Tales From Earth:A Day In The Un-Life: A Collaborative Effort

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This is part of the compilation created for the book Tales From The Third Planet, created by the Cubehunters on Earth, and printed by Lulu. Anyone can buy it here, with proceeds to go to unfiction! :)


Introduction

Unfiction is a concept, more than anything else. It is a concept of concepts. A meta-concept, if you will. People fFrom all over the Earth come together in one place to discuss the worlds between the world around them. They talk, and they laugh, and they tell stories, and they compare notes -- often about Perplex City. This story is a collaborative work in which any member of the unfiction community is able to contribute. It is very rocky and varied and at times quite hard to fFollow because, fFrankly, so are the people who wrote it. This is one of the strong points of the community: Diversity. Here now is what we the unfiction community have written. Each person took it upon themselves to shape an overall story in any direction they chose. It is abstract, it is fFunny, it is dumb, it is profound -- It is us.

And no, we are not *all* strange-talking cross-dressers.


Contributors: ammonite, boim, chichiri, chippy, Commo, Dorkmaster, Escapist, European Chris, GasparLewis, Gibbet, kraed, MasterCheese, Mikeyj, Mokey Fraggle, neuromancer, number9dream, oliverkeers13, Onionring, pentasyllabic, perplexed, pickwick the second, POTUS, ryandrew, Scott, silhouette, sledgecallier, Snowball, Spankit, specterz. Each author's section has been seperated by a double-spacing.

Edited by Scott. The poor bastard.

Story

Georgina felt something brush her cheek; it was her purple scarf as it blew in the winter wind. Today was going to be an important day, she thought, and walked across the car park to where her car was parked . . .


. . . But to her horror, as she approached the space she left her car in the sparse metropolis of the multistory park, there was naught but an empty space. All she could find was a single post-it note attached to a pillar resting against the wall in front of her. After overcoming her initial shock and anger at her beloved new car being missing, she walked over in confusion to examine what was written across the note.


She walked towards the note, thinking all the while "This is silly. I certainly parked somewhere else, and I'm mistaken. “However, as she got closer to the pillar with the note, she realized that the first word was her name, Georgina.

Glancing around, to see if anyone was looking at her reading this note, she now felt determined that something more was going on. She read on.


"This is for your own good. “Shocked, she stepped back. There were more words, but anything which began with a theft and benevolent intentions was almost certainly no good. She took a breath, realizing the weight of the matter.


She pulled the post-it off the pillar and continued to read it . . . more thoughtfully. After reaching the end she gasped in disbelief. It wasn't possible, there was no way that the note was from Susan, and she disappeared years ago.

Thinking to her self that it was just a hoax, Georgina shoved the note into her pocket and walked off, hoping to find her car in another of the many levels of the car park. It was then that she noticed the figure, all dressed in purple, walking towards her . . .


As the figure got closer she realized that it was a dark skinned man. In his left hand was a brief-case and in his right there was some kind of walking stick. There was no hint of friendliness in the stranger's eyes as he moved steadily towards her.


For a second she found herself thinking why such a sinister man was wearing purple. But she quickly dismissed this thought and ran as fast as she could towards the elevator. She furiously stabbed at the button to go down, back into the shopping centre, but nothing happened, the elevator was out of order!

Meanwhile the man was gaining on her; surprisingly fast for a man with a walking stick. She ran towards the stairs, but fell over. Cursing her high-heels, Georgina struggled to get up. The man, seeing this, just snickered to himself and unsheathed the sword concealed in the walking stick . . .


As the man advanced towards her Georgina began to feel herself panicking, she realized that her life was not so much flashing before her eyes as parading, the questionable tarty dress she had worn at the office party, the drunken karaoke last night and the lasagna she had made which had poisoned her last would-be boyfriend. She also began to ponder the wisdom of wearing high heels in a life or death chase, but decided that if you gotta go, you gotta be looking your best. Shaking off these thoughts, she managed to stagger to her feet and reached the door to the stairs just seconds before the man in purple . . .


. . . grabbed Georgina’s shoulder. On closer inspection, Georgina noticed that the man was wearing a skirt. “Who on earth is this?" she wondered, "and why is he wearing a skirt?” Just then the man stopped in his tracks. His sharp glare was fixed on Georgina. Georgina began to panic. She took three paces backwards but the man edged slowly towards her with his eyes still transfixed on Georgina. She tried to run past him but the man held his walking stick out to act as a barrier preventing her from leaving.

"Who are you", Georgina asked. The man smiled, waving his walking stick around, he said,

"I'm someone you know very well". His skirt started to sway side to side. Georgina smiled back,

"Suppose I don't know you. In fact, I don't think I’ve ever seen you before in my life". The noise of police sirens could be heard in the background.

"Listen Georgina, I haven’t got much time. “He signaled in the direction the sirens were coming from, "They're after me". He handed the brief case over to Georgina. “Take this; it has everything you need. “

"What do you mean?"

"Open it and find out for yourself. I am in no position to tell you". “Here, take these as well" The man handed her his walking stick and the skirt he had been wearing. “Now go . . . run"

Georgina began to run away from the man with everything he had given her. So many questions were going through her mind. “Who was he?” and “What is in this brief case?” She turned around to see if the man was still there but no, he had gone! Vanished . . . into thin air.


She stood there, running over what happened in her mind. She glanced at the skirt she was clutching far too tightly in the same hand as the walking stick and the briefcase in her other hand. It was a perfectly ordinary brown briefcase, with nothing at all amazing about it. Carefully opening it she noticed that the police sirens were coming ever closer and decided it wouldn't be the best idea.

She walked down the stairs, wondering where she should go that would be private enough for her to open the case . . .


The convent was the only place she could go and Georgina arrived just as Lord Goshworth, a friendly character, was getting down to business.


Lord Goshworth was ranting vehemently at a group of nuns, one of which was trying desperately to hide an original printing of The Origin of Species.

"What on God's Earth are you doing with that drivel?" he bellowed.

Amidst the stammering and tears one bright face looked up at him and began a rebuttal.

"Lord Goshworth, we are only investigating the claims of this scientific man. He was a learned and well traveled man, and quite frankly if evolution was false - how do you explain the New Testament?"

His generally cold, ashen face turned crimson with anger . . .


"This just isn't my day," he sighed to himself. “First, someone makes off with my favorite skirt, and now, science comes to ruin my life. If only I hadn't let the monkey escape from my room, everything would be fine!"


The place where Georgina's car had been parked was a little over a block from the convent. She ran quickly down the street, glancing rapidly in all directions.

She burst into the commons room to find a flushed Lord Goshworth, eyes closed, counting angrily back from ten.

She interrupted him at about 4. His eyes sprang open, he about to jump and bark with a sort of "NOW WHAT?" essence. He immediately recognized his skirt in Georgina's hand.

Put off by the sword she firmly grasped as though her life depended on it, he sputtered "Why in blazes do you have my skirt??"


Lord Goshworth composed himself somewhat and sat uncomfortably in a large leather armchair, stroking a passing cat.

"How do you know it's your skirt?" she asked, with a faint smirk playing about her fulsome lips.

"It has my name stitched into the hem, the labels were bought at the co-op by my mother, Countess Damincing Goshworth the third" he replied, puzzled, and wondering why he hadn't replaced the skirt with some garment other than a cat, passing or otherwise.

"We're skirting the issue" Goshworth snarled "we both know what that skirt represents and what you must do with it, but I can't talk here, you've been followed"


“ . . . and” - staring at Georgina's rather splendid pair of manolo blahniks for which she nearly died such a short time ago - "What size do you take? I've been looking for a pair like that for donkey's years".

Georgina, somewhere between hysterical laughter and hysterical tears, flung the briefcase to the floor, whereupon it burst open, revealing . . .


. . . numerous photos of Goshworth performing less-than-public acts in his private cottage far out of town. If he had the time to recollect, Goshworth would have distinctly remembered the depicted events had taken place the first Tuesday of last March, the fourth man on the right's name was Steve, and the room smelled of garlic, saffron, and body oil for three days after. Of course, this was not quite the time for such vivid recollection.

"These could ruin my entire career doing whatever it is that I do! Did you take these? Who did? Why do you have them?! Where are the negatives, you conniving wench?! What make is that absolutely stunning briefcase?!"

The woman began to stammer . . .


"I . . . I . . . “Georgina didn't know what to say. Should she tell the truth? In all honesty, she couldn't think of a reason to lie. After all, it was about time she got some answers. Maybe Goshworth could provide them.

"A strange man wearing this -- err, your skirt gave the briefcase to me. My car's missing. I've never seen these photos in my life, and, to be honest with you, I sort of wish I never had. “

Goshworth's eyes grew cold with what looked like fear and anger mingled. He clenched his fists and then growled the name, "Forsythe. “

"Pardon?"

"You need to hide," he said, finally taking some initiative and grabbing the skirt. A pounding knock came at the door behind them. “Now," said Goshworth. “Come with me. “


"But why on earth . . . “

Her words were cut short as the door shattered. Before she could move, two men had entered, armed with what appeared to medieval rapiers, and blocked any exit from the room. A third, having dropped his battering ram outside, stalked towards Georgina, sword outstretched and face contorted with anger.


At this point, she could no longer hold back her laughter.

She pulled the VR helmet off and shook her head with amusement. The technology had advanced impressively over the past several years, to the point where the experience was almost life like. “But for all that," she muttered to herself, "these video game makers still can't write a believable plot. “Men running around parking garages, wearing skirts and waving swords about wildly. Pure nonsense!

She checked her watch and realized that she was already late. She wrapped her purple scarf around her neck and started to make her way to the coffee shop across the street to meet her friend. On her way out the door, out of the corner of her eye, she saw him - the man from the parking garage. “Impossible!" her mind screamed. And yet there he was across the street, staring at her . . .


. . . sporting a large, lime-green coffee mug, which he proceeded to forcefully propel to the ground. He stepped forward over the jagged shards menacingly, but stopped short of the empty road. Georgina, whose mind had gone as blank as a bullet devoid of a cartridge, stammered out some incoherent syllables as the mysterious stranger pulled from behind his left ankle a crumpled piece of paper. She blinked fearfully,


. . . and the man was gone, just as suddenly as he had re-entered her life. Left in his place was the note, but Georgina didn't yet notice. Her mind was on the beverage container he had smashed, which had a decal from the coffee shop the doors of which she now stood outside, mustering up the courage to enter.


Georgina closed her eyes, imagined taking off the VR helmet, willing herself to wake up and end this trip. Maybe it’s stuck on a loop? Maybe it’s trying to tell me something? Okay here goes.

She opened her eyes; there on the ground were the green plastic bits from the mug. Why lime green? She thought for a second, before forgetting instantly everything else as her eyes saw the note on the ground. Picking it up, she felt it, she breathed in the air, heard the cars, the noise of the city. “It all feels so real". She looked around, some shoppers walked by, they didn’t see anything. Maybe she was going mad? “But there’s this note in my hand. “

Georgina carefully opened the little piece of paper; she could only think "how the hell am I going to get there?" Then feeling the biting winter wind, thought "well at least it'll be warm". The words said . . .


"I can't tell you who I am; they’d kill me if they find out how much I know. You know who they are. Follows something that you need to know. A detective here in Perplex City, Ellen Boyle is an agent of the Third Power. The Third Power stole the Cube. They killed people. Who knows what they're capable of? If you're sensible just stay away, but if you want to help us, if you want to find the Cube, wait for the ceremony of the kindling of the flame, exactly 7 days after that send someone to the abandoned subway station on Gillet road at 10pm. You’ll find out enough to prove that Ellen is a spy"


Georgina didn’t know what the note was saying . . . was it really for her? It said "You know who they are" . . . she didn’t, unless they were somehow related to that Goshworth character. Where’s Perplex City? Must be a UPVC Window Superstore on the outskirts of town, she thought. Killing people, that’s serious! And the subway by Gillet road . . .

Georgina, shaken by the strangeness, the coffee starting to wake her up, the chill winter air, it must be real, it must be important, she didn’t know what the note was saying, seems like nonsense - but she knew to see it through, to find out what this mystery is . . . “Hmm, the subway won’t be any warmer, after all" . . .

She hailed a passing taxi.

"To Gillet Road, driver!"


The high clouds were even and symmetrical, rippled and seemingly motionless against the glorious sunset. The taxi was passing over a never-ending carpet of lush green. Alfalfa and the occasional dairy cow stretched across the horizon. A few milkmaids were sidling to and fro collecting milk and transferring it to a refrigerated truck. A sweet melody began to play across the radio and Georgina asked the driver to turn up the volume and he obliged her.

She rolled down the window and took a deep breath of air. “Ah . . . “- she said to herself - farm country. I haven't smelled that since . . .


. . . She broke off her train of thought harshly before the painful memories came flooding back to her. She'd locked her secret away long ago and didn’t relish the thought of opening that door again.

The taxi driver demanding his payment jolted her back to reality, and she realized she had reached her destination. Stepping out of the cab she suddenly felt as lost and vulnerable as a child, the gloom of the evening closing in on her. Her mind racing as she realized that she was far too visible even in the dirty orange glow of the streetlamp. Opting to move into the shadows opposite the subway, she waited.


Through her mind ran the words: "abandoned subway station. “If something were to happen, if the note were a trap, there would not be a soul close enough to rescue her. She resolved to be cautious.

Implementing this procedure successfully entailed remaining undetected. Georgina melted back a few more inches into her shadowed hiding place, nervously watching the doorway. As she did so, she scuffed her shoe slightly; the sound echoed ominously through the empty square, and she jumped, half-expecting a hand to descend upon her shoulder. She turned around to reassure herself, just as a hand descended upon her shoulder.

As Georgina stifled a scream, her unseen companion, his face shadowed. A white name badge just visible in the darkness read “O8”. His hand gesturing slightly toward the station, said one word: "Watch. “


She forced herself to turn her head in the direction the man pointed; it was an effort to break from his stare. The square was eerily quiet. A flock of pigeons taking flight from a nearby roof startled her, and again she stifled a scream. Georgina was unsure how long she had been waiting: minutes, hours . . . each second seemed to take a lifetime. She was so struck by the moment she failed to notice ‘O8’ had disappeared into the night. Her attention was caught however, by a flash of movement from the corner of her eye. She looked, and gasped as soon as she recognized who it was she was looking at.


"Dad . . . “she whispered


. . . But you were lost at sea off the coast of . . .


But before she could finish her sentence, a woman approached him. She was a stern looking woman, wearing a brown trench coat. “How inconspicuous" Georgina thought. Georgina noticed that the woman, presumably Ellen, was carrying a briefcase . . .


"This is not your dad you see before you, Georgina!" Ellen said. “Sure, this body belonged to him, but with the new mind I and my colleagues have put in him, has left no trace of your father. “

Georgina was shocked at Ellen's words, but as she looked closer at her father's face, she could see the vacant look in his eyes. It was as if he had turned into a zombie.

"There is only one way to get your father back! The solution is in this briefcase. “

Georgina's eyes darted to the briefcase. It was a nice shade of brown, with a golden handle. She was sure she had seen it before.

"But I won't give it to you so easily. In order to obtain this briefcase . . .


. . . you have to do something for me first".

Do I look like a simple errand girl to you?? Georgina thought.

But is that really my dad? Surely it can't be?? Where has he been all this time??

Maybe I'm still in the VR simulation . . . or maybe this is all a big crazy dream!!

Ellen, as if somehow reading Georgina's mind, simply uttered

"This is not a game, Georgina. This is really your Dad, but not as you remember him. Your memories are all an intricate fabrication to hide the truth from you. I do not yet know why they are keeping information from you, or even who you really are, but what I do know is that you are in danger. “

"From who?" asked Georgina.

"CRS. Consumer Recreation Services. Well, at least that's one of their names . . . “


"And what do you mean 'not as I know him'?"

"He has been . . . modified"

"Modified"

"Yes, he is now a human Rubik's cube, you have until the sand in this hourglass. “Ellen flicked a catch on the briefcase, revealing purple satin-lined innards, replete with chunky hourglass, "reaches the upper chamber".

Flipping the case deftly she concluded “which is now the lower chamber. “

Flummoxed by the double confusion of the situation Georgina wearily . . .


. . . flipped open her internet ready phone and went straight to Google. She pecked away at the tiny keyboard until she had typed "Rubik’s cube solve. “She pressed the "Enter" key and waited for the hit list. Scrolling through them she noticed some rather quirky websites . . .


. . . when she realized they were *all* quirky websites. Even Google seemed to be a little off.

Ellen smiled dryly and pointed out "No, that won't do. “

Georgina typed frantically away, but even her own web mail Groupware system seemed to be . . . different somehow. All of the names had been obfuscated, and the locations were all very far flung.

Ellen seemed to take delight in saying "You're being re-routed. “

Rerouted? To what? A parallel internet? What a needlessly complicated thing to build!

Georgina did notice one thing however. Every site she visited brandished . . .


. . . the same eerie header, "this is not a game," followed by a timer counting down the hours she had left. It read 23:59. She turned to question Ellen only to find herself alone in the square, with no trace of the woman, or the man she said was her father, or the strange man who only said “Watch”. Lost for ideas Georgina sat down cross legged and thought.


She was convinced the day’s strangeness had to be related to what had happened years ago in the country farmhouse she had grown up in. This was something Georgina had been avoiding thinking about all these years, as the nightmares gradually receded and she had felt herself returning to some kind of 'normality'.

She thought back to that fateful day . . . She had been a young innocent milkmaid on her father's farm, a normal farm just like any other, with the exception of the mysterious shed at the bottom of the dairy field in which her father spent many long hours working alone. On this particular day she was milking a cow and she could swear she heard a voice saying, over and over, something that sounded like 'bloody clever cows'. She looked around but there was no one there, the shed was empty except for a small sheep.


This same, small sheep grew up to become the prize ram of the farm and was named Robbie, saved from the slaughter due to its genetic makeup. At this farm, and at the same time as Georgina puzzled what was going on, lived and worked Seth.

They both knew each other as children, Seth used to pull her hair, offer her frogs, and Georgina used to make him do silly dances in front of the chickens. Seth had forgotten, they both had forgotten about those times.


Seth was finishing off from mending some fences, with some determination - this time of year, the lambs would be getting ready to jump, and venture away from their mothers. The Cows, well, they never had cows any more, but the shed was still there, gathering cobwebs, unused for years, but still sturdy. After the fence-work, Seth, tall, muscular, dark haired, walked back to the farmhouse for some cucumber sandwiches . . . he had to go close by the shed today, where he heard the "baa!" of a sheep coming from within the shed, and it didn’t sound happy. It was Robbie, that sheep that Georgina was obsessed about. He brushed the cobwebs away from the door, stepped over some dented milk churns and entered the shed . . .


. . . only to find Georgina after so many years.

"Who're you, lady?" he asked gruffly, unaware of his long-lost childhood companion. As far as he knew at that point, some random woman was harassing his farm's prize livestock.

"Oh I'm just . . . Seth? Is . . . that you?"

"Wait, wait, wait . . . Georgina?!"

"Oh my god, it's been so long! What are you doing here?"

"I work here as a farmhand. But, then again, I have to ask you the same question. “

Being jolted back into the days' excruciating events, Georgina froze. The gravity of her situation had left her in this surreal and wholly unexpected reunion. Slowly, the days' event came back to her, and she became frightened once more.

"Is something wrong, Georgie?"

"No, no, it's just . . . well . . . if I were to tell you my family was in danger . . . “

"Danger? What kind? What can I do?"

"It's . . . well . . . let me start from the beginning. “

Event by event, she filled Seth in on the violent shift her life had taken in so short a time. With every node in the timeline, Seth could only sit in awe and disbelief, occasionally only giving input by questioning whether such mad things could ever happen. But, Georgina went on, and Seth listened intently until he was brought fully up to speed.

"So," began Seth, "what you're saying is . . .


. . . Georgina watched the beads of sweat trickling down his toned shoulder blades as he sunk his perfect white teeth into the cucumber sandwich.

He recalled seeing her earlier sitting on the worn fence, her legs swinging idly back and forth, and her floaty summer skirt rippling upwards with the gentle breeze.

He noticed that she was watching him intently and he turned to look at her unabashed, his eyes drinking in the image of her long flowing hair, modest cleavage and those teasing glimpses of her supple thighs.

She knew what he wanted, the look in his eyes reflecting her own. He held her gaze just long enough for her to make her mind up. Within seconds she was enveloped in his arms. The next hour became a blur of passion, the heady musty smell of old hay and the feel of his body against hers too much to recall in detail.

Lying satisfied in each others arms, they jumped with surprise as the door flung open. A shadowy figure cried out with alarm and disbelieving anger. The words spilling from Georgina’s Father’s lips were too much to bear . . . Seth was his son . . . and her brother . . .


Georgina didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. It seemed impossible. A raucous laughter made her turn. Her father was rolling on the ground in tears, gulping in breaths between laughs. “Had you going there for a second didn’t I?," he managed to get out, before his laughter was cut short in a gasp, his body laying deadly still, in stark contrast to his outburst seconds before.


She stood still, hardly breathing herself. Her mind was screaming at her to go and help him-but her body held her in place, rigid with fear. Her eyes were glued to the site as her father started twitching and convulsing on the floor.


"Did you really think if you ran away to your little farm that the problem would just go away?" enquired a snide voice from behind Georgina

She whipped around to see Ellen standing in the barn doorway.

"Ellen! What-"

"QUIET!" she bellowed "You will do what we say. We have absolute control over your life". She clicked her fingers and instantly Georgina's father stopped convulsing.

"You have 21 hours" . . .


She headed back to the square where she had first seen Ellen, hoping to find some clues, to make some sense of all this madness.


The square looked empty at first glance, but from behind a pillar appeared the black man she had seen in the VR-game and outside her house.

He still wasn't wearing any pants, but the velvet purple underwear looked comfy.

"I know your former lover Seth has you confused", he said, "but fear not! I have come to explain everything while at the same time make everything that much more complicated!"

Georgina looked at him blankly.

"You only have 10 hours left to un-Rubik’s cube your father, you know, so maybe you should stop chasing around celebrities and listen to me for a change!"


“There is to be a syzygy in one hour. At the precise time of the syzygy, you must enter the password 'yi istia' on this cube like thingamajig-doohickey.


Upon doing this, you should be transported to an enormous digging machine which you can use to get to my nifty nuke stash under Clapham Common, then you need to . . .


push the purple button"

Georgina sighed morosely, her ephemeral hopes drifting away amidst the very solid realizations that she seemed to be falling into some kind of depraved insanity. Worrying she was becoming severely unhinged, Georgina endeavored to imagine the man was not there, and begun to hum a low melody while at the same time placing her carefully manicured fingers firmly into the delicate curves of her inner ear.

The man continued to speak.

Georgina remained impassive, while slowly raising her melody to a loud whistle and turning the depraved rantings of the lunatic into a delightfully soporiphic susurrus. Georgina smiled inwardly, safe in the knowledge that she had prevented the progression of her insanity.


Which was why she jumped so much when the hand came down on her shoulder.

"Ellen, what are you doing here?" gasped Georgina.

"Well I had to come back and try and get you to do something to help your poor father" Ellen said with more than a trace of exasperation.

"Now you need to follow the train track to where it ends under the bridge and wait there for the man you met in the shadows earlier. He is O8. You may not know him at first"


Georgina knew the tracks well. As a child she had walked along them many-a-time in search of adventure. She did anything to escape the smothering, insipid and patronizing relationship that was her father.

He had abandoned her as a child and pursued a life of dealing illegal drugs. After nearly a year he came to reclaim her, but he forced her to live in a pantry with no heat or windows. She was not allowed to make friends, so the walks in the woods were all she had. She was never convinced that this man was her true father anyway. Now, with all her new friends dead, the woods were all she had.

She hurried down the gravel cul-de-sac where he had almost 'accidentally' killed her all those years ago and ran into the wheat field towards the woods. That man was truly an evil genius. When she had passed through the stand and came to the rail line, she paused momentarily in wondering which way to go - Southwest or Northeast? Which way would they expect her to go - she thought? One thought popped into her mind: Crazy Ivan!


"Great Cesar's Ghost! Do you need a leash or something? Maybe a steel tether?" Ellen stood before her. Georgina must have been lost in delirious thought so deep she did not notice Ellen following. “You know, I suppose you probably thought I was a jerk when you first met me. Which, I suppose, I was. I had *thought* by stunning you with impacted statements you might get a sense of urgency, or perhaps become really focused on the situation at hand. “Ellen looked rather upset. “But you? Focused? Not at all!! Every 5 minutes it's either bleary eyed day dreams or rampant sex! Honestly! What goes on in your crazy little world!?"


Georgina felt a sudden compunction to hit Ellen, a multitude of voices filled her head and she couldn't decide which one to follow, Ellen's words seemed to be drowned out by the clamorous cacophony of disparaging and derogatory voices that filled her mind. Georgina tried to shake these thoughts from her mind, both literally and metaphorically, while again attempting to drown out the noise of life with a low and monotonous hum.

To an observer this site would have proved extremely disturbing, Georgina slowly rocking backwards and forward, shaking her head and droning constantly, resembling both her crazed mother, who was now under the none too judicious guidance of the institute for the clinically insane (whether this title referred to the patients or staff was highly ambiguous) and her deranged father whose violent upbringing had caused a certain dispensation towards the cruel and sadistic.


"NggggH" Georgina moaned trying to keep the contents of her head on the inside, rather than technicolor-pebble-dashing the floor.

This was all wrong; nothing today had made any sense. How could her father be a Rubik's cube? Why was Ellen so self-contradictory?

The world around her began to blur, the trees loomed and twisted, Ellen's slightly smug smile slipped and melted from her face, like a cheap candle during an extended blackout.

"What are you doing!?" Ellen snarled

"01001110011011110111010001101000011010010110111001100111"

The world lurched and seemed to be jerked up and away from them as water splashed on their poster paint world.

Georgina blacked out.

She was woken to the sound of enthusiastic voices speaking what sounded like nonsense

"Ashay anyoneway iedtray ottingray? Ookslay ikelay obbledygookgay!" Cried a man in a stained bed-sheet

"At'sthay ootay implesay, andway atwhay ouldway allway ethay arrowsway ebay? Ooklay, ifway ouyay aylay itway outway ikelay isthay, itway ookslay ikelay away ubecay. “replied another similarly attired, in what she now recognized was a toga with roast dormouse smeared down it.

"Efungebay!" hollered a third, in a geeky gray toga.

This seems to be some sort of forum, Georgina thought to herself, collecting her wits. But how could that be? It's not real. An Unforum?


Unforum? But that would make these un-people, and if they don’t exist where does that leave me?

Georgina was brought back to un-reality by a man walking towards her. He was a strange sight even among the strange. The man was garbed in what appeared to be a western costume, complete with spurs on his ankles. He bore the nametag lucky, whatever that meant.

Before she could ask him, the man spoke up "So how'd you die?"


This was quite the strangest place she had ever seen, not only was the Unforum filled with strange-talking rodent smeared cross-dressers, it also seemed to be home to several strange-talking cross-dressers who were possibly negotiating the price of several uncooked and in fact still rather lively rodents, destined for greater glory no doubt. Determined to get to the bottom of all this Georgina turned to the chapped chap who had just asked her the question.

'Die?' she asked, 'a minute ago I was standing in a square with a Rubik’s cube for a father and an egg timer running down to nothing - then everything went binary and now here I am, everything is quite possibly party. You say I'm dead?'

'This is my friend, Toto' replied the cowboy, pointing out a small black and white dog who seemed to be wrestling with a large, pointed black hat and growling, ”Take me back to Kansas, you filthy piece of slime!”

Georgina looked around, there appeared to be no walls, only sky and a selection of cheap-looking plaster pillars badly painted with marble-effect. Most of the people that she could see were spouting unintelligible nonsense, only her cowboy friend and his dog made any sense, and even that was questionable.

'Wait!' she shouted, 'I know what's going on here, you're all . . .


Insane!!!”

It all makes sense now, then without another word, she went wandering off along BriEnigma's trail whistling a strange mind-altering tune that really shouldn't be able to be whistled so whimsically.

All would be alright from now on . . .

. . . providing she didn't look down as an odd character named chichiri wrote about her walking along reading as an odd character named chichiri wrote about her walking along reading as an odd . . .


    • WARNING**

THIS STORY HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED UNFICTION. IT IS IN SEVERE BREACH OF 17 CODES OF LITERATURE, THE MOST HEINOUS OF WHICH BEING GRATIUTOUS SURREALISM, TRIPLE METAREFERENCING, AND PRODUCT PLACEMENT. ALL CHARACTERS MUST DROP TO THE FLOOR AND PREPARE FOR DEPORTATION.

The loudhailers were deafening, even louder than the clump-clump-clump of the heavy jackboots storming the Unforum in perfect time. The Unforumites panicked and started to throw rodents at the police, who swatted them aside. One by one, the culprits were rounded up, disappearing at the touch of an officer's baton. The walls started to dissolve. Georgina stood serenely at the centre of the chaos. They hadn't got anything on her. She'd stood worse.

You.

Detective Inspector Dijk glared at Georgina across the seedy laminate table.

You think by disguising yourself as a woman we wouldn't track you down? Fictional insanity like this only starts with one person, Georgina. You know there's an entire parallel universe of cross-dressing squirrels mating like billyo right now? God knows how long that will take to clear up. You're going down for this one.

Georgina smiled.

Dick, I loved you in Mary Poppins. How’d you end up with this gig?

Well, you can only sweep chimneys for so long G. And it keeps me in Armani suits . . . Wait! Damn you! Stop this now!

Georgina whistled as she -


worked out that Inspector Dijkstra had, to Georgina's cost, found the shortest path back to regain some semblance of a narrative.

This would need a little more reality-twisting, if Georgina were to escape again.

'Here inspector, look at this'. She handed the inspector a yellow-bordered card.

"'Although she's a goat'? What do you expect me to do with this?” The card was dropped to the floor, as Inspectah Deck drew his 9, bustin' to pop a cap.

His target ducked down and scooped up the card from the floor. Scratching the silver panel, he held his breath and . . .


Yay! I won 200 dollars!

Hey wait said, Jennifer that’s my moneys!

Not any more its not, proclaimed the officer as he went off to show his buddies.

Seeing her chance Georgina made a dive, right off the Unforum clouds, where she proceeded to fall.


Suddenly Georgina was standing back in the square where she had met her father again after all these years, she did the usual pulling of her face to check just what incarnation she was in - man or woman, did she have a beard this time? No she felt normal. She took out her compact to check her lipstick - it was fine, she felt able to take on whatever new horrors this day had left to throw at her.

She tried to remember what it was she was supposed to be doing; everything had become rather confused since her car had gone missing in the underground car park what seemed like weeks ago. . Wait, that was in that miserable VR game. Everything was running together in her mind.

She discovered she was still carrying her bag, a rather classy number from Mulberry, if she did think so herself. Looking inside provided no answers at all. Inside were a yellow bordered card with a sliver scratch off panel, a note on pink paper which read 'this is not a game' and a remote controller for a garage door.

In the absence of any thing more obvious to do she pressed the controller. With a terrible grinding noise, the front of the building to the side of the square began to rise up revealing


. . . her father, wearing that strange skirt Georgina had been carrying around in that weird VR world at the beginning of her strange adventure, and a big smile on his face.

"You did it, girl!" he exclaimed.

"I did it? Did what?" Georgina was quite confused now. Was this really her father standing right before her? She couldn't quite remember.

"You freed me, of course. You chased past lovers, traveled to parallel dimensions and faced the Unforum cross-dressing demons. And all to save me!"

"Oh, well, err . . . yeah I guess that's true . . . “

"I'm so happy to be with my daughter again. I can't thank you enough, Julia. “

Georgina's brain felt like exploding. Did he just call her Julia? What's happening here?

"My name is NOT Julia!" she screamed, close to madness.

The man blinked.

"It's not?"

"NO! Listen, all this stuff has driven me pretty crazy, but I think I can remember my own name, thank you very much!"

The man blinked again.

"Oh dear . . . I'm afraid this has all been a terrible mix up. They were supposed to get my daughter . . . I guess they took the wrong person! But then . . . you have no idea what has been happening these past 24 hours, have you?"