Tags: dr. sir reginald kingsley ii

Cocktopus

The Curse of the Rhino King - Chapter 5 (in astonishing Audio-Rama Format!)


A lo, there came a chapter 5.

This chapter is a personal favourite of mine, in that - towards the end - we see Reginald's father, Reginald Sr, showing the first signs of the unimaginably terrible behaviour which will come to dominate his every waking moment later on in the story. I think I can honestly say that I have never written a character as completely and hilariously obnoxious as Reginald Sr, and no relationship between any two characters I have ever written has been AS funny as that between the two Reginald Kingsleys. It all begins here, as far as that goes, and only becomes more magnificently train-wrecky as the story progresses.



Chapter 5







Download Chapter 5 directly here


Download Chapter 4 directly here


Download Chapter 3 directly here


Download Chapter 2 directly here

Download Chapter 1 directly here



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Cocktopus

The Curse of the Rhino King - Chapter 4 (in astonishing Audio-Rama Format!)


Part two of our prologue begins as Reginald finds himself unwittingly and unwillingly inducted into a savage rite of combat by primitive Pacific islanders. Can he possibly survive long enough to have already appeared in the first two chapters which we've already read? It seems unlikely!







Download Chapter 4 directly here

Download Chapter 3 directly here

Download Chapter 2 directly here

Download Chapter 1 directly here



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Cocktopus

The Curse of the Rhino King - Chapter 3 (in astonishing Audio-Rama Format!)


Chapter Three begins a brief prologue, of sorts. One might argue that a prologue more properly belongs before the beginning of chapter 1. Such a one fails to grasp the avant-garde nature of what I'm doing here.

Even if you haven't checked out chapters 1 or 2, I would strongly recommend you give this one a whirl. Not only do I consider it the funniest chapter so far, it's also the most technically challenging to have created in Audio-Rama Format. Moreover, it's more purely representative of what the story is like from here on out; where I think I really hit my stride writing it.

And, as always, let me know what you think of the end result.

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Cocktopus

The Curse of the Rhino King - Chapter 2 (in astonishing Audio-Rama Format!)

Because a dead horse which has not been beaten is no dead horse at all, I have, for the past couple of months, been working on something for you all, and incidentally, for myself.

Some of you may recall - and some fewer of you may have commented on - my serialized pulp adventure series, "The Curse of the Rhino King". It failed to make the splash that I thought it should, and so I took the pulse of the readership, and came up with a couple of possible reasons why. First: Digestibility. I've touched upon this before, but not everyone is looking to read four pages of text as they skim their friends page. Second: Schedule. Not everyone wants to wait four weeks between chapters. Third: Convenience. Maybe some people would like to be able to take it in in different manners. Fourth: Presentation. It needs a spiffy title graphic.

Therefore, a group of friends and colleagues of mine have been busily working behind the scenes for months now on this project, building up a great and powerful backlog of story for you. The current plan is this: Every Tuesday and Saturday for the foreseeable future, you'll get a new chapter, in text format, in MP3 format (which can be played directly with the touch of a button), and in podcast format, which is to say "download the latest chapter from this link" format, so if you should wish to listen to it later, in an MP3 format, you can do so.

We've put many, many hours of work into this, we have, and I'm quite proud of what we've accomplished creatively. Already, some twenty chapters have been banked, with more on their way. I only ask that you give it a go.

With this having been said, I'm going to begin with the audio version of chapter 2, as the audio version of chapter 1 is already out there. Further chapters will be forthcoming on a regular and predictable schedule. And so, without further ado...

Cocktopus

The Curse of the Rhino King - Now presented in astonshing AUDO-RAMA format!

I have noted with some considerable distress that the various chapters of The Curse of the Rhino King have received somewhat less n the way of accolades than would seem its due. I don’t now exactly what to attribute this dearth of positive attention to; certainly no lack of quality on the part of the narrative itself. I’ve read it aloud to any number of friends and seen with my own eyes that they’ve enjoyed it. I’m willing to entertain the possibility that there’s a large number of you who have something physically wrong with the pleasure centers of your brains which renders you incapable of experiencing joy, but for the many times you’ve expressed it at other appropriate times.

To me the most likely scenario is one which revolves around the labour involved with actually reading large blocks of text. Peter David on his blog has lately been running a serialized story entitled “Potato Moon” which is up to something like chapter 55 now, and which I have yet to read even a single chapter of; when I’m reading my friends page I’m not necessarily in the right mood or head-space to entertain that sort of focus or effort. It is my expectation and hope that some significant portion of those of you who have not been reading or commenting upon this opus are of a similar mind-set.

There is a ready cure for this deficiency, however! A detour around this speed-bump. A monkey wrench by means of which this nut may be tightened. A lubricant by means of which this penetration may take place with a minimum of tearing and strain. In this I speak of the magic of audio. For some time I have planned to re-create my narrative success in reading these thrilling tales aloud to my friends for the benefit of my readers and indeed had enlisted the aid of my good friend lenimonkey in narrating those parts which are too feminine for the booming issue of my own throat to manage.

I had at one time planned on creating YouTube videos from this material (with some minimal graphics to supplement the audio) and I may yet do so (which would also serve the purpose of giving those dozens-or-hundreds- I -don’t-even-now-anymore of people who subscribed to my channel after my penis videos something to loo at). However, with the discovery of this delightful audio tool things become a great deal more streamlined and convenient for all involved.

Anyways. if this is more warmly received than the text-only versions (which is explicitly meant to be read as “If I receive more comments posted) then you can be certain that more will be forthcoming.

This having been said, and without further ado...


Cocktopus

The Curse of the Rhino King - A Ripping Dr. Sir Reginald Kingsley II Adventure (Chapter 4)


After far too long an absence (for reasons which a handful of my friends and readers know, and which I yet hope to see bear fruit), Dr. Sir Reginald Kingsley II returns.

Where last we left our hero, he was recounting a tale of his youth, during an island expedition in the south Pacific, during which he found himself an unwitting participant in one of the islanders' most sacred rites, and was about to learn first hand the secrets of the dreaded martial art of Mookalakapeekapo.

(previous chapters can be read here)

The Curse of the Rhino King

A Ripping Dr. Sir Reginald Kingsley II Adventure

  

Chapter 4 

 

 

I found myself separated from my father and my guide, both of whom looked on with considerable distress at the dire straights which fate had guided me into. All around me, short, sweaty men stood about me, looking upon me with an air  about them which bespoke hostility less than it did a fierce expectation. This latter I would under ordinary circumstances have been quite comfortable with, but my calm in this respect was somewhat marred by the fact that I did not for the life of me know what was expected of me.

 

A dozen or more of the islanders who surrounded me had their fists raised in what I recognized as their "Koolookoo" stance, and yet, though each of them breathed heavily and was plainly quite agitated in their own way, not a one of them made a move to strike me. I looked about to my left and my right, desperately hoping that I would see some sign - some gesture, some movement, some written instructions - SOMETHING - to indicate what I was to do. All the while, I was busy shedding my jacket, my tie, my cummerbund, my white silk shirt, my dinner gloves and my top hat, placing my spectacles upon the ground at my feet and adjusting my cufflinks for maximal ease of movement and dexterity. All the while, an elderly villager who I had taken to be some sort of headman or witch-doctor or some such was chanting in a low, guttural voice. I noticed, to my surprise, that not only were the men in the circle surrounding me swaying about in time with his chanting, so too did I seem to be. What witchcraft was this, that I should be compelled to such alien movements by nothing more than the sight of a dozen other men doing exactly likewise in the presence of a compelling rhythm? I knew then - if it had ever been in any doubt - that there was indeed foul magic at play here, and I would be its helpless victim if I allowed myself to be.

 

Well, I was having none of that. I turned to my guide, who stood well outside the circle of men, but was watching the proceedings with rapt attention. I shouted at him "What in the name of the Lord's bastard son Jesus is that old one chanting? I require you to make use of your knowledge of his monkey-tongue, dash it all!" I shook my fist at him so as to convey to him the violence I intended to inflict upon him if I should be beaten to death by these natives, and as I did so, I noticed with a start that the savages which stood between he and I seemed half-prepared to lunge at me like cobras, in the admittedly unlikely scenario that these cobras were to be magically transformed, perhaps by some island curse, into island men who were versed in the art of Mookalakapeekapo.

 

The guide, quite cowed by my threats, stammered in incoherent dread for a few moments before beginning to repeat, hoot-for-hoot and grunt-for-grunt, the chant of the witch-doctor, thus conjuring a sort of echo-like effect which, although not altogether unpleasant, was sadly altogether useless to me. I shouted at him once more, this time taking care to keep my posture essentially neutral towards my tormentors, lest - like the wild dogs they all-too-closely resembled - they should descend upon me as a pack. "In English, blast your eyes! Tell me what he is saying in the king's good English!"

 

My guide looked startled, his eyes betraying an air of confusion and perturbation. "Sir", he shouted uncertainly, plainly trying not to offend with his correction, "surely it's plain that he is saying nothing at all in English! That is his own native tongue he is chanting in!"

 

I had to grant him this point, though I would have rather shined the devil's own shoes for a nickel than admit this to him. Instead, composing myself so as to mask my embarrassment at having been caught out by him so, I replied "I had rather hoped for something more in the nature of a translation!"

 

"Well, you should have said so, sir!"

 

"Yes, I suppose I should have been somewhat more precise! I can see now that I was insufficiently clear in my intent!"

 

"It takes a big man to admit that, sir!"

 

"Yes, rather!", I shouted, raising my voice still further. The village witch doctor's chanting was becoming increasingly loud and insistent, and it was becoming ever more difficult to make myself heard over him. I shot him a dirty look, as though asking him to pipe down a bit so that I might carry on my conversation like a civilized man, and was lucky to do so, as in that moment, one of the savages standing behind me took a savage swing at me which I would have failed to notice otherwise. As it was, I was able to dodge only to the extent that I took the blow upon my shoulder rather than my firm, patrician nose. Shielding my face from further assault with my forearms, I shouted at my guide and clarified my point yet further: "Now, if you would be so kind as to translate his gobbledygook into English...!"

 

"Ah, yes! Of course, sir! It's a sort of invocation to action, sir! Some of the concepts are too foreign to translate precisely, but if I were to provide a crude notion of their intent, it would go somewhat along these lines: 'Fight! Fight! Fight!'. If I might be so bold as to offer an opinion, sir, I believe they intend you to do battle with them!"

 

"Very good," I replied, frowning tightly. "I feel I would surely be lost here without this keen insight into their motives."

 

The guide beamed at me, positively radiating with job satisfaction. "Thank you, sir!" he replied, evidently without expression nor comprehension of guile.

 

I turned my attention once more to the savages surrounding me, each of whom seemed to have grown ever more savage in mein, baring their teeth at me in sinister grins, perspiration now beading heavily upon their bare skin with barely-contained enthusiasm. My odds, I had to allow, seemed rather on the long side here. However potent these islanders might have seemed, though, the fact remained that they were yet primitive beasts without the wits of modern man, and thus it was not impossible that I might yet gain the upper hand in the struggle to come by means of my towering English intellect. I shouted at my guide "Quickly, now! I need to convince them that I am a god, come among them to teach them the folly of their ludicrous foreign ways! What do I need to say in order to convey to them a sense of their innate inferiority and heathen barbarism?"

 

"An excellent plan, sir!", he shouted, clapping his hands together in a manner which would have seemed charming if demonstrated by a five year old girl on Christmas morning. "Simply repeat after me!" He then let loose a string of hoots and grunts in the islanders' native tongue, which I struggled to memorize, their beastly syllables like a tarnish upon my sterling mind.

 

As ingenious as my plan was, though, it seemed I had underestimated their low animal cunning; it was with some considerable distress that I saw them turn their eyes en masse towards my guide, and then back towards me, their look of feral rage replaced with what I would, in thinking men, have called amusement. Too late I realized the flaw in my ruse; against all odds, they had managed to discern the intent behind my guide's shouted words in their own language, and my brilliant deception was in a moment undone. I knew with shattering clarity in that moment that if I were to make an escape, it could only be now, while their aggression was momentarily leavened by their tittering reaction. I lunged for a space betwixt two of them, shielding my face with my arms as I did so, valiantly striving for the freedom which was my birthright.

 

Too late, though! Too slow! The legends of the deadly art of Mookalakapeekapo were all too true, as I learned to my horror and dismay. Faster than the eye could discern the transition, their laughter transmuted itself into aggression once more, their fists arching once again over my head like a ring of five-fingered, sweaty swords of Damocles, and then like lightning fell upon me. Stars seemed to be sprayed across my field of vision and the tang of blood filled my mouth. I felt the grit of sand and dirt impacting upon my face only distantly as I fell to unconsciousness.

 

It was only then that the true inner mystery of Mookalakapeekapo was made evident to me, and the very course of my noble life was changed forevermore...

 

(To be continued in chapter five!)

Cocktopus

The Curse of the Rhino King - A Ripping Dr. Sir Reginald Kingsley II Adventure (Chapter 3)

The Curse of the Rhino King

A Ripping Dr. Sir Reginald Kingsley II Adventure

 

 

Chapter 3

 

I first witnessed the ancient Samoan art of Mookalakapeekapo some seventeen years previous during an expedition about the islands of the savage south pacific which I had embarked upon with my late father, Reginald Kingsley Sr. We had come ashore to re-provision our ship, the Regal Swine (which remains in my family's possession to this very day), and while there, had the good fortune of witnessing a sort of trial-by-combat between two of the tribesmen of that island. Our guide, who was not entirely unfamiliar with the practices and language of these peoples, explained to us that one of the men had been accused of using witchcraft to keep the rains from coming to the south side of the island as retribution for one of the southerners having supposedly sent a "Booka-Tika" or jungle goblin, to bite off his foreskin. The southerner claimed never to have met the Booka-Tika in question, and said that if he had bitten off the northern man's foreskin, he was likely just hungry. The goblin had been cooked and eaten by the peoples of the northern tribe, but the charges between the two still needed to be settled, and so this trial by combat between them was adjourned in order to settle the matter.

 

"Mookalakapeekapo", we were told, was an ancient martial art which had been practiced by these people for many hundreds of years, and had been honed to perfection by masters who passed the art down from generation to generation. Even in the mystic orient, where martial arts are as common as grains of sand on the beach, and the martial prowess of even the most common of street urchins was a thing to be feared, Mookalakapeekapo was spoken of in hushed whispers and awed tones for its deadliness and grace. Few outsiders had ever been taught its seemingly-supernatural secrets, but those who had born witness to its use in combat could attest most certainly to its fearsome effects.

 

"Mookalakapeekapo", literally translated into the king's good english, meant "Striking with the fist, repeatedly", a name which it amply deserved. As we looked on, the two combatants took their places some thirty feet apart from one another and prepared to enter their "Koolookoo" or "Punching people" state. Both raised their right arms over their heads as a scorpion might raise its tail in its deadly poise and balled their corresponding hands up into fists.

 

"What are they doing, pa-pa?", I asked, positively a-quiver with excitement.

 

"Dashed if I know. Looks dangerous, though, doesn't it?" he replied, stroking his long, luxurious moustaches.

 

"The tribes of this island have devised a technique", our guide whispered to us breathlessly, even as he attempted to shush us, "whereby they sort of lever their arms up and down in such a way as to bring their fists into contact with one another's faces in a rough and swift manner."

 

"Whyever for?", I asked, bewildered.

 

"It seems", he said, "that by doing so with enough force and enough times, one's opponent can be rendered incapacitated by the pain inflicted by the blows."

 

"Superstitious hogwash!", my father harumphed, ever the skeptic. "Surely if one of them falls over, it's just a... a hysterical response to their belief that they SHOULD be incapacitated by it."

 

"You say that now, sir, but see for yourself!" the guide replied, pointing towards the two combatants.

 

Even as he spoke, the two men charged one another, each screaming savagely as they did so. Just as our guide had said, their arms began to lever upwards and downwards in a manner distressingly similar to the deadly scorpion's sting. They were like two savage pagan deities in that moment, like greek gods calling down the fire from Olympus, and all three of us felt our breath catch in our throats at the awesome, terrible power in them. Even then, I knew I could not leave this island without learning this art for myself.

 

The combatants collided with one another, and as predicted, their fists fell upon one another's faces over and over again as the two men stood at arms' length from one another. We could hear the impact of fist-upon-face again and again from our vantage point, even over the din of the members of the two tribes gathered around to watch this amazing spectacle. I could hardly believe my eyes: How could such primitive people have devised and mastered such principles in the absence of any formal education or schooling? Even as I looked on, I could begin to discern the science of it; they were employing rotational inertia, kinetic energy exchange, and even the very force of gravity itself to move their right arms up and down with each thunderous blow. Why, if they could do so much with so little knowledge of WHAT they were doing, imagine what I, a man of education and letters could do with such skills! I could conquer the world with the abilities these savages squandered on their small, perocial disputes!

 

As we looked on, the southern man began to flag. As our guide had predicted, it seemed as though the repeated blows to the head were indeed serving to incapacitate him. My father quietly crossed himself, muttering "God save us!" at the sight of it. As obviously shaken as this normally stout-hearted adventurer was, however, I was just as thrilled! As the southerner fell to the dirt, I found myself joining in the cheers of the onlookers, who even now set about separating the southerner’s head from his body with their spears: it had been made clear he had indeed sent a Booka-Tika to mutilate the other man's genitals, and for that, the punishment was death.

 

"Oh, father," I shouted excitedly, "I should very much like to learn this Mookalakapeekapo for myself! Do you think they would allow it?"

 

"Silence, boy!" he hissed at me, cuffing me behind my head. But even as he did, a hush had fallen over the crowd. It seemed that some number of the islanders had somehow acquired some smattering of english, and had discerned the meaning behind my words. A hushed whisper went up about them, as they pointed at me and looked to their village elder, as though questioning him.

 

"I think..." my father said, looking about with growing apprehension, 'I think we had best be off..."

 

"But father", I argued, "What about the supplies? The provisions?'

 

"Dash the provisions, by thunder! If we don't leave now, I doubt we shall live long enough to enjoy them." Even as he spoke, he had begun to move away from the gathering, insistently pulling me after him by the arm as he did so. The islanders, it seemed, had other things in mind. They moved to encircle us with their spears. "What the devil are they doing, man!" he shouted angrily at our guide. "You said we should be unmolested!"

 

"Sir," he said, speaking tremulously, attempting to decipher the guttural hoots and clicks which comprised the islanders' language, "It seems... and I beg your forgiveness, sir, I did not know!" he was by now visibly shaking in his boots, "It seems that any man who is present for a Mookalakapeekapo fight may then request initiation into its ancient secrets... but... but..."

 

"Well? Spit it out, you poltroon!"

 

"But they must first survive the initiation... or else they may not leave the gathering..." he whispered hoarsely, as twenty or more of the islanders raised their fists, scorpion-like, above their heads, "...Alive."

 

(To be continued in chapter four!)

 

Cocktopus

The Curse of the Rhino King - A Ripping Dr. Sir Reginald Kingsley II Adventure (Chapter 2)


I aknowledge that the first chapter was perhaps a bit of a slow start. For those of you who were not completely charmed, I beg of you the indulgance of reading this one as well before passing judgement. I daresay that this one is several times better, by my own estimation.

 

The Curse of the Rhino King

A Ripping Dr. Sir Reginald Kingsley II Adventure

 

 

Chapter 2

Chapter 2

"I believe," she began, trying her best to retain her dignified posture and composure as Ivan's rough fingers prodded and pulled at her shoulder wound, "That you are an acquaintance of my father, one Professor Alexander Elliot, of Camblee University, are you not?"

"Indeed I am", I said, "Fine fellow. Stout chap. Good character, fine bone structure and impeccable personal grooming habits. Can't stand him personally, naturally, but that's neither here nor there".

"No, of course not," she replied mildly. "Few enough men can, and indeed I daresay most who have been burdened by his unctuous acquaintance personally loathe him. Certainly the tears I would shed at his funeral would be for form's sake only, but I love him dearly all the same."

"Naturally."

"Nevertheless, I fear he has found himself in something of a predicament, and one which it seems it may be beyond my abilities to aid him in the solving of."

I steepled my fingers thoughtfully below my lower lip as I considered this. "And do I correctly deduce that this is in some part to blame for your current discomfiture?" I gestured vaguely once more to her shoulder as I said this, where even now Ivan was beginning to carve away great wads of what appeared to be diseased or gangrenous flesh surrounding the arrow with his knives, all the while singing what I had gathered was a jolly old folk song his people (god rest their pagan souls) had sung during times of great misfortune for others so as to keep their minds off of their dire predicaments. It seemed he had the matter well in-hand.

"Your fabled powers of insight are as quick as your reputation credits them to be", she said, grinning nervously. She appeared to be attempting not to pay too-close attention to the surgery at hand, as though acknowledging the mass of muscle tissue even now being sheared away from her body would somehow make it real, and not doing so would make it unreal. Ah, the frailties of the fairer sex. "Ah, but where to begin?"

"The beginning, I find, is often a good place to start from."

"Is it? Well, of course! What a clever idea! Yes, beginning it is, then. It began," she began, "nigh unto a year ago, when my father and brother, Jonothan, set out on safari in darkest Africa. It was a purely scientific pursuit, you understand; gathering specimens and the like. Quite the bloody business, what with all of the shooting of specimens with hunting rifles and such, and so naturally I heard of this second hand when they returned home. As it was told to me, they evidently gathered from their local guide that two of the area's kingdoms - as apparently they call themselves", she said, chuckling softly, "had recently resolved to forge a sort of peace treaty with one another and seal the compact by means of marrying off the virgin daughter of one of the kings to the son of the other. Father was quite taken with the whole business, as you can well imagine. He had never seen an African child bride in her native regalia, and when he did, he quite knew he must learn more about the whole affair."

"He would have been a traitor to Dame Science had he not," I said, "Arriving at her supper table, eating her food and then holding her down roughly upon the floor and voiding that selfsame food from his bowels upon her face at night's end."

"That's precisely what my brother said!"

"Well, it's a common enough figure of speech", I said, waving it off dismissively. "But pray, do go on."

"Ah, yes. Well. Through their interpreter, my father invited the African king Ngumbah and his daughter - the bride-to-be - to a feast in celebration of the upcoming nuptials and to pay tribute to his majesty. They were told of the ship which my father had off-shore; 'a great metal palace floating upon the waves', they said, where there would be dancing and music and such awaiting them and their retinue, should they wish to be so-honoured. Naturally, the savages were quite entranced by the tale, and in their gross, ignorant egomania, they had no difficulty believing themselves deserving of such honours, readily agreed, and arrived - as requested - in their most elabourate tribal finery."

"Naturally, naturally," I said, rubbing my chin thoughtfully, "I assume," I continued shrewdly, "That the finery was kept in good condition after they were killed?"

"Mister Kingsley!" She exclaimed indignantly, half-rising from her chair. This elicited a grunt of annoyance from Ivan, who was even then busily cauterising the wound with a hot poker, "My father is a professional! A man of science! Of principle! Of course he kept it in good condition. How dare you, sir?"

"I meant no offence, I assure you," I replied, gesturing for her to sit down peaceably, "and I beg your pardon. But please, do go on."

She settled back into her chair, peering with some annoyance at Ivan's work. It seemed that after his brief interruption, he had resumed his nonsensical little folk song and was now stomping his feet in time with his guttural bleatings as he returned to his work. Drawing a deep breath, she then continued. "Well. As you have no doubt surmised, the king and his men were poisoned during their feast, and the child bride, who my father since named 'Bango-Bango', for the way she endlessly bangs her head against the bars of her cage whenever he is not kept sedated, was taken into captivity for the sake of scientific inquiry."

The sound of her name had sparked a momentary recollection in me. I shuffled through some newspapers on my desk-top before retrieving the one I was looking for. "Bango-Bango, you say? Was she not the one who is currently on-tour with the London Circus in Hamburg?" I glanced at the photograph in the story on the subject. Delighted children who had paid a penny to the circus master were feeding the princess peanuts through the bars of her cage. I couldn't help but smile at the look of innocent delight painted so plainly on their faces. The joy of education they experienced in that moment, I silently prayed, would never leave them.

"One and the same, good sir", she replied. "My farther is a proud man, but also a kind and generous one, in his fashion. God how I loathe that about him. He saw no reason why the peoples of Europe should be denied the opportunity to learn from this marvellous specimen simply because they lacked the means to travel to darkest Africa themselves."

"It seems that perhaps I ought to revise my estimation of the man's character", I said, "Is he on tour with the circus himself?"

"No, Mister Kingsley, I'm afraid this is the very reason that I have come to you today. For you see, it seems he has been kidnapped!"

"Kidnapped! Whatever for? A man like him? Surely he had no enemies! Who could possibly wish him ill?"

"If you can believe it, sir, the African king whose son was to marry Bango-Bango has made a spot of trouble for us. Laid a bit of a curse on the family, so it seems."

"An arrow curse?" I asked.

"In part, yes, I fear. Wheresoever we go, we are pursued and vexed by these savages and their hunting animals. Last night, they burst into my father's office and subdued him. They plan on sacrificing him to their jungle spirits, I have been given to understand, should not Bango-Bango be returned to them within the next lunar cycle."

"Well, that's simply barbaric! To think, bursting in on a man's home uninvited and demanding that his contribution to the education of children - of CHILDREN - " I snapped angrily, "ought to be snatched away to ignorant lands where they have nothing to learn from her, and lack the brains necessary to learn anything at any rate ... ghastly business!"

"It's frightfully embarrassing, Mister Kingsley. Frightfully. But now I fear that a rescue effort must be mounted to retrieve my father. And I pray you, sir... your reputation for bravery and woodcraft being what they are, and your acquaintance with my father..."

"Yes, yes. So, you would have me arrange passage to Africa?"

"Yes and no, sir, for you see..."

At that moment, there arose a great clatter and the sound of splintering wood from outside of my study. I could hear my maid shrieking with terror as thunderous footsteps began to sound in the hallway, drawing closer, closer, ever closer with every moment. I looked sternly at my guest, scowling "What did I JUST finish telling you about bringing drama into a civilised man's home?"

"Oh! Mister Kingsley, I must... that is, I..." she stammered and sputtered in embarrassed shock, "I never would have... that is, this must be the doing of the Rhino King... the curse, you see...?"

"Rhino King?" I asked, dumbfounded. I recalled the word 'rhino' from my Latin lessons as a youth. "What a preposterous epithet. Has he some great ungodly nose, perhaps?" I was rising as I was speaking, moving to fetch a rifle from the case in the hall outside my door.

"I haven't the foggiest ide..." she began, before a veritable explosion of splintering wood atomised my study door, through which opening a great beast came charging, crushing the broken door frame underfoot. Large it was, with a grey leathern hide, and two enormous horns, one behind the other mounted upon its head between its eyes, which were themselves small and beady black things set in deep folds of skin far back on its head. It stamped and snorted angrily at the sight of her.

"Good god," I whispered. "A unicorn! I never thought I should live to see the day!"

Miss Elliot was at this point beside herself with mortified embarrassment and was making squawking noises not unlike some ungainly jungle bird. This put me in mind of my own rare blue Parrot, Napoleon, and how I dealt with him when he became too agitated. Swiftly yanking a tablecloth off of a nearby table, I tossed it over her head as one would a birdcage, such as to trick the bird into believing it to be night-time so that they would fall asleep. Sure enough, within moments, her distressed noises faded and stopped, only to be replaced by the sound of soft snoring. That was one problem dealt with. Now to deal with my equine intruder. "Ivan, you continue with your surgery", I said. "I shall have to dispatch this beast with my bare hands." Ivan didn't make so much as a grunt of concern for my safety. This spoke naught at all of his care for me, but rather, spoke volumes of his knowledge of my skill with fisticuffs. He had, after all, seen me employ, on any number of occasions, the hidden art of Mookalakapeekapo. I rolled up my sleeves and advanced upon the enraged steed who had so mysteriously chosen this moment to invade the sanctity of my home, even as it lowered its long equine head, aimed its curiously thick horn directly at my chest, and made ready to charge.

(To be continued in chapter three!)

 

Cocktopus

The Curse of the Rhino King - A Ripping Dr. Sir Reginald Kingsley II Adventure (Chapter 1)


For some time now - indeed, basically since the day I started this journal - I've been thinking of doing some sort of serialized text storytelling here. More lately, of course, I've been chewing over recycling some of my ridiculous old "pulp adventure" notions from a few years back. Not only do I love the sort of willfully and delightedly ignorance of the subject matter being written about by those old pulp writers from some hundred years or so ago, I find that that style of exposition comes so easily to me that indeed at times I lapse into it quite by accident. With this in mind, I've decided to give it a go.

If people enjoy this - and I go into this aknowledging that this is an experiment for me, and something I go into with a bit less than my characteristic confidence - then I can see no reason why this need not be an ongoing feature. I've already written a few chapters (one of the later ones has me positively howling with laughter, and I cannot wait to post), and have a bunch of ideas for later on if anybody else shares my enthusiasm for this bit of funny business.

I'm hoping I can keep them to the right length; too short, and the narrative suffers. Too long, and we enter 'tl;dr"/"PLEASE PUT BEHIND A CUT" territory. I think I've got a good middle-ground here.

All of which is to say that if you like it, let's have some comments, eh wot?

Now, then, without further delay...

The Curse of the Rhino King

A Ripping Dr. Sir Reginald Kingsley II Adventure

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 From the Journals of Dr. Sir Reginald Kingsley II

 

June 9, 1912, Inner Oxfordfordshirewhittington, England.

 

From the moment that Miss Rita Elliot first entered my study, I could discern from her bearing that she was a woman whose life had not lately gone to plan. Though she was dressed in a smart and conservative manner, all well-arrayed and neat, there was nevertheless that about her which suggested an air of disarray. I could not at once put my finger on what element it was which gave rise to this impression, but it immediately put me somewhat on my guard in a manner which I would have found mildly embarrassing, had not my instincts in this regard served me so well over the years. Was it her hair? No, not that; though it was somewhat moistened with sweat, this was not unexpected in these warm summer climes. Perhaps the way that her silk-gloved hands were wringing together so nervously? No, not that either. Even the wild look in her eyes seemed only a symptom of the malady which appeared to afflict her nerves. If I had to put my finger on it, I would have to say that more than any other single thing, it was the arrow protruding from her shoulder, and the dark bloom of blood staining her shirt and jacket.

 

"Mister Kingsley!", she shouted as she stumbled through my study door, her voice high and feminine amidst the masculine surroundings, "Thank the good lord above I made it here in time!"

 

"I shall," I responded, arching an eyebrow at her presumptuous tone, "If you should do me the service of telling me what time it is that you speak of." I did not care for the notion of being told what to do in my own home. It had an air of impropriety which galled me and violated my sensibilities.

 

"Oh! Yes, of course", she said, pressing the back of her hand to her flushed forehead, "I'm quite sorry, of course. I fear the bloodloss may have inhibited my wits somewhat. I beg you forgive my rudeness."

 

"Very well," I replied, dryly, taking a puff from my pipe, "but please do not make a habit of it. In my line of work, the bleeding to death from wounds such as yours is more typically a luxury reserved for the field. To do so in a civilized home is... well, let us say, rather uncouth. Flaunting one's daring-do, you see? Here," I said, gesturing at the elephant-skin armchair across my desk from where I sat in the chair which was its twin, "why don't you have a seat and explain your business here. I shall in the mean time call for my field medic to attend to this..." I waved my hands about expressively, gesturing to her shoulder, "...'arrow' business of yours."

 

She took her seat, flinching somewhat as her wounded shoulder came to rest against the chair's backing. "I'm frightfully sorry, my good sir. I'm afraid I'm rather a novice at this sort of thing..."

 

"Yes, well, plainly," I said with a bit of a huff. I retrieved from my desk drawer a small silver bell and gave it two sharp rings, summoning my manservant, Ivan, from the servant's quarters. "I am quite familiar enough with the lifestyle to know a novice when I see one. In fact," I said, leaning forwards somewhat conspiratorially, "I was once somewhat of a novice in these affairs, too."

 

"You? Surely not, sir! Your reputation..."

 

"Yes, yes. Of course. But I was young and impertinent, once upon a time. There was a day when I would arrive up at a dinner party being held for the royal museum riddled with bullets and with a tribe of wild headmen hot on my tail, shaking their spears about and shrieking for my blood, and think it fine sport. It's all well and good at first. People will look at you and say, 'Why, look at that young Mr. Kingsley! What an exciting and glamorous life he leads!' But by the fourth or fifth such instance, their breathless excitement begins to turn to weariness. No longer do they sing your praises; rather, your arrival shall be greeted with weary groans and cries of 'Oh, there's that dratted Reginald Kingsley again. Doubtless we shall come under attack from a fusillade of cannon-balls from a pirate ship crewed by animate skeletons or some such rubbish out in the harbour and moment now. Why ever do we invite him to these functions?'" I leaned back in my chair, grimacing somewhat ruefully. "Trust me when I say that the glamour of arriving in a civilized home with an arrow lodged in your shoulder is fleeting, but the damage to one's standing in civilized circles after a few such escapades can haunt one for years. To this day, I am invited into the aviary of the Earl of Upper Westershire with only the deepest of misgivings."

 

"Goodness! I had no idea there was such a ... a protocol about this sort of thing! Why, the social gaffe, I don't know how ever I shall live it down!" She drew a small paper fan from her purse and began to fan herself in agitation. "I do believe I may be faint!"

 

"Not at all, my good woman. That's simply the oxygen leaving your brain. Not to worry, here's Ivan with his surgical kit," I said, gesturing towards the door. She turned about in her seat and gasped quietly at the sight of the man. A towering Cossack, standing nearly seven feet tall and weighing perhaps four hundred pounds, his matted and filthy black beard hung down to his belly, which - much like the rest of his hulking frame - was covered in rude animal skins and rough-hewn leather. He smiled down at her benignly, revealing a mouth full of broken and yellowed teeth, through which he grunted one of his unintelligible but amiable greetings. In one hand, he carried a burlap sack, inside of which could be heard the clanking of crude metal instruments and clay pottery.

 

"Best in the business, I assure you." I said, attempting to re-assure her in her moment of apparent distress. "Met him during an expedition four years ago in the Ural Mountains. Seems he sold his soul to the devil in return for secret and forbidden arts of healing, which he meant to use to keep the primitive people of his tribe fit and healthy. Little did he know that Old Scratch, that tricky old goat, had other plans for them."

 

"Did they... did they die in an avalanche or some such sinister fate? I've heard tales of such things..."

 

"Nothing of the sort, my dear woman. Don't be absurd! No, they were abducted by moon-men. We plan to mount an effort to rescue them just as soon as my men can devise a means by which my zeppelin can be made to carry us to sufficient altitudes." I turned to Ivan and smiled encouragingly at him. "Should be any year now, eh, old bean? Just you keep up the good work and we'll have them back in their savage mountain home within a decade or two!" Ivan, bless his stupid, ape-like heart, nodded his head vigorously. I hadn't the heart to tell him that I'd had his tribesmen stuffed and mounted and sold to a museum in Singapore whilst he slept off a truly legendary drunk the day after I met him, but I couldn't see as how the knowledge would benefit him.

 

As Ivan began unceremoniously tearing away the fabric of Miss Elliot's dress from her shoulder and rifling around in his medicine bag for the salves and ointments he would need, I leaned back in my chair and asked her "So, then. What is this urgent business which you've brought to my doorstep?"

 

And so she commenced the telling of her tale.

 

(To be continued in part two!)