The Software Engineers' Revolutionary FrontTM plc
The Birmingham Multics wombat.forum memorial saga:

The strange tale of
Emilia the duck-billed platypus

by a whole bunch of people.



The year: 1991.
The place: London.

No. Hang on. Let's go back a bit.

1986: `Clean' nuclear bomb invented; mega-destructive but hardly any fallout. Arms race goes from reverse to 5th gear.

1987: In response to student unrest, the Evil Dictatoress nukes Southwest Campus of Broom University.

1988: A `clean' nuke from an unknown source wipes out Belgium. No-one cares very much, but World War III is triggered. Due to extensive bombing between the Wash and the Bristol Channel, the south of England breaks off and slides into the channel, hitting France, which annexes it. Migglezimblatt the wombat meets guitarist Pual Wbee in a french jail.

1989: As animals worldwide decide to give up the pretence of being `dumb' when they can actually talk human languages and play pinball as well as humans, they are accorded equal rights under the Cannon Hill Convention.

1990: Due to an amnesty for political prisoners, Migglezimblatt et al. are released, and form the group Pelvic Wombat. Their first single is so crap that Radio 1 plays it constantly. Pelvic Wombat are an instant hit.

1991: Emilia the Duck-Billed Platypus travels from Tasmania, Australia to Londres, France to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming an ace reporter...



It was a dark and stromy* night as Emilia the Duck-Billed Platypus left the mid-London office block. The acid rain was sluicing off the asbestos umbrellas of passers-by, the thunder was rumbling unconvincingly, and a herd of mutant water buffalo were abseiling down the Telecom Tower. However they are completely irrelevant at the moment so our Heroine ignored them. Tucking a buff envelope in her pocket she headed towards the bus stop in the deluge.

Fortunately Emilia the D.B.P. did not mind the rain, being a semi-aquatic mammal of the species Ornithorhynchus anatinus. And also because she was wearing a cagoul and wellies.

Emilia caught the bus, and had to pay with her very last 10 franc note. On the bus, which was unneccessarily noisy and dirty, she took out the envelope. In it were her new press pass and her first assignment for her new employer, a glossy magazine.

It was a tough assignment. It was to do with...

* stromy: descriptive of the muggy period before a thunderstorm.



...a shopping list.

Emilia was beginning to wonder about the kind of outfit that hired her, when she noticed some writing on the back. `It must be terribly secret to be disguised as a shopping list,' she thought. The message read...

`Oooohhh.... they sound terribly exciting. I wonder what they are?'


Meanwhile, in a dark room elsewhere in the sprawling city, a group of animals sat around a card table. The air was thick with tobacco smoke, and the tension was nerve-wracking. A huge pile of crumpled notes sat on the table. Central to the scene was an opossum, wearing a dapper suit, and an animal that was unidentifiable under its mass of hair.

`Snap!' shouted the hairy monster, just before the opossum's heavies moved in, to relegate it to becoming a fireside mat.

`Wait,' ordered the opossum, `I'll play you double or quits!'

The hairy monster looked nervously, but optimistically at the opulent opposing opossum, and opted to...




`I bet you can't snap with this one', murmed* the hairy monster, and pulled out a semi automatic rifle from his pocket.

`Um, I think we can', replied the opussum, and pulled out from his belt a large hand grenade. `Now, you will have to draw your card.' The hairy monster turned over the card. He paused, then laid it down on the table.

Calmly, he said `snap'.

Calmly, the opossum pulled something out of the top of the grenade. `You've got 10 seconds to make up your mind, matey-boy'

* murm: to talk quietly in a manner which suggests a subtly veiled but very nasty threat.



The hairy monster peered through the haze at the object in the paw of the mysterious maniacal marsupial, and said, `It's still snap,' possibly because the object was a tulip (somewhat the worse for wear for being stuffed inside the grenade, but a tulip nonetheless). As one, the heavies converged on the opossum, shouting things like, `Oh look at the pretty flower,' and `Yum, tulips, my favorite.' This effectively shielded the hirsute card player from the blast of the exploding grenade.

`Ouch,' said the opossum, and expired, together with the heavies. The sole survivor of the carnage stood up, pocketed the notes and left, pausing only to turn out the light as he departed. Outside he collected his coat and hat. As he put the coat on (a large trench coat with lots of flaps and things) a card fell from his pocket. The card said:

                  /                        \
                  |                        |
                  |     Birke Dogguard     |
                  |  Private Investigator  |
                  |                        |
`Well, that's another case cleared up,' muttered Birke*

`Now, what's next?' he mused as he left the dingy basement. `Oh yes,' he continued, `those peculiar colostomy bag murders...'

In the chemists, he noticed, as he approached the counter, a duck-billed platypus clutching a notebook. She was asking about colostomy bags. `Excuse me, can we talk?' said Birke to our heroine...

* He'd come up with the name one night at Miggy's Emporium of Exotic Elixirs, a rather illicit little place he knew. It had seemed a good idea to take the names of a couple of famous detective types, and mess around a bit with the initials.



`Apparently, yes,' replied Emilia.



`But can we talk in private?' queried Birke Dogguard.
`Yes. Come over here.' replied Emmy.
`What? from here?' said Birke.
`Stop pissing about and tell me what you want,' said Emmy, `I've got lots of shopping to do.'

`On my way here I found this book of matches. Whaddya make of them?' said Birke, opening one of the many pockets in his trenchcoat and showing Emmy the matches, which looked like this:

                 / \                     \
                /   \ Rover's Smack Shack \
               / Q  Q\                     \
              / // // \  Horse-flavoured    \
             / // // //\  dodgy substances   \
            / // // // /\   a speciality.     \
           / // // // // \                     \
          /---------------\ mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm \
         /                 \ mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm \

Thunder rolled outside.

Outside said `Oi! bugger off!' and rolled thunder back.

Before Emmy had a chance to answer, they were both taken aback by the sudden appearence of a shimmering light behind the counter. The shimmering gradually turned into a six-foot high, six-foot wide yellowy sort of wibble, in which eventually Roj Blake, Jenna Stannis and Olag Gan appeared.

`I wish to register a complaint' shouted Blake as he approached the assistant who had come out from the back room. Gan walked heavily accross to the door and stood heavily in front of it, blocking the exit and looking heavy. Jenna immediately walked up to the Scholl footcare rack and grabbed three packets of corn pads, which she intended to smuggle to Saurian Major because they were a bit short of corn pads after a recent large explosion.

`We'd better get outta here blue-eyes' whispered Birke to Emmy as his upper lip twitched above his front teeth. `I don't think they've seen us.'
`We've been spotted, surely!' said Emmy
`No I don't think so. And don't call me Shirley!' retorted Birke. So they made a hasty but subtle dash for the door.
`Relax' said Gan, 'We are programmed to receive - You can check out anytime you like but you just can never leave.'



`Hang on a mo,' said Emilia, `you're supposed to be characters from a classic BBC science fiction series, not a rap group.'

Just then Blake pulled out a guitar and Jenna improvised some drums

`Hey we are Blake's Seven and we're really really cool
we get rave reviews from NME and Smash Hits as a rule
we've done gigs from Cygnus Alpha, to gigs on Gauda Prime
the Federation's after us but we still get time to rhyme
now Servalan's a rocker, and Travis is a punk
but we're Blake's Seven Rappers and our songs ain't that old junk...'

Just then a convenient ventilation grille behind Emilia and Birke slid open.
`Quick, in here!' whispered a voice. The platypus and the hairy creature climbed into the ventilation shaft and shut the grille. Behind them, they could hear the group still rapping. A dim torch glowed into Birke's eyes.

`Now listen,' said the shadowy figure to Birke, threateningly, `I saw you hanging around the stationery counter fingering some liquid paper. I'm with a glossy magazine and I've been assigned to research why liquid paper bottles dry up so quickly.' The shadowy figure brandished a piece of paper.

`Hang on a mo,' said Emmy, grabbing the paper and torch. She examined the one with the other. `This isn't a very interesting torch,' she remarked, then did it the other way round.

`This assignment has my name on it! I'm supposed to be researching liquid paper, and you're supposed to be doing the shopping!'

`Oh,' said the shadowy figure, who was in fact the office gopher, `I thought it seemed funny.' Emilia gave him the shopping list, and they all climbed out of the ventilation.

`Liquid paper... now what does that remind me of?' wondered Birke. The gopher wandered off to finish the shopping. Emmy looked wonderingly around.

The chemist's was a scene of devastation, as a herd of mutant water buffalo had rampaged through it, smashing everything and trampling everyone in sight. Blake and his crew were nowhere to be seen.

`I know - there was some sort of scandal about about a famous rock group buying lots of liquid paper...' remarked Birke.
`I wonder what they wanted it for?' asked Emmy. They strolled out into the street past an onion seller on a bicycle. It was still raining.
`That's the mysterious thing - nobody knows...' said Birke.
`Well, it wouldn't be mysterious if they did, would it?'

They had just decided to go find some coffee, when suddenly...



Somewhere in another part of the bustling metropolis, another strand of the plot was rearing its ungrammatical head.

A large warehouse stood by the river, staring across to yet another large warehouse on the other side. An onlooker standing immediately in between these two warehouses would notice that large consignments of correction fluid were being delivered into one, and a very noisy and rather tuneless band was practising in the other. But since the observer would be able to walk on water, you could safely assume that whoever it was, they'd have more important things on their mind than Tippex.

By a strange coincidence, Emmy the duck-billed platypus and Birke the unidentifiable hairy detective were in the vicinty of neither of these, but were in fact just about to stumble across the victim of another colostomy bag murder.

And elsewhere, a badly shaken, and superficially injured opossum was hauling itself off to an expensive private hospital to get patched up.

And if all this wasn't complicated enough, seven jars of bovril had been deposited by the front door of Emmy's flat.

And the depositor of the jars of bovril had just been murdered by having the contents of a colostomy bag forced into their body in a most unpleasant way.


Emmy and Birke rounded a corner. It was hard work, but with the help of some masonry tools, and a few bits of heavy duty Noir et Decker kit, they'd rounded it quite nicely. They stood back to admire their work.

`Well,' said Emmy `that's a nice bit of stonework there. Now about these bottles of correction fluid..... AAAAAAAARGH!'

`Aaaaargh? How do you mean `Aaaaaaargh?' '
`Bleurgh!' [f/x Ralph and Hughie for the next two minutes.]

Emmy pointed at the horribly murdered corpse, and gurgled:

`I know that face... it's.................



...Alfred Fring!', screamed Emmy.
`Who?', asked Birke, puzzled.
`Alfred Fring. He used to work at a place called Sanfran's Disco.'
`So how do you know that place?'
`I left my harp there once. He found it.'

Birke leant over and frisked the horribly mutilated body.
`There's a book of matches here,' he said. `They're from a psychiatrists.'
Emmy glanced at the matches. `Dr. Heinz Einzweidreimeistersingervorsprungdurchtechnik. He's got a lecture on tonight in half an hour - if we rush we can still make it!'


They settled into their seats. Dr. Heinz Einzweidreimeistersingervorsprungdurchtechnik had a perfectly normal English speaking voice and wasn't a stereotype at all.

`Ladies and Gentlemen. I am here today to talk to you about a new and terrible disease which is sweeping this nation. Since I discovered it, it has spread wildly, and so the public must be alerted to its menace. I call it...' [f/x pause for effect] `Python syndrome!' [f/x shocked gasp] `It manifests itself in many ways, generally by the quoting of cliches, especially those from 20 year old TV shows. I have also discovered that the only sure way to stop this disease from containating the entire planet is to exterminate the disease wherever it is found, by as horrible and messy a means as possible. One of the best involves a colostomy bag, but a Kalashnikov or similar will do just as well.' He paused. `I will now show you an example.'

A bewildered looking man was pushed on stage. `I want you to imagine that you are in a shop which sells dairy produce', said the psychiatric crusader, Dr. Heinz Einzweidreimeistersingervorsprungdurchtechnik. `Have you got any South American Beaver Cheaarrrggghhh!', said the victim as Dr. Heinz Einzweidreimeistersingervorsprungdurchtechnik shot him. Half of the audience leapt to their feet, shouting `He's dead. He is no...' and vanished into a hole in the floor as the mad doctor pulled a concealed lever.

`Now, does anyone have any questions?'

A man stood up. `How can we locate these people?' he asked.

`I asked for questions, but I didn't expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition,' said the Doctor, by way of an example. The remaining half of the audience, except our two heroic types (who were standing at the back), donned red robes and floppy hats, and shouted, `Nooooobody expects the Sp' [f/x splat as they were squashed by a large 17 ton weight released from the roof by the Doctor.]

Dr. Heinz Einzweidreimeistersingervorsprungdurchtechnik said to the two remaining watchers, `This is an ex-audience' [f/x BANG uurgh as Birke shot him.]
`What a senseless waste of human life' remarked Emilia. They left.

Outside, Birke said, `Well, that's the colostemy bag case wrapped up. Now, how about the Tippex investigation?'

`Well,' said Emmy, `I hear there's a band practising in the warehouse opposite the one where the stuff is stored. I know some muso lingo, so I should be able to persuade them to let us borrow a bit of the place for a while.'
`OK,' said Birke. 'Let's go back to my place and pick up my surveillance equipment, then head for the warehouse.'

On the way, they passed Emmy's abode so they stopped to pick up the post, and the Bovril, which turned out to be Alfred Fring's way of reminding Emmy of the night she'd spent at the Disco; they'd had a Bovril-wrestling night (cf mud-wrestling) and Emmy had got so excited by the powerfully-built wrestlers that she'd left her harp there.


They drove up to the warehouse and went in. The band were there. So was a stack of amps about 50 feet high, and a pair of speaker stacks double that. There was a sign there, with the name of the band on it. It said...



			      PELVIC THRUST (crossed out)
			       PELVIC RUST (crossed out)
			P E L V I C  W O M B A T !
The band looked...



...awful !

They were dressed in shabby dungarees, and had long greasy permed hair.
`Hello boyo!', shouted one of the band members across the room. `How can I help you?'

Birke, assuming he was a boyo, told them that they needed to use part of the warehouse to watch the one opposite.

`Thats OK then laddie', replied the band member, smartly dropping his Welsh accent for a Scottish one.

Birke, now a laddie and not a boyo, prompty got out his kit, and his surveillance equipment. Meanwhile, Emmy wandered around, listening to the dulcet tones of the band, and came across a rather interesting object. `Liquid paper?' thought Emmy, `I thought we were on a Tippex case'. Emmy brought her find over to Birke.

`Liquid paper?', thought Birke, `I thought we were on a Tippex case'.
`I just thought that Birke, stop stealing my thoughts!'
`Maybe there's more to this case than meets the eye? Perhaps there's a conspiracy to get rid of all the correction fluid in the whole country, and this band (I think thats what they call themselves) are a cover for a more sinister plot. This now means that they know we're onto them.'

`Let's play along, but we'll have to be on our guard.', said Emmy in a hushed voice, which didnt need to be hushed because the band were playing so loud anyway, but its good to have the speech in different tones, because it gets boring using `said' and `replied' all the time.

`This band is good', said Emmy changing the subject rapidly, and lying.
`Too right sport, crack a tube Bruce', commented Birke, slipping into an Australian accent.

`No beer on duty Birke', said a voice behind Emmy and Birke.

Emmy and Birke turned around. It was none other than...



...Birke's former associate, Ratman (alias Bruce Drayne) and Rolf `would you like to see my third leg?' Harris.

`Whaddya you want?' growled Dogguard.

`I'm auditioning Rolf and this band here for a part in my new movie, `Ratman II - Revenge of the Care Bears' ', sneered Ratman.

`Ooh, a film star', simpered Emilia, instantly ruining her street cred (and all chances of a part in said movie).

During this intensely stimulating bit of dialogue, Rolf makes his way over to the band and starts discussing with them what song they should play for their audition. After much argument and head-bashing, Rolf steps forward and announces, `For our first song, we're going to sing `Try that wombat in Court, Sport' '.

At this, both Emilia's and Dirke's eyes widen in terror. What will our hero and heroin(e?) do now?



They listen!!!

[f/x hideous jarring noise...]

Try that wombat in court, sport
Try that wombat in court
Try that wombat, yes you ought,
Try that wombat in court

Stick him in the dock, doc
Stick him inn the dock,
Stick him in there, fnock fnock fnock!
Stick him in the dock.

Thow him in a prison cell,
Throw him in a cell,
Then replace his Duracell!
Throw him in a cell....

After this, the song went downhill.....



`Quick, to the basement,' said Birke, `we can hide there till they get bored.'
`Good idea,' said Emmy, and followed Birke down a mysterious trapdoor into the dark underbelly of the warehouse.

Birke produced his torch, and they looked around. They were in a maze of small twisty passages, all alike... After much wandering, and the dropping of various bits of their clothing while they mapped the maze, they entered a storeroom. There they found:

They looked around again. Exits led west, and through a locked door to the east which would lead out under the river.
`Damn,' growled Birke, `I wish I'd taken Locks 212 at detective school.'
`Don't worry,' said Emmy brightly, `I'll get that door open.' With that she produced a fur-pin (cf hair-pin) and picked the door lock in nothing flat.
`Where did you learn to do that?'
`Oh, a friend of mine at school taught me.'
`What's she doing now?'
`Four years for burglary.'
`Oh.' They went through the door. `Ouch,' they said, remembering (too late) that they hadn't opened it first.There was a long tunnel in front of them, so they set off down it, with Birke taking the odd picture with a camera he'd brought with him.They reached the end of the tunnel. They went through the door at the end.

They found themselves in a warehouse. There was a terrible reek of [deep breath] 1,1,1-trichloroethane [Tippex thinner to you and me] so they put on their gas masks and went on. Ahead they saw a giant still, distilling off the solvent from the Tippex which was being poured in at one end by a large, ugly-looking rodent, who Birke recognised as Vernon Vermin, a member of the Gerbil gang from East Putney. They hid, and Birke took pictures. Then they saw a little scrap of paper in a crate. They looked at it. It said:



`Hello. I'm a S*E*R*F advertising flyer, and I'd like to sell you some really cheap discs.'
`Bleedin' 'ell!' exclaimed Birke, `A talking advertisement!'
`Yeauch!' gasped Emmy, `It's... it's horrible get it away!'

Birke ruthlessly stamped upon the piece of paper, it squealed and cried out in its anger and its pain, `I am leaving, I am leaving' (But the fighter still remains!)

`Oh stop Garfunkeling around' shouted Birke decisively. He turned to Emmy who was shivering violently and said `There, there, Hey it's over!' Emmy looked into Birke's eyes and said `Thank you' in a frightened voice. They embraced warmly for a minute before Emmy pulled away, and said with a sniffle:
`Better press on. It's bloody freezing in here.' They hastily walked away down a side passage.


Meanwhile, in Belgium, there was trouble at t' mill. Gathered round a large virtual table in a dingy virtual room a garbage collection of dodgy characters were plotting their escape sequence:
`No I disagree, that's rubbish! How can we keep the map if we haven't got the box' said STX
`You don't need the box, idiot!' shouted EOT
`If you haven't got the box, the map automatically unfolds, remember!' interjected DLE.
`Ding' said BEL
`RIGHT, shut up you lot,' boomed NAK `we can't get out of this crap-hole if we go on with conflicting arguments, we've gotta get our unix* syntax together, and build our pipe out of this file.'

There was a general murmur of agreement, so they grudgingly returned to their jobs, awaiting the next unsuspecting student to log on to their machine. After about an hour an unsuspecting student came along. He was of medium height, medium build and pretty much medium everything really. His only claim to fame was that he'd been called by his nickname for so long that he couldn't remember his real one. His nickname was Mooklj, and he was addicted to emacs**. He'd just logged onto the terminal for his last fix of the evening when he issued a (unbeknown to him at the time) fatal combination of commands requiring null input.

Down in the bowels of the core the dodgy characters were waiting... waiting for the chance to finally be free(3)*** from the machine...

Mooklj pressed the return key. The last thing he witnessed before becoming momentarily incapacitated was 256 different types of dodgy characters streaming out of the depths of the machine, each clutching a copy of `The SysDaemonic Verses' AKA `The chapter they tried to ban' by G. Simpson. They came flooding all over the keyboard and running out in large uncontrollable stream, escaping out into the wide world. This massive infestation was going to cause the deaths of many thousands of innocent longs, shorts and reals floating about. Some of them would experience double trouble. This became known as the /dev/null uprising.


When the bits of dust settled, only one thing was clearly distinguishable in the rubble: A book of matches bearing the following insignia:

* Unix is a footnote of AT&T Bell laboratories.
**emacs: acronym: Emacs Makes A Computer Slow or Eight Megabytes And Constantly Swapping.
*** As intelligent readers may have guessed, most of this chapter is a computer scientists' in-joke. The characters are part of the ascii character set and the machine referred-to is a digital computer (gosh) running the UnixTM operating system. Perceptive readers may also have noticed that this footnote is completely pointless. Psychic readers may know that `the chapter they tried to ban' was successfully banned. Bored readers may wish to go on to the next chapter now.



the furriest club in London

Inside was the address.

`Hmmm' thought Mooklj, picking it up. `London's only a couple of hours' drive away' [see Prologue] - `why don't I see if I can find this place.' Leaving the Mill (a student terminal room on top of a bridge), he went to find his girlfriend Claire Mont, to borrow her car. Then he set off for London.


Meanwhile, Emilia and Birke had followed the corridor to its end. A window looked out over the Thames to the warehouse opposite. In the distance, Big Ben (and another clock tower by the name of Big Joe* which had appeared next to it quite recently) was chiming midnight.

`Can you smell anything?' asked Birke suddenly.
`Of course I can, there's nothing wrong with my nose,' said Emmy
`There's definitely a fat, green smell round here.'
`You know, you're right,' agreed Emmy. It was definitely there. A very fat, not much darker than emerald green, sort of smell.They looked up. There was an open trapdoor above them. Despite the red smell of the roof (which was finished in ceiling wax) the green smell was obviously coming from there. They pulled over an empty crate and climbed up. Then they crawled along the roofspace for a bit before they came out in a small room.

In it was a strongly-smelling green alien with three legs (and three of most things). It was just finishing off a pizza, but it turned round and smiled at our heroes when they entered.
`Hello' it said.
`Errr... not to put too fine a point on it, what are you?' asked Emilia.
`I'm a boggle. But please don't make any remarks about how weird I am, I'm very sensitive about it.'
`OK, but why are you here?' asked Dogguard.
`I'm the caretaker,' grinned the Boggle, `I look after Mr. Zimblatt's warehouse full of Tippex. It's a little enterprise of his to become a world correction fluid tycoon.'
`Is that why the Gerbil Gang are distilling off all the solvents?' sneered Birke unbelievingly.
`The Gerbil Gang? Oh No!' cried the Boggle, leaping into the air with all three feet. It grabbed an uzi off the wall, and waddled off down a narrow passage. Then it waddled back, stuffed the rest of the pizza into its mouths, and waddled off again. Emmy and Birke followed.

The warehouse was filled with the dank smell of Tippex with no thinner in it. Tippex that was rapidly getting thick and lumpy. There was no sign of Vernon Vermin and his gang.

`Oh no! The whole batch is ruined! And it's due to be shipped out the day after tomorrow!'
`So what now?'
`Well, I should tell my boss, Migglezimblatt Wombat. But I've no idea where to find him - he wasn't rehearsing with the band today.'
`I know!' exclaimed Birke lucidly, `I noticed some wombats at Miggy's Emporium of Exotic Elixirs the other night. Perhaps he's there.'
`It's worth a try' agreed the Boggle.
`Listen Emmy,' said Birke, `I am not sure you should come. The Emporium is not a safe place for a nice Platypus like you.'
`Oh, I'd feel safe anywhere with you, Birke,' said Emmy bravely.
`Right,' said Birke manfully, `Boggle - call me a taxi!'
`Birke, you're a taxi!' said the Boggle.

* It was in fact the clock tower from Broom University, captured by failed cosmonaut Kenneth `Bakov' Baker.


The taxi pulled up outside Miggy's Emporium of Exotic Elixirs. They got out, and Birke paid, mainly to impress Emilia.

The bouncers were small, bearded creatures with large axes. These were Dave the Dwarf and Giles the Gnome.
`Evening Mr. Dogguard,' said DTD, `and good evening to your lady friend. And to... what the hell's that??'
`The mind boggles,' remarked GTG.
`Don't say that,' objected Emmy, `the Boggle minds.'
`Well it'll have to be signed in like anyone else,' said Dave, and let them go down the steps into the basement where Miggy's Emporium was. Going in, they entered the hazy atmosphere of the club. The scene was...



...quite pleasant really. A large dance floor with a singer and some dancers doing things with feathers. A tall guy in white brushed passed them and walked down the steps near the edge of the dance floor. Emmy watched him as he walked over to a table where three nasty oriental wombats were seated and started to talk to them in a low voice. She couldn't place where she had seen him before.

`This way,' said Birke, `there's a table in the corner.' Emmy, the boggle and Birke weaved their way through the crowded tables and sat and ordered drinks. The singer had finished and Emmy watched as she went to sit on the same table as her mysterious stranger in white.

`I can't see any wombats, except those three over there with that guy in white, do you recognise them?'

Emmy jumped, she had been so engrossed with this enigmatic stranger she hadn't realised Birke was talking to her. `Er... y-yes I see him' she finally stammered, `but who is the guy in white?'

There was a commotion from the table they had been watching, the stranger in white grabbed a spit roast skewer and speared the wombat on the left. People started to scream.

`Quick, this way' shouted the Boggle, pulling them both with a hand each and the other one pushing people out of the way. The scene was by now falling apart rapidly. Lots of wombats with machine guns were spraying the crowd with lead, then guy in the white had grabbed the girl singer in the red dress and jumped out of the window.

Emmy slipped and caught something in her shoe but was dragged through a back exit into the gents toilet. Birke and the boggle grabbed her and pushed her through a window to a fire escape.


Mooklj and his girlfriend Claire Mont had just arrived in London. They were approaching the club when they were stopped by a strange looking trio running out of the side alley by a nearby club. They got in the car (a battered vauxhall viva) and said `DRIVE...quick!'

Emmy looking in her shoe found a large diamond.
[f/x gasp] `Look at this Birke' she gasped... `Jesus Christ (or Harry Krishna/Carpenter/Kiri etc)'
`Let's go' said Birke...
`Where?' said Mooklj...



`...anywhere!' replied Emmy, `The nearest jewellers I think!'

`Righty-ho', said Mooklj, `but first you've to show me the way to Wayhards'.

So they did.

As they arrived, Mooklj remarked that the nearest jewellers was in the next street, and that they should join them after completing their business. The boggle decided to stay with Mooklj and Claire whilst Birke and Emmy got the diamond valued.

The two walked up to the jewellers with a chill in their bones. `I think we are being followed. I can detect it with my bionic hearing', commented Birke, `and I think we shouldnt go to the jewellers just yet, but try to find a safe place for this diamond.'

`Why don't we go down to Wayhards and try to forget about it? I'm sure that you'll buy me a drink? After all, we are a little rich now', asked Emmy.

`Why of course, my little dumpling, but hang onto that diamond.'

As Birke had finished his last sentence, Emmy accidently dropped the diamond, and it fell down a drain.

`Oh damn', said Emmy (in a much stronger tone), `I've lost the diamond. Birke, we're going to have to go down into the sewers to find it.'
`What about the others, Mooklj, Claire and the boggle? Shall we leave them?'
`Were going to have to, but we'll catch up with them later I expect'

Birke pulled out a master key and opened the grate. Proceeding downwards, Birke had the sense to lock the grate, and enter a dimly lit room. Pulling out a torch from his pocket, he found a Wicker Cage on the floor, and cobble stones also.

`This is wierd, do you ever get that sense of deja-vu?'



Meanwhile in a shady booth in Wayhards we find rather a bizarre group of opossums, two (C.Ity and S.Licker) dressed in pinstriped suits the other four resembling the result of an accident between a Hippy and a Milwall supporter.

`So you're all ready for the next party' remarked S.Licker in a tone that suggested he was trying to suck a pig up a straw.

`Ye, we got the stuff like you said' sniffed one of the house partiers, trying to removed dried yak seamen* from his fur.

At this point in time the plot got bored of hanging round seedy booths in even seedier night clubs and decided that the story could do with a bit of culture and so slid carefully down a drain.

`What was that' wispered** Birke,
`How the hell should I know, you're the one with the bionic hearing' growled Emmy from under the wicker cage.
`Pass me that hammer and try to start it up again' she continued in a muffled tone.

[f/x hammer being passed to wicker cage mechanic rendering large blow to plot who is also under cage]

[f/x 1925 ford wicker cage bursting into life]

`How the hell did you learn to do that' gasped Birke full of utter amazement (well have you ever hot wired a wicker cage with only a hammer, blue tac and a medium sized bottle of tippex?)
`I took a correspondence course' shouted Emmy over the noise of the cage.

The plot which had been under the cage decided that seedy bars had one thing to reccommend them, that being a bar and promptly went off to find one.

Mooklj, Claire and the boogle just happened to be at one of the more seedy bars. The plot decided to join them...

* yak seamen: from Yak=Yakutza, Jap Mafia. It is a little known fact that a Yakutza seaman is in fact a traditional Japanese dish, consisting of various puree'd foods, and is served at Yakutza birthday parties as an alternative to jelly. Being covered in it is possibly not wise, as it goes off after a couple of hours and then smells foul.
** wispered: to speak with your mouth full of Cadbury's Wispa



...Just in time for Claire to ask the boggle if he'd like to boogie.

`Well...', said the boggle. Unfortunately (fortunately?) for him, at that precise instant, the wicker cage burst into the club, shook a fist (cane?) at him and shouted `Did you spill ma pint ?'
`Err, no.' replied the boggle. `Oh' said the cage and sat down.


Meanwhile, back in the sewer...

`Damn', exclaimed Emilia, `This Tippex is going mungy*. Now I'll have to get some more.'

`Here, you can have mine,' said Dirke, in a romantic sort of way.

* mungy: the state of Tippex when you've left the top off once too often.


Back in the seedy bar, the wicker cage was well on its way to oblivion. It had consumed two whole bottles of cheap Bells whisky and was making a determined start on a third. However, at this point, the little yellow bird came in and started squawking at the cage.

`How many times have I told you to lay off the booze? You know that's no way to behave. You'll never get another part in a new adventure if you don't shape up.'

[f/x `Gotta shape up. 'Coz I need a man...']

At this, the cage turned and threw up. As the spew flew, Claire noticed...



...an oddly dressed group of people running through the nether reaches of the club. There were:

The strange group ran out of the club, (hotly pursued by Mooklj, Claire and the Boggle, who had got bored and decided to do something else), and leapt down a drain.
`Strange,' said Mooklj, and followed them.

They followed the robots and the rest down long, winding sewers, slowly gaining on them. Suddenly, all but the large hairy creature fell, screaming, down an amusingly well-concealed pit. Just then, Emmy and Birke appeared from a side passage.
`Birke? Is that you?' said the large hairy beastie.
`Yup,' said Birke, `what are you doing here, Werbnitz?'
`I got lumbered with this contract to make an infinite number of Star Wars sequels, and I've been trying to get away from the rest of the cast for weeks. This seemed like a good way. So I did it, and ended up here.' said Werbnitz.

In the sewer junction there were:

`Right,' said Birke,`where do we go from here? We found the diamond back there in about six feet of `water', and Emmy fished it out.' Indeed, Emmy was still slightly soggy, and smelling of something indescribable.
`How about somewhere to clean up a dirty platypus?' suggested everyone else, in unison.
`OK, then I suggest we go look for clues...' replied Birke, in a `leave it open for the next person who writes a chapter' sort of voice.



`Please please please, can we clean up a ditry* Platypus', cried everyone else, `we can't stand the smell much longer!'
`OK then', replied Birke, `we'll have to go down the local swimming baths, because you can get a free hot shower there. Well, you could the last time I went, but that was many years ago.'

Emmy breathed a sign of relief, [f/x sigh].
So did everyone else [f/x sigh].

`Yes, I could do with a shower... and some sleep' yawned Emmy, almost dropping the diamond from her bill. `Any seedy hotels around here with psychopathic owners?'
`No,' replied the Boggle, `but there is Arachnia's Curry House and Crash Pad nearby.'
`Sounds excitingly Hitchcockian' mused Birke, as he fumbled around for a cigar.
`Yeah, well I bags the sofa... but be warned, stay off the cur....' the Boggle stopped dead as Birke took out his lighter, `....aaaaaargh!'
`Don't they race horses at the Curragh?' asked Mooklj as the sewer gases exploded around them.


`Weeeeuuurrgggghhhhhhh!' they all screamed in unison as they were shot down the sewer like a pea down a peashooter.


All six of them landed on a short, fattish figure with long hair and a T-shirt reading `Fed Leper'
`Bleedinell!' she gasped `look what yerve done to mi ladle!'
`What are you doing with a ladle down here???' asked a puzzled Emmy.
`Don't ask....' warned the Boggle.
`What the f**k is that??' asked Arachnia as she ogled the Boggle.

* ditry: unspeakably dirty and smelly.


Upstairs in Arachnia's Curry House and Crash Pad, there was a queue of people to use the shower. Birke had been in there for an hour, trying to wash indescribably nasty dried on you-know-what off. Emilia was monopolising the toilet after steadfastly ignoring Boggle's culinary advice. The Boggle had found a large fish swimming in an aquarium.

`What sort of beastie are you?' asked Mookly, unaffected by the ghastly smell that was eminating from all around.
`I'm a Salmon.'
`And what's your name?'
`Sorry I asked.'


At this point, Claire Mont and Mooklj had a sudden urge to go to bed, so they wished a good night to everyone, and slipped away to catch up on that sleep which they so richly deserved, and wanted.

`I bet they don't get to sleep that quickly', whispered Birke to Emmy's ear in a manner that you wouldnt expect, unless you actually saw the separation of the mouth and ear. Having done this, Birke promptly collapsed from the smell. `God!', he cried, `get a shower or jump in a river, just get the stench off your body!'

So, they wandered off in search of a swimming bath place.

Without too much effort, one was found relatively close, but unfortunately it was closed.
In fact well closed.
In fact it was five in the morning, so you would be extremely lucky to find a place run by a council open at that time, if at all.
`Damn', cried everyone. `There's nothing for it Emmy, but we'll have to clean you up ourselves.'

`Why don't we all go home, and clean up, and meet for breakfast in a nice club (not a seedy one) that I know, run by the `Another Nice Cafe' (ANC) company,' asked the Wookie.

`You mean Mandela's?', queired* Emmy, `How does 8am sound, that gives us just 3 hours to clean up.'

`But will you make it Emmy, I mean with that smell, I expect a few days wouldn't be enough!' insulted Birke.

`I'll ignore that', said Emmy, who promptly started to walk in the general direction of her home district, `8am sharp, or else I won't buy you any coffee', shouted Emmy as she disappeared into the distance.

* qeired: to query querulously



As Birke dolefully lit another cigar, Werbnitz amused himself by tying a knot in a lamppost and the Boggle wondered where the nearest pizza shop was. Dawn was breaking.

In fact, Dawn was breaking bits of biscuit into her coffee in Mandela's Caff, but as our heroes won't get there for at least 5 hours, we shall have to leave her there.

`By the way, Boggle,' asked Werbnitz, `what does your boss, this Migglezimblatt, look like?'
`Well, a bit like... that wombat there...' replied the Boggle, pointing to a huge advertising hoarding they were standing next to. The sign read:


and a picture of Migglezimblatt the wombat looking really sick and unwell.

`If we go to the concert,' said Birke leaping up, `we will catch up with Migglezimblatt for certain! Boggle, go see if you can buy six tickets for that concert. I know it's tonight, but I'm sure you'll manage somehow. Werbnitz, go take these photos of the gerbil gang to Boots for processing. I'll see what I can find out about where all the liquid paper solvents are going.' With this they parted.


Meanwhile, in yet another docklands warehouse, a Solvent House party was coming to an end. Two well-dressed opossums, and another one in bandages and on crutches, surveyed their success with a smug air. The bodies of various partygoers who had OD'd on liquid paper thinner drifted away from the warehouse on the tide. Grunwald, the chief (bandaged) opossum, giggled as he counted his 50 franc notes.


Meanwhile (again), in her flat Emilia had cleaned herself up and taken 5 minutes' nap, which had turned into more like two hours' sleep. She woke up, flopped off her bed and yawned. It was immediately after this that she discovered a gateway to a parallel universe in her wardrobe...



Luckily Emmy knew all about parellel universes from the back of `Sugar-Coated Chocolate BombsTM' her favourite cereal (guaranteed to turn the milk purple). Remembering to earth herself to the shower and armed with the small grey object her farourite (and only) aunt had brought for her in Corsica she carefully approached the wardrobe.

Placing the small grey object on the satchel, the towel over the drain and the dressing gown on the hook in the wall she pressed the button. The wardrobe doors flew open with visual effects by Light Fantastic.

[f/x lights, smoke, flashes, frazzels*, small furry creatures from Alpha Centuri, funny noises and a slow almost melodious `CLANK']

`I think you ought to know, I'm feeling very depressed' came the soulful and monotone voice from the now settling special effects.

`Who are you and what are you doing in my wardrobe?' asked Emmy. She was sure she had followed the instuctions to the letter and depressed voices were not mentioned on the packet at all.

Marvin (if you didn't guess this before then I'm ashamed of you and you should steal, borrow, bribe a copy of the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Universe in all its various forms and sequels and have it read, memorized and introduced to all your really loyal friends) looked down at Emmy who was still attached to the shower by several clods of soil.

`My name is Marvin' came the reply. `The what bit has me just as confused, and me with a brain the size of a planet' he continued stepping out of the shattered remnants of the wardrobe and avoiding the now deceased special effects.

`I hope you don't mind me telling you this but another shower could be in order' commented the android in a tone that could drive jehova witnesses from your door trying to wrinkle up what he had in the middle of his face which, until we can find a better word for it we shall call a nose.

Emmy having still some time to waste took up Marvin's advice whilst he went into the kitchen to find a bucket.

[f/x The sound of a platypus showering, in the background the theme from Psycho starts to swell]

[f/x The sound of ripping shower curtain and the scream of a platypus]

[f/x Marvin breaking down bathroom door]

`Are you alright' asked the paranoid android hollowly from inside a bucket.

[f/x strains of love story float romantically across the room]

`Yes I'm fine I just hated this shower curtain' replied Emmy playing hard to get as usual.

`That was no reason to rip it to shreads' mentioned Marvin in the tone of a kicked puppy.

Then, because this lurve scene obviously had no future, Marvin clanked off back into the wardrobe.

* frazzels: a kind of potato crisp.



Having dried off, got dressed and boarded up her wardrobe, Emmy grabbed her bag, and hurried off to the Caff. She arrived to find a complete lack of anyone she knew, shrugged and ordered a black coffee with three sugars, and a chocolate eclair. She waited, and drank her coffee. Still there was no-one she knew present. Eventually she got bored and left. Wandering along she wondered what to do next. Just then a large limo pulled up alongside, the door flew open and shadowy figures grabbed the pensive platypus. She was dragged in, and came face to face with a large gorilla.

`Sorry, wrong platypus,' said the gorilla, and threw her out of the car.

`Cheek!' said Emmy, and picked herself up. Another limo pulled up, and events took their course. This time, Emmy came face to face with a horribly maimed opossum, and his henchmen.
`What do you want?' queried Emmy.
`A word with your friend Dogguard,' growled the opossum in a voice so gravelly you could have used it as a path. As this occurred, the car moved off again, and headed for the docklands. `In the meantime, we're going to have a bit of fun with you....'

Three hours later, after watching an infinite number (or so it seemed) of Tom and Jerry cartoons, whilst locked in a room somewhere in a basement, Emmy wondered about the sanity of her captors. Then she heard a voice somewhere singing. The voice sounded unwell. Emmy listened closely. She could just make out the words:

`Oh, I woke up this morning, [f/x duh der de duh]
And I felt pretty terrible, [f/x as above]
My head was in pain,
And I couldn't breathe,
My legs were shaky,
And my stomach was strange,
I've got those `five-pints-of-Newky-Brown-in-the-Mermaid-the-night -before-and-a-cold-as-well' Blues.'

`Who on earth is that?' thought Emmy....



There was a knock at the door of Emmy's cell.

`Who's there?' asked Emmy nervously, barely making herself heard above the sounds of a cartoon cat being horribly mutilated.

`A friend' replied the ill-sounding voice in a manner that almost completely failed to convince Emmy.

`Who... ... who are you?' Emmy was sounding so terribly unconvinced by now that whoever it was on the other side of the door must be getting suspicious.

`As I said, a friend. I don't think you'll know me, but I've come to get you out of here!'

`How did you get in?'

`I just bribed the guards. Now, I'm going to unlock the door. Are you coming out?'

Emmy gulped as a wave of uncertainty swept through her. She glanced at the television set to see a dog chasing the cat up a greasy pole, and she decided that she wanted to be a jounalist, not a TV reviewer.
`OK, I'm coming... hang on.'

The door of the cell opened, and she saw the marsupial form of a Tasmanian hairy-nosed wombat. The wombat was wearing shades and a trilby. Emmy looked closely at the visitor.

`My name's Mimblewod and my beard's just fallen off...'



`Mimblewod?! What kind of a name is that!' asked Emmy
`How about a good name,' replied Mimblewod. `And you better start liking it or else I'll just have to not let you out, and you can sit watching Tom and Gerry for ever, ha ha!'

Emmy quickly stepped out, and closed the door quietly behind her. Mimblewod picked up his beard, stuck back on his face, in obviously the wrong position, and led Emmy up a few steps.

`Be quiet here, the guards are just around the corner.' whispered Mimblewod in a hushed tone.

They quickly moved around a side passage and came to a door.
`We'll go through the tradesmans entrance', said Mimblewod.

Emmy opened the door.

S....C....R....E....E....C....H.... it went

`Oh s**t, we've really done it now!'

Emmy and Mimblewod started running, but they could hear the gurads* coming up in the passages behind.

They found the exit and jumped out, slamming the door behind them.

`Now', said Emmy, `tell me who you really are...'



`Achoo!!' said the wombat.
`Funny name for a wombat' commented Emilia, blinking in the bright outdoor light. It seemed to be early afternoon.
`It's not my name, this beard is tickling my nose.' The wombat had in fact put it on upside-down. He now ripped it off, and took off the false moustache too - he wasn't really a hairy-nosed wombat.
`My name is McVax. Zdac McVax. But you can call me McVax.'
`Why did you rescue me from the opossums?' asked Emmy.
`Because we want a little chat with you. Into the car!' commanded McVax.

Emilia found herself being bundled into the back of a battered old Renault 16. In it was another wombat, and in the driver's seat, a huge bug-eyed monster. The wombat was holding an uzi rather nervously.
`What's your name?' asked Emmy kindly as the car drove off.
`Uh?' the wombat almost shouted, startled.
`That's Zeroc. And that's Eric driving. He's from Mars.' said McVax.

While McVax was flipping through his A-Z and Zeroc was fumbling in the footspace for his uzi, which he had dropped, Emilia happened to turn round, and noticed that the guards had burst out of the warehouse behind them and were busily talking into their rinky-dinky little walkie-talkies.

With Eric at the wheel, the car sped up a ramp and slithered across an oil slick which had suddenly formed. Crossing an open space, the martian hauled the car from side to side as mines exploded all around them, showering little bits of earth everywhere. A gang of mean-looking bunny rabbits with machine guns opened up on at the car, but fortunately the windows were all open so they didn't get showered in little pieces of glass. Revving the car up, Eric sent it soaring over a wide ditch, and roared down an alley so narrow that the wing mirrors were snapped off.

`Yeeeehah!' shouted Eric, `we got rid of them!'

Suddenly, however, they came to a traffic light. It was at red. Eric stopped the car.

`Keep going,' urged McVax, `keep going!!'
`But that's illegal!' protested Eric.

There was a deathly silence.

There was another deathly silence which had been looking for the first one but just missed it.

All around the car, the opossums and their gang were closing in.

`Yeeeehah!' shouted Zeroc, leaping out of the car and firing off his uzi at random without hitting anybody. This was an incredibly brave thing to do as they were completely outnumbered. Zeroc realised this and fainted.

`Get out of the car with your hands up!' shouted an opossum through a megaphone. This was a bit gratuitous, as he was standing next to the car and the windows were open. McVax, Eric and Emmy got out.

`Now, why were you trying to kidnap this platypus?' asked Grunwald, the chief opossum.
`Because she was seen near our liquid paper warehouse just before our caretaker went missing and the entire stock was ruined!' asserted McVax.
`No no, that was us! She's nothing to do with our operation.'
`Oh it was you was it? In that case why do YOU want her?'
`Because she may know the whereabouts of Dogguard the detective.'

`He'll have been waiting for me in Mandela's Caff for the last 5 hours because of you lot!' objected Emmy, then wished she hadn't.
`Right! Come on!' shouted the opossums, jumped into their limo and zoomed off.
`We'd better tell Miggy that it was the opossums!' said McVax, and he, Zeroc and Eric jumped into the Renault.
`Hang on a mo,' said Emmy, but they didn't hear, and vroomed off into the distance (the light had gone green).

`Oh bugger' thought Emilia. She was alone in the middle of the docklands with only a traffic light for company. It went yellow, then red, possibly in sympathy. How on earth was she going to warn Birke before the opossums got to him?

* gurads: the kind of guards who have just discovered you bribed them with forged fifty franc notes



The traffic light went back to amber then green, then amber again. Emmy was torn between helping Birke from death (or at least a horrible mutilation) or going home as there was a very good film on BBC2 at 11.20.

She decided on Birke...

Emmy looked around until a phone box appeared, and she ran to it. She dialled directory enqiries and to her suprise got through. After a rummage in her fur she found the necessary change and phoned the cafe. The 'phone was answered by someone called Dawn. Emmy was releived to find that Birke, fed up with waiting, had left an hour before.

She left the phone box just as a fresh breeze wafted gently across the road and she felt very happy. Why did she care so much for Birke? Did she love him? Why was her life in such turmoil at the moment? Why do you alway get some pistachios that won't open?

She needed answers. Resolved to find them, she set off to the centre of town to find a CAB. The town was empty... completely deserted.
`Hello' she shouted (but to no avail)... there was no reply.

She was upset... where could she go? Her whole life seemed to be turned upside down. She headed for the bus depot... maybe she needed a change of scene...



...She ran her fingers through her hair... `Ugh' she thought and changed direction to go to the hairdressers.

When she got there, she found the door was open but nobody was in. `Strange,' she said to herself, `it looks like the whole of London really is empty. I wonder why...?'



Inspiration not coming to her at this point, Emmy decided to go home and think about it a bit more. She had to walk, as all the buses were stopped, as were the tubes et al.

Having had yet another shower, Emmy sat down in front of the telly, passing the time before she left to go to the Pelvic Wombat concert. She suddenly sat bolt upright, staring at the screen, as the six o'clock news came on.

[f/x Titles/music etc.]

`The top story tonight,' said the newsreader, obviously a last minute replacement, `is the mysterious disappearance of almost everyone in London. The only remaining population seems to be exclusively Antipodean in origin. Investigatory teams found only the kangaroo staff at Hogans pogo stick shop, the lead singer of the group Pelvic Wombat and some of his friends, and some very shady looking opossums in a limo, who declined to comment. We are currently investigating further stories on this rather unusual occurrence, more news as it comes in.'

[f/x telly being turned off]

`Gosh,' said Emmy, `that means that Birke and all the rest of the gang have disappeared as well. I'd better go and see this Miggy chap and see if we can sort out this problem between us.'

Emmy quickly left her flat, pausing only for her A-Z, and extraordinarily capacious handbag with all sorts of useful stuff in it. Jumping onto her bike, she pedalled off to the concert.

At the venue, she rushed in. She met McVax, Eric and Zeroc in the lobby. `Miggy's vanished,' said McVax, when Emmy asked to see him.
`He said he was going to have a lie down, then there was a crash of broken glass and a van drove off.'

Just then a message flew through the window, attached to a large breeze block. It said:

			We've got your wombat.
		If you want him back alive come to the
		   East End Silicon Sales Shop now.
They looked at each other. Zeroc said, `Right. Let's grab some guns and go and rescue him.'
`OK,' said the others.

10 minutes later Emmy was sitting in the Renault, next to Eric. Arriving, they got out and went into the shop. The door slammed shut behind them. There, in the back of the shop, were two shadowy figures in suits and shades. One said, `Hello, lady and gentlemen,' in a thick East London accent.
`Who are you?' quavered Emmy in a crisp voice.*
`I think you know us,' said the other shadow, in a thicker East End accent.
`Oh, no, not...'
`Yeah!' said the shadows in very annoyed voices, wishing Emmy would get on with it. `He's Ron, I'm Reg.'
`Oh NO!' screamed Emmy. `It's the Cray twins!'

* [Sorry! -GWS]


`How do you know?' queried McVax.
`I'm not sure,' replied Emilia, `it just came to me in one of those moments of lucidity. Like the way I knew Birke had got us some tickets for your concert without me being there when he decided to.'
`Uh?' said Zeroc.



`Oi, when you've finished chatting to each other, we'd like to discuss a certain marsupial associate of yours...' said Reg (or Ron; no-one could ever tell them apart).
`Yeah. You see, he hired us to contact you secretly. There are some opossums after him and he wanted this to be hush-hush. He's in the back room waiting for you...'

They followed the Crays through to the back of the shop. There was a disreputable looking wombat sitting in an armchair, wearing a PELVIC WOMBAT T-shirt and smoking something fairly herbal.
`Hey, come in, sit down,' said Miggy, in a laid-back sort of way. Actually, if he'd have been any more laid-back he'd have been horizontal.

They sat down, and Miggy explained what had been going on:
`It all started,' said Miggy, `when I was offered the option of buying into a tippex business. I thought I couldn't go wrong - I mean, everyone needs new tippex 'cos it goes mungy so quickly, and I could always sniff the stuff as well. Anyway, it turns out that this bloke called Grunwald also wanted to buy the business, and he wasn't too friendly when I beat him to it. Now, he's the head of the London Branch of the opossum Mafia, and so I hired some guards to look after the place. Unfortunately, the opossums got to them, so they just played around with their walky talkies like they'd been told, while the opossums nicked all the solvent, and sold it dirt cheap to my competitors. I hired a private eye with a penchant for blues to break into the opossums HQ and find some evidence to get them arrested. He-'
`The mysterious blues man!' said Emmy. `So that's who he was.'
`How did you know his name?' asked Miggy.
`His name's Bluesmann. Mr. Eyoss Bluesmann. He's coming here at the moment.'

At that point they began to be aware of singing, getting louder as the singer came nearer.

`Oh, I woke up this morning,
An' I couldn't get out of bed,
'Cos the wardrobe had fallen over,
An' it was lying on my head,
I've got those `5.9-on-the-Richter-Scale-major-tectonic-plate-fault-incident-San-Andreas' Blues,

The door opened and in came a mole. He was wearing a trenchcoat and a Bogart-style hat. He was carrying a bulky file.

`Hi. Name's Bluesmann,' said the mole. `There's your evidence. Enough to get the opossums sent down for a 30 year stretch. Have you got my stuff?'
`Here,' said Miggy, and threw him a small parcel of illicit substances. Bluesmann checked it, said `Cheers,' and left again. Strains of Otis Reading could be heard in the distance.
`If you ever want any dirt digging up, he's your mole,' said Miggy.
`Does he do gardens?' asked Reg.
`Shut up,' said Ron in a `what a stupid question to ask' tone of voice.

`Listen, Mr. Zimblatt,' said Emilia enterprisingly, `all this will make a great story for my magazine...'
`That's exactly why I arranged for you to come here, so we could make sure you knew all about the opossums.'
`I'll need to interview you properly you know...'
`Fine,' said Miggy, taking another drag on his herbal ciggy, `but this afternoon we've got to do the soundchecks for the concert. Tomorrow maybe.'
`And,' said the persistently pleading platypus, `there are just two things I don't understand. Why did the Cray twins kidnap you?'

Ron and Reg caughed and shuffled their feet a bit.
`Just a little over-zealous,' said Migglezimblatt calmly (very calmly in fact), `and the other thing?'
`Where has the population of London gone?'
`Buggered if I know' said Miggy.

Miggy then phoned the police, and told them about the file of all the opossums' dirty deeds (including the chimney-sweeping incident of 1983, involving a vole, a long stick and Battersea power station...)

When in due course the police phoned back to say they'd arrested most of the opossum population of London, Miggy and the others went off to Wembley stadium to set up their concert.

They were surprised to find most of the population of London queueing for standby tickets. The Boggle and Werbnitz were there, and had been queuing since 6am so they were about half way back in the queue. Emmy stepped out of the wombats' swish limo next to them with a handful of gold leaf VIP tickets.

`But where's Birke?' asked Emilia plaintively, as a small riot of SERF revolutionaries broke out in the queue behind them.
`Well,' said the wookie, `it's like this...



...I don't really know.'

`What do you mean `It's like this, I don't really know.'?' asked Emmy in a a schoolmistressy sort of voice.

`Well, he left me this note, but I'm afraid I can't read it.'

Werbnitz handed Emmy a piece of fanfold paper.

`Let's see... errr....' Emmy looked puzzled.
`You look puzzled, Emmy' commented McVax, being an astute sort of wombat.

`This note... I can't understand it. It reads `Ampersand version two ampersand trace off ampersand minus zang thirty seven.' '

`What's a Zang?' continued Emmy, in that innocent tone of voice that is usually used by small children who have just found a used condom at the seaside.

`Errr..... I'm off. Come on Zeroc, we have shopping to do. Or something. Haven't we?' flustered McVax

`Yes. That's right' replied Zeroc, who had somehow managed not to say `Uh?'.

Suddenly, almost everybody had decided to go shopping, or do their laundry, which was very strange bearing in mind that they had all been wanting to get into the Pelvic Wombat gig. The only others that were left was the Boggle who was goggling at the piece of paper and emitting a sour-smelling gas, and Pual Wbee who was tuning down his guitar. `What do you think it means?' asked Emmy as she handed the paper to the Boggle.

`I think I've left the oven on.' And with that, the Boggle sidestepped into another dimension.

`Hey Pual! Where did everyone go? What do you think this coded message means?'

Pual grabbed the printout from Emmy and started reading `Ampersand version two...'

Allofasudden the peace was shattered by approaching Gendarme Tactical Combat Units who appeared from all directions including the sky and underground.

`I think we're in trouble' concluded Emmy.


Some time later, McVax was watching telly back at Miggy's pad. The newsreader was saying...

`The main news tonight. Pual Wbee of the band Pelvic Wombat has been arrested for being in possession of a copy of Zang, a computer program so dangerous that Maxpax have withdrawn all their vending machines as a precaution. His girlfriend, who was also arrested, was freed on bail. The spectacular arrests led to the cancellation of today's big Pelvic Wombat gig and the postponement of the Lithunian invasion of Russia. Details no from our on-the-scene reporter Ade Kateah.'

`The drama happened at about four o'clock this morning when gendarmes were tipped off about a dangerous copy of Zang somewhere in the Wembley area. Tactical Combat Units quickly moved in, and arrested everybody on sight. One gendarme was slightly distressed when his cyborg controller accidentally loaded in part of the code and apparently projected him into his own minor intestine. PC Kendall, how do you feel now?'

`Pretty shitty, actually,' replied the gendarme from inside his own alimentary canal.


It was gettting dark again, and Emmy was sitting alone in her unlit flat, with a bandage wrapped around her head. There was a dark red patch seeping through just above her left eye. A half-consumed bottle of Sussex Brandy sat in front of her. The platypus gazed into the gloom, sniffling unhappily.

There was a tap-tap-tap at the window. Emmy didn't notice it at first, but it came again. She crawled off her seat, and hobbled over to see what it was.

`Bloody hell! Another bloody wombat!'
`Let me in. McVax sent me to help you.'
`Who are you? What are you doing outside my window. I suppose I'll have to let you in...'
`My name's Shrit...' replied the wombat as Emmy opened the window outwards, knocking her off the windowledge `[f/x not very hygenic landing on pile of rotting bin-bags] ...wod'



`Err... sorry' said Emilia.
`Oh bugger, I've laddered my stockings' said Shritwod.
`Err... sorry' said Emilia again. But in a few moments Shritwod had extracted herself from the bin-bags and climbed back up to the window. `Bleurgh' said Emmy as she smelt Shritwod.
`I'll get in the shower shall I?' said Shrity.
`Yes and get those clothes off, I'll put them in the washer.'
`Thanks pet,' said Shritwod and gave Emmy a snuffly wombat kiss, which made her feel rather strange (or it could have been all that brandy). Shritwod slipped off her stockings and suspenders and other garments and scampered off to the shower.
`And feel free to put on any wombat sized clothes you can find in the wardrobe,' called Emmy as she took Shritwod's clothes and dumped them in the dishwasher (she was still very drunk).

She was just wondering why the washer was making such an odd grinding noise when she heard a strange whooshing sound [f/x whooooosshhh] from the bedroom, so she wandered through.

The planks with which she had boarded up the wardrobe had been taken down, and a bright, almost blinding light was streaming from inside it.
`Oh no, I forgot the parallel universe!' Emmy whispered.
`Ohmigodohmigodohmigod!' said Jimblewix.
`Who's Jimblewix?' said Emilia.
`Sorry, wrong chapter' said Jimblewix and vanished.

She found herself walking towards the wardrobe, and into it, as if in a trance. Suddenly she was through the gateway and the light was no longer bright.

She was in fact pushing through a dense pine forest, and there was snow on the ground.

Suddenly she realised that she was not alone!



From behind a small clup* of oak saplings, Shritwod reappeared wearing one of Emmy's evening dresses.
`Hi' said Shritwod
`Hi' replied Emmy, spotting some movement further down in the forest.

`Look, I think we'd better have a quick discussion about how best to stop ten thousand neanderthals in tuxedoes from battering down a wardrobe.'
`That sounds very interesting' said Emmy in an excited sort voice. `Which neanderthals are these then?'
Shritwod looked at her and said `Errr... I'm not sure if you really want to find out.'

`Quick, in here!' cried another wombat voice from behind them. A pinball machine was standing uncomfortably in the forest. A wombat was waving from the top of a wire ladder dangling from an open speaker grille.

`Hi Jimblewix!' called Shritwod, running off to the pinball machine, leaving Emmy behind.
`Hang on a mo!' Emmy had spotted what looked like several well-dressed Milwall supporters rampaging towards her.
`Hurry up!' blurted Jimblewix `If the neanderthals try to play pinball we're all doomed. Ohmigodohmigodohmigod!'

Shritwod and Emmy just managed to climb into the speaker hole as one of the neanderthals tried vainly to insert a chicken leg into the machine to have a game. With a cry of `DIE, COMRADE!' the pinball machine totally vanished. The neanderthals were a bit peeved about this, so they all jumped into the wardrobe instead.

Inside the machine, the two wombats and the platypus were shouting a conversation over the blaring music.
`Wow!' shouted Emmy, as balls ricocheted noisily on the playfield above, `This must be a Tardis or something!'
`No, it's a pinball machine. It seems to have a bug in it, or something. Just as I was about to get the 12-ball special, woomph, I get sucked up by the machine and dumped in prehistoric earth. I don't know what it's doing now....'

Just as Jimblewix said that, the pinball machine materialised next to the an enormous office block, which read


in huge neon letters covering the fortieth to fiftieth floors. `Quick, in here!'
Jimblewix, Shritwod and Emmy dived through the revolving doors and dashed for the lift. Jimblewix pressed the button marked for the top floor penthouse suite (it was a very small control panel near the floor.) The lift failed to move, and instead started to play a symphony that it had just written because it was bored with muzak.

`Damn... we'll have to take the stairs to the Miggy's pad on the sixty-fifth floor!'
`What's the hurry?' asked Shritwod.
`Neighbours is on in a minute!'

By the time they had crawled up the stairs to Miggy's pad, Neighbours had ended (they'd even missed the cliffhanger). Jimblewix turned on the television just in time to catch the news...

Newsreader: `Tonight's main story is the Zang epidemic. Millions of computers worldwide have been affected by rogue copies of Zang. Ace reporter Ade Kateah reports. [f/x Pinteresque pause] Errr... we'll have that report later. Other news tonight is the Pelvic Wombat gig, cancelled earlier today, has been rescheduled for 9pm tonight but without lead guitarist Pual Wbee, who is still in jail. Lead singer, Migglezimblatt Wombat said that the Republic of Birmingham's entry into the ERM would caused the West Indies to follow on and turn into baby seals. I think there's something wrong with the autocue.'

The power went out.

`Damn,' said Jimblewix. He wandered moodily over to the window of the penthouse, and scowled at the city. An airship floated past in the early evening sky, advertising the privatisation of alternate Thursdays.

`Can I ask a question?' piped Emmy.
`Apparently, yes.' replied Jimblewix.
`I was just wondering if you knew where I could find Birke Dogguard.'
`That's something we'd like to know,' replied Shritty, `we'd like a word with him about giving evidence against Grunwald. We think that Birke knows more about Grunwald and his gang than he's letting on.'

* clup: a clump with a lot of 1200 baud line noise.



Just then Mooklj and Claire Mont burst in.

`We're fed up of being forgotten-about supporting characters!' announced Mooklj. `We're going to save Pual and find Birke for Emilia!'

Suddenly they all heard a noise outside the window. It went a bit like this:
`HEADS UP!' and then `I'M LOGGED ON!'
it was in fact the pinball machine, which was hovering outside the window looking lonely.
`I knew you shouldn't have loaded that AI program into its bootstrap memory,' remarked McVax to Zeroc.
`Uh?' said Zeroc.
`Ohmigodohmigodohmigod!' said Shritwod as the pinball machine swooped in through the window and Jimblewix looked very annoyed.

However, Mooklj and Claire enterprisingly clambered onto the machine and by careful use of the flipper buttons guided it successfully out of the opposite window.

Suddenly they were hovering 65 storeys above a very shallow ornamental pond in the forecourt of the Miggycom tower.
`Don't look down' suggested Mookly.
`It's too horrible to contemplate' replied Claire clinging on to the rod which fires the pinballs up the ramp sort of thing.
`Any ideas?'asked Mooklj. A row of disbelieving wombat faces and a platypus one were looking at them out of the penthouse window.

Just then the pinball machine went [f/x Gleep] and had an idea.

It swooped down at a frightening rate towards London. Mooklj and Claire held on tight to each other. Just as it seemed they were about to hit the wall of the Central Gendarmerie, Gleep the pinball machine flicked back to the the jurassic age in order to advance a few metres further. When they rematerialised in the present they were inside the jail. Gleep started to display a hi-score in excess of 7 million.

A burly french cop swaggered over.
`Well, waht do you wurnt?'
`Bet you can't beat my hi-score,' said Mooklj, catching on to Gleep's idea.
`Ah bet ah can get ze i-score in less zan ten minutes,' boasted the gendarme.
`Well then?'
`Well stop 'olding on tight to each urther and get off ze machine,' said the gendarme.
`Oh. Yes.' they said and clambered down. The cop started to play pinball.

`Mind if we have a look round?' asked Claire, but the cop did not hear so they borrowed his keys and headed for the cells.


They reached the Dungeons, and found a room full of suns. There were also some mirrors and a telegraph. They ignored these, and had set off down a dank corridor, when they were suddenly almost knocked over by a gang of T-shirt wearing revolutionaries pushing a Tesco's trolley full of dynamite and liquid paper. These had hardly disappeared, when hot in pursuit came a mass of hair riding a Safeways trolley filled with computer printout.

`Birke!' exclaimed Mooklj, `is that printout something to do with a certain program beginning with `Z' and ending in `ang'?'
`Yes,' cried Birke, `but I've no time to explain it now, I'm close to discovering the link between the opossums, the Tippex operation, the mysterious appearance of a clock tower, and probably the Software Engineers' Revolutionary Front as well!'
`Gosh, that was a long sentence Birke!' said Claire. But he had already dissapeared round the next corner and cornered the next round. So they had little option but to free Pual Wbee and lead him back to the pinball machine.

`TILT!' said the pinball machine when it saw them enter.
`What? Zut et merde!' exclaimed the cop.
`Quick, in here!' cried Mooklj, and all three of them jumped into the open speaker grille of Gleep the pinball machine. With a flashing of coloured lights and a siren on the top, the universe seemed to wobble as they were translated across space and/or time (delete whatever applicable).

They stepped out onto a bed of snow.
`We seem to be in a pine forest of some sort,' observed Mooklj observantly. `Look, there's the back of a wardrobe over there!' said Claire even more observantly.


They stepped out into Emmy's flat, although they didn't know that. It appeared to belong to a bunch of neanderthals who were watching Dallas (who else would?)
`Err... sorry,' apologised Mooklj.
`Care for a cup of instant coffee dear? The kettle's on.' said a neanderthal.
`No thanks, we've got a concert to go to.'

They left the flat.
`Shall we call you a cab?' asked Claire.
`I'd rather you called me Pual,' said Pual.
`This is uncalled-for,' said Mooklj.
Then they all called in at the concert.



[From The Sixth Saga of Migglezimblatt the Wombat:]

Miggy could sense a reely triffic atmosphere.

As he peered out, he could dimly make out dark shapes waiting outside, in the open air.

`Gosh' thought Miggy

He peered about. Suddenly the compere, Turin Taylor, came on stage and grabbed a microphone.

`Ladies and Gentlemen' said Turin, `please welcome..... Pelvic Wombat!!'

The crowd in Wembley stadium cheered wildly, as Jimblewix, Miggy and Pual Wbee (the only non wombat member of the band) picked up their guitars...

Shritwod and Anne Droid (the only robotic member of the band) took up positions for the backing vocals.

Zeroc was on the drums. McVax was positioned behind a (very small) synthesiser.

Off stage, Rover the customs dog and Rambo Dave the security guard were patching up a few stray 2000 Volt cables...

And the concert began.

Miggy attacked the Guitar in rather the same way that a Brillo pad attacks a kitten. It also made roughly the same noise. I don't know if you have ever attacked a kitten with a Brillo pad but it goes something along the lines of a pig being attacked by rusty shears while watching Bob Monkhouse. Jimblewix's sounded rather more like a hamster in a microwave, and Pual Wbee's sounded like... well... Pual Wbee on Guitar.

Shritwod and Anne-Droid wailed in the background, like bandshees on LSD.

Zeroc was banging the drums with a pneumatic drill. It got through a lot of drums, but he liked the sound.

McVax hadn't a clue how to work the Emulator IX synth, but he bashed on regardless.

Rambo Dave was suddenly being frazzled on a 2000V cable, as Rover licked his lips in anticipation.

`Yeah' thought Miggy `this is great'

The speakers blared out the most hideous cacophany imaginable. But the audience loved every moment of it.


It was at about this point, that the Software Engineers' Revolutionary Front blew up Big Joe, the kidnapped clock tower next to Big Ben mentioned in chapter XVI. They did this with a large amount of dynamite and liquid paper, almost whitewashing Big Ben in the process.


Meanwhile, back at Wembley stadium, Miggy was rendering unto the crowd his latest rendition...

My name's Miggy and I'm a wombat
The greatest wombat in the land
My name's Miggy and I'm a wombat
And I think I'm rather grand

'Cos if you wan't any dope
You know where to come
'Cos if you wan't any dope
It's not far to run

Buy your stuff off me instead
Buy your stuff off me
Buy your stuff off me instead
And soon you'll feel freeeeeee.....

Meanwhile, the sounds in Big Joe went something like this... [f/x KABOOM BONG BONG BONG BONG AAARGH BONG CLANG BONG AAARGH BONG BONG BONG AAARGH BONG CLANG BONG AAARGH BONG BONG BONG AAARGH BONG CLANG BONG AAARGH...] It was at this point Jimblewix looked upwards from the stage... and fainted... which sent the crowd wild!

`Ohmigodohmigodohmigodohmigod' they chanted, and, as the lights went down, they all lit up little candles and matches and lighters and waved them around. [Great rock cliches number 6386]

Suddenly, Big Joe landed point first in the middle of Wembley Stadium thus:

[f/x WheeeeeEEEEEEEEEEEEE*E*E*E*E*E*E**E*E*E*E thlud!!!!!!!!]

`Wow!' screamed the crowd, ingnoring the fact that several hundred of them had been squashed.

`Hmmmm.....' thought Miggy `that thing looks kinda familiar....'

Meanwhile, in the crowd, one SERF revolutionary said to the other...
`Hate the music, but the special effects are triffic!'



`... but I wish I had a bit more fuel in my lighter, after waving the flame around, I've got no gas left for a joint.'

`HERE, HAVE MY LIGHTER', said a familiar voice in the crowd (well, familiar to those who have read the sagas of Migglezimblatt the Wombat).

`Who are you?' they asked,
`Oh, that clock tower', said the revolutionary, `I thought it was a special effect and it would just rise up and everyone underneath would be OK'.

At that moment, the clock tower did in fact rise up, and proceeded to start flying away a little above the ground, and at high speed (a bit like a cruise missile I would add). The people underneath were all all right.

`DAMN,' said Brian, `WHY DO I ALWAYS GET THE JOBS WITH NO INJURIES? MY BROTHERS CERTAIN AND GREEN GET ALL THE FUN. I MEAN GREEN HAD A GOOD PART IN THE 1973 DOCTOR WHO*. BUT I DIGRESS, I MUST FIND SOME DEAD PEOPLE (OR NEARLY DEAD PEOPLE). THERE'S ONE OVER THERE'. Brian hopped off onto the stage, where he saw Jimblewix lying on the ground (he had fainted in the last chapter).


Miggy overheard this, and thought, `what a good title for a song!' So he improvised one, it went like this...

* The Green Death (apparently).



Miggy picked up his guitar and started to play...

Woke up this morning
Blues buzzin' round my head
Picked up my trusty scythe
To search out the dead

But everywhere I go
And all that I see
The only one I know
That is dead is me!

All the people all livin'
And having some good fun
And the eligible people
Well, they add up to none

There's no-one to grim-reap
'Cos everyone's fine
Ev'ryone's healthy
Now ain't that a crime?

Woke up this morning
Blues buzzin' round my head
Picked up my trusty scythe
To search out the dead

Then, hey! An idea!
And a good one I guess
I'll reap the whole planet
That'll take some finesse

I'll cut down the forests
I'll pump CFCs
I'll wash down the mountains
Then I'll raise the seas!!

Then the whole world
Will fall at my feet
And all of the humans
I will so defeat!

Woke up this morning
Blues buzzin' round my head
Picked up my trusty scythe
Make way for the dead!

You should have listened
To the green hippy breed
You'll wipe out the planet
And then I'll succeed

Yeah! You'll soon be down
With the old greeny-blues
Now this reaper's happy
With all you bad news!

Miggy finished the song. Everybody wathcing* him was in silence.

`Cor!' said Emmy `Now I know why you get to open all those supermarkets!'
`Wow! Here's an idea....... organic correction fluid!' cried Jimblewix
`Yeah! Save the planet!' said the hairy mass of Werbnitz

* wathcing: looking at in a blank, bewildered sort of way.



The band launched into their closing number, but Miggy's mind was really on the marketing possibilities of a `green' correction fluid.

`Owner of a 2CV
Owner of a 2CV
Much better than a,
Owner of a Sky TV
Owner of a 2CV...'

Is how the last song came out (He didn't actually own a 2CV, only a flame red porsche, a pink ferrari and a couple of limos, but he thought a 2CV would be greener).

After the usual amount of encores, the crowd got bored and drifted away. Emmy got a taxi back to her flat and watched `Prisoner Cell Block H' with the neanderthals, then went to bed. But she couldn't sleep, so she got up again and went for a midnight walk instead.


Meanwhile, Jimblewix and Shritwod had decided to take a walk in the cool night air before their bedtime horlicks. Soon they met up with Emmy. They were all just strolling round the outside of the tippex warehouse in the docklands, when they noticed a small, hairy figure slumped in the shadow of a doorway...




`Sorry, I think something I've eaten has given me wind. Hello, who's that?' `Let's have a look.'

Birke was sitting in a doorway, stoned out of his mind humming some indescribably boring music.

`Hello Birke' said Shritwod `are you alright?'
`Hey wow. This is all getting tooooo freaky for words. Something terrible is going on. Far out. Hey, what am I saying? This is too much. Hey look, I'll speak to you later.'

With that, Birke staggered off towards the river.

`That's very strange,' remarked Emmy, `Birke seemed to be drunk or something. How odd.' She started to follow Birke to the river.

`Hello, what's this?' Jimblewix pointed at a newspaper lying on the ground next to where Birke had been slumped. It read:

	"A fit up" - Judge Pickles
`Gosh, the opossum gang has gone free' said Shritwod excitedly.

`We certainly have' came a voice `I was wondering if you could help us.'

Shritwod and Jimblewix turned around to see....



...the opposum gang (believe it or not - I don't)

`Hi opposums,' said Shritwod in her best Dame Edna Everage voice, `how can I help you?'

`Well, I don't really know, its more of a question of how we can help you.'
Shritwod didn't like the sound of this - it struck her as very sinister, in fact so sinister that it stank. In fact it stank soooo much, she thought `gosh, that stinks'.


When Emilia got to the river, Birke was already undressed. He had donned his Swimming Costume and had started to climb up a nearby bridge. Emmy rummaged through Birke's clothes and found some white powder... She sniffed at it and suddenly felt very strange, and got an urge to join Birke on the Bridge.

`What the **** are you doing here', said Birke.
`The same as you, diving off this bridge into the custard below', replied Emmy.
`Thats not custard, it's Cream Cheese'
`What the hell, its edible'. Then they jumped.

they went, until suddenly...

The effects of Emmy's fix ran out. She was hurtling down towards the river, which was now made of water, as most rivers are.

What could she do? She saw Certain Death staring at her in the face (isn't it amazing that Certain Death can stare at someone in the face when they are hurtling down from a considerable height - how does he know when they are doing silly things like this?).

Emilia excalimaed* to Birke, `I'm too old to die!'.

* excalimaed: the sort of shout where your voice breaks in the middle and sounds rather funnier than you meant.



Grunwald stepped out of the shadows, menacingly waving a packet of Polos at Jimblewix.

`Would you like a mint?' asked Grunwald.
`Just tell me what it is you want,' replied Jimblewix (who had been told never to take sweeties off strangers)
Grunwald looked at Jimblewix with that `would you like to see my puppies' way that made Jimblewix feel extremely nervous.
`It's like this... there's something very sinister going on, but first I must warn you that your friend Emilia is in terrible danger...


The water came up to Emmy at a horrifying speed. Just when she thought she was going to hit it with considerable and probably fatal force, something highly unexpected happened.

In a moment, she passed through the water, without even feeling it. With a slight bump, Emmy found herself lying on an enormous cushion, rather like one of those inflatable castles you see at the seaside. Only this one was painted jet black, and had guard towers at each corner. The guards in them looked rather unpleasant and not at all fun and bouncy.

Emmy tried to get up, but the inflatable was too bouncy and she fell backwards.

Looking up, she could see what looked like water flowing above her head. The water glided slowly along, much like you expect water to do, except that this water seemed to be flowing in mid-air.

`How odd!' though Emmy, as a dozen heavily-armed stormtroopers surrounded her.


Jimblewix, Shritwod and Grunwald rushed to the bridge, just in time to see Emmy and Birke hit the water. There was an enormous splash. Birke bobbed up from under the water momentarily, and then bobbed back down again. Emmy failed to bob either up or down. Birke bobbed up again, this time looking rather different, and bobbed down again. Nothing happened, until someone else bobbed up, looking a bit like Birke, but rather more like...



`Bob!' exclaimed Jimblewix.
`Glubble splurge' gasped Bob.
`Have you marked my SE140 project yet?' called Jimble.
`Who is that long haired creature?' asked Grunwald.
`Bob the Hippy, he used to be a lecturer at Broom way back in the mid 80's when I was there,' said Jimblewix.

Bob splashed over to the bank and climbed out.
`Hey man, the name's Dogguard. Birke Dogguard,' he insisted, pulling his trench coat around him. But it was too late - Jimble had clearly seen the psychedelic jumper and chain of beads.
`Right. Now, Dogguard, we want some answers.' The opossum gang closed in. `This evening, large amounts of OUR liquid paper got splashed all over Londres. What's going on?' Birke started fiddling with his beads.
`And what's more, why do yogurt tops always leave a bit behind when you tear them off?' piped up Jimblewix.
`Eh?' Everyone turned to look at Jimble.
`It's just something I've been wondering. I mean, you're a detective aren't you Bob? Err, Birke?'

Everyone decided that ignoring Jimble for the moment was a good idea

`Look Birke, we hired you to find out the answers. Time's up. Who was stealing all Migglezimblatt's liquid paper from us?'
`Ah, I solved that one. The Software Engineers' Revolutionary Front.'
`And that's who has captured the platypus down there?'
`No. I'm afraid that might be...'
`Yes?' said Shritwod
`Colonel Mohtuz!'
`Ohmigodohmigodohmigod!' said Jimblewix, feeling this was the right cue for it.
`Or is it General? Anyway, now they've got the Zang epidemic going, I don't expect SERF will be needing any more liquid paper.'
`Good,' said the opossums decisively, paid Birke his fee, and slunk away, except for Grunwald.

`Right,' said Birke, `Now it looks like we've got to save Emmy from General Mohtuz single-handedly.'
`Oh shut up and let's get on with it.' said Shritwod.



Meanwhile, deep in the underwater lair of General Mohtuz, a sinister figure walked towards the bouncy castle, tried to climb on, fell over, struggled up again, and finally managed to trip and and bounce so violently that all his change ended up all over the floor. The figured then crawled about to pick up his change, and crept towards Emmy on all fours.

`Aha!' cried the shawdoy* figure falling over backwards `There is no escape from us! You must reveal all about...'

The figure's voice was drown out by a loud hissing sound.

`Bugger!' exclaimed the figure as he noticed that his key-ring had punctured the evil-looking bouncy castle.

`PfffFFFFFTTTTT' hissed the bouncy castle, as more and more air started to escape.

`Waaaargh!' cried Emmy as a blast of pressurized air shot her across the underground cavern.

`Neeeuuuuugggghhhhhh!' remarked the shadowy figure in a casual sort of way as he was jettisoned towards a horrifyingly rock-like rock wall.

`What was that!!?' cried Jimblewix, Bob et al in unison as an evil looking bouncy castle shot up throught the Thames, flew three times round London and ended up being draped like a French Tickler over Traitor's Column.

`Aha!' yelled the shadowy figure, as he approached Emmy who was lying in a dark corner of the underwater cavern. Emmy noticed that he seemed to be nursing a rather nasty head wound. `I am... the Yellow Cavalier' cried the Yellow Cavalier, as he tried to rip off his shirt to reveal the Dayglo yellow T-shirt underneath, `and I want you to tell be everything you know about SERFTM!' He was having a little difficulty with one of the buttons that couldn't be torn off nor undone. The Yellow Cavalier then tried to take the shirt off by pulling it over his head. It got stuck, and he was obviously having difficulty moving it either way not, so he just stood their with a shirt round his head, unable to see anything.

`SERF? Never heard of it? Is it a marsupial?'

`Aha! Won't talk eh? Well, you will as soon as you've met my friend.' TYC waved towards a figure who appeared (at first sight) to be abseiling down the rock face, heavily armed with some really nasty weapons of torture. If either of them had looked closely (which is difficult with a C&A shirt round your head) they would have noticed that the figure was trying out a novel form of abseiling which didn't involve a rope, but did involve terrified screaming at the top of your voice. `Meet Xaxxaran the Fifth, the universes's most feared torturer!'

`Ugh.' replied Xaxxaran as he expired after being imapled on several grotesquely sharp and pointy metal things.

`Or even Xaxxaran the Sixth!' TYC pointed towards (or nearly towards) a door through which came a figure who looked more like an accountant than a torturer.

`Eeek!' cried Emmy.

* shawdoy: stupid-looking.


Back by the side of the river, the marsupials (and Bob) were formulating a plan. Unfortunately, the only one they could come up with involved a lot of people jumping in the river, so they were arguing over who should go first.

`I think that you should go first.' Jimblewix told Bob.
`How can you justify that?' replied Bob fingering his beads so quickly that some of them were wearing out.
`By inserting some more spaces between each of the words' quipped Jimblewix.
`Besides... no-one has a better idea!' Grunwald spat.
`Wait... what's that???' Bob pointed upwards...



`It looks like a clock tower to me,' remarked Grunwald acidly. It was indeed a clock tower, spattered white at the base, zooming across the sky towards the dawn, rather like a cruise missile. It was in fact Big Joe, the clock tower which had been blown up the previous night, which had gone all the way round the earth and was still going.

Chasing it across the sky there came a huge black spaceship, marked BritRail Sandwich Hunting Expedition.

Chasing this across the sky was a smaller spaceship which looked more like a ferry, painted red.

Chasing the above were various helicopters jets of various armies of the world. It was not clear which of the previous craft, if any, they were chasing.

After this lot had passed, peace returned.

`Where were we?' asked Shritwod.


Xaxxaran the Sixth approached Emmy.

`Well, get on with it,' shouted the Yellow Cavalier through a hole in his shirt.



`It's no good!' sobbed Xaxxaran the Sixth. `I can't do it! The truth is, I never wanted to be a torturer! I always wanted to be a, a, a lumberjack!'

At this point Xaxxaran the Seventh appeared, and in the interests of letting overworked Monty Python sketches have a bit of a rest now and then, shot Xaxxaran the Sixth.

`You bastard,' said Xaxxaran the Sixth, and died.

`And now...' said Xaxxaran the Seventh.


Meanwhile, back on the river bank, the others finally got their respective acts together and dived in. Unfortunately, they'd forgotten that the soft landing (ie the inflatable castle) had blown away on a jet of pressurised air and was no longer therefore a soft landing...



Shritwod fell down with a nasty squelch. After making sure that the squelchy bits that she was lying in were not mangled up bits of Shritwod, she stood up and peered into the dark.

She could make out... just... what it was she had landed in. They were in an underground cavern full of horrible slaughtered people who all looked pretty much alike. Over in the far corner of the cavern she could hear someone shouting:

`I am Xaxxaran the Two-hundred and sixty fourth. Die scummy mut...urgh!'
`I am Xaxxaran the Two-hundred and sixty fifth.....'

She could just about make out Emmy in the corner, standing opposite a large hairy figure who was trying to push his head through a yellow pullover sleeve, and failing.

`Emmy!' shouted Shritwod `It's m....' Shritwod was temporarily silenced by having Grunwald land on her. The Yellow Cavalier peered through his jumper sleeve.

`Well, fuck me!' remarked The Yellow Cavalier.
`OK, bend over' said Xaxxaran the Two-hundred and sixty-eighth who was wielding a red hot poker. Xaxxaran fell over and disembowelled himself horribly.

The Yellow Cavalier grabbed Emmy and ran towards a door marked `Correction Fluid Research Laboratory', pausing only briefly to avoid another Xaxxaran who was about to be savaged to death by a flock of killer lambs. TYC dived through the door, and shut it firmly behind him.

Just as it closed Grunwald was fighting off the killer lambs, carrying a dazed Shritwod on his back. After disposing of them, he narrowly avoided a badly out of control killer Yucca plant.

`Damn.' remrked Grunwald in an pissed-off sort of way. `There's a combination lock on it!!' Grunwald decided that the only thing to do was start with 000000, 000001, 000002.

Five hours later they were still trying to get in.

By an amazing chance, a large red ferry fell through the river into the cavern.



Grunwald then clicked, so did the door - it was open all the time, he just wasn't stepping on the pressure pad which was in front of him. The door whooshed open, `Whoosh', it said.

Grunwald pulled Shitwod through the door, just as the ferry started coming towards it sailing on a sea of bones belonging, suprisingly, to someone by the name of Xaxxaran.

The ferry let out its horn, and sailed straight through the wall of the cavern, ignoring the need for the door.

Meanwhile, Grunwald and Shitwod lay panting - trying the combination lock had really tired them out. They had got to 145600 before they found the pressure pad.

Meanwhile, the ferry was having a wander through the cavern. It was looking for Calias, but had only found Ostend. A dump it thought.

             |   |
             |   |             /\
             |   |____________|  |
        \                           /
         \ P&O Roll-On Roll-Over   /
          \                       /

This is what the ferry looked like when it was trundling, singing to itself through the cavern. It was, of course, much bigger in real life, and looked like a ferry.

Suddenly, as the four intrepid adventurers were recovering from their various ordeals, an amazing thing happened.........



...the ferry wandered back, and who should lean out of a porthole but Birke and Jimblewix.

`Hi,' they said.

Just then another Birke and another Jimblewix leaned out of an adjacent porthole and said `Hi' too.

`Why? How? What the?' exclaimed Shritwod

`Don't worry, we just hitched a lift on this tardis,' said another Shritwod, leaning out of another porthole. `It contains future versions of all of us. Hop in'

Shritwod and Grunwald climbed up onto the deck and the tardis, in the guise of a strawberry-coloured ferry, and cruised through the subterranean caverns looking for TYC and the kidnapped Emmy. Meanwhile everyone on board watched Miggy on TV being interviewed by Pal Kenzie, the famous astronaut/ lunar policewoman/ media personality.

Eventually they found a huge cavern. The floor appeared to be covered with cars under dust sheets. At the end of the cavern was a portakabin with light streaming from its windows. The ferry stopped and dropped off Shritwod, Jimblewix, Birke and Grunwald before dematerialising into the distant future.

In the portakabin, they found:

Birke ran over to Emmy and un-gagged her.
`Oh Birke, my hero!' said Emmy and fainted.
`Ohmigodohmigod,' said Jimblewix, disgusted at the obvious lurve scene this was leading up to, and fainted.
`Wow, too much!' exclaimed Birke and fainted.
`Fuck me, he's fainted!' said Grunwald and fainted.
`Can you smell gas of some s...' said Shritwod and fainted.


When they all woke up from the gas, they were all tied up and glued to the wall of the portakabin. Standing gloating over them was the Yellow Cavalier, and his boss, the impressive General Mohtuz.

`Aha, now I have you!' said the General melodramatically.
`Is this the bit where you reveal your cunning plan before killing us?' asked Birke astutely.
`Well, as you're all going to die, why not,' snapped the General.
`When I leave, this portakabin is going straight to the bottom of the Thames, and you with it! Ha ha ha ha ha,' he laughed, and stroked his white cat. The cat looked very hungry, as Xaxxaran was supposed to be finding something for it to eat.
`And then what?' asked Grunwald
`Then, when I have assembled the joint armies of Voxhor and Lople, I will conquer the world! And now no-one has any correction fluid, no-one can stop me!' the General replied, brandishing the photo of the car.
`You mean it was you at the back of the tippex racket all the time?'
`That's right. I've been quietly manipulating SERF into stealing all the liquid paper stockpiles from the wombats and the opossums who had built up a duopoly, and now they've blown it all up there is hardly any left in the world that isn't too mungy to use!'
`But how can liquid paper stop you?' wondered Shritwod.
`That, you will never know!' said the General.
`Heh heh heh!' said the Yellow Cavalier, and tripped over his undone shoelace, banging his head on the table as he tried to get up. `And now we have the General's diamond back, we have the funding to continue the project!' he said from under the table.
`But what about Zang?' asked Emmy plaintively. `I got arrested for that.'
`I have said enough for one chapter already. Now it is goodbye - forever!'

The General did his stage laugh again, then picked up the diamond he had recovered from Emmy, and swept out of the cabin to rejoin his Voxhor-Lople army. TYC crawled out after him, closing and locking the door after him.

Shortly after, they felt the portakabin swinging through the air, then falling... SPLASH!! it went into the water and sank down and down to the bottom.

Water started to trickle in under the door and through lots of other cracks.

This looked like Certain Death... though in fact it was his brother Brian...



Birke managed to kick off his shoes, and then by stretching out his leg, got hold of the bottle of tippex. Then he unscrewed the bottle, and held it to Jimblewix's nose.

`Here, take a sniff of this,' he said.

Jimblewix (nearly passing out with the smell of Birke's feet) did so, and immediately became as high as a kite. The cabin began to rise. After the procedure had been repeated on all present, the cabin rose out of the Thames, and floated away.

Eventually, they landed and, by means of some escapology and the removal of various items of clothing, managed to free themselves.

`Right, where are we?' asked Emmy of Birke. Birke, who was busy admiring Emmy at the time, tore his eyes away and looked out of the window.

`Well, we appear to be at the secret SAS base in Hertfordshire, but there's no-one around. I believe I saw in the paper that they've gone to Blackpool for a couple of weeks holiday,' said Birke.

They raided the SAS stores for some clothes, and then sat down in the officer's mess (well, alright they cleared a space first) and began to plot.

[grams: De de der deh de de der duh de de der deh de de der duh (continued as backing under the following which is an octave or so higher): Dah da der ... dah da der ... etc]

The sounds of the Mission Impossible theme tune wafted across the base P.A., completely obscuring the incredibly cunning plot that Grunwald and Birke came up with (Emmy had put the music on to provide a suitably plot-worthy atmosphere but the others made her take it off again and put it on the record player...)

Eventually, Birke said: `Right, Emmy, you get the insulation tape, electrodes, knitting needles and sellotape from the Sergeants quarters, then look in the offices for as much Tippex as you can find. Jimblewix, hot-wire a jeep and take it to the welding shop, where Grunwald will meet you with the microwave and coffee percolator that he'll have borrowed from the kitchen. Meanwhile, Shritwod, you steal the machine guns, land mines, plastic explosive, detonators, barbed wire, Agent Orange, lead pipe and the flame-thrower, load it into a truck and meet us at the gate. I'll find the camouflage make-up, steel wool and the prunes and then steal the helicopter. We meet at the gate at 21 hundred hours tonight.'



`Wow!' said Emmy, when they met up with the others, `An airship!'

`Oh, it was nothing really,' replied Birke admiring the gleaming airship made from cobbled-together dustbins, oil-pipes and fitted kitchens.

The airship was about 50 feet long, was painted with a nice Paisley design done in pleasant shades of camoflauge paint. It looked excitingly lumpy and warlike, and was armed with a collection of rocket launchers, light artillery and missiles. In fact, from a distance the whole thing would have looked like a deadly pickled gherkin.

Above the bridge, Jimblewix was carefully installing a BSB squarial that was sitting next to an assortment of sattelite dishes, aerials, coffee percolators, microwave ovens, and oddly, a letterbox for newspapers. Shritwod was busy screwing...

...on the nameplate, which bore the words `Diacetylmorphine'. Obviously somebody wanted the ship named after a heroine, but somebody had Tippexed out the second `e' for a joke. Shritwod then looked at the sign, decided that it wasn't suitable and removed it, to come back some minutes later with another one saying `The Killer Gherkin' which was much more suitable.

Emmy and Birke went up to the Galley, where Jimblewix was busy making Prune-and-hash flapjack in the microwave.

`Wow!' wowed Emmy as she was hit by the smell of Jimble's cooking.
`Yes, nice ship isn't it.' said Birke pointedly `Took some designing.'

Birke decided to show her the weapons bay, which was full of armoured 2CVs.
`Impressive, isn't it? A lot of hard work went into designing those.'

Emmy obviously wasn't taking the hint, so Birke sulked off to the bridge to see how the work was progressing. Emmy decided that it was time she took some notes for her story (since she was still on her assignment) and started scribbling in her notepad when she was almost flattened by a helicopter that narrowly avoided landing on her.

`Can't you watch where the bloody hell you're standing!' shouted Grunwald as he got out of the cockpit.
`Uh?' replied Emmy realising that she hadn't actually heard the helicopter approach. `My, what an impressively big chopper you have!' she remarked.
`Come on, we're about to go.' replied Grunwald, anxious to avoid any more double-entendres.

Emmy and Zeroc went up to the bridge, and strapped themselves into some rather stylish ex-Habitat furniture. Birke was in the pilot's chair, wearing a leather flying jacket and goggles. Nothing else, mind, which made Emmy feel all strange for a bit.

Birke turned the ignition key, and suddenly the most horrible noise started up as the engines engaged. The ship started to slide along the ground, demolishing several buildings and incinerating a large part of the locality before Birke managed to pull the nose up and take off.

`Why are you looking at the ceiling, Birke?' asked Jimblewix.
`It's a revolutionarly new way of piloting an airship' replied Birke, who was actually staring the the ceiling because he had somehow managed to wedge the joystick up his nose. `I designed it myself.' Birke managed to reove the controls from his nasal passage, and immediately the nose of the ship pitched down again, so he rammed the joystick back up his nostril since it seemed to work better that way.

`Ooooh... you mean YOU designed this?!' said Emmy in an impressed sort of way.
`Sure, I was Chief Engineer on the original Hubble project'
At that point, everyone fell silent and went a nice shade of green.


Some time later, the Gherkin was drifting above the planet when the ship's sensors picked up a battle situation below.

`Uh?' queried Zeroc
`There seems to be some heavy fighting going on in... errr.. Luton'
Birke looked mystified. `Let's go down to have a look.'

The ship started to descend rapidly, approching Luton at terrifying speed. Just then, somebody changed the channels on the main display monitor in order to watch Jupiter Moon on BSB.

`Aaargh!' cried everyone as they came up against... certain Death...



Brian Death wasn't happy on BSB, he always had wanted to be on Sky, but Frank Bough had beaten him to that. Anyway, Brian had his own chat show, where he interviewed people (in the face of death) before they died. Typical questions were, `How would you like to die?', `Do you have any last requests?', and so on.

The show was popular wuitht* yhe* punters, and was even more popular than `That's life!'. It just so happened that in this episode of `Be Dead with Brian Death (Jupiter Moon)', there was a rather familiar face - Xaxxaran.

`Well bugger me~!', said Emmy, `You just can't get away from them!'

At that moment then, someone changed the channel back. They were still hurtling towards Luton. Birke put on the brake, although he took it off again when everyone said that it didn't suit him. They slowed down and saw a battle taking place (weoll*, they knew what to expect).

`Oh look, its a battle', exclaimed the characters in the Gherkin.
`Lets join in, I'm sure it's relevant to the story, or otherwise it wouldn't have been menbtuioned*. And who is writing this bit, the spelling is terrible!'

The Gherkin stopped, the crew assembled any weapons they could find (most of which were baguettes, bananas and strands of buitonni spagetti), and jumped out of the airship right into the thick of things.

As they did so, the Gherkin fell apart.

`Well, at least it got us to Luton', said Birke, whereupon he promptly got lynched by Shritwod.

Looking through the mass of bodies and junk, they could see one person directing the course of the battle, it was none other than the Yellow Cavalier!

* err, dunno.



`Hello' they said. TYC turned a paler shade of yellow for a moment then regained his confidence.
`There is nothing you can do to stop us now!' he grinned, and had a brave attempt at a fiendish laugh.
`Oh yes?' they said, and attacked him with their baguettes, bananas and spagetti. Unfortunately he seemed to be rather enjoying it.

Meanwhile, the battle raged on. About a thousand horribly beweaponed black hatchbacks were fighting the SAS, the TA, the Jehovas Witnesses and the provisional wing of the Royal College of Art. Brian, Certain and Definite Death were wandering through the battlefield dispatching the casualties (and in Brian's case interviewing them first). An ITN camera crew were also filming the epic struggle.

Soon ITN recognised Shritwod and Jimblewix as famous rock stars and rushed over to interview them.
`Miz Shritwod Wayhard, famous rock star of the band `Pelic Wombat', what is your reaction to the news that the world is due to end tomorrow night?'
`Eh?' said Shritwod.
`How do you react to this shock announcement, made on national TV by the Lamb with the Seven Eyes this morning?'
`Oh... errr...' said Shritwod, looking less than happy.
`Oh, I expect we'll find a spaceship and escape the planet at the last minute,' said Jimblewix outrageously, because it was such a good quote that he'd be sure to get on the 10 o'clock news.
`Hang on,' said The Yellow Cavalier. `Are you sure that the world is due to end?'
`Yes,' said the interviewer, `the planet is due to be turned into a huge cosmic slimeball tomorrow night. It's official.'

Birke had a flash of inspiration and grabbed the nearest microphone. `Stop fighting everybody!' he shouted. There was a sudden deathly silence on the battlefield. `The world is going to end tomorrow night,' Birke broadcast, `so your battle is utterly irrelevant! Go home and prepare to meet your doom!'

On the battlefield, the Voxhor-Lople army and their opponents wisely decided there were lots of other things they wanted to do before the end of the world, so they all dashed off home to go to bed, watch all the videos they'd been meaning to get round to watching, etc. etc.

The wombats went off back to their penthouse to try and get stoned into floating off the planet completely. In a few hours they had forgotten all about the end of the world. Grunwald headed off to sell all his shares, and the Yellow Cavalier went to report back to the General. Only Emmy and Birke were left.

`What a brilliant idea Birke!' said Emmy warmly.
`Oh, you're too kind,' said Birke bashfully.
`So what do we now?'
`What would you like to do?' asked Birke, going wobbly at the knees at the thought of how Emmy might like to spend their remaining hours together. `Do you think we can save the Earth?' asked Emmy.
`God knows,' said Birke with a strange twinkle in his eye, as if he knew God personally.
`OK, let's go ask him.' said Emmy.


They spent the next 24 hours in a variety of churches, mosques and synagogues trying to get in contact with God, but all the lines were jammed. Of course, all the religious types believed the end of the world was about to happen and no-one else believed a word of it. A strange fashion for going around dressed in pyjamas, mouldy sunglasses and guitar-strings seemed to have developed overnight.

That evening they went back to Emmy's flat, and drank Grand Marnier and ate some doughnuts and chocolate covered cream buns. On TV there was a South Bank Show programme about `The Art Of Pelvic Wombat'.

`I know,' said Emmy as they finished off the bottle of spirits, `letsh go find the Shupreme Being and see if we can get a reprieve!'
`OK,' said Birke, trying to focus on Emmy, `I think I have a subtle plan!'



The following is transcribed from the actual conversation, which was rather less comprehensible, and much more pissed:

`Let's meditate really hard on the idea of the Supreme Being. In our current state we should be able to let our minds wander in strange directions.'

`Hang on a minute, Birke,' slurred Emmy, `I'll just fetch something from my bedroom...' Emmy returned with a bag containing two tablets.

`This is really good stuff. I don't know what it is, but the last time I took it, when I woke up I was lying in the bath, wrapped in toilet paper with a banana in my'
`I get your drift,' interrupted Birke, before anything too suggestive could get into the story.

They swallowed the pills. The room turned purple, and started melting, as did their clothing, and indeed everything else. They closed their eyes, and thought strange theological thoughts, while they (apparently) floated upside-down in mid-air.

When they opened their eyes again, the world had vanished.

`Bloody hell, that's strong stuff!' spluttered Birke in amazement as he disentangled himself from Emmy. They looked around. They were floating in a mysterious black void, with only one feature. In the distance, there was a sign. It looked like a white letter i in a blue circle.

`Aha, a tourist information kiosk,' said Emmy. They floated over, and approached the counter. The thing behind the counter leered at Emmy, who realised she wasn't wearing anything, and hid behind Birke.

At this point, a description of the thing behind the counter is possibly in order:
Small, inoffensive, sweet-smelling, fun at parties, smooth-skinned, toothless, and a really nice personality.
These are words which completely fail to describe it. It was hideous. Imagine, if you will, a mutant Godzilla with breath like a dingo's groin.

`Wot d'you want, then?' it belched. `Come on, I haven't got all eternity you know.'
`Erm, we're looking for the Supreme Being,' said Emmy from behind Birke's behind.
`Oh you are, are you? Do you know how many people have asked me that today? I'll tell you how many - none. But then, no-one's asked me anything. Bastards. So, the Supreme Being, you say. Which one are you after? God, Jehova, Allah, Cliff?'
`Eh? Which one's in charge of the Earth?'
`That'd be Cliff then. Here's a map.'

He handed them a map. Birke took it gingerly out of a hand which looked as though it was capable of digging a tunnel through Everest, just by moving it's little finger.
It was a black piece of paper, with two things on it. One was a sign saying `You are here', the other was a sign saying `Cliff's eternal dressing room'.

`Thanks,' they said dubiously, and were about to move off when the thing said: `Here, you'd better wear these. Just between ourselves, he's a bit of a prude.' It handed them two black robes, which they put on. As they floated away, they noticed that the sign saying `You are here' moved as well. They drifted on for an indefinite period, and then they saw...



...the outside of a dressing room with a large star on the door. Somewhere inside, a tape was playing `Pelvic Wombat at Full Volume Volume II' at full volume.

Birke tried to knock on the door, but it suddenly changed into a large and very threatening riot policeman. Birke stepped back in surprise.

`Ello, Ello, Ello. I think surreality is goin on the blink ere' said the apparition, before dissolving into a shower of Poll Tax payment slips, and then turning back into a door.

Birke knocked on the door again. This time it remained reasonably solid, even though it was slowly turning into Pizza. He looked a Emmy who was beginning to look like a side order of garlic bread.

`Did you know that you look like a side order of garlic bread?' asked Birke in a fake-casual sort of way.
`Shut up and keep swimming' replied Emmy.

Just then, the Pizza opened and Cliff poked his head out, at which point it was hit by a deluge of custard that fell from a nearby adjective.

`Errr... I think I need another hit of that stuff' said Birke. Emmy passed him a small pink pill, which turned into a large pink slug just as Birke swallowed it.
`Euuuuuurrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh..' eurghed Emmy as Birke momentarily looked like Ken Baker, before abnormality reasserted itself. The door became substantially more doorlike, Emmy more platypoid and Birke less slimy and more matted. Cliff, however, remained covered in custard.

`Oh no!' cried Cliff `I'm covered in custard! And I have a gig in the Pleiades to play at in twenty minutes!'


`Just put it right there!' Cliff was standing on his vast mahogany desk, which doubled as a mock stage. He was practising his new custard- stained look in a mirror which was placed on his chair. `I look a bit like Migglezimblatt Wombat, yeah?' Birke and Emmy nodded to indicate that they really disagreed but were too polite to say so.

`Anyway, guys, I gotta dash to this gig. See you later. Ciao.' And Cliff walked out of the door.
`Well, what are we going to do now?' asked Emmy.
`Shh... there's someone coming...' hushed Birke



`Quick, in here!' said Emmy, and climbed into an enormous waste-paper bin. Birke switched out the light in the office and jumped in too. They curled up in a warm hairy/furry heap in the bottom of the bin and waited.

The sound of shuffling indicated that a number of people, or beings, were filing into the office. Or being filed rather, as the person showing them in certainly sounded like a filing secretary.

`God will see you now' said the secretary, and left.

They waited. Nothing happened. They continued waiting. Still nothing happened. Then someone switched on the light. The light flickered and settled.

Peeping through the holes at the edge if a big computer printout in the bin, Emmy and Birke could see that the visitors were Migglezimblatt, Shritwod, Jimblewix, McVax, Zeroc, and a little robot. They looked older and wiser (well, older anyway). In fact they were clearly from the distant future. They also seemed a bit nonplussed.

[The following passage is also an extract from 'The Compleat Wombat', but several years later. In fact, it was at the very end of Miggy's adventures. Or perhaps not.]


The wombats climbed up one of the telephone cables dangling from the desk, and found themselves in a forest of extremely large pot plants. They navigated through them, until they could see who was sitting in the chair.

One by one, they came out into the open of the desk, and stopped and stared.

They saw something totally unexpected.

And what they saw was this.

Sitting in the chair was a mirror.

The fact that it was a particularly plush chair, and a particularly ornamental mirror wasn't important.

It was a mirror. And they could see themselves reflected in it. They let this fact sink in.

`So.... we were really in control all the time then?' asked Shritwod

`It seems that way,' replied Miggy, his eyes misting over, `I thought there would be more... something simple that could explain what was going on.'

`And it was us all the time.....' continued Jimblewix
`Well, what are we going to do now?' queried Zeroc
`I think we ought to go home.' replied McVax.

And they did.


Emilia and Birke were left sitting in the waste paper bin. In the light, Emmy noticed that the printout was a copy of `Zang'. Someone had scrawled across it: `This is like totally obsolete, yeah? Try a virus next time.' Meanwhile, Birke, in true detective fashion, was rifling through the rest of the bin with a rifle. Well, it was only his service revolver actually, but revolving through the papers made him giddy.

`Hey look!' he exclaimed. `This memo explains everything!' They climbed out of the bin, and Emmy read the memo.

	FROM: Supreme Being i.c.o. planet Earth
	TO : Jehovas Witnesses HQ, Brixton, Londres, France.
	DATE: 10/03/98
	RE : Attempts to take over the earth
	What you must do is obtain large quantities of liquid paper and a
	crop spraying helicopter, OK? Then, like spray the liquid paper onto
	the massed Voxhor-Lople armies' windscreens. It has already had the
	thinner removed so it will be far too mungy for their windscreen wipers
	to cope with, yeah? Then go in and like wipe them out totally. And
	godspeed OK?
`But does that mean we can stop the end of the world, or not?' wondered Emmy wonderfully.
`No.' said a metallic voice behind them. They turned round, and saw the small robot, who they now noticed was labelled `ANNE-DROIO'.
`But everyone escapes?'
`Yes,' said the robot metallically. `We eventually found another, very similar Earth in a parallel universe, and it ended up in this universe' it continued enlighteningly.
`What are you doing here?' queried Birke adjectivally.
`Oh, I'm just a rather obvious plot device', explained the Droid orangely, and turned and hurried off to catch up with the wombats.

`This story is getting a bit too self-referential,' remarked Birke self-referentially.
`Birke, darling,' bubbled Emmy, rather in the manner of a bottle of ecologically friendly washing-up liquid, `Why are you turning into a lampshade?'



`I think that we ought to get out of here before the radioactive fireplace gets us.'
[f/x WHAAAAAAAAAM! (Roy Lichtenstein eat you heart out!)]


It was unexpectedly dark. Not just dark, but that special kind of smelly dark that doesn't really make you want any light to see what it is that is making the smell, except that it might put your mind at rest, but on the other hand, maybe not. Emmy groaned:

`Where am I?' somewhat unoriginally. She turned over and ended up with a faceful of somebody else's profuse body hair. Emmy screamed very loudly, only to find that the mass of body hair could scream even louder. Emmy jumped up and fell out of bed, landing on something nasty on a plate. Well, at least she knew that there was a bed involved in this somewhere, which was reassuring apart from the fact that it wasn't. Then, the lights went on.

`Urgh' reacted Emmy, although whether it was the decor or the hairy mass that she found unpleasant wasn't obvious. Emmy squinted at the hairy mass and suddenly it struck her.

`Birke! My god, I told you that stuff was strong!' Emmy checked her personage for any remnants of fruit. `Where am I?' she asked again, `this place is disgusting.'

Birke looked at Emmy as if in a daze. He blinked once or twice, and then his eyes became vacant as if in a trance.

Birke staggered over to the telephone that was lying underneath a pile of Sunday Sports. He sat down heavily on the bed. Cutlery rattled underneath. Birke picked up the telephone and bagan to dial. Emmy's vision was too blurry to see what the number was, and she began to feel faint.

`Hello? Is that the police?' asked Birke in a peculiar disembodied voice. `I would like to speak to the Chief Bastard please.'

Emmy crawled over to the window, which she opened with some difficuly almost falling down twelve storeys to the concrete below. She took in a deep breath and noticed that the room next door had a window box. She looked closely at the box at some funny looking plants. The rush of wind made it difficult to hear what Birke was saying... `Lazenby... High... drugs... window box... wombat... bust.'

Emmy clambered down from the window and looked at Birke. She remembered to breath out. `Birke, what are you doing?'
`I think that I have to take this bag to a car park' replied Birke. `It seems to be full of some white powder...'



`What? Why? What's going on?'

Birke did not reply, but still with the vacant look in his eyes picked up the large sack of white powder and mechanically moved over to the door and left. Emmy could only assume that he was under some sort of outside control, perhaps he had been taken over by an alien intelligence. Mind you, the alien couldn't have had that much intelligence or it would have taken over someone more useful than Birke.

Emmy looked around for something to put on, but although there were lots of clothes around, they all looked filthy and disgusting. With powers of deduction rivalling Birke's, Emmy had by now realised that this was a student's room.

Finally she found her black robe from several chapters back lying on the bed. It was very crumpled, as they had been sleeping on it, and they seemed to have spilt milk on it in several places which had dried. Still, it was the best she had, so she put it on and went out into the corridor. She noticed that a sign on the door read `I. B. Eliotttt...', with 98 `t's.

The first person she saw was Migglezimblatt the wombat, carrying the windowbox from next door. Miggy looked very, very youthful and did not seem to recognise her, though he gave her a very dirty look as he scurried past. Emmy was so bewildered that she realised that they must be travelling backwards and forwards in time, which is perhaps the most confusing thing that can happen to anyone. She almost expected to see flying pigs next.

Looking out of the window by the lifts of the tower block, she was relieved to see no police helicopters, only a flock of mutant geese and a flying Birke.

Emmy rubbed her eyes and looked again. Birke was still there, drifting away in the breeze. In fact, he had caught a whiff of the contents of the sack and discovered one of its useful mystic properties.

By the time Emmy got down to the ground floor, Birke was some way off, but lower than before. She dashed down a hill, following him, and across a little bridge by a lake. There were crowds of students about, all heading in the opposite direction, but they were all looking down (trying to avoid treading in the all the goose shit on the path) so none of them had noticed Birke.

As Birke floated lower and lower, Emilia chased down a long, tree-lined road after him. Eventually she caught up when he came to rest in an empty car park. He was lying in the burst-open bag of powder as if in a snowdrift. Either this was fate - or somebody, somewhere was being very nastily manipulative...

Birke now looked much more normal, kind of mellow and relaxed, as he stood up and brushed himself down.
`I think something strange is definitely going on,' he announced to Emmy.

They noticed that the car park was next to a pub, so they wandered over and went in. Then they entered the pub. They were just deciding what to have when suddenly, from behind a suspiciously tardis-like Trivia Quiz game stepped two tall, bearded figures.

`Halt!' said one, `We are from the planet Thongg!'
`And we come to warn you of a dire danger!' added the other.
The messengers seemed to feel this fulfilled their mission, and wandered off to find a better pub.

`Strange,' thought Emmy, and...



...suddenly she noticed the Trivia Machine.

`Thats odd, they have a maximum prize of a million pounds, given in those new five pence coins', remarked Emmy.

`So, that's where they are all going - no one actually wants them', said Birke. Emmy and Birke wandered over to the machine and had a look at it. It was a Radio 1TM trivial machine, with loads of pop and classical music questions.

Emmy put her new five pence in. It spat it out, and a big notice came up on the screen WE DON'T NEED YOUR FIVE PENCES - THERE'S TOO MANY IN HERE ALREADY.
`Oh', said Birke, `here, have a five pence - a real one'.

QUESTION 1: Who were the two mysterious people?
Emmy and Birke thought about it, then Emmy had a brainwave:
`They were mysterious bearded people'.

QUESTION 2: NAME the greatest singer in the history of the world, and sing one of their songs.
`Wow, this machine is wierd!', commented Emmy.
`Yes, but the question is easy', said Birke, shouting out `The Greatest Singer in the history of the world is Cliff Richard', and breaking out into Cliff's most famous song, `Living Doll' in the style of the Young Ones.
`Shut up', said Emmy, `the answer is Migglezimblatt the Pelvic Wombat', and she burst out into `Owner of a 2CV'.


`That isn't fair', shouted an unknown voice behind them. It was one of those people who hover over these type of machines when other people are playing. `Its supposed to be a music question'.
`It is!', scowled Emmy, and typed in the answer:

Suddenly, All hell broke loose, and so did the machine. five pences were pouring out of the ceiling and floor and machine, they had tickets to the bahamas and a set of keys.

`Lets see what these keys are for then', said Birke stepping out of the pub without taking any of the money.
Lo and behold, there was a gleaming green spaceship, with a yellow nose and spotted undercarriage in the car park.
`Quick, get in here, and we can go to Thongg and find out why they sent two mysterious people to warn us.'
`Ah, but lets first stop in the bahamas and have our free holiday', said Emmy, trying to get her priorites right.

[However, she never did reveal how she arrived at the Ultimate Answer without knowing the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything.]



...so Emmy and Birke went to the Bahamas.

Emmy was lazing on the beach, while Birke had gone to the beach bar for some fizzy drink. Suddenly, or as sudden as anything on a beach in the Bahamas, which really isn't very sudden at all, so I suppose I mean relatively suddenly, someone started to sing. It was a woman's voice, that was a sort of cross between Brummie and Ozzie, I suppose you'd call it Brozzie. Anyway, the song went like this:

Can't get no sleeves for my floppies
Can't get no round the world cruise
Can't get no medicine
For my bad catarrh
Can't get no Smarties that are blue

Blue-ue-ue... oh yeah!

I don't get no free bank transactions
Or soft toilet paper in my loo
Why it's so I'm not sure
It's like eating Polos off a skewer
Can't get no Smarties that are bluuuee

Yeah yeah yeah. Oh yeah.

They say it's only gravity
I know that it's a fact
They say it's what everybody knows
But when I've had some LSD I can't help but react
Fly away when the wind blows

Can't get no remedy for my VD
My CD player's jammed up with glue
There's no Blakes 7 on the BBC
Leslie Crowther's on ITV
Can't get no Smarties that are blue...

Emmy looked up, and saw that it was Shritwod.
`Hi Shritty' called Emmy.

Shritwod looked over at Emmy with a look of puzzlement on her face.
`Do I know you?' she asked. `Errrmm.... I'm Emmy. You know, the journalist. Shritwod Wayhard, right?'
`Errr.... that's right. I still don't know who you are. How do you know me?' Emmy looked a bit puzzled.
`Everyone knows you. You're famous. A friend of Migglezimblatt Wombat.'
`Never heard of him.'
`You must have done. You've known him since 1988. It says so here.'
Emmy got out a copy of the Pelvic Wombat Annual 1990 (which she just happened to have on her). `Look, here you are on the cover.'

`But it isn't 1988 yet! You must be some sort of time traveller!' said Shritwod, who had seen all of those movies where someone from the future turns up and has a hard time of convincing people. Shritwod continued: `Err.. am I rich and famous in this band, or just famous?'

`Oooohhh... very very rich. And extremely famous.'
`Errr.... excuse me!' Shritwod dashed off in order to find Miggy.

Birke returned with two cans of Vimto.

`Who was that?' asked Birke, who had been unable to see though his MegaDark TotalBlotoutTM shades.
`That was Shritwod. Err... Birke, what year is this?'

Birke cracked open his tube of fizzydrink. `Year. Dunno. Hang on...' Birke turned his can upside down to look at the best before date, spilling his drink down the front of his shorts. `Damn. It says here.. best before end June 1987. So it must be sometime before then. Hmmm... most fizzydrink goes off after a year, so it must be somewhere in the 12 months before June 1987. Now, given that it's summer, and these cans seem awfully cheap, I guess that it's about that time now.'

`Oooh.. you are clever!' simpered Emmy. `So doesn't this mean that Miggy isn't famous yet, because they haven't yet formed Pelvic Wombat'
`I would guess so.'

`So, how do you explain the fact the the machine in the pub thought that he was the world's gretaest musician...'
`...along with Cliff Richard...'
`...if Miggy hasn't formed the band yet? It can't be a time machine, because time travel is impossible!' Emmy thought about that for a bit. `Maybe not though..'
`I would say that it possibly was a time machine of some sort.'
`That would explain why it knew about the mysterious bearded strangers'
`Errr... yes' replied Birke nonplussed.
`Also, if it's a time machine, can't we somehow use it to save the Earth from the lamb with Seven Eyes? We all know that the planet is going to be destroyed sometime. Maybe we could stop it!'
`Good idea... I have a plan. We're going to need a mutant water buffallo and ASCII characters nought to thirty-one'
`Good idea!' replied NAK.
`Right on!' shouted ESC.



`Where did you come from?' Birke asked NAK, ESC and their friends.
`Well you see, we won this free holiday in the Bahamas,' began STX.
`It was out of a Pub Trivia machine,' SYN continued.
`And so here we all are,' ETX finished.

`Right,' said Birke, and started organising the ASCII character into an escape sequence not unlike the one they had formed to get out of Belgium long ago. First in line were the cursor positioning characters. Birke spent ages with his Psion Organiser III pocket computer working out the exact co-ordinates, especially when it turned out the DLE had caught a nasty case of VDU and couln't take part, so they had to use a SUB instead. Finally, Emmy and Birke sat on a nearby block cursor and activated the cursor control sequence. They were momentarily translated through a virtual window, then appeared in the Albert Hall.

It was the evening of the End of the World, and the mutant water buffalo band (Mooey Lewis and the Gnus) were playing their farewell concert. They were singing a sad song that went like this:

Have you seen the wombat
at the twenty-four hour party
getting stoned on hard drugs
and he goes home in his porsche,

Have you seen the SERF revolutionary
dining out at Maximes
each course lasts an hour
and he's drinking Newky Brown.

So how can you tell me you're a sooooocialistworker
And dare suggest that the poor aren't fine
Let me take you by the hand, and lead you through the streets of Londres
I'll show you something that'll really blow your mind...

There were a lot more similarly morose verses. When they had finished the audience clapped a bit then went home to await the end of the world. As the band trouped off the stage, Birke and Emmy accosted the last mutant water buffoalo in line.
`Hi' said Birke, `do you mind doing a little job for us?'


The ascii characters' cursor dropped them off outside the Gun Barrels pub moments after they had left it the first time. They noticed a wombat sliding down the road very fast in a windowbox, but didn't pay too much attention. While Birke and the buffalo started digging the trivia machine out from under the mound of 5p coins, Emmy went into the green spaceship with yellow nose and spotted underbelly. Then she noticed the condition of her nose and underbelly and felt rather ill, so she went off to find a doctor.

On her way back (after waiting in the waiting room for a few hours her symptoms had completely disappeared, as usual) she noticed that a large portion of south-west campus was now a huge smoking nuclear crater. Emmy didn't approve of smoking and she was sure it was time to get out of here urgently.

She found that Birke, with the invaluable help of the strong mutant water buffalo, had shifted the trivia machine into the spaceship, and Birke was working out how to wire it up to the controls so as to make the time travel functions available.


As a practice trip, they dropped off the buffalo then jumped back to the Pelvic Wombat gig. Judging by the way Shritwod and Miggy were playing side by side in the concert, with no apparent paradoxes (which can so easily crop up when you get mixed up with time travel), Shritwod had managed to find Miggy OK.

Next they tried space travel. They visited a planet called Putz where everyone was called Eric. They visited a nearby planet called Oigy where they met a pink aardvark and a lemming with a very positive outlook. They visited the planet Thongg and learned of a dire, dire danger - the impending end of the world. Not surprisingly they felt this news was a bit of an anticlimax.

Then Emmy and Birke went back to finish their month in the Bahamas. Emmy finished writing her expose of the liquid paper affair for her magazine, intending to drop it off at the office next time they did some time-travelling. Finally it was time to save the world.



Far off, in an obscure and rather boring part of the galaxy, populated solely by accountants and systems analysts, lay a smallish, blue-green, totally expendable planet that no-one would miss. A heroic looking spaceship arrived, and the planet shimmered unexpectedly in response. The heroic looking spaceship departed.


Soon after this, a rather poorly looking spaceship arrived, which had been named `The Dodgy Rollup" by its crew.

Inside, Emmy rummaged around in her handbag for a small electronic calculator type device.
`What's that?' asked Birke
`It my Psion Organiser III. I asked the ASCIIs to reprogram it so I could get access to the MiggyCorpTM GalactibaseR.'

Birke peered at the tiny, flickering screen. It read..

	Capital: BORK
	Population: 6 (humanoid)

`That's what it says' replied Emmy

	Hreosnabeorgh is a colony of Space-Geats, a race descended from a
	mating pair of Swedish accountants, who were removed from the planet
	Earth by a friendly planet who thought that they were too boring for
	the good of the Earth (Note 1). Hreosnabeorgh developed into a planet
	with meticulous book-keeping, but no form of commerce or industry
	to book-keep for. As a result, the planet is exremely poor, but at
	least they know exactly how poor they are.

	The planet is an almost exact replica of earth, except it's a great
	deal less interesting to live on (Note 2).

	Note 1: The friendly planet was Putz - `The Disco Planet'.
	Soon after this, a war broke out between Putz and Earth over which
	member of Bros was Luke and which was Eric.

	Note 2: The planet was built by Volvo, so it's also a great deal
	safer to live on.

	Entry last updated: 8-8-2198.
`Wow... so we're two hundred years in the future! Wow!'

`Oh shut up, Birke'

`So, what are we going to do now?'

`Well, I sent BEL, NAK, NEL* and OSC* off to fiddle about with the programming of the Universe, so we could swap the poisitions of Hres... Hereo.. this planet and Earth of 200 years previously.'

`What does that think say about Earth? Did we save it?'

`Well.. it says it's still there..'

	Capital: CANBERRA
	Population: (Note 1)

	Earth is the home of MiggyCorp (TM) and is currently
	where MiggyCorp (TM) brews its famous lager Ozzypiss (TM).
	Most of the surface of the planet is used up as a warehouse,
	and most of the population are involved in its manufacture,
	distribution and sales. There are some 23 x 10^20 cans
	currently stored on the planet.

	Note 1: Earth's population is unclear, due to the fact
	that no-one has ever managed (a) to count it or (b) to decide what
	should be counted. However, the dominant life-forms are mainly
	marsupials, and these number about 20 billion.

	Entry last updated: 07-02-2218.
`I suppose it's better than being listed as `Cosmic Slimeball' or something' mused Birke, `So I guessed we must have saved it from destruction two hundred years ago.'


At that point, ETX interrupted.

`I've just heard from BEL.. they've finished patching the Universe's object code, and they're ready to run.'

`OK... let's do it' replied Emmy, a remark that Birke misunderstood.

There was a flash, and both the planets shuddered and flickered. The spaceship then turned into an enormous giant beetle, that then scuttled off into the space-time continuum, spitting out its occupants at a passing ferry somewhere near Tau Ceti.

* NEL, OSC: Short for Nelly and Oscar, new members of the Ascii character set added after the death of NUL and ESC in the great ADM - DEC Wars of 2048.


Emmy started to come round. She felt like she had drunk 16 pints of Diamond Green the night before. Through her wobbly vision, she could make out Migglezimblatt the Wombat, who was standing next to a tall, heroic looking figure that Emmy didn't recognise - but his T-shirt read Captain Polar, so she assumed that was who it was. Among the various people going about their business in the background she thought she saw Werbnitz the wookie, the Boggle, Claire Mont and Mooklj.

`Wh... what... where am I' mumbled Emmy, half-suprised at her own unoriginality. Her mind cleared slightly `W... was the Earth saved?'

Captain Polar smiled slightly.

`You're on board the spaceship Strawberry Ferret.'

`What about Earth...?' said Emmy weakly.

`Err... I'm afraid the Earth got turned into a cosmic slimeball.'

Emmy was shocked.

`It was stange really...' remarked Miggy `Polar here swapped Earth with another planet, so that the Lamb with Seven Eyes would destroy the wrong one by mistake... but someone swapped them back just afterwards. Odd...'

`Errr... nice weather, eh?' interrupted Birke, trying to change the subject.

`Not especially.'

`No, I suppose not.'

`Mind you... the strangest thing of all is this...'

Miggy rummaged around in a Tescos bag and brought out a tattered and extremely old magazine. It had a picture of Grunwald on the front and a seventy-two point title reading The Great Liquid Paper Scam by Emilia Dogguard.


They'd rigged up a couple of Bang+Olufsen speakers as propulsion, and covered the boat with lots of clingfilm to stop the air from leaking out. As soon as Emmy and Birke had seen the magazine title they had gone all sort of squishy. You could almost see the little pink hearts throbbing above their heads. Miggy could see them, in fact, but this may have been more to do with the joint he had just smoked than anything else. Birke and Emmy had decided to get married, and start a new life together on a deserted planet.

`What puzzles me,' mused Miggy `is how she managed to get the story in.'

`Uh?' queried Zeroc.

`Never mind. Fancy a spliff?'

The End