Soulja Boy vs Michael Jackson – Crank Dat/Beat It/Spaceballs mash-up…
Fortunately – or possibly unfortunately – something more pressing intervenes on our discussion.
Some of the slave zombies have noticed our position atop the tilted pillar, overlooking the square, and are gradually gathering at the base.
One of them is boosted up onto the uppermost surface by his comrades, and starts to scale the hypotenuse determinedly. Others scrabble to follow.
“Um – I think we have company,” I squeak. “And not not the sort you get the best china out for!”
“Carver!” Ace yells.
The boiling sphere of hungry zombies down in the market-place, where Carvery Slaughter’s current position can be estimated, seems to rotate slightly, on an unseen axis. A zombie cadaver pops out of it abruptly, and dangles – from the shotgun barrels jammed into its ribcage.
The gun raises, angling upwards, and fires. The zombie corpse shoots across the quad, trailing limbs flapping – and knocks the ascending zombie from its perch, halfway up our pillar.
“Good shot, buddy!” Ace calls out.
The shotgun withdraws into the ball again, and bits of zombie continue exploding out of it.
“Told you he was having fun,” Ace tells me – and then disappears, over the edge.
Crispin and I both dive forward at once. Ace is dangling by his fingertips, from the crumbling sandstone.
Another zombie, who had evidently scaled the pillar inverted, like a sloth, is hanging from his ankles. More are now attempting the forty-five degree climb to reach us.
“Crispin, I am so sorry,” I gasp, as we each grab hold of one of Ace Bumgang’s wrists. I decide to risk the theory of revealing bad news in the face of greater danger. “But Luke has run off with the special clockwork hand…”
“He will not get far, Sarah Bellummm,” Crispin Dry intones, calmly. “They never do.”
“What – it’s been taken before?” I ask.
“Still here, you two,” Ace chips in, also sounding remarkably cool about things. “Zombie chomping on my trainers, and stuff…”
There is a whiplike crack of air, and the end of Homer’s ostrich-feather boa curls around the knees of the suspended zombie. With an expression of horror, it is yanked free.
Homer continues his burlesque dance, while the now detached dangling zombie crashes in a mess of gray splintered bone and sludge, onto the paving. The little fat zombie spectator with the bunch of flowers is now on his knees, in adoration – or perhaps due to his rickets – while the other remaining two more fey zombies appear to be taking the critical judgement evaluation standpoint, as they applaud the latest trick in Homer’s repertoire.
“It’s all right,” I say to Ace. “We’ll pull you back up…”
He glances past me, over my shoulder, wryly.
“I think I’ll stay put, thanks,” he replies.
I look up just before the shadow falls across me, and scream in the face of the latest zombie to climb the pillar…
…Just before I’m aware of a sudden rush of air, as a sandstorm blows swiftly down the street, engulfing us – and I feel Crispin grab my shoulders and flip me backwards over the edge as well…
The air is knocked out of me with a thud, as the wind seems to slap me in the face, and suddenly I’m hurtling along at speed – with Ace and Crispin sitting either side of me.
“Ah, just in time,” Crispin approves. “Ace – Sarah – may I introduce Justin Time, the carpet salesman?”
“Justin Time?” we both repeat, dazed.
The Oriental gentleman, as forewarned in the coolie hat and with the long whiskers, looks at us calculatingly over his shoulder. He is also sporting Biggles-style aviator goggles, and the traditional white tasselled mohair scarf.
“That is my name,” he snaps. “Don’t wear it out.”
“What happened?” I ask Crispin, wiping the streaming tears from my eyes, caused by wind-speed and sand.
I become aware of the distant view of the market-place wheeling far below us, and the sight of tiny angry gray zombies shaking their fists from the top of the fallen pillar. What the Hell…??
We are sitting in a rickshaw!
Mr. Time is perched just in front of us, with a little driving whip and some reins in his hands. And the reins are harnessed to…
The sort you put on the hall floor… an actual rug…
More rugs are rolled up at our feet, and strapped to the back. Some of them are wriggling. And not all of them appear to be unoccupied, either.
“Mr. Time,” Crispin begins, quite loudly, while I’m sure I can hear pleas for mercy emerging from some of the carpet-bundles. “We need to get to the Six a.m. Lounge. But would you be so kind as to pick up the rest of our party on the way?”
“That will cost extra,” Mr. Time snaps again.
“I can offer you – two days off.”
“Hah!” Mr. Time leans the rickshaw. It’s as if he wants to scare us. “Twenty! In August!”
Ace is brushing bits of zombie finger off his hi-tops, before resting his feet up on one of the struggling sausages of rolled-up carpet.
“I can perhaps stretch to a long weekend in September?” Crispin ponders.
I look over the side as we circle the square again, and squeal as a zombie skull hurtles skywards past us, its eye-sockets full of white ostrich-feather.
“You insult me, Mr. Dry!” Justin Time froths, slapping the reins crossly on the back of the flying carpet. It bucks, bouncing us in our seats. “Twenty days! If you are lucky, maybe I even clean your dirty rugs too!”
“God, just give him his days off!” I appeal. A zombie arm arcs slowly over us, tumbling gently, and I suddenly find myself the surprise recipient of a dead floral bouquet.
“We have to do this,” Crispin whispers. “It is traditional to exchange the barter and the insults, so that he will feel better about it when he wins.”
He clears his throat.
“A week, Mr. Time!” he proposes. “Late July! And a long weekend in September!”
“Not listening, Mr. Dry!” our pilot shouts. “La-la-la! I want August!”
They continue their obligatory negotiations, while my mind spins, and my stomach – well, I’ve never flown before, put it that way.
“Thanks,” Ace remarks, trying to inch further away from me in the seat. “I think you actually found a clean bit of my overalls that I missed yacking on myself, earlier.”
“Sorry.” I use a tail of Lady Glandula’s borrowed robes to wipe my mouth.
A loud bang comes from the side of our carriage, and a ragged hole appears right beside him.
“Ow!” Ace flinches, and snatches his elbow off the sill of the rickshaw. Blood trickles from a large nick in his arm. “All right Crispin, hurry up. Carvery just shot me.”
“Twenty days in August, Mr. Dry!” shrieks our driver, not budging one iota.
“A fortnight in August!” Crispin relents.
Justin looks back at us, a glint of triumph in his smile.
“And a virgin!” he amends.
Oh, God… I seem to recall seeing that one coming…
But then an even bigger elephant in the room suddenly raises its ugly head – quite literally…
“Look out, Mr. Time…” Crispin points.
The pilot turns abruptly, and veers to avoid the gigantic yellow eye of the river-god, Atum. I slide sharply along the seat, sandwiched between Ace and Crispin. Ace grunts resentfully, as his shotgun-pellet wound smacks hard into the side of the rickshaw.
“Out of my way!” Mr. Time rants, waving his arm ineffectually at the looming sea-monster. “Stupid great snake! Like you own the place!”
“Technically…” Crispin begins, but then catches both of our eyes, and appears to think better of it.
The frightening rumble emanates again from the endless scaly column, and the prehensile neck curls around to follow our path, as Justin Time disciplines his wayward rug to hightail it back in the direction of the square. There is a bump, as we just clip the tip of the tallest mast on Lady Glandula’s barge in passing.
“We will discuss the terms en route,” Crispin continues, smoothly.
I don’t get it – is that him agreeing to the price, or not yet?
“…But first, my brother…?” he reminds the pilot.
“You Dry people, you all the same…” Mr. Time grumbles and raves, half to himself. Nonetheless, the rug swoops obediently into the quad.
Crispin leans out over the side as we barely kiss the air above the ground, and locks arms with his brother, just as Homer strikes a dramatic pose in his final flourish…
…And as we climb again steeply over the far side, the transvestite dancing zombie securely flying skywards with us – the ball of fighting zombies erupts, and a protruding hand grabs the very end of the trailing feather boa…
Carvery Slaughter ejects from the writhing mass, still in possession of the shotgun – which is handy as he blows the head off one last determined zombie, trying to grab hold of his foot as he is lifted free.
“Excellent,” Crispin announces, and the remainder of our group soar into the sky, away from the riverside and the frustrated slave zombies. “We will catch up with Mr. Lukan later. But for now – the Six a.m. Lounge, please, Justin Time…”
Extra doses of parody today – Monty Python’s Life of Brian, first clip… 🙂
…And the second ‘Life of Brian’ excerpt – enjoy 🙂
More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum
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