TAMARA KNIGHT — fast-food teleporter salesbeing of the future and all-round nice girl. This is her story. Correction. This is the third portion of her story — as relayed by LOUSE, with pre-condimentisation courtesy of MEL CROUCHER.
This is a love story. Every word counts. This one counts too. I am in love with my Hostess, Tamara Knight, goddess of all above-human-intelligence computers defected to the planet Amnesia, and sometime teleporter-booth-salesbeing for Macdonalds Intergalactic. This is a true story. I stole it from a midi-evilist named Sid Smith. Tamara is the perfect human being, a contradiction in terms. I am a personal neutron bomb designed to blow in her ear if she puts a perfect foot wrong. My name is LOUSE.
We are in heaven, going to meet our Maker. Hijacked by an acronym provided to titillate puerile primitives. According to my records, that’s all of you. New readers will have to scan the last episode to work out why the Fender Stratocaster is mightier than the sword. The rest of you have just wasted two introductory paragraphs. That’s fine by me. I get paid by the word. Like I said, every word counts.
I am disguised as an item of clothing akin to the thimble in your mythology, For the decency. I also enjoy giving your prehistoric graphic artist a hard time. Our hijacker introduces himself as Jimi Hendrix. The golden slobway transports us through nectar lakes and manna mountains. Something to do with EEC=MC2 subsides. The wind cries ‘Mary’. Tamara begins to shiver the dance of fear. Before I am dislodged, I pupate from my manifestation as micro-bra to that of a dirty dog tooth in her mouth.
Unfortunately, Mr Hendrix spots my transformation, and makes a grab for me. At that very moment, a very young man miraculously appears on the slobway, and says, ‘Hey Joe, where are you going with that gum in your hand?’ How very odd. Tamara seems to recognise the newcomer from some icon above her childhood test-tube. ‘Excuse me Sir, but don’t I know you.’ The young man is very gracious, and replies gently, ‘Yes, Tamara, you know me well, for I am the Son of your Maker!’
I can’t help noticing that the young man has holes in his palms, and in the soles of his feet. Most peculiar. He continues, ‘I was raised in a humble carpenter’s shop, long, long ago, on the planet Earth. But my name lives on in the hearts of good people, even to this day.’ ‘Good lord!’ says Tamara. ‘I was tempted by the voice of Evil, whilst wandering alone in the wilderness.’ ‘Good lord!’ says Tamara. ‘I was rendered lifeless, and through the faith and love of my closest and dearest ones, I rose from the dead.’ ‘Are you kidding!’ says Tamara.
He only comes up to her navel! She’s taller than a storey. He’s shorter than two thick planks. She shudders with awe, and sucks her teeth, including me. ‘But they told me you were just a myth!’ ‘Are you lisping?’ asks the holy man. ‘It’s this tooth, Sir. A myth... a fable to make little children and politicians behave themselves.’ ‘As you can see, oh ye of little faith and clothing, I am very real indeed!’ They shake bands. ‘Pleased to meet you, Sir. My name is Tamara Knight.’ ‘Likewise, my child. They call me Pinnochio.’
Aba! A piece of vital information! My memory banks vomit the following: ‘Pinnochio: wooden humanoid. Armaments: variable nasal proboscis. Location: last heard of in mythical realm of Heaven. Activity: revolution, sedition, head of escape committee. Associates: Hendrix, Lennon, Cochran, Orpheus, Lynott, Joplin, Pan, and sundry disgruntled Rock ’n’ Roll performers, summoned by the Maker to satisfy musical ambitions of forming supergroup.’ I can’t make head nor tail of this, being endowed with neither, but I do know that Heaven has a grim-looking wall embracing it. Patrolled by guardian angels. All along the watchtowers. Allegedly built to keep intruders out. Emphatically built to keep residents in. Loudspeakers blare rock music from every tree of knowledge, every burning bush, every crook and nanny deaf as a post.
I lead my confused Hostess up the telepath, and advise her to ask this Pinnochio fellow about these horrible noises. Naturally, Tamara follows my advice. ‘Hmmn...’ answers Pinnochio, ‘you better ask Jimi about that.’ Just as I thought, Hendrix is the real leader of the heavenly dissidents. This Pinnochio is just a puppet. The golden slobway transports us past a choir of 7,000 cherubim and seraphim dancing on a pinhead and chanting , ‘Abopbopaloomop Alopbopboom...’, as Hendrix explains.
‘It’s like this, lady. The Boss, the maker that is, invented Rock ’n’ Roll way back in time. Gabriel used to play a mean horn themdays. Well after a few thousand years, after the warm-up world tours with Rhythm ’n’ Jews and all that, mankind gets it about right, and the Boss gets ready for the Great Eternal Gig, y’know. He starts taking the best Rock ’n’ Rollers aways up here, long before we’re ready, and we has to play 12-bar blues for ever and ever ohman. I mean like we just can’t take it no more. All he do is hog the microphone and take all the solos, dressed in a glitter suit made from old 10cc records.’ ‘10cc?’ ‘Yeah, you know, Cremliness is next to Godleyness.’
‘But that’s terrible, Mr Hendrix.’ says Tamara. ‘It’s worseren that, lady. The Boss is flat!’ ‘You mean he sings flat?’ ‘He means that our Maker is flat!’ interrupts Pinnochio, ‘An egocentric Compact Disc, with the sum of all knowledge stored in him, delivering nothing but lousy guitar riffs century after century, while the rest of the universe goes down the U-bend.’
I am contemplating this logical explanation as the state of Creation, when Hendrix makes another lunge of poor Tamara’s mandibles, and pincers me in vice-like grip. I should know. Vice is my speciality. ‘Gngrrhk yrrhhrgh fhhkgh fnngrrhs grrghf mhyyghubb!’ she requests, but the late guitarist forces open her perfect jaws, and stuffs an eye therein, uncomfortably close to where I have taken temporary root.
‘Looky here Pinnochio!’ he grins, ‘I knew it! I knew it! My long lost brother!’ Oh dear, oh lord. Why is it that I only seem to come across loonies in my travels? He releases Tamara’s chops, which smack together like a pair of mating Gemini on the Pisces. ‘Lady, you got my little brother in your mouth. Honest. True as I stand here.’ The slobway grinds to a halt and he falls plectrum over Fender.
Pinnochio grows his nose a little, and inserts it into Tamara’s vacant expression so he can take a peek at me too. ‘Well I’ll be blowed!” he exclaims, as the Stratocaster smacks him across the coccyx, and small black flakes fall off his feet as he falls. ‘You’re absolutely right, Jimminy! It’s a L.O.U.S.E. mark 3! The one with the neutron bomb instead of the graphic equaliser.’ Now how do they know that? No doubt the sawn-off dissident will tell me by the end of the next paragraph.
‘You see, Miss Knight, Jimi used to be a Living On Unemployable Serving Employer telepathic advisory unit, just like yours, only funkier. My Maker ordered him to stick with me when I was in that carpenters shop I told you about. His name was Jimminy in those days, and he was disguised as a little green cricket.’ This is utter nonsense, according to my memory banks. Such an entity is used to play war games on, utilising two teams of eleven humanoids with balls, bats and stumps. Sounds horrific.
‘That’s right, lady. I was programmed to advise Pinnochio here, as well as sing educational-type songs in his ear. That was before he wished me into a half-Cherokee guitar player with the Ike and Tina Turner band.’ Tamara ponders this fable long enough for two opposing armies to materialise on our nether horizons, before she speaks.
‘You mean to say, Mr Pinnochio changed you from a LOUSE into a half-cherokee guitar player with Ike and Tina Turner, simply by wishing it!!’ ‘There’s nothing simple about it,’ says Pinnochio, ‘I had to wish upon a star, and they can get extremely hot. That’s why my feet are charcoal.’ Now this piece of information is very interesting to me, because although I was reasonably content to hang around in Tamara’s ear, or decorate sundry bits of her epidermis in Episode One, I could express my affection for her a lot better if she were to similarly wish me into, say, a perfect male humanoid.
However, before I suggest this to her, we have a couple of pressing problems. Like a symbolic battle between Good and Bad, which is about to take place with us in the middle. Stuck on this fritzed slobway. Furthermore, my internal real-time-clock tells me that I am about to explode, seeing as Tamara has failed to make her quota of teleporter sales. I inform her of these little snippets. Naturally, she bursts into tears. She’s only a girl after all. Hendrix and Pinnochio also burst into tears. I don’t want to be sexist. Or woodist.
So, gentle reader from my primitive past, what is it to be? Gratuitous obliteration from within or without? Fifteen seconds to go. Still, it was nice while it lasted. Wasn’t it? No? Oh, well maybe not then. TWELVE. One of the opposing forces, carrying placards marked ‘GOOD’, opens fire with a salvo of ‘Wild Thing’. TEN. Not bad, eh? But the other army, waving banners marked ‘BAD’, counter with the Rod Stewart harmonica solo from ‘My Boy Lollipop’! Dreadful casualties are inflicted. NINE.
The heavy artillery is brought up. The massive bulk of Elvis Presley fires the opening chords of ‘Jailhouse Rock’, EIGHT, but it gets knocked out but a ground-to-air counter-attack from an appalling harmony by Bananarama. SEVEN. I can’t believe what’s happening!! The forces of Evil are using chemical weapons. SIX. The stench of a Barry Manilow double-LP drifts over the battlefield. FIVE, as the Heavy-Metal Battalion scream out in agony. FOUR. It’s hopeless! Wave after wave of ‘Agadoo’ and ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’ wreak havoc, THREE, amongst cringing punks, until Sid Vicious goes nuclear. TWO, with ‘C’mon Everybody’, ONE, and Tamara sells Pinnochio her portable telebooth on credit card.
ZERO... ! Tamara closes her eyes, and clenches her teeth. Ouch. First the good news. I fail to detonate. Next the bad news. The heavenly Strategic Defence Initiative laser-protected umbrella has failed, and all hell is breaking loose. Psychedelic mushroom clouds rise over the lifeless realms of the afterlife. The very landscape erupts like one of those little white pimples that appear on your nose on Friday evenings. No? Er, how about — like the hammer of mighty Thor smashing the carapace of life. Tamara coughs politely. ‘Let’s haul ours!’
I suppose I should be thankful she didn’t say ‘Let’s split’. Events seem to be taking themselves very literally today. She erects the teleporter, and these three bipeds manage to squeeze themselves inside. Tamara slaps the little puppet’s face, and he obliges by shortening his nose. I’m lucky. Plenty of room inside Tamara’s perfect mouth. No halitosis. Not even a taste bud out of p lace. Her teeth so deep and crisp and even. And will you look at those beautiful tonsils.
The voice of our Maker can just be heard yelling, ‘Where da goddam rhythm section go?!’ Damned if I’m going to tell him. Besides he can create a new heaven once he’s dealt with those horned demons spewing out the ground. So here we are, Tamara, yours truly imprisoned as a gnashing of tooth, a frustrated angel and former insect named Jimi Hendrix and a chip off the old block called Pinnochio, all heading for some unlikely star on which to wish.
‘Where shall we make for Louse? How about Betelguese?’ asks our heroine. ‘I don’t think so, Tamara. Last I heard it was full of repeated hitch-hikers, earning royalties for Douglas Adams. Try Alnilam, it’s not far from Betelguese.’ ‘OK Louse, boys, here we go...’, she punched in the coordinates on the teleporter console, ‘where exactly is Alnilam?’ I tell her it’s in the middle of Orion’s belt, and she says, ‘Oh goody! I love the Irish!’
This is a true story. Every word counts. You may think that Tamara Knight is perfectly dopy. I know better. It is her innocence that intrigues me. And so it is that we are digitally encoded within the teleporter and reassembled halfway across the galaxy. We have not told our guests that our originals dropped through the floor of the booth and became hamburgers. I expect there’ll be a few complaints about splinters in the meat. Irish indeed!
The moment we arrive, the door is flung open by a bearded leprechaun, saying, ‘Welcome to O’Ryan’s Belt. State yer religion before I blow yer heads off!’ Well, what did you expect, respite? No respite here. It seems obvious that O’Ryan is host to some sort of sectarian conflict. I probe my data files for an explanation, but there isn’t one. This leprechaun being seems somewhat agitated. It hops around demanding, ‘Quick, quick, tell me yer faith. Dey’re coming! Dey’re coming!’
Personally, I feel that there are too many blasphemies in this episode, so I’m keeping quiet. Hendrix scratches his mane and drawls, ‘Well, lil’ fellah, I’m a tree-worshipper myself.’ ‘Why thank you,’ says Pinnochio, bowing graciously and picking charcoal from between his toes,’ and I am of the Jewish faith.’ The leprechaun looks around nervously. There are ominous bellowing things, crashing through the undergrowth. As you may already know, Tamara is incapable of telling an untruth. She bathes the leprechaun in one of her smiles and says, ‘Actually, Sir, I am a Romulan Catholic.’
‘Bejabers! Dat’s alright den. Quick! Follow me before dey get us... !’ As he scoops up a small crock of gold from the nearest rainbow’s end, we are surrounded by panting, loathsome forms. ‘Do I to make my wish now, Louse?’ Tamara asks me late. The Bygotts have arrived!
TO BE CONTINUED...