07:00; Sometimes the early morning sounds of the city depress. Then it occurs – the constant cacophony covers and conceals the clattering of the Mole Men’s mining machinations of overthrowing the Surface.
08:00; Delightful limitation to my mind-reading apparatus – works perfectly on Open, and she knows it. Palm thinks: ”buttock, asymptote, breast, circumference, nipple, quadratic, spank, quantum”. Delightful.
09:00; Couldn’t mind read Claude on stage as a result, but his imminent arrival today should explain his curious courtesies. For now, I ‘remonstrate’ Ms Palm with the mental projection of my own ‘thoughts’ …
09:10; My animosity expectation has foundation in Claude’s fury for me after he attempted to swindle me out of a not-insignificant sum and in return, I turned the tables so that Claude, in con lingo, was ‘done’.
09:20; Claude Claustrophile; writer, swordsman, engineer. Once, when unwillingly buried alive ‘Cask of Amontillado’ style, Claude found closed confinement delightful, illuminating & stimulating his mind to …
09:30; … dig himself out ‘Count of Monte Cristo’ style, using only the bottle of Beaujolais that had been used to bait his trap. The bottle served as his shovel, bucket, and, later, to bludgeon his gaoler to death.
09:40; Lecture-toured often on this experience. Claimed, in isolation, to have seen past lives, to have walked the Earth in prior times, as William Shakespeare, King Arthur, Thomas Edison – Not in that order.
09:50; Speaks all the languages of the colonies, has shared true British ale with every Commonwealth ambassador, & bed with every ambassador’s wife. Runs up terrible bills, outuns his creditors & cuckolds.
10:00; Lectures on journeys to the centre of the earth with Verne’s All Seeing Being, reintroducing the gavotte in modern dance & meeting the Brainstein. Has actually been burned in effigy by all credit banks.
10:10; Opens oysters one handed. Strikes cigars alight with his chin stubble. Arrives via steam locomotive, if possible; undermines when not. Sings Gilbert & Sullivan, Oscar Hammerstein, & George Formby.
10:20; He tamed Hollywood; has had his every play filmed. Won a first at Cambridge, took second in the Nobel Laureate to Heaney and came third in a Sir Claude Claustrophile lookalike contest in Istanbul.
10:30; A knight, by lineage & in his own right, his regiment is a crucible, of the craziest Scots, fiercest Gurkhas, wiliest Anzacs, swiftest Askaris, and strongest Masai this, otherwise stunted, world has to offer.
10:40; Termed ”Satan’s Claws”, they have been incorporated into the West Indian pantheons as demons, Inuit cargo cult lore as gods, and subsist on a daily diet of oranges & 2 imperial gallons of rum ration.
10:50; A confidant of the Queen, advisor on mining policy to the Southern Americas and spiritual mentor to Rev Ian Paisley. Sank a shaft to Hell and performed a piece for Pluto, to secure his speedy escape.
11:00; As a victor he has seen the field after battle and as a writer he has expressed its horrific lure. Hunts manticores & chimaera at his country estates, while riding a fiery skeletal dragon tamed by sheer will.
11:10; Hunts, kills and eats six impossible things as breakfast, beds strange goddesses and writes with the plain-spoken genius and power of Jack London, Ernest Hemingway and Samuel Clemens. He has a-
11:20; – Fine, fine. Merely wished to set the scene before I tell of how entirely I diddled Claude out of the Whitby townhouse I currently own, several millions & a title of winner in the Race Betwixt the Poles!
11:30; Frequenting the Agnate Club sometime previous, I encountered old school chum Claustrophile holding forth on the ancient loss of Antartica’s achievement by pup Amundsen instead of gentleman Scott.
11:40; It must be a Brit who bests this; in the course of eighty days, by one means of transport only, flit from the North Pole, to the South Pole and back to London in time for the birthday of the Prince Harry.
11:50; Claustrophile challenged any man present to match stake in this wager against his – deeds to a Whitby townhouse. Living up to the Daftwager title and the history of how we earned our title, I accepted.
12:00; I chose an Aeronaught zepplin, Claude an Armourdrillo underminer, Tomás Stuttgart a Kraken submarine, Phillipe Torrenado a Stratosfear rocketplane, Eckhart Zweiblumen gliding by herbal means …
12:10; … while Cantilever of the French and Spirokeet of the Swiss launched a joint Franco-Swisse Mechanic-Organic means of pedal-powered propulsion which none of us ever understood or cared about.
12:20; As true patriots, Claude and I entered into a gentleman’s mutual non-agression pact, ensuring that, whatever the outcome, the title should fall to an Englishman. As realists, we both silently added a ‘but’.
12:30; The Franco-Swisse & Dutch delegations fell at the North Pole starting fence; Cantilever-Spirokeet’s creation exploding & corroding concurrently, while Zweiblumen sat, giggling & freezing in the snow.
12:40; Adventuring antipodally, I first encountered the Helium Princess & instant hatred of her, discovered wild dirigible whales & their symbiosis with high-alt dragons. Also; fried Torrenado with thundergun.
12:50; Crust cruising, Claude encountered the Mole People & his long war with them, found closed caverns of dinosaur tropics & ice age mammoths. Also dismantled Stuttgart with a plume of mantle magma.
13:00; We congratulated each other as the two to reach Antartica. We saluted, by Scott’s flag, then he shot me down with an undersurface-to-air missile. My fault; the earthquake ray took too long to charge.
13:10; Came down outside Sydney harbour, Aeronaught aflame. Dived into the sea and began Plan B. By the time I had reached land, quite a crowd had formed, which made the march on the embassy easy.
13:20; Claude’s progress was broadcast, seismographic guestimation of location. Re-running the tunnel made on the first run, Claude was already past Calais by the time I broke into the ambassador’s office.
13:30; Reaching for the ambassador’s desk, Claude tinkled the telephone there, to remind that the embassies aren’t British soil, not even the Australian one, which knows its colony-colonic place in an Empire.
13:40; I affirmed this ‘diplomatic truth’, but also that there was a physical, British, sod of soil on the premises used, (a la Castle Rackrent), to cheaply elect governors and, in emergency, to crown the monarch.
13:50; All embassies have, in case a reigning monarch dies while the heir is abroad, a sod of soil to crown that heir immediately. Had Claustrophile challenged my victory, he would have challenged his Queen.
14:00; Thus I won Claustrophile’s townhouse, millions in media rights to my victory and the title of first man Betwixt the Poles. Hence the oddity of Claude sitting down to dinner with me, rather than killing me.
14:30; Dinner! I started a little when it emerged his companion was the Red Lady, who has tried to exsanguinate me, more than once. But then Claude had fluid-transfer ‘business relationships’ with Open, too.
15:00; I introduced him to Ms. Palm & pretended the Red Lady had never tried to drink my bodily fluids. He introduced me to the Red Lady & pretended that Open had never succeeded in drinking him dry.
15:30; We retire to the drawing room of La Pantalon Rouge, speaking of mutual school days spent cheaply, and individual indelible indiscretions committed costily. This little bait raises none of his ire; Curious.
16:00; Smoking Swan Vestas, and drinking Chevas Regal, we sit, and discussed the Irish Question. We agree that violence is not the answer. ‘Violence’ is in fact the question. ‘Yes’, we concur, is the answer.
16:30; Claude believes the Limerick natives, with regular beatings & mind-controlling limericks, could emerge from herds of stabbing & shooting stupidity, to be the perfect fighting force, rivalling the Gurkhas.
17:00; I feel the pygmies of Cavan could be eugenically engineered out of promisingly money-hungry shylock stock to a craven credit-crunching crew that could outdo the stock-market-sharks of Wall Street.
17:30; Speaking of children, Claustrophile dazzles with pocket portraitures of his infant niece, whom he adores; like the daughter he never had & much more than the scores of illegitimate pups he actually has.
18:00; I make required rudimentary ‘oohs & ahhs’, & lapse into the ‘goo & gaga’ & sign language I used, briefly, to train an augmented ape army at the behest of the Prehensile Shah. Old habits & new minds.
18:30; Finally; the meat of our meeting, Claustrophile asks after his old, my new, Whitby residence. How it weathered the flooding, Who caused it, How did I escape, What relation is Dr. Ingot Nation to me?
19:00; Nation murdered & zombified an army regiment, seized a Navy vessel, invaded Claustrophile’s old home, spread the diseases of godless resurrection & communism, made threats toward Her Majesty.
19:30; Claustrophile & Nation; the engineer & the biologist, the philosophic poet & the pragmatic pamphleteer, the royalist & the socialist, the nationalist & the internationalist. Mutually Assured Destruction!!!
20:00; MAD is little optimistic – perhaps a Pyrrhic victory for one will make the survivor all the easier to bump off? I suppose the tickets were aimed at buttering me up to reveal Nation’s current location isle –
20:10; – No! But yes! The thought-catcher confirms; Claustrophile knew the Projectionist Protectors would perfidiously pursue Paradigm’s fashion show! Avoiding their justice – Claude, too, is a ‘bad’ man, …
20:20; … He substituted me for he, assuming that I would, to Monochrone’s nose, be the worst evil in the room – compliment! – & that I had not protection against psychic detection & projection – slander! …
20:30; … Claude further hoped that the PP’s projection of my crimes, publicly-posted, would include the exact details of my ‘worst’ crime; aiding, abetting & concealing the fiend Doctor Nation & his location.
20:40; It seems he gleaned the PP’s plan from interrogating Mister Scripts. After seeing the apparently purloined papers passing through his editor’s office, he intended to hunt down the ‘barefoot tantrevallian’-
20:50; – and found an impoverished itinerant scrivener instead. After ‘interviewing’ Mister Scripts into unconsciousness, Scripts revealed his third man part in Projectionist Protector duo in a bid for mercy. Ha!
21:00; Proof was demanded, supplied. Scripts, since my visit, had received a drunken telephone call from The Monochrone, deep in her the-cusp-of-victory cups, detailing how they were to attack Paradigm.
21:30; Therefore, Claude managed to neatly avoid execution, place me there instead, attempt to ascertain the whereabouts of his as-yet-unmet & most-hated enemy Dr. Nation, all with an, off-the-cuff, invite.
22:00; Dear Cthulhu; has been a while since someone tried to murder me with such style, grace and pragmatism! Particularly in this country, where they keep giving me awards!! I feel so homesick just now!!!
22:30; I turn from these internal revelation’s to Claude’s external creations of ‘having an interest in the Nation incident’ and ‘not wanting to press you too hard, Daftwager, but …’. Magnificent on/off stage actor.
23:00; Demurring his purring, I tell Claude that: I do not currently know, nor do I have any means of communication with, the errant Doctor Nation. All entirely true, not in the least bit entirely honest – perfect.
23:10; I read he does not believe, then he pumps my hand as firmly as a friend, which he is, and takes leave. I wonder if he engineered a sabotage of the incomprehensible Franco-Swisse PolePedaller device.
23:20; Equally, & interestingly, I think-hear his hypothesis that I cut the ‘Flying Dutchman’ Zweiblumen’s aeronautic narcotic with something lethal. There, at least, he has a measure of my abilities, & ambitions.
23:30; Spent my millions, renovating his house – as yet incomplete. I planned expansion of Claustrophile’s undertunnels; stifled from war with the vermin minions of Whitby’s ‘via clocoa’ lord, Rat-A-Tat-Tat …
23:40; … the photon shunt skylight paused due to now-resolved planning permission issues. Hoped killing the widow would secure me an island home & sufficient bribes left over to improve my Whitby home.
23:50; I retain the title; Sino-Russian, Germano-Belgian and Greco-Turk attempts to race between the Poles & steal the British title have all ended in pain, madness &/or death; Claude is a sweetheart/patriot.
00:00; Claude made millions tunnelling into a massive subterranean sea, lit by ambient fungi luminesce, heated by geothermal vents, false advertised as seafront property at the Centre of the Earth – predictable.