07:00; Tea with an Elder God has a not too dissimilar etiquette to dining with a Turk; Smoke a cigar to overcome your guest’s foul odour, pay no mind to his heathen sub-vocal ramblings, make him keep his appendages to himself (above and below table) and never look him in his congenitally ugly face. Overall, dread gods are polite but the extra dimensions they bring to peripheral vision are reminiscent of certain Oriental preparations in effect.
I considered fuelling Eldritch’s guilt over a city-wide zombie outbreak to cause him to commit suicide, but the man lives in an abandoned Spiritualist Church whose only worth is its Zombie barrier, which might fade upon his death. There are many jewels, goblets and amulets around here, all dug up from graves and all will be reclaimed by those owners if I steal them. So I tell him about Nation.
Besides, he has no guilt on the matter. A man after my own heart, which is exactly why I haven’t turned my back on him once since arrival.
08:00; I break my fast in a manner befitting a gentlemen for the first time in days, despite this fast being broken in the abandoned vestry of the Spiritualist Church.
Needless to say, Eldritch has no account with the town Milk Maids. I therefore extract from my personal valise: a loaf of bread, a pot of Seville marmalade, a knife, fork, and small spoon or stirring, 2 fresh eggs packed with care in unspun wool, a tomato (or love-apple), a small frying pan, a small saucepan, a spirit burner, a chafing dish, a tin box of salted butter of the Italian type, 2 bone china plates. Also a portion of honey comb as a sweetener, for my breath and coffee.
In the words of Giovanni Jacopo Casanova (1725-1798), famed amourist and literateur, that ‘A true gentleman should always be able to break his fast in the manner of a gentleman, wheresoever he may find himself.’- Volume 12 of his Memoirs.I split it with Eldritch who, while being neither gentle nor, on several technicalities of human biology, a man, is a gentleman nonetheless.
09:00; Repairs progress, but at this time circumstances have explained to me the reasons behind the small patrols and the tarrying of Nation’s plan.
Oh, don’t give me that look. No heroics. But there is more than one blockade around town – one keeping us in with the zombies, and one keeping the zombies in with us.
Something tells me the army has anti-aerial artillery sufficient to shoot me out the sky before asking any questions.
10:00; In brief – info from an Elder God is unreliable at best, but the best of livers were offered in payment, and its all we have.
In essence, our three questions revealed the following:
1. The army and navy have registered an en masse AWOL of members. They’ve surrounded the town on land and at sea, and are prepped for something between a revolution and an epidemic, surprisingly for the oxymorons of Army Intelligence and Naval Co-ordination.
2. Apparently there IS a relation between Nation’s experiments and Eldritch’s rituals; everybody knows about Eldritch – Nation came here to refine his art and to do so in a place where his prototypes would not be overly surprising. This has, like the cheetah chasing the donkey, bitten him in the ass. Everyone does know about Eldritch and, apparently, the standard prep we all have in place to keep his impromptu resurrections back are keeping Nation’s boys back too. Which means that apart from the troops he brought with him, who are rapidly decomposing, all the fresh bodies Nation has are . . .
3. . . the town’s tourists! The tourists are the only ones to ignore the standard zombie prep, thinking our advertised Day of the Dead is nothing but poppycock (Town Day of the Dead! Voodoo is fun for all the family, even – especially – for those members who are dead!). The tourists are the only ones to wander the streets after dark when the zombie alert has gone up, looking for the local nightlife (which they apparently found). The tourists are the only ones who could get so lost wandering the town that three days into this invasion and they still haven’t managed to turn anybody!
11:00; Repairs continue. I query Eldritch as to why his magical zombie-busting preparations are defeating the scientifically reanimated undead. As expected, he gives the non sequiteur “Magic over Science!” response. However, it lacks his typical zeal and seems as if there is a figurative skeleton in his closet his doesn’t wish to bring out.
Figurative, of course, as the man has no end of literal ones he would not only not mind bringing out, but also wiring them down, stringing them up and putting on a show for the kiddies. As he does each Day of the Dead (children half-price, corpses extra).
12:00; Okay then, Nation is defatigable. But I need more. (Cannon Fires) Ninja Bob, aka the Dread Ninja Roberts, is out of the country for an extended period for . . . job retraining. (Cannon Fires) Top Hat has been dead for over a month now and, as much as it pains me to admit, it might be permanent. (Cannon Fires) I assure you, the irony of the previous statement when facing down a horde of zombies hepped up on Jesus juice is not lost on me. (Cannon Fires) Hell Boyle would probably agree with the military on blowing the town to kingdom come. (Cannon Fires) Windsoar probably wouldn’t agree with the military purge, but he wouldn’t act against Her Majesty’s Regiments. (Cannon Fires) Mecha Nick of House Steam Gear would have no such qualms, but is off fighting steampunk Martians of an alternate reality. Besides, he has a para-dimensional regicide in his ancestry. Quite the wrong sort to save the Queen. (Cannon Fires) The Candyman is quite loyal to the royals, but he is, quite literally, Billy Bonkers. What he might do with a vial of U.N.D.E.A.D. in that subterranean potion palace of his . . . (Cannon Fires) As for his somewhat estranged daughter, Paradigm, I see she is in Paris on a new perfume campaign this season. (Cannon Fires 9) If Paradigm is there, her girlfriend’s secret identity is almost certainly there too, given her family’s . . . shady . . . history there. (Cannon Fires) Speaking of girlfriends, my poker-pals Ratman or Atlas are possibles, but they mostly consult on their girlfriends new . . . start-ups these days. These girlfriends themselves would be better options, but I don’t play cards with them. (Cannon Fires) Doc White Horse, while I would value his medical opinion on this greatly, would probably weaponise U.N.D.E.A.D. even more effectively than Nation has, and spread it globally as a matter of course. (Cannon Fires) The Red Lady, on this matter, would be like curing a plague of flies by releasing a legion of cart-horse sized spiders. (Cannon Fires)
Thirteen cannons on a noonday big-gun salute?
Fine, fine, I’ll work with the pirate.
13:00; I’ll require transport though. Even if the dirigible was repaired, that fool pirate would shoot me out of the sky before I even got close. As a sign of his growing desperation, Nation releases his zombie tourists in the daytime now too. The streets are conventionally unpassable.
Time to call for pizza. Eldritch has a haunted telephone.
13:29; My pizza, in a half an hour or my money back, brought by the only two pizza delivery men in town who would consent – nay demand – to be put on the zombie shift. Driving the golf cart (that I improved) at sixty miles an hour, the mustachioed long haired blond works the wheel while the hat-wearing heretic sits shotgun, quite literally, and pumps the undead full of lead. Skidding in an askew semi-circle, they come to a halt beside the Spiritualist Vault. Something undead or undying is trapped under the wheel well and they give it close range hell with golf clubs wielded very well.
Young gentlemen about town, it is Cliff Kent and Peter Barker that knock on the door.
14:00; I pay the young men, congratulate them on their survival so far, and pay them for an additional trip to deliver whatever flattened feast is festering in the back of their cart to Pirate Pete’s, and me along with it.
Making a gift of the first, stale, Italian, throwing discus of a pizza to Bill Eldritch, I tell him I will telephone his rickety rotary dial later. That reminds me, a fourth poker pal of Ratman and Atlas . . . the Mathster . . . good with numbers . . . strange geometries . . . did I give him Eldritch’s number? Possibly. Those consultants have very good brandy. Never mind now.
I make the necessary golf pun and get in the cart.
15:00; Cliff of the hay-hair and Barker the behatted are, among many other things, the Sandmen of the local hotel. This has three distinct meanings:
1. Literal Sandmen:
They salvage and sieve sand from the local beaches to use in the sand traps of the hotel golf course.
This is how I myself met them, modifying their cart for high speed off road travel (golf cart maintenance being a must for underground lairs) on the promise that they would use it for good when the mechanical crabs of Captain Kelp tried to overrun the docklands and seaside dyke walls, and use it for bad when the avian air relief troops of the Helium Princess patronising proposed to spread her hugs and smiles to the landbound.
2. Metaphorical Sandmen:
They supply the guests with all the over-the-counter sleep pills & powders, under-the-table medicinal gin and poetic readings they require to get to sleep. Then, if that fails, beat up whoever is making all that noise outside the hotel.
3. Nerd Reference Sandmen:
Occassionally someone will try to exit the hotel without paying their bill, often under the pretence of taking their no-doubt illegitimate children to the adjacent carousel, or some such thing. When discovered, this will result in a shout of “We have a runner!”, at which Kent and Barker leap into action. As they inevitiably know their way around better than the tourists, have a super-powered golf cart and get a special bounty within town limits, they have yet to lose one single target.
As of yet, they have not become Geek Reference Sandmen by doing something associable with Neil Gaiman’s Dream character, but it is only a matter of time.
16:00; On the backswing I nail a Japanese tourist right in the camera.
17:00; Arriving at the pirate’s, I congratulate the young gentlemen on their services, particularly on the two-wheel stint through the haberdashery. Going by anything but a straight route, it took us the better part of three hours to get here. As night closes in, the streets only fill further with lairy Lazari and if we occassionally stopped to take pot shots,then it was only to stave off shellshock. Unfortunately my house is sieged sufficiently to keep me from my . . . toys that are better suited to this task.
I ring the doorbell, then neatly sidestep the cutlass rudely birthed from the letter box. ‘Scurvy nave’ indeed.
18:00; Pequod consents to sheltering myself for the night, partly out of some conceited pirate arrogance, partly because I know where his Horatio Nelson hat is, and partly because he will of course try to murder myself in my bed tonight. He will not drug the wine of course – a ninja would, which is as much a good reason for him not to do it as anything else. Pete Pequod has a complex complex about ninjas, even moreso than most pirates, and this assures his behaviour.
Tonight my prayers shall thank the Devil I’m bad.
19:00; Over a sumptuous dinner I relate the matters of Nation and necromancy to my heathen host. The decadence of the dinner table is no doubt an invite for me to overfeed in greed. To keep Pete happy, I swallow the cockatrice whole. I stay away from the pig, which was apparently fed on piglets, which were fed dogs, which were fed puppies, which were fed cats, which were fed kittens, which were fed rats, which were fed mice, which were fed lice which were fed a fine pink powder ground from the remains of Fox executives, but that is all I stay away from.
Mostly its seafood, and for man who affably projectile vomits gunpowder and stoats I’m surprisingly wary of shellfish. I mean I once stabbed a man called John Lobster for standing too close to me.
Its a seaside town thing.
20:00; Over brandy, cigars and using the servants as footrests I sketch out a plan to defeat Dr. Nation. It involves escapades, masquerades, mistaken identity and daring-do. I know my audience, so there is a great deal of extraneous swining from ropes, climbing rigging and shooting cannons. This plan has phases, double-crosses and no less than three gypsy switches, and I’m not telling you any of it.
I’m bad yes, but I’m no villain. Or as I think of them, vaude-villains.
21:00; Pete says he will have to sleep on it. I retire to bed, with an exaggeration of staggering.
22:00; Definite nautical theme going on here. Ship’s wheel, Titanic poster, creepy captain-clown doll and a water bed with goldfish inside. Most disturbing is the television studio broadcasting equipment with wireless web broadcast. Apparently Pirate Pete Pequod’s Plunderwear models r-rated live love show does well in Japan. The man is a master of the franchising, I’ll give him that and nothing else.
Ultimately I take the loveseat shaped like the clam from the ‘Birth of Venus’ and leave the water bed with ruffled covers.
23:00; Music blares from below, on picaresque pirate vocals; tonight on Pete-Pod, its ‘The Mariner’s Revenge’ by the Decemberists.
“We are two mariners
Our ships’ sole survivors
In this belly of a whale
Its ribs are ceiling beams
Its guts are carpeting
I guess we have some time to kill
You may not remember me
I was a child of three
And you, a lad of eighteen
But I remember you
And I will relate to you
How our histories interweave
At the time you were a rake and a roustabout
Spending all your money on the whores and hounds, oh oh
You had a charming air
All cheap and debonair
My widowed mother found so sweet
And so she took you in
Her sheets still warm with him
Now filled with filth and foul disease
As time wore on you proved a debt-ridden drunken mess
Leaving my mother a poor consumptive wretch, oh oh
And then you disappeared
Your gambling arrears
The only thing you left behind
And then the magistrate
Reclaimed our small estate
And my poor mother lost her mind
Then one day in spring, my dear sweet mother died
But, before she did I took her hand as she, dying, cried, oh oh
“Find him, bind him
Tie him to a pole and break
His fingers to splinters
Drag him to a hole until he
Wakes up naked
Clawing at the ceiling of his grave”
It took me fifteen years
To swallow all my tears
Among the urchins in the street
Until a priory
Took pity and hired me
To keep their vestry nice and neat
But, never once in the employ of these holy men
Did I ever once turn my mind from the thought of revenge, oh oh
One night I overheard
The prior exchanging words
With a penitent whaler from the sea
The captain of his ship
Who matched you toe to tip
Was known for a wanton cruelty
The following day, I shipped to sea with a privateer
And in the whistle of the wind I could almost hear, oh oh
“Find him, bind him
Tie him to a pole and break
His fingers to splinters
Drag him to a hole until he
Wakes up naked
Clawing at the ceiling of his grave”
There is one thing I must say to you
As you sail across the sea
Always, your mother will watch over you
As you avenge this wicked deed”
And then, that fateful night
We had you in our sight
After twenty months at sea
Your starboard flank abeam
I was getting my muskets cleaned
When came this rumbling from beneath
The ocean shook, the sky went black, and the captain quailed
And before us grew the angry jaws of a giant whale
Don’t know how I survived
The crew all was chewed alive
I must have slipped between his teeth
But, oh, what providence
What divine intelligence
That you should survive as well as me
It gives my heart great joy to see your eyes fill with fear
So lean in close
And I will whisper
The last words you’ll hear, oh oh.”
Nothing to worry about.
00:00; In Japan, its 8am. I’ve reactivated the web feed as Pete Pequod bursts through the door and drunkenly stabs the bed. I briefly consider stabbing the released water with a raw electrical wire, frying the fellow while I stand high and insulated in the clam, but I need him. Also, he has twenty men in this house ready to kill me while he ‘dealt with me alone’, and the law of averages is against them all being as stupid as he is. I remind him he is on an international internet feed, privy to the eyes of the world – even if many of those countries are former colonies and can judge no true Britain.
He says he doesn’t care. He is fabulously, terribly, incontinently wealthy. His lawyers haven’t had a proper challenge since he starting shooting cannons into midday traffic.
Also, he is wearing traditional pirate rubber boots.
Damn and blast.
Time for Plan B.
I ask him to state his real, full name clearly, and his intent to kill me in cold blood. He does so.
I whisper a prayer to the Father of Lies & the Lord of the Flies, and toss the electrics in a scream of sparks.
Why, yes I did hack my Twitter account to give me more than the mere 140 characters. A meagre measure! Madmen meander, monologue and vent malevolently. Viva evil! – Lord Daftwager
I’m very aware the posts ran overmuch in this one. Overwriting is a real bad habit of mine, and I am playing with this style to avoid that trait. Actually, I had a lot more time than usual for this, so that was a contributing factor, but thats no real excuse. Mostly, I had a thousand I ideas I wanted to foreshadow, tie in an old webcomic universe and tie up a few plot points and thus the extra time to think made my hands the devil’s playthings. Will return to normal next soon.
Within the story? Maybe the Elder God put a verbosity curse on Daftwager. I once had to rhyme, all the time, until I was given hope, when my curse was lifted by lunging wildly at the Pope – Flannelcrat.