I was lying on the floor, looking up at what can only be described as nothing. White, all around me. I sat up and looked around. There was no depth perception here - I could have been in a room the size of a cathedral or a shed. I was wearing my usual clothes. I wondered if I had got drunk and passed out in the combat simulator room again. But if I had, where was the thin outline of the door?
A door appeared. Not a white door, like the combat simulator door. No, this was a sturdy and thick looking door that smelt of rich mahogany. It was about 20 metres away from where I was sitting. I decided to get up and make my way toward it -
And suddenly I was right in front of it, on my feet, hand outstretched for the metal handle. Strange. I walked around it. It was just a door, a door that led nowhere. I placed my hand on the metal, but as I applied pressure, I felt it give, like rubber under my fingers. A measureless room. A strange door. Metal that wasn't metal. What the bloody hell was happening? Nevertheless, the door clicked, and I peered through a small gap, expecting the same white as everything else. But inside it was pitch black. The smell of ozone reached my nostrils. I tentatively took a step through the door and suddenly I fell through the door, as if down a hole. A pitch black hole. As I hurtled downwards, I saw a tiny speck of light. It was approaching slowly, at least 400 metres away -
And then it was suddenly in front of me and I shot through it... and floated. I was suspended in mid air. The gravity had changed again. This time however, it wasn't there at all. I was in zero gravity. I looked around. The walls were metal and there was a switch by a large window covered by a metal plate. I pushed myself toward it and flicked the switch. The plate rattled open to reveal Venus, and just beyond it, Earth. I was in space! But how? My attention was drawn to the window - the planets were moving away to the left. Or rather, whatever I was on was turning away from them. Suddenly the room was lit up with a blinding light, which quickly subsided, giving me a chance to look at what we were heading for.
I stifled a gasp. What the hell was going on? I couldn't really be in space. This had to be a dream. And there was an easy way to get out of a dream. Death. Die in the dream, wake up in reality. Fine. I saw a sharp piece of metal drifting by, so I grabbed it, and with a deep breath, plunged it into my chest.
Where it stayed. I looked down at it. There was no blood, no pain, no sense of awakening. Fear suddenly sparked inside me. What if I couldn't get out? No. Keep calm and carry on. I pulled the piece of metal out of my chest and inspected it. No blood on that, either. I felt the area it had been in. No sign of even a scratch. Giving up on that idea, I looked down the corridor where the metal had come from. Other pieces were drifting around now, so I decided to try and find out where they were coming from. Before I left, I took another look at the window. Perhaps it was just me, but The Sun seemed closer. I turned and heaved myself from wall to wall, along the corridor where the shrapnel got thicker and larger. Dodging pieces as I went, I reached a door. Above it, strangely, were the words KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON. Words I had used earlier. I opened the door to find myself looking out into space. About a kilometre away I saw what must have been the back part of the ship I was on. What really threw me was the fact that it wasn't a space ship. It was a naval ship. The Bismarck to be exact. What was a German WW2 naval battleship doing in space? Why, for that matter was I on it? And WHY, WHY OH WHY, was I still breathing? Space was a vacuum. I was obviously looking out of the broken end of the bow, meaning the air should have been sucked from my very lungs. But it wasn't. I pushed away from the edge and drifted back the way I came. I continued past the window and through a bulkhead into a stairwell. Clutching the railing, I made my way upwards, until I heard voices. I made my way into that deck and suddenly a man drifted out of a room. He was wearing a Royal Air Force uniform, but he spoke with a Russian accent. Also he wore a Nazi armband. "You there! Report to the Captain, immediately! He wishes to speak to you. It is urgent!" He yelled. "What about the other half of the ship? What's happening with that?" I replied. "They are lost, comrade, and we will be too, if we do not make our way to the bridge with all haste!" He turned and headed down the corridor. I had no choice but to follow the strange Russian Nazi Airman.
We entered a large room, and suddenly hit the ground. Gravity had returned. People were running about and shouting into telephones. At the front of the room stood a man with an officer's uniform and the badge of a captain. He didn't turn to greet us. His voice, however, sounded strangely familiar. "Officer Pasanda. As you can see, the Japanese have us in a tight position. They've got us outnumbered 7 to 1." I shook my head. "Sorry, we're in space and half the ship is missing. There are no Japanese. This is not WW2." The Captain finally turned round, and I realized why he was so familiar. It was me! Then it was Fitzwellington, then Gregory. Odd. The captain turned to the window again as the ship rocked from another explosion off starboard. There was a rumble and the Captain turned and laughed. As he laughed, his face rippled and then suddenly changed into Sir Montgomery's, my dead mentor! This bloody well miffed me off rather considerably in the tally ho. "Right you bugger, fucking well get me home. Fitzwellington has obviously slipped me some acid and I want out. Come on! Now I say!"
The Captain finally gave me his attention and grinned. "Toodle pip, spider monkey!" He roared, as the ship jerked and shuddered. I ran to the window and saw we were heading for a maelstrom! And in the middle of the maelstrom there was a giant monkey banging the cymbals! I chuckled briefly, this being fairly amusing. But then I turned to the Captain and went WTF ROFLAPACHE. He giggled like a spastic. "We're going home, Johnny!" "I'm not bloody Johnny, alright? I'm Sir Tarquin! I live in England! EN-GER-LAND!" I yelled back. I tried to get to the wheel. Too late. The Bismarck lurched into the raging maelstrom and we swirled round, slowly heading for the centre, where the monkey had swapped the cymbals for Semtex. "That. Is. It!" I roared. Everything stopped, froze, around me. The maelstrom stopped swirling. The monkey put down the Semtex and pulled a door from his back pocket, placed it in front of me and exploded into a shower of marzipan and gummy bears. I swung the door open, peered inside and got sucked in. I tumbled down a very very long passage, watching odd things such as a gimp mask and a giant caterpillar fly past. Suddenly, everything was upside down! I saw a man approach me in a big silly hat, he knelt down and began to talk. "Howdy mate, welcome to Down Under! It's a wallaby to see ya, but a dingle that I dongled the Kangas! Wallabingo?" he chatted. Great. Just what I needed. "Erm, yes. I'm Sir Tarquin. I need to get out of here. Now". I replied. The odd man scratched his head. "Johnny Walla, that's a dingle on the dongle with the walla baboo. You'd probably have to goggle oggle bogga that Dr Opium Monkey. He's a walladingo with a trongle!" He declared. I understood Dr Opium Monkey. I assumed it was a person. "I see... where is this... Opium Monkey?" I asked, fearing the answer. "Oooh dubba dingo mate! I can't tingle the donga doo on that trinka log! I'd habble a gag on bitsy doo dah. A moment, dingo!" He walked off. A minute later he came back with a dreadlocked black man wearing a colourful hat and smoking what seemed to be a joint the size of a cannon. He cracked a smile and puffed smoke. "Aaaah wha'gwan me breda! You be askin for I wid da babylon bumbaclot inna righteous Opium Monkey an ting?" He babbled, taking a huge drag from his gigantic spliff. Once again, all I heard was Opium Monkey. Taking a wild guess I replied "Yes?" and the rasta giggled and pointed to a barechested man in a kilt with shockingly ginger hair. I walked over to the man and asked him the same question. "Wha'? Ye cannae be serious laddie! Nout one soul 'as talked ta tha Oppyum Munka! Oot with tha boot an' scoot ya entrails ya wee lassy boy!" He shouted. I finally lost my temper. "Fuck on a stick! All I bloody well asked you pissing specimens was WHERE. IS. THE. PISSING. OPIUM. MONKEY. It's a simple question and you know what? You don't even have to TALK to me! Point, draw a map, act it out, I don't care! Just bloody well show me the way!"
The Scot suddenly cleared his throat. "Ah, I see. I do apologise chap. I assumed you were insane, like we are. Naturally one expects to TEAPOT meet a few who travel the path SLIPPERS who still retain their sanity. I presume DOBERMAN you wish to leave this TOASTER place?" he replied. I nodded speechlessly. The Scot nodded. "Very well. You need to BUTTER KNIFE go and see the Monkey. He'll know what to DISCOMBOBULATE do. He's over there. Tally ho." He pointed to a big door. I walked through the door, which actually was a door and not a portal. The room was as large as a cathedral and standing on a platform suspended in mid air was a large robed monkey with a giant bong strapped to his back.
Suddenly I was on the platform, standing in front of the monkey. "Erm, hello. I'm trying to get out of here..." I ventured. The monkey stared at me. "Where is here?" he replied. "Here? Well, this is a dream..." I stammered. The monkey nodded slowly. "It's all inside your head. I am here because you are. If you leave, I cease to exist. What power do I have when it comes to leaving? How does one leave the mind? Unless through insanity..." He reasoned. I understood. I had to make an exit. I looked at the far wall and concentrated. "I want to wake up." I whispered. The wall suddenly morphed and a doorway appeared. I'd done it! I turned to the monkey. "And that will take me back to reality?" The monkey blew out a cloud of smoke. "it will take you where you wish to go." He replied. "Right. Thanks, I think." I said. The monkey suddenly grabbed my arm. "Darker forces are at work here. You are going to embark on a new journey, with new friends, and new enemies. Ultimately, you know where it shall end. And you shall have the Choice once again." The Choice! The decision I alone had to make all those years ago... suddenly the monkey began to laugh. A croaking, raspy laugh that shook the very room. As the monkey laughed, he began to fall apart into what looked like baguettes! The entire room was collapsing around me. The dream was collapsing. I turned and ran for the door as giant baguettes rained down on me. The laughing was still echoing around the room as I headed for the door. Suddenly a baguette crashed into the ground, spraying me with bits of bacon, lettuce and tomato the size of footballs! I got to my feet as the entire roof caved in. I sprinted for the door and leapt, my fingers brushing an invisible tether, pulling me through the door as the entire world fell around my head.
I sat up with a jerk. The shaking was still happening. "What the deuce?" I yelled, and saw Fitzwellington and Gregory holding machine guns. A deafening explosion shattered the window next to my bed and shredded my priceless Ming vase. "Bugger!" I yelled. "Now I have to go and get another one from the garage!" It sounded like planes overhead, and my suspicions were confirmed when Gregory came up to me and handed me my Colt. "It's the RAF! They're bombing the house!" he yelled. The wall nearest Fitzwellington blew apart, hitting him in the head. "Fuck nuggets!" he yelled. His shout finally got me active. "Right boys, get down to the garage, get in the Prospector! I'll be right behind you!" Fitzwellington gave me a thumbs up and made for the stairs. I however, turned back round and sprinted to the window, where I could see Harriers coming round for another strike. A strike that would almost certainly kill us. I had less than a minute. I ran towards my study and flung open the cabinet behind my desk, entered the 10 digit code PIN number and opened the safe, grabbed a small wooden box and ran back down the corridor, down the stairs and through the basement to the garage, where the Prospector was waiting. She was a mining vehicle, built to burrow under ground. I ran to the hatch and jumped inside, sealing it behind me. Fitzwellington and Gregory were manning the controls in the cockpit, so I sat down on a bench. The vehicle shuddered as its tracks trundled across the room and into the garden, where we stayed above ground long enough to see the house, my house for 20 years, disappear in huge explosion. Then we hit the ground and began drilling away. I walked over to the cockpit where Fitzwellington and Gregory were. "Nice work boys." I announced. Gregory nodded. "But why did the RAF attack us in the first place?" He asked. Fitzwellington, who had been staring at the screen, cleared his throat. "Because of this, I suspect." We all peered at the screen, which was displaying BBC News, and the breaking news title was NOBLEMEN WANTED FOR CONSPIRACY AND MURDER. Fitzwellington swore. "You know what this means, don't you?" He asked. I nodded sadly. "No more TGI Fridays. I fucking loved that place." Gregory nodded. "Looks like it's old times again."
"From here on out... we're fugitives."