The Waiting Room

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The Waiting Room 

Esmeralda Cloud: From my vantage point upon the Cloud, a scene presents itself; another cipher from the aether, a cryptographic certitude certain to be translated. Adrift, supernal and observant, I found myself looking downwards, sideways, backwards then cross-eyed at what appeared to be a small waiting room packed with all manner of chairs, from upright barley-twist oak affairs to blow-up banana recliners. Perched upon these were a variety of sentient sitters: quadrupeds, bipeds, winged and wingless, beasties large and small — planet Earth’s finest. They were awaiting their turn to be summoned into an adjoining office with the words ‘Bear With Me’ painted (as if with large potatoes, or possibly podgy paws) in inky black smudges upon the mottled glass of its entrance, therein to be consulted by the resident psychotherapist Dr Horatio Bear, whose de-traumatising techniques were legend. Yes, certitude.

The cipher, the ‘seen’ scene, played out as follows:

Said office door opens inwardly and an irritated-looking Rhinoceros named Brian Ryan attempts to squeeze through, outwards (arse about Rhino-serious face), blushing bright scarlet when temporarily stuck — the jambs groaning an embarrassing fanfare. He pops out and glares at those seated, their eyes politely averted baa-ring those of one individual: a piebald sheep who is shaking with laughter.

Fuck off Carl.’

The woolly ruminant pulls a flocculent leg across its close-knit eyes, wiping away mirthful tears and unable to coherently bleat or baa for hiccuping guffaws.

Wellies!’ bellows Brian, donning a pea green beanie and exiting moodily, lumbering out the Rhino tonnage in a grey hefting.

A box illuminates above the ink-smudged door and neon flickers and blinks from red to green via Amber (the buxom Great Tit receptionist), whose passerine tapping at the control panel follows the fashion of a digital traffic light. Then, having turned green, Amber returns to her ancient Nokia and resumes a call to Bamber: her ageing Rooster fiancée who makes Foghorn Leghorn look like Chicken Little. Noting this Queen Bea (the bee) puts down a copy of Honey Tits and vacates her 1970s orange plastic chair, floating lazily through the broken doorway, stopping only to gather pollen from a fetching Golden Retriever’s Marge Simpson-style beehive. The seated queue shuffles from one seat to the next as the door jambs preserve their integrity thanks to some swift joinery by Mandy Mann: a bandy-legged, handy-pheasant wearing dungarees. Tossing chisel into Oshkosh with a self-satisfied, ‘Bish-bosh’, she then smoothly glides the ‘Bear With Me’ sign shut whilst surreptitiously supping Grouse Whiskey from a hip flask in one fowl swoop.

ala

In the compact office, an enormous brown bear wearing a worn corduroy jacket and tatty trilby is standing at his desk eating a bag of sticky buns whilst rifling one-pawed through a drawer of index cards. He has crumbs stuck in his hirsute chin. Spying Queen Bea he stands, bows, then flops back into his capacious, long-suffering chair.

Bea, good to see you again! How goes the, um, nectar sector, the tiptoeing through the fructose business? Not that you do that yourself, of course — too busy shafting queues of work-shy males, those apathetic apoidea, gobbling . . . what do you call it . . . royal jelly?’ The big brown bear pauses, wonders whether to blag some of the regal wobbly from her (for medicinal purposes only, of course), then catches her steely faceted eye and thinks better of it.

It’s buzzin’’ says Bea to Bear, looking pleased with herself. And yes, ‘Bear’, he was to Bea, never ‘Horatio’ or ‘Fellatio Aitch’ — that was only ever used behind his furry back by those who knew decidedly too much.

Dr Bear pauses, then rolls two small paws-full of tumbleweed across the desktop in answer, whilst musing, chuffed with his ursine mine of apoidea trivia.

‘Ha! Never grows old, that one, eh?’ She fans the spheres back across the desk playing ping-pong with his grassy nuts, before continuing. ‘A—anyway, yes, things are bumbling along, apart from the mass slaughter of all my kin, of course. Staying alive in a hive’s not so easy these days, on the psycho-sphere below. Humans and their bloody Beak Heapers, always nicking the nosh. Honey’s just for bees, right Bear?’ She hovers to his desk and lands on a sticky stapler that smells suspiciously of Manuka. (Her interlocutor looks shady, gazing down at a sticky paw.) ‘You’re such a slob, Bear.’ The shaggy shrink frowns in a brown study (not that hard considering the walls are clad in oak), feigns outrage then pulls out his fifth sticky bun of the encounter, surreptitiously sliding to a close a desk draw housing a half-eaten box of Honey Nut Cheerios.

Seriously, though, it’s like a war zone down there; thank the Almighty Chicken we’re on the home run now, because we’re dropping like flies!’ Bea makes the sign of the egg, in obeisance to the good Ginger Hennesey, The Great Sky Clucker.

Dr Bear’s secretary, an eight-foot-tall bluebottle named Doris Norris, stops typing and spits a stream of expletives Bea’s way whilst rubbing her furry forearms together, furiously — after vomiting at the floor, dangerously close to Bea’s foot. In response, Bea grabs Doris’ pencil, uses it for a mic to croon: Fly Me to the Moon.

Hovering over to the threadbare chaise longue Queen Bea makes an apollengy, or rather an apology. ‘Sorry Doris, just a turn of phrase, should’ve said, “Dropping like Amber’s drawers do for old Bamber”. You flies are all doing far better than us bees, you know. So look, here’s a little something to make it up to you.’ Bea flies to the stapler and does a complicated dance that resembles a can-can dancer moshing, and within seconds sixty-odd bees fly through the window and drop a large bag of vomit at Doris’s feet.

Doris mutters some uszzes darkly but looks mollified all the same, being as keen as mouldy mustard, on vomit. She grabs the intercom and buzzes: ‘Amber, clamber down to the hold would you love, grab us some Tippex? The printer’s gone tits-up; sometimes the Rs show as Ns or even double Ls, Os as Es and bastard Hs as Fs, ffs! So Doctor Bear’s pretty miffed as he keeps signing off as Doctor Fellatio Bean.’

The receptionist stands, looming over the crowd in the waiting room (a Great Tit milking superiority to the last drop) and yells to Mandy Mann ‘Drop the hip flask and get on the Tippex task pronto! And clean yourself up, you look like the ghost of Christmas Pheasant!’

Silence falls and the room’s occupants share disconcerted looks across periodicals as Mandy glowers, gives Amber the bird, but still heads off to the storeroom, glugging away.

Back in the office Doris Norris readjusts her bluebottle blue bottle-top eyeglasses, looking like a winged Bono clad in fake fur gilet, and continues clacking away with one leg, wondering where the Tippex is. She yells down the intercom to Amber, ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for!’

Queen Bea turns awkwardly on the sticky stapler, as Dr Bear looks down in a guilty fashion at his tumbleweed balls, pondering as to whether he is or is not a slobbish bear. Concluding he is not, and seeing the bin brimful of Dr Fellatio Bean correspondence, he defiantly stuffs the empty bun bag down his triple-XL Y-fronts.

Bea, sucking a sticky foot says, ‘So—oo . . . you wanted to see me, Bear, and it isn’t for psychiatric evaluation; I’m as sane as the next Hymenoptera and well you know it.’

Hmm . . . nothing in particular, just wanting the skinny on the fat — what’s going down underground — no-one else will tell me,’ Dr Bear says, peering down at his groin, a disconcerted look forming about his podgy face, his triple-XL Y-fronts now itchy with bun bits round to his bum bits down there. ‘Need to keep an eye on the machinations of The Small Gods, especially our kingdom’s. Sod the human quarter.

Goth—thip!’ said Bea, her mandibles full of cake crumbs from the desk top, rubbing her feelers and laughing. Then not laughing as Dr Bear scratches rhythmically at his fly zip. Jeethuth.’

‘No, no, no, no! I mean yes, go on then. And also, I erm, well, I got you these.’

The towering, crumb-encased Dr Bear (not Dr Bean), pulls a huge bouquet of borage, cosmos, echinacea, snapdragons, foxglove, sativa and hosta out from under the desk and presents it to her.

‘Oh Bear, you thouldn’t have! They’ll thee me through till Chrithtmath!’ Bea proceeds to gather pollen about her legs, beginning with some particularly large sticky buds.

‘I should. You know how fond of you I am, Bea.’ He bends forward to take a sniff (of Bea and borage, whilst gazing lovingly at her pink hostas), only for a job lot of Honey Nut Cheerios to cascade from his pockets. ‘Ah, erm, late breakfast? . . . Care for a couple? They’re packed with goodness?’

Bea the bee throws a deadly stare his way, now sobering up, and continues ‘Let’s say cheerio to your nuts for now, Bear, and move on, shall we? Have you heard about the latest crime wave?’

‘No! Come on, spill the proverbial, Bea.’ Brushing his pants free of nut crumbs and guilt.

‘It’s Bernie and Mick, at it again, the Digby twins, you know, the two Staffie terriers who did six months for aggravated assault with a frisbee and six rubber balls.’

Dr Bear gazes dolefully out of the round window, in his mind he sees a billion bees making lots and lots and pots of honey; then casts his mind to the community-agreed precepts. These entail not stealing Bea’s honey in big paws-full, all giddy with no pants on of a Sunday afternoon (a precept made at Bea’s request, following the second such shocking episode which left dozens of her larvae bay-bees suffering PTSBee), but rather collecting a meted-out pot of it twice a month from the rations store along with his rucksack full of Sunday roasts (lab-grown human legs). He swallows hard, with a tenuous virtuous penumbra about his furry head.

‘Nasty buzzyness, Mick and Bernie’s shenanigans,’ Bea continues. ‘I heard the victim— a long-haired Persian number name of Mister Fluffybum — was never the same again. They had him tied to a chair with Bobby Vee’s “Rubber ball you come bouncing back to me” playing on a loop during the whole thing — sick bastards.’

Bea starts to feel a little strange, not tiddly or bog-standard strange, but not unpleasantly so either, quite hungry, light-headed, a bit other-worldly, with a previously unheard of yearning for a Mars Bar. She looks over to her bouquet, the colours of which blur and dance pleasingly, spots again the sticky buds and their spiky leaves, akin to an over-excited Maple leaf, which she had assumed were some kind of exotic tomato plant originally. Drunk as a . . . skunk then. She shrugs demanding that Dr Bear fess up if he has any more sticky buns. If not, is he willing to go the offy.

The giant furry one opens his lowest desk drawer and pulls out an unopened bag of twelve. Reluctantly, he hands the smallest one over. Bea continues, her mind now spinning in a nutty loop of its own.

‘Yes, well . . . it was pretty funny, Mr Fluffybum won’t be showing his bumhole walking backwards for Christmas this year I can tell you!’ (She laughs raucously, spitting crumbs across the desk; she laughs, so much, she soon forgets what she is laughing at, which is even funnier.) ‘So here’s the low down, Bear: the twins have sidelined into drugs, set up a business to launder the moolah, naming the gaff Digby’s Canine Detectives — No Bone Unturned. The two wags have been causing mayhem across the whole of Staffordshire dealing dodgy weed. Give us another bun, eh, my sweet fella . . . er, sweet Bear?’

Dr Bear shoves another her way muttering under his breath, slumps back, his expansive office chair exhales a complex chorus of squeaks against a furious metallic thrashing, tips his tattered trilby to a precarious angle, and says, ‘They’ve weed all over Staffordshire then. Probably saturated the market. Plus the usual gear, s’pose?’

Bea nods, starting to sober up again, buns sating the sativa stoning. ‘Yes, the usual: catnip, rotten apples for hedgehog raves, puffer fish racket for the Dolphin Mafia, but they’ve got a new line this time — cocaine-dusted slippers. The poodles are going mental for them, plus the catnip is a new strain from Jamaica; it’s half chemical, half plant-based and it fucks the cats up big-time.’ Bea can’t resist a gerbera and rolls about giggling in the pollen briefly.

‘In what way?’ (He scratches said hooter, making a mental note to buy Bea gerberas again.)

‘Bit of giddiness at first,’ she says, ‘then they start on the hedgehogs, licking their bellies. The hogs are pissed on the apples, of course, so they love it, they’re queuing up to buy catnip themselves to lace the moggies food then hang about in the shadows ready to pounce . . . well, not pounce, more crawl out of the shadows, lie supine tittering. The cats are mortified when they sober up, it’s clever stuff by the twins; they film it on their mobiles for blackmail purposes. Bernie and Mick are a force to be reckoned with.’

‘Bugger. I’ll get Jeremy on the case,’ says Dr Bear nodding, ‘he’s got underground connections with the Mole Mafia, and they run the whole planet these days.’

Bea looks incredulous. ‘Jeremy?! Jeremy Zee, the balmy barn owl? Don’t the Moles hate him, JZ the raptor? Everyone else does — he’s such an utterly concise twat. A twit twoo for that matter.

Dr Bear replies, ‘Not an issue,’ pulls a folder out of the back of his triple XL Y-fronts and flicks through it, continuing, ‘this is business. Plus the Moles get free magic shows for the kids out of it. Jeremy’s been leader of The Golden Shower Circle of Magicians for 200 years now. He hates it, but he just can’t flush the prestige away.’

Bea hovers angrily. ‘I’ve heard he threatens woodlice with his wand, and worse! I wouldn’t go to see him for a sea of geraniums! How about Catahari instead? She’s still working I hear.’

Dr Bear stretches and checks the engines are still ticking over as he says, ‘Retired, set up house, coincidentally enough, with another set of siblings — The Poe Twins, Seb and Zach.’

‘The Tower ravens? Both of them?’ She looks incredulous and slightly disturbed.

‘Hey, what you want to do of a Saturday night isn’t my business, though she does hate Mr Fluffybum. He left her for a rabbit a few years back, the police chief Lou Snaffle. Terrible scandal back in the day.’

Bea finds this hilarious and shows it. ‘Well, something needs to be done, all you’re doing is stuffing your guts  listening to bloody opera all day for fuck’s sake, and let’s face it, you’re already bigger than the average bear.’

Dr Bear pauses, puts down the fresh bag of sticky buns he was opening, trying to covertly pull one screeching earbud from his furry ear, looking deeply hurt and twice as pompous. ‘Hey, no Yogi jokes! We had a deal.’

Yes, sorry Bear. It’s hard for me as I get such joy out of ripping the piss from you,’ she said, looking as naughty as any bee could. ‘Now c’mon, let’s hit the bakery.’

ala

After some serious silent face stuffing in the onboard Greggs, a slightly more rotund Horatio Bear calls into his office a succession of Small Gods who have been patiently snoring, squawking, honking and more whilst sat in the waiting room. These myriad and varied deities all to a cell representing every animal, creature, sentient moss (and the like) found upon the earth — are indeed demigods, but nevertheless have their ‘issues’, which is why their acronym befits: SAUSAGES = Small And Unusually Screwed-up Animal Gods Eternally Sanctified. (‘Saussies’ for short.) Two of which — a hippopotamus called Karen Baron and her spouse Darren — are known behind their backs as The Hippolatas, along with their quite dreadful two-year-old, Bratwurst. But Saussies, they are all the same.

As Dr Bear talks through several fights (a mash-up of Saussie-on-Saussie action), complaints surface about pangolins being used as footballs whilst asleep, the sea cows’ incredibly poor karaoke nights, and the true difference between silt and mud. Bea curls up in a tulip, holds her feet and grabs some extra easy bee zees.

Taking yet another break from the grilling of fried Saussies, Horatio parts tulips and wakes Bea up, gently asking about the ‘others’ the real troublemakers . . . the scourge.

The humans.

‘The savages have gone too far this time, Bea. I’ve been away at The Best Bear Sabbatical Yoga Yogi for a couple of decades, as you know, and by now they should all be using flying cars, have come the closest to world peace yet, and reintroduced the mullet back into fashion. But no, I’m correct on one point alone: terrible hillbilly hair cuts as far as the bare bear eye can see. Beyond that, they remain as ever — pointlessly killing one another, torturing and devouring every species under the sun whilst wanking themselves blind!’ He realises what he’s just said, furry cheeks reddening, then stares at his left paw intently wondering if he’s gone too far in the crudities line. (Esme Cloud: goes very nicely with a pot of hummus.)

Bea looks not one iota shocked; after all, she was a bee of the world and had seen some rum sights thanks to the birds. ‘All horribly true, and the only flying car is up in space, manned by a dummy! With only five years left until their rabid self-destruction results in what the fur-less fools would call Armageddon. All hail and thanks to Esmeralda Empress of the Clouds and a Variety of Cutlery for the impending doom tip off there.’ (Esme Cloud waves from above, playing ‘I Will Survive’ on the spoons to keep the theme going.)

Dr Bear continues. ‘Hence, my dear queen of the golden nectar, my fellow furry buzzer, we must evacuate the blue and green gaff asap. Hence too, the marvellous escape pod we are aboard: The Good Spaceship Clucking Bell.’ He gestures beyond the office to the rest of the enormous ark-shaped craft they are travelling in. (Esme Cloud: modelled as such because it tickled the achingly arch acerbic Aardvark Architects.)

Dr Bear sighs. ‘Have all The Small Gods been informed? All accounted for? Saussie Cyril? You know, the Small God of fleas. He can be tricky to pin down and gets proper ticked off too. Check every ankle from every angle. And did everyone get the call from Joseema? (Esme Cloud: she’s the House Mouse Goddess and Minister for Squeaks).

Bea shakes her head. ‘She’s pretty deaf these days, refuses to use a hearing aid, yet gets lost in her ear trumpet all the time. Theoretically, the Almighty Chicken could heal her, but she prefers reading beaks and maws apparently, silly old sod, so she texted them all. Just the animal Small Gods and Goddesses, of course, the Saussies, but not yer Jesuses, Mohammeds, yer Buddhas, yer Aphrodites, Venuses, Baron Samedi yer Bellifluficus, etcetera; although the Pastafarians were almost invited for their sense of humour alone. But . . . no, they’ll only breed and we can’t do another eight thousand years of that nonsense. This is all safeguarded by giving Saccorhytus early retirement as she started it all by crawling out of the damn sea like that to get a tan. We’ll still need to keep a close eye on the newts, mind you; give them a thousand years, they take five, and before you know it have legs and arms, are getting their hair permed, getting pissed as . . . well, getting rat-arsed and roasting you on a spit at least. Oh, and Joseema told Neil, of course.’

‘Neil?’ Dr Bear looked nonplussed.

‘Neil Gaiman. The writer chap, got immortalised by some Penguin Small Goddess, who dabbles in publishing; she made him the human God of Storytelling — no true Saussie, course, but we absolutely need a storyteller. I mean, there’s only tales, black humour, platform shoes and the Conga that humans have ever really given us.’

‘What about the Aqueducts?’

Bea chuckles at the memory of a filthy python she once knew. ‘No, I’m Brian!’ The two fall about but still aren’t inviting John Cleese.

‘Neil’s been offered a job — the position of Mammoth Goddess or Dodo Deity as vacancies are free for both. He’s down in the hold chatting to Doctor Thaddeus G. Obmud (Esme Cloud: the ship’s main physician) what with him having been an elephant God for longer than he can remember, and he can remember a hell of a lot. Dodos are funnier at parties and incredible ballet dancers mind you, so it’s a tough call. He’s made up to find out Douglas Adams was really the God of Dolphins though — they’re bunking together tonight.’

Dr Bear looks sideways. ‘I’ll bet. Anyway, I’ll get on and sort out the rest of the waiting room occupants. Doris, can you buzz the next one in, please? Bea, will you meet me again this evening, in say, two hours? Just one more thing to discuss. Bear with.’ He flicks a Honey Nut Cheerio into the air catching it on the tip of his nose and considers life, the universe, and everything for a while.

ala

Later, in the ship’s bar where the low lighting and background music has a gaggle of geese and a panther passionately singing the chorus to ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ — ‘Weeheeheehee, dee heeheeheehee, weeoh aweem away’ a contretemps breaks out between Pete the Beak (the pedantic pathologist pelican), and the glugging gagglers.

‘No he doesn’t!’ shouts Pete, ‘Leo’s propping the bar up knocking back Jägerbombs with Catahari, you dopey honkers!’

Yeah, yeah, thonks, Pete, thonks for clarifying that,’ retort the geese, who waddle off to the loo for a wee (ma-weh).

(Esme Cloud: It’s easy to get distracted up here, looking down to those up there. So, let me draw you back to the main protagonists . . . and if they’re drinking it would be rude not to join in, so a large JD it is here too. clinks )

‘Fancy a bourbon?’

Bea considers this. ‘ We—ell, I shouldn’t really, but yes, go on, just a drop.’

Dr Bear pours one large drop into an empty boiled sweet wrapper. They sip thoughtfully, then he says, ‘Look Bea, this seems the perfect time to ask you something . . . It’s, well, it’s quite awkward actually.’ He fumbles with his bow tie, suddenly distracted by a patina of caked-on cake.

‘Go on, I’m all antennae,’ she said, twitching them.

‘I was wondering if you’d thought about this Saturday in any detail?’

‘Saturday night? Oh, yes, I’m renewing my bee contract. A hundred years fly by ever swiftly the older you get, eh?’

‘Hmm, well, look, you’ve come back as a bee so very many times, countless is an understatement and . . .’

‘I like being a bee, it’s fun having a sting in your tail and sugar in your jaws.’

Dr Bear nods and nods over-emphatically. ‘Of course you do, fine creatures, everything would go to pot without the bees and the woodlice; it’s just . . .’

‘What?’ she buzzed pushing the sweet wrapper back for top-up, faceted eyes beaming at the thought of another Jim Beam nip.

‘Don’t you ever get lonely Bea?’

‘I live in a hive packed with hundreds of workers and way too many drunk ants, so lonely I am not.’

‘Yes, but, what about romance!’ He looks up coyly through eyebrows long enough to tuck under his arms.

Bea says nothing but sups some more JB and waits.

Dr Bear spins round to the mini-fridge and replaces the JB, listening intently for a reply. He then spins back and tries to casually, almost surreptitiously slip a hefty catalogue across the table — it has a bookmark made of sticky bun wrappers hanging out. He fails. Grunting, he lifts open the weighty tome and points.

Bea buzzes over, curious, and sees a large, anatomical drawing of a male and female bear. Unlike Dr Bear they have no clothes on.

‘Are you showing me bear porn? Has it come to this?’ Bea falls to the page collapsing in fits of laughter, rolling about upon the printed tiny, shiny bald acorn below, adding, ‘Well, it may be short, but by God it’s thin!’

Dr Bear’s brown face turns red with anger . . . ‘That sort of thing happens when it’s chilly out! And no! I meant the female bear next to me . . . I mean next to him. This is the catalogue of the species and well you know it! Oh come on Bea, stop being such a bee and be a bear for me, settle down and have a few furry cubs; you must be sick of maggots by now, they’re so ungrateful and all have the same haircut. Be my Bearby baby Bea, I beseech you!’

Bea, highly tickled, considers the offer, nods, laughs and starts dancing drunkenly on a dahlia. ‘Yes, I’ll do it! I want the wedding whilst I’m still a bee though, I’m not looking a hairy fright in a wedding gown!’

ala

The wedding party began at 2pm that Saturday afternoon, and, as the spaceship went into warp speed, a contented Bea and Bear looked out of the window eyeing cloud wisps curl ’round the blue-green marble that was their erstwhile home, watching it shrink behind them into the cold starlit vacuum of space, taking with them every soul of every sentient and living being on Earth (barring all the Bedlamites i.e. humans), leaving not one tick behind.

‘Love the decorations, Bear,’ Bea murmured, ‘but what’s with the floating goat?’

‘Oh, that’s Geoff Boffer, he ties helium balloons to himself and sings Engelbert Humperdink songs — hires himself out at weddings and the like, the rest of the time he’s high as a kite, the daft Saussie.’ Bea finds this hilarious and dances on his nose to show it. (Esme Cloud: whatever floats your goat . . .)

The two lovers wave as they pass a white-suited spaceman driving a red Tesla Roadster, the strains of a song whispering through the ship’s speakers . . . planet earth is blue, and there’s nothing I can do . . . Bea says, ‘Bugger that, tell the DJ to put Diamond Dogs on!’

Mick and Bernie are the first on the dance floor with a pissed-up crowd of hedgehogs in tow.

ala

Esme Cloud: Deep down in the vast hold of the intergalactic ark, hidden away beneath a plethora of identical wooden crates as far as the eye can see, below several Himalayas of hay bales and preserved seeds from every corner of Earth, sits a small vacuum-sealed, heavily locked titanium freezer. It contains two vials, one of human sperm, the other human ova; both sets held in cryogenic stasis.

Mick and Bernie colluded with me, you see; the former thinking blackmail at some point, possible leverage with the Sacred Chicken to escape Saussie jail might be prudent, plus dogs were the only animals that would genuinely miss humanity; and for myself, I am also quite soft on the very best of them — redemption might one day be possible.

My two donors were selected after studying humanity for many hundreds of years and over countless lifetimes stretching back to the ancient Greeks. The female, one Kathy Lucy Bridget Burke of Camden Town, London, who in the late seventies had exchanged her eggs for a ciggy whilst at a party that no-one remembers (no-one remembers not because of any mind-wipe, just because everyone was so bloody hammered). The male human was one Keanu Charles Reeves, who handed the filled vial back with a small winning smile as he had known the future of mankind for much of the two and a half thousand years he had lived his many lives, at one point being amongst the bodhisattvas, as one, as one of the venerable ones, at another as one of the human idols known as Jesus — (he didn’t think that all went too well — wasn’t keen on all the twisting of his words, and wanted not one of them for a sunbeam either), and thought a fresh start was worth a . . . shot. He was wearing a T-shirt that proclaimed the following: Undeniable Truth: – You cannot say Jesus backward without saying . . . sausage.

ala

And then the buggers abandoned me upon a Cloud, nowt bar a WordPress account and six hundred bottles of Jack Daniels for company; and not a chance of overseeing the next round for the human race.

What could possibly go wrong?

ala