Gazing around the table at those present was most informative. To Tsuchinoko, they were like a weird, jumbled-up family, or perhaps an unimpressive circus troupe. He smiled as he idly wondered what their performing roles would be. Commandant Nora…she’d be the the ‘Bearded Lady’, for sure. Granted, she had no facial hair, but nobody would dare question the tempestuous woman’s identity, and in any case her countenance was fearsome enough to overcome such an unimportant impediment. Compa Beppe…he’d be the ‘World’s Tallest Midget’. The sullen Sardinian somehow remaining studiously unimposing and diminutive despite his 6’5 frame. Dame Jason…the ‘Man With Three Breasts’. Was there anyone else in the revolutionary movement whose steps caused the ground to shake so vigorously?
Tsuchinoko was shaken from his amused reverie by a question. Stall for time – quick, look thoughtful. He removed his spectacles and began to polish them, clearing his throat and concocting a response so long-winded that nobody would be able to remember the initial enquiry. If he could be sufficiently vague and litter his discourse with enough words like ‘dialectical’, ‘interconnectivity’, ‘negation’ and ‘hermeneutics’, his supposed comrades would probably fail to spot his lack of attentiveness. After a second or two he realised that it was Marshal Cosh who had posed the question. The ‘Ringmaster’, no question. This was a typical curveball from the unpredictable but assured militant; Cosh loved to keep everyone on their toes.
While he burbled on, his eyes met the bemused gaze of Mama Didero. She knows, the bitch. Head cocked to one side, the mater familias seemed to challenge Tsuchinoko; ‘Keep digging that hole, son’. It was all he could do to retain his composure – he had long resented her manipulative ways and faux omniscience. She’d be the ‘Gypsy Fortune Teller’. Taking care not to trail off, but rather to end on a suitably pseudo-profound note – “Neither Habermas nor Foucault could have foreseen the volatile agency that the state itself has brought to bear in the hour of its most critical phase” – he took a deep swig from his hipflask. Bullfrog Petraeus noticed and made tutting noises, shaking his head mockingly. Screw you, Petr…Your perfectly hideous ogre would be a tailor-made ‘Elephant Man’.
Admirable in a way, this motley assortment of rogues, battleaxes, vandals and warriors. They had managed to unite in a manner that had heretofore eluded the vast majority of their predecessors, and could quite conceivably have succeeded in their goals were it not for Tsuchinoko’s deception. The dunderheaded security apparatus of such amateur groupings remained the great Achilles’ Heel of so many grand plans. Of mice and men, etc. These fools were set for one almighty failure – the big drop from the Big Top – and it was one of their most trusted comrades who would be responsible.
Solidarity, brothers & sisters…☢