“It is Le Régiment Étranger de Chats Parachutists, known colloquially as The Flying Eyebrows; a nick-name deriving from the appearance of the curved, hollow fabric wing of each chute above the eye-like dot of le chat de combat,” explained Boz, hurriedly. “They side with the Dark Forces, so we might have a bit of a problem.”
With our heroes weaving once more between the gathered goths, the paras swooped down onto the town, landing on their feet running, jettisoning their parachutes and firing their PPSh-41s from the hip. The carnival crowd scattered with a depressed mumble, a few shrieks or screams, the odd groan and thud, to take shelter, for the most part, in the cellars of local hostelries. The crunch of the shock troops’ hobnail boots, rattle of their blazing submachine guns and zip zipping of randomly scattering 7.62mm Tokarev rounds was withering the resolve of cats and dodo and terrifying the normally resolute bear.
“Don’t let me die dressed like this!” cried Slasher, momentarily shedding his customary cool.
“Amen to that.” sympathised Ferdinand.
With lead and splinters ricocheting all around them the fleeing gang dove into the Rose Cottage Tea Rooms.
“I hear they do an excellent lemon meringue pie,” cried Phoebles excitedly.
They were just putting in an order with a nippy waitress in very short black dress, black stockings, lacy white apron and starched doily perched and pinned to the top of her head when the teashop windows were stoved-in by a thunderous barrage of sound. An intense pressure wave was shattering plate glass along the length of Cross Street. Outside, the massed Dark Agents of the Merovingian Lizard Kings stopped their advance, clutching at their ears, then fell back and soon were in full retreat.
Down the road from the neighbouring village of Hope, at full throttle, hurtled the legendary Vicecream van, black and menacing. Its jingle system had been upgraded and a bank of Marshall 350-watt vacuum tube amplifiers was feeding The Kittens of Chaos Mariachi Band’s insanely abandoned live rendition of La Cucaracha into an array of horn woofers and tweeters flanked by twin Megadeath Bass Boomer Geo-Frackers. Consuella was riding the roof, unplugged on tambourine and Dark Flo squatted behind the driver, wringing every last decibel out of the sound desk. The vehicle squealed to a halt half way down the shop lined, unglassed high street and the Snake Pass Zapatistas charged past, guiding their mounts with their knees, firing off short bursts from their AK47s or accompanying the Kittens of Chaos’ in La Cucaracha on their guitars and singing till their lungs ached. Riders and chargers alike had their ears plugged with cotton wool, twists of Bronco toilet paper, or solidified and manipulated dairy products.
Boz was choked with disbelieving emotion as he stared through the café’s wrecked window frame. The gang rushed back outside and Snowdrop’s Techanka drew up alongside Phoebles.
“Jump up!” she signed, over the earth-pounding music. And he swung aboard to man the Maschinengewehr 08, heavy machine gun, its 250-round fabric belt of 7.9mm ammunition snaking wildly. He, in turn, collared a passing teddy, yanked him into the landau and yelled, “Feed me, Ginsberbear!”