouds of pink margon gas,
"That's just to keep them happy," explained Ket. "We wouldn't want them to complain too much about their lot. We spray them with glowzone when we want to sterilise them, and they never know the difference. It's all part of our sub-humanoid eugenics program, you see."
"What do you spray them with when you want to genocide them?" inquired Slim, caustically.
"Galt gas, of course. They disintegrate into piles of dust and ashes."
"I'm beginning to get the idea. You must have read the works of Professors Alfred Ploetz and Eugen Fischer in the Aryan Annals of Anthropological Eugenics. They were dead keen on racial hygiene."
Ket caressed Slim's perfectly smooth chest, tenderly, with his unusually tiny right hand. "You're learning! Keep up the good work and we'll award you a University Scholarship. You can study Business and Law at UCLA."
Slim wanted to slap Ket across his God-dammed autocratic colonialist face, and only just managed to constrain himself. But the prospect of studying at the University of Corinth at Los Alamos did appeal to him. The Isle of Los Alamos also housed the Global Security Complex.
When the bubblecopter circled above the village of Aztalan, Pippa could discern scores of wooden huts and wigwams scattered between the pine trees below. When they landed in the Meadow of the Ghost Riders, several hundred bollock-naked indigenous Icarians were waiting, with bowls of.tasty pompomogranites and delicious grapeshot, to greet them, their silvery orchadeuses glistening in the golden sunlight.
When Dirk Eradacus and Prince Alfredo led the Shiner delegation across the green pasture towards the Wigwam of the Fireball Fighters, the bronze, clean-limbed High Priest of the Aztalan came out and raises his arms in salutation.
"Hello, I'm Sleeping Sparrow," he said."How about a few rounds of Omaha poker?"
Please click here for
CHAPTER 5: JOURNEY TO THE APE SWANS' NEST