Subject:    For The Witch + Jaime; CHAPTER 8
         - The Witch's Croquet-Ground
From:       "Plain, Simple, Blackhawk." <>
Message-ID: <>

Previous chapter: A Mad Tofu Party


The Witch's Croquet-Ground

A large peep-tree stood near the entrance of Servo: the peeps growing on 
it were white, but there were three performance artists at it, busily 
painting them red. One was painting from atop a large penny-farthing 
bicycle and making tiny faces in the petals with a herring. Blackhawk 
thought this a very curious thing, and he went nearer to watch them, and 
just as he came up to them he heard one of them say, 'Look out now, 
Five! Don't go splashing paint over me like that, London is burning!' 

[Two-Face, Five, and Seven(of Nine) painting the peep-tree] 

        ____//_  //(__)  //          //     <(')   (__)  |(~)|
        ______ \// (')> //(')> <(') //  (')> (__) <(')   |(")|
     (\/----- \ /`(  )\\`(  )   (  )/ `(__)\\ <(') (__)  | V |
      //  <(') \ \  (')>   (')>  <(')\____(')> (<(')/  __|(~)|
    (')>   (     .\(  )  `(  )//  (   )'`(__)    (__) / _|(")|
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      <////< /' 22 '\ `(  )\\`(  )   (  )/ `(__) \\  (-) )   /
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          ||_|(~)|_ \<(')-\\(  )  `(  ) (')>__)' `(_##    555
          \__|(")|_\ \(__)-\\//<(')   `(__)        ##')>  o
       /     | V | \\     \_\\  (__)'  |//##      `(__)    o
London is    |(~)|=(-)--o   0_\ //     // ##   777          o
burning!     |(")|=---o/|     \\/|    |/  ||  /0>77      (nice ass)
             |_V_|    | /      \\| O   |  (-) )__77
            (_(__)____|//       \\     |\  ||_|(~)7__
             (###)____//         \ "   |\\ \__((")|_ \
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        ,6\    H    //,          |   - |\_\\  |(~)| ||
       6   \   H   //__6         .     |\\_\\ |(")| (-)
      6     \  H  //    6'       |     | \\_\\| V ),' ',
     '       \ H //      6       |     |  \\_\\(~)|;---;
     ---------(o)---------       |  |  .   \\_\\")||RED|
     6        /| \       6       '     |    \\_\\ ||___|
     '    ___/ |  \      '       |     |     \\_\\|
      6     /  |   \    6        |     |      \\(\\
       6   /   |    \  6        |       |      \\_\\
   _/===6 /    |     \6        /     o  \       \\_\\
  //\    '6    |    6'         /  -     . \      \\_\\
  \_/       '6.|.6'          / /  | |  \    \     \\_\\

'I couldn't help it,' said Five, in a sulky tone; 'Seven jogged my 

On which Seven looked up and said, 'Irrelevant, I would suggest crewman, 
that if you had not been attempting to, "cop a feel", this would not 
have occured'

'You'd better not talk!' said Five. 'I heard the Witch say only 
yesterday you deserved to be mastectomized!'

'It's hard to learn the number seven.' said the one who had spoken 

'That is irrelevant, Two-Face!' said Seven. 

'I am not a number, I have no eyes, I have no soul!' said Two-Face. 

'Yes, it is relevant!' said Five, 'and I'll tell him--it was for 
bringing the Witch strawberries instead of fluffy-artichokes.' 

Seven flung down her brush, and had just begun 'Well, I thought she said 
Muskmelons...' when her Borg eye chanced to fall upon Blackhawk, as he 
stood watching them, and he checked himself suddenly: the others looked 
round also, and all of them bowed low.

'Would you tell me,' said Blackhawk, a little timidly, 'why you are 
painting those peeps?'

'Is this where we sing "Painting the peeps red"? said five anxiously. 

'No,' said Two-face, 'that's only in "The Girl who was Disney," episode, 
what would you care if you lost the other?' 

Five and Seven said nothing, but looked at Two-face. Two-face, climbing 
off the bicycle, began to answer Blackhawk in a low voice, 'Because 
these peep-trees are reprehensible and white--'. 

At which point Five pushed him aside and continued,'Why the fact is, you 
see, Sir, this here ought to have been a red peep-tree, and we put a 
white one in by mistake; and if the Witch was to find it out, we should 
all have our balls cut off, you know. So you see, Sir, we're doing our 
best, afore she comes, to--' At this moment Two-Face, who had been 
anxiously looking across Servo, called out 'The Witch! The Witch!' and 
the three performance artists instantly threw themselves flat upon their 
ASCII. There was a sound of many footsteps, and Blackhawk looked round, 
eager to see the Witch.

First came ten arna posters carrying clubs; these folks were all shaped 
like the three performance artists, oblong and thick, wrapped in 
cellophane, with their hands and feet at the corners: next the ten 
Neutopians; these were ornamented all over like diamonds, and walked two 
and two, as the arna posters did. After these came the royal Thugesses; 
there were ten of them, and the little dears came jumping merrily along 
hand in hand, in couples: they were all ornamented with Lilacs. Next 
came the guests, mostly Mages and Witches, and among them Blackhawk 
recognized the Yellow Peep: it was talking in a hurried nervous manner, 
smiling at everything that was said, and went by without noticing him. 
Then followed the Tropea of Peeps, carrying the MageJaime's crown on a 
crimson velvet cushion; and, last of all this grand procession, came the 
MageJaime and Witch of Peeps.

Blackhawk was rather doubtful whether he ought not to lie down on his 
ASCII like the three performance artists, but he could not remember ever 
having heard of such a rule at processions; 'and besides, what would be 
the use of writing in this procession,' thought he, 'if people had to 
all lie down upon their ASCII, so that they couldn't read it?' So he 
stood still where he was, and waited.

When the procession came opposite to Blackhawk, they all stopped and 
looked at him, and the Witch said severely 'Who is this?' She said it to 
the Tropea of Peeps, who only bowed and smiled in reply. 

'Idiot!' said the Witch, tossing her head impatiently; and, turning to 
Blackhawk, she went on, 'What's your name, dear?' 

'My name is Blackhawk, so please your Majesty,' said Blackhawk very 
politely; but he added, to himself, 'Why, they're packages of peeps, 
after all. I needn't be afraid of them!'

'And who are these?' said the Witch, pointing to the three performance 
artists who were lying round the peeptree; for, you see, as they were 
lying on their ASCII, and the pattern on their header was the same as 
the .sig, she could not tell whether they were performance artists, or 
arna posters, or Neutopians, or three of her own Thugesses. 

'How should I know?' said Blackhawk, surprised at his own courage. 'It's 
no business of mine.'

The Tropea of Peeps said "You know, in Magic (card game) Clerics tend to 
be better than Druids."

Blackhawk was confused, "That has nothing to do with anything happening 
in this story?"

"I knew that," continued the Tropea of Peeps "but i thought i would add 
my 2 cents in."

"LIAR!" shouted the Reverend Sean, who had inserted himself into 
Blackhawk's story to flame Dan.

The Witch turned crimson with fury, and, after glaring at them for a 
moment like a wild beast, screamed 'Off with their balls! Off--' 

[Image] "OFF WITH THEIR BALLS!"          Nonsense!                   
                        /                  /   __   __             
   ,,,,                /              _______.'  '.'  ',        I gotta
  ,%%%%&,        _\|/_/  "Porkwoman"  \_____/| @  | @  |        use the
 &%%%' '$        \"O"/     INDEED!    3`~~~`3'.__.'.__.(((()))  throne!
%%%(( ^(        (//`\\)         /    ( (^ ^) )    ^   ((((())))  /
%%|  __/     __(((e e)))__  %%%%%     \  ^  /     o _(()/___\())_ 
%(( (__     / (((( O )))) \%%%%%%%  ___\ 0 /___    / _((\` `/))_ \ 
/ /\_\ \    \ (((()=()))) /%.\ /.% /---\(((/---\   \ \())(o)(()/ / Shine
 /_*_*) \    '(((("W"))))' %  c  % |  / \(/ \   \   ' \(((()))/ '\ on you
/____//\ \_ / ((( \ /)))' \ \ ^ [_]| |\ _/ Q |\  \ / ' \)).))/ '  \ crazy
??/oo\\ \_ / _ ((- | -))_  \/---|K|| | |o o  | \  / _ \ - | - /_   ) dia-
??  > '   (   ((.;''';.).'  )\_/|L|| | |o o  |  -(   ( .;''';. .' / mond!
|() v/ <(')\"__ / (oo)\ __"/( ' |U|| | |o o  |    \"__ / (oo)\ _"/ _____;
|(\\-,*\(  )\/  \,'|| /  \/\|(~)|B||_|_______|     \/  \,'|| / \/ /_o\o_\
| V\\|_/\/\/|.'  '...' ' )  |(")|=)((/__(_)__\      .'  '...'  )  \\\N///
|(~)\_(______)/ /  |  \ \   | V |=) /|       |\      / /  |  \ \  /\\U//\
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| V ||_*_*\ /   .     .   \ |(")|R|  |   |   |     /   .     .   \  / \
|(~)|| \   /   /   |   \   \| V |N|  |   |   |    /   /   |   \   \
|(")||\ \.'   /    b    '.  '.  |A|  |   |   |   '   /    b    '.  '. 
| V ||.-'    /     Bb     '-. '-._|  |   |   |BH/   /     Bb     '-  ',
|_.-'       |      BBb       '-.  '-.|   |   |.' __       BBb      '-. '
(___________\____.dBBBb.________)____|   |   |___________dBBBb________)_)

'Nonsense!' said Blackhawk, very loudly and decidedly, and the Witch was 

The MageJaime laid his hand upon her strawberries, and timidly said 
'Consider, my dear: he is the author!'

The Witch turned angrily away from him, and said to the Tropea 'Turn 
them over!', indicating the performance artists. 

The Tropea did so, very carefully, with one foot. He left the other in 
his mouth.

The Reverend then turned into a 40 year old woman named Kathy, who then 
got Paleolithic on the Tropea's ASCII. The two of them, then merged and 
became one being, who skipped off to Maine in hopes of finding a lobster 
in time for Chapter 10.

'Get up!' said the Witch, in a shrill, loud voice, and the three 
performance artists instantly jumped up, and began bowing to the 
MageJaime, the Witch, the royal ferrets, and everybody else. 

'Fickle!' screamed the Witch. 'You make me giddy.' And then, turning to 
the peep-tree, she went on, 'What have you been doing here?' 

'May it please your Majesty,' said Two-face, in a very humble tone, 
going down on one knee as he spoke, 'we were embraced in the arms of 
thinking-man's crumpet--' the other two began to sob. 

'I see!' said the Witch, who had meanwhile been examining the bicycle. 
'Off with their balls and bring me her breasts!' and the procession 
moved on, three of the arna posters remaining behind to execute the 
unfortunate performance artists, who ran to Blackhawk for protection. 

'Nay, thou shan't be spay or neutered!' said Blackhawk, and he put them 
into a large serving dish that laid near aussie steve. The three arna 
posters wandered about for a minute or two, looking for them, and then 
quietly marched off after the others.

'Are their balls off?' shouted the Witch. 

'Their balls are gone, if it please your Majesty!' Toci shouted in 

'It does!' shouted the Witch. 'Can you play croquet?' 

The arna posters were silent, and looked at Blackhawk, as the question 
was evidently meant for him.

'Yes!' shouted Blackhawk.

'Come on, then!' roared the Witch, and Blackhawk joined the procession, 
wondering very much what would happen next. 

'It's--it's a very fine day!' said a timid voice at his side. He was 
walking by the Yellow Peep, who was peeping anxiously into his face. 

'Very,' said Blackhawk: '--but we're halfway through the chapter, 
where's the Wench?'

'Hush! Hush!' said the Peep in a low, hurried tone. He looked anxiously 
over his shoulder as he spoke, and then raised himself upon tiptoe, put 
his mouth close to Blackhawk's ear, and whispered 'She's under sentence 
of execution.'

'What for?' said Blackhawk.

'Did you say "What a pity!"?' the Peep asked. 

'No, I didn't,' said Blackhawk: 'I don't think it's at all a pity. I 
said "What for?"'

'She telenetted into the Witch's account and then the MageJaime farted 
as--' the Peep began. Blackhawk gave a little snicker of laughter. 'Oh, 
hush!' the Peep whispered in a frightened tone. 'The Witch will hear 
you! You see, she came rather late, after they rode off on her mother, 
and the Witch said--'

'Get to your places!' shouted the Witch in a voice of thunder, and 
people began running about in all directions, tumbling up against each 
other; however, they got settled down in a minute or two, and the game 
began. Blackhawk thought he had never seen such a curious croquet-ground 
in his life; it was all self-help and recovery froups; the balls were 
live Ferrets, the mallets were large live uhm..."pepperoni", and the 
arna posters had to double themselves up and to stand on their hands and 
feet, to make the arches.

The chief difficulty Blackhawk found at first was in managing his 
"pepperoni": he succeeded in getting its body tucked away, comfortably 
enough, under his arm, with its balls hanging down, but generally, just 
as he had got its 'neck' nicely straightened out, and was going to give 
the ferret a blow with its head, it would twist itself round and look up 
in his face, with such a puzzled expression that he could not help 
bursting out laughing: and when he had got its head down, and was going 
to begin again, it was very provoking to find that the ferret had 
unrolled itself, and was in the act of spreading eagle: besides all 
this, there was generally a ridge or furrow in the way wherever he 
wanted to send the ferret to, and, as the doubled-up arna posters were 
always getting up and walking off to other parts of the froup, Blackhawk 
soon came to the conclusion that it was a very difficult game indeed. 

[Image] Blackhawk trying to play croquet with his "pepperoni" and ferret

 _____              ,,
 \___/_            ('')          
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  ||| |//                              o 
  ||| |'                 ,____          (\=-, 
  ||| |                  \ "=.`'-.______/ /^ 
  ||| |                   `-._.-"(=====' / 
  |||_|_                          \<'--\( 
  /_ ___) BH               jgs     ^^   ^^ 
The players all played at once without waiting for turns, quarrelling 
all the while, and fighting for the Ferrets; and in a very short time 
the Witch was in a furious passion, and went stamping about, and 
shouting 'Off with his balls!' or 'Off with her breasts!' about once in 
a minute. 

Blackhawk began to feel very uneasy: to be sure, he had not as yet had 
any dispute with the Witch, but having scanned ahead a number of 
chapters, he knew that it would happen soon, 'and then,' thought he, 
'what would become of me? They're dreadfully fond of castrating people 
here; the great wonder is, that there's any one left procreating!' 

He was looking about for some way of escape, and wondering whether he 
could get away without being seen, when he noticed a curious appearance 
in the air: it puzzled him very much at first, but, after watching it a 
minute or two, he made it out to be a grin, and he said to himself 'It's 
the Infinity Cat: now I shall have somebody to talk to.' 

'How are you getting on?' said the Infinity Cat, as soon as there was 
mouth enough for it to speak with. 'You know in London once, they used 
ferrets to get rid of mice instead of cats?' 

Blackhawk waited till the eyes appeared, and then nodded. 'It's no use 
speaking to it,' he thought, 'till its ears have come, or at least one 
of them.' In another minute the whole head appeared, and then Blackhawk 
put down his "pepperoni", and began an account of the game, feeling very 
glad he had someone to listen to him. The Infinity Cat seemed to think 
that there was enough of it now in sight, and no more of it appeared. 

'I don't think the arna's play at all fairly,' Blackhawk began, in 
rather a complaining tone, 'and they all quarrel so dreadfully one can't 
hear oneself speak--and they don't seem to have any rules in particular; 
at least, if there are, nobody attends to them--and you've no idea how 
confusing it is all the things being alive; for instance, there's the 
arch I've got to go through next walking about at the other end of the 
froup--and I should have croqueted the Witch's ferret just now, only it 
ran away when it saw mine coming!'

'How kinky do think the Witch is?' said Infinity in a low voice. 

'Having given the matter a great deal of thought,' said Blackhawk: 'I 
would say she's so extremely--' Just then he noticed that the Witch was 
close behind him, listening: so he went on, '--likely to win, that it's 
hardly worth while finishing the game.'

The Witch smiled and passed on.

'Who are you talking to?' said the MageJaime, going up to Blackhawk, and 
looking at the Cat's head with great curiosity. 

'It's a friend of mine--an Infinity Cat,' said Blackhawk: 'allow me to 
introduce it.'

'I don't like the look of it at all,' said the MageJaime: 'however, it 
may kiss my rim if it likes.'

'I'd rather not,' Infinity remarked.

'Don't be impertinent,' said the MageJaime, 'and don't look at me like 
that!' He got behind Blackhawk as he spoke. 

'The ever expanding rim of the universe is the current limit of all our 
joint consciousness,' said Blackhawk. 'I read that on Usenet 

'Well, this Infinity Cat must be removed,' said the MageJaime very 
decidedly, and he called the Witch, who was passing at the moment, 'My 
dear! I wish you would have this cat removed!' 

The Witch had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. 
'Off with his balls!' she said, without even looking round. 

'I'll fetch the Eddorian myself,' said the MageJaime eagerly, and he 
hurried off.

Blackhawk thought he might as well go back, and see how the game was 
going on, as he heard the Witch's voice in the distance, screaming with 
passion. He had already heard her sentence three of the Neutopians to be 
executed for having missed their turns, and he did not like the look of 
things at all, as the game was in such confusion that he never knew 
whether it was his turn or not. So he went in search of his ferret. 

The ferret was engaged in a fight with another ferret. One continued to 
proclaim "I AM WEASEL!" while the other continued explaining that they 
were ferrets which seemed to Blackhawk an excellent opportunity for 
croqueting one of them with the other: the only difficulty was, that his 
"pepperoni" was gone across to the other side of the froup, where 
Blackhawk could see it trying in a helpless sort of way to fly up into a 

By the time he had caught hold of the "pepperoni" and brought it back, 
the fight was over, and both the Ferrets were out of sight: 'but it 
doesn't matter much,' thought Blackhawk, 'as all the arches are gone 
from this side of the froup and it's time for the last plot complication 
of this chapter.' So he tucked it away in his pants, that it might not 
escape again, and went back for a little more conversation with his 

When he got back to the Infinity Cat, he was surprised to find quite a 
large crowd collected round it: there was a dispute going on between the 
Eddorian, the MageJaime, and the Witch, who were all talking at once, 
while all the rest were quite silent, and looked very uncomfortable. 

[Image] Eddorian argues with MageJaime about cutting off Infinity Cat's 

                     | \   / | I pick the middle one!
                     / //%\\ \ /  
                   `. (o) (o) .'
anything that     ---::__o__::--- 
has a head        .' \'|||||'/`.
has balls              \|||/       You can't cut off a testicle unless
          \ ((())                  there is a body to cut it off from!
           (((( _\    _\|/_               /
          ((((  -/    \"O"/        _.-'-'--._
          ((((   \   (//`\\)     ,', ~'` ( .'`.
          ((((   (  (((` `)))   ( ~'_ , .'(  >-)
          (((((__) (((( O )))  ( .-' (  `__.-<  ) hjw
          ((((((\  (((()=())))  ( `-..--'_   .-')
          [_____ \'(((("X"))))'  `(_( (-' `-'.-)
          | __  \ \((( \ /)))' \     `-.__.-'=/
          |      ||(((- | -))_  \       `._`='
          ||  |  ||((.;''';.).'  )         \\    
          ||  |  || _ /    )\ _"/   \         
        BH||  |  ||/ (   '   )\/ OFF WITH ALL THEIR BALLS!

The moment Blackhawk appeared, he was appealed to by all three to settle 
the question, and they repeated their arguments to him, though, as they 
all spoke at once, he found it very hard indeed to make out exactly what 
they said.

The Eddorian's argument (being disembodied himself) was, that you 
couldn't cut off a testicle unless there was a body to cut it off from: 
that he had never had to do such a thing before, and he wasn't going to 
begin now, so close to feeding time.

The MageJaime's argument was, that anything that had a head had balls 
(and quite possibly a rim), and that you weren't to talk nonsense. 

The Witch's argument was, that if something wasn't done about it in less 
than no time her pom-poms would have everybody executed, all round. (It 
was this last remark that had made the whole party look so grave and 

Infinity's argument was, that he'd lost them years ago and you couldn't 
take them twice.

Blackhawk could think of nothing else to say but 'They belong to the 
Wench: you'd better ask her about it.'

'She's in prison,' the Witch said to the Eddorian: 'fetch her here.' And 
the Eddorian went off like an arrow. A Neutopian then left to bring the 

The Cat's head began fading away the moment the Neutopian was gone, and, 
by the time he had come back with the Wench, it had entirely 
disappeared; so the MageJaime and the Neutopian carrying the Eddorian 
ran wildly up and down looking for it, while the rest of the party went 
back to the game. 

Next chapter: The Mock Cronan's Story


Author's Notes for this chapter

Original version of this chapter

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