This week’s cue word is Mark
Editor’s note: This is the final chapter of a 6 part story started by fellow SSS writer Reena Saxena and continued by myself. Today’s chapter may be read as a standalone, or if you would prefer to read the entire story then chapters 1 to 5 are reprinted at the end of this post.
Let’s go! Allons-y, Alonso! It’s time for…
DINNER WITH DIANA
THE WOMAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (by Ford Waight)
Shhhhhh, and there fell a dreadful hush upon the world as every single one of Earth’s satellites ceased to signal – save for an unidentified sole transmission; and in state offices of the world’s presidents and prime ministers there fell the same hush; and the world media stared in shock at its screens usurped; and even Inspector Robert felt the same dreadful hush as he glared at his phone: the sole transmission… it was her!
Inspector Robert listened as the transmission Shriek-Shriek-Shrieked like a screaming newborn baby clamouring for milk and oxygen, heralding its intent, clutching all potential in tiny balled fists.
TRANSMISSION: “People of the world. I am Dr. Diana. And you will bend to my will.”
And the world harkened with pulsating ears and dreamy eyes, and the continents glazed over, and oceans became still, and the clouds robbed the sun, and the stars above became slaves in the plotting of new constellations, and planets called in their moons to bed, and comets tucked in their tails, and auroras made marks of religious sentiment across their dusty multi-coloured heads, and the Milky Way wept and sent distress signals to the cosmos – who did scramble to assemble all armies and mercenaries to fight the mightiest campaign of its life, as Dr. Diana went on: “In a short moment you will hear a song. And you will begin to feel sleepy. And after, you will do every goddamn thing I tell you.”
Meanwhile, back at the asylum, the three political prisoners known as Mr Sapphire, Mr Opal and Miss Amethyst, were busy at work configuring the sound system freshly built into the warder’s office: a small but grand-looking machine, a 1920s gramophone of all things – its horn burnished and swirled like a magnificent sea shell washed up on a shore, gloriously trumpeting its melody wound forth and blasted from each window of the asylum for the whole world to hear.
And as the song played, Dr. Diana spoke directly to Mr Sapphire on his phone, and she said: “Plan Louis Armstrong is in full swing. Now get me the President of the United States of America on the line.” … and somewhere, in space, a rogue satellite twinkled into life, and a call exchange was made to the soundtrack of the end of the world as everyone once knew it, and it sang, sang, it sang, it sang: I see trees so green, red roses too, I see them bloom for me and you, and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.
Need to find out how this story ever got into its state of being? Then read the previous five chapters below…
As always, TVTA cannot promise answers, but will guarantee questions…
And, in the spirit of collaboration, if anyone else wishes to continue this tale…
CONFUSION (by Reena Saxena)
She came every Thursday, dressed in a shade of blue matching her eyes and her straight, long, auburn tresses burnt the consciousness of all participants there.
“I’m fit enough to leave the asylum”, declared a confident-looking young man.
“Good to know that, and I’ll bid you goodbye after you have undergone the mandatory tests.”
“I will not go alone, you need to accompany me.”
The guy was attacked by others, as they wouldn’t let him take away the only oasis in their insane lives. The mayhem that followed needed disciplinary measures, and three people were found missing after the event – like me, are you wondering who was the third one?
IN A TRANCE (by Reena Saxena)
Dinner with Diana on Fridays was a ritual, inmates of the asylum had always followed …. some had to be wheeled in by attendants, in a semi-conscious state after medication, but they were all present.
‘You know what, the shots aren’t as bad as you think, and I like the way they put me in a trance”, shared one of the inmates.
“Are you the one who let three inmates out last Friday, or you can’t recall being manipulated?”
“I don’t think we have met before, but I cannot leave Diana ….” a blue light appeared to beam from his dark eyes, as if he was in a trance and his hands moved towards my neck.
“I’m Inspector Robert … here to investigate how three political prisoners sent here for treatment escaped in the melee last Friday. I believe you created a hullabaloo about not leaving Diana, but you know what … she is being taken by the police.”
NESTED (by Reena Saxena)
“Dr. Diana, did you seek permission from the clients before hypnotising them, as per professional ethics?”
“They are not sane enough to decide for themselves, but benefit from the treatment given.”
“I understand you wrote “Fairies on the menu tonight” in the invite for Dinner with Diana, and dressed as a fairy yourself.”
“It was on the request of one of the inmates I had become close to.”
“It was done to cause a stampede, and it was on your request that he opened the gates to let out three selected inmates – Why, and for what price?
“For an amount sufficient to build my personal fairyland, and practice mass hypnosis- the enslaved inmates would have been instrumental in executing a political strategy.”
STATION TO STATION (by Ford Waight)
The police station reception reminded her of the nurse’s station at the asylum: the harsh ceiling lights, the waiting area dotted with mismatched coloured plastic chairs, telephones ringing from a counter where instead of a nurse stood a desk sergeant seven hours into his shift, and tacked to the yellowy walls between memos and protocols a cartoon poster of a woman tearing out her hair and declaring – You Don’t Have To Be Mad To Work Here But It helps.
In the interview room, Inspector Robert sat slumped at the table staring at his image in the two way mirror, a thin ribbon of drool descending from his lip, and for the life of him he couldn’t figure out why he was dressed as an elf when only that morning he was certain he had donned as normal his suit and tie.
As she left the police station, Dr. Diana waved a hand at the desk sergeant and bid him a good evening, to which he replied: “And a good evening yourself, Inspector Robert, see you tomorrow.”
And as she drove away in a vehicle which did not belong to her but for which she had the key, and on a cell phone which equally did not belong to her, Dr. Diana called one of the escaped political prisoners, and told him to activate immediately Plan Louis Armstrong.
At the asylum, change was already in progress: a new governor would be starting on Monday, along with a new doctor, and a PR specialist to calm the waves of the media storm which had brewing since the escape.
At the nurse’s station the phone was ringing, and the duty nurse answered and said: “Hello, Governor Armstrong, we weren’t expecting you till Monday, of course I’ll have your office prepared immediately.”
ASHES TO ASHES (by Ford Waight)
ZIPPPPPPPPPP was the zipping sound the zippers of the body bags made as Inspector Robert stared at the corpses of the three escaped political figures: Mr Sapphire, Mr Opal, and Miss Amethyst, unzipped to the chill of a dark night in a dark forest in dark times.
“It’s them alright,” Inspector Robert said to the forensics officer, “no mistake, and now they’re dead, and we might never learn who instigated their escape from that damn asylum, let alone who killed them.”
Especially as you allowed Dr. Diana to escape your custody while being questioned, thought the forensics officer, and especially as your judgement is under scrutiny since you foolishly admitted you believed you were inexplicably dressed as an elf, when it was plain to see on the cameras you were wearing your usual suit and tie, and was, most likely, under the influence of prescription drugs or alcohol.
Had he been a mind reader, Inspector Robert may well have told the forensics officer in no uncertain terms that he was no addict, but had instead been subjected to a cruel hypnotism by that witch Dr. Diana; instead, Robert simply gave the order: “Have the coroner report back to me as soon as the causes of death have been established.”
Meanwhile, back at the asylum, Governor Armstrong was making himself comfortable in his new office, but then Armstrong was a man of comfort, and completely comfortable in his own skin – except it wasn’t really the skin of Governor Armstrong he was wearing, for this new governor was a chameleon unto the eyes of all who beheld him, while unto others – a select few indeed – he was simply Mr Sapphire.
And downstairs, sashaying through the hallways of the asylum and up the spiral staircase to Armstrong’s office, came the new doctor and PR specialist recently hired, and these two were also chameleons, and unto many they were established professionals with backgrounds and CVs to be jealous of, but in reality – unto the select few indeed – they were Mr Opal and Miss Amethyst, and as they waltzed along the corridor to Mr Sapphire’s door, the two were a-whistling a-jovially à gogo the tune: Zip-a-dee-doo-dah zip-a-dee-ay, My oh my what a wonderful day.