Copernicus is a colony on Mung.
Mung is a shitty planet. That’s why they called it Mung.
They were trying to think of something nice and Latin sounding like Mungolytude or something but they had named, like, forty planets that morning and couldn’t be bothered with the shitty ones.
The colony runs quite well. There’s an order and structure to it.
Inside the colony, you have the admin that starts with the chancellor, Bert Ronald Bearhump, then a load of administrators to assist him.
Nobody knows how many, there are loads of them. They all look like cheese in suits. You couldn’t count them all.
The lead administrator is Junior Bearhump. That’s Bert’s lad, not that that had anything to do with his appointment. He was the best cheese for the job as voted for by Bert and the council of two (that’s Bert’s wife and sister).
The admin runs everything. Every business, every department, and some things that don’t even exist.
Under them are the middle admin. There’s even more of them, but they don’t all do the same job. They spend most of their time arguing amongst themselves over who has the better job. This is usually settled by how big their TV is and how much their car cost. Then we have lower admin domestic.
They do the jobs middle admin doesn’t like the sound of. There’s even more of them because there are a lot of shitty jobs on Mung. If they work hard and apply themselves, they can have a TV, just not a big one, and a car, but one of the smelly ones with scratches.
Under lower admin domestic we have domestic admin provisional.
These are the indigenous people of Mung that Copernicus has offered a bright future to. They do the jobs the lower admin domestic can’t do because it’s bloody dangerous, but with the added responsibility of anything going wrong being their fault, at which point they and their family are ejected from the colony and must go and live in the recycling facilities (the rest of the planet).
Domestic admin provisional can’t have a TV or a car but they can borrow someone else’s if they bring it back. If they don’t, it’s off to the recycling facility with them.
Then there’s the Raheem outside the colony. The indigenous people call themselves the Raheem.
It doesn’t mean anything; it just sounds nice.
They do OK. They don’t have to do anything at all, apart from look through the recycling facilities for free stuff that the residents of Copernicus generously throw out into the facilities to be used again or consumed.
On the wall surrounding Copernicus…
Did I mention there’s a wall? Well, there is. It’s a very big one, too. A splendid wall. It’s the envy of every colony that’s into walls, and most of them love a good wall.
Anyway, on the wall, two lower admin domestics, Jim and Harvey. Two middle- aged, bearded, pot-bellied fellas, both donning a middle -aged halo (the little bald things that grow with age. They start as little dots of bald, but the further you get into the wrong side of forty, the bigger they get).
These two are willing their shift to end and are very busy doing their jobs as wall operatives.
Nobody knows what a wall operative does, but it’s a very big splendid wall. Someone should be on it for whatever wall-related scenarios may present themselves. There’s not been any yet, so they just stand on it and look outwards usually, in case anything should present itself like maybe a dragon or something (there are no dragons).
So, Jim and Harvey were stood on the wall looking outwards for nothing in particular drinking coffee when they hear a “Hello?”
They look down and a small group of Raheem is at the foot of the wall looking up inquisitively.
In front of them, like some stinky little spokesman stood, well, the stinky little spokesman.
A bald thing with maybe 3 teeth. He had unnaturally large eyes like he had been living in a cave.
He probably had to be fair.
An emaciated little thing that looked like a banana on a stick.
Harvey looks down and shouts, “What?”
The spokesman for the band of Raheem doesn’t have a name. He can’t afford one. They just grunt a sort of buzzing sound at him if they want his attention, so we will call him whistle (you can have a buzzing whistle).
Well, he adjusts himself and shouts clearly, “Yes, hello. I and my friends were just going through
the shit and…”
Jim takes umbrage to this and bellows, “That’s not shit! It’s free stuff, you entitled prick! Did you pay for it? No, you lazy bastard. I did, and paid tax on it so your bone-idle arse can have it for nothing!”
Whistle backtracks, “Sorry, yes, we were going through the free stuff and got talking. Anyway, we were wondering, can we come in?”
Jim and Harvey look at each other confused,
Harvey gasps, “Can you fuck come in. There’s no door for a start. What do you want to come in for? There’s no free shit in here, pal. You’ve got to work for a living in here. No free-loading. You’ve got it easy out there!”
Whistle looks nervously at his feet, then looks up.
“Yes, it’s lovely and all out here but it smells a bit, and the shit sticks to your feet. We were wondering if we could come in there for a bit.”
Jim takes a deep breath, “Well, the fucking nerve! Not content with getting everything for nothing, you want to come over here and take all the stuff that we pay for?”
Whistle waves his hand, “No, no kind sirs. We don’t want anything for nothing. We just want to get the shit off our feet. We have shitty feet, you see.”
Jim throws his cup of coffee at the whistle fellow, which bounces off whistle’s head with an echoing bonk.
“Fuck off, shitty feet!”
Whistle, clasping his head, “Off I fuck, kind sirs.”
The band of Raheem wades slowly back towards the waves of ungodly nastiness from which they came.
A new wall operative started that night. Dave.
Now, Dave is also a middle-aged man with a pot-belly wishing his shift away, but the big difference is that Dave doesn’t have a beard.
Dave has lived on Copernicus most of his life but was born in a town called Rams-Bum.
See, it wasn’t always just the colony. Mung was a thriving planet of colonies, towns, and cities, but they kinda broke it. The seas got polluted and everything in them died. That killed off a lot of the birds, the stuff that ate the birds died out, and the stuff that ate the other stuff died, and then, well… Everything died, is the point.
Then the plants that needed the dead stuff died. There was a whole lot of dying going on, and stuff got smaller. People moved away that could afford to. Everyone else just shored up inside Copernicus, reliant on trade with other colonies off-world for food, water and Ritz biscuits.
Sadly, both Dave’s parents died on an all-inclusive holiday to Clump’s first cave resort when Dave was only eighteen. Killed by a giant bat. Apparently, everybody was! It didn’t go very well at all, that holiday.
Dave doesn’t even have a grave to visit. Nobody would retrieve the bodies, due to there being a fuck off big bat down there.
Dave saw the whole thing and shouts over to Jim and Harvey, “Was there any need for that? They only wanted to get the shit off their feet. Can we not just let them in for a wash?”
Jim’s eyebrows try to leave his face, “Are you fucking de-mentalized? You can’t let that lot in here. Bloody savages eat their elbows! I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Hordes of the fuckers, not an elbow between them. They cannot integrate with normal, not elbow eating entities.”
Dave looks confused, “They all had elbows.”
Jim retorts, “Probably why they wanted to get in here before they got their elbows nibbled. Anyway, we can’t let anyone in.”
Dave asks, “Why can’t we let anyone in?”
Harvey interjects, “Because there’s a fucking big wall with no door!”
Dave asks, “Then what are we doing?”
Jim sighs, “Guarding the fucking wall!”
Dave drops his shoulders, “What’s the point? They can’t get in anyway. There’s no door!”
Jim and Harvey look at each other, rolling their eyes.
Harvey explains, “Walls don’t guard themselves, do they?”
Dave looks exasperated now. “Yes, they do. That’s the whole point of a fucking wall. If we are going to stand here anyway, we don’t need the wall. We can just stand here and tell them to fuck off.”
Jim is getting angry now, “What, from down there? And get shitty feet? Are you cementerated?”
(Jim was so put out he invented a word),
Dave’s trying to calm the situation, “Look, I just don’t see the point of having this massive wall if we have to stand on top of it every night for no reason, guarding it. What are we guarding it against?”
Jim barks, “Shitty feet fuckers nicking the bricks!”
Dave has had enough. He shouts as loud as he can, “Hello, shitty feet people?”
A faint cry comes back, “Hello, we are the people with the feet that have the shit. We are also people that fit this description.”
Dave grabs a rope that’s attached to a bucket, there’s always one of them on a wall. Luckily, it was close by.
He tosses it down the side and shouts, “Grab the…”
Unfortunately, before he finished that, a bucket killed Whistle, and the rest of the Raheem ran for their lives.
One woman stopped in horror. She screamed up the wall, “There was no need for that. We were going! He was a good dad!”
Dave bowed his head, then looked up at Jim and Harvey, “If that had gone well, you would have got my point.”
Harvey and Jim look at each other put out at the situation. Harvey looks over the wall, “Maybe he’s not dead. You might just have stunned him.”
Whistle’s limp, lifeless body submerges fully into the shit as his posse has now all high-tailed it away from the mad bucket man.
Harvey then looks over the wall, “There’s still a chance. You need to pull him out of the shit then scoop out the shit from his airways with your fingers, then get a good, airtight lock around his stinky toothless pie hole and give it the kiss of life.”
Dave then looks over the wall at the bubbling shit, “It’s a heavy bucket though, isn’t it? Besides, I can’t get to him. There’s no door. He’s passed beyond my help, may he rest in peace.”
Harvey exclaims, “He’s drowning in shit, not resting in anything, pal. You’d best go arrest yourself.”
Dave looks bemused. “Why do I have to arrest myself?”
Harvey explains, “Budget cuts. The police have all gone. You have to arrest yourself now.”
Dave gasps. “But it was an accident! Can I not let myself off with a warning?”
Jim puts his hand on Dave’s shoulder. “Don’t be daft. It’s a full week in prison for murder. You get a full week off, and the shepherd’s pie they have on Tuesdays is fucking epic!”
Dave heads towards the stairs. “OK, but it’s not murder. It’s manslaughter at best.”
Word of this reached the citadel. I don’t know if they call it the citadel. I got carried away a bit
It is just a big place where all the stuff happens. They might just call it the town hall. I don’t know.
The middle admin made a report about the lower admin that was supposed to be read by the actual admin but it was designated to lower admin domestic to read, then sent to middle admin who sent it back to lower admin, and was reclassified towards lower admin provisional, but they don’t do office work, and the middle admin who sent it there got sacked.
He took it badly and killed a guinea pig. It was awful, but it got sent back middle admin, and the brother of the guy who killed a guinea pig didn’t want the same fate, so made sure it was prioritized to admin. R.I.P. Mr Bluffers.
So anyway, where was I?
Admin read the report and forwarded it to Junior, as per his request, should there be an outbreak of liberalism on the wall.
Junior frowned seriously at the report, turning to his assistant, Mrs Truffle, a nervous old dear who hates her job very much.
“What does it say? Anything interesting?”
Mrs Truffle was fully briefed on the situation. “An incident of liberalism on the wall, sir. An officer tried letting the Raheem in, sir.”
Junior looked horrified. “Good god! We’re all fucked, now!”
Mrs Truffle calms him down. “It’s OK, sir. He just killed one Raheem with a bucket. It was a failed attempt at niceness. He’s in custody now.”
Junior breathes a sigh of relief. “Thank fuck for that! I thought my elbows were goners for a minute then.”
Mrs Truffle interjects, “You did request anyone on the rota displaying liberal symptoms be reported to help you with your problem, sir.”
Junior stands up and sniffs the air. “Yes, I did. And that scenario has now played out, bringing us here, where we already were.”
Mrs Truffle bends down a bit and tilts her head. “Do you want me to bring him to you, sir?”
Junior walks over to the window. He looks out of it, which was a waste of time as it just faces a wall.
“Bring him to my father. We have a job for this…?”
Mrs Truffles looks at the report, “Dave, sir.”
Junior turns around and places his fingertips on his desk. “Bring forth the Dave.”
Dave is sat on his bunk in his cell next to a man just wearing a banana. You want me to tell you how he was just wearing a banana in all its gruesome detail? I thought not. Let’s carry on, shall we?
Banana chap looks vacantly at Dave, “So, what you in for?”
Dave glumly stares at the floor, “I bucketed a Raheem.”
The banana man nods his head, “Don’t blame ya. Rather him than you, eh?”
Dave swings his foot in a semi-circle, “I didn’t mean to, it was an accident. I’d never intentionally bucket anyone. I was trying to help him.”
The banana man stands up, and by god what a sight that was. I thought it was a whole banana but it’s split open now like a demonic, upside-down yellow tulip.
“About right. You try to help the bastards and they stab you in the back. If that fucker had bucketed you they would have given him a free house, a big television set, a lovely car, nice fruit to wear… The system’s fucked!”
Dave stands up, frustrated. “I just wanted to help them get the shit off their feet. Is it so wrong to do that? If I had shit on my feet, I’d like to think someone would help me de-shitty my own feet. I don’t see why we can’t extend a hand of friendship towards the encrusted.”
Banana chap puts his hands on his hips, making the banana a focal point.
“You don’t want to get involved with that lot, mate. They eat their elbows. They are too far down the evolutionary tree to come in here with us enlightened types.”
For the love of jam! The banana just dropped off!
Luckily, the door opens.
A guard asks, “Dave?”
Both Dave and banana chap say, “Yeah?”
Dave asks banana chap, “You called Dave, too?”
Banana chap says, “I might be. Nobody’s called me by my name before.”
The guard asks, “The Dave that bucketed an invading savage, and a bloody hero in my eyes?”
The banana man sits back down adjusting his fruit.
Dave chirps, “That was me, but I didn’t mean to.”
The guard grabs his shoulder. “It is your lucky day, sunshine. All charges have been dropped and you’ve been pardoned by lord chancellor himself. He wants to see you. Probably going to give you a medal for bonking a stinky foot.”
Dave is lead away towards the citadel.
Have we decided on the citadel? It just seems right, doesn’t it? It’s not my fault they never named the place. You can’t say, lead away to the big place where all the stuff happens, can you? I mean, there are other places in the colony, but not much is happening there, yet. There’s not just a wall, a prison cell and a citadel/town hall.
It’s a big place, truth be told.
It took, like, half an hour to drive from the jail to the citadel and there was loads of stuff in between. Like, there was an ice-cream van, a fork shop that just sold forks. You only need a fork, really. You can cut with the side of it and you can use it as a spoon if you are fast. We’ve been over cutlerised on earth. There’s no need for all that toolarage. You need at least one hand free while eating in case of a fire. Or seagulls.
Dave asks Frank, his escort once jailer, “Do you know why he wants to see me, Frank? I’m only one day into a seven-day sentence. I was looking forward to the shepherd’s pie.”
Frank shrugs his shoulders. “Mine is not to reason why, Dave. I would imagine he wants you to do something for him. It would be a bit pointless coming all this way if he didn’t. You want a mint imperial?”
Dave gazes out the window. “No thanks, Frank. I suppose I’ll have to go back to work tonight now, then.”
Frank asks, “Where do you work, Dave?”
Dave moans, “The wall.”
Frank gives a nod of recognition. “My brother, Jim, works on the wall. It’s shit boring by all accounts. There’s not much to it is there? Turn up every day, fucking walls still here, go home 9 hours later.”
Dave gives a big sigh. “Yeah, that’s it pretty much. We look out for dragons a lot, but they don’t exist.”
Frank interjects, “Well, we don’t know that for sure, do we? Better safe than sorry. Sneaky fuckers, dragons. The second we stop looking for them, bang! Dragon attack!”
Dave’s face screws up a bit. “If we did see one, there’s fuck all we could do about it anyway. There’s the dragon bell, but once you have rung that you have reached the end of the dragon attack defence plan. The whole point of me standing on that wall every night is so the last thing you hear before being burnt alive is me ringing a bell for no discernible reason.”
Frank sucks on his mint imperial. “Maybe bells repel dragon attacks, Dave.”
Dave sinks into his seat. “I doubt it. Dragons are mythical creatures, Frank. They don’t exist.”
The car suddenly shudders, violently. Both Dave and Frank look out of the back window to see the body of an old man rain down with a sickening thud.
Frank turns to the driver. “You just hit someone!”
A bug-eyed thing revolves its head to look at Frank. The left eye was looking east, the right eye was looking west, the rest of the face was not much better. His lips kept puckering like he was kissing out of hope that maybe one day there will be something there to receive the kiss.
This goofy looking sod splutters, “It’s OK. I meant to hit him.”
Dave tries to see the condition of the old-timer. “What you do that for?”
The driver giggles. “Because it’s funny.”
The old guy clambers to his feet and shouts at the car, “You’re a twat!” Then carries on walking.
On Copernicus, it’s cars that have the right of way, not pedestrians. This is because of law firms who made lots of money suing people all the time. People just got fed up of all the suing so they changed all of the laws. So, if you are in an accident of any kind, it’s always your stupid fault.
Frank is a bit irritated. “Well, can you not?”
The driver lifts his chin “Can I not what, sir?”
Frank tuts. “Can you not run over old people? Maybe in your dimension, it’s a fun pastime, but in ours, it’s a bit rude.”
The driver does a little shuffle in his chair. “There are no other dimensions, sir.”
Frank scoffs. “Well, I doubt you can grasp quantum physics my friend, but there is. Everything that can happen, does happen. In an alternate dimension, your dumb arse missed that guy.”
The driver raises one eyebrow. “If that is true then everyone in this dimension is making the same choices, or history would not make any sense, sir. That would mean everyone in every other dimension is also making the same choices for their history to make sense. Paradoxically, nothing is random and free will is but an illusion. All of our choices are predetermined to coincide with each other by some higher force in a pre-written plan.”
Frank is getting angry now. “So you’re bringing god into it now, are you? Magic spaghetti monsters in the sky? Don’t waste your time trying to convert me, pastor. I’m a man of science!”
The driver argues, “It was not me, sir. You said everything that can happen, does happen in alternate dimensions. The only thing that can facilitate that, sir, is nothing being random and all of existence is a predetermined layout with everyone doing exactly as they are supposed to. Therefore, it’s not my fault I hit the old man. I’m only doing what God wants me to do.”
Frank turns to Dave. “See? Religious nutter! The colony’s swarming with them. Noodle headed wankers!”
The driver mumbles, “Not me, sir. I’m agnostic. I’m only saying, for things to be so random that everything happens, nothing can be random at all or it would be impossible to interact with other people who all share the same history unless the only person who exists at all is me.”
The driver then pauses. He stops the car and looks over his shoulder suspiciously at Dave and Frank. He then slowly extends his finger giving both of them a good poke.
Dave mumbles, “Well, I know I’m real.”
Dave then looks suspiciously at Frank and the driver.
Frank then gets wide-eyed. “If anyone is real here, it’s me!”
the driver then calmly exclaims, “OK, well the best way forward is to just continue on the assumption other people exist until such a time I see any glitching!”
He then gives the one eye shit eye to them both, the driver has one eye bigger than the other so the one eye shit eye is more effective.
Frank tilts his head to the side. “Very well.”
He then looks away from Dave, then looks back very quickly to see if he could catch him out.
Dave squirms in his seat. “I was sure you were both real, anyway.”
He then looks away from Frank but slaps his hand on Frank’s face trying to catch him out.
The driver then starts the car again.
“Right, on we go then.”
He starts the car, then slams on the breaks turning around very fast in his seat. “Random motherfuckers!”
The pair jolt in their seats. Frank then puts his hands out in a calming fashion,
“Look just forget it. I’m sure there’s more to the science and it all makes sense when you know all the ins and outs. Science is not an exact science, you know?”
The driver locked once more in the one-eyed shit eye. “I’m sure you’re right, sir. In this dimension, anyway.”
They continue towards the citadel (screw it, I’m calling it the citadel) in uncomfortable, suspicious silence.
The only thing that interrupted the silence was when they hit a guy walking a dog.
Eventually, they arrived and Frank gets out under the watchful eye of the driver,
Dave followed him but then dissipated from view.
The driver and frank both gasp.
Dave then renters their line of vision. “I just tripped over!”
Frank and Dave then enter the front door.
The driver just sits in the car contemplating his existence.
A woman walks past the car and the driver screams at her, “You think I don’t know, but I fucking know! I know, alright! Look at you, standing there, pretending to exist.”
With that, the woman fled in confused terror.