Smoke from incense burners and josticks curled in serpentine swirls about the room, their mixture of pungent aromas masking a sweeter, pervasive and much more disturbing smell, the lingering stench of decay.
“Has no one heard of Febreze?” exclaimed Phoebles
“I would discourse with Mr Boz,” said the capitáno, “the other one is irrelevant. Feed it to the hammerhead sharks.”
“Now just hang on one minute.” Phoebles’ response was urgent if a little squeaky.
“We have no hammerhead sharks,” replied Nimitta.
“Why not? Well, feed it to something.”
There was a movement in the deep shadows behind Capitáno Tierrasmedias and a figure stepped into the half-light, a figure in a grey homburg, black mask and gabardine trench coat.
“Sla…” began Phoebles.
Boz kicked his ankle.
“Perhaps he could be returned to his cage whilst your minions source a suitable carnivore.”
“I value your advice as always Mr McGoogs. Take it away.
“Now Mr Boz, are you familiar with the works of Nietzsche?” Silence. “Übermensch?” Still no response. “I shall explain. I am become Superman. Or to be more accurate, I will become Superman as soon as my brigands can find me a phone box in which to change.” Boz remained unenlightened.
“Milne then, have you read anything of his?” asked Tierrasmedias. Boz brightened at the mention of a more familiar author.
“‘You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes,’ said Pooh. Well we are coming, Mr Boz. We are coming.”
“If the person you are talking to does not appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in this ear,” replied Boz.
“Deep, Mr Boz. Profound. I can see that we will get on spiffingly. Sit.”
The captain had talked for hours.
“There can be no justice in war. Your dragon slayers like Beowulf, St George, John Lambton did not prevail because they were chivalrous and bold, they won because they were harder, more persistent and more brutal than the dragons. Your revolution did not succeed because you were just, but because Mr McGoogs here was more devious than the Government. Our counterrevolution will not succeed because we are patriotic, but because we have the greater force and will not fail to use it. Your countercounterrevolution will not founder because you do not have right on your side, but because you are weaker than me. Might and badass commanders win battles. And I am the biggest badass of them all.”
“But we must strive for justice and freedom and equality,” replied Boz.
“Why? I am going to win. I am going to win because no horror is inconceivable if it brings me victory.” Captain Midlands grew tired of the conversation. “Go now.”
“I will escort the prisoner back to his pen,” said McGoogs, “Perhaps tomorrow…”
Slasher and Boz walked at a steady pace across the compound, the stench of burning tyres hanging on the still air, the sound of clanging cymbals and subhuman howls drifting from behind the bike sheds.
“What in hell are you up to, Slasher?” demanded Boz.
“That nutter is doing more damage to his own side than he is to ours. I have been manipulating him.” Replied McGoogs.
“Well it’s got to stop.”
They reached the big cat enclosure and stared, stunned into silence. The cage had only one occupant, Nimitta, bound and gagged. There came a whisper from somewhere behind them.
“To me. Now.”