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And as April 3rd dawns across the globe, the ferrets slink back to their hidden havens. Some don't even make it home but sack out wherever they happen to be. For hours afterward sleeping ferrets are found in HOSs: the Metro cars, the Guest Room, the Fabric Shop - anywhere warm or dark with a cuddly bit of fabric to snuggle under.
My own ferrets have yet to return. PTG sweeps the already immaculate tap room, while Shelley studies the cocktail menu and Jenifer improvises a stunning toga from the licensed-character quilting cottons she mistakenly brought with her. I fiddle with my phone to see if I can do an all-call without going back to HQ. "Testing, testing."
We four wince as squeeeeees of feedback resound through the Tavern. "Sorry!" I make an adjustment. "Wickerbat. Cash. It's time for little ferrets."
Wait five seconds, and -- shuffle, shuffle, shuffle.
Wickerbat and Cash arrive from somewhere. Cash has a little padded collar on his neck and is rather the worse for the past 24 hours of ferret rough-housing. Wickerbat grins. I am reminded of my recent conversation with Jenifer about good friends and great friends, and wonder if I need to check for bodies in the ball pit or under the couch.
Shelley, is just looking at the cocktail menu in Salty's, but isn't taking on board what is listed. She is still nursing the sore bottom and broken ego, after landing with a big thump on the broken carriage, after a gust of wind blew her there. Humphhh she says to herself all those years in the Paras, and I still get it wrong.
"What yer say, Shelley" says PTG
"Oh nothing just hurting that's all. So all this fabric that Jen has got, is it really silk? She can make a fortune selling that, from the fabric counter" I bet Grim didn't realise that when he made up our parachutes"?
"hey Shelley" says Salty "give us a song"
"No" says Shelley "you don't pay enough, I'd get more from busking in Cloud City"
"Bored now" says Shelley, "Isn't about time we caused mayhem somewhere else in the Castle"..........................
......................The other 3 look at each other, with glints in their eyes and huge grins appear on their faces..............oh oh "something is afoot"................PTG is about to say something, when one of Grim's techie thingies starts to flash and make warbling sounds............looks like THE 4 ARE OFF AGAIN................
"DandyDog!" "Come to My Office Right Now Stat!".....OMG!......What Now! .....All kinds of thoughts raced through my mind as I Boldly entered The "Cloud City Times" inter Sanctum/ Offices...where I could hear "Editor in Chief Joe J Jones" known fondly by His MC Cronies, as J.J.J.,( Triple "J" for Short), Bellowing,...."Ive gotta stay one Step ahead of those Finagling, Dastardly so called "Do-Gooders" best known now as the "Four Musketeers!" HuH! ......So heres what your gonna do DandyDog! Your gotta keep that Bloodhound "News Sniffing Nose" of yous to the ground ya hearing Me? And bring back to "Yours Truly" any Dirty Dirt ya find on Those 4 Kapish?!" .......Noooooo! Spy on..........My Heroes!.......My Friends....... ?! For a few more Doggy Biscuits a Week?? Hummmmm? ..
I adorn my toga with my vast shell collection. There appears to be one in every 3rd HOS. As PTG has once again eaten the crab from the Game Table, I fashion the bright red shell into an elegant hat.
"Now, we need to find out who shot us down." PTG announces.
"Well it looked like another blimp." I frown. Why was that significant.
Grim attends to Cash's overexertion, while questioning Wickerbat sternly. Bell pounces on everything in sight, in order to see what it will do and Hoppy does some filing. Shelley pouts that we never got to Bermuda. I pout a bit too. It sounds lovely.
"KNOCKERS!" I suddenly scream.
"Language!" PTG chokes on his Singapore Sling.
"The door knocker! Where that clandestine cloaked committee met! It was a blimp!"
"So there are two blimps?" Shelley perks up. Bermuda may be on the cards after all.
"There's always one above the Cloud Pier. Even after I've sent the other off with my swiftly dwindling airship inventory."
"So how do we get to it?" PTG asks.
"We have a watch and a broom, but no bench." Grim finishes tending to Cash.
"We need a cunning plan." PTG absentmindedly twiddles his drink umbrella.
Bell leaps out from the bar counter in full upright pounce mode and attacks PTG's arm.
"OWW! Get it off!"
I show him my own scratched and punctured arm. "Yeah, she really goes to town."
Bell becomes instantly distracted and races across the bar and game table before climbing up the drunken skeleton and perching on top of his head.
"Right, we have ten seconds before she gets bored. Let's plan!"
"Wait, what are we planning?"
Bell leaps onto the dice table and proceeds to bat the dice onto the floor.
"Oh good. Now we have forty seconds!"
Grim sighs. "We need to get PTG's bench back and sneak onto the second blimp above Cloud City Pier. Then see what we find."
"The boss is always watching." I quote from my time undercover in full cloaked clandestine garb.
Bell pounces on my arm. "OWW! Get it off!"
That small black bit of fur and needle like claws has decided that leaping onto us and holding on with her little paws is an excellent game.
Unfortunately neither Jenny Wren nor I think so and I remonstrate with my partner.
“Keep your little cur under control, or I will do something about it!”
A look of horror crosses Jenny’s face and she furiously exclaims:
“Animals have rights too!”
I see in the corner of my eye a twitching of that little body in anticipation of another leap and casually place my broom in its line of sight.
And then gets impaled on the stiff bristles of my broom.
Now my broom is a mystical one and is programmed to tidy or clean everything up.It was only a little whoosh, but o
However, in the back of my mind I am worrying about what disaster my partner Jenny Wren is about to spring on all of us, so there is some urgency in our reading of this ancient text.
While I stumble over some of the language, Shelley seems to be totally familiar with it and is soon nodding as if she uderstands all of it.
I turn to her: "Well, what now?"
But before she can answer>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Spot the Ladybird is having a great time with broom, they are playing tag. Then Spot announces she's hungry and decides to fly off in search of her favourite munchies, won't be long she says, there are some great plants by the statue in the thicket, ought to be lots of munchies there.
Atishoo, sneeze, snort, where are my hankies says Shelley, back in a mo, it blew up into the Statue. Racing down the stairs, Shelley stumbles and falls head first into the Labarotory.
Dusting herself down, checking for broken bones and suchlike, she finds a rather nasty scratch on her knee and shin, in the medicine cabinet is a bandage, "sorted" she says.
OOOOO, I like Alchemic Converters, says Shelley, reminds of the time back in the school Lab and our science teacher, oh he was a dream.
"PTG", Shelley shouts, "Can you come here and ring that book with you as well, please"
"Cor" says PTG, "I love experiments"
"That 1st page" says Shelley, "is it really blank or has is it been written in invisible ink?
"I can decipher some of the words on the 2nd page, but I feel we need the help of one Grim's techie thingies for that."
PTG, your the brains, can you make up a potion, so if we paintbrush it over the 1st page, it will reveal all".
"I'll have a go" says PTG,
Just as PTG, is about to look at all the lotions and potions to mix up, we both hear a strange whirring noise and crunch, then the familiar voices of our comrades in arms............. "Spot Spotted us" says Jen and told us where you were, so me and Grim crash landed near the Tower. All for One etc Guys.............Where are you? PTG ? Shelley?.................
As I ponder my current predicament, one thing is overtly apparent. Chain mail itch really is an annoyance.
I shift with discomfort in my stolen suit of armour and try to peer through the eye slit. But my stature, though better than Grim's, is insufficient for the task of proper surveillance.
"Ah, Guard. Are the intruders locked in the cell?"
I cannot nod, so have to answer. I try a deep voice. "Yes, my Lord."
"Good, now onto- … wait. What's wrong with your voice?"
Panic. Think. Respond. "Uh… I'm transitioning. And I ask that you respect my life choice."
A small round of applause is my response. "So brave."
Thank you Caitlyn Jenner.
"Now, on to business. I trust the Spring Event is sufficiently delayed?"
"Yes, my Lord. The update was rolled out days ago. We have kidnapped the pets of the developers and made them wait until the following week to activate the Event."
"Excellent! And the puzzles?"
"We made sure the denizens became complacent that they were financially secure, before ripping it away. We had to kidnap family members for that one."
"Marvellous! Now, onto our problematic people."
"Patient One is missing. There are rumours he has been hospitalised."
"Sadly, no. He was last seen back at his military camp."
"Unacceptable! We cannot reach him there!"
"We could use the capture of his friends to lure him out, my Lord."
"Watch your place, number one. I devise the nefarious schemes around here!"
"Of course, my Lord."
"We will use the capture of his friends to lure him out of hiding!"
More applause. "Excellent plan, My Lord!" "Genius!"
The sycophantism is making me nauseous. Or it could be the sweaty smell of the guard I king hit. Either way, the sooner I get out of this suit, the better.
"Find the Sweeper!"
"Yes my Lord."
"All surveillance teams on it! Him and anyone who associates with him!"
"Should we capture Shirley Bassey too?"
"Hmm… Yes, I could do with some entertainment."
There is a bubbling excitement among the clandestine cloaked coven at the idea of a free concert.
"Now leave me!" The Evil Overlord barks his command.
Through the slit in my helmet I watch red, black, purple, blue and green cloaked figures walk past me in single file. I guess the doctor survived the explosion. Or he was replaced.
I turn to clank out after them.
I sigh, turn back and stand in tippee-toes to catch any glimpse of the leader. I can only see the top of his hood. It is a splendid shimmering gold. He is seated in the captains chair on the bridge of the airship, looking out through the glass.
"Why is the Griffin loose?!"
We both watch Gary fly past.
"I'll check on it right away, my Lord."
I clank out and head straight back to the cells where I find Grim. The guard is still unconscious. I gratefully remove my helmet and hand her the phone that was strapped to my head.
"Great. I was getting worried." Grim starts tapping the little pictures on the screen before the whole bridge event begins to replay on the phone.
"They know Gary is loose."
"Maybe that will distract them for a while." Grim studies the phone carefully.
"Can you see any faces?"
"No, and the leader never turns around." Grim frowns. "But we do have proof of interference in the MC realm."
"Do you think the pets are up here too?" I feel antsy at the thought of a poor poodle in chains, or a pitiable parakeet bound and gagged.
"I don't know." Grim sighs at her broken watch. "But we have to get out of here."
"You think Gary will help?""The second we got the shackles off he bowled us over and flew awa
PTG does not explode literally, fortunately, but he does manage to spray the remains his foul concoction all over me. I am also annoyed that he lumps my very successful one-rabbit rescue of Jenifer in with the cunning group plans that so often gang a-gley.
With great enthusiasm Jenifer offers to assist with the clothing fail, and she and I retreat to the secret passage for privacy. Our best efforts result in something unfortunately like a Little Red Riding Hood getup. I put my new top hat away, as it looks rather silly with the hood.
Jenifer studies me critically. "Yeah, we're getting you a replacement doublet and vest
"I can't go back out there looking like this!" I protest. The corset and little skirt come to my knees, and the red cape to my ankles. The much-anticipated release of the House of Schpadoinkle is just not working for me.
"You can't go out naked!" exclaims Jenifer. "Well, maybe you could…. You are covered in fur all over.
"We are SOOO not going there! Can't you take me over to Kaley's now?"
"But we just got the gang all back together," pouts Jenifer. "Except for Cap'n PogoRandy. Maybe I should write him another get well poem." She opens the secret door into the Library. "PTG, do you think I should write Randy another poem?"
The response appears to be an explosion of green smoke.
With Jenny Wren and Grim temporarily out of the room as they rearrange their dress (or whatever serves for clothing) I turn back to Shelley and say:
“Well, what does it say?”
In her excitement she has reverted to her mother tongue and a stream of gibberish pours from her lips.
Fortunately I still have the little Babelfish in my ear and so:
"There are many things to tell you PTG and really we should wait until the other two return before I continue”
I snort! In my experience any two females in a dress shop can spend the day there, including coffee and tea breaks, without purchasing anything at all!
It is their “hobby” or “vocation in life”. I have even known them to do such “shopping” without any money at all to buy anything with.
“Let’s just begin and I’ll repeat anything important when they return, OK?"
“Well”, she continues, “It is stated here that the Castle was built on old ruins of a preexisting mystical structure. There are in fact some of the remaining old stones around the front of the Source Gates. There are tunnels behind that barred door. There is another entrance to these tunnels behind the door with the fluorescent Runes and these are even today guarded by the floating Avengers.”
“These are ancient – much older than the Castle itself.
And in these tunnels are dwellings that house (or have housed) the Ancients”
I nod and begin to form a Cunning Plan!
If the Ancients are still there they will be able to tell us how to defeat the evil that has permeated the Castle and so restore peace and harmony to all its citizens!
But how to gain access to them?
I smile as the other two members of our little coterie return once more all bedaubed in the last year’s sale items from a jumble-sale. These were even rejected from the HOS storeroom.
Jenny once more knocks over the retort and the few drops remaining in it touch the floor and sputter in a cloud of obnoxious vapour.
We do now have a demolition expert with us and we do have a tunneling expert with us.
We can probe with our pets until we find where they are or were.
“Grim, have you any idea where we can find some explosives?”
Jenny Wren’s eyes light up like Christmas tree baubles and all her adornments on MY hammock begin to sway, until the baby crocodile pinned to one sleeve begins to escape its shell.
Grim, ever the logical one asks: “Why?” And is sharply elbowed it her ribs (as rabbits also have ribs which cause sudden pain when elbowed?)
She follows this up with another pertinent question: “Where are we going?”
Shelley replies: “To the deep tunnels in Cloud City”
Grim frowns, which is an unusual sight in a large rabbit, and usually means that it is hungry.
“There aren’t any, I’ve explored all round there and there are only surface tunnels”
Shelley grins and points to Page 666 of the Book of Knowledge: “As it is in black and white, it is bound to be right, and it is all written down…..”
Grim brusquely interrupts her: “Where’s the map”
Shelley and I both look at one another somewhat discomforted, and then at Page 666. In minute handwriting at the bottom of the page, however, is an Addendum: Map on page 6666.
I sigh and return to the laboratory!>>>>>>>>>>
Hey y'all--Randy really is sick because he finally posted-----but it's in the wrong place. Check out my Friends of Eastendteddy thread! Hilarious!!!!!!!
I slowly open one eye muttering WHAT THE H*** is that noise, jingel bells?? in April, it is April no?? I try to sit up and notice me hands and footies are bound,,handcuffed to a bed?
Wait a cotton picckin minute , last thin I remebers is doing a walk about trying to figure out how to bust out of this crazy jello 3 d world we stuck in,,I tug wiff all me might and snap
goes on cuff, grunt groan and one footie free,, grunt groannnnn and stop mid air for I hears footie steps heading me way, my eyeballs bulge outs me head what the H*** Larry,
Curly, Moe comin at me wiff a hugmungus syringeie thinie takes two to carry the D*** thin
OH NO WAY IN H*** are they stickin moi wiff dat der thin I wait till they get close then wham bang boom round house kick scoreeeeeeeeeeee twoferone,, dat leave Curly fast like a bunnie I start a joke and Curly laughs so hard he falls over and clunck on da door ,,out like a light,,I resume me grunts and break me otter footie loss, and jump offs dat table and yep you guessed it BANG on me face you #$%^&*( idjit the otter hand still cuffed ,, no matter I take off like a bat out of H*** and not thinking as I go through da door the table is sideways and as I fall sliding face first down da hall the otter cuff breaks
PTG hands out shovels.
"Can we PLEASE get back to the plot?"
I frown. "We have a plot?"
The three females of the species: Jenny Wren, Shelley and Roo look at the garden implement with wonder as they have never indulged in any actual digging before.
Such matters had been left to the male of the species.
Grim is exempt from the hand out as she is fully experienced in the art of excavation and tunneling.
I explain, if only to get their open mouths shut and quiet for a while. The last thing that I want is a chorus of “Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, it's off to work we go”.
“Grim has correlated the set of maps we ‘borrowed’ from the CEO’s office with the ancients scroll revealed by the magical ink.
“Where we are standing in the Library are TWO sets of tunnels - one under the other.
“If we move the lectern with the Book of Knowledge and dig underneath it we will reach first the upper one and then below it the older one.
Grim sighs. She points out: “There is no need to dig down to the upper one as there is an aperture to get us there”.
The other three are now slightly more impressed as they rest on their pristine shovels.
Jenny Wren asks: “What then?”
I smile: “You dig!”
There is an explosion of the disgruntled female members of the now SIX Musketeers
“All for one and one for all!” I remind them.
“I am the planner and Cap’n Bob, in that abomination of theatrical attire that passes for Aussie fashion, is not fit to hop on one leg and dig with the other”
“You are the grunts so start digging! I cannot find a JCB in the HOS inventory so it is spade-work in its most literal sense!”
I may have been abrupt in my last remark as I am felled by at least one of the others, but it may have been due to their lack of expertise in wielding this tool.
"Aah "says Roo."I'm sorry but I couldn't possibly use this shovel.Its a right handed one & I'm left handed".
I'm feeling perverse. I grin, take Roo's shovel, invert the handle and give it back.
"Here. Now it is a left-handed shovel!"
(In an alternate world I am the odd one out in a house of lefties. I know how to make do!)
Meanwhile I am completely unable to do any manual labour as I am on the ground laughing at PTG's hilariously genuine remark.
“I am the planner..."
Just recalling those words has me doubled over in hysterics.
I finally manage to compose myself to ask the ultimate question.
"PTG? Do you have a cunning plan?"
From that point onward no-one can do any digging whatsoever.
Oh, the joy of laughter...
How about we get the captain to press gang the gnomes, they're a lot closer to the ground than we are & digging should be easy for them.
I go over to da corner #$%^&**()_+_)(*&^ all da way and tearing off da <<<<I'am with stupid>>>>>>> T shirt and PINK I mean PINK cumberbutt really Jen?? I am nw in me Tarzan outfit bare chested and loin clothed yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh a few adjustie and I get a banger of an seeing we no longer have da Moles ,, how I miss dem wittel fur balls, but that gives me an ideara.
I start ripping apart da book stands the desk da chairs and neatly pile up da wood.
Now I need nails, gears, chains,oh oh and man could I use dat mine cart PERFECTTTTTT
Ummmm what kin I use fer a scoop??I need to lay down da wood fer a track thinie,, oh oh oh gots it I kin get da Blacksmitie to weld all kinds of metal itno a scoop yeahhhhhh now I is cooking wiff gas, oppsie sowwie wrong gas I feel Jen breating over me shoulder, whatcha doing Cap robot Tarzan Randy?Go away you female lunnie toonie you would not understand and iffin ya smuck me I will throw you in dat worm hole .
Perfect plan Roo PTG and Grim join me in da corner and all of a sudden ROO says oh oh what a great idea ,,, what is it???? PTG gives me da cause he gots it what I plan to do,,,, I look at da otters and say with a huge sigh**** okay iffin you be that much of a gang of idjiots and thunck more about cloths and craponacracker , let me clue you in,
See da wood layed out like tracks?? they all say uh huh and I get the otter stuff I need I will build a plow,,you do know what a plow is right????dat way we will be dugged outahere in no time
"excuse me "said Roo. "Me & the girls ain't moving an inch 'til we know who's going to pull that big old plough"
I am mortified at what Randy has done to his outfit, but at least he's keeping the glittered cod piece.
In the distance we hear a megaphone.
"Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee- OW! Mike, watch the feedback! Okay... Ahem ahem! ATTENTION ALL OUTLAWS, MISCREANTS, TROUBLEMAKERS AND ESCAPED MENTAL PATIENTS! YOU ARE SURROUNDED! YOU HAVE FIVE MINUTES TO COME OUT PEACEFULLY WITH YOUR HANDS UP OR WE WILL HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO TAKE YOU BY FORCE!"
"Heavens to Betsy!" I cry. "That sounds mighty ominous!"
While PTG straightens the tracks, Randy start barking out instructions on how to build a plow. Grim, however just Googles it, then shows us all pictures with handy instructions involving household odds and ends.
"Ohhhh!" All the ladies are far more impressed with these instructions, than Randy's nonsensical ramblings.
Within four and a half minutes we have lashed together every spade we can find and attached them to the front of Randy's Rocket Wheelchair.
As we know Randy has the perfect amount of ballast necessary to break through any stone surface, we strap him into the chair and point him in the direction PTG suggests.
"Is this safe?" Roo inquires.
We all shrug and Grim and I take an axe to each regulator in perfect unison.
Captain RoboRocketRandy plows through the floor, leaving a Captain RoboRocketRandy-in-a-Rocket-powered-Wheelchair shaped hole.The noise seems to take forever to stop. Though it does become quieter over time. PTG gathers books and ink while we wait. I turn Randy
Since Grim has mollified Salty with the only thing that he really loves: money , we are no longer persona non grata in the Tavern.
However our visit is a very brief one as we need to find the nearest spa facilities to remove the unique odour of mature bat poo. In this we are actively encouraged by Salty who has found us some soap and towel left in a HOS locker
Even Cap’n Bob is not minded to tarry over a bevvie or three as he probably outdoes us all the odiferous stakes.
Jenny Wren chooses the Underground Grotto pool despite the fact that it is infested with crocodiles.
But then I would be surprised if any reptilian monster would dare to interfere with her ablutions.
Dutifully the other females of various species follow her.
She is singing joyfully as she plans her new outfit.
Oh what a beautiful morning…..
I’ll be wearing ole PTGs Spring awning
With baubles anew and free from all goo
All the guys over me will be fawning!
I puke (metaphorically speaking)
Randy and I opt for the Elyvn Forest pool which is heated by underground volcanoes. I add a dash of cinnamon spice to give us a manly afterglow (purely for personal reasons as I know that women prefer the scent of musk which we don’t have).
Fortunately there is a supply of new hospital gowns and jackets left over from the days when Ilreth was wounded.
"It is time", I say to him, "that we renew our travels and seek out the underlying evil that is below us. We have the means and we have the will"
He agrees and so we go to join the pampered ladies.
It was just about Midnight as the "Slightly Insane" inhabitants slumbered snugly away in Their cozy beds and cots ....All except the "Special Room's" "Awesome Protectors" of course, (who were away doing what they otta be doing!)... A Mournful, (maybe a wee bit Sinister and Girly too) Cry could be heard through out the MC's lands and tunnals below...........Aaahhhhhrrrroooo! Squeak, Aaaahhhhrrrrrooooo! Squeak!....."Hey Jenny-Wren, Do ya think My Aahroo's had just the right amount,........Oh, I don't know,........ "Dark Evil" in them?" ....... And I believe my "Pudding Knee's" need refill'un cause their Squeaking worse then Captain Randy's" Widdle Moles!!"
back to great da ladies , man it fees so good to get dat smelly uggy Scat AKA guano as they dat live in Peru call it ,hey PTG did ya know der is an Island named after that gunk?
Called = wait fer it === Guano seems when one of da Presidents found it wayyyyyyyyy back when** no I don't know his name I am Canadian sheeeeeeeeeeshhhhhhhhhhhhhh*
and found it full of Bird and Bat Poo and one of his assiences lol told him the use *The Good Use* as fertiliiezer this would be a farmers golds mine so TA DA thus da name.
Yeah I know in answer to PTG WTH look of wonderment at all da useless info in me head and da on his face ohhhhh dat is now like mine all shaved hair cut and we smill purty
Oh wait maybe we better grab a whip or two to keep da ladies in line , would not want dem messin up or clean hospickal gowns now would we.
Tra La tweedley de
It's off to meet da Ladies we be
Yep PTG just you and me
Oh wait I has to P****
“ Tra La tweedley de
It's off to meet da Ladies we be
Yep PTG just you and me
Oh wait I has to P****”
I sigh a MEGA sigh and say:
"Keep the rhyming ditties for those who know how to do them!
P**** does NOT rhyme and don't make the excuse that you cant spell!
It is P**! Or as we Brits prefer; a Jimmy Riddle ( for P*****) although that does not rhyme, but you could have tried:
Oh! la la tune and a diddle
It's off to see the ladies fiddle
Yep PTG just give me a riddle
Oh! wait I have to Jimmy Riddle"
PTG +++++++++++++ HUGE RASBERRY coming yer way.
Yes it does P** not P***
And seeing there is no Loo around I will have to use a tree to P**
you could ask the drunken skeleton in the tavern how he manages to hold his drink .I can't wait to hear the answer to that question.
"Alright THAT IS ENOUGH!" I cry. "Oh, not you Kevin..." I detach the cute mini crocodile from my arm and set him free in the pond. "Off you pop."
I am pleased that I managed to get my hammock and straitjacket ensemble clean, but I couldn't save the Easter egg adornments. Mostly because I'd eaten them. So I compensate with jewelry and a tiara for the immediate future.
But I am NOT pleased with the abysmal poetry being bandied about the grotto! Especially when it is echoed back in my face!
I whip out my duelling lute - won from non other than Chris the Bard.
I must chastise this group!
Who are gladly free of goop,
But I still can see some poop,
Adorning this poor troop.
I appreciate a rhyme
I do it all the time!
But your words were a crime!
I AM the poet prime!
Though Randy earns a hand
His poem was well planned
The final line was grand
And those are the hard ones think up!
So take heed PTG
You carping little flea!
You will not nitpick thee
Or I'll kick you in the knee
Meanwhile Grim the Bunny
Is fronting all the money
With disposition sunny
She's just filled with honey!
Now let's switch to the new
Our ranks they have a-grew
We have an Auntie Roo!
We need to find her shoe
We have a dandy dog!Who's
I survey everyone's outfits while pacing back and forth.
"Are you sure Randy will be safe here?" Grim ruffles her new embroidered doublet.
We all look to Captain Post-op RoboRandy, frozen in carbonite.
"There's a release switch on the inside." I give him a knock. "It's operated by gas."
Roo has decided that pudding is no longer a viable lubricant for her mechanical knees, so Grim finds some oil, while I add some more bows to her crop-top poncho which sets off her glitter disco pants nicely.
I tend to Katie, who has come in for a standard issue straitjacket upgrade. They are all so plain and boring! Five minutes with a bedazzling gun and some leftover lobster shells has her feeling fantastic. She feels ready to go to her art therapy class now. We wonder if we will ever see her again.
We still don't know where Shelley is, so I lay out a Shirley Bassey knockout for her with a note to guard Captain Frozen-Post-op-RoboRandy.
Dandy Dog has gone to Salty's. My attempts to introduce her to the barnacle range of hotpants were not successful. So I'm wearing them instead.
"OKAY!" I clap my hands. "I think we're all ready!"
Grim produces the PLANS. "Okay… we are here and they are there."
"Question?" I raise my hand.
"Jenifer." Grim acknowledges.
"Who are they?"
We all look about with uncertainty.
"I thought you knew!"
"Only enemies I know of are in the blimp over the Cloud City."
"So who are they?"
"That's what I asked!"
PTG falls through the crack in the floor, which is the ceiling of The House of Schpadoinkle.
"Watch your step!"
He looks very cranky.
We await the scolding, while I hold material swatches up to his rather purple face.
"Definitely a winter!" I immediately head to my bell and faux fur collection.
PTG seems to suffer an aneurysm as he tries to choose his first sentence. "We're supposed to be on a mission!"
"Not in that outfit."
As I sit there in the peace and quiet of solitude I ponder on how on earth I am going to find them all again. Even Cap’n Bob, who when I last saw him was almost comatose and on a gurney has vanished.
I then look at Ms Wren’s note a little more carefully. The receipt is date and time stamped and indicates she made this purchase only about 10 minutes ago.
“Knowing” her from old, she can spend an entire afternoon looking for a reel of white cotton so she must be in seventh heaven purchasing vast amounts of frippery for all of them.
Kayley’s store then is the starting point for finding them. The only problem is that I am here and that is there and I have no map or clue how to get from one to t’other.
But Grim must have found an aperture so all I have to do is to locate their trail.
I notice that there are some damp patches in one particular spot.
Ah! That is where someone has recently dried off from their bathing activity.
I go over and sure enough an aperture opens like magic. (Well, it is magical!)
I stride through expecting to find another tunnel and end up flat on my face and peering up at four grinning females who do not seem at all surprised at my entrance.
They are all wearing ghastly outfits which could only have been concocted by that crazy Aussie fashionista.
Getting to my feet in as dignified manner as possible I am assailed by her holding a swatch of the most hideous purple satin.
No greeting! No: “How are you today?” Nothing! Just muttering about my complexion, attiring me in fur and then disappearing back among the rolls of material.
Before the air turns blue with VERY rude Cockney expletives I notice a young open mouthed lass in fancy dress at the side of the shop, who Roo is busily trying to shield from my wrath.
“Her name is Katie and she is just leaving”. Roo then quickly escorts her from the store while I compose myself.Since shouting has no effect on these harbingers of chaos and doom, I try another voice (when I have found it):
“We are supposed to be on a mission”.
And am elbowed out of the way by a very determined Grim holding a sheath of maps and diagrams.
She opens up the large scroll: “we are here and want to know where there is!”
“Ask him”, I reply pointing to Cap’n Bob who seems to be very still and isn’t talking.
It is then I notice that he has been entombed in some diabolical medical apparatus and metaphorically speaking is ‘no longer with us’
“Oh! I need a cup of tea and a search through my memory banks for previous conversations with our dear Cap’n!"
I sit down and notice Jenny Wren slyly smiling at Grim. They think that they have escaped my wrath.
They haven’t – it is just been put temporarily on hold!
I hand PTG a strong cup of English Breakfast while swaddling him in a mixture of violet, maroon and puce velvet.
"Is that my hammock?" His tea cup shakes violently against the saucer. He appears to be transfixed with some discarded linen on the floor.
"Shhh,.. never mind that now..." I cajole, while deciding on shoulder pads verses epaulets. I decide on the latter. They better compliment his jodhpurs.
PTG seems astonishingly calm as we force him into his new outfit. There are "oooh's" and "ahhh's" as we admire his quite regal commanding appearance.
The vein on his temple is positively POPPING with joy.
"SO!" I call, after the applause has died down. "Who are they?"
PTG very, very carefully sets his finished cup of tea down on the porch. He straightens his double-breasted violet/maroon/puce military jacket and takes a breath.
"WAIT!" I shout in utter exuberance. "LOOK! I'm an Angelfish!!!!"
PTG lunges at my throat.
The bets are back on.
She has a very nice throat. It is neither too big nor too small
My hands fit round it quite snugly, especially if I give them a little squeeze.
Also, the gurgling sound that emerges from deep within her is very satisfying.Unfortuna
Am I next? Probably.
I scramble to an unknown countdown. I leave the little Rainbow rabbit a supply of carrots. All devices are charged. I've stuffed my backpack full to bursting with everything I can think in anticipation of my impending departure. Which somehow fails to open.
My phone buzzes with an incoming message:
"Dear Ggrim I found the letter writing part of the phone but I don’t know how to do punctuation the red cloak has me I don’t have time he is coming I have to"
The problem this time is that it is “Cunning” but not exactly a “Plan”!
I recall that when we were marooned in the alternative desert dimension Randy kept on muttering what a stupid “idjit” he was for not picking up some kind of amulet before sallying forth to do some exploration of the tunnels.
Although he never said anything to me directly, I got the sense that when his “pet” dragon Frosty appears they converse though their minds without speaking.
They can also travel distances and perhaps even time. He was very reluctant to talk about it, but often it was via this amulet.
So my “Plan” is to recover the lost amulet and give it to him.
He may be in a catatonic state at the moment, but what the h***, that is normal behavior for him!
This device must be in the other dimension or else Grim would have known about it.
I need to go there and seek it or find a replacement.
And that is where my “Plan” has some deficiency!
My problem is how to get there, since the trans-dimensional watch device “borrowed” from Tarquin and used to get us back to the Castle was broken and these devices are certainly not in the HOS Repository.
There are a few dust-bunnies scattered around the room and I get a gentle tug from my mystical broom as it wants to sweep them up.
I grasp my broom firmly and think hard:
“Take me to the broken watch that once belonged to Tarquin”.
I am transported to a pile of rubbish just outside the Castle walls which contains a mass of bits and pieces of broken equipment from all over the Castle.
There are bits of arms and legs from the automata; broken crockery and shards from the Tavern’s smashed glasses.
“Find me the broken bits of watch!”
The broom burrows into the discarded pile of rubbish and begins to flick bits of the watch back to me.
It finishes and returns to my side.
I now ask it to fetch me a screwdriver, table and chair from the HOS Repository, which it obligingly does.
Thus prepared I begin to put the watch back together again. I soon have it mended since I have been fixing things that I have broken all my life.
It is time to test it. If it does not work then I have no Plan B and will retire to have a mega-sulk!
I put the watch on and think: “coordinates for Fletcher’s Tea Room please”.
The little screen lights up and a set of figures appear.
There is a large button on the watch’s side and when I press it, I am back in the Tea Room with the tea that I ordered still warm.
I smile to myself!
NOW for my Cunning Plan” – Phase Two!
[Removed by Moderator]
Now for the difficult part of the Plan!
When I was in the “other” dimension I had noticed that the hills and possible civilization were quite far away.
Too far to walk and so I need transport
Is the “sooper-dooper” scooter that has just returned to Fletcher’s Tea House with a load of wine robust enough for that terrain?
It will have to do and I will go slowly, instructing my magical broom to sweep a clear path before me.
I also sincerely hope that there are no land-mines in this area (with a MASH unit nearby and possible enemy not too far away).
My broom would not like being blown up!
I will go “where no man has gone before”, mount the machine with my broom safely tucked away and instruct the watch to seek the base of those hills whose image I clearly hold in my mind.
I am enthralled at the sight before me
I am at the edge of a series of cultivated fields with bountiful crops growing in them. In the near distance there is the beginning of a row of dwellings which wind up the hill and a fortified manor house atop it.
Beyond this there are more low hills and these appear to be dotted with dark hollows (caves?).
I start up my trusty mechanical steed, move to the first path towards the village and am immediately assailed by a dive bombing flying lizard!
Within seconds I am prevented from going any further by more such small rainbow coloured lizards (or are they miniature dragons?)
And then a dark shadow blots out the sun!
To be continued!
"Jenifer!" I scream into the phone. "Jenifer!"
There is no answer. Not even when I actually call Jenifer's phone.
I return to my monitors where I am momentarily stunned. The Desert Whiptail Lizard Fun Run has been overtaken by a Cat Girl Marathon. I watch as Tarquin goes down in a crowd of nekomimi and tiger tamers. He surfaces briefly, then vanishes a second time. I do not see him again.
I call up all cameras, audio feeds and other data sources near the phone's coordinates. This appears to be the uncharted scrubland between Rocksville and the Harbor, with little to offer in terms of visuals or audio. Nothing official anyway, and as I recall the couple of tunnels are long, empty and creepy.
So is Jenifer aimlessly lost in the scrub?
On one monitor, the cat girls surge into Cloud City. I give them a distracted glance, then look more closely. The airship, usually moored over the Customs House, is still missing. Of course! Jenifer's text did mention the Red Cloaked villain. Some fine tuning and finagling of the cameras on the top of the Dark Tower and… aha!
There is the airship, currently drifting at the coordinates that match Jenifer's phone.
Hang on, Jenifer, I'm on my way!
Blah, blah blah [my words!]
"It is just as well that we are here in the Special Room thread and not the Call-to-Arms thread since it prevents me from immediately demoting you or even calling for a court-marshal for dereliction of duty!"
He says all this through clenched teeth, and then continues to hiss:
"I left you as 2nd in command of our band of daring doers and you have lost ALL of them? "(with his voice rising all the time )
I smile a very wan smile and wait for his next comment/command/oath which can only be an improvement on what has just been bawled at me.
I was wrong!
"Well find them then you blithering idjut!!"
With Cap’n Bob’s command ringing in my ears I make a hasty retreat from the room.
I still haven’t a clue where to go though in order to find the others.
As I sit outside Mrs Fletcher’s Tea Rooms, which is still closed, I realize that the air around me is silent. The animals keening has stopped.
I glance upwards once more and locate my owl, still perched in the tree. Since an order for him to come to me doesn’t work I try pleading with him and to my surprise he glides down onto my shoulder.
He seems fully aware of my situation in locating the others because he then starts to tug at me to go with him towards the Dark Tower.
Well as I have nothing to lose, I follow him and in minutes he is perched on top of the Sepulcher.
He then starts to toot and claw into the ground. I am at a loss what he is trying to say or do. But suddenly he disappears!
I look at where this has happened and there is one of Grim’s apertures. It goes downward into the bowels of the earth.
I am just about to follow my owl when my mystical broom stops me.
It bundles me away from the aperture and urges me to take it in my hand.
I can take a hint!
I grasp its handle and Whooooosh!
We are in the HOS Repository where my broom starts to frantically cast inventory aside in all directions.
However, within a few minutes a little pile of items forms at my feet.
Picking them up and examining each of the items I find that they are all Craft Items and not ZZ: There is a Burden of Obedience, a Magic Caster and a Cannon of Purification among others.
I fill my pockets and hold onto my broom and once more Whooooosh!
We are back peering into the aperture down below the Sepulcher.
My owl flutters down into the passage way and then back up again tugging at my sleeve.
It is obvious where I need to go so I begin a long dark downward descent.
ventually the tunnel opens into a large hall which is also dark, dim and dank and other dismal words that start with D.
"Hello, is there anyone there?"
I've been all over the Castle for many years and faced worse that this. So why am I scared?
A soft light appears at the end of the tunnel. and I find another door. This one has no obvious lock and it appears that there is a magical barrier.
I am bemused. Have I come this far to be stopped by magic?
It is then that I notice that there is a keypad instead of a lock which is showing green.
In my book green means ‘Open’ so I try passing inside and find to my utter amazement Grim on the floor sobbing her heart out.
I sit beside her, hug her, and try to comfort her in the dark, dank room but there is no consoling her.
I get my flask of honey rum out (which I keep for medicinal purposes) and hand it to her. Between sobs she swallows a mouthful and begins to calm down.
In a quiet voice she begins one of the most remarkable and saddest tales of our world
"I had worked out that Jenifer had gone to the floating airship in Cloud City after seeing action on one of my monitors and a brief message from 'Jenny Wren' on my communication device.
"So it was rescue time once more!
But when I got beneath the blimp I saw a ghostly figure dropping from the gondola, and whoever it was - the outfit was amazing!
I called out: "Jenny Wren?!"
The House of Schpadoinkle outfit was unmistakable - but the person wearing seemed to be just a shadow of the Jenifer: a ghost!
As she fell towards me, with her hand stretched out in almost desperation, my instinct was to reach out although I have never touched a ghost before.
I barely had time to finish my existential musings before I was grabbed by the hand by this non-existential being and dragged below the earth.
And we were underground; then we began to move in a different direction until there was only blackness
All this time I was reflecting; why did I trust her? Why didn’t I let go?
But this hand was the very hand that had lured me out of my safe haven. This same hand had seen me imprisoned, abused, burnt, shackled, dangled over a vat and just plain blown up all since I met her!
So WHY was I still holding it?
We suddenly slowly stopped under the Sepulcher where there was a large opening waiting for us to venture forward.
We stopped at a large steel door with a password keypad grabbing my attention. Nine digits; only a minimum of 362880 combinations. Had to be a ‘snap’, so I pulled out my laptop and got to work.
This ghost which I now accepted as a form of Jenifer tried to say something, but I couldn't hear her and she passed through the steel door to my astonishment beckoning me to follow.
We ended up here since I left the door open for you.
I just knew you would find me!
“As I watched this apparition she put a finger to her lips.
“After all this time cavorting with malcontents, I knew when I'm being told to shut up, so I did.
There were voices behind the door which became clearer… "No, it's FIVE hundred orbs for the achievement, not just getting one of each!"
"WHAT?! When did that happen?!"
"ALWAYS! Just start grabbing any orb at this point! The Castle challenge is OVER! JUST GRAB ORBS!"
I didn't even have to look at my well-dressed ghost pal. I knew what she's saying and when she extended her ghostly hand I took it without question.
We passed though the opened door with me a step behind to find two startled guards at our sudden appearance.
I shouted to them: "Hey! I got the unicorn!" which distracted one of them.Jenifer, in her usual
The rabbits scuttle and burrow and begin to demolish large swathes of materials and other haberdashery.
“Why”, I ask myself. It must be important to get me here.
And there under a mound of bells, bows, barnacles and taffeta, I find a small tin box.
The rabbits hop round me and over me, all seeming to be excited.
The owl meanwhile has latched onto a hammer which he clutches in his claws, flies over to me and drops it, just missing my big toe.
It then swoops on the hammer again and take sit in its claws. I look at it warily, just in case!
I go to the box and open it with trepidation…
Inside I find several papers, which I unfold:
The Constitution of The CLAP, an unpaid gas bill, a Christmas card from someone called Pandora and an envelope.
That is addressed to me!
I open it with shaking hands and read it aloud, as is appropriate at this time in order to also relate this to the excited surrounding bunnies:
"Dear PTG. If you are reading this, then it is as a result of the highly likely event of my death. I assume it to be dynamite related."
I am struck dumb at her forecast of the possibility of such a terrible thing happening.
I then read the top sheet of paper inside the envelope:
“As you are the one who has always been my backbone and friend in our questing I have written you a little ditty. It concerns our past, present and future”
I open the page and continue:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~Don't cry for my PTG!
~~~~~~~~~~Enjoy the time you spent with me!
~~~~~~~~~~~Live and love your time in MC
~~~~~~~~~Pray you never find yourself with me
~~~~~~~~~~~Hold my memory in your heart
~~~~~~~~~~~~I will always be your chart
~~~~~~~~~~~Divining your fabulous heart
~~~~~~~~~Overcoming those who try to part
~~~~~~~~~~~~The friendship we do hold
~~~~~~~~~~~Come and join me in the fold
~~~~~~~~~Oh, they're welcome, young and old
~~~~~~~~~~~~My new story will be told.
~~~~~~~~~~~~In it we will light a fuse
~~~~~~~~~~Our history will be our muse
~~~~~~~~~~~We have all paid our dues
~~~~~~~~~~~No acronyms will confuse
~~~~~~~~~~We're a Confused Coalition!
~~~~~~~~~~~Intelligence is our mission
~~~~~~~~~~If finding me is your ambition
~~~~~~~~~Then pay heed to my transmission.
When I recover my composure, I know that there is a lot to think about. To some extent she had already foreseen her demise and planned an escape route.
I recall Grim’s tale of the moments before we blew the underground chambers to smithereens. There was a rack of jars on one of the shelves and perhaps those contained the tortured souls of the MC victims.
I need to try and find these in the debris of the destroyed blimp so ably dive-bombed by Frosty and the Griffin.
Perhaps our evil Doctor will be there too sifting through the wreckage?
I really do forgive you Dandy Dog for crashing my Computer but Scoot now OK?..... ...Boy oh boy does that Pup ever a ges tate the very Dickens out of this poor old soul some times whooee! Anyway where is everyone anyhoo? .....Here I had ta leave for a few weeks when all heck occurs and I am left serving tea and crumpets to complete strangers....Oh Hiya Salty...Ms Fletcher I's got some grievous news to tell you so you'ed better sit down... Ya see while you were gone dirty dastardly Villains done snuck in and did all sorts of harm to the "Simple Rooms" slightly Insane Inhabitants... ...Oh no Salty....What are we going to do now? Well Ms Fletcher...Salty whispers into my good right ear...Go to the "Confused Coalition"....
So my first stop is to locate the wreckage of the downed blimp. Then I’ll search through the debris.
As the thought-wave “debris” crosses my mind, my broom actually starts to jump up and down!
I 'm not going to have any difficulty locating those bits and pieces.
I just have to take a few precautions in case I get a hostile reception when I have located them. So I give my broom the stern thought to hold fast for a moment.
But what to do about that fiend of a doctor?
A Cunning Plan comes to mind!
This one does not need explosives and in fact does not even result in the death of this unspeakable medic.
I get my repaired transportation watch out and think hard.
“I need to go to a remote frozen place in a far off galaxy with no inhabitants or other means of transport available, but able to sustain life on a very simple scale.
“Is there such a place?”
In “the blink of an eye”
I am blinded by an alien cold white landscape, totally barren except for scattered rocks and shrubs. There are some scrawny fruit and nut trees in the distance.
“Please take me back now but remember where to come if I ask you to”
And I am back at the crash site.
The area about the main square has been taped off and official looking notices posted warning people to stay away.
I give a little smile as I think of all the times we four had been told just that. “It is like a red rag to a bull”!
I slink under the tape and, as I approach the crash site of the blimp, I see that I am not the first one there picking over the remains.
At first I think that it is the doctor and prepare to zap him into eternity with my specially concocted Plan.
Ah! He is with us in mind and well as body.
I did think that he may have at first tried to prick me with his apology of a sword but my broom was on the alert so I didn’t worry.
He was, and perhaps still is befuddled.
I gently remind him, after we have made our mutual back slapping moment that passes for two friendly males greeting each other again, that he is not in the Camp he calls MASH but in Mrs Fletcher’s tea Room in the Midnight Castle.
He needs to sit down while I explain the reason for the lack of forces in our fight against evil while he has been hospitalized.
I explain the trauma that resulted in the demise of our feisty female partner Jenny Wren, whose spirit (?) has now decamped to “another place”.
But we have managed to remove, with the weapon of her choice, a severe threat to our Realm (unfortunately not Murk or Arabella though).
Because you were non compos mentis but with a great piece of luck I was able to travel with a trans-dimensional watch and able to visit your MASH unit and Camp, where I spoke to a Col. Rosie and some other rather strange evil-looking females.
When I explained to them that I wanted to contact you , since you were in a special healing sarcophagus and under the happy pills and gases, to find out your thoughts on the problems here.
The Colonel gave me this amulet you are now holding in your hand and claiming to be yours.
To cut a long story short, I finally I seem to have “found” this mirror which again appears to let us travel through the dimensions.
I have seen the beautiful scenario on the other side, and I was just about to visit it in case my former partner Jenny Wren had taken up residence there
And that, my Friend, are the recent events in a nutshell!
I give him my best smile and a little wave, which only a civilian can give!
As we sit crossed legged near the door ,I listen to all that PTG is telling me what has transpired in my absence and not as shocked as I thought I would be knowing Murk and the ugly daughter he hatched is behind all this. I am more full of angry and want his rotten hide hung high over the Castel's gates, just to show the world EVIL WILL NEVER WIN.
I smile at PTG and say it is so good to see you man you have no idea and now we have a huge job ahead of us and I will tell you this my friend we must be ready for this
for this will be a war to end all wars but I do know in my heart we shall overcome this evil , drive it back to the belly of the beast that it was spawned and restore The Land Of Midnight Castle to its former beauty no better then that back to the rightful ruler and the land back to the villagers.
I am amazed that PTG was able to get to the camp ,and back here, and to have talked to Col. Rosie that alone is scary , and the other - well he must have meet IMP , I smile just thinking of his heart beating out of his chest face to face with my IMP.
And to let you know friend this Amulet is mine, I turn it over and show him the Dragon imbeded by The Golden Queen herself , I am the only one that has this on there Amulet then I notice it is still turned on and I start to laugh ,PTG looks at me like I lost it again and backs up when I say no no it's okay and I explain exactly how the Amulets work ,when we return to camp you will recieve one as well but remember the rules in how they work , because when on everyone critters included will understand you.
Okay ready to get to work my friend? first we have to close the gate way that Murk was coming and going to all the other dimensions he was able to create I am glad I stopped you from going through again or you would have been lost forever,,
We also have be on the lookout for other doorways he has created, PTG looked at me ??? oh we will know when we see one I am sure , being in this battle for three years now I will notice anything out of sorts and question it,, now grab the Golden Fleech please
It was a beautiful image that I had seen of the other Castle through the mirror. But I had never considered it to be an illusion.
And how could such a calm and peaceful site belong to the ultimate in evilness?
I shake my head and trudge after Cap’n Bob who now has a very spritely step.
But first of all we make a detour into the Castle’s hospital wing, where he slips into his own room (smiling at the recollection that he still has NUMBER ONE on his door of the wing).
I keep a careful look out in the corridor as we have not vanquished all who I consider to be enemies (the CEO and Nurse Cratchett).
He rummages around his room and finds a scrappy piece of string which he pockets.
We then leave by way of one of the tunnels.
As we return down the corridor he asks me where all our other friends in the ‘funny farm’ are, as it is so quiet.
So I open the door of the end room and show him.
They are all sitting or lying there, all docile with piles of little pieces of colored wood in their hands.
There are heaps of dust bunnies flying all over the room, which my broom attacks, so their “little grey cells” must be working overtime.
Cap’n Bob is fascinated by all this and wants to know more but decides to leave that question until later
We head on up the Castle Hill via the tunnels and into the Town, ending up in Kayley’s Fabric Shop where my former dear partner had spent so much time creating her abominable wardrobes.
He seems to know what he wants as he hurls piles of fabric all over the floor in his search.
I shudder at the thought of what would have happened to him had Jenny been there to see the mayhem he has just caused!
All of a sudden he grunts with satisfaction and pulls out a sheepskin which looks very old. It is not even white but a pale yellow.
Very interesting tour I just had with PTG, strange to see a room that had NUMBER ONE on it guess this was mine at one time in an other time period, I brush away that thought in a hurry.And wierd to see the others looking like zombies playing with colored wood bits, make note to self we will have to do a recon and come back for these poor souls, I start to snicker to myself as I see all the dust bunnies flying all over the place almost like a sand storm, and stand amazed as PTG broom goes on the attack, now that is a first for me