England was not yet an anarchist utopia, but under Larry’s random and light pawed guidance it was becoming co-operative. Its people were quietly becoming self reliant, involved and innovative – and in some small way, happy.
Superficially Limehousesailortown was unchanged. Steamers, clippers and tramps still jostled for a place at the quayside; bars, stews and music halls still spewed rowdy, boisterous, swaying parties of intoxicated matelots out onto the narrow streets; ships’ cats still slunk in and out of dingy catnip dens. Homesick seafarers still sought temporary solace in companionable, rentable substitutes for their dimly remembered mothers and sweethearts; but somewhere along the line the claustrophobic alleyways had lost their edginess.
The penthousebedsit was pretty much the same as well. A kettle whistled on the range, the little black and white TV set was showing Land and Freedom – its brown Bakelite case had become loose and an eerie mauve glow escaped around the cathode ray tube. Monochrome posters of Ernesto Guevara and Albert Camus eyed each other from opposing walls. Ginsbergbear was lounging in an old armchair, feet up on the mantelpiece and catnip shag dangling from an as yet unlit Peterson briar, Boz was trying to concentrate on the latest, slightly crumpled, copy of International Catnip Times whilst Phoebles pointed out good bits that he had written and Ferdy, having warmed the teapot, was toasting pikelets under a small gas grill. The pals were relaxing between adventures when…
There came a coded rap on the door. Phoebles opened it and Slasher McGoogs was standing before him. He was wearing a pair of St Michael’s aertex Y-fronts over a cerise spandex hooded one-piece. The hood formed a close fitting mask over his upper face and a serpentine gilded S was emblazoned on his chest.
“B****r me!” expleted Boz.
Ferdy raised an eyebrow, “I know the nation’s dress code is somewhat more relaxed under Larry’s leadership,” He glanced pointedly at Phoebles’ voluminous Smarty-spotted trousers and rainbow bracers, “but surely there are still limits.”
“It’s not easy, suddenly finding you’re a superhero after all those years of covert operating.” Slasher stalked into the room and perched on the edge of the dining table.
“Er, I’m not sure the table is all that sturdy.” Boz warned, but Slasher ignored him.
“Turn up the sound on the telly, I don’t want to be overheard.” He could barely be heard at all as the film climaxed in a crescendo of gunfire and Spanish shouting.
“My contacts within the Aldershot Ghurkha Community warn of rumours from their homeland that the Merovingian Lizard Kings are on the move and strange discs have been seen in the sky above the mountain peaks. Agents in the north report of Reivers raiding south of the wall, and Les Chats Souterrains have been seen mingling amongst the revellers at the Castleton Goth Festival – Speedwell Cavern has been closed to the public. Corsairs aboard black whale hunters with 40mm Bofors or twin 12.7mm DShK’s mounted on the prow have been hi-jacking Arctic Coleyfishtrawlers and holding their cargo’s to ransom!”
Boz gasped. “Coleyfish pirates? Destitute fishmongers? A coleyfish famine? This is a disaster!” Ferdy tried to calm him.
Ginsbergbear had not really been paying attention during the exchange and was idly flicking channels on the old TV. Up popped the COD CHANNEL.
In lill ole England during the terrible insurgency against democracy their prime minister and some of his aids were cut off and surrounded by drug crazed and heathen anarchists. Knowing that if they were captured they would be tortured horribly, in ways I cannot describe on television, they determined to take their own lives rather than be captured. As the screaming demons closed in yelling their blood curdling war cry and the English Gentlemen prepared to meet their end, the baying horde suddenly stopped, stunned into silence, and knelt in prayer. The astounded British ministers looked about – and in the sky above swam COD in Glory, glowing pink and gold.
And COD spake, “Let my people be!”
Needless to say, the terrorists fled.
Although the forces of Anarchy and Atheism are currently in the ascendant, COD and Democracy will one day prevail. The Army of COD is being assembled and we need your donations. For every $ we receive an amount will be put towards armbands, stickers and Tetrafin Delica Bloodworms (COD’s favourite). Contribute today. Support the cause.
“More trouble.” Mused Ginsbergbear.
“Don’t worry about them,” said Slasher, “They’re too busy fleecing their own to really bother us. The true danger lurks in the caves of Derbyshire.”
Phoebles was aghast. “You expect us to take on the Merovingian Lizard Kings, the Dark Lords of myth, the shades behind all that is twisted in the world? Isn’t that a bit ambitious?”
“Just a little nibble at the trouser cuffs of their ambition, a tentative toe into the custard bowl of Machiavellian malevolence. See what we can stir up.” McGoogs’ eyes blazed behind the mask.
Ginsbergbear had begun to pay attention and Boz swallowed, “We can’t just sit back and do nothing – the coleyfish.”
Downstairs, the lounge-bar was all but empty – two worn out Kittens of Chaos were recovering along a red plush chaise longue over hookahs and tiny cups of treacle-black Monsoon Malabar, Sam was mangling a boogie-woogie improv, flat fingered across the tobacco stained ivories of an aging upright, smoke-grey derby pushed to the back of his head, striped shirt with white collar and cuffs folded back from the bony wrists, breakfast stained flannel waistcoat ruckling as he played.
“Your usual, boys?”
Dark Flo was doing service behind the bar. She was slight and pallid with sunken eyes and raven hair that hung about her face like dead crows on barbed wire; waif-like, vulnerable and yet hard as black-iron nails. She could pull a perfect pint, Yorkshire head judged to the millimetre, with one hand tied behind her back and the other skewered to the bar by a Bowie knife. She might dispense or relish pain with equal measure, quell a riot with her contortions at the pole, or empty the bar with a single, gentle command. For now, she pulled pints of tawny London Porter and served them up with Talisker chasers. Before Slasher McGoogs she assembled a shot glass of Tres Amigos Anejos, saltcellar and a half lemon on a cracked white bone china saucer.