From: The Great Quail,
Danielle & Katherine: Welcome from the Surreal Posse
CHAPTER ONE: In which we meet the unlikely hero of our story and experience what could probably be called "a very bad morning."
BBbzzzt! . . . cheep . . . cheep . . . cheep . . .
The shrill cheeping of the alarm must have been lacerating the air for the last hour before Dan-Yell's swollen brain finally registered it. One groggy hand emerged from under the Tuck-O-Covers and fumbled at the alarm clock like a blind albino bat with a pair of broken wings. Swack! Swuck!
Fmip! Three passes later she finally managed to hit the top "h'muh" feather of the quail-shaped alarm clock, and the incessant cheeping twittered to a sudden halt.
The world was a cold, harsh, bright place outside of the covers -- there was no doubt about that. Additionally, she hadn't helped the matter by imbibing all that moss elixir last night at the Zinc Pear. But . . . it was, after all, her anniversary. One year working for EbCorp, one year of taking her place in the New Feg Society. Still, she had gone on a bender . . . but she deserved it, especially after that "Baird" twerp kept asking her why a girl was named "Dan." What a stupid question. Never had she met such an inconsiderate bastard! The though triggered a sudden spasm of headache.
The moss elixirs had, clearly, made the morning colder, harsher, brighter. Hmm. Wasn't that the title of the new Four Non Blondes minidisc? Something like that. The thought of her new minidisc player (The Winkworth 3000, matte black finish, chrome knobs, and clever disguised as a stuffed wombat tea-caddy thanks to her new clarkium Holograph Projector!) brought her feelings of happiness, prosperity, peace and serenity . . . yes . . . sleep . . . She could feel the ME hangover dragging her back down into a well of slumber, its clumsy hands tugging at her like a drowning child waring oversized mittens. . . . sleeeeeep. . . . hypnogogic images swirled pleasureably in her head . . . and the Tuck-O-Covers snugglewumped against her, a cozy cocoon of warmth.
What a great present, and those little pictures of Godwinbears and Guambats were so cute. . . .
"Hello, Fegizen! Good Morning!"
The holotank clicked on and filled the room with the chrome brightness of her na-Susan's computer enhanced perkiness. A sudden flash of advertizing painted the room with the EbCorp logo: white and yellow stripes strobed across her wall. She opened one bleary eye. F**king na-Susan. All those clone-elects, and she had to rate the Perky Model.
Nine o'clock already? Sigh. She swung her legs out of bed, and the Gloster GmbH slipper-bot came alive with a sudden clatter and scurried to duty, excreting a fresh pair of muffium slippers around her cold feet. The tinny "snickety snickety snick" filled her with a sense of peace, and she waited patiently for the bot to finish. She glanced at her hand and was alarmed to see that she had cut herself on her alarm clock's beak. Shooting it a quick and hopefully fierce glare, she repressed a shudder at it's meaningless bird-eyes. Quails. They had always given her the creeps, even *before* the. . . .
"Good Morning, Fegizen Dan-Yell! This is your Personalized Message System. You have Two Saved Transmissions. Would You Like to View Them?" Perky beyond belief. She could just *hear* the capital letters, punctuating the air like a cluster of false smiles.
"F**k off and die," Dan growled as she muffied her way to the coffe-bot. It was a bad morning to have a broken coffee-bot, and frankly she didn't care who was calling.
"Are You Sure? They could be . . . Important!" The voice was almost beside itself with a nauseatingly cheerful motherly concern. She bit down on her lip and stifled a curse in Welsh.
"No. Save them, unread." The PMS reticule of the holotank lapsed into its waiting icon: two unhatched quail eggs, quivering with eager anticipation to be opened, spilling their happy contents.
A swift kick on the clarkium chipchanger awoke the coffee-bot, and the welcome smell of java soon filled the room. The bot squeaked, "Fegizen Dan-Yell: I am almost out of coffee. If you will authorize the transfer of twelve happies, I will place an order from Gloster GnmB!"
"Sure." She turned to the holotank in time to see the na-Susan fading into a new image: that of Bill Gates. Her brows furrowed . . . already?
Bill Gates Hate Hour will begin shortly. All Fegizens please put on
your clarkium Applecaps and your Thoth Shirts. All hail the Fegolution!"
Great Queen of Toast, not another BGHH! That was the third one this month -- obviously the current Tom over at AppleControl was having a bad month. Of course, the news had indicated that Tewist terrorist attacks were on the rise . . . never a good sign, and that always had the powers-that-be jumpy. Didn't Woj-Sven-Woj IV recently declare all Billy Bragg minidisc as article six contraband? That must have put the prawn in their bucket! Not that it affected her in the least bit, of course -- she had purged her collection when she joined EbCorp. Of course, there wasn't much to dump -- just two old Indigo Girls minidiscs and a bootleg concert of a John Wesley Harding show. She dumped the latter off on the Black Market and made a few extra happies; but she allowed the Eb-Censor bots to see the IG minis . . . they were only Article Four contraband, and it was best not to look *too* squeaky clean. Plus, it was their first to albums, before they went too politico. The JWH boot was another matter though. That showed a level of sincerety that would not reflect well on her record. . . .
Sipping her coffee she put on her Thoth Shirt -- inside out, of course, so the heat-sensitive irridescent fabric ripppled with color -- and placed her Applecap on her head. Her was one of the second-generation originals, passed down to her from her grandmother -- as a matter of fact, it was patterned on one of the True Cones found in the original Cone Museum. The original pattern, too, sketched off the cone by the great Mikerunion himself, back before his assassination by a terrorist hit squid. . . .
Ah, that was a turbulent time, she thought to herself, back in the first days after the Fegolution: The whole globe teeming with left-wing death squids, the crazy weeks of the "Perspex Island/Eye" war, and the fatal involuntary defenestration of the terrorist leader, Eddie, at Oasis's last concert at Candlestick Park. Of course, rumour has it that Eddie is still not dead, that his ghost exists in the Mailing Networks, surfing from one site to another in the name of the Tewist cause -- and the fact that the Mixed-Tape Bombings have not stopped only gives credence to that theory, as does the occasional appearance of "Eat the Quail" newsletters in various dentist offices, playgrounds, and public jelly baby dispensers. Well, that was another world, she was part of EbCorp now. . .
She flexed her brow and the Applecap began spinning on her head. The coffee was helping the hangover a bit, at least, but the quail-shaped mug was a bit tricky to drink from. She would have given anything for her old set of coffee mugs, but all images of Natalia Yokovna were oulawed by the Woj-Sven Woj after her attempt to replace the letter "Q" had failed. What a betrayal! You can never know who to trust these days. . . .
Bill Gates image grew larger in the tank, and the wall speakers crackled with static. Soon her entire room was filled wit the voice of thousands of Fegs, all raised in the glorious chanting, all glaring with feverish hatred at the face of Bill Gates . . . .
"We hate . . . . . Bill!
. . . and so on, until her sixty minutes of civic hate was discharged. Bill faded away and the trademark Thoth-head logo appeared in the blank space of the holotank, spinning innocently and pulsing slightly with a nacreous green glow. The daily EbCorp Infostrip animated next to it, statistics and adverts shimmering up and down its length to the sound of Neutral Milk Hotel. Things seemed pretty normal . . . Senator Dworkin Spice had just proposed a resolution to ban all spurious use of the word "nerfherder," _Titanic_ entered it's seven- thousand and twenty-third consecutive week at number one, and The Church of Scientology was suing Dolph, Inc. for refusing to allow a sacred statue of L. Ron Hubbard in the atrium of their company headquarters. . . .
Dan removed her Applecap and changed her clothing . . . a loose fitting white shirt with black polka dots today, she thought, *perfect.*
Maybe the morning was finally looking up. . . .
In which we take a brief but thrilling walk on the other side of life.
Then she heard a knocking at the door . . . . a wild tapping, erratic and
She opened the door slightly, expecting to see a Girl Scout selling Thoth pumpkins, or maybe a Overbury's Witness. (Been a rash of those lately . .
. "Dear ma'am, are you aware that Ross has yet to be mentioned in aas they press a pamphlet into your hands, same old thing, grassy fields with happy people and the benign Lord Ross not staring down over anything; good feelings just dripping off the page like sugary drool, all the Original Fegs at peace . . . The Quail lying down with the Capuchin, the Eb eating Cherry Garcia Ice Cream, and the LJ handing out small gifts. . . .that sort of thing. . . . .)
But it was neither . . . it was a very frantic looking woman, and before Dan could act, she shoved her way inside and slammed the door shut.
"Please help me! My God, I can't believe it all . . . . they know! They
"What?? Who are you? And is that a fretless bass? Are you -- " but her question was cut off by a harsh sound slamming into the door. Her (mandatory) clarkium gearhead yoyodyne meta-modulators snapped on, and her room was filled with green light. The walls began to melt, to turn into small fish, figurines of Elvis, and burning pieces of magnesium shaped like cornish game hens. A hum filled the room, and a voice louder than God or GWAR appeared in every point of universe at once:
**THIS IS THE SURREAL POSSE. WE KNOW YOU ARE HARBORING A FUGITIVE. COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS FRANTICALLY MAKING SHADOW FIGURES, OR WE WILL DISSOLVE YOUR ROOM INTO AN EPISODE OF SOUTH PARK**
Philip Glass began playing from the geraniums at an ear-splitting volume,
and the holotank started showing reruns of "Car 54, Where Are You?" Dan looked at the terrified woman, and suddenly something clicked:
She had seen her face before, on the EbCorp NewsNet . . .
It was Kath-y-Chaucer Ross, the Tewist terrorist responsible for the recent Tracy Chapman revival! Here, in her room at Hostetter's Happy Haus! What could she do --
All at once the walls exploded into a spasm of bad animation. . . .
To be continued........
"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the
human mind to correlate all its contents."
From: The Great Quail <firstname.lastname@example.org>
There's been talk lately about "what happened to the Gong List," and what's worse, some implications have been made by a few List members that I might have been involved. (Damn that pesky Fane!)
Well, I assure you I had nothing to do with the collapse of the Gong Fanweb. But I do have some insider's information. . . .
of you may remember a Surreal Posse post from a few months ago,welcoming
Danielle and J Katherine to the List. Well, perhaps it is time to revisit
that unfinished business, and relate Chapter Two, Part One, which will
no doubt shed some light on a mystery which I will reveal over the next
week or so. . . .
In which we get a further look at the internal workings of EbCorp, and we discover what happened to Dan-Yell. . . .
I: Another Morning at EbCorp
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED TO THE GONG LIST? chuckled Eb menacingly to himself, then frowned as he -- naturally -- failed to menace himself, being the only living creature who actually *did* know the answer. *Damn,* he thought, toggling the key for his secretary.
The voice of Bunny Lindhurst burbled cheerfully over the clarkium Holocube; but her image failed to materialize. Another disappointment; most of the menacing effect was really visual, after all.
"Yeah, OhMighty Eb?"
"C'mon, boss!? I'm in the middle of polishing my toenails. I got littleThe sound of chewing gum crackled across the holocube, and Eb winced, envisioning Bunny wiggling her Liam-bedecked toes. Damn, that Bunny Lindhurst. If it weren't for those indentations on her head. . . . his eyes lingered guiltily to the bottle of Southern Comfort he kept on his shelf. Her voice continued, over the sound of smecking gum,
"Thank God for Gloster GmbH, eh? And it only set me back thirteen happies! Now I can polish and polish and polish and polish --" A sudden, happy squeal interrupted her enthusiastic endorsement.
"Look! This Liam just *winked*at me!"
"Yeah. Never mind, Bunny."Clicking off the cube, Eb sighed and leaned back into his chair. A strange sense of boredom dogged the corners of his mind; an ennui felt only by Greek Gods, the CEO of Beatrice, and himself.
His gaze fell upon the Executive Novelty Gift his manservant Ben gave him last Rufus Day. A row of tiny stainless steel quails suspended from fishing-line, if you pulled one back and let it *snock* into the others,the momentum transferred to the last quail, which whekked into the air and snocked back. . . . and so on . . . and back and forth . . .hypnotically . . . as if the quails were trying to say . . . something .
Eb abruptly shook his head and halted the
quails. Well, that was the world these days. Those damned ubiquitous
birds were everywhere, ever since --
!!ZZzzzt!! The holocube came to life with
a picture of 3-Tom, current CEO of Happy Apple. Gee, Eb mused, with
each iteration he *did* look more like Robyn. . . .
"Oh Great Leader, I bear some sad news. The Gloster GmbH Happy Whizzy-FegTom shuffled nervously in the cube. He was in the Wozniak Memorial Room, Eb observed. You could just notice the glass case with the head of Bill Gates, just out of sight near the antique iMac. . . .
"What? But you know that Phase 4 was to go into effect today!"Eb tried to keep a distinct whine from his voice. He really was looking forward to
"Yes, oh Mighty One. But . . . well, there was another Tewist attack.Tom's eyes discovered something ostensibly interesting somewhere offscreen, down to the left.
"You know, it's been pretty tense around here lately, and we all thought, well, Capuchin mimes *always* cheer up the workers, what with their happy stories and general love of humanity and all its adorable little foibles.. ."
"Enough!"Eb's fingers gripped his seat tensely. Those damn Tewists! Ever since their leader Eddie was defenestrated right after the Fegolution,they were worse than ever. And then those persistent rumors that Eddie lived still, a ghost in the machinery of the State. . . . grrr. This sort of thing must not go unpunished. Eb made a mental note to send a FEGX detailing his concerns to Woj-Sven-Woj IV. Maybe it was time to add Ani DiFranco to the Contraband List? And then there was the matter of the terrorist left-wing hit squids. Their activity was also on the rise, and their leader -- the legendary Kris ibn Gross ali Hashashim al-Inkigoo --was still at large. Rumor had it that old Gross was running his assassins from some underwater mountain, feeding them hallucinogenic kelp and rewarding their efforts with time in the Octopus' Garden, some foul paradise of sexual gratification and endless Sperm Whale burgers. What was this world coming to? Or was it time for another Mousestalker Incident? He eyed the trophy head of Lisa Loeb on the wall and smiled grimly.
His grip loosened and he addressed the nervous looking Tom.
"Is it completely offline? Or can it still effect events at all?"
"No, we can still do a Level Three Temporal Whammy . . . that is, if I
Eb cut him off in a burst of irritation.
"Save the details for the
"Yes, oh Sublime One, but . . . surely you're not thinking of doing . . .
Tom gasped, then leaned intensely into the cube and whispered,
"Think of the *children,* sir --"
"I already had Eddie defenestrated; there's not much more I
Ah, the glory days, when the List was young,
and the Great Quail had not --
"But wasn't the People Mover enough?"
"No. And neither was the Skyway. You know what I want; so just do it.
Tom's eyes widened, and he whimpered painfully,
"No -- no!"
"Yes. Take out Mr. Toad's Wild Ride."
Tom hung his head in the sad nod of the broken,
and switched the cube off.
It was going to be a long day. . . . .
To be continued in PART TWO; or "Dan-Yell meets the Surreal Posse"
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