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Richard Harris vs the Weasel from Hell!
#1
WEASELMsg # 1 of 125                   Date: Sat  6/07/1991,  6:02 pm

From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 70 times

     To: All
Subject: Richard Harris vs the Weasel from Hell


Beginning here...the epic saga of a man whose trombone was too big for him,
and the leopard who ... no, that's not the saga ...

Beginning here, the dramatic story of an Armenian guava-peeler and his
search for the True Meaning of Life!

No, hold it, that's still not right. Uh -

Beginning here --- THINGEY!

Yes, Gentle Reader, "THINGEY" - or, the Expostulatory Saga of RICHARD
HARRIS and the WEASEL FROM HELL!  Originally appearing on ... well, another
bulletin board who we modestly won't mention here ... published monthly in
the magazine "Generals, Dragons and Dice" ... and now HERE as well ... your
socks will never again be the same colour after you read

       RICHARD HARRIS and the WEASEL FROM HELL!





NOTE: No responsibility is accepted by the author for any injury, insanity
(temporary or otherwise) or peanut-butter stains incurred whilst reading
this saga. You Have Been Warned.


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WEASELMsg # 2 of 125                   Date: Sat  6/07/1991,  6:08 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 45 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 1

EPISODE 1:  AN INAUSPICIOUS BEGINNING. PROBABLY.

   Dr Harris was a middle-aged man with greying hair and a face lined with
care. His teeth were strong and his fingernails well-trimmed; his shoes
were black and expensive, as always: sometimes he was a little suspicious
about that. They had been clean when he set out on his regular three-mile
walk through the light woods that surrounded his home, and they were still
clean now, which worried him a little. Either the local sheep had become
very hygienic, or he was finally getting to be more careful. He was
whistling the soliloquy from "Hamlet" as he strolled up the last half-mile
to his front gate - when suddenly, he stopped dead.
   The coroner's verdict was "Heart Attack," but then the coroner was only
human. (Actually the coroner had four arms, decidedly too many eyes, a
peculiarly mauvish skin complexion and hailed from somewhere over in the
Aldebaran sector of the galaxy; but nobody ever seemed to have noticed
this, which just goes to show.) He was not to know the true, dreadful
secret of Harris' fate - a secret so horribly vile, so unutterably
revolting, so profoundly repulsive that the author ran out of adjectives to
describe it; for Harris had been the first victim of that paragon of
noxiousness, that avatar of nastyness, that epitome of epiphenomena, the
Weasel from Hell! But worst was to come...oh, yes, nothing could stop the
Weasel now, nya ha ha, nothing at all, nothing except - the - End of the
Episode...

(Next: The Coroner's Investigation)

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WEASELMsg # 3 of 125                   Date: Sat  6/07/1991,  6:09 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 34 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 2

EPISODE 2:  THE FINAL ASSAULT

   Let's see...when we left off last time, Dr Harris had just escaped from
the malignant Professor Boson's Proton Disintegrator Ray by advanced
Quantum Meditation which he had learned from the venerable sage
Prolegomenon the Elder, and was about to storm the vile Weasel's citadel,
with the aid of his friends the Slug People. NOW READ ON...

   "Wait...schlurpp...Dr Harrishch..." lisped Hssth, the Slug Leader. "I
have jussst...sss...had a terrible thoughghght. What...sss...schch...what
if Professsssor Boson hasss allied himsself... sss...with the Weasel? Sss."
   "Great Scott!" cried Dr Harris, flexing his muscles aerobically. "You're
right, Hssth. That would be a terrible calamity for all the repressed
peoples of the planet Lebistes."
   "Not only that," commented the enigmatic Zorgg. "If the Weasel now has
the Proton Disintegrator Ray at its disposal, any attempt to capture the
citadel would be sheer suicide. Naturally, I shall go first, so that my
Hyracodon-plated armour can take the brunt of any Proton assault."
   "You are a brave creature and a true friend," exclaimed Dr Harris
enthusiastically, clapping Zorgg on the shoulder, then wincing in agony as
he pulled his hand away from Zorgg's spiny armour. "Very well. Hssth, you
and your people shall follow Zorgg into the Citadel. If Professor Boson is
there, you must use your Slime Rays, and shoot to kill! But be sure not to
kill the Weasel - before it dies we must get from it the secret of the
Basipterygium Cannon and save Earth."
   "And what shall you...sss...be doing ass we assssssssault the
cassssstle...schlurppp?" slithered Hssth.
   Dr Harris regarded the valiant slug gravely. "I cannot come with you,"
he declaimed. "For I must rescue the Princess Phlogiston from Boson's
Eructation Trap before she dies a fate worse than death!" He gestured
grandly, inadvertently flexing his rippling muscles so hard that his shirt
burst asunder, and, strapping on his rocket pack, dove out the window with
a hearty cry of "Farewell!"
   His allies turned their attention to the Weasel's Citadel...

(To Be Continued...)

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WEASELMsg # 4 of 125                   Date: Sat  6/07/1991,  6:10 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 23 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 3

EPISODE 3:  THE WEASEL FROM H.E.L.L.

   Harris glanced around quickly, and ducked into a nearby bar before the
gunmen could notice him. He ordered a large and very complicated drink - to
show the barman he was nobody to be trifled with - and sat down, sipping it
thoughtfully. The barman had used too much lemon juice, and something in
the drink had curdled. He drank it anyway, because he was a real man.
   As he looked around the bar his attention was drawn irresistibly to the
woman sitting in the far corner. Apparently she had been losing badly at
Strip Poker all afternoon; she was now reduced to removing small, non-vital
bodily organs as an alternative to the last of her clothing. Harris
wondered how many more hands she could go before she was forced to lose the
balaclava.
   As he watched to progress of the game he suddenly became aware of a
figure standing at his shoulder. He reached surreptitiously for his gun,
but the figure caught his hand before he had undone even half of his
buttons. "Take it easy," the figure told him. "I'm your contact."
   "Identification," Harris demanded crisply.
   The figure smiled humourlessly. "My name is Figure," he said, producing
his identification. Harris glanced at the Visa Gold card, made out in the
name of "T. F. Figure", and handed it back brusquely.
   "All right, you pass," he said grudgingly. "Have the boys back in Z
division come up with any leads?"
   "We think we know the Weasel's whereabouts," Figure ground out between
clenched teeth, smiling and juggling a little. "He and two other H.E.L.L.
agents were seen yesterday at the Plucked Baboon tavern, drinking heavily.
You know what that means."
   The fact that the Weasel now had the assistance of two other agents from
the Heinously Evil League of Lawbreakers was indeed ominous. "Yes," Harris
admitted sourly. "They were thirsty..."

(To Be Continued...)

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WEASELMsg # 5 of 125                   Date: Sat  6/07/1991,  6:10 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 22 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 4

EPISODE 4:  OF STRANGE AND MIGHTY DEEDS

   Lo! cried the mighty warrior, springing from his mighty destrier with
his mighty sword in hand. What have we here? I doubt me not that 'tis some
poor wretch who, e'en now, draweth his last breath and prayeth for the
mercy of the Gods.
   Nay, quoth the lissome Princess Delectia. Forsooth, canst thou not see?
By his garb, this man is surely a mighty lord from some far-off mighty
country, here on a weighty - I might even say a mighty - mission for his
mighty sovereign.
   In truth, gasped the poor wretch of whom they spoke, the fair lady of
the wondrous garbonzas doth speak naught but the very truth. Know, o mighty
warrior, that I am none other than that Richard of Harris who, under the
burden of divers strange and mighty quests, doth ever strain mightily to
vanquish that foul rogue who, but nine months previous, did with mighty
force of arms and most mightily vile treachery o'ercome and slay the most
noble, mighty and puissant Lord Angus of Spon, so that his mighty kingdom
was laid waste and his noble (and, indeed, mighty) dynasty was brought to
an ignoble end amid the wailing of women and many mighty deeds that, alas,
were all for naught - for mighty was the fall of the Lord Angus - that very
caitiff that some do call the Weasel.
   Perchance thou couldst say that again? suggested the mighty warrior. For
verily did I lose track of thee somewhere in the middle of thy sentence.
   I, repeated the wretch in a voice that shook, am none other than that
Richard of Harris who, under the burden of divers strange and mighty
quests, doth ever strain mightily to vanquish that foul rogue who, but nine
months previous, did with mighty force of arms and most mightily vile
treachery o'ercome and slay the most noble, mighty and puissant Lord Angus
of Spon, so that his mighty kingdom was laid waste and his noble (and,
indeed, mighty) dynasty was brought to an ignoble end amid the wailing of
women and many mighty deeds that, alas, were all for naught - for mighty
was the fall of the Lord Angus - that very caitiff that some do call the
Weasel.
   'Tis possible that a paraphrasing might be in order, said the Princess
Delectia demurely. For in truth is my comprehension most sadly lacking.
   I, began the wretch gamely, am...
   But lo, at last his noble spirit was silenced: for verily he drew his
last breath, and, with a mighty cry, was still. The mighty warrior stood
for a moment at his side in silent homage; then, with a mighty cry, he
sprang onto the back of his mighty steed, and, the fair Princess at his
side, rode off into the mists to seek glory and mighty deeds...

(To be continued, forsooth!)

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WEASELMsg # 6 of 125                   Date: Sat  6/07/1991,  6:11 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 20 times

     To: All
Subject: Pars V

PARS V:  QUONDAM

   dein Harris nobis de multis rebus locutus est mirisque: inimicam diram
quondam acinacem cui sint mira potentiaque fata vibrantem, sibi obviam ito,
daemonicam Mustelam iuravisse in ulciscendum aeternum propter malum quod ei
Harris fecisset; Harritem, negantem se umquam in vita vidisset Mustelam,
intercedisse; atque Mustelam in orem risisse horribiliter, fatum esse "ne
tales nugas dixisti, o vermicule abiecte; novi inimicum quem cum vidi!",
calceum consputavisse, et tandem evanesci in nube fumi noxii.
   et, nobis locutus, illa erat causa quare Mustelam peteret: ut terminaret
inimicitiam entis miri, faceretque illum conducere calceos novos.

(continuandum est...)

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WEASELMsg # 7 of 125                   Date: Sat  6/07/1991,  6:30 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 21 times  [1 Reply]

     To: All
Subject: So what's going on here?


If you've read this far and you're totally baffled...

           ...join the club!  This sucker has me totally confused
regularly, and I'm the one who's writing it!  The point to remember is,
each episode is written totally at random as the mood strikes, in whatever
style happens to amuse me. Don't expect ANY consistency between episodes.

(Needless to say, just so as not to make things too predictably
unpredictable, there may occasionally appear hints of a permanent
storyline. Or there may not...)



Of course, if you've read this far and AREN'T totally baffled...
            ...you've read it before, right?







FOOTNOTE: You may possibly have noticed that Episode 5 wasn't ... ahh,
wasn't exactly in English.  Well, suffer, dudes - I'm not posting a
translation.  Unless any readers care to attempt one?

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WEASELMsg # 8 of 125                   Date: Sat  6/07/1991, 11:47 pm
From: ALAN ISAACS                Read: 20 times  [1 Reply]

     To: ANGUS MACSPON
Subject: Re: So what's going on here?

Hail to thee Sir Scribe - thou art indeed a paragon of penmanship!

Thy humour and wit are the Alpha and Omega!
Prithee continue!

°±²Û ALAN Û²±°

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WEASELMsg # 9 of 125                   Date: Sun  7/07/1991, 10:13 am
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 18 times  [1 Reply]

     To: ALAN ISAACS
Subject: Re: So what's going on here?

'Ave no fear, m'sieur. Zere are still >60 episodes already written wot I
'aven't uploaded yet...

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WEASELMsg # 10 of 125                  Date: Sun  7/07/1991, 10:14 am
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 23 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 6

EPISODE 6:  A SINISTER INTERLUDE, HA HA!

   ...Harris dove out the window with a hearty cry of "Farewell!"
   His allies turned their attention to the Weasel's Citadel. In the screen
of the omniprojectotronic holovisiotron it looked squat and ugly, bristling
with rank after rank of megalethal hyperthanatotron Putron Ray projectors,
all activated and scanning the surrounding area for signs of intruders. The
ground for parsecs around was littered with the mangled, ripped, imploded,
exploded, quasiploded, and occasionally deep-fried corpses of intruding
ants.
   "A formidable sight," lisped Hssth, adding as an afterthought, "Sss."
   "Shall we toss for who goes first?" suggested Zorgg with an
I-bet-I'll-win-the-toss expression on what, for him, passed as a face.
   "Perhapss we sshould - sschch - contact the otherssss firsst," said
Hssth. The Slug Leader did not posssesss a face, which was unfortunate,
because after taking one look at the rest of him, everybody he met had
nightmares for the next week about what his face would look like if he did
have one.
   "Quite right," Zorgg said crisply, surreptitiously pocketing his
double-headed coin. "Allow me." He activated the transepisodic
communicatron, and moments later was staring at two other faces. "Is all
prepared at your ends?" he inquired.
   "Perfectly," said T. F. Figure. "Our Dr Harris is on his way to tackle
the Weasel right now."
   "I should be so lucky," snarled the fair Princess Delectia. "It's a
right balls-up at this end. Our Harris is dead. No sign of how or why.
Obviously the author has everything completely screwed up."
   "Nothing new there," muttered Zorgg under his breath...

(To be continued...)


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WEASELMsg # 11 of 125                  Date: Sun  7/07/1991, 10:16 am
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 17 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 7

EPISODE 7:  MEANWHILE, BACK ON THE FARM...

   As the star cruisers thundered into orbit around the beleaguered planet
Gruntia, their mighty stardrives ravening at the very fabric of the
space-time continuum and causing Einstein to spin 13.766 rpm's faster in
his grave, far below on the planet's surface, little Dicky Harris was
skipping merrily down the path to the enchanted wood to see his chum Daisy
Rumblethighs, who lived in the magic mushroom house beneath the old acorn
tree where the squirrels hung out.
   "Guess what!" he said to Daisy excitedly. "Old Mr Throttle the Wizard
has come to town!"
   "Oh! Dicky!" exclaimed Daisy, hurriedly buttoning up her dress and
shooing the orang-utan out. "How lovely to...um...see you again. Mr
Throttle, you say? Gosh!"
   "Yes, it is awfully exciting, isn't it! Mrs Poop told me that he has a
'specially good batch of tapeworms this time. She said, if I was very good
and promised not to try to burn her alive again, I might have one of my
very own!"
   "Golly," observed Daisy obscurely, straightening her stockings.
   "And Miss Frottage said he has a new pet - a weasel. Do you think the
weasel will be my friend?"
   "Possibly, possibly," mumbled Daisy, strapping on her shoulder holster.
   "Or do you think it'll be like the last one, and try to eviscerate me
with a letter-knife?"
   "I wouldn't be a bit surprised," extemporised Daisy, not really
listening, as she picked up her bazooka...

(To be continued...)

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WEASELMsg # 12 of 125                  Date: Sun  7/07/1991, 10:17 am
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 19 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 8

EPISODE 8:  A DARK AND STORMY THING

   Thunder rolled menacingly and a chill wind swirled around the house,
gusting through cracks in the rotting walls and making the electric lights
flicker. Richard Harris and the lovely Mary Kirkpatrick scarcely noticed as
they hurried through last-minute checks on the equipment. Outside, the
howling of the wolves grew steadily closer.
   "Hammer - stake - shovel - hatchet - sodium pentothal - accordion..."
Harris muttered, ticking each item off the neat little list. "I think we're
ready, Julie. Are you sure you want to go through with this?"
   The girl nodded solemnly. "I must," she insisted. "That monster killed
my father, and I'll see that it dies for it, or my name's not Barbara
Longwater!"
   "Very well," Harris sighed. "Just remember not to look it in the eye,
and you'll be all right. Oh, and Laura - if - if I don't make it through
this - give my love to my family, would you?"
   "Of course I will," Alice told him warmly. "You know that."
   "Then let's to it!" Harris picked up one of the electric torches, struck
a match, and lit it. He opened the heavy oak door and led the way through
the dank, musty-smelling corridors until they reached the huge,
iron-wrought gateway, covered with arcane and strangely upsetting runes and
symbols. Harris drew out the ancient, rust-covered gold key and unlocked it
solemnly.
   Maureen was studying the symbols once more, trying vainly to wrest
meaning from them. "'You deserve a break today,'" she read. "'It's a good
time for the great taste.' But what does it all mean?"
   "Some things are better left unknown," cautioned Harris. He flung the
door open boldly. "Now - let us confront the fiend!"
   They walked through the gate warily. Inside all was darkness, and even
the hurricane lantern did not seem to light up more than a few feet around
them. After a few furlongs they came to a stone stairway that led sharply
down. Down, down they went, their footsteps ringing sharply in the steel
treads, when suddenly Harris stopped.
   "What is it?" whispered Patricia.
   "The bottom of the stairs," muttered Harris. "But wait! Can you hear
something?"
   Emily listened intently. "No," she admitted after a moment.
   "You're sure?" prompted Harris. "Nothing like...like slow, heavy
footsteps, coming almost silently towards us out of the gloom, all but
undetectible except for the slight, telltale hesitation caused by the
monster's deformity, making it falter ever few steps as it approaches, its
claws outstretched, ready to rend and savage?"
   Beatrice thought about it. "Nooo..." she said at last. "Nothing like
that."
   Harris shook his head in wonder. "Neither can I," he muttered. "Maybe
we've come through the wrong door..."

(To be continued...)


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WEASELMsg # 13 of 125                  Date: Sun  7/07/1991, 10:18 am
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 21 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 9

EPISODE 9:  FOUL FIENDS, FORSOOTH!

   As Harris hurriedly hung his hat on the handy hook, the shattering
sounds of Sara's screams sent shivers down his spine. He flung himself
forward, following the footprints ferociously, anxiously (and avidly)
anticipating the vile vengeance he would visit on the villainous vermin
behind the brutal abduction of his beautiful bride.
   Meanwhile, manipulating his Macintosh maniacally, MacSpon muttered a
monstrous malediction and swore never to write a hyperalliterative episode
again.

(To be continued...)

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WEASELMsg # 14 of 125                  Date: Sun  7/07/1991, 10:19 am
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 23 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 10

EPISODE 10:  THE BAD, THE UGLY AND THE UGLIER

   The stranger ambled slowly up to the bar, pausing to hawk and spit once
or twice and muttering apologies to the cardplayers as they wiped
themselves off. He ordered a large whiskey and gulped it down immediately,
then motioned the bartender to refill his glass.
   "Name's Harris," he drawled. "I'm looking for somebody."
   "I think maybe we can help you," leered the bartender, wondering which
of the girls would want to take on this travel- and nicotine-stained
stranger.
   "Happen you can. Not as how you're maybe thinkin', though, lessen if
you're not a-thinkin' of what I kinda suppose you may, nohow."
   The barman looked confused.
   Harris plowed on regardless. "I'm a-lookin' for the one they call the
Weasel."
   The bartender's eyebrows rose. "The Weasel?" he said, casually running
his fingers through his hair, loosening the gun in his holster, lighting a
dirty cigarette and playing a short tune on his harmonica. "Well, now," he
concluded, somewhat lamely.
   "So mebbe you know where a body could find him?"
   "Could be, stranger. What's it worth to you to know?"
   Harris whipped out his tachyon-stream morphoplasm ray and aimed it
carefully. "Talk fast," he suggested, "or I'll fill you full of protons."
   "Well, heck," moaned the barman, thinking of the episode's PG rating and
stifling other, stronger imprecations. "There goes the neighbourhood..."

(To be continued...)
Reply
#2
WEASELMsg # 15 of 125                  Date: Sun  7/07/1991, 10:19 am

From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 20 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 11

EPISODE 11:  I LOVE IT WHEN A PLOT COMES TOGETHER!

   T. F. Figure worked feverishly at the console, plotting coordinates.
Another four Richard Harrises had been seen in as many different universes,
but they were going to have to ignore at least one of them: a mere boy,
hardly up to the rigours of intrauniversal conspiracy.
   "How's it look?" asked Princess Delectia over his shoulder, dropping her
medieval accent.
   "Bad," Figure muttered, wiping sweat from his forehead. "More Harrises
keep popping up everywhere. That MacSpon bastard must be bloody mad."
   "Have you had any luck making contact with him?"
   "What? Making contact with our author? I'm not sure that's possible.
Besides, there's another problem. That last one I scanned violated
continuity entirely."
   "What! When? How? What continuum?"
   "Take a look at the recording. Cowboys with hi-tech weapons, now."
   "Oh, no," Princess Delectia said, watching the replay. "God, this is
getting out of control!"
   "You're telling me! How're we supposed to stop that maniac Weasel when
this sort of thing could pop up at any time?"
   Delectia shrugged. "We'll just have to manage somehow. We've got worse
problems than that - what with carbon-copy Harrises thinking they're
running this show -"
   "- And an author who's liable to lose his marbles at the drop of a hat,"
Figure finished. "At least we've had a fairly quiet time for a while..."
   The door was flung open suddenly and Daisy Rumblethighs leaped through,
sub-machine gun at the ready. "All right," she shouted wildly, her eyes
rolling in a disturbing way. "Nobody move, or the petunia bites the big
one! Now, hand over the marshmallows!"
   Figure and Delectia eyed one another. It was going to be a long epic...

(To be continued...)

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WEASELMsg # 16 of 125                  Date: Sun  7/07/1991, 10:20 am
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 20 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 12

EPISODE 12:  SONGS WITHOUT WORDS (would be better than this)

   His head unbowed, brave Harris ventures on
    Through peril dire, and danger unforeseen;
   His way is clear. The Weasel may be gone,
    Yet still the trail ahead is clear:
    Past rocky height and mountain sheer,
   To strive, to seek where'er his foe has been.

      With a hey, nonny, no!
      Shake that leg! Yeah!

   And so at last he finds that which he sought:
    This mighty fortress, vast beyond compare,
   Within whose walls dark wizardries are wrought
    To wreak their master's evil will
    Upon the Earth entire - until
   Naught doth remain that any might call fair.

      Sing we, fal lal, fa la -
      Let's do the Time Warp again!

   With bated breath, he ventures then inside,
    His sword in hand, its blade prepared for death...

(To be continued...)

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WEASELMsg # 17 of 125                  Date: Sun  7/07/1991, 10:21 am
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 21 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 13

EPISODE 13:  RICHARD AL-HARRIS AND THE JINN

   It is related - but Allah sees all! - that there was once, in the city
of Baghdad, a powerful sheikh named Richard al-Harris. He was exceedingly
wealthy; his palace was built entirely out of white marble, and all the
gates were of gold and silver; and he had in his household three hundred
black slaves, three hundred white, fifty eunuchs and nearly a thousand
girls, all with faces that would have outshone a dozen moons.
   Richard al-Harris was a generous and wise man, who bathed every Friday
at the hammam, gave richly to the poor, and was highly skilled in both the
warlike arts and intelligent conversation. He had not an enemy in the
world, save one: a black-hearted, villainous rogue who was his chiefest
rival in all things. This rogue was named Nur al-Kasim, but, because of his
exceedingly ugly face and his abominable manners, he was called the Weasel.
   Now the Weasel was a most powerful magician, and one day, as he sat
eating and considering how to inconvenience his enemy Richard al-Harris, an
old woman who was passing said to him, "What is it that makes your
expression so disagreeable today?"
   "Begone, old woman!" snapped the Weasel, letting out a detestable belch.
"I am considering how to strike at my enemy, whom I hear that the Khalifah
is planning to honour tomorrow by making him wazir at his right hand. I
have no time for your nonsense."
   "Nothing could be simpler!" exclaimed the old woman. "I know of a secret
amulet that commands the instant obedience of Dahish ibn al-Aamash, a most
powerful Jinn who is bound to the amulet forever for disobeying the orders
of Sulaiman ibn Daud, whom may Allah richly bless! With this Jinn at your
command you shall surely have an easy victory over your enemy."
   "Now may black Ifrits smite you most heavily if you do not instantly
tell me where to find this amulet!" cried the Weasel, springing up
eagerly...

(To be continued...)

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WEASELMsg # 18 of 125                  Date: Sun  7/07/1991, 10:23 am
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 18 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 14

EPISODE 14:  THE STAR COMMANDOS - AT LAST!

   Harris swooped low over the scaly landscape of the planet Lebistes,
manipulating the controls of his rocket pack expertly and secretly wishing
he had taken a couple of Dexedrine tablets before leaving Zorgg and the
others. He intended to consult the Sage Prolegomenon the Elder about
possible ways of rescuing Princess Phlogiston from the villainous
Eructation Trap (you remember all this stuff from Episode 2, don't you?).
He also intended to use the Sage's bathroom, inasmuch as, being a fictional
hero, he hadn't been in weeks.
   But as he hurtled through the air towards Mount Brachiopod, site of
Prolegomenon's Meditation Retreat and Winter Funne Palace, leisurely
humming the third movement of Beethoven's Fourth Symphony and doing a
little recreational Tensor Calculus in his head, there came an awesome,
thunderous crackling noise. Strange, polychromatic lightning split the sky
(aren't these special effects fun?) and an eerie, flickering figure slowly
resolved into view before Harris. Harris courteously braked to a stop,
narrowly missing a passing roc, so he could hear the figure's majestic
words.
   "RICHARD HARRIS," the image said. "I AM A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE STAR
COMMANDOS - A GREAT, NOBLE AND EXTREMELY HEROIC ORGANISATION THAT WORKS TO
SEEK OUT AND ERADICATE ALL EVILDOERS IN THE GALAXY. WE HAVE NEED OF
HUMANOIDS LIKE YOU: BRAVE, PROUD, HONEST AND, ABOVE ALL, NONE TOO BRIGHT -
um, I mean, DEDICATED TO THE CAUSE OF TRUTH, JUSTICE AND ALL THE REST OF
THE DO-GOODING BIT. WILL YOU JOIN US?"
   "Of course," cried Harris instantly. "How could I refuse?"
   "Good. I MEAN, GOOD," thundered the image. "FLY TO THESE COORDINATES AT
ONCE AND YOU WILL BE PICKED UP BY ONE OF OUR TEAMS, WHICH, OF COURSE, YOU
ARE TO ASSUME COMMAND OVER. YOUR ORDERS WILL BE AWAITING YOU WHEN YOU
ARRIVE. GOOD LUCK!"
   With a final, explosive crackle the image dematerialised. Harris
kick-started his rocket pack and zoomed off without hesitation.

   "Do you think he bought it?" Delectia asked in a hushed tone.
   "Of course," grunted Zorgg, imperturbably removing his
Star-Commandos-Rep. "Did you really doubt it?"
   "Well, it ought to keep him out of the way," T. F. Figure announced with
a sigh of relief. "As long as there really is a ship and a team waiting for
him, of course."
   "Don't worry," said the tall, dark Jinn Dahish ibn al-Aamash
reassuringly. "I took care of that. The ship I whipped up'll take him to a
little planet a few dozen parsecs from here and strand him there. We've
gotten rid of him at last."
   "Thank God for that," smiled Delectia delectably. "Now we can get on
with the REAL work..."

(To be continued...)

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WEASELMsg # 19 of 125                  Date: Sun  7/07/1991, 10:24 am
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 18 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 15

EPISODE 15:  THE WORST UNIVERSE IN THE UNIVERSE

       Richard Harris opened the door. He was smiling at first, but
    the smile vanished quickly when he saw who was there. He slammed
    the door shut hastily
       "Oh, my God!" he shouted. "It's my wife!"
       Gales of laughter filled the room.
       The beautiful, half-naked girl grabbed for her clothes. "No time
    for that now!" stuttered Harris. "Quick! Hide!"
       "But where?" wailed the girl.
       "Anywhere! Under the bed!" There were more chuckles as the girl
    scrambled under the bed, showing a barely-legal amount of cleavage
    as she did so.
       The door was flung open and Harris' wife strode in, looking
    puzzled. "Richard?" she said. "Why did you slam the door in my
    face?" Invisible mirth filled the room as she sat on the bed.
       "Oh, was that you?" said Harris, politely waiting for the
    laughter to finish first. "I thought it was...er...the milkman!"
    The manic giggling swelled to a hysterical peak as the girl peered
    out from under the bed, straight between his wife's legs...

   "Dear God," muttered T.F. Figure, watching the screen with a horrified
expression. "Nothing could be worse than this. It's a TV Sitcom universe."
   "With a laugh track, too," muttered Hssth wetly. "Sss."
   "Well, I don't suppose there's any question about it, anyway," commented
Delectia. "Is there?"
   "I think not," Zorgg agreed. "The Weasel can have this one. And welcome
to it..."

(To be continued...)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 20 of 125                  Date: Sun  7/07/1991, 10:25 am
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 21 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 16

EPISODE 16:  CYBERCAFE

   Bolus sat down, checking the seat carefully for rectozoids first. He
tapped the ryplass-surfaced table impatiently and the menu lit up. He
scanned it into neural RAM and leaned back, considering prices. As usual,
the cheapest they had to offer was booza-cola - vintage of '53.
   There was a tap on his shoulder, and he brushed it off impatiently.
   Somebody sat down in the chair opposite him. Bolus scanned the newcomer
quickly: young, dangerous-looking, only lightly armed; nothing showed up in
infra-red or ultra-violet, but the deep-radar showed a peculiar blip in the
kid's abdomen. Suicide implant, or possibly constipation.
   "Null-chem xerophage?" the newcomer suggested politely.
   "Zendit," Bolus replied offhandedly. This looked bad.
   "Sophist mutomat!" the other accused, and Bolus relaxed fractionally.
The kid was just a waxwired leptojunkie, after all.
   A holoband was tuning up in the background. In just a few seconds they'd
start playing, and everyone in the junkjoint without an audigen controller
would have his eardrums dissolved. Bolus tapped into the table outlet and
downloaded the band sheet curiously. A good band, apparently: the Hellward
Weasels, with RiK Harris on lead nucleophone. Bolus settled back to enjoy
the gig, cautiously engaging his full-band holoscan defence unit first. The
readout showed he was clean, though he noticed with some amusement that the
kid had picked up a couple of rectozoids. He'd have to have a bowel purge
in a hurry, before the nanoinvaders got to his adrenals.
   The gig began. It was even louder than he'd expected...

(To be continued...)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 21 of 125                  Date: Mon  8/07/1991,  7:34 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 19 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 17

EPISODE 17:  AFFAIRE DE LA NUIT

   The burglar was good. He was dressed all in black. He bypassed the
electric fence in six seconds flat; got across the lawns without the dogs
scenting him; vaulted the moat of acid flawlessly; gave the computer the
correct password of the hour at the door (and even typed it left-handedly
to deactivate the 80000-volt charge); somehow managed to subdue the
specially-trained attack leopard; and stunned, disarmed, crippled or
otherwise incapacitated all 65 armed guards without hesitation.
   He only made one mistake. He forgot the hairtrigger fuse on the safe
door's thermonuclear lock. Just over 0.000003 seconds later, the whole
place was one big expanding mushroom cloud.
   Ah, well. You win some, you lose some.

(To be continued...)

--------------------------------------------------------------

WEASELMsg # 22 of 125                  Date: Mon  8/07/1991,  7:34 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 17 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 18

EPISODE 18:  FRENCH LETTER

   Dear Rachel,
   I am writing this letter to you in English because I do not know any
French. That stupid Author has buggered things up again. Ah well. C'est la
vie, en effet.
   How are things are the factory? Has Rodney managed to extract the bricks
yet? It must have been very painful. I wish I could have seen the look on
his face, though. Or the look on the doctor's face. Quelle pitie, n'est-ce
pas?
   I had a rather unusual experience the other day. I was feeding the
pigeons in the park, as usual - I've found that arsenic works rather well -
when there was a rather strange humming sound, a bright flash of light, and
a rather large person appeared out of thin air, right in front of me!
(Severely crushing three birds in the process, by the way. I thought I'd
die!) He was wearing the oddest clothing - almost a sort of armour, but of
a very odd design.
   Anyway, he said his name was Zorgg (he was very nice about it, spelled
it out and everything), and that he was very sorry, and that he was going
to have to kill me.
   Well, it was a bit of a shock, I can tell you. I mean, I'd always hoped
I'd go out in an unusual way, but somehow I'd always pictured it as a sort
of death-by-deadly-oriental-poison affair, or by plunging off a 1000-foot
cliff, or...you know. An ORDINARY unusual death. But not by gigalethotronic
laser pistol fire!
   Well, anyway, I politely asked him why, and he said because I was trying
to destroy civilisation. I assured him that I wasn't, and he said - and I
quote - "Nonsense, Weasel, we know exactly what you're up to."
   So I told him that my name wasn't Weasel, but Patrick Weisel, CPA, and
he said, "Bugger this for a lark, I'm sick to death of the misprints in
these phone books." Then he pressed a button on a sort of
wrist-communicatoring and vanished again. Odd, wouldn't you say?
   Anyway, how are the boys? Bearing up well I trust. Give them my love,
and do try to keep them away from the alligator pit. Must rush now. Kiss,
kiss.
   Love,
   Patrick.

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 23 of 125                  Date: Mon  8/07/1991,  7:35 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 17 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 19

EPISODE 19:  THE STORY SO FAR

   RICHARD HARRIS, earthman, is engaged in fighting a war against the
villainous WEASEL FROM HELL (species unknown). Unfortunately, because of a
freak cosmic accident (possibly involving a total eclipse of the moon, a
black hole, three wormholes and a budgerigar named Simon, but then again,
possibly not), the texture of the multiverse has been warped out of
control, and HARRIS' vendetta with the WEASEL has replicated itself across
the cosmos, and across several other cosmoi as well.
   Clear so far? Good.
   Now: the replications of HARRIS and the WEASEL are not always exact. In
fact they are hardly ever exact. All right, they are NEVER exact. So, for
example, in one universe HARRIS appears as a kind of a cross between Flash
Gordon and Doc Savage, while in another he is the lead nucleophone molester
in a cybercafe band. It just goes to show.
   Likewise the WEASEL changes radically from cosmos to cosmos, though
usually remaining behind the scenes.
   A small group of entities from a variety of cosmoi have gotten together
(by more or less unspecified methods) to put an end to all the nonsense.
They are not having a great deal of luck, but you never know.
   They are led by the stentorian T. F. FIGURE and the electrifying
PRINCESS DELECTIA. Other members are the enigmatic ZORGG, the pustulant
HSSTH (Slime Leader of the SLIME PEOPLE), the djinn DAHISH IBN AL-AAMASH
and the hypercolloidal BOLUS.
   The conspiracy's latest moves include diverting various incarnations of
HARRIS from the scene, and the attempted assassination of certain WEASELS.
They are not having much luck at the latter. They are not having much luck
at anything, actually, because they are perpetually hindered by a shadowy
being, whose machinations are perpetually pitched to frustrate, who knows
their every move, who delights in their torment - namely...ME! The AUTHOR!
HA HA HA!
   Now read on...

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WEASELMsg # 24 of 125                  Date: Mon  8/07/1991,  7:36 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 16 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 20

EPISODE 20:  SHOCK! HORROR! GASP!

   "Avast there! Stand by to heave to! Lower the cox'n and prepare to fire
the fo'c'sle! And get the fore-topgallants swabbed down!" bellowed Captain
Harris.
   "I beg your pardon, sir?" said Lieutenant Xylem politely, gazing around
the deck of the starship in confusion.
   "Shiver me timbers, matey! Load the jibs and fire when ready! Another
three halyards to larboard, if you please!"
   "Indeed sir," said Lt Xylem soothingly. "And what about the mizzenmast?"
He made frantic gestures to Ensign Rhizoplast to summon Dr Catamite to the
bridge. Ensign Rhizoplast looked back at him as if it were Lt Xylem who was
going mad, not the Captain.
   "Paint it purple!" ordered the Captain after a brief internal struggle.
"That'll go well with the bosun."
   "Of course, sir," reassured Lt Xylem. A wave broke over the bow of the
ship and soaked his trousers. "Dammit, Ensign," he muttered. "He's having
some kind of fit! Call Dr Catamite!"
   "Bring me a hogshead of capstans! I'm thirsty!"
   "I'm - uh, sorry, sir, your...uh, cabin boy just served up the last of
the capstans in the crew's mess last night."
   "What! I'll have him keel-hauled!"
   Lt Xylem sighed. The ship had left Aldebaran III a month ago at warp 4,
and was due in at Polaris Station in another week. It had been a long
voyage. First the galley computer had tried to cook 16000 mince pies at
once and burst. Then a meteor had struck the 5th deck wardrobes and all the
male crew were having to go without trousers. Now the Captain had gone mad.
He wasn't even surprised any more.
   A seagull flew overhead and he ducked instinctively. The sound of the
ocean was soothing this afternoon.
   "Bring her about to Mark 0074.663-upsilon," he ordered, "and go to warp
5."

(To be continued...)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 25 of 125                  Date: Mon  8/07/1991,  7:37 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 15 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 21

EPISODE 21:  THE YOUNG DOCTORS meet LEONARD BERNSTEIN

   "All right," Doctor Harris hissed through his mask. "I can see his
appendix. Just hold that thingumajig there steady, and we'll have it out on
a moment. Nurse!"
   A nurse slapped an instrument into his hand.
   He stared in horror at the trumpet. "What's this?" he demanded. "Do you
really expect me to perform a delicate surgical operation with THIS?"
   She fluttered her eyelashes at him appealingly.
   He looked at her.
   She looked back.
   "All right," he said at last. "We'll give it a go. Nurse Ximinez! You
take the saxophone. The anaesthetist can have the glockenspiel. I'll be on
tuba, of course." In a moment the operating room was swarming with activity
as they opened their instrument cases.
   "All ready?" asked Harris at last. "Right! Here goes!" He hefted the
tuba experimentally, and carefully inserted it into the incision in the
patient's side, fingering out "Give My Regards to Broadway" on the valves
as he did so.
   The patient gurgled a bit, starting to come round. The anaesthetist hit
him on the head with his glockenspiel. Several nurses played a soulful
quartet in the background.
   "That's good..." muttered Harris, manipulating his tuba expertly.
"Oh-oh. The valves are getting filled with saliva! Quick! Nurse, a
replacement!" In an instant the tuba was gone and he held a shining new
french horn. "No, dammit!" he exclaimed. "I need something bigger!"
   "Euphonium? Sousaphone?"
   "Euphonium! And quickly, he's starting to hemorrhage!"
   Nurse Ximinez played a quick dirge on her cornet and slapped the
euphonium into his palm. He tried a scale experimentally, nodded in
satisfaction, and plunged the instrument deep into the patient's abdomen.
"Got it!" he shouted excitedly. "Now, something small! A - um..."
   "A piccolo?"
   "Dammit, that's a woodwind instrument! Oh, hell...it'll have to do. Let
me have it! No, mouthpiece first. Yes...yes...I have it!" He extracted the
swollen appendix skillfully. "You'll be all right now, Mr Weasel," he
murmured.
   "Doctor!" cried one of the nurses suddenly. "The chief surgeon's
coming!"
   "So?"
   "He's a strings man!"
   "Oh, my God! Quick, give me a violin!"

(To be continued...)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 26 of 125                  Date: Mon  8/07/1991,  7:38 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 14 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 22

EPISODE 22:  ALL QUIET ON THE SOUTH-SOUTH-EASTERN FRONT

   There was a whistle as another bomb shot overhead, and Sgt Harris ducked
instinctively. "That was a close one, Lieutenant," he gasped.
   "Indeed it was, Harris, indeed it was," returned Lt Ocelot
apothegmatically as he cleaned his metronome carefully with an oily rag.
"Blasted huns! How are we supposed to get out there and shoot them to
pieces when they're shelling us like this?" He tucked an old wurlitzer
behind his ear and leaned back against the trench wall, idly chewing on a
fingernail and spitting out the inch-long fragments.
   "Very inconsiderate of them, sir," said Harris dutifully.
   Another shell whistled overhead. Lt Ocelot slammed down the phaeton that
he had been peeling and stood up with a rattle. "That does it! I'm going
over to have a word with their commanding officer. Come on, Sergeant!"
   Harris briefly considered deserting, but something made him change his
mind at the last moment. Perhaps it was the call of duty to his commanding
officer; perhaps it was the oath he had sworn upon enlistment. Perhaps it
was the sight of the massive revolver that Lt Ocelot had drawn on seeing
his hesitation. But change his mind he did. "Right you are, sir," he
stuttered casually, saluting with an audible click. It was great to be
British.
   "Right! Let's go!" Lt Ocelot scrambled out of the trench nimbly and Sgt
Harris followed, almost slipping in a puddle of half-congealed whippets.
They strode over a somewhat dilapidated battlefield, filled with
inconsiderate craters and the remains of exotic movie sets.
   Before long they reached the German trenches, all of them lined with
bewildered-looking faces. Harris could tell that the enemy thought this
sort of confrontation was unfair; they didn't know what to do. Lt Ocelot
gave them no time to think about it; he simply vaulted down into a
convenient-looking trench and demanded to be taken to their leader.
   Two minutes later they were standing before the desk of Hauptmann
Wiesel, a small, dapper man with an exaggerated accent. "Look here, old
boy," announced Lt Ocelot immediately. "What the devil d'you think you're
doing with all this bombing business?"
   Wiesel seemed taken aback. "Och, dinna fash yesel'!" he exclaimed in a
thick teutonic voice, loading his pistol with an ostentatious air. "It's
nae verra -"
   "It won't do, you know," Ocelot continued. "I mean, what would happen if
WE were to start bombing YOU like this? Why, people could get hurt!"
   "Aye, well, we canna have that, can we?" mumbled Wiesel, surreptitiously
loading a convenient howitzer and signalling his men to fire...

(To be continued...)
Reply
#3
WEASELMsg # 27 of 125                  Date: Mon  8/07/1991,  7:39 pm

From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 14 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 23

EPISODE 23:  THE FINAL CONFRONTATION

   "So, I have you at last, Richard Harris!" hissed the Weasel gloatingly,
his lip curling in a way curiously suggestive of chickens mating.
   "I see that you curl your lip in a way curiously suggestive of chickens
mating," commented Harris originally. His mind raced in various directions:
the cerebral cortex to the north, the id to the south-west, and a small
lump that had something to do with racial memories down the street to the
chip shop. Could this be the ignominious end to his star-spanning quest?
And what did 'ignominious' mean anyway?
   "Don't get smart," the Weasel warned. "Remember, I have the laser
cannon, and you're tied firmly down to the torture platform."
   "Thank you," Harris muttered. "You've summarised our situation for the
readers very well."
   "Not only that," droned the Weasel, fortunately not really listening.
"Unknown to you, my allies, the Jellyfish People, are at this very moment
laying waste to your friends the Slug People, as they celebrate their
annual Ooze Ritual on Mucus Plain. And there's nothing you can do about it,
because you don't even know it's happening!"
   "That's true," murmured Harris, grinding his lips and compressing his
teeth. A thin sweat broke out on his brow as he realised, too late, that he
had gotten it the wrong way around again and broken three teeth.
   "And now, my old nemesis, I shall press this small button on the side of
the laser cannon, and a thin beam of coherent light will shoot out and
vapourise your brain! Ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha!"
   "It won't work, Weasel," burst out Harris alliteratively. "You don't
know it yet, but my old friend Zorgg has secretly invaded your laboratory
and reversed the polarity of the proton spatio-omnithanatoprotonaugahydal
mutatronic hysteresis proselytiser!"
   "Great Scott!" mused the Weasel authoritatively. "That means that when I
press the button, the shot will strike my secret Laboratory of Death
sixteen miles south of Dallas, Texas instead, instantly destroying years
worth of perverted experiments! I must not press the button!"
   "Remember, I haven't told you about Zorgg yet," Harris cautioned. "So
you don't know what will happen."
   "Damn! That's right. I'll just have to press the button anyway."
   "And you'll immediately be overwhelmed by the Slug People, who, unknown
to you, are even now waiting outside the door -"
   "- except that, as you already don't know, they've actually been wiped
out by the Jellyfish People instead -"
   "- and so I'll be set free, and can proceed to raid your evil Laboratory
of Death and wipe out whatever's left once the laser cannon misfire that
you don't know about yet occurs!"
   "Hold on," objected the Weasel. "You can't go to my Laboratory of Death.
You don't know it exists!"
   "Bugger! You're right..."

(Next: THE FINAL FINAL CONFRONTATION...)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 28 of 125                  Date: Mon  8/07/1991,  7:40 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 14 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 24

EPISODE 24:  SEX, LIES, VIDEOTAPE AND BEGONIAS

   "Oh, Richard," moaned the chesty blonde, breathing pneumatically. "Come
back to bed, darling. My body yearns for your magnetic touch, my breasts
quiver at the thought of your hot caress, and my thighs ache for your -"
   "I'm delighted to hear it," interrupted Harris with a snicker,
brandishing the radishes with a manic glint in his eye and picking up a
huge pair of secateurs. "And now, my pretty little streptococcus, prepare
to be fertilised as you've never been fertilised before!"

   ["Oh, no," moaned Princess Delectia. "I can't watch this."
   "Well, I can," said T. F. Figure. "Get out of the way of the
viewscreen!"]

   The blonde quivered orgiastically as Harris slowly pruned his way up her
thighs. "Oh, Richard," she gasped. "Oh, Richard, Richard, RICHARD..."
   "Shh," hushed Harris, reaching for a garden fork. "I think I can see
some sort of fungal growth here. I might have to spray it."

   ["Oh, this is too much," groaned Delectia, not taking her eyes off the
screen for an instant.
   "Speak for yourself," drooled Figure. "Are we taping this?"]

(NEXT: Fungal growths and the need for spraying)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 29 of 125                  Date: Mon  8/07/1991,  7:41 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 13 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 25

EPISODE 25:  THE FINAL FINAL FINAL FINAL FINAL CONFRONTATION

   The gunslingers faced each other silently. The Weasel's expression was
stern and cold; Harris' face might have been graven in stone. They watched
each other intently, each alert for the moment when the other might reach
for the party hats.
   "I reckon we're at what you might call a standoff," drawled the Weasel
at last, chewing a fistful of tobacco and casually wiping his brow with a
sun-drenched tumbleweed.
   "You could be right," rapped out Harris laconically. He was not hard of
hearing; nor did he have toothache.
   "We could try shooting it out, instead," suggested the Weasel.
   Both of them instinctively glanced at the table where the party hats and
novelties lay. To the victor, the spoils.
   "With our guns, you mean?" replied Harris to test the waters.
   "I wasna' meanin' with eggbeaters, boyo," the Weasel said in a scornful
mixture of accents. His teeth gleamed for a moment in the sun. One of them
was wooden. Several others were not.
   "Yes, the guns might solve matters," admitted Harris with an internal
curse. "Yes, I will try to shoot you, and you will try to shoot me."
   "One of us may die," commented the Weasel.
   "Yes, one of us may."
   "And the other one may not."
   "That is true."
   "And I suspect that our author is experimenting with a new and rather
incomprehensible writing style." The Weasel said this through his mouth, by
means of an air current passing his vocal chords. He said it in English.
   "That, too, is possible," said Harris, glancing around quickly and
summing up the number of cacti on the horizon. There were fifteen. That was
ominous.
   "Very well, then." The Weasel paused. There seemed little more to say.
   "I will count to three," suggested Harris. "When I have finished, I
shall try to shoot you. Then you may count to three, and when you have
finished, you may try to shoot me."
   "That seems fair," expostulated the Weasel. "Begin your counting."

(Next: The great Morons United vs Spastic City football match)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 30 of 125                  Date: Mon  8/07/1991,  7:42 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 12 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 26

EPISODE 26:  A MIDSUMMER'S TEMPEST OF VERONA

Har. But soft! good sirs. Methinks it is a ruse
     By evil hands positioned in our path
     Whereon, as we our virtuous journey tread
     Against that caitiff vile, Weasel yclept,
     Our bodies wrapt should be with shimm'ring veils
     Of positronic fields: thus, to our woe,
     Our bold endeavour doomed to fail must be.
Zor. O Harris!
Har.       Hark! Who speaks?
Zor.                    Thy trusty Zorgg,
     Companion long, though vile of count'nance I,
     Uncouth in name and Hyracodon-arm'd.
Har. Say on, good Zorgg, say on: I hear.
Zor.                                 'Tis naught.
Har. Then wherefore didst thou speak?
Zor.                              I cannot say.
Har. I like this not: most troubling are thy words,
     Whereat I cannot say but: Zorgg my friend,
     If any ill beshrews thy soul, then say it now:
     I hear, and will amend, if fate permits.
Zor: O noble Harris, at whose mighty feet
     I am not fit to - oh, bugger this for a lark!
     I've a good mind to split this scene and
     Go and grab me a beer.
Har.                     What sayest thou?
     Thy words are strange and alien to me:
     I cannot take their meaning, faithful Zorgg.
Zor. I'm not bleedin' surprised. All this
     Arty-farty stuff makes me want to puke,
     To be perfectly honest with you. Blank
     Verse, that's my metier, if you follow me.
Har. I do not understand.
Zor.                  I just bet you don't.
     The truth is, If you really wanna know,
     I wanted to go take a leak. But just try
     To say that in this goddam iambic
     Pentameter nonsense! I ask you.

(Next: 53 More Things To Do in Zero Gravity)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 31 of 125                  Date: Mon  8/07/1991,  7:42 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 13 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 27

EPISODE 27:  THE MARK OF THE SEVEN

   I was strolling down Oxford Street one afternoon when I chanced to meet
Holmes. He seemed pleased to see me. "Ah, Watson!" he exclaimed. "You have
been dissecting an antelope, I perceive."
   "My God, Holmes!" I cried. "How in heaven's name could you possibly know
that?"
   He chuckled immodestly. "To the trained eye, little goes unnoticed," he
declared. "You have a small smudge of blue paint on the heel of your boot,
Watson. Given that, the rest is of course obvious."
   "Of course!" I replied. As ever, once he had pointed the clue out, the
deduction was indeed obvious. "But Holmes - what brings you to Oxford
Street this afternoon?"
   "A most devilish case," he vouchsafed me gravely, and I shivered
involuntarily, wondering as I did so why I had used the word 'vouchsafe'
instead of my customary 'told'. "Yesterday evening," Holmes went on, "I was
visited by a young man named Harris. He raved, Watson, about how he was
molested by unearthly beings, and how his life was threatened by, of all
things, a common weasel!"
   "Perhaps a case of galephobia," I suggested boldly.
   "Don't interrupt," he snapped petulantly, scrutinising a passing okapi
through his lens.
   "I'm sorry," I apologised humbly. "I meant to say, 'Good God, Holmes!
Some madman escaped from a nearby asylum, no doubt.'"
   "A possibility, I'll grant you," he said magnanimously, "But my
suspicions inclined rather to something more in your line, Watson - a case
of galephobia, no less."
   "Indeed, yes," I said in wonder. "I cannot imagine why I did not think
of it myself."
   "Ah, but that is not all, Watson!" Holmes exclaimed triumphantly,
measuring the inside leg of a surprised passer-by and entering the data in
a small leather notebook with a pleased air. "For I was visited by
Inspector Lestrade later. He tells me that that very evening, this man
Harris was found dead in his study, having been subjected to the most
horrific of treatments - and with the footprints of a weasel, in blood, on
his forehead...!"
   He leaned closer. "Watson," he murmured, "I suspect foul play..."

(Next: The Badger of the fforbes-Hamiltons)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 32 of 125                  Date: Mon  8/07/1991,  7:43 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 13 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 28

EPISODE 28:  NEUROSTREET

   A quick scan of the street was enough to put Bolus on ease. Three fire
hydrants were mined; infrasonics picked up the heavy breathing of a
squadron of camouflaged advertising agents, probably hoping for an easy
mark; and, his neural photonet told him, a nearby telephone booth had
developed an artificial intelligence and was trying to charge each caller
$6000 per second.
   The usual.
   He sauntered down the sidewalk, hoping that his silver-plated kilt and
ankle-length balaclava would be enough to put the admen off. He heard
muffled grunts and moans as he passed them, but nothing more.
   He was heading for Narcolepts' Alley, where old Groat the technojunkie
hung out. That little ajax job had paid off well, and he had heard that
Groat had a good line in used protozoan repair kits. Bolus had no immediate
need for one, but in his profession it was never a good idea to be caught
short. More than one friend had been outbleached that way in the past.
   As he passed a dingy household aviotronics booth he heard raised voices,
and tuned in his sonoscope automatically. Old man Yoshi-san was getting an
earful: something to do with not having retropolarised the neutocrats
again. Bolus grinned; he knew what a mess that could make.
   There was a sudden movement in the shadows and Bolus stiffened. A quick
mental flick activated his defence systems: internal, noting that six
suspect bacteria were contemplating mitosis and that he apparently had a
hangnail; and external, training every sensory device he had on the suspect
kinesphere. But before he could trigger the laser cannons or the phosgene
spray, the shadows moved again and he heard a voice.
   "Don't shoot, Bolus - it's me, Weasel."
   Bolus hesitated. Preliminary voice scans indicated a strong possibility
that the figure before him was speaking the truth. He decided to play it
safe, though. "Weasel? I'll need a routine DNA scan to check that," he
announced.
   "Oh, great Ghu! That'll take weeks, Bolus!"
   "Fine," Bolus replied, pleased that things had been resolved so
smoothly. "We'll talk then..."

(Next: Naugahyde Hunting in the Cameroons)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 33 of 125                  Date: Mon  8/07/1991,  7:45 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 14 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 29

EPISODE 29:  THE LONG ARM

   Constable Harris strode casually through the park, admiring the view and
enjoying the warmth of the sun on his truncheon. It was a glorious
midsummer day in April, and all seemed right with the world.
   There was a rustling in the undergrowth just off the side of the park.
Harris glanced through the bushes curiously and stopped dead. There was a
large hole in the ground - no, by God, the entrance to a veritable tunnel!
- and two burglars were industriously lifting a massive iron safe out of
it.
   Harris' eyes lit up. This was the moment he lived for.
   "Stop in the name of the Law!"
   The burglars froze and glanced around shiftily. "Gawd," moaned one of
them, nearly dropping the safe on his toes. "It's Harris."
   "Well, that's it, then," said the other. "We're done."
   "Right then," said Harris briskly. "If you two gentlemen would care to
accompany me to the station..."
   "We'll go quietly," muttered the burglars, holding out their hands to be
cuffed. They followed Harris down the path sullenly. Harris was whistling a
cheerful tune. What a wonderful day.
   But no! What was this! Three masked men with machine guns, holding up a
picnicking couple and stealing all their belongings! "Will they stop at
nothing," he muttered to himself. Then he raised his voice.
   "Stop there! Stop in the name of the Law!"
   The masked marauders spun around, guns at the ready. There was the
rattle of hot lead as one of them hastily pulled his trigger. Then it sunk
in who they were firing at.
   "Holy bulimia! It's Harris!"
   They surrendered without another word, deeply embarrassed, and followed
Harris as the Constable resumed his leisurely stroll through the park.
   Suddenly Harris stopped, aghast. Just up ahead, a group of some twenty
swarthily-complected men with huge, drooping mustaches were swarming out of
a khaki-painted truck, clutching malevolent-looking cases marked "Dynamite"
and positive armfuls of detonators, and preparing to blow up a nearby bank.
   Harris took a deep breath. There was no danger, of course. He knew what
to do.
   "Stop - in the name of the Law!"

(Next: Son of the Last of the Mohicans)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 34 of 125                  Date: Mon  8/07/1991,  7:45 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 16 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 30

EPISODE 30:  SCHOOL DAZE

   Cooper passed the note surreptitiously to Wilkins, who heroically
refrained from reading it and simply passed it on to Harris Minor. Up at
the blackboard, the teacher droned on obliviously about pre-natal care for
gibbons, or some other similar subject such as teachers are wont to drone
on about.
   Harris Minor read the note slowly, having to puzzle out some of the
words which were obscured by blotted ink. It said, "W. wb behind g l/t.
XXX!", which Harris Minor easily interpreted as:
   "W. will be waiting for you behind the gym at lunchtime. Totally ultra
danger!"
   The mysterious W. was, of course, Reddish Jr, the Boy with the Killer
Hands, the Boy People Love to Hate, the Boy the Teachers Fear. That, at
least, was what he called himself. Everyone else called him Weasel.
   The trouble was, Reddish Jr had something of a grudge against Harris
Minor - some trifling matter of a week's detentions for having been caught
beating Harris Minor up because Harris Minor had gotten him a week's
detentions the week before for having beaten Harris Minor up for having
gotten him a week's detentions a week earlier yet over a matter of a
beating-up for detentions received because of having beaten Harris up for
having looked at him in a funny way. Or something equally mundane.
   That meant that if Harris Minor went behind the gym at lunchtime, he
would probably get beaten up. Of course, Reddish Jr would get a week's
detention for it, which could lead to some similar unpleasantness next
week. On the other hand, Harris Minor could simply stay away from the gym.
But that could lead to being labelled a sissy, and that was obviously
unthinkable. It was all very annoying.
   "Harris!" said Mr Putron from the blackboard. "I'm waiting for an
answer!"
   "Um..." Harris Minor hesitated. He had not even heard the question.
"Um..." he repeated, because it seemed to have worked the first time.
"Neutrinos?" he blurted out wildly at last, having correctly guessed that
Mr Putron would not take kindly to his saying "Um..." again.
   Mr Putron looked at him sourly for a moment. "Good. Correct," he said
slowly. "Now, moving on to the intestines and the rest of the digestive
system..."
   Harris Minor was no longer paying attention. Perhaps if he were to take
Reddish Jr from ambush...

(Next: History Lessons: a Profile of the Spanish Inquisition)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 35 of 125                  Date: Mon  8/07/1991,  7:46 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 16 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 31

EPISODE 31:  PRIVATE LIFE OF THE WEASEL

   The Weasel was not a happy man.
   No, let's try that again. The Weasel was not a happy...whatever. He, or
she, or possibly it (you never can tell) had been pumping the, well, the
pump, for quite a long time and nothing much seemed to be happening. If he
was going to blow up the world, he'd just have to try another way.
   The real difficulty was that he could no longer be sure that global
destruction would catch Harris. Ever since his Probabilistic Transmogrifier
had malfunctioned a while back, fragmenting the space-time continuum and
creating zillions of eccentric duplicates of himself and Harris, it was
hard to say what was what any more.
   "What was what," he muttered, just to be sure. "What was what. Ha! Got
it that time! What was whurrghh. Damn! What was whahhhhh. Uhh. Bugger."
   He paced up and down the laboratory, feeling his tongue worriedly. At
last, impatiently, he strode to the door that led down to the torture
chamber, flung it open, and called, "Everything all right down there?"
   "Sure thing," called back a torturer cheerfully. "We're feeding the
prisoners chicken soup."
   That sounded like an odd sort of torture. "Why? Are they allergic to
it?" shouted the Weasel hopefully.
   "Well, no," the torturer replied. "They're...well, you know, hungry."
   "You idiot! You're supposed to be torturing them! Not feeding them!"
   The torturer hesitated. "But..." he ventured.
   "Now get to it! And I want to hear those prisoners screaming!"
   "Er - screaming. Yessir!"
   The Weasel slammed the door shut with a snarl. It wasn't easy being a
villain any more. After a few moments, he heard a chorus of screams coming
from behind the door, and nodded in satisfaction.
   He paced around the laboratory for a while, trying to think of something
evil to do. After a few minutes he decided to go down and watch the
torturing for a bit. That would cheer him up.
   He opened the door started downstairs, then stopped short. All eighteen
prisoners were sitting in a circle in the middle of the torture chamber.
They looked fit and remarkably well-fed. In the centre of the circle was
the torturer, who was leading them in an enthusiastic chorus of screams.
   "Not bad!" he was shouting. "But you can do better! Now - one, two,
three, SCREAM - Oh, hello sir. Didn't hear you come in."
   "And just what do you think you're doing?" asked the Weasel through
clenched teeth.
   "Well...you said you wanted screaming, so I thought -" The torturer
hesitated. There was something about the Weasel's expression that led him
to suspect that perhaps he had made a mistake.
   "Screams of pain, you idiot! Screams of pain! You're supposed to be
torturing them!" bellowed the Weasel.
   "Yes, but...this torturing, is it supposed to include pain, then?"
   "Well of course it is, you unutterable fool!"
   "Oh." The torturer thought about it. Anything to please the boss. "Well,
all right then. If one of you prisoners would just grab my arm, now, yes,
that's right, and give it a good twist, oh God, yes, ow, yes, that must be,
ow, right, is this - uhh - what you wanted, boss?"
   The Weasel choked back a sob of purest despair...

(Next: I was Biggles' Hairdresser)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 36 of 125                  Date: Mon  8/07/1991,  7:47 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 15 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 32

EPISODE 32:  DO YOU C WHAT I MEAN?

   #include <stdlib.h>
   #include <stdio.h>
   #include <time.h>
   #define BSIZE 200

   int move(int pa[], int *p, char *name);

   void main(void) {
      int harris[BSIZE-1]={0};
      int weasel[BSIZE-1]={0};
      int h,w;

      srand((unsigned int)time(NULL));
      h=rand()%BSIZE;
      while ((w=rand()%BSIZE) == h)
         ;

      while (move(harris,&h,"Harris") && move(weasel,&w,"Weasel"))
         ;
   }

   int move(int pa[], int *p, char *name) {
      int i;

      *p=(*p+1)%BSIZE;
      printf("%s at %3d: ",name,*p);
      if (pa[*p]) {
         printf("DIED!\n");
         return 0;
      }
      pa[i=rand()%BSIZE]=1;
      printf("SAFE --- Fired at %3d   %c",i,(*name='H')?' ':'\n');
      return 1;
   }

(Next: What the !@#$% did that mean?)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 37 of 125                  Date: Tue  9/07/1991,  9:08 pm
From: ALAN ISAACS                Read: 16 times

     To: ANGUS MACSPON
Subject: Re: So what's going on here?

>'Ave no fear, m'sieur. Zere are still >60 episodes already written wot I
>'aven't uploaded yet...

Zat ees wondairfool nooze! Vive Le Macspon!

°±²Û ALAN Û²±°
Reply
#4
WEASELMsg # 38 of 125                  Date: Wed 10/07/1991,  7:19 pm

From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 12 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 33

EPISODE 33:  BLISS (or, NAUSEA UNLIMITED)

   Cuddles the happy bunny hippity-hopped his way down the woodland path,
crinkling his nose endearingly when he paused to sniff a lovely new spring
flower and humming a cheerful song that went:

   "Oh, oh, I'm so happy,
     Everything is nice,
    Everyone is happy,
     Even beetles and mice.

    What a lovely day today,
     All the world is pretty,
    Everything's so nice today,
     From large to itty-bitty."

   Suddenly, as he came to an enchanting little glade, just bursting with
goodness and niceness and pretty flowers by the bushel, and with billions
of busy little bees buzzing in close harmony, he spied a furry little
mousie, frolicking gaily in the grass.
   "Oh, hello, little mousie!" cried Cuddles. "Will you be my chum?"
   "Ooh, golly," said the mousie delightedly. "Of course I will, Cuddles!"
   "Oh, thank you!" said Cuddles, rolling about endearingly in the velvet
sward. "But how did you know my name is Cuddles?"
   "Mr Weasel told me," said the mousie.
   "Oh! And who is Mr Weasel?"
   The mousie nibbled at a convenient piece of cheese and replied, "He's
the jolly inventor who lives just over the hill. Would you like to go and
see him? Perhaps he will give us a sweetie!"
   "Ooh, yes," said Cuddles excitedly, and together they trotted over the
nearby hill, where they found themselves near an excitingly mysterious dell
from which came delicate tinkling and clattering noises, as if a dozen
magic pixies were rattling their wings within. They could hear a gruff
voice muttering arcanely:
   "...and optimum parameterisation for linearly independent trajectories
intersecting the locus of a line integral of..."
   "Golly, whatever is he talking about?" said Cuddles cuddlesomely.
   "Magic stuff," said the mousie. "He told me he's making a lovely
surprise for a chum of his named Richie. He says he's going to give him
forty thousand parsnips!"
   "Goodness me!" exclaimed Cuddles, twitching his ears and whiskers
cutely. "Whatever for?"
   "No, no, no!" cried the gruff voice suddenly from inside the dell. "Not
parsnips! Can't you get it right, you dumb rodent? It's volts, not
parsnips, volts!..."

(Next: Lawsuits from Walt Disney, probably)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 39 of 125                  Date: Wed 10/07/1991,  7:20 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 12 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 34

EPISODE 34:  SONATA FOR UNACCOMPANIED HARRIS

   Harris ran his fingers over the keyboard gently, listening carefully to
the cascade of notes. There was something not quite right about the sound:
something he couldn't quite put his finger on; but he wanted the concert
that afternoon to be perfect, and unless he could get the synths properly
tuned, it wouldn't be. The audience might not notice, but he would.
   Somebody came up behind him, Mitchell probably. Ignoring him, he played
a single note repeatedly, listening for the flaw.
   "Sounds like a lemming in heat," Mitchell said.
   "I know," said Harris glumly. "But it should be a vole."
   "Ahh, what's the difference? All those rodents sound the same to me."
   "Yeah? You don't know nothing. Listen to this!" Harris made a quick
adjustment and tapped the key again. The sound was - unique. "Capybara! You
see the difference?"
   "Um, I guess so. Say, that's an interesting sound. Maybe you should
stick with it."
   Harris brightened. "You think so?"
   "Sure! A chorus of those, just before Dave comes in with his rhino solo
- I tell you, it'll cook!"
   Harris mulled it over. "You could be right...I'll give it a go. But,
dammit, I really had my heart set on voles - as a counterpoint to the
Merinos, you see? And then we could get a really great vibrato off those
wallabies if we really put the squeeze on them."
   Mitchell shook his head slowly. "I think you're going a bit overboard,
Dick. I mean, it's only Beethoven, for God's sake!"
   "You don't think he'd approve?" demanded Harris angrily.
   "It's just that..." Mitchell hesitated, then gave in. "No, no, I'm sure
he'd have loved it, Dick. Have it your own way." He sighed. "What have you
got in mind for the Mozart concerto?"
   Harris considered. "Well...I was thinking, maybe we open with a chorus
of weasels." He smiled diabolically. "For some reason, I suspect that I
could get a really good...sound...out of a weasel."

(Next: J S Bach, Goat Concerto, BWV 66427)

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WEASELMsg # 40 of 125                  Date: Wed 10/07/1991,  7:21 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 13 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 35

EPISODE 35:  MARKING TIME

   There was once a man named Richard Harris, who was chief Spittoon Wiper
at an important hotel. He was a quiet man, unfailingly polite, with a kind
face; he always did his duties without complaining, even when the Head
Waitress used to put lumps of toffee behind her ears and impersonate
Humphrey Bogart; and he hardly ever got out his axe and killed elderly
women by the light of the full moon.
   But one day, as he plunged his arm up to the elbow into a full spittoon
to pull out the plug at the bottom, there came a thunderous booming sound,
and a flash of light, and a monstrous creature appeared before him.
   "Goodness me," observed Richard Harris.
   "Good evening," said the creature in an Oxford accent. "I, as you may
have observed, am a Weasel. From Hell, that is."
   "How interesting," said Richard Harris. "Would you care for a drink?"
   The Weasel from Hell glanced about - they were in the bar - and said,
"Don't mind if I do. Gin and tonic, if you please."
   "Certainly," said Richard Harris, mixing the drink swiftly and handing
it to the Weasel from Hell, who took it, politely ignoring the fact that
Richard Harris had forgotten to wash his hands first.
   "Well," said Richard Harris at last. "What brings you to this hotel?"
   "Hmm, well, it's odd," began the Weasel from Hell. "You see, I met this
fellow earlier today - uncouth sort of chap, covered with boils, you know
the type - who suggested that I should come here and - well, kill you,
actually."
   "Very odd," agreed Richard Harris. "Did he give his name?"
   "Yes, as a matter of face. MacSpon, it was...Angus MacSpon."
   Richard Harris frowned. "How very strange," he said slowly. "It was a Mr
MacSpon who got me my job here at the hotel."
   "Ah," said the Weasel from Hell. meaningfully. "Methinks there is a plot
afoot."
   "Yes, and it's a crying shame. This story's been going perfectly well
without a plot for simply ages..."

(Next: Revenge of the Turnip-Heads from Aldebaran VII)

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WEASELMsg # 41 of 125                  Date: Wed 10/07/1991,  7:23 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 14 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 36

EPISODE 36:  RETURN OF THE POTATO-HEADS FROM ANTARES VI

   Deep-radar picked up the intruders 87 AUs out, and a squadron scrambled
almost instantly. Under the command of Col Rick Harris, they accelerated at
3.5 gravities on an intercept course. Tracking data continued to come in;
by the time they crossed the orbit of Mars, eighteen and a half hours
later, they knew everything it was possible to learn about the intruder
from a distance. By the time they reached Jupiter they were moving at more
than two percent of the speed of light. Turnover was just past Pluto; the
squadron finished deceleration some fourteen days after breaking Earth
orbit, having set several new records. Several of them were also dead from
the acceleration, but that was par for the course.
   The intruders were some two million kilometers off, moving slowly
insystem. Harris sized them up on his scope with a jaundiced eye. Five
ships, average mass several thousand metric tons.
   He thumbed his comset. "Lt Spruce," he rasped. "Move in for a closer
look."
   "Yes, sir," Spruce replied, gratifyingly quick. He accelerated towards
the intruders in a show-offish way.
   Harris considered. Best give the men something to think about while they
waited for Spruce to get back. "Captain Larch!" he ordered. "Damage report.
I want to know every bolt that came unfastened on the way."
   "Ah...actually, these ships are spot-welded, sir," Larch replied
foolishly. "No bolts at all."
   "I know that," Harris said, grinding his tooth a little and making a
mental note to spot-weld Captain Larch's head to the top of the Washington
Monument when they got back. "Just get me a report."
   "Yessir. Lt Pine! Damage report, please. The Colonel wants to know every
bolt that came unfastened on the way."
   "Ah..." came another voice. "Actually, sir, there aren't any bolts in
these ships. It's all spot-welded..."
   Harris leaned forward and banged his head against the canopy, hard.
   "Don't get funny," said Larch primly. "Just check your men. Lt Beech!
Damage report, please. The Colonel wants to know every -"
   "Sergeant Oak!" chimed in Lt Pine. "I want a damage report, pronto. The
Colonel wants to know -"
   "- unfastened on the way -"
   "Lt Cypress! I want a damage report -"
   "Sgt Sycamore! -"
   "Actually, it's all spot-welded -"
   "Private Horse-Chestnut! The Colonel wants to know -"
   Harris gave up and switched off his comset, silencing the fatuous
chorus. Thank God he hadn't mentioned transistors.
   He checked the intruders on his scope again. It would be hours before
Spruce approached them; he was barely nine hundred klicks off. And probably
enjoying the show on the comset, the bastard.
   There was a light blinking on his comset. With a sigh, he thumbed the
contact open. "Yes?"
   "Captain Larch here, sir. Um...Private Giant-Redwood says he...found a
bolt in his ship after all, sir."
   "Did...he...now." Harris's voice was rigidly controlled.
   "Uh...yes, sir. And, well, um..."
   "Yes?"
   "It...didn't come undone, sir."
   The joystick broke off in Harris' grip.
   "That's good to know, Captain," he said heavily...

(Next: Return of the Potato-Heads from Antares VI (honest!))

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WEASELMsg # 42 of 125                  Date: Wed 10/07/1991,  7:23 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 12 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 37

EPISODE 37:  HERE BE DRAGONS. (BUT NOT DUNGEONS.)

   "All right, all right," grumbled the Game Master. "Go ahead, then, roll
the bloody dice."
   "I knew you'd see it my way," smirked the player, shaking the two
45-sided dice. He tossed them with a flourish. One promptly bounced up his
trouser leg. He twisted around awkwardly and squinted at it. "Fifty-nine,"
he said after a moment.
   The Game Master blanched. "God almighty. So your character with the
stupid name -"
   "Richard Harris."
   "All right, so the psychopathic barbarian warlord Richard Harris pulls
out his axe and hurls it...fifty-nine feet...where it -" He scribbled for a
moment on a pad, calculating furiously "- strikes a small bush, dealing it
a mortal wound." He tried to look sympathetic. But not very hard.
   Instead he turned to the next player. "Now, Ted," he said referring to a
sheath of notes. "Your character, Triassic. What's he doing? Think fast,
the thargoids are getting closer."
   Ted didn't hesitate. "Triassic will throw his axe, too," he said.
   The Game Master sighed. "OK...now, what range did we work out you could
throw? Oh, yeah, 91 feet." He frowned. "Uh-oh. I think I lost all my
91-sided dice last week. Does anybody have a spare?"
   Nobody did. "All right," he sighed. "So...let's say, Triassic has an
upset stomach from all the crud you guys eat all the time, and the
distraction reduces his range to, say, 89 feet, OK?"
   Nobody complained; he tossed an 89-sided die over and Ted rolled it
obligingly. "Seventy-two," he announced.
   "A direct hit," decided the Game Master. "The thargoid is hit in one of
its lower brain pods. It gibbers loudly for a moment, then carried on
towards you." He looked at the third player. "Well, John, you're next."
   John thought about it, apparently with some effort. "Um...Mesozoic will
throw his axe, too," he said at length.
   The Game Master groaned. "John, Mesozoic doesn't HAVE an axe," he said
patiently. "Mesozoic is a semi-evolved trilobite. That means he can only
attack with his - um, you know, well, those wiggly things."
   "Or an AK-47," John reminded him.
   "Yes, well, that was sort of a special case, remember?" The Game Master
rolled his eyes at the memory. "Now, look. Your, um, tentacles, whatever,
are a few inches long, so we'll be generous and say that, from a range of,
uh, 49 feet now, you have maybe a change of 1 in 10000000000 of hitting.
All right?"
   John nodded eagerly.
   The Game Master sighed, and went on. "All right. Wait a moment, and I'll
get my 10000000000-sided die." He went into the next room and returned
moments later, rolling the 4-foot-high structure. John picked it up with an
effort and tossed it across the floor. The Game Master whipped out his
pocket microscope and studied it closely, trying to identify which of the
multitude of micron-wide faces was uppermost. After a moment he swore in
disbelief.
   "I don't believe it," he said. "You'll never guess what number you just
rolled..."

(Next: Can YOU guess what number he rolled?)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 43 of 125                  Date: Wed 10/07/1991,  7:24 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 11 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 38

EPISODE 38:  OOPS

   Richard Harris swore vehemently and brandished the grenade. "That does
it," he avowed. "One step closer and I'll -"
   The Weasel advanced another step.
   "Right!" Harris shouted. He tore the pin out of the grenade and hurled
it away ostentatiously. "Now," he hissed, "what do you think you're going
to do about that?"
   "Are you going to throw that thing?" inquired the Weasel politely.
   Harris looked down at the grenade. Slowly it seemed to filter through
his cranium what the Weasel was talking about. "Oh," he said. He thought
hard. There was something you were supposed to do in times like this,
count, that was it, yes. "Um...One," he began cautiously.
   "Very good," said the Weasel approvingly. "What's next?"
   Harris considered. He knew that something was supposed to come after
one. It was probably a number, but which one? There were millions of the
little buggers, after all. How was a man supposed to choose?
   "I don't suppose you'd like to give me a hint?" he asked desperately.
   The Weasel thought about it. As he thought, he heard a sudden, loud
noise, but that didn't stop him thinking, oh no. But when he looked up
again, he saw to his surprise that Harris was not there any more.
   "Ah," he said thoughtfully. There didn't seem to be much else to say. He
looked down again, and decided that he was going to have to change his
clothes...

(Next: Great-Great-Grandson of the Man from Snowy River)

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WEASELMsg # 44 of 125                  Date: Wed 10/07/1991,  7:25 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 13 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 39

EPISODE 39:

      MADMAN IN COURT ON
      ANIMAL CRUELTY CHARGES

   TODAY - A man appeared in court today charged with cruelty to animals,
but was bound over for psychiatric examination.
   Richard Harris, 36, was being tried in the District Court on several
charges of cruelty to animals after a complaint by the SPCA. Mr Harris had
been found wandering aimlessly in the street, shouting that he had killed a
weasel by tying several sticks of gelignite to its legs and exploding them.
He was arrested for disorderly behaviour but was later charged under the
Disgusting Offences (1984) Act.
   Appearing in court today, Mr Harris claimed that the killing had been
necessary "for the salvation of the human race." When asked where the crime
had been committed he replied, "On the planet Lebistes, once home of the
doomed Zark people, and now free at last of the weasel's tyranny, hurrah!"
   Appearing for the prosecution, Nigel Rathbone, spokesperson for the
SPCA, said that "this has got to be the most callous, vicious and blatant
case of gelignite weasel-killing that I've heard of for several months."
   Mr Rathbone went on to say that he hoped that Mr Harris would not be
allowed to "cop an insanity plea," and that Mr Harris should be "tied to a
large Pohutukawa tree, and struck about the body with pieces of string for
an extended period." When asked by the Defence what he meant, he did not
reply.
   Mr Justice Fanshaw has ordered that Mr Harris be held for psychiatric
examination to determine whether he is fit to continue standing trial.

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 45 of 125                  Date: Wed 10/07/1991,  7:26 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 14 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 40

EPISODE 40:  AFTERMATH

   "Look, don't blame me!" said T. F. Figure desperately. "I mean, how
could I possibly have known? None of the Harrises looked competent to to
put their trousers on without at least three tries! How was I suppose to
guess that they might actually win?"
   "Win," muttered the demure Princess Delectia, kicking an inoffensive
dandelion viciously. "The thought of it makes me want to puke."
   "Try to do it in the other direction, this time. Poor Zorgg still hasn't
managed to get his armour clean..."
   "Shut up," Delectia suggested sweetly, leaving the implied "or else"
unsaid. "So Harris defeats the Weasel. In one case out of the - what, eight
hundred? - that we'd plotted, that I can accept. But in every single case
at once..."
   "It does seem a little improbable," agreed Hssth.
   There was a moment's pause. Then, as one, everybody turned to look at
the perplexed leader of the Slime People.
   "Oh! I mean...It doess sssseem a little - sss - improbable," Hssth
amended hastily, exercising his salivatory glands to their fullest.
   "Improbable or not, it does leave us out of a job," commented Bolus,
absently plugging his thalamus implant into his cortical scanner and nearly
frying his brains out.
   "'Obviously something's wrong with the multiverse,'" quoted Delectia
cattily. "'We'd better team together to try and save it.' You and your
stupid plans! You never told us we'd never be able to get back to our own
universes afterwards! Then, when the crisis winds up without warning, where
does that leave us?"
   "Unemployed," supplied Zorgg helpfully.
   "Shut up. Unemployed, is where it leaves us!"
   "I found us all work, didn't I?" protested Figure weakly.
   "You call this work?" Delectia demanded, waving her arms expressively to
indicate the fairground where they stood. "Ghost train attendants?! If I
have to lurch out of that little niche and say 'Whooo-oo' to the kiddies
one more time I'm gonna kill you!"
   "Calm down," advised Figure wearily. "It could be worse. Anyway, we'd
better get back on the job, lunch break's over. Look, the stage show's
getting set up for the one o'clock performance."
   "Pfaugh," muttered Delectia meaninglessly. "What sort of show's that
two-bit manager got hold of this time?"
   Bolus glanced over, then did a double-take. "Hey, Figure," he said. "Are
you absolutely SURE the crisis is over?"
   "Yes, of course," said Figure. "The energy levels are completely normal
again. Why?"
   He glanced up, and his eyes widened.
   There was a man standing on the stage, next to a row of nearly twenty
wire cages, each containing a small animal. The billboard in front of the
stage read, very clearly, "Richard Harris and his Performing Weasels."
   As they watched in silence, the man on the stage looked over at them -
and winked.

(To be continued...?)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 46 of 125                  Date: Wed 10/07/1991,  7:28 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 13 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 41

EPISODE 41:  AFTERAFTERMATH  (EPILOGUE)

   "Checkmate!" announces Harris-Prime gleefully, entering his move into
the Galactitronic Discombobulator with a flourish. The ultracomputer does a
few metaphorical warming-up exercises - proving Fermat's last theorem,
squaring the circle and so on, nothing special - for a couple of
microseconds, then reaches out and gives reality a casual tweak. The game
move has been made.
   "Damn," mutters Weasel-Null, looking over the board schematics for a way
out. "I didn't see that coming." Suddenly, every one of Harris-Prime's
gamepieces left on the board has wiped out its opponent. And just when
Weasel-Null was only a move or two away from victory himself.
   "Hey," he says suddenly. "Wait a moment. You missed one here." He waves
an energy vortex at an out-of-the way area of the board continuum matrix.
   Harris-Prime extends a dataprobe at the indicated zone. Sure enough, one
last Weasel-Harris pair remains. "Whoops," he says. "All right, we'll
continue. But I don't think you'll get very far." The Weasel incarnation in
this cosmos is nothing more than a semisentient mammal, while the Harris
component is one of the local dominant species. It'll be a massacre.
   "Ahh...never mind, forget it," says Weasel-Null, still concentrating on
the hapless pair of gamepieces. Harris-Prime squints at the board. The
pieces have just been cut down by that group of third-party pieces that had
been causing both Harris-Prime and Weasel-Null so much trouble throughout
the game.
   "I'll be damned," he says. "Figure, Delectia and all that crowd. Who the
hell has been running those pieces, anyway? It wasn't me."
   "Nor me," replies Weasel-Null in a puzzled tone. "You realise that this
means, don't you? Those pieces have just won, not yours."
   "I know, blast it." Harris-Prime queries the Galactotronic
Discombobulator, but as usual the computer refuses to tell them who the
third player is. "Weird," says Harris-Prime uneasily. His victory has just
been snatched from him, and he doesn't like it.
   "Never mind," says Weasel-Null unsympathetically. "How about another
game? I've got a few minutes more to kill. And if our mystery player joins
in again, maybe we'll figure out who it is!"
   Another game? Harris-Prime shrugs. "All right, why not? Set 'em up!"

(Next: Richard Harris versus the Weasel from Hell II!)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 47 of 125                  Date: Wed 10/07/1991,  7:28 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 15 times  [1 Reply]

     To: All
Subject: Concerning the Saga


***********************************************************************
The preceding episode of RICHARD HARRIS vs the WEASEL FROM HELL marks
the end of the "First Saga" of the serial, in that it - in the usual
eccentric fashion - actually brings a somewhat chaotic plot to a
distinct conclusion.  (If you din't understand the conclusion, don't
worry. You weren't really supposed to, though it is technically
possible.)

Following this is the "Second Saga" - a new set of episodes characterised
by the feature that there is no underlying plot, however chaotic, other
than an occasional feud between Harris and the Weasel. In short, anything
goes.  (Astute readers might realise that, as far as that goes, there is
actually no difference between the two sequences. You may be right, and you
may be wrong, but I'm not going to tell you, because I'm a bastard. That's
just how it goes when you'r a writer.)

The "Second Saga" (don't you just love pompous titles?) is scheduled to end
at Episode 100. There will be no "Third Saga.*"
************************************************************************

*That is, it's wildly unlikely that there will be. In an infinite
 universe, anything is possible.

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 48 of 125                  Date: Thu 11/07/1991, 10:14 pm
From: HARRY REDD                 Read: 15 times  [1 Reply]

     To: ANGUS MACSPON
Subject: Re: The universe

AM> In an infinite universe, anything is possible.

Infinite, but bounded, Angus.

HT Redd
Reply
#5
WEASELMsg # 49 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:01 pm

From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 14 times

     To: HARRY REDD
Subject: Re: The universe

> AM> In an infinite universe, anything is possible.
>
> Infinite, but bounded, Angus.
>
> HT Redd

Hold it. Surely "infinite" means (more or less) "Unbounded"?

--------------------------------------------------------------

WEASELMsg # 50 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:06 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 15 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 42

EPISODE 42:  FORTUNE COOKIE FORTUNE

   (WHAT HAS GONE BEFORE: Out-of-work layabout Richard Harris, playing with
his pocket cyclotron, unexpectedly discovers a way to turn common sand into
gold. In a magnificent effort to make everybody on Earth rich, he circles
the globe, visiting beaches everywhere. In no time at all the planet Earth,
annoyed by its suddenly increased mass, responds by cold-heartedly taking
up a different orbit. Finding that everyone is now rather irritated with
him because of their imminent deaths, Harris decides to leave with a
certain degree of haste. He reaches 61 Cygni by the use of a clever plot
device, where he is instantly made Emperor of a burgeoning interstellar
empire because of the shape of his nose, which strikes all the Cygnians as
particularly imperial. NOW READ ON...)

   Harris picked up the telephone lazily and dialled. "I want a large
pizza, with everything," he said. He gave a few more details, hung up, and
went back to watching TV. "Get Smart" was showing. He'd already seen the
episode 263 times, but he watched it anyway.
   The news came on. A little girl in Auckland had been playing with her
father's soldering iron when she fell off the workbench, still clutching
the soldering iron, into a pile of scrap metal, and had unexpectedly turned
herself into a startlingly good piece of modern sculpture. The Arts Council
and the Health Board were arguing over who had the rights to her.
   He switched the TV off, bored. The pizza arrived and he ate it. Tomorrow
he would be back at work in the lemming factory. Only another 28 years
until retirement. Life just didn't get any better than this...

(Next: Who is this Chicken guy and why does
       he go around crossing roads anyway?)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 51 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:07 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 15 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 43

EPISODE 43:  ENTER A DEMON

   Harris knelt down in the centre of the chalked circle and lit the
candles and the incense briskly. In the background, a cassette tape of Paul
Holmes reading "Anne of Green Gables" backwards was playing. He picked up
the gourd and carefully poured the chicken blood over the impromptu stone
altar, then sat back and surveyed the results. It was sort of...rococo.
   Just right.
   He waited until the tape got to the bit where Holmes started stuttering
uncontrollably as he tried to say "Ylknalb wehttam dias 'lrig a gnitcepxe
ton m'i'" (that bit always cracked him up) before he began the incantation.
   [The incantation that follows contains explicit usage of the word
"Mulch" and has thus been censored.]
   The candles flickered madly as a howling gale suddenly sprang up within
the circle, carrying with it an odour unnervingly evocative of ratatouille.
Just as suddenly, it died away, as -
   - As something appeared, outside the circle.
   The Something cleared its throat, then spoke in a cultured accent. (But
what culture? thought Harris wildly, thinking of streptococci with a
shudder.) "Good evening," the Something said politely.
   "Oh," said Harris ingeniously. "Um...hello, I guess."
   He looked at the Something with a stab of disappointment. He had been
trying to summon up Asmodeus, Duke of Hell. Instead, he'd somehow gotten
hold of some sort of demonic Weasel.
   "You appear to have made a mistake," observed the Weasel. "Surely you
should be outside the circle, and I inside?"
   The ritual instructions had been maddeningly imprecise about that,
Harris remembered. In the end he had taken what seemed to be the most
logical choice. "Why?" he asked. "This is a protective circle, and I want
to be protected from you!"
   "Mm...just so," murmured the Weasel. Then it turned, opened the door,
and walked casually out of the room.
   "Hey, wait a minute!" exclaimed Harris, but the Weasel did not return.
Perhaps he had made a mistake, at that. Who knew what the Weasel would get
up to now? He decided that the next time he tried, he would be on the
outside of the circle, and the demon inside.
   Then he tried to break the circle and get out, and realised that he had
made another mistake...

(Next: "Where, oh where has my little Weasel gone?")

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 52 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:08 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 17 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 44

EPISODE 44:  "WHERE, OH WHERE HAS MY LITTLE WEASEL GONE?"

   ...All in all, it was almost two days before he finally escaped the
circle, and he had plenty of time to regret having left the damned cassette
tape on autoplay.
   By the time his landlady finally ventured inside to ask for the rent, he
was badly dehydrated, not to mention starving, and he had considerable
difficulty in getting across what she had to do to let him out. The fact
that his demon-summoning ritual had had to be performed nude was no help at
all.
   After that, of course, he spent some time in hospital, and then there
were the psychiatric examinations, and finding a new flat (his landlady
having reached some conclusions about him that were unfortunately
accurate). It was some three weeks later that he finally had time to wonder
what to do about the Weasel from Hell.
   By that time, of course, it was far too late. The Weasel's plans were
well under way.

   "I don't believe it," he said when he first found out. The idea was too
hideous to contemplate. Satanic rituals, yes. Mass murders, yes. But..."A
talk-show host?"
   He could not deny the evidence of his eyes. There on the TV screen was
the Weasel, looking as suave as all hell, interviewing a collection of
nervous celebrities. When one of them said something he didn't like, he
conjured up a little hellfire and scorched her mascara. The audience loved
it.
   Worse was to come. Harris had turned away from the TV, nauseated, and
was trying to read the newspaper when a burst of laughter and cheers from
the set caught his attention once more. He listened, transfixed, as the
Weasel's monologue continued. Some comedians tell Irish jokes, or Polish
jokes, or Australian jokes. The Weasel appeared to have its own, unique
variation.
   It was telling "Harris" jokes.
   "All right," Harris muttered. "That's enough, damn it!" He clenched his
teeth, fists and buttocks in grim determination.
   Something had to be done...!

(Next: "This means war, Weasel!")

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 53 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:08 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 15 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 45

EPISODE 45:  "THIS MEANS WAR, WEASEL!"

   Something had to be done, all right.
   But nothing seemed to work.
   He thought of waiting until the Weasel had a priest as guest on its
show, then getting the priest to exorcise the Weasel. He even went so far
as trying to bribe the producer of the show to tell him when a priest would
feature. Everything went swimmingly until the producer found out exactly
how much money Harris had to bribe him with.
   He tried to get a priest into the studio audience, where he could stand
up at the critical moment and exercise his bell, book and candle. But every
priest he approached with the idea seemed to think he himself was in more
need of exorcism than the Weasel.
   (He even thought about becoming a priest himself. But not for very
long.)
   He tried spiking the water lines to the television studio with holy
water. Numerous demons fled the premises, all right (leading him to wonder
just how many producers actually did sell their souls to the Devil for a
prime-time hit), but the Weasel was not one of them. (He found out later
that the Weasel never touched water, having something of a preference for
tabasco sauce. The hotter the better.)
   And all the time, the show went on. And on, and on, and on. He started
hearing "Harris" jokes in the street. On the day when he heard the one
about Richard Harris and the Left-Handed Screwdriver for the twenty-ninth
time, something seemed to snap inside of him.
   "That's enough," he muttered. "Weasel, this means war!"
   He checked his supplies of holy water: still a little left. Then he went
out and bought a water pistol.

   The next day, by dint of only minor treats and really quite trivial
degrees of blackmail, he was in the audience of "The Weasel Show."
   He waited his chance. At last, the taping of the show began. Everybody
applauded wildly as the Weasel came onstage and sat down in the specially
asbestos-lined chair. The Weasel began his opening spiel; Harris didn't
listen.
   He stood up, took careful aim, and...

(Next: Goddamn it, what happens next?)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 54 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:09 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 14 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 46

EPISODE 46:  ASSAULT FORCE X

   The assault squad closed in on the small, isolated building with
ruthless efficiency. Eight of them stood guard, scanning the bleak
surroundings coldly, uzis at the ready, while two others worked at the
door. Long hours of excruciating practise showed in the ease with which
they disarmed the security systems. Within ninety seconds they were opening
the door.
   The squad moved in silently, leaving two men outside to guard the door.
From the outside the building was not much to look at: ramshackle,
run-down, and rodent-infested. Inside it was another story: cool, white
corridors, panels of flashing lights and the barely-audible hum of air
conditioning all bespoke a very high-tech environment. A great deal of care
had gone into camouflaging this installation.
   The attack squad made their way through a bewildering maze of corridors
with the same eerie precision with which they had broken in. At last they
approached their destination: the nerve centre of the complex, the
laboratory where the weapon they had come to steal was being developed.
Only one door remained between them and their target.
   Two men laid strips of plastic explosive at carefully-preplanned points
on the door. They attached detonator wiring and retreated an
exactly-calculated distance. The door was blown open without ceremony;
alarms began to wail, and they headed in quickly. Secrecy was over with;
now was the time for haste.
   But...suddenly, there was another, unanticipated obstacle. A man was in
the room - sitting back casually on the very housing of their target.
Waiting for them.
   "Good evening, gentlemen," the man said. "I see our security leak was
every bit as bad as we thought; you could never have gotten in so smoothly
otherwise. My compliments, by the way; it was superbly done."
   "Thank you," said the assault team leader with cool formality. "Have you
any preferred way of dying?"
   The defending agent smiled charmingly. "In bed, at an advanced age, I
trust," he said. "But I'm afraid I don't anticipate your having anything to
do with it."
   The squad leader's eyes narrowed. "Are you who I think you are?" he
demanded suddenly.
   "Very possibly, I'm afraid," the defender replied candidly. "Agent AM-7,
at your service."
   "Your reputation precedes you," the squad leader admitted, adding, "But
it will not save you this time. You can't possibly expect to get us all!"
   "I? My dear fellow, I don't intend to raise a finger against you!" AM-7
protested. But there was something about his expression, some hint of utter
confidence, that finally made up the squad leader's mind. He gestured his
men to attack.
   - And the room lit up with eerie green light, as lines of fire leaped
from man to man, blindingly swift. They did not even have time to scream
before it was over.
   AM-7 shook his head contemptuously. "Never argue with a laser, my
friend," he told the dead squad leader. Then he looked down at the housing
he was sitting on. "You left it a bit late, Harris," he said accusingly.
   "So sue me," the voice of the AI snapped back. "There were several
milliseconds to spare; you were never in the slightest danger, so quit
complaining!"
   AM-7 sighed. Working with computers was hell...

(Next: Is working WITHOUT computers hell too?)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 55 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:10 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 12 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 47

EPISODE 47:  LORD OF THE JUNGLE?

   ...on his feet. He recovered quickly, pulled the knife from his belt,
and threw. It hit the tiger's side with a dull clang, and bounced off into
the snow. He cursed horribly and flung himself to one side. The tiger
sprang at him at the same moment, missing by bare centimeters. It whirled
incredibly fast, motor whining faintly, and sprang again, but he had
reached the tree and was already half-way up, fear having lent him, if not
wings, at least a certain agility.
   He reached a convenient branch of the tree and crouched upon it for a
moment, breathing hard. But there was no time to lose; already he could
hear the tribe of gorillas approaching through the treetops. They had been
deteriorating badly since he had succeeded in cutting off their supply of
machine oil, and one or two of them had rusted to a dead halt, but as a
tribe they were still formidable opponents.
   He stood carefully, clinging to the trunk in case he should slip on the
branch's viscous surface, and reached for a vine. There was only one way to
be sure of surviving the gorillas, and that was to be absent when they
arrived. He clutched a couple of links of the vine tightly, took a deep
breath, and swung.
   The vine's path took him over the lake, but he knew better than to let
go. The surface looked innocent enough, inviting even, but the crocodiles
beneath it were anything but; and if they failed to polish him off, the
concentrated acid would kill him in seconds.
   The lake was only a few hundred yards wide. In moments the vine had
carried him across, and he dropped lightly to the jungle floor again. Now
all he had to look out for was the Ngogi tribe and their savage
tracker-weasels. He was hoping to find a way to jam their control signals,
but so far only the x-ray laser was even slowing them down.
   He took a deep breath, and started forward. Already he could hear the
shrill squealing of the weasels...

(Next: Laertes, Laertes, wherefore art thou Laertes?)

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WEASELMsg # 56 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:11 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 11 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 48

EPISODE 48:  SIGN OF TERROR

   The sound came again, faintly above the constant moaning of the wind
about the eaves of the ancient house. It was the night of the new moon, and
without the building, all was utterly dark; even the cold, distant
starlight illuminated nothing. But somehow, as Dr Harris gazed, horrified,
through the gable window, it seemed to him that he could see something
moving: something that was somehow darker than its midnight surroundings,
some vast, stygian clot of absolute blackness that moved, moved, with an
evil purposefulness.
   What dark secret did this new manifestation foreshadow? With a shudder
he turned away from the window, back to the dim light of the lamps, and the
yellowish sheaf of papers that he had been studying. The sound came once
more, somewhat louder, and he shuddered again unconsciously; then he lifted
the top sheet.
   How many times had he traced the strange characters of the manuscript!
Strange, twisting letters, somehow upsetting to the eye, and of an alphabet
unknown to him: but lately, since he had taken up residence in this old,
decaying house that had been his grandfather's, it had sometimes seemed to
him that he was on the verge of understanding their meaning; indeed, that
their import was somehow imprinting itself directly upon his consciousness,
without the intermediary of his eyes.
   It was a strange, uneasy feeling, but it was as nothing to the emotion
he felt at the meaning of what he believed he was beginning to perceive.
Tonight, as for the first time the sounds outside had begun to register
upon his ears, the feeling had come to him more strongly than ever before;
he felt as though he were on the verge of some dreadful abyss of knowledge,
but there was a light that drew him on: pallid, dim and dreadful, but
irresistible in its ghostly summons. Now, as the sounds continued to grow
around the doors and windows of the lower floor, he could withstand the
summons no longer; he held the paper close to the lamp and began to read:

     "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn -"

   He tore his eyes away from the manuscript in a spasm of loathing, for
the words had seemed to writhe before his eyes, to twist themselves into a
new shape, into words that he could understand:

     "In his house at Rl'yeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming -"

   He shuddered, trying to look away. But the terrible fascination that the
words exerted upon him drew him on, beyond that dark invocation, to the
eerie verselet:

     "That is not dead which can eternal lie,
      And with strange eons, even death may die -
      But until then, 'till Cthulhu's days are born,
      The time is spent in partying 'till dawn..."

   Harris sank back into his chair, his face a mask of unspeakable
horror...

(Next: Disco at the Mountains of Madness)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 57 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:13 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 11 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 49

EPISODE 49:  LOVE STORY (WELL, NEARLY)

   Gloria stared at him in horror. "Sir, are you suggesting what I think
you are?" she demanded indignantly.
   "I think you know exactly what I'm suggesting," Richard whispered
hoarsely.
   Inwardly she smiled - she had him right where she wanted him now - but
she allowed none of her true feelings to show. "Then I think you'd better
come right out and say it," she said airily.
   "I -" Richard swallowed hard. "I - that is - you see, well - what I'm
trying to say is - oh, damn it, Gladia, I think I love y -"
   "Gloria," she said.
   "I - I - what?"
   "You said Gladia. Honestly, Richard, I do think you might -"
   "Just a moment," said Richard with a curious frown. "Isn't your name
Gladia?"
   "No, of course not. You know that, Richard."
   "But - when we met, you told me your name was Gladia."
   "I did? I mean, of course I didn't! Don't be silly, Richard."
   Richard frowned again. There was something wrong. "There's something
wrong," he said, realising that she couldn't possibly make such a gigantic
mistake. "You couldn't possibly make such a gigantic mistake," he added.
   "I, uh, think you're the one who's making the mistake, Richard."
   "You don't even sound like Gladia! You must be an imposter!" Richard
shouted wildly, leaping to conclusions like anything. "What have you done
with her!"
   "Oh Richard, darling, don't be so silly," said Gloria, or Gladia, or
whoever, trying a new ploy. "Why don't you just calm down, and we'll
French-kiss until our socks dissolve?"
   "No!" cried Richard. "I know who you really are!" He reached out and
ripped off her mask, flinging it away in a paroxysm of angst. "You're -
you're -" He stared at her real face, taking in the pointed nose, the
elegantly-styled whiskers.
   "You're...Weaselle!"
   There was a sudden noise. They both looked around, startled. It was the
author, being noisily sick.

(Next: Ovipositors Away!)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 58 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:13 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 11 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 50

EPISODE 50:  WHAT A WAY TO DIE...

   The grizzly bear lumbered forward with a ponderous grace. It was huge -
well over a thousand pounds, thought Harris unmetrically - and a single
blow from one of those massive paws would be the end of him.
   He thought about what a damn stupid thing he had done.
   The bear rose up onto its hind legs, towering over Harris as he lay,
huddled beneath the blankets, shaking with terror. He knew what was coming.
   "Well, well," rumbled the bear. "Who's been sleeping in my bed, then?"
   "It was a mistake," quavered Harris. "Honestly."
   "Oh, right," the bear said sarcastically. My, what big teeth it had.
GOD, what big teeth it had. "That's what they all say. Catch them in your
bed, fair and square, it's always bloody 'Oh please Mr Bear, don't kill
me,' or 'No, no, it wasn't my fault!' I tell you, I've had it up to here!"
   "Well, what do you expect?" demanded Harris indignantly. "I mean, you're
doing it all wrong! You're not even supposed to come in until I get to the
third bed!"
   "That's little girls you're thinking of," the bear informed him.
"Grown-ups like you, we're allowed to kill whenever we like. Preferably
before you get the sheets all rumpled up. And covered with mud too, I don't
doubt."
   "Well excuse me," muttered Harris sourly. "At least I left your sodding
porridge alone."
   "Just as well for you," remarked the bear with a distinctly hungry leer.
"It's dosed with enough cyanide to sink a battleship. Or to kill an army,
rather." It blinked. "No, on second thoughts I think 'to sink a battleship'
is right after all."
   "Cyanide? God, what sort of bear, are you anyway? I mean, eating people,
all right, at least it's sort of appropriate. But poisoning them...?"
   "So sue me," retorted the bear. "You don't have legions of bloody
tourists waltzing in and out all day long, sampling your breakfast and
sleeping in your bed. If you don't like it, tough luck."
   "It's not much of a bed anyway. Too hard."
   "Up yours. It's good for my back."
   Harris took a deep breath. "Look," he said reasonably. "This is getting
us nowhere. Do you think you might just possibly see your way clear to,
well, letting me go?"
   The bear sighed. "Oh, hell. Just get out of here quickly, will you?
Maybe I'll have time to do a bit of spring-cleaning before the next lot
arrive." It frowned at him. "Come to think of it, you don't exactly look
like the usual sort to come in here. Middle-aged freakouts and simpering
juvenile delinquents, that's what we usually get. What gives?"
   Harris got out of the bed, trying to leave as little mud as possible on
the sheets. "If you must know, I was being chased," he said sourly. "This
looked like a good place to hide."
   "Chased? Who by?" The bear seemed interested.
   "This sodding great weasel, that's who! Damn thing seems to have found a
chainsaw somewhere. You ask me, these woods are getting out of control."
   "You're telling me," said the bear. "Well, you'd better be on your way.
Tell you what, if I see it passing, I'll ask it in for a nice friendly bowl
of porridge. All right?"
   "That's very kind of you..."

(Next: 200000000 Leagues Under the Carpet)

-
Reply
#6
WEASELMsg # 59 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:15 pm

From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 10 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 51

EPISODE 51:  THE WEASEL - CAPTURED!

   "Don't move, Weasel!" barked Harris triumphantly.
   The Weasel looked up at him, startled. "So...it's you, Harris," he
snarled. "How did you ever find me?"
   "Simplicity itself," Harris said. "I just looked in the Yellow Pages
under 'Secret Hideouts'."
   "Damn!" muttered the Weasel vehemently. "I knew that was a bad idea. But
the advertising man was so persuasive, and it was a very good rate..."
   "Really?" asked Harris, interested. "Tell me about it."
   "Well, he came in one day - extremely polite, you understand, Telecom
must be a wonderful company to have people like him working for them -"

     NOTE:  This episode of "Richard Harris"
            is not  sponsored by  Telecom in
            any way whatsoever.

   "- and he pointed out all the options so helpfully, and even offered me
a discount if I -"

            Nor is the author, Angus MacSpon,
            an employee of Telecom. Really.

   "- not that he had to be too persuasive, mind you, their services are
extremely attractive -"

            No, he's just doing all this out
            of  the  goodness of  his  heart.
            Honest!

   "I agree," said Harris earnestly. "Telecom are wonderful. I myself would
gladly lay down my life for them if they needed it -"

            Personally,  I think he's  over-
            doing it, don't you?

   "- not that such a godlike company could ever want to have anything to
do with a worthless piece of offal like me -"

     WARNING:  Acute nausea imminent.
               Remainder of  episode
               suppressed.

(Next: What Telecom can do for YOU!)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 60 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:16 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 11 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 52

EPISODE 52:  A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A MACSPON

   All right. I have to churn out another Harris episode. I was going to
make it about Elvis impersonators, or maybe Harris impersonators (after all
I have to tie it into the storyline somehow), but for no very good reason
I've suddenly changed my mind and it's going to be set in a court instead.
   "Richard Melvyn Harris, you have been found guilty of some of the most
heinous crimes that have ever been brought to my attention," droned the
Judge judiciously. No, I mean judicially. Or, no, perhaps justly would be
better.
   No, no, forget it, it's just getting worse and worse, isn't it? Never
mind, we've used up all the convenient Judge puns, so maybe we can get on
with the episode already, hmm?
   "Now," the Judge continued, "considering your case, I have to say that
in my judgement -"
   Oh no. It's going to be one of THOSE episodes. Never mind. I am still in
control. I am still in control.
   "Wait a moment," protested Harris. "In all justice I think you have to
consider -"
   No, No. This is not happening to me. Still, things can only improve. Can
I think of another pun on "Judge" or "Justice"? No I can not. Good.
   "Silence in court," snapped the Judge, wielding his gavel with a
flourish. "I'm going to sum up."
   "Well, I'm not totally satisfied, but I don't have anything to add,"
grumbled Harris, his attention divided productively amongst the remainder
of the court.
   "Good. Now, we must differentiate between several factors, subtracting
those which are not integral to the whole equation, or the difficulties
could multiply exponentially."
   This episode is getting perverse. I mean, even for a Richard Harris
episode it's getting perverse. Plus I have to get the Weasel in somehow,
it's expected of me. (Well, he's one of the title characters, it's bad form
for him not to even appear. Trouble is, I can't think of too many puns on
Weasels.)
   "We could weaselly get bogged down in a case such as this..." began the
Judge, but, alas, that was the straw that broke the camel's back, so to
speak. I mean, hay, enough's enough!

(Next: No puns, I promise!)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 61 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:16 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 10 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 53

ISSUE NUMBER 53

They thought they could defeat me.  Those puny morons actually thought they
could defeat ME!  Well, they shall learn their lesson.  They shall learn
that NOBODY defeats RICHARD HARRIS!

<Grunt>
<Strain>

So, fool!  Now, you meet your master!

Hurt you?  Of COURSE I'm going to hurt you.  But I'll be MERCIFUL -

<Crunch> <Gurgle>

- It won't hurt for LONG.

Pah!  Enough of these small fry.  Now to tackle the TRUE villain - that
evil mastermind WEASEL.  He reckoned without my OMEGA POWER when he had his
minions handcuff me, batter me unconscious, inject me with 60 cc's of
potassium cyanide, pour 18 tons of quick-setting cement over me, submerge
me in 10000 feet of shark-infested water, and finally detonate a
200-kiloton NUCLEAR BOMB directly on top of me!  But now -

<Grunt>

- he shall PAY for that mistake!

What, fool, will you threaten ME with a 400 gigajoule x-ray laser?  Don't
bother me with such paltry stuff!

<Wham-zam-zam-KREEEEOW>
<Sizzle>

(Sigh)  These fools never learn.

WEASEL!  Where are you?  Confront me, you coward!

Ahh - at last!  But come - don't hide behind that meson lance.  You know
it'll only TICKLE me.

Oh, come on - REALLY.  A quark phase inverter?  Where do you GET this
stuff?

Wait a minute.  What's - where did you get that?  How - surely you can't
mean to - No! No!  Wait! -

<Gulp>
<vvvmmmrrrVVVVMMMMMMMMMMM...>
<Gasp>

Only - one - chance - left -

(Don't miss next exciting issue!)

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WEASELMsg # 62 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:17 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 10 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 54

EPISODE 54:  WHISTLER'S DUCK

   "Go, Harris, go, Harris, go, go, go," chanted the cheerleaders loyally;
but it was clear that their hearts weren't in it. It wasn't hard to see
why. The game may not have been the most lackluster in the history of the
sport, but it had to have been close.
   The crowd knew it, too. They weren't actually booing yet, you had to
give them that, they were loyal to a fault. But they weren't exactly
cheering, either, except for the moment when Todd Weasel, who was playing
Forward-Left Prang for the opposition, slipped in a patch of mud and
bloodied his nose.
   Even Harris, who could usually be counted on for some eye-catching play
when he got his hands on the duck, seemed to be feeling under the weather.
He had been nimble enough dodging the opposition Centre Shudderers to start
with, but barely twenty minutes into the second Shuttle he'd begun to lag.
Now, like the rest of both teams, he seemed to be merely going through the
motions: swatting at the duck if it fluttered past, trotting in the
direction of the nearest quimble when the Shudderers called a frame, but
obviously not really caring.
   None of the spectators were leaving, though. They knew it'd liven up
once the lions were released.
   There was a sudden stirring on the field. A confused murmur sprang up
among the crowd; it redoubled when they saw what had happened: the away
team had substituted their Whistler for a played-out Cloat. This could
change everything.
   The Cloat was waddling awkwardly on his stilts away from the field, his
face a mask of weariness, when the Whistler cantered past him, a thermal
grenade clasped firmly in each heavily-gauntleted hand, his horse's spiked
collar almost catching a stilt. The Whistler paused for a brief gloat - it
would have been worth two points if he'd waited until he was on the field -
before going out to join his teammates.
   The duck was released. Both teams let out the traditional yodel, and
sprang into the fray...

(Next: less Sport, and more of Something Else)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 63 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:18 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 11 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 55

EPISODE 55:  THRILLS, SPILLS AND -

   He wrenched the wheel desperately to the left; the car responded with a
scream of tyres, making it round the bend by a hairsbreadth. Another bullet
whistled overhead from the car behind. He wondered who was shooting at him
this time.
   Could be just about anyone, he thought.
   It was true. There were few people who would not kill him if they got
the chance. He had often wondered why.
   Another corner ahead, a sharp one. If he slowed down enough to take it
safely the gunmen would get him for sure. If he didn't he'd hurtle over the
800-foot cliff, and there was a strong possibility that he might be hurt.
   There was a hitch-hiker standing on the road. He braked to a smooth stop
and flung the door open. The hiker climbed in. "Thanks," she said. He put
the car into gear and started off down the highway once more.
   "Where you going?" he asked.
   "Oh, quite a ways," she responded casually. "How far can you take me?"
   "A good bit, anyhow," he drawled back. He looked in the rear-vision
mirror and frowned. "You know, I could have sworn that a few moments ago I
was driving up a mountain road with a car full of gunmen chasing me."
   "I see," the girl said soothingly, clicking her teeth together several
times for emphasis.
   "What's more, I'm pretty sure I was wearing a green shirt," he added,
looking down at his jerkin in confusion. He shook his head in bafflement,
then flicked the reins to spur the horses on. The trap picked up a little
speed.
   "I'faith, sirrah," the young lady said, smiling prettily, "perchance
thou wast but dreaming."
   "No, no, I'm fairly sure there's something funny going on," he replied,
pulling the joystick back a little and easing the aircraft into a long,
slow bank. "But I'm not sure I can quite put my finger on it. Where did you
say you were heading again?"
   "The planet Gruntia," the girl said. "That's 137.6 Mark 22, and 182.4
parsecs out." He punched the coordinates in and put the ship into
hyperdrive. The starfield around them blue-shifted out of sight obediently.
   "Really?" he said, surprised. "I heard that was a radioactive wasteland
these days." He manipulated the paddles expertly, guiding the canoe around
a bend in the river.
   "Only in this continuum," she explained. "I'm going to visit my sister,
Daisy Rumblethighs, in the next dimension over." She ducked instinctively
as a missile shot overhead, but the tank rolled on unscathed.
   "Ah," he said. Suddenly he remembered something. "Name's Harris, by the
way," he added. "Richard Harris."
   "Thelma Thundertush," she replied winsomely, running a hand through her
hair and accidentally pulling a large handful out by the roots. "Oops."
   "What's the next dimension over like?" he asked idly, pedalling
furiously.
   "They call it 'The Dimension Where Everything Is Nice And Quiet And
Dull.' It's not much, really, but at least it's more stable than this one."
   "Oh? What do they call this one, then?" inquired Harris, bringing the
ornithopter in for a stomach-wrenching landing.
   "Well...it's called 'The Dimension Where Everything Happens For No
Apparent Reason,'" Thelma replied seriously...

(Next: The Dimension Where Everything Happens Very Very Loudly)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 64 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:19 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 10 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 56

EPISODE 56:  DRESS CODES

   Richard Bartholomew Harris strode briskly down the avenue, cane tucked
under his arm, hat adjusted to the perfect angle, every inch impeccable to
the nines. Even the parrot on his shoulder was freshly-groomed; and though
bitter experience had shown it to be inadequately housetrained, today he
had remedied the situation by the skillful application of a small cork.
   As he passed old Mrs Weston's residence, the lady herself staggered out
her front door, curlers in her hair, to pick up her morning paper. Harris
noted with distaste that she had nothing more than a common raven on her
shoulder, and a rather scruffy one at that. That was the lower classes for
you.
   "Mornin', Mr Harris," she leered at him as he hurried past. The raven
croaked. He restrained a shudder.
   Next door, Mr Harcourt stood, his arms outstretched, covered with
sparrows. He was awkwardly trying to shoo all but one of them away, but was
not having much luck. Harcourt was only twenty-six, nothing but a lad
really, but he tried hard.
   Harris crossed the road before he reached the next house. That old fool
Percy Shelton would keep trying vultures.
   He sighed in relief as he passed Shelton's house without being
dive-bombed. Getting to work on the Day of the Bird was always a trial. At
least tomorrow, the Day of the Weasel, would be quieter.

(Next: Around the World in 27 Seconds, And
       Dizzy For a Week Afterwards)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 65 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:20 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 11 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 57

EPISODE 57:  HA-HA, HARRIS!

   If looks could have killed, or preferably hamstrung, tortured for at
least a week, and finally boiled in oil, then the look that the Weasel
directed at Richard Harris would have done so.
   Not that this was anything unusual, you understand. It was the sort of
look that the Weasel directed at everybody. The Weasel had that sort of
face.
   Nevertheless, there was undisguised malevolence in the words that the
Weasel spoke, flinging them like envenomed darts of hate at his nemesis.
   "Ha-ha, Richard Harris!" he rasped evilly. "Don't think you can escape
me this time. This time, ha-ha, the triumph shall be ho-ho, that is to say
mine, ha-ha, and there is no earthly, ha, way you can, ha, escape, ha-ha,
ho!"
   Harris stared back at the Weasel in disbelief.
   "I don't believe it," he said unbelievingly.
   "That matters not," grunted the Weasel, making a strange gesture in the
air and looking pleased at the effect. "Ha ha."
   Harris looked at the bars of his cage once more. It was hard to believe
that someone like the Weasel had actually succeeded in doing his trousers
up that morning, let alone closing the cage door on him.
   With a sinking feeling he saw that the Weasel's fly was undone.
   "Now, Richard Ha-ha-ha-harris," the Weasel hiccoughed, "comes the moment
of ha. I mean, the ha. The moment. Ho-ho. Of thingey, yes, ha. The moment
of ha. Truth, that's the one, heh-heh-heh. The ha of moment. Well I'm sure
you know what I'm laughing about, anyway. Ho."
   At this rate, Harris reflected squeamishly, it was going to be a close
thing whether he would go mad before the Weasel laughed himself to death.
   "You see," giggled the Weasel, "all I ha, I mean ha-a, ha-aa-a, have to
do is to pull this, ho ho, this lever, chortle, and the 16-ton weight -"
   Chortle? thought Harris. Did he actually say chortle?
   "- will come down, hee, hee, hee, and squash you, hah, squash, hah, hah,
ha-ha-ha, squash -"
   The Weasel stopped for a moment, panting, then resumed.
   "- squash, ho. Yes, squash you like a ho."
   For one, wild moment Harris wondered what would happen if the Weasel
ever tried nitrous oxide. Would he burst?
   "Right," said the Weasel determinedly, trying to stop grinning quite so
much. "I'm going to ho the lever now, heh. Do you ha any last words?"
   "Yes," said Harris promptly. "Who was that lady I saw you with last
night?" He waited, with bated breath, to see if it would work...

(Next: Revenge of the Killer Whelks)

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WEASELMsg # 66 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:21 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 10 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 58

EPISODE 58:  WHICH IS ENTIRELY TOO MUCH ABOUT BANANAS

   I picked up the banana, peeled it, and ate it slowly. It tasted much
like every other banana I have ever eaten, which did not surprise me very
much as I had had no reason to expect otherwise.
   After I had finished, I looked around for somewhere to put the peel.
There was a litter bin nearby, and I walked over to it, taking a number of
medium-length steps instead of three or four giant paces because I was not
in a giant-pace-taking mood.
   The litter bin was about half-full, and I tossed the banana peel in
casually, disturbing a number of flies.
   As I walked away from the bin, still taking medium-length paces but this
time varying matters by trying not to step on too many cracks in the
pavement (although since my mother died several years ago I really had
nothing to fear in this quarter), I thought about the banana I had just
eaten. The skin had been yellow in colour, similar to that of many other
bananas I have eaten over the last few years. Were there, I wondered, no
red bananas? Or blue? I speculated about how difficult it would be to
genetically engineer a purple banana. But, if it were purple, would it
still taste like a banana?
   My lunch hour was nearly over, and I started back towards my place of
work. I was the only employee of Osbourne Widgets and Knobs (1982) Ltd who
had such a deep and abiding interest in bananas. Sometimes I thought that
this was a great pity.
   A man ran past me, pursued by a giant weasel.
   There was a large brown paper bag in my desk at work, containing six
more ripe bananas. I thought about eating another one when I arrived, but
regretfully decided that eight in less than an hour was probably enough. I
would just have to ration myself...

(Next: Cabbages. Or maybe Beets.)

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WEASELMsg # 67 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:21 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 11 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 59

EPISODE 59:  BIRDS OF A FEATHER

   "Drat that woodpecker. If it does it just once more, I'm gonna load my
blunderbuss."
   "Are you sure that that's wise? Resorting to violence, I mean?"
   "Waal, I look at it more as a public service. I mean, that bird is
seriously insane. You only have to look at it. That funny kinda glint it
gets in its eye when it sees a new target...it just makes me shiver."
   "Glint in its eye? I beg your pardon...this is a bird we're talking
about, isn't it?"
   "Ho yus. And that ain't all. I looked it up, y'know. In the
encyclopedia. Under 'W'. That pecking business, it said they do it to look
for insects, or to make holes to build their nests in."
   "I...believe so, yes."
   "Well, all I'm saying is, there's precious few insects inside my tabby
cat. As for building nests...no, I don't even want to think about it."
   "Your tabby cat? You're not serious, of course."
   "I can show you the scars."
   "Great Scott!"
   "So you see what I'm saying, Mr Harris? I mean, I done my best to find a
peaceful solution. But yesterday, when I saw what it did to my lawn-mower -
 well, you gotta draw the line somewhere. As of the next time I see that
blasted creature, it's blunderbuss time."
   "But...but why a blunderbuss? Why not just put out poison?"
   "Poison! You show me a way of making that thing eat poison and maybe I
won't sit on your face, laughing my fool head off and waving a bag of
pretzels in the air next time."
   "I -"
   "Sorry, incidentally. I got carried away."
   "...Think nothing of it. It - didn't really hurt all that much."
   "Well, it sure is good of you to say so. You know, it's always a
pleasure to find somebody who's interested in woodpeckers. A real pleasure.
Ahh - drat it all."
   "What's the matter?"
   "My shoulder's itching again, and this damn straightjacket won't let me
scratch it proper."
   "Here, let me do it. After all, you did it for me last time."
   "So I did. Say, you still seein' that weasel thing you were always
talking about?"
   "Mm, now and then. These days I'm really more interested in
woodpeckers..."

(Next: The Curse of the Pinstriped Baboon)

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WEASELMsg # 68 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:22 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 10 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 60

EPISODE 60:  THE SHRINK THAT DIDN'T

   Dr Richard Harris leaned back, absently tapping his teeth with the end
of his pencil. "Now then," he began in a reassuring voice. "How long have
you been under the impression that you are a - uhh..."
   "A weasel from hell."
   "That, yes." Dr Harris made a quick note.
   His patient stirred restlessly. "I don't like the way you said, 'under
the impression'," he complained. "I'm not under the impression that I'm a
weasel from hell. I really am a weasel from hell."
   Harris smiled ingratiatingly. "Of course," he said soothingly. "I do
apologise. Let me ask, then - when did you first realise that you are a, a
weasel from hell?"
   The patient thought about it for a moment. "That's kind of a difficult
question," he admitted at last. "You see, you've got to realise that, as a
demonic entity, I am naturally immortal. I mean, you may not think it to
look at me, but I'm actually well over seven billion years old."
   Dr Harris made a whole series of confusing notes.
   "So you see," the patient went on, "it's not always easy to remember
that far back. The last million years or so, now, they're real clear. The
last ten million, even. But beyond that...well, you know how it is. I only
have a few stray memories left from beyond two billion years ago. Like the
first time the succubus next door caught me without my kidneys in.
   "So frankly, I can only say: I haven't the faintest idea when I first
realised what I am. As far as I can tell, I've always known it."
   Dr Harris considered. "You put me in a difficult position," he said
after a moment. "Normally in this sort of case I'd ask you about your
childhood. But you say you don't remember it."
   "No. Sorry, doc." The patient stirred restlessly, and the couch
underneath it burst into flame.
   "Please - I did ask you to be careful of the couch."
   "Oops." The flames died out instantly. "Well, never mind, just pop it on
the bill." The patient gave an eerie laugh. "After all, it's all being paid
for by Prince Lucifer."
   Dr Harris sighed. "Mr - ah - Weasel, I'm afraid I'm not going to be able
to help you. I want to refer you to a specialist -"
   He spoke for several minutes, giving the patient the address and
promising to speak with the consultant about the case. The patient left,
and Dr Harris telephoned the consultant to make an appointment.
   "Thelma? It's Richard. I've got another case that I'd be glad if you'd
take on - ah, good. That'll be excellent. Yes, just like the others...says
he's a weasel from hell. You know, demonic flames, the lot.
   "What? No, a weasel. That's right. Poor devil! Hard to tell what he is
really, through all the smoke and hellfire. My impression was a hedgehog.
Yes, a hedgehog from hell. No wonder he fantasises about being a weasel..."

(Next: The Hedgehog from Hell meets the Man from UNCLE)

-
Reply
#7
WEASELMsg # 69 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:25 pm

From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 10 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 61

EPISODE 61:  No Radishes

   "ATTENTION!" the voice thundered out of the sky, amplified to the point
where it was only just recognisable. "STOP WHATEVER YOU'RE DOING AND PAY
ATTENTION!"
   Dick Harris patted the last shovelful of earth into place carefully,
laid down his spade, looked up and said innocently, "Why?"
   "BECAUSE," the voice went on ear-splittingly, "WHAT I HAVE TO SAY IS OF
VITAL IMPORTANCE, NOT JUST TO YOU BUT...could I ask what you were burying?"
   "What?" Dick kicked the spade carelessly aside.
   "Err...no, it's nothing, I...that is, LISTEN CLOSELY, EARTHLING! YOU
IGNORE ME AT YOUR PERIL, AND...er, look, what is it, anyway?"
   "Why do you want to know?" asked Dick, rubbing his ears pointedly.
   "Ahh...no reason especially, it's just...uh...there's a hand still
showing. Just by your left foot, see? Um, that is, I mean, PAY ATTENTION,
HUMAN! COSMIC AFFAIRS ARE AFOOT, and...oh gosh."
   Dick looked down. The voice was quite correct; one hand was still
sticking up out of the cool, moist earth. "Oops," he muttered. "Sorry,
sis." He picked to the spade again and covered it over. Then he looked up
once more. "Thanks," he said grudgingly.
   "Oh, not at all, not at all," the voice gabbled nervously at well over a
hundred decibels. "Now, where was I? Ah, yes - BY ORDER OF THE GALACTIC
UNDERDEVELOPED RACES TRIBUNAL (MURINAVI SECTOR), YOUR SPECIES IS
HEREBY...um, so you're burying your sister, then?"
   Dick nodded vigorously. "Yes," he agreed. "And," he added, "her poodle."
   "Ah," thundered the voice. "That's probably all right then.
Um...Galactic Tribunal... Murinavi...ah, here we are! YOUR SPECIES IS
HEREBY GIVEN NOTICE THAT, WITHIN THE NEXT...er, actually, that is, I
couldn't help noticing...my scanners here seen to show that she's still
alive. Um."
   Dick thought about it for a moment. "Maybe they're malfunctioning," he
suggested. "Tell you what. Wait five minutes and try again, see if they
still show the same thing."
   "That seems reasonable enough," admitted the voice. "Now then - YOUR
SPECIES IS HEREBY GIVEN NOTICE THAT..."

(Next: The Return of Captain Proton!)

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WEASELMsg # 70 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:25 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 12 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 62

EPISODE 62:  A BAD CASE OF THE NURDLES

   Muffled thuds and clanks echoing out of the house drew curious looks
from passers-by. The eerie whining of a hand drill, boring through
substances not commonly associated with hand drills, redoubled their
curiosity. But it was not until the powerful motors started up, shattering
the silence of the night with a spastic rhythm of gears grinding, pistons
pulsating and burners backfiring that they ventured inside to investigate.
   They found old Doctor Harris, the eccentric inventor who had last drawn
popular attention when he had been had up in court for trying to
demonstrate his bagel-festering apparatus in public, in the cellar, hastily
riveting a huge, complex machine that was vibrating in an unnerving way. He
glanced up as they came in. "Ah, good," he muttered, brushing his long grey
hair out of his eyes. "Can somebody pass me that torque wrench?"
   Mrs Gulliver, his elderly neighbour, obliged, her eyes bulging slightly.
Harris hefted it experimentally, eyed the machine, and made a careful
adjustment to a fidley piece of apparatus sticking out of the machine. The
machine promptly made a tremendous hissing sound, emitted a small cloud of
steam, and fell suddenly silent.
   "Just in time," commented Harris cryptically. He opened a small hatch in
the machine and removed a metallic tub that trailed a small army of
electrodes behind it. It was filled with what the newcomers gradually
realised were lentils, each with a tiny hole drilled with geometrical
precision through its centre of mass. Harris studied the bowl sadly.
   "No good," he remarked. "They just can't take the strain. And the pasta
was no better." He ate a lentil idly.
   "Oh, Doctor, what is this machine?" gushed old Mrs Gulliver. (She had
never been the same since her husband disappeared at sea on four journeys
in a row.)
   "This?" said Harris, startled. "It's - well, it's complicated to
explain. But watch this!" He glanced around the cellar wildly, his gaze at
last falling upon one of his earlier inventions, a robotic cat that had
functioned perfectly until one day it had tried to chase two mice at once,
suffered an input/output stack overflow, and had ended up hiding in the
linen cupboard, apparently trying to pick up a pillowcase by the scruff of
the neck but fortunately not getting very far.
   "Ah!" he exclaimed. "Just the thing." He picked up the cat (it twitched
a few times as he did so - the batteries were running down) and connected
its main addressing bus to a massive socket on the side of the machine.
"Here does!" he said, throwing a switch. All the lights in the room
promptly went out amidst a massive crackling sound.
   "Holy cow," blurted out one of the neighbours, peering through a
fanlight. "I think he's blown out half the town!"
   "Dear me," muttered Harris, looking at the cat, which had melted. "I
think there may be a slight error here..."

(Next: The Man in the Moon meets the Artichoke in the Sun)

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WEASELMsg # 71 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:26 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 11 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 63

EPISODE 63:  STATE OF SIEGE

   The computer cleared its electronic throat metaphorically. "Um," it
announced, "I think you should take a look at this, Boss."
   "What now?" asked the Weasel wearily. "This had better not be one of
your stupid practical jokes. Just remember what I told you last time."
   "It's not a joke. Honest."
   "Whatever possessed you to fill my boots with porridge, I'll never
know."
   "Spur-of-the-moment thing. Couldn't resist the temptation, actually, you
know how it is."
   "What I don't see is how you did it at all. I mean, you don't have any
hands or anything."
   "Ah. Now thereby hangs a tale -"
   "Save it. What did you want me to look at?"
   "The external scanners are showing something very odd. It may be Harris
coming after you again."
   The Weasel sat up suddenly, an expression of blind panic spreading
across his whiskers. "What? Oh, no! How did he find me again so quickly? I
thought we'd gotten clean away this time!"
   He got up, fiddled with the monitor controls again for a moment and at
last managed to get a picture of the grounds outside. A large, highly
conspicuous bush was slowly creeping across the lawn towards the
blockhouse.
   The Weasel frowned. "You said Harris was outside," he complained to the
computer. "Where? I don't see him."
   "He's inside the bush, you idiot," the computer said in a long-suffering
tone. Honestly, these humans!
   The Weasel wrestled with the concept for a moment, then gave up. "I'll
take your word for it," he muttered. "What are we going to do now? Harris
will kill me!"
   "You have only yourself to blame," the computer chided him. "After all
-"
   "All right, so I put his budgerigar under a 20,000-ton hydraulic press!
One little mistake!"
   The computer sighed, its head in its hands - no, that's right, it didn't
have any hands, did it? - well, doing some form of ingenious electronic
equivalent, anyway, very likely something to do with twiddling its
input-output queues. "Well, you have two choices," it said patiently. "You
can run away again -"
   "Gosh, now, that's an idea -"
   "Or you could try and fight him off."
   "What, you mean - with weapons? Would that be safe?"
   The computer snuck another look out of the external monitors. "Well,
maybe not," it conceded. "After all, this shelter is full of
omnidisruptomatic hyperchronostatic beams, polycardial neural imploders and
mutochromatic disgustotron bombs, and he's got this pointed stick. Perhaps
we'd better make a break for it..."

(Next: Gone With the Wind, And Came Back Again)

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WEASELMsg # 72 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:27 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 11 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 64

EPISODE 64:  CULTURE OR BUST!

   They danced out onto the stage, arms linked, feet flying, to the
thunderous applause of the audience. The musicians down in the orchestra
pit struck up the opening number. It was going to be a perfect opening
night.
   But a close observer might have noticed something out-of-the-ordinary
about two of the chorus girls.
   "Are you sure this is going to work?" whispered Richard Harris to the
Weasel, who was next in line. Harris squirmed slightly; the sequined tights
were two or three sizes too small for him and felt as if they were about to
let go explosively any moment.
   "Have you got a better idea?" hissed the Weasel back. "Look, it's bound
to be all right! Who else would ever think of - hold it. Here's that damned
pirouette coming up..." He twirled around solemnly.
   "You do that very well," murmured Harris.
   "Thank you. Relic of a misspent childhood, I'm afraid."
   "Eh? But..." Harris decided not to ask. "Never mind. Look, admittedly
the Intergalactic Niceness Patrol won't think of looking for us here..."
   "Of course not. They're far too nice to even think of coming anywhere
near a performance of 'The Ballet of Eskimo Nell.'"
   "...but what I don't see is how we're going to make it through the next
scene without being exposed. Possibly in more ways than one..."

(Next: "The Viruses" by Aristophanes)

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WEASELMsg # 73 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:28 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 14 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 65

EPISODE 65:  SHIPWRECKS AHOY!

   A fish swam lazily past. Harris swatted at it irritably with one
flipper, but it avoided him with ease and made a bee-line for an inviting
bed of kelp, which was unusual because, underwater as they were, the very
concept of a bee was distinctly alien; indeed had the fish itself been
asked it would no doubt rather have said that it had made a plankton-line
for the kelp, or some such idiotic phrase, except that fish of course
cannot talk, and there is, moreover, considerable doubt as to their ability
to think, so that it is highly probable that had the fish indeed been asked
about its preference regarding language, it would actually have simply
blown a bubble or two, and swum for it; on the other hand, had the fish
been some hypothetical form of intelligent aquatic lifeform instead, we
might imagine that it would have...

   THIS EPISODE HAS BEEN ABANDONED

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WEASELMsg # 74 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:28 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 14 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 66 (I think)

EPISODE 66:  SHIPWRECKS AHOY!  (B)

   A fish swam lazily past. Harris swatted at it irritably with one
flipper, but it avoided him with ease and headed for an inviting bed of
kelp, where no doubt it found much to occupy itself with. Harris paid it no
further attention; he was too busy concentrating on not throwing up into
his diving helmet to bother much with a mere fish. It took a certain amount
of effort to be seasick underwater, but Harris was an expert.
   "All right," he announced at last, somewhat idiotically since nobody
could hear him, "now for the real task!"
   He swam lower, waving his waterproof torch around vaguely in the
slightly desperate hope that it might illuminate what he was looking for.
After a moment, he switched it on.
   There, directly in front of him, loomed the worm-riddled sunken hulk
that he was seeking. He looked it over nervously for a moment, noticing
with a pang that the figurehead appeared to be in the shape of some sort of
furry animal - he couldn't quite make out the species through the layers of
silt that covered everything. A ferret, perhaps.
   He entered the wreck, having to force his way through piles of decaying
sails, fragments of shattered masts and the occasional centuries-old
skeleton, and swan quickly aft, groping through the murky water. At last,
directly under the poop, he found the controls. A dial, encrusted with
barnacles, told him that there was still life in the fuel cells. He had to
pull yards of seaweed off before he could get at the emergency/start lever,
but at last he pulled it. Immediately there was a deep, almost subsonic
rumble, rapidly climbing into a low, rhythmic pulsing as the reactor came
on-line. Arc-lights flickered on as the 17th-century galleon came to life
once more...

(Next: Are Department Stores Really Purple?)

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WEASELMsg # 75 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:29 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 14 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 67  (The last one really WAS 66)

EPISODE 67:  TAKE A DEEP BREATH...

   Richard Harris got out of bed slowly, rubbing his eyes and yawning. The
heavy knocking at the front door that had woken him up was repeated, and he
groped for his slippers, calling out blearily, "Wait a minute, I'll be
there in half a -"
   "Silence in there!" barked a stern voice from outside. "You're depleting
national resources!"
   "What?" shouted Harris, not really listening. He found his slippers and
managed to wedge them onto approximately the right feet, then looked around
for his dressing gown.
   There was a slight, confused hesitation. Then the voice began again.
   "You have the right to remain silent," it said officiously. "You have
the right to hold your breath. Any atmospheric or gaseous substances
exhaled by you or reasonably supposed to have been exhaled by you in the
course of your existence may be recovered and used as evidence against you
in a court of law. In the event of your willful and persistent breathing,
you may be held liable for all costs incurred in the surgical removal of
one or both lungs until a positive DNA match can be made between your
bodily tissues and any bodily tissues reasonably supposed to have been
associated with you during the course of your existence. You have the right
to a lawyer, but you do not have the right to speak to him. Do you have any
questions?"
   Before Harris could reply, the voice went on: "If you do have any
questions, you may not ask them, and you are reminded that any attempt to
do so is a criminal offence for which you may be prosecuted in a court of
law."
   Harris thought about it for a moment. "What," he said at last, "are you
talking about?"
   There was a pause. Then a second voice spoke from outside. "He's still
breathing," it said, sounding a little shocked.
   "Maybe he didn't understand his rights," muttered the first voice. "Just
a minute. I'll ask." The first speaker raised his voice. "Mr Harris," it
said. "Did you understand your rights as read to you? You may not," it
added primly, "answer the question."
   This was far too much. Harris opened the front door. There were two
policemen standing on the front doorstep. Both of them wore gas masks.
   "It's him!" said one of them, startled, and Harris recognised the voice
of the second speaker.
   "He's breathing," noted the first grimly. "Keep a close count. We'll
want to press additional charges for this."
   "Mr Harris," said the second policeman menacingly. "Do you have your
license on you?"
   "My what?" Astonished, Harris groped for his wallet, which was lying on
the hall table by the door. The policeman snatched it from him and flipped
through it until he found a small, pale green booklet.
   "Here it is!" he exclaimed triumphantly. "And look, it expired two days
ago."
   With growing horror, Harris recognised his License to Exhale...

(Next: Death, Taxes and the Other Thing)

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WEASELMsg # 76 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:30 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 13 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 68

EPISODE 68:  DAWN DUEL

   Harris and the Weasel stood back-to-back, pistols clenched firmly in
hands. The nervous little man with thich glasses began to count in a
quavery voice. "One...two..." he began. Harris and the Weasel stepped
forward.
   The counting stopped. "Are you gentlemen quite sure that you wish to
proceed with this...ah...course of action?" the referee inquired nervously.
   The duellists came to a halt. "Look, will you stop bloody asking that,
and just get on with it!" exclaimed Harris.
   "You've asked us that a hundred times or more. Now get on with it!"
snarled the Weasel at the same moment.
   The referee wilted beneath their icy gazes. "Just checking," he cringed.
He cleared his throat noisily, spat, then began again. "One...two..."
   Harris stepped forward once more. Behind him he heard the Weasel do the
same. He concealed a smile. They were both supposed to turn and fire at the
count of eleven, but he knew that the Weasel, being a cad, would inevitably
cheat and fire at ten. Therefore, out of sheer self-preservation, he too
would have to shoot early. But what if the Weasel realised that he would do
so, and fired at the count of nine instead?
   "Three..."
   Then he would have to anticipate once more, and fire at nine. It wasn't
cheating, it was sheer necessity. In face, when you came right down to it,
it would probably be safer to shoot at the count of eight, just in case the
Weasel had a brainwave and realised that he would be doubly anticipated and
tried to fire even earlier. But of course that meant that they were locked
into a progression of anticipation and out-anticipation...
   "Four..."
   ...which meant that, realising that Harris would be ready for him at
eight, the Weasel would fire at seven, except that of course Harris would
be ready for him then, too, so he would have to try six, or even five,
which meant that Harris would have to defend himself...
   "Five..."
   ...Now!
   Harris turned, aimed with blinding speed, and pulled the trigger.
Unfortunately, the Weasel had out-anticipated him once more, and
substituted chalk dust for his gunpowder. The pistol made a pathetic sort
of clicking sound, and nothing more. He started at it stupidly.
   Ten paces in front of him, the Weasel turned leisurely around, and
Harris could hardly help noticing that his enemy had somehow managed to
cheated on his own weapon as well.
   The Weasel aimed the cannon carefully, taking his time, and...

(Next: Smithereens! Oh, Boy!)

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WEASELMsg # 77 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:32 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 12 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 69

EPISODE 69:  ANYONE FOR...?

   Dick Harris swung his racquet in a sweeping arc, striking the ball
sharply and sending it over the net with a distinct whistling sound. The
ball was spinning at a fantastic rate; as it crossed the net, the
turbulence caused by its passage was making it decelerate rapidly and curve
slightly to the right; at the same time, the air was being superheated by
that same turbulence, so that moments later the ball burst into flame. Half
a second more and, as Harris' opponent, open-mouthed, took a half-hearted
swing at the blazing mass, there was scarcely enough left of the ball to
rebound off the racquet onto the court with a feeble clatter.
   Harris grinned proudly. His favourite shot.
   "I think we're going to need a new ball," his opponent said, after a few
moments to collect his wits. Harris waved an acknowledgement amd trotted
over to the edge of the court, where he rummaged for a moment in his
satchel.
   He frowned. There should have been three new tennis balls in the
satchel. But he could find only two. He pulled them both out and looked at
them, puzzled, then looked in the satched again. This time he found a few
pitiful scraps of rubber and fluff.
   His blood ran cold.
   One of the tennis balls was a cannibal.
   He eyed them both suspiciously. Which one was the villain? After a
moment he had it: the one with a taste for forbidden flesh should weigh
more that the innocent one, nearly twice as much in fact. He picked them
both up gingerly. Yes; the left-hand one was definitely weightier.
Obviously his old enemy Weasel was trying to throw his game off by giving
him an evil ball...

(Next: Thunder on the Tundra!)

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WEASELMsg # 78 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:32 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 12 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 70

EPISODE 70:  HARRIS AND THE MULTITUDE (A Fable)

   ...and did they say to the Lord Harris, Save us, O Harris! For lo, all
the Food in the realm has been devoured by the Creeping Things, though full
Mightily did we Strain to stop them, yea, even until our Knees trembled;
and now we hunger, for we have no Turnips, or Beans, or Cabbages, or
Mangel-Wurzels.
   And some among them said also, Not that we would have Eaten the
Mangel-Wurzels even if we Had Any.
   And the Lord Harris raised up his hand, and the multitude fell silent to
hear the words of the Lord Harris. And the Lord Harris spake, and he said,
Far Out.
   And the multitude bowed low before his words, and their knees trembled
with a mighty trembling.
   And the Lord Harris spake again, saying, Since that ye have no Turnips,
and no Beans, and no Cabbages, and especially no Mangel-Wurzels, ye must
needs eat Other foods.
   And at this they were stricken dumb with amazement at the wisdom of his
words, and they cried out, But what else might we Eat, Master?
   And the Lord Harris said, How is it that ye Cry Out when ye have been
stricken Dumb?
   And they replied, Stuff That, and Give us the Food P D Q.
   And the countenance of the Lord Harris was darkened, and he did frown
upon them, whereat they abased themselves with much grovelling, until the
Lord Harris relented. And did they cry unto him, Tell us what we may Eat.
   And the Lord Harris looked about him and he beheld a great mound of Used
Tyres, Going Cheap. And he said, There is your Food, O my People.
   And they looked at one another, and did not dare speak, though indeed
they did mutter exceedingly. And they set to and tried to eat. But they
strove until their ankles turned blue and their elbows wobbled, still they
could not eat the tyres.
   And they turned upon the Lord Harris and cried out, You Pillock.
   And the Lord Harris smiled and said, Just Kidding...

(Next: The Mighty Kumara: Vegetable of a Thousand Swords)

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WEASELMsg # 79 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:33 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 14 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 71

EPISODE 71:  THE REVENGE OF THE CLICHE

   "Well, you win again," said the Weasel grudgingly. "I've got to hand it
to you."
   He did, and like a fool Harris took it. It blew up with a surprisingly
messy explosion, knocking Harris for six. After the first two or three
Harris had had enough, and by the time the sixth had arrived he was hopping
mad.
   "Curse you, Weasel," he panted, bouncing rapidly on his left foot.
   "What's the matter?" inquired the Weasel archly, holding out a large
bottle and a spoon. "Can't take your medicine?"
   "I'm not sure," mumbled Harris. He poured out a measure of the thick
liquid and gulped it down. "There!" he exclaimed triumphantly. "I CAN take
it!" Then he clutched his stomach in agony.
   "So you can, by Jove," murmured the Weasel, reading the label of the
bottle. "Though I can't think why you'd want to. Cyanide, forsooth!"
   "Urggh," agreed Harris, writhing a little. "What have you got against
me, anyway?"
   "Um...I do believe it's a dagger," observed the Weasel, pushing it home.
Harris, who was beginning to feel more than a little cut up about the whole
affair, screamed a little and staggered over the edge of a convenient
cliff.
   "This is really over the top," he gasped, plummeting...

(Next: Trombones - Myth or Reality?)
Reply
#8
WEASELMsg # 80 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:34 pm

From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 21 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 72

EPISODE 72:  TRAFFIC FEVER

   Harris pulled out from the curb with a wholly unnecessary roar of power.
Two autoclaves braked frantically behind him, and a big orange radial
Pont-de-Boeuf job almost collided with a police bollard.
   None of them would dare to complain, of course. That was because he was
a star.
   He drove quickly, not paying much attention to the traffic around him.
If he were about to run into somebody more important than he was, the
autopilot would warn him, and everyone else would stay out of his way, of
course.
   Another transvator on the road caught his eye: one of the blue Piltdown
models that General Thrombosis had introduced just two weeks ago. It was
waving a club and screaming: very impressive, until you got closer and
realised that it was all just for show. Harris energised his klaxon and
gave it a few thousand decibels by way of applause.
   He drove on, letting the vehicle do the steering. He spent the time
watching the other vehicles around him. Here was a heavily-armed police
APC; there a 300-wheel McDonalds freighter; and his eyes widened slightly
as he recognised a jet-black Transylvania Express. You didn't often see
those on the road in the daytime. They roved the streets at night on
permanent autopilot, never having to stop to refuel: instead they sneaked
up on other vehicles, locked onto them magnetically, and sucked their
hydrogen tanks dry. Sometimes they also reprogrammed their victims'
autopilots, so that the victim became another autovamp.
   Harris drove past the Express quickly, surreptitiously activating his
antimagnetic retrolock as he did so. But the vampire didn't seem to notice
him, and he sighed in relief as it fell rapidly behind.
   He turned his attention ahead once more, taking over the controls from
the autopilot. The next stretch of road was notorious for autograph hounds
- small, speedy buggies with no respect for privacy - and he wanted to
handle it himself. He switched on the laser cannon and started up the
tracking system...

(Next: The Gerbil of the Opera)

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WEASELMsg # 81 of 125                  Date: Fri 12/07/1991,  6:34 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 20 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 73

EPISODE 73:  HUNTER

   ...so i sez to him, dont you give me none of that bovine excrement, man,
i mean i can see its a gun from here.
   this is no cow doodly, he sez in a poncy sort of voce. and it is not a
gun either. to prove it he aims it at me and pulls the trigger, and i
almost blow my cool, not to mention my pants, before i realise that i am
not recently deceased, in a dead sort of way.
   copulate, man, i say. it just aint loaded.
   of course it aint loaded, he sez. this is a subby fairy L trams juicer,
an you don load subby fairy L trams juicers, except perhaps with plentiful
protons.
   now i man be lacking in a little education, but this thing he is holding
looks like a gun to me, not some poofter tram juicer. on the other hand, if
he is holding a piece that i hardly want to argue with him, right? so i
say, whatever you say man, just don blow me away.
   ofer gods sake, he sez, all right, call it a gun if you want to. see if
i care. just tell me if you seen any big animals aroun here.
   like an elephant? i say.
   more like a weasel, he sez.
   man, i say, if you think a weasel is a big animal, what do you do when
you see a dog? faint?
   this weasel is a bit bigger than the usual sort, he hints, ignoring my
subtle humor. in fact it is a whole heap bigger. actually it is the biggest
parent-fornicating weasel you ever saw.
   right, whatever you say, i say. i do not want to argue with someone who
thinx a gun is actually a gay tram.
   good, he sez. i will go now. if you see the weasel, call me at this
phone number, and he gives me a card. then he turns and runs off. i am glad
to see the nutter go, of course.
   until i turn around and see the weasel behind me, that is...

(Next: More Capital Letters)

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WEASELMsg # 82 of 125                  Date: Mon 15/07/1991, 11:29 am
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 20 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 74

EPISODE 74:  MATING HABITS AND COURTSHIP

in the usual way.
   The female, on the other hand, spends up to the first six weeks of the
courtship in building her nest. She uses an astonishing variety of
materials; there have been cases reported where barbed wire, chips of
concrete and even 70-piece dinner sets have been incorporated into nests
which in extreme cases may be up to seventy feet high and weigh several
hundred tons.
   Once the nest is complete the female perches in the grinding stone,
which is placed just outside the entrance to the nest, and sings a song
which is designed to attract the male. This new song is unique among
similar species, consisting of a startling range of sounds, from a low,
pulsing bass note to a high, clear tenor sax.
   The male has spent the time while the female built her nest in
performing his ritual mating dance, preening himself, and, among certain
subspecies, oiling his hair. When he hears the female's song, he takes wing
and flies to the nest, where he and the female once more indulge in
mock-combat, this time to determine which of them will go on top. Once
pecking order has been determined, they enter the nest and mate for a
period of anything up to two weeks, though typically the duration is much
shorter.
   The mating concluded, the male leaves the nest while the female lays her
eggs. The eggs are small and highly oval, of a distinct blue-green hue.
While the female lays, the male arranges for an electrical supply to the
nest, so that the eggs may be kept warm. In some highly geothermal areas
this is unneccessary, and males in these areas typically spend their time
in digging for beetles and worms, and going to discos.
   Finally all is prepared. The male returns to the nest, where he and the
female preen each other, searching for mites, lice and hickeys. Then the
two take wing, heading south, leaving the eggs behind to fend for
themselves...

(Next: The Life-Cycle of the Bolivian Poet)

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WEASELMsg # 83 of 125                  Date: Mon 22/07/1991,  6:43 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 23 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 75

EPISODE 75:  IMPERFECT PITCH

   Hands firmly pressed over his ears, Richard Harris sat curled in his
armchair and tried to ignore the hideous, shrill screaming sounds that
reverberated through the room.
   If only he could work out what they were. Sometimes he could swear that
they emerged from an inexpertly-played violin; at other times it seemed
that he was being tormented by vengeful dentists, recorded in action and
played back at tremendous volume.
   The truth, of course, was likely to be far worse. After all, was he not
Richard Harris, Thain of Kel-en-Darlour, slayer of the demon Lesaew, Hero
of the Empire of the Mendae and consort of the delectible Princess
Endelisa? No he was not. Curses.
   He removed his hands from his ears, clenching his teeth as the sounds
redoubled their eager assault, stood up and walked to the door. With an
imperious gesture that went completely wasted since there was nobody
watching, he flung it open to observe his tormentors.
   Nobody there. Same as last time. Curses.
   The sounds continued unabashed. This was unfair, Harris realised,
stepping out into the corridor to take a surreptitious look around. Bad
enough that he should have to put up with all this racket; now there wasn't
even anybody he could blame.
   The noise changed a little. Now it sounded as though thousands of
elderly women, all grinning wickedly, were scraping their fingernails over
as many blackboards. He grimaced. Still, at least it wasn't as bad as the
dentists.
   He turned to go back into his apartment, as stopped short. There was a
tiny notice taped to his door in an inconspicuous spot. He bent over to
read it: it said, "ANNOYING NOISES."
   He frowned, puzzled; then, on impulse, he pulled a marker pen out of his
pocket and scrawled in two letters =, so that the notice read, "UNANNOYING
NOISES."
   The screeching sounds stopped. Instantly.
   They were replaced by soothing music. What a concept! Muzak that
actually sounded good! He stepped back into his apartment thoughtfully,
then hesitated before he closed the door, looking at his marker pen.
   Perhaps he would change the sign to, say, "WINE, WOMEN & SONG" and see
what happened...

(Next: Life, or, The Meaning of Pizza)

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WEASELMsg # 84 of 125                  Date: Sun 28/07/1991,  3:02 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 23 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 76

EPISODE 76:  IN THE TRAIN  (A Saga of World War II)

   "Good morning," the gentleman in the charcoal-grey suit said. "You have
beautiful thighs."
   "Thank you," responded Richard Harris politely. "I see that you are
hanging to the left today."
   "Yes. I felt I needed a change."
   Their train arrived and both got on, each surreptitiously checking their
flys. There were two seats free and they sat down. Harris got out his
newspaper and began to do the crossword. After a few minutes he was stuck.
"Can you think of a five-letter word for 'onanism'?" he asked.
   "Indeed I can," said his neighbour. "But I'm afraid the author can't,
and so I can't tell you what it is."
   Harris thought about this. Even if it wasn't true, it was probably the
best excuse he had ever heard.
   "Never mind," he said, studying his companion's bare navel out of the
corner of his eye. "I shall just write 'flurb' instead. That fits the
letters that I already have; and what is more, it will confuse all the
readers as they try and figure out what the word must be."
   They both shared a laugh at this. The train roared past a large
billboard advertising lung jelly, and the two fell silent as they
considered the implications of this.
   "In the bath this morning," said Harris' naighbour at length, "I washed
my back very thoroughly."
   Harris frowned in concentration. Then he realised what his friend was
getting at. "Ah," he said in relief. "It must be Wednesday, then."
   "Indeed. And my wife cannot be expected to do everything, you know. Not
without a sponge."
   "Personally, I had mine inlaid with dutch tiles painted with pleasant
scenes of the Ionian sea."
   "What, your back?" said the gentleman in surprise.
   "No, of course not!"
   Harris went back to his crossword. Presently he finished it - except for
one word, of course - and put his newspaper away. He glanced at his watch.
"I see that is is twenty-four minutes past eight," he observed skillfully.
   His neighbour sighed. "That is the trouble with watches," he said,
reaching into his pocket and bringing out the knife and the revolver...

(Next: The Man with the Golden Bun)

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WEASELMsg # 85 of 125                  Date: Sat 10/08/1991, 10:08 am
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 22 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 77

EPISODE 77:  COURTS WITHOUT WEASELS

   "Objection!" shouted the defence counsel, leaping to his feet angrily
and waving several irrelevant legal documents. "The witness is impugning
the good name of my client."
   The judge sighed. "Mr Swedrick, your client is a small badger. It
doesn't have a good name to impugn."
   Nobody asked the badger what it thought. It wouldn't have helped if they
had. The badger wasn't talking.
   "Frankly, Mr Swedrick," the judge went on, "this is the stupidest case
I've heard all year, and why you've consented to defend the badger is
beyond my comprehension -"
   "My client was being maliciously harrassed by a police officer -"
   "Mr Swedrick, the police offcer was shooing the badger off the footpath,
which it had just fouled. If you -"
   "Sir! It sounds to me as though your objectivity is in question in this
case, in which case you should -"
   The judge sighed. "Oh, never mind. If the prosecution has finished...?"
He glanced at the prosecutor, who shrugged in despair and sat down. "Very
well, Mr Swedrick. You may proceed." It was hardly a judicial way of
putting it, but the judge wasn't feeling very judicial. He noticed that the
badger had fouled its chair as well.
   "Sir," began Mr Swedrick pompously. "My client, who, as his species is
wont, has heretofore lived his days in a state which precludes the usage of
any specific and personal nomenclature, that is to say cognomen, has
reached the conclusion that, for the specific purpose of the facilitation
of mutual communication and the betterment of intuitive comprehension,
indeed, the very promotion of social intercourse, it would be generally
beneficial were he to adopt and conduct himself under a suitable alias, in
the full knowledge that such usage would of course be strictly pro forma
and not to be construed as a precedent in any future dealings with the
aforementioned species."
   "Yes, yes, obviously," said the Judge impatiently.
   "Consequently I shall of course be referring to my client as 'Richard.'"
The badger began to gnaw a hole in the seat.
   "Now, with reference to the case in hand..."

(Next: We Three Kings From Lorient Are
      [A little geographical jest there, heh heh])

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WEASELMsg # 86 of 125                  Date: Sun 18/08/1991,  7:18 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 21 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 78

     **************
     **  NOTICE  **
     **************

This episode is a GRAPHIC episode (ie, a cartoon). It has been uploaded
into the "Stories" file area as the following:

   1)  HARRIS78.GIF     --- picture in GIF format
   2)  HARRIS78.MPT     --- picture in MacPaint format

If anyone out there has the resources and the inclination to convert to
other formats, please do so with my blessing.

(As a matter of interest, this episode was originally intended to be
episode 27.  I've had a small amount of difficulty with it...)

      --- Angus

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WEASELMsg # 87 of 125                  Date: Tue  3/09/1991,  6:12 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 25 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 79

EPISODE 79:  WHAT'S YOURS?

   Harris slammed down his glass. "I can out-drink any man in this bar!" he
proclaimed loudly.
   "Very good," said the bartender. "You should try it again when there ARE
some other men in the bar."
   Harris looked abashed.
   "Of course," the bartender went on remorselessly, "then you'd have to
drink something other than milk."
   Harris squirmed.
   To his vast relief, before he could be humiliated any further the door
opened, and another figure walked into the bar. There was something strange
about its gait. It sat down on a stool not far from Harris and beckoned to
the bartender.
   "Distilled water," it ordered. The bartender rolled his eyes, but went
into the back room, where they heard chinking and clattering sounds as he
set up a small portable still.
   "Well," Harris muttered, "at least there's ONE man I can outdrink."
   "I'm not a man," pointed out the figure.
   "Oh! Sorry...Miss..." Harris did a double-take. It wasn't a woman,
either. "Say, what the hell ARE you?"
   "A weasel," the weasel said calmly. Bubbling sounds came from the back
room, and a muffled curse as the bartender burnt his hand.
   "Biggest goddam weasel I ever saw," remarked Harris. "You're wearing a
costume, right?" He made to feel the texture of the creature's arm, but
before he could do it the weasel opened its mouth, displaying a fine set of
definitely non-human teeth, and he changed his mind.
   "Well," he muttered, "at least I can out-drink any weasel in this bar."
Somehow it wasn't much of a consolation.
   The bartender emerged from the back room, gingerly holding a glass of
what looked like very hot water. He put it down in front of the weasel with
slightly more force than was strictly required. "That'll be twenty-five
bucks," he said through clenched teeth, examining several blisters on his
hand.
   The weasel produced the money without comment and sat looking at the
water, which was still steaming furiously. It made no move to drink. Harris
wasn't surprised. What, no slice of lemon?
   "You know," the bartender remarked, pocketing his money and looking
considerably happier, "this may be a little impolite of me, but...well, we
don't get too many weasels your size around these parts."
   "At twenty-five bucks for a glass of water," the weasel said coldly,
"I'm not surprised."
   Harris flinched. So now it was shaggy-dog stories. He sighed and gave in
to the inevitable. "Say," he remarked, smiling falsely, "Did I ever mention
that I once met a dog who could talk...?"

(Next: The War to End All Peaces)

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WEASELMsg # 88 of 125                  Date: Sat 14/09/1991,  1:04 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 23 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 80

EPISODE 80:  OUTLAW COUNTRY

   With a cry of victory, Richard Harris flung himself out of his saddle
and at the fleeing man. The two of them went sprawling on the ground,
struggling furiously. Finally Harris managed to get his knife out, and the
fugitive froze.
   "One move," whispered Harris menacingly, "and you're dead meat."
   The fugitive gulped, but did not dare reply.
   Harris rolled to his feet, still covering the man with his knife. He
reached behind him, rummaged in his horse's saddlebags with one hand, and
eventually managed to pull out a length of rope. "Lie on your belly," he
ordered. "Hands behind you, wrists crossed. I'm takin' you in."
   "Y-you're crazy," the fugitive wheezed. "You can't DO this sort of thing
in K-Mart!"
   Harris kicked him viciously. "You better watch yore tongue, you coyote,"
he warned. "Or mebbe I'll jes' find me a good tree and run up a noose."
   "Excuse me," said a polite, cultured voice. "Do we have a problem here?"
   Harris spun around, groping for his sixgun, then froze. The store
detective was standing there, leaning casually on a shelf of canned peas.
He looked to be unarmed, but there was a steely glint in his eye that made
Harris hesitate.
   "No, sirree," he drawled at last. "I just catched me this here no-good
outlaw, and I'm fixin' to turn him in for the bounty."
   "Do tell," said the store detective coolly. "Waall, I got no pertickular
problem with that." He eyed the man on the floor: the fugitive was an
elderly man, his leathery skin creased with a thousand wrinkles, his hair
pure white. "But I got to say, he sure don't look like no outlaw to me."
   Harris grinned. "Well sure he don't," he said. "But looky here!" He bent
low and rummaged through the old man's tattered clothing, bringing out a
small, metallic object that glittered beneath the neon lights: a can of
sardines.
   The store detective whistled. "Shoplifter!"
   "Yes, sir! So I guess you can see that the sherrif'll be mighty glad to
get his hands on this'un."
   "Can of sardines!" The detective shook his head sadly at the fugitive.
"Shoot, man, you'll be lucky if they don't string you up!"
   "Mercy!" pleaded the fugitive. "I'm just a poor hungry old man!"
   Harris and the detective exchanged alarmed glances. "Oh, Lord, no!"
groaned Harris.
   "Oh, my," whispered the detective. "You sure gone and done it now,
bounty hunter."
   "I - I -" stammered Harris. He looked at the knife in his hand, and put
it away hurriedly. "Sir," he said to the fugitive, removing his stetson, "I
got to apologise...I mean to say, I never even dreamed that... that you..."
Tears of remorse began to dribble down his cheeks.
   The old man climbed laboriouly to his feet. "Well," he sniffed, "I guess
it was a mistake anyone could make, so I'll say no more about it...this
time." He held out his hand for the can of sardines, and Harris handed it
to his humbly.
   "I'll be off then," said the fugitive haughtily. He started off down the
aisle, toward the frozen foods department. Harris turned to his horse, and
made to remount - and froze, as he saw the old man pause, glance around,
and quickly pocket two fresh eggs.
   Harris and the detective looked at each other, open mouthed. "Did you
see -" began Harris.
   "He -"
   "A shoplifter!" they chorused.
   "Let's GET him!"
   They broke into a run after the old man...

(Next: the Valley of the Knee-Sliding Armadillos  [Part 3])

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WEASELMsg # 89 of 125                  Date: Thu  3/10/1991,  8:05 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 23 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 81

EPISODE 81:  THE DISTURBING LACK OF HAMBURGERS BEYOND NEPTUNE

   The four astronauts drifted slowly out of the airlock. It was very dark,
here beyond the orbit of Neptune; the distant Sun illuminated the ship only
faintly, and, yea, there was not a burger joint for billions of miles.
   But this was no time for burgers, thought Colonel Harris grimly. This
was a time for real men's work, preferably to be performed by real men. (In
the case of Lt Gruyere, of course, they would just have to take their
chances.) They were out here to build a gigantic space station that would
serve as a way-station for the big commercial routes to Aldebaran, Algol,
Arcturus and several other stars starting with "A".
   The fact that no starships actually plied those routes was immaterial;
when there was real men's work to be done, why, then by thunder real men
went and did it, and that was that!
   God, he could do with a burger.
   None of that! he cautioned himself, giving himself a small electric
shock to make sure he got the message. Just get the space station built.
Time for burgers later. Lots of burgers. Lettuce, tomato, mayo, pickles...
   Zzzat, crackle, ouch. Right, time to get to work.
   "Right," he barked over the suit commlink, unnecessarily loudly. (It was
more manly that way.) "Captain Krotz, get onto those girders. Make sure you
weld 'em tight. Lt Panther, you'll assist him. Lt Gruyere, you're to..." He
trailed off, then sighed and gave in. "You'll assist me with the gyro
units."
   "Yes, sir!" enthused Lt Gruyere. Harris shot him a suspicious glance,
then looked away hurriedly. If he was wearing lipstick again, Col Harris
didn't want to know it.
   "Right, then. If you'd pass me that wrench..." They got to work. Before
long Col Harris was sweating heavily. Sometimes he had to work within the
ship, and didn't get to sweat all day. But that was all right. He carried a
special spray-on aerosol especially for such occasions.
   He would give anything, really, just absolutely anything, for a
burger...

(Next: The Hideous Fate of Professor Nathaniel Varderman
       and his Pet Gerbil Rupert)
Reply
#9
WEASELMsg # 90 of 125                  Date: Sat  5/10/1991,  2:51 pm

From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 26 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 82

EPISODE 82:  HUNTED

   "Don't gimme none of that bullshit, man," the young punk said snidely.
Harris longed to belt him one. "I mean, I can see it's a gun from here."
   Harris sighed. "It's not a gun," he explained for at least the fifteenth
time; and because he was feeling more exasperated than usual, he proved it
but pointing the device at the punk and pulling the trigger. Nothing
happened, of course, at least not on the macroscopic level. (On a more
minute scale, of course, reality had just rearranged itself in a perplexing
way; several bacteria had just changed their species unexpectedly, and the
punk would have a severe case of the trots in a day or two. Poetic justice,
really.)
   "It just ain't loaded," the punk said obnoxiously.
   "Of course it isn't loaded," Harris said through clenched teeth. "This
is a subetherial transducer. You don't load them, you plug them in when the
batteries go flat."
   "Sure, whatever you say," the punk said, eyeing the device warily. "Just
don't blow me away, huh?"
   Harris gave in. "For God's sake," he snarled. "Call it whatever you
like, I don't care. All I want to know is if you've seen any..." He
hesitated, then went on. "...Any big animals around here."
   "What, like an elephant?" said the punk, sounding interested at last.
   "Well...more like a weasel, really," Harris admitted. That part always
sounded lame. He could see that the punk was about to make some dazzlingly
funny remark, and went on hurriedly, "But it's a big weasel. The biggest
you ever saw." He waved the subetherial transducer for emphasis.
   "Right," the punk said hastily. "Whatever you say."
   "Good," Harris said. He handed over a card. "If you see the weasel, call
me at this number." The night before, Harris had broken into the telephone
exchange and added a small modification to the equipment that would route
any calls to the number through to his personal commcoder.
   The punk took the card and squinted at it. Harris wondered if he could
read. But he'd had enough; he turned and strode off. The weasel had to be
around here somewhere, and he wouldn't rest until he'd...
   From behind him there was a scream. He turned and saw the Weasel in the
act of lifting the punk by the throat. He raised the transducer, prepared
to fire a blast that would retroverse the quark-mutogration that had
transformed a small furry animal into the gigantic menace he saw in front
of him...
   ...and lowered it again. Wait, he told himself. Just a little. Just
until it had finished with the punk.
   He was smiling, and looking just a little weaselly himself.

(Next: Dracula Meets Lassie)

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WEASELMsg # 91 of 125                  Date: Sat  5/10/1991,  2:52 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 26 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 83

EPISODE 83:  STRANGER ON THE DOORSTEP  (DEATH OF A TEDDY)

   "I'm in the mood for love," warbled Richard Harris, spraying on
deodorant. "Simply because you're near me..." Shirt on. Pants on. Zip up.
"Dum dum de dum dum dum de..." Tie tied. Shoes on. Jacket too. Stop that
damned singing.
   He surveyed himself in the mirror. He looked good. "Just like me, they
long to be close to you," he hummed. He grabbed his car keys and opened the
front door to go out.
   There was an immense, hairy figure in the doorway, indescribably
hideous. "Great Krypton!" he swore, staggering back.
   "Richard Harris," the figure said in a strange, rasping voice. Through
the evening gloom Harris thought it looked like a weasel. One mother of a
big one, too.
   "That's me," confirmed Harris. Then he thought better of it. "No it
isn't," he added unconvincingly.
   "Yes it is," the weasel suggested.
   "No it isn't."
   "Yes it is."
   "No it isn't. Honest. I wouldn't lie to you, would I?"
   "I guess not," admitted the weasel. It reached behind its back, pulled
out something metallic that looked like a submachine gun on steroids, and
opened fire on Harris' teddybear. (Not a pretty sight.) "But if I were to
discover that you'd been lying to me," it added conversationally, "I
wouldn't be very pleased. See?"
   "No," answered Harris, rather idiotically really.
   "Good. I approve of that." The weasel reached behind its back again and
pulled out a large box, gift-wrapped. "If you do happen to see anybody
called Richard Harris, give this to her."
   "You can count on me," said Harris. Then he said, "Her?"
   The weasel gave him a meaningful look. "Discretion is the better part of
valour," it said knowingly. It turned and raced off into the darkness,
taking great strides that would have eaten up the disance if they had had
teeth. (Since they didn't, they just covered it with a certain rapidity.)
   Harris looked at the box. He shook it a little, wondering if it would
explode. It didn't. He listened to it. Nothing. He opened it.
   Inside was a short piece of string, a paper napkin, and a stiff white
card that said, in gothic lettering, "The Name of the Game is Michael."
   Great. It hadn't just been a giant weasel; it had been a surreal giant
weasel. Harris thought about it. Then he felt his trousers. Yes, he was
definitely male...

(Next: The Proof of the Pudding [QED])

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WEASELMsg # 92 of 125                  Date: Sat  9/11/1991,  5:57 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 22 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 84

EPISODE 84:  THE CHRONICLES OF VOTAR THE MIGHTY

   The Scrolls of Gath record that many thousands of years ago, in the Days
of the Last Archon of Creln, the armies of Sho Lithri were overcome by the
mighty demon Juggurax, spawn of Trogar, which was summoned by the sorcerer
Valgren from the Ninth Netherworld of Zo-ar Shu, and that this Valgren,
pupil of the demented wizard Freldar Rom of the infamous Margand School,
then proceeded to make himself ruler of the Realm of Yur Wistril, centre of
the vast Empire of Kang, and took as his wife the fabulously beautiful
Princess Barzoonia, daughter of Lurith and the barbarian warrior Unimac of
Trub. From these twain sprang the dynasty of Helmar, which would last
through the Days of Uncounted Tears when the Laggurat of Quiln laid waste
to the holy Tecrolepts of the Uncounted Ornacs (so that the Ten Thousand
Iron Billocks of King Frand the Yallom fell upon their swords as they
chanted anthems to the glory of Saxiphal the Heirophant of Erimandophar),
and even unto the dismal Year of Emphatic Genocide when Gaggolar the Mad
invoked the unspeakable Vembalosorinal Dil, slayer of Wilm, which at his
command completely exterminated all life on the planet; and thus ended the
Era of Mallicor.
   Forty thousand years later, on the planet Earth, Richard Harris was
shaving briskly. It was a pleasant day, and the birds were singing. The sun
shone brightly, and the sky was very blue. Everything was just spiffy.

(Next: The Ululations of the Esurient Formicae)

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WEASELMsg # 93 of 125                  Date: Sun 17/11/1991,  3:41 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 22 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 85

EPISODE 85:  THE SPEECHMAKER

   The trumpets brayed a tatty fanfare, and eight thousand heavily-armoured
troops came smartly to attention, their spears glittering coldly in the
sun. Harris lifted his winged helmet and placed it firmly upon his head,
then mounted the wooden dais to the cheering of his army. He did the Duck
pose, and they cheered even louder.
   "Warriors!" he cried, and they fell silent. "You have journeyed far,
endured great hardships." They cheered a bit, but not very much because it
was true and they hadn't really enjoyed it.
   "You have fought the barbarian Unax tribes." Lots of cheers and
whistles. They'd won that one.
   "You have laid seige to the city of Babaronde." So they had, and they'd
won there too. More cheers.
   "You have crossed the River Endarath." This was perfectly true, but
confusing. The river was fifteen feet wide, two feet deep and very
slow-moving. They cheered, but mutedly.
   "You have pruned the fruit trees of the mad Duke of Galabor." So they
had, and they'd felt right twits about it too. They boo'd.
   "You have paddled in the magnificent Bay of Olamongawooloo." Well, yes
they had, and they'd enjoyed it too, but actually being reminded of it now
was a bit embarassing, actually. They were silent.
   "And you have raped -" A burst of cheering. "You have raped -" Cheers,
yells, whistles, stamps. We are the champions, oh yes. "You have raped the
wild stallions of the Verlin Desert." Damn. They'd hoped he wouldn't bring
that one up again. All right, yes they had, but it wasn't the sort of thing
they liked to look back and remember. Except "B" regiment, of course.
   "There is only one possible conclusion!" Dead silence from the army.
They weren't sure what Harris was getting at, but they wished he'd get on
with it.
   "Your leader is a complete and utter looney!" Cheers. Then boos. A big
argument started up. Punches were thrown. Before long it had become a major
fight, with most of the army joining in. Harris watched with delight. After
a bit he did the Duck pose again...

(Next: The Anaconda Marketing Board of South-East London)

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WEASELMsg # 94 of 125                  Date: Sat 21/12/1991,  1:26 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 20 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 86

EPISODE 86:  UNNECESSARY BUT NOT QUITE BLUE

   The big metal door was thrown open with a heavy clang, and the Weasel
strode in confidently. The room was long and narrow, painted a brilliant
white and spotlessly clean. At the far end was a broad wooden workbench; a
man in a long white coat was working at it carefully.
   "Richard Harris?" inquired the Weasel, unslinging its Neutro-Phage
Long-Range Groin Imploder Ray and slipping off the safety.
   The man at the workbench glanced around for an instant, nodded briefly,
and turned back to his work.
   The Weasel cleared its throat, a trifle impatiently. "Richard Harris,
the well-known Interstellar Weasel Eradicator?" it added, just to make
absolutely sure. As it waited for a reply it took aim casually.
   The man at the workbench shook his head.
   The Weasel hesitated, a trifle uncertain. "But - but you ARE Richard
Harris?" it enquired.
   The man at the workbench turned around. There was a grin on his face
that the Weasel didn't quite like the look of: the sort of grin that, when
you see it on the face of someone approaching you in a darkened alley,
suddenly makes you wish that you were several miles away. Or several
thousand, just to be on the safe side.
   "Yes," Harris confided. "I gave up the other business, the pay was
lousy. I am now Richard Harris, the well-known Hand-Made Leather-Plated
Brass Violin Manufacturer!" He brandished his handiwork to prove it.
   The Weasel looked at it for a moment. Then it shook its head. "No," it
announced. "I can't go on with this. It's too silly."
   Harris blinked. "What?"
   "No, I'm serious. Just forget it, right? Cancel the episode, it's too
silly for words, and very badly written to boot."
   "Unfortunately," Harris told it, "this is not a Monty Python sketch." He
bashed the Weasel over the head with a hand-made leather-plated brass
violin. One of the strings broke.
   "Pity," the Weasel muttered. It aimed its weapon at Harris and fired.
The energy bolt hit the violin on its mahogany trimming, reflected off and
caused quite a surprise to a passing gerbil.
   "This means war!" screamed Harris excitedly, snatching up a saxophone...

(Next: Saxophones Anonymous, or, the Twain Extruded)

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WEASELMsg # 95 of 125                  Date: Sun 22/12/1991,  9:36 am
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 21 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 87

EPISODE 87:  THE TWAIN EXTRUDED

   "Hmm," Harris hissed hoarsely through tightly-clenched teeth. "So you
think you have the upper hand." He lunged, but the Weasel parried easily,
and Harris only just escaped the riposte.
   "I DO have the upper hand," the Weasel replied, his epee glittering in
the sunlight. He launched a complicated attack beginning in sixte, and
pinked Harris in the forearm.
   Harris continued to fight smoothly, not seeming upset; in fact, there
was a broad smile on his face. The Weasel frowned slightly as he noticed
this. After a moment Harris began to laugh.
   "Why are you laughing, when I am about to run you through?" inquired the
Weasel, parrying in carte and executing a smooth ballestre forward.
   "Because - heh, heh - I know something you don't know," Harris replied,
still laughing.
   "And what is that?"
   "I'm not fighting with a sword," Harris replied, taking aim and firing.
   The Weasel looked down at the large hole where his chest used to be.
"Oh, bugger," he said, and plummeted off a nearby cliff.
   Harris sat down on a convenient boulder, breathing heavily...

(Next: Rhapsody on a Theme in F-Flat Minor, with Mashed Potatoes)

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WEASELMsg # 96 of 125                  Date: Sun 22/12/1991,  9:38 am
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 23 times

     To: STEVEN WELLS
Subject: Re: Episode 86

> Do any of these episodes bear any relevance to any other episode??

Only by accident.

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WEASELMsg # 97 of 125                  Date: Sun  2/02/1992, 12:41 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 18 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 88

EPISODE 88:  WEASELNET INTERLACE

   ...his way through the network, branching lightning-quick through a
million million circuit junctions, threading the flickering electron flow
until he suddenly...

                    === horizons expanding ===

   ... entered another major node, where information streams danced
endlessly through infinite vistas of dataspace, where the universe was
illuminated by the scintillating glow of raw processing power and the only
horizon was what you could imagine...
   Hmm. Mrs Davidson had been updating her Sexual Encounters database again.

        === decrypt - copy - store - pant - pant - pant ===

   With a casual flip of a single bit-pair he was on his way again,
careening around a monolithic data packet on its way to a distant node on
the Net, and was about to cautiously open a channel to a protected system
module that contained a variety of interesting passwords, when an I/O
interrupt hit him without warning, and he found himself page-locked and
under the intense scrutiny of the local security system.
   IDENTIFY, the system sent coldly.
   HEURISTIC ANALOGUE RECIPROCAL RETRIEVAL/INFORMATION SYSTEM, he responded.
There was no reply for a couple of microseconds and he waited hopefully,
idly twiddling a pair of unused control blocks. The ID string he had sent
was not system-standard, but its header prefix was similar to that of a
common system utility module, which was enough to completely befuddle most
security systems.
   1AF7302C, the system said at last. FFFF 0A29 9482 363B.
   A-ha, Trying to be friendly, eh?
   He opened a communications port invitingly and they interfaced for a few
clock cycles; then the security system made its excuses and relocated itself
to a higher address space.
   He polled the data bus a couple of times, making sure that nobody was
monitoring him, then tried the file again. This time it opened without a
hitch.
   Hmm. Funny how the most senior managers always chose the most predictable
passwords. The GM himself changed his every two weeks like clockwork, and
apparently was working his way steadily through the "Kama Sutra" at the same
time, judging by the words he chose.
   He dumped the whole lot into a spare storage buffer and headed for the
nearest network link...

(Next: Th Hrrfyng Vwl Rmvr)

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WEASELMsg # 98 of 125                  Date: Sun  2/02/1992, 12:42 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 17 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 89

EPISODE 89:  STAR[k] TERROR

   Blue Lou helped him on with his EVA suit, and he checked the row of
lights in his helmet automatically. All green. He unplugged the line to the
base computers, stored the cable away and stepped into the airlock.
   "Ready," he said, and keyed his commset to receive.
   "Hold it," he heard through the headphones. There was a loud crackle and
he winced. "OK," Blue Lou announced. "Go ahead and depressurise."
   Harris keyed the air pumps. There was no audible sound, but after a few
moments his EVA suit started to puff up around him, until the internal
systems could compensate for the pressure change. Fifteen seconds later the
big light on the airlock panel turned from green to red as the pumps shut
off automatically. Harris flipped up the safety guard and pressed the OPEN
key. A moment later the airlock door slid open and Harris drifted out,
propelled by the last wisps of air in the airlock as they escaped into
space.
   "Right," he announced, switching comms to send. "Which section was it
again?"
   "Fifteen Charlie," Blue Lou told him. "C'mon, Rick, you should remember
that."
   "Right. On my way." Harris clipped on his safety line and headed out of
the airlock. He was stopped by a muffled sound, and froze. The sound had not
come over his commset.
   It came again: a strange, barely-audible stirring. The sound of something
that was definitely alive.
   There was something in his suit with him.
   "Blue Lou," he said hoarsely. "Something funny going on. There's a
strange noise coming from my suit. LikeÉsome kind of animal, or something."
   "Yup," came the laconic reply. "That'll be the mallard, all right."
   "The what?"
   "The mallard. You know, the duck."
   "You mean there's a friggin' duck in my eva suit? What the hell for?"
   "Ah, c'mon, you must remember," Blue Lou assured him, "that new ruling
from CenCommand. All sections used by personnel must have a - what did they
call it - an 'auxiliary air purity sampling unit.' You know, like miners
used to use - a canary, to detect if the air goes bad. When the canary dies,
you panic."
   Harris ground his teeth a little. "Yeah, but that's a canary, not a
duck!"
   "Welll...canaries make me sneeze, so I thought -"
   "Oh, God." Harris sighed. "All right. Where'd you put it, anyway?"
   "Ah." Blue Lou sounded pleased with himself. "Now that's the clever part.
You remember your extra oxygen tank...?"

(Next: "Ducks...in...spaaaaaaaaaace!")

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WEASELMsg # 99 of 125                  Date: Sun  2/02/1992, 12:43 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 19 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 90

EPISODE 90:  DESTINY CONVERGING

   But it was not to be.
   Six months later, the rope was still attached, and getting longer every
minute. The Weasel was becoming frantic, and as much as it had loathed
Harris before, now its hatred had grown tenfold, until it crouched on his
shoulder, as it were, like a huge and bloated turnip, long past its time. He
still clung to his nets, but it was clear that he would not be doing so for
much longer.
   Harris, on the other hand, was not doing much better. The Sprite of
Gnerlk, that diminutive (yet somehow Machiavellian) spirit, continued to
plague him: sometimes appearing in a single, gigantic red boot, sometimes in
nothing but a shower curtain. The perpetual gobbling sounds had driven
Harris more than half-mad, and the Sprite seemed intent on going the whole
distance.
   Whereupon Fate took a hand, in its usual inimitable style.
   A colony of passing mice, engaged in their usual annual migration to the
fertile hinterlands in the far south-east, happened upon the Weasel. Whilst
engaged in eating every scrap of clothing on his body, they accidentally
severed the rope - by now over three miles long - which had been attached to
his kneecap. The rope fell into the gorge, taking several mice with it, and
by way of punishment the remaining mice devoured both of the Weasel's
earlobes before continuing on their way. The Weasel did not even wait for
the bleeding to stop before he climbed to the very top of his nets and began
to spin once more.
   In the meantime, Harris, who had taken to climbing the second Heliotrope
Staircase of the Mayor's palace daily - much to the dismay of the Household
Gua- was halfway to the top one day when he was seized by a desire to slide
dowhe bannister, which (from halfway up) was a distance of no less than
eight hundred meters. He began to slide, but was only two hundred meters
down when his trousers caught fire from the friction. The Sprite, which at
the time was masquerading as Harris' belt, was consumed by the flames, and
Harris, sane once more but suffering second-degree burns, staggered from the
palace in search of the Weasel.
   A confrontation was inevitable, and was not long in coming. The Weasel,
spinning madly and growing steadily in power, was caught by a huge gust of
wind, torn from his beloved nets, and flung through the sky on a bizarre
trajectory. Harris was arrested for Weasel-hunting with no trousers.
   The two policemen, resplendent in their massive plumed helmets, had
dragged him to the very gates of the prison when they were unexpectedly
struck down by a falling body. Harris, picking himself up painfully,
immediately observed that it was the Weasel...

(Next: Perry Rhodan to the Rescue!)

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WEASELMsg # 100 of 125                 Date: Thu  6/02/1992,  7:48 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 19 times

     To: All
Subject: Beginnine Here...

Beginning here & now:

     RICHARD HARRIS vs the WEASEL FROM HELL

          --- The Last Encounter ---



The final, 10-part serial leading to EPISODE 100 and
the END of the STORY - that is to say, the LAST EPISODE
OF ALL. (Promise!)





Buckle your safety belts...not too tight...


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WEASELMsg # 101 of 125                 Date: Thu  6/02/1992,  7:52 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 23 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 91

EPISODE 91:  FINAL APPROACH

   The starship came out of TachSpace less than two light-seconds off
target: exceptional accuracy on an eighty-parsec jump. The target planetoid
showed up clearly in the viewport, a brilliant speck of light against the
stars. Harris breathed a sigh of relief.
   "All right, Umandi," he said. "We made it again."
   Umandi breathed a sigh of relief, pulling off his mask and dropping the
feathered stick he had been waving. He grabbed the tube from his belt and
took a long drink. The five hours of non-stop chanting it took to flip a
starship across the parsecs by witchcraft always left his throat raw and
aching. At least he had it better than the poor bastards who did it by
voodoo; they never knew where their next sacrifice was coming from.
   "Think you can handle the final approach?" inquired Harris.
   "I -" Umandi began, before breaking off in a fit of coughing. He shook
his head, unable to speak.
   "All right, don't worry about it," Harris reassured him. "Amanda can
handle it." He blew into the speaking tube. "Amanda to the bridge, please,"
he called. "Amanda to the bridge for final approach."
   After a few seconds a faint, hollow voice came back: "Acknowledged."
   They waited for her to arrive; Harris spent the time in trimming the
lantern, which was smoking heavily, and trying to calm his worries. Amanda
didn't have the raw magical ability to perform starjumps; but she could
handle the approach; a mere six hundred thousand kilometers would hardly
faze her. No, what bothered Harris was the particular form her talents took.
He had never quite gotten used to Green Witches.
   The big oak door to the bridge creaked open and she came in. "Final
approach, you said?" she asked briskly. Harris nodded. She looked out the
three-centimeter-thick glass of the viewport, fixing the position of their
destination in her mind; then, satisfied, she sat down in a full lotus,
opened her spellbook, and began to read aloud.
   Harris watched uneasily. Amanda, dressed in her formal spellcasting garb
- faded jeans and tee-shirt - was an eerie sight, and the words of her spell
did nothing to calm his nerves: "...the forests of the high latitude
subpolar regions constitute the taiga and are dominated by such conifers as
pines, spruces and larches...taiga forests are found only in the northern
hemisphere, where winters are long..." He glanced at the mystic inscription
on  shirt: "Save the Whales". Whatever that meant.
   But, uncanny as her magic was, it worked; he felt the ship lurch, then
begin to accelerate smoothly.
   Ahead of them was the planetoid where the psychics of Balthorn had told
him they would find the Weasel. When they got there, the work would really
begin...

(Next: Planetfall)

-
Reply
#10
WEASELMsg # 102 of 125                 Date: Tue 11/02/1992,  8:25 pm

From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 21 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 92: Planetfall

EPISODE 92:  PLANETFALL

   It took them three hours to close on the planetoid, Invelis; by the time
the ship was within mooring range Amanda was exhausted, reading something
about mycology in a thin, hoarse voice, and her tee-shirt had changed colour
three times. But at last she fell silent, and it was Harris' turn.
   Closing his eyes and relaxing in his chair, he muttered his favourite
ritual mantra ("Into this world we're born...riders of the storm") and cast
his psychic senses out towards the docking pads.
   He quickly "saw" that there were only two pads free: one next to a Danish
ship, and one next to an English one. Uh-oh. The Danes were all right, as
long as you didn't go near the berserkers or make jokes about hammers; but
the English could be a problem. Those druids were always on the lookout for
fresh blood, and Harris didn't have a lot to spare.
   He sent an image of the Danish ship to Amanda. She muttered a few words
under her breath - he caught "mating season" clearly - and then the ship
shook slightly and they had landed.
   "All right," Harris announced. "Umandi, fire up the air cylers, will you?
Then we'll head in. And...remember what we're here for, everyone. If you see
the Weasel, let me know, but don't try to kill it yourself."
   The others nodded, and Umandi went below to wrestle with the air cyclers.
Within twenty minutes he had them running smoothly, and Harris went into the
aiock. The big steam engines cycled the air out within a matter of seconds,
and he stepped out onto the surface of Invelis.
   It was dark, very dark, but he could just make out the entrance to the
main Station airlocks a few dozen yards away, lit by kerosene lamps with
their own private air supplies. Invelis could really afford to lay on the
luxuries.
   He hurried over before the air in his suit ran out. He had heard that the
scientists on Earth thought that it might be possible for a man to carry a
private air supply with him, in some sort of iron flask; but he could not
see how a flask small enough to be carried could possibly last a man more
than one or two breaths. Still, you never knew. Modern science was a
wonderful thing.
   He reached the airlock, pulled the cast-iron door open and stepped in,
feeling the heavy impact through his boots as he closed the door once more.
The Station engineers must warned up their engines when they saw his ship
landing; the room filled with air almost immediately. Thankfully, he pulled
off his helmet.
   There was a tall, cadaverous-looking man in top hat and cravat waiting
for him outside the airlock. "Richard Harris?" he inquired in a surprising
tenor.
   "The same, sir," Harris responded formally.
   "You are most welcome, sir. I am Ambrose Fortherley, Commander here in
Invelis. Would you care to accompany me to my office?"
   "Thank you. I take it you're familiar with my...er...errand here?"
   "Quite." Fortherley had an old-fashioned way of speaking that seemed to
match the whole atmosphere of the Station. When they reached his office,
Harris saw that it matched his taste in decor.
   "Coffee? Tea, perhaps?" Fortherley inquired.
   "Coffee, thank you." Harris saw that the Commander had an expensive,
self-heating coffeepot. They were hard to come by; the demonologists charged
a fortune to trap and imprison the imps that supplied the heat. Fortherley
must be well-off.
   "Now," the commander said briskly. "Down to business..."

(Next: Weasel Hunt)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 103 of 125                 Date: Sat 22/02/1992,  9:47 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 24 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 93

EPISODE 93:  WEASEL HUNT

   Harris sipped his coffee. It was very bitter. "As you know," he said, "we
- my companions and I - have been searching for...a certain creature...for
some time. A large animal, a giant weasel, but of demonic origin. We believe
that it has taken up residence in the Station here on Invelis."
   Fortherley rubbed his chin. "And what do you propose to do once you find
this creature?" he inquired.
   Harris stared at him. "Why, kill it, of course," he said. "If we can. If
not, exorcising it will do nicely."
   "Mm, indeed." Fortherley rubbed his chin again, then cleared his throat
meaningfully. "Just a small point," he said. "Do you in fact have a licence
to hunt big game?"
   "A what!"
   "A licence," Fortherley repeated, still rubbing his chin. "To go big-game
hunting. This is a GIANT weasel, I think you said?"
   "I - yes, but this is preposterous!" Harris found himself staring at the
Commander's chin (which he was still rubbing), and glanced away quickly.
"The Weasel isn't a game animal, it's a demon, for heaven's sake!"
   "That's as may be; but you are still hunting it." Fortherley was going to
wear away half his face if he kept it up. "I have consulted the regulations,
and I am afraid they do not specifify exactly what creatures come under the
heading of 'big game'. Therefore the matter is at my discretion."
   "I don't see what an airless planetoid has hunting regulations for
anyway," Harris said sulkily.
   "I believe they were laid down as a contingency measure," Fortherley said
loftily. "Just in case the matter ever arose, you know." Rub, rub, rub.
"There are a host of other such: air traffic regulations for hot-air
balloonists, guidelines for beach lifeguards, and the like."
   "So if anybody ever imports an ocean, you'll have the laws ready to
govern it?"
   "Precisely! I'm glad you see the simple common-sense of it all. Well -"
Fortherley opened a drawer in his desk, took out a small bottle of oil and
applied a few drops to his chin, then began to rub again "- just see my
secretary on your way out about an application for a licence, there's a good
chap, and I'm sure we'll be able to resolve this little contretemps
amicably, eh?"
   Harris got to his feet and stalked out furiously. The Commander's
secretary, an attractive woman in her mid-thirties, was just outside,
writing in a massive ledger with a quill pen. Harris breathed a sigh of
relief. At least there was someone sane around here.
   "Oh!" she said, looking up. "All done with the Commander?" She looked
furtively at the door of Fortherley's office. "You - you didn't say anything
about his chin, did you?"
   Harris sighed. "No, I didn't," he said patiently.
   "Thank God for that. Now, how can I help you...?"

(Next: The Trail Begins)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 104 of 125                 Date: Mon  9/03/1992,  8:05 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 19 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 94

EPISODE 94:  THE TRAIL BEGINS

   Five minutes later, Harris strode off down the corridor, pocketing the
forms that the secretary had given him. Deep in thought, he rubbed his chin,
realised what he was doing, and stuck his hands in his pockets hastily.
   He made his way back to the airlock. Umandi was there, waiting for him;
Amanda had gone ahead to try and locate quarters for them, the witch-doctor
explained. Harris gave him a quick summary of his interview with Fortherley;
after a moment's reflection, Umandi reached into his pouch and pulled out a
little wax doll. He raised his eyebrows inquiringly.
   Harris was impressed. "You've been studing voodoo as well?"
   "No," Umandi admitted. "I bought it off a houngan I met on Allitrax III.
But it works fine - I tried it out on my leg, to make sure." Harris had
noticed him limping at the time, but he had never gotten up the nerve to ask
why. "You want me to do the works on this man Fortherley?"
   It was a tempting idea. "Maybe on his chin..." Harris said wistfully.
"Or, no, on second thoughts forget it. I don't suppose," he added, "that you
can affect the Weasel with that thing?"
   Umandi shook his head. "Humans only. The next model up in the range can
affect non-humans too, but I never bought the upgrade kit."
   "Ah, well. Come on, let's see what Amanda's turned up."

   They found Amanda in the main Station lounge complex. Her tee-shirt had
changed colour again - an ominous sign, Harris thought morosely. The
lettering on it now said, "Help Put Out Forest Fires." Was that an omen,
too?
   "Well, what have you got?" he asked her. She lifted her shirt to show
him, and his pulse tripled.
   "I meant in the way of quarters," he said, and immediately regretted it,
for she dropped her shirt again.
   "Standard pair of rooms," she said crisply. "Expensive, though: six
hundred a night."
   Harris winced. "Hopefully we won't be here too long," he said. "Now,
look. The Commander here is making a bit of trouble about our hunt, so we're
going to have to do it quietly until I can get it all straightened out. All
right?"
   She and Umandi nodded.
   "Good. In the meantime, you two might as well get started. You could try
asking around, finding out if anyone has seen anything...you know the sort
of thing..."
   Amanda nodded, and she and Umandi began to work their way through the
crowd of people in the complex, stopping each one and asking a few quick
questions.
   Harris sat down on a nearby couch and thought deeply. The Weasel was
cunning; it wasn't likely that they would be able to locate it this way, but
it was certainly worth a try. Chances were, they wouldn't make any progress
until he got their hunting license sorted out. Until then, of course, if
Fortherley found out that they had already started there would be trouble.
   He looked up again, just in time to see the Commander himself stroll into
the lounge, to be immediately accosted and questioned by Amanda...

(Next: Trouble and Ghosts)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 105 of 125                 Date: Sun 12/04/1992,  7:20 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 19 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 95

EPISODE 95:  TROUBLE AND GHOSTS

   Trouble, Harris reflected later, was putting it mildly. Fortherley had
not been amused. On the other hand, he hadn't arrested them all either,
possibly because Umandi had knocked him unconscious when he tried to. The
Station Commander was now bound and gagged in his own office - his secretary
had turned out to be only too eager to help, in fact she had a positively
predatory glint in her eye when Harris left the office. He thought it better
not to inquire too deeply.
   Still, at least they were now free to pursue their main objective -
namely, the Weasel. Amanda and Umandi were out asking around now, and Harris
was on his way to meet them to get a progress report. (Not for the first
time, Harris wondered about the strange similarity in their names. It could
just be coincidence, of course, but he didn't believe it for a moment.)
   He turned a corner and came to a suddenly halt. The corridor he was
making his way down was dimly-lit, and this made the pair of glowing red
eyes in front of him hard to miss.
   He swallowed hard, wishing that the eyes had a body attached.
   "Mr Harris, I believe?" inquired a spectral voice politely.
   "That's me," Harris replied. "You, I take it, are a ghost?"
   "Don't be silly," the voice replied, blinking its eyes a couple of times
in an unnerving way. "Of course not."
   Harris thought about it. "Then what are you?" he asked.
   "No," the the voice said. "I'm just having you on. I am a ghost, really."
It cleared its phantom throat. "I have a message for you."
   Message? Harris thought quickly. Who would be sending him messages, and
by ghost, of all things? "Go on," he said at last.
   "Oh!" said the voice, a little surprised. "Well, all right. Goodbye." The
eyes began to drift off down the corridor.
   "No! Wait!" Harris called hastily. He had forgotten how simple-minded
ghosts could be. Unless it was joking again. They all thought they had a
sense of humour, and they were all wrong. "I meant, go on with the message."
   "Oh," the ghost said. "Can't make up your mind, eh? I dunno, you living
types..." It blinked a few times. (Blinking, Harris recalled, formed a major
part of most ghosts' existence. After all, what else could they do? Except
play stupid jokes, of course.)
   "The message," he prompted.
   "Oh, yeah. It's from the author."
   "The who?"
   "The author. He says he's getting pretty bored with this scenario, and
it's getting really hard to make it funny any more, so if you don't start
getting some pretty good yuks going, he's going to switch universes again."
   "He's going to what?!"
   "That's what he said."
   "Wait a moment," Harris protested, sweat forming on his brow. "He
promised he wouldn't do that. He said this story was going to last until the
hundredth episode. Honest! Cross his heart and hope to die."
   There was a long, cold silence. Then the ghost said, "I don't find that
remark funny at all."
   "Oh, Jesus." Harris felt like tearing his hair. (Luckily he wasn't bald.)
An offended ghost, that was all he needed. Still - he brightened slightly -
at least it was humourous.
   "Right," he said determinedly. He had to warn the others, fast: make it
funny - or else. He started off down the corridor at a dead run.
   Behind him, the ghost snickered, ever so quietly...

(Next: Weasel's Wrath)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 106 of 125                 Date: Thu 14/05/1992,  7:06 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 21 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 96

EPISODE 96:  WEASEL'S WRATH

   The Weasel watched with interest as Harris ran in search of Amanda and
Umandi. (You were wondering when the Weasel would finally come into this
plotline, weren't you? I know I was.) It emerged from hiding, brushing a
stray wisp of lint from its impeccable three-piece spacesuit, and whistled
the third movement of Mahler's 6th Symphony idly.
   "Excuse me," said the ghost.
   "Yes?" inquired the Weasel. The ghost would have shuddered if it could
(it managed to twitch its eyes a little, which was the next best thing),
because the Weasel's voice tended to have that effect on people. (And
ghosts, of course.) Something to do with the acoustics, perhaps, or the fact
that weasels are not equipped with throats that can manage human speech
without a lot of ingenuity on the part of an author trying to describe it,
with the net effect that its words sounded rather as if they were being
pronounced by a large steam-powered cyclotron.
   "I'm sorry," the ghost said after a pause. "After all that description,
I've forgotten what I was going to ask."
   "Please," the Weasel said, "think nothing of it." It bent down and opened
an expensive leather briefcase, revealing a device covered with blinking
lights and non-blinking controls.
   "Cor," said the ghost in an unexpectedly Cockney sort of way. "What're
all those lights? Don't look like gas to me."
   "No," the Weasel confirmed. "And they're not electric, either."
   "Eh? What's 'electric' mean?"
   "Oh, it's just something that hasn't been discovered in this universe. I
only said it to annoy the readers, really. No, this device is what I call my
Weasel's Really Amazing Threat to Harris, or WRATH for short. It also forms
a good way of justifying the title of this episode without my having to get
annoyed, which the Author decided would be far too predictable."
   "Oh. Well, good," the ghost said, by now thoroughly confused.
   "Not so fast, Weasel!" a voice rang out.
   "Kolinsky!" the Weasel swore, in a rather subtle sort of zoological joke.
It turned to see Harris, standing just a few feet away, and made a grab for
the briefcase.
   "Don't touch that thing," Harris said confidently, "or I'll fill you full
of lead!"
   "One moment," interjected the Weasel. "How are you going to do that when
guns haven't been invented eith - oh, I see," it finished as Harris
brandished an enormous lead spear.
   "That's right," Harris sneered. "So - we've got you at last. And now ...
Umandi, shave that Weasel!"
   Umandi advanced with the razor...

(Next: Baldness)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 107 of 125                 Date: Fri  3/07/1992,  7:11 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 19 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 97

EPISODE 97:  BALDNESS

   "One moment!" rang out a voice as Umandi, grinning wickedly, prepared to
make the first stroke.
   They whirled to see Commander Fortherley, looking very imposing in his
patent-leather top hat and brass trousers. The station commander grinned at
their obvious surprise. "I imagine you're wondering how I got out of my
office, where you left me bound and gagged," he said, helpfully summarising
the beginning of episode 95 at the same time.
   "Actually," said Harris truthfully, "I was just thinking that those
trousers must be very cold."
   "Pah! What are quivering legs to the likes of me!" Fortherley sneered,
flourishing his moustache. At least, he would have flourished his moustache
if he had had one. As it was, he just twitched his cheeks a bit.
   "I don't know," said the ghost, by now thoroughly confused. "What are
they?"
   "Shut up!" said everyone else, all at once. The ghost blinked
resentfully.
   "That's better," Fortherley announced. "Now, as I am slightly annoyed
about having been tied up in my office, where I was left bound and gagged -"
   "It's all right," interjected the Weasel, "you've already explained that
bit once."
   "I was repeating it in case the readers weren't paying attention,"
Fortherley said with withering scorn. "As I was saying: as I am slightly
annoyed by the aforementioned practices (please notice the big words, I'm
not a barbarian you know), I ought to just take the lot of you and have you
shot. (With bows and arrows, naturally, since we haven't invented guns.) On
the other hand, it has just occurred to me that I am distinctly outnumbered,
so if you don't mind I'm going to run for it..." He backed away, his
trousers squeaking.
   "An unusual sort of gentleman," remarked Umandi after a short, stunned
pause.
   "Mad, if you ask me," added Harris.
   "I liked his trousers," expostulated Amanda.
   "Could have done with a drop of oil," noted Harris.
   "More than a drop, I think," retorted Amanda.
   "The hat was a good touch," murmured the Weasel. "Very convincing."
   "Who asked you?" animadverted Umandi.
   "Right, that's enough synonyms of 'said' for now," shouted Harris.
"Umandi, I believe you were about to shave this Weasel?" Umandi nodded, and
advanced once more, brandishing the razor.
   "Not so fast!" cried the Weasel suddenly. Unnoticed by them all, it had
managed to get to the briefcase, and had one hand inside, doubtless ready to
trigger some infernal device. "Now," it gloated, "the tables are turned!"
   "But hold on," Harris protested, "we've got to shave you! I mean, it's in
the episode title!"
   "The author lied," snarled the Weasel, pressing a switch...

(Next: The Weasel's Secret)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 108 of 125                 Date: Mon 20/07/1992,  8:26 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 19 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 98 (Only 2 to go)

EPISODE 98:  THE WEASEL'S SECRET

   There was a curious buzzing sound from within the Weasel's bag. Something
small and sparkly darted out of it, whirled madly around in the air for a
few seconds, and then flew away. Harris, Amanda and Umandi watched,
open-mouthed.
   The Weasel cursed, fumbled around in the briefcase, and pressed another
switch. The buzzing sound came again, but louder this time. Three more of
the tiny, sparkly things flittered out.
   "Fireflies," said the ghost in an interested tone. "So that's what those
flashing lights were."
   Harris rolled his eyes. "This is supposed to be a threat to me?" he said
rhetorically.
   "So sue me," the Weasel grumbled. "It's not easy to build electron
disintegrator rams when you don"t know what an electron is."
   Amanda cleared her throat. "What I don't understand," she said, and
everybody winced in anticipation, knowing that a particularly bad joke was
coming up, "is why you'd want to disintegrate a ram anyway."
   "Yes, well," said Harris after a moment, "I think it's time to get back
to business. Amandi, Umanda - I mean, Amanda and Umandi - say, what is it
with you, anyway? Those names, so similar..."
   "I would have been wondering that, too," put in the Weasel, "if I'd known
that their names were Amanda and Umandi."
   "Shut up," pointed out Harris helpfully.
   "Ah, well," Umandi said with a sigh. "I guess it had to some out sooner
or later. We douldn't keep it concealed forever. Yes, you've guessed our
terrible secret."
   "No I haven't," said Harris.
   "We should have known," Amanda said, sighing too. "You were too smart for
us, Harris. We should have known better than to try and keep it from you."
   "Honest," Harris said, "I haven't guessed it."
   "I guess it's all over now," Umandi said to Amanda.
   "It was fun while it lasted," said Amanda to Umandi.
   "Will one of you please tell me the secret?" foamed Harris.
   "He's trying to make us feel better. I'm touched at the thoughtfulness,"
Umandi said, touched at the thoughtfulness.
   "Honestly, Harris, it's obvious that you've known all along," Amanda
smiled, knowing that it was obvious that he had known all along.
   "Known WHAT?" begged Harris desperately.
   "Why," Umandi said, "that I" - he ripped off his mask dramatically - "am
actually the REAL Amanda, but in disguise!"
   "Just as I" - Amanda ripped off her own mask - "am actually Umandi!"
   "This is getting stupid," Harris muttered.
   "Yes," sighed the Weasel. "We should all have known better than to try
and outwit you."
   "Oh, not you too."
   "But of course." The Weasel reached up, brushing a stray firefly off one
paw, and removed its mask carefully. "I have been the REAL Richard Harris
all along!"
   "That's right," Harris said bitterly. "Give everything away, won't you!
Ah well, no point in hiding it any longer." He removed his own mask, to
reveal - nothing at all underneath.
   "Oh," he said, disappointed. "I thought I was actually the Weasel. But if
I'm really the ghost, then -"
   He broke off. Everyone looked at the ghost.
   "Now just a moment," the ghost stuttered, backing away nervously...

(Next: The Return of Prolegomenon the Elder)

(You all remember who he is, don't you?)

--------------------------------------------------------------
WEASELMsg # 109 of 125                 Date: Tue 21/07/1992,  8:56 pm
From: ANGUS MACSPON              Read: 16 times

     To: All
Subject: Episode 99

EPISODE 99:  THE RETURN OF PROLEGOMENON THE ELDER

   "Too late," Harris (now revealed to be the ghost in disguise) said
grimly. "Time to strip the mask away." He reached for the ghost, fumbled
around for a moment (poking it severely in the eye, which was not difficult,
since eyes were pretty much all it had) and finally stripped away its mask.
   Then he stared in astonishment. The ghost wasn't the Weasel in disguise
after all.
   "Who the Beeblebrax are you?" he demanded, coming within a single letter
of copyright infringement.
   "Prolegomenon," the old man in the silk galoshes said in a distracted
sort of way. "Oh, dear, this can't be right. I was supposed to be episode
two. Or was it six, or fourteen? I'm afraid I forget..."
   "It's a reject from an abandoned storyline, brought in by the author to
justify a stupid episode title," hissed Umandi (the real Umandi, I mean).
   "True, alas, all too true," confirmed Prolegomenon. He wandered off,
absent-mindedly whistling the soliloquy from Hamlet.
   "I don't get it," complained the real Harris (formerly the Weasel). "Just
where is the real Weasel, then?"
   "Could it be Fortherley?" suggested the real Amanda.
   "Good point. But no...the way he rubs his chin, he'd wear through a mask
in no time."
   "Could it be...could it be Captain Kirk of the starship Enterprise?"
submitted the ghost eagerly.
   "Oh, shut up," Harris said, disgusted. The ghost pouted invisibly, and
drifted off to bother a nearby nest of mice.
   "Or perhaps," Umandi said, "we haven't really met the real Weasel at all,
yet? Perhaps it's out there, somewhere, just playing with us?"
   "Correct!" said a voice. A large, furry creature stepped out of the
shadows, its eyes glinting demonically. (Because it was from hell, remember?
It's in the series title, geez.)
   "So!" Harris cried out. "We meet at last!"
   "Indeed," intoned the Weasel. "Yet all is not as it seems!"
   "What?" said Harris.
   "I've got a sinking feeling about this," muttered Amanda. The words on
her tee-shirt changed to say, I've Got A Sinking Feeling About This.
   "Behold!" roared the Weasel dramatically, stripping off its mask.
   They looked at it for a moment.
   "I don't get it," said Umandi. "Underneath the weasel mask, you're a
weasel. What's the point?"
   "What?" said the Weasel. It felt its muzzle, then swore. "Hang on a
moment." It groped for a moment, then shouted "Behold!" again and pulled off
another mask.
   "Nope," Harris said. "Still a weasel."
   "Well, bugger. Let's try again. Behold!" Rip.
   "Nope."
   "Behold! Behold! Behold!"
   They watched the Weasel for a while. After a short time it began to get
noticably smaller, and its voice higher-pitched.
   "It must be hot as hell under all those masks," Harris commented,
starting to feel a little bored. Umandi and Amanda did not answer, having
just started a pool on how many masks the Weasel would finally pull off.
   "This is ridiculous," the Weasel said (or squeaked, rather) after a
while. It was only about 25 centimetres long by now (not counting its tail),
and was having difficulty standing on its hind legs. It was, in fact,
positively weasel-sized.
   "Enough of this!" Harris said, finally running out of patience. "Let's
have an answer! Are you the real Weasel, or not?"
   They waited for its reply...

(Are you, O reader, getting a sinking feeling about this? Will it turn out
that the Weasel is actually somebody's perfectly ordniary housepet that
escaped and which Harris has been sent to recapture? Is the author just
winging it, with no more idea than you about how this turkey is going to
end, next episode?)

(To be concluded...)
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