The recently elected Member of Parliament for the constituency of Pimlico West, Timothy Hugo Michaelmas-Daisy, sighed as he read the report in The Guardian of the débâcle which had disrupted his Maiden Speech last night during the Adjournment Debate, but he couldn't help smirking at The Grauniad's confusing the word presumer with prosumer – quite obviously what the writer of the piece – he glanced up the page to see that it was Theresa Somerville, it jolly well served her right, it was just a pity that few of the Trendy Lefty readers would notice; just an MP for four months, in the vacancy left by his predecessor's sudden death, Timothy was still very much a learner, more at home with his Conté drawings than the hurly-burly of political life; he was an abstainer from alcohol, tobacco, women and gambling, indeed excess in all things, led a rather spartan life like his hero from Ancient Rome, Cato the Younger, and would have been both amused and horrified that the MI5 dossier on him described him as xeric, the implication being arid and sterile, although it did also assess him as being mens sana – having a healthy mind – perhaps in ignorance of his philosophy tutor at Oxford, Roger (The Dodger) Maskelyne, regularly drawling it as Men's Sauna and hinting that it was the only place worth spending any recreational time in if one were neither a Soccer, Rugger, nor Rowing Hearty, and whatever Timothy was, he most certainly was not a Hearty!
Oh what a Kludge! the Sergeant-at-Arms dragging the leader of the DUP from under the PM's bench and interrupting the Maiden Speech of a shrinking violet from one of the Shires on the subject of Tags fitted to persons whom are presumed innocent until proven guilty and are remanded at home rather than in a detention centre and had just proven himself guilty of being a presumer in the matter of Tags, by presuming them to be affixed to the person's ear, as are sheep tagged, instead of being an ankle bracelet! and now he was drowned out by the sheer abandon of Madame Tangerine Foster, clad in Orange all over and declaiming her innocence of any possible charges: "there I wis, oop in thay Pooblic Gaullery, yer Warship, craning me knack tae oabsurve me Loyal Orange Maimbers below, staunnin oop fer Oolstur against he Youropean Younyin, whan wan o me airings drapt awf me aire and fail doon inter the Chumber, an wis axidauntly kicked oondur thot therr bainch, wall it was wan o may beloved King Billy airings, presented tae me bay the Graund Mint Impayreal Eturnal Graund Vizear of the Moast Loyal Orange Squash of Holeland, so it wis, an impulsively I joost shinned down wan of theym pillers in they confusion of the mayment, so I did, aund I'll sware tae thot oondur Oath!" and then burst into The Sash My Father Wore, as the Sergeant-at-Arms frog-marched her out, the DUP Members roared their support for her and the rafters echoed with their cheers and the Speaker bellowed: "Orderrrrr, Orderrrrr!" to all and sundry.
It was well after midnight on the first day of the Brexit Debate, when the Conservative Members of Parliament for the three Beddingshire Constituencies: North (Sir Pompus MacFarlane), Mid (Mr Digby Doubleday) and South (Ms Natalie Rhombus) staggered into the Chamber and found themselves rather at a loss - it was highly unusual for a Debate, however sparsely attended, to be on at this hour: "it's a wee bit eldritch," hissed Nat the Hat, sliding along a bench, to make room for her companions; "not much of a conglomerate, worse attendance than for a School Debating Society!" said Sir Pompus, sniggering, as he surreptitiously pulled a hip flask from his pocket and, hiding it behind a handkerchief, took a swig, then passed the handkerchief and it's contents to Nat; which was when the perspicacious Doubleday spotted something untoward under the Front Bench opposite (not realising that the Three Caballeros had entered the Opposition Benches) and, hand raised and index finger quagswagging, roared: "I Spy Strangers!" thus causing uproar, especially as the Stranger, dragged out from under the PM's customary seat before the Dispatch Box turned out to be none other than the Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, Madame Tangerine Foster, wearing the Regalia of a Grand Imperial Wizard of the Loyal Orange Order, not herself a Member! what a kerfuffle, during which the three from Beddingshire, having realised their erroneous choice of seats, quietly squeezed out of the Chamber and found their way back to The Floozies Bar and their usual table!
Captain Sun Yat-Soo was bang on time and Martin Elginbrod still couldn't decide whether the Captain was male or female, although the velutinous reddish-chocolatey-caramelly skin inclined him to think She, so he said: "should I call you Captain, or what?" and the Captain smiled, and replied: "you can call me whatever you like, Mr Elginbrod, please take a seat; I have been asked to apologise for what happened – our mission, like others, was to study how you react to unexpected situations; our orders are to watch for anomalies, but not to interfere; unfortunately, someone attacked you and I believed that your life was in danger and I did interfere, for that I have been reprimanded by my Commander, because the Alert meant that rather than being returned, unharmed and with no suspicion of being reviewed, you were brought here; you are the first Earth Human to be brought back to Mars, as you call our Red Planet, and that was not intended by the Creator, whom some of you Earth Humans worship as a God, or not a God, but the God, who watches over you," and Elginbrod asked: "and are you Martian Human too?" at which the Captain laughed: "of course, we are all descended from the same original archetypal blueprint – or DNA as you call it – it is the Life Source and while Mars was created to be the repository of information on the Life Source, your original ancestors were Humans from Mars who were given the chance to live more freely, without any direction by the Creator, to see how far they would develop on the planet originally called Eden; I must tell you that, in many ways the Creator was unhappy that such Freedom – I think you call it Free Will – has resulted in negative developments, in conflict and aggression; I do believe that the Creator is particularly unhappy that, given so much opportunity and Freedom, and the same cognitive abilities as us, Earth Humans in many epochs chose to settle their differences by engaging in wars, which are totally destructive and have set back your development by many millennia! the purpose of the current Study is to establish whether Greed, Envy, and Aggression are inherent, or encoded within the Human Genome, or simply Learned Behaviour, and whether it might be possible for the Creator to circumvent it," which left Elginbrod's mind reeling; not quite knowing what he wanted to discover, he asked: "can you tell me more about Mars, the Red Planet? I don't know if any of the theories we have on Earth about it are true – you probably know that it has been described as a Dead Planet;" and that made the Captain laugh, and it was a little while before the reply came: "it's probably simplest to say that Mars is a kind of Storehouse, or Computer in which we Mars Humans live and work: the outer surface, which you can observe from Earth, is really just Space Dust which has accumulated over many millions of years – we rarely spend time on the surface, for all our needs can be met beneath it; and being lost for words, Elginbrod did what he usually did on those rare occasions, he mentioned something within his vision: "that sword, o dagger on the wall, what do you call it, and use if for?" and the Captain without a glance towards it replied: "it is a badelaire, a souvenir from a mission to France, it had been discarded in the street and I thought that for safety it should be removed – yes, I know, that's interfering – and I brought it back," and Elginbrod followed up: "when was that?" but the reply: "your 16th century, if you really must know!" hit him like a sucker-punch and he sat down, heavily, and was surprised that the chair seemed to sag slightly and then resume it's correct height, everything here was quite beyond his ken!
But on the way, their path suddenly divaricated when Dixie O'Hooligan suddenly threw herself at a couple of guys who'd just stepped out of a pub: "I'll fuckin kill ye, ya fuckin arsehole bastard!" she screamed into the face of one, as she slammed him against the wall and fair kneed him in the goolies, before turning towards the other, but he abandoned his pal and ran hell-for-leather away from the mayhem; "what's up, Dixie?" asked Riddle, but not moving too close: "he cried me a Playboy Bunny, the fucking wanker!" and kicked the guy, who had slumped to the pavement: "well, I think he's got the message that you aren't that," laughed Riddle, as he and Dixie hurried to catch up with the others: "aye but, it's okay for you guys," said Dixie, still pumped up with the adrenaline rush, "you really dinnae ken whit it's like bein a lassie an hearin shite like thon aw the time, an no jist fae arseholes like him, there's arseholes aw ower the place, an loads wha should ken better – they open their gobs an lerrit aw come oot, an if ye object they say 'och, cool it hen, it's jist in fun, a wee bit o hairmless banter, words dinnae hurt ye!' aye bit they dae, an okay it's mebbe different fae getting run ower by a bus, or being in accouchement, ye ken, gien birth tae a bairn, burrit's stuff like thon that grinds us doon, yin generation efter another, an even you Riddle – no that ah've ever heard ye say stuff like thon, but ah mean, ye micht sympathise an empathise, but ye cannae really ken whirrit's like unless yer a lassie, ye ken?" and Riddle said: "like ye cannae really sing the Blues, unless ye're Black, Blind an Starvin?" and she punched him on the arm, laughed and said: "prick! but dinnae take it tae hert, am only cryin ye a prick in fun, ye ken, hairmless banter!"
"Bonk him on the conk?" exclaimed Felix Rosenstiel, "not our style, Mr Mooney, "but I do think we need to secure him before we try to take him down the hill," at which Peadar removed a length of stout cord from his capacious pockets, and Felix, assisted by Riddle Rankine, proceeded to tie Martin Elginbrod's ankles and wrists, in such a way that he could be rolled down the hill towards the Radical Road, where one of the O'Hooligan Twins associates was waiting for them with a vehicle that had been adapted to give it a passable resemblance to an ambulance - it did mean a slight diverication to get there, but there were enough of them to make it in short order, despite Mooney taking on the role of preceptor and issuing a constant stream of instructions as he walked and smoked several cigarettes in the time it took to reach the vehicle, just beyond the old loch: "ye'll be taking a dram to mark the Saint's Day?" asked Mr Mooney to the assembled group, after Elginbrod had been safely stowed and driven off to an undisclosed destination: "well, now, and where would you suggest?" asked Rankine, expecting it to be The Burke and Hare, only to be surprised and privileged when the older man said: "my place, the missus will be pleased to make your acquaintance, bhoys, the lasses are already well kent, since they were knee-high to a grasshopper, sure and isn't that so, Bunty?" and the girls both agreed, so, following in Mr Mooney's footsteps, they trooped off to meet the far-famed matriarch who ruled Peadar Mooney;'s indoor life!
"Unhand me. ye heathen!" cried Peadar Mooney at his unseen assailants, "huv ye nay respect fer yer man here, abomination though he may be, bein a brief fer the haves agin the have nots, but all the same, some divil has bashed his brains oot an iffen that husnae kilt him, the tummel offen Salisbury Crags wud hae finished him off, good an proper, hud I no dun the public-spirited thing an saved him from The Drop!" and taking a deep breath, as though about to declaim the Last Rites, a hand clapped itself over his mouth and a woman hissed: "ah but yer the right ritzy wan tae be grievin this bag o shite, Peadar Mooney, ah never hud ye pegged for bein a hypocrite!" and his eyes nearly popped out of his head: "Dixie O'Hooligan, as I live an breath, or at least I will that, if ye'se hud the decency tae unhand me," at which he was let go of, but still closely hemmed in by, as he glanced around, Dixie and her twin Bunty, and two young fellahs who had that combination of intellectuality coupled with a hint of muscle, which was enough to stay Peadar off from trying to fight his way out; oh well, he considered this bivious situation, there's no third option, so I'd best side with this gang, especially with the Twins in it, for I wouldn't like to see my bones being turned into scrimshaw by some lifer in Saughton, like this lifeless thing at me feet; which prompted him to glance at the two men: "wis it ye'se yins banjoed him?"
As the Probe landed, with a puff of dust, it actuated a response and the message went out, from Illustrious Presiding Justice Pando Mash-Fa-Line, President of the Red Planet, and it was by a quirk of reception, or perception, that Martin Elginbrod – floating in the Medical Suite of Vessel EARTH SURVEYOR SPQR – just happened to catch it and find that the strange and seemingly random combinations of vowels and consonants made sense to him, translating to:
"Calling all Martians, to take a Stand! Earthmen Invaders approach our Land! Prepare to Attack! And Make them Draw Back! All of our Spacecraft are fully Martianned!"
in a way, this audio perception might be considered rather akin to looking at a doodle, or a cloud and seeing a recognisable likeness of your Grannie, or Charlie Chaplin, though no-one else might see it – pareidolia, the psychologists call it when carrying out their Rorschach Tests with inkblots, to help them peer under the defences of your subconscious!
Now, I know that you have formed an opinion of Peadar Mooney: a scurrilous, garrulous windbag who doesn't do a day's work if he can help it but, yet, is possessed of a remarkable agility of body and mind should the occasion require – though it must be admitted that Mrs Mooney, chatelaine and matriarch of the Mooney Household and assorted dependencies wouldn't recognise the 'remarkable agility' one little bit; but hey, what stayed his left foot before it could score that goal with Martin Elginbrod's rather bashed head? it was the occlusion of his windpipe caused by an unseen hand, the materialising from the night-time gloom of several potential witnesses, and more forcibly even than those factors, another hand using his right ear as if it were the tongue on an African likembe, the entire effect being to produce a strangulated and plaintive: "yeeeow, vaaat eeee fooooock d'yeeeese vaaaaant?"
Now, Peadar Mooney's first thought as he snatched the bundle from the jaws of the Salisbury Crags and the yawning chasm beneath, was that it was an urban fox, but rejected that instantly: there'd been no "Hallooo!" no pounding hooves, no battue with it's army of beaters, and it was too fuckin' cold – say what you like about them, Edinburgh's urban foxes are a canny lot, too canny to bother with Arthur's Seat while there are KFC and Big Mac and Dominoes within a two minute walk of each other, not to mention a dozen traditional Chippies, several of them offering Pizza or Kebab and anything you like between two halves of a roll! - and anyway, now he came to look at it, it was too big for any of the foxes Peadar knew lived within a square mile of his essential triangle: Home, the Burke and Hare, and Easter Road, the Holy Ground to a dedicated Hibbee often encroached on by those few Edinburgh Papes too miserly to travel west to Parkhead when they can cheer on the local Bhoys for the price of a bus; so what the fuck was it? now the born trombenik isn't going to waste too much time on a puzzle when he can slouch away and invent the missing details for the audacious yarn he will spin at The Burke, but something intrigued Peadar, so he lit a fag and then used his lighter to survey the object: a fucking mannequin, probably from a bin at the back of Next or Top Man! but then his eyes were drawn to the head, first, to an ugly purpling bruise with the kind of swelling a plastic head wouldn't sport, next, the face itself and he almost dropped the lighter as if he had seen Ould Nick himself, or an ouphe, exchanged for a human child; no, he knew this face: "in the name o the wee man!!!" he gasped, "sure somebody must want ye croaked, ye ould fuckin bastard Elginbrod!" hissed Peadar, looking at the unconscious face of the arrogant, posturing lawyer who'd represented Peadar's arch enemy, Malachi Pentland, the Jam Tart millionaire over a private parking space and won, costing Peadar thousands and his reputation – he had a good idea of what to do and that started with his left foot drawing back ready to score a goal with the lawyer's head, when it was suddenly stayed!
Now, Peadar Mooney was undeniably a trombenik, on both counts: as a retired horse dealer who never missed a match at Easter Road and spent the days in-between, praising or castigating the Hibs players, Manager and Directors to a man, he was economical with his actions and his money and in point of fact, as probably one of the wealthiest Hibbees in the entire city, he dressed as he had always dressed in his dealing days, as a fair approximation to a tramp; indeed, his exiguity with the spondulux, the lucre, the cash – he never had a bank account and was always a cash-only man, which probably accounted for the fact that he never paid a penny in income tax in his puff, but that's not strictly relevant here – meant that he preferred to travel by shanks's pony rather than an outrageously costly taxi, and alhough he had a home, built of bricks and mortar, and superintended by a Mrs Mooney, his life had always been lived al fresco - except when a man required a pint of draught - and it was also a way of minimising the time Mrs Mooney could order him about - and so, he was ever fond of nocturnal wanderings, never far from his home on London Road and tending to be based on a rough circle with the Easter Road ground at it's centre; and it was thus that wandering through Holyrood Park in the darkling time which comes so early in November and December, he became an unwitting zeitgeber when he spotted a bundle rolling down from the summit of Arthur's Seat and silhouetted against the bright moon: he saw at a glance that it's momentum and direction made it quite possible that it would be travelling at such a speed in it's descent that it could carry on up the slope opposite and tumble over Salisbury Crags onto the rocks below (and if it was of any value, it would be snaffled before Peadar managed his arthritic way down there by the Radical Road) oh, he had learned much from his years contesting Referee's decisions from the safety of the Stands, and the actions of a rolling object were a peach to man with Peadar's eye and speed of calculation honed over fifty years as a buyer and seller of horse-flesh; so it was with commendable reflex for one normally so slow and dignified in his movements, that Peadar hurled himself in an impromptu imitation of a Goalie, not directly at the object, but at that point where his clutching hands would grab it and stop it dead!
Already, his nerves at concert pitch, Martin Elginbrod felt himself thrilled by an ariose which may have originated within his own head, or been sung by his Alien Abductors, but it entwined with a strange booming from a cornucopia or conch, blown on a distant shore, on a distant world, galaxy or universe even – and he wondered if they were going to give him a dose of climatotherapy, take him on the trip of a lifetime; Heaven or Hell, he was in other hands!
I've been abducted by Aliens! screamed Martin Elginbrod inside his head, fucking Aliens! it's true, all those loonies in America and all over the world, it's only fucking true and they've picked ME! for crissakes, ME! and then he wondered how they could have orchestrated the events of that day, which led, inexorably, his steps to the very top of Arthur's Seat, and then WHY? and he remembered the remora, the snake symbol, on his family Coat of Arms – a pretty penny that little slither had cost, and he wasn't thinking of the symbol, but rather the Lord Lyon King of Arms, what was his name? he was a stopgap, just a short tenure because someone was indisposed, but he held out his greasy palm and Elginbrod crossed it with silver, or a wad of untraceable notes to be precise; a right noisome little toad of a man, what was his name? oh, yes, Runne, that was it, Sir Osbert Hamish Runne, a fucking Solicitor Advocate like me! a fellow Writer to the Signet and he copped me for a packet! oh well, partner in Smash, Grabbit and Runne, what can you expect, though old Syd Smash was likeable enough, and Gilbert Grabbit always stood a round, not like Runne, he was always at the bog when his turn came up; wonder where he is now? probably Nyasaland, or whatever it's called now, full of cannibals I hope; and then, the thought struck him: maybe these ones eat People! oh fuck, boiled alive, or roasted on a spit over a fire! oh well I hope I'm zamzawed and they all get sick and die, serve the fucking bastards right!!!
At least, thought Martin Elginbrod to himself, I seem to be alive, so that is something to be upbeat about and he spent some time wiggling his extremities in a rather simplistic belluine kind of way, although as it seemed he was either blind or in a completely darkened place, it was perforce an unsatisfactory exercise, being unable to see them, and he remembered stories of people with phantom limbs, imagining that they could wiggle the toes which were no longer there and then it flashed across his mind like a lightning bolt that his eyes were simply shut and so he suddenly opened them but the glimpse of those who were studying him, perceiving him as simply an othering, a specimen, a fat, unfit, ugly representative of the Human Race made him shut his eyes again as tightly as he could, blush to his scant roots and wish himself dead!
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