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Excerpt from The Insane Journey

Long, long after midnight, Maxwell awoke with a raging headache, a queasiness that spoke of overindulgence and a great need to urinate. He opened his eyes and saw Lucy in bed next to him; clothes strewn all over the floor; two women who were either dead or unconscious and also on the floor; numerous empty wine bottles; two empty tequila bottles; a few hypodermic syringes; a smouldering something or other; and some fresh fruit, presumably from the complimentary fruit bowl that had been on one of the tables.

Fruit bowls cannot be trusted.

“Fruit. It’s always causing trouble,” Maxwell mumbled to himself as he made his way carefully to the bathroom. Stepping over one of the bodies of dubious aliveness, Maxwell recognized the girl who had spoken to Lucy at the opening. He hoped she was still alive. She seemed a nice enough lass during their 15-second encounter. Worse, if she had died in this room, the police would doubtless be around asking embarrassing questions. Well, it could wait till morning, thought Maxwell. If she was dead now, that wouldn’t much change over the next few hours.

He found the bathroom door and stumbled in.

While peeing, he heard a muffled sound not unlike glass breaking.

“I hope that’s not me,” Maxwell said to himself with some worry as he checked his urinating penis. Fortunately, it seemed not to be emitting the sounds.

He flushed, washed his hands, opened the door and walked out to see an athletically slender woman in a black tracksuit topped off with a nun’s coif. The woman was, of course, one of Phineas’s ninja nuns. In a nano-instant, she reached behind her back and flung a metal disk with blades around its perimeter at Maxwell, who was so startled by the unexpected guest that he tripped and fell on top of one of the girls on the floor, causing her to scream at the same time as the disk shattered the bathroom mirror.

“Thank goodness you’re still alive,” said Maxwell, laying half on top of the screaming girl, with the bed between them and the ninja nun. “Though, I wouldn’t be too sure about maintaining that status for long under the circumstances.”

Maxwell struggled to right himself and debated whether Lucy was worth rescuing, a scenario that could very well cost him his life. For the life of him, he couldn’t remember whether the previous night would be worth dying for. Before he could make a decision, he heard a feminine “oh, poop!” as another disk bounced off the ceiling and the far wall. Hazarding a glimpse over the bed,  he saw that the nun had slipped on a plum. Clearly, he had misjudged the fruit, Maxwell thought.

“Cindy! Let’s get the fuck out of here,” said one of the girls to the other, as they scrambled to get up while remaining behind the bed.

“Do be careful,” said Maxwell. “The lass in black has some anger management issues, it seems.”

“I don’t care about them,” said the ninja nun. “They can go. It is you who must be expedited to Hell, Maxwell.”

“Me?”

“Yes!”

“Have we met?” asked Maxwell, who crouched behind the bed while  the two girls scrambled out of the room. He had pissed off more than a few women in his life, but he did not reckon the lass in black was one of them.

“No, but I know of your evil reputation,” said the ninja nun.

“I’m touched that you know me, sweetheart, but I think I’d rather take my time going to Hell, if you don’t mind,” said Maxwell.

“That is not an option,” said the ninja nun, hopping gracefully onto the bed that separated them. “God has willed that you must die,” she continued as she stepped forward slowly.

For a ninja nun, she was not terribly observant. Not only had she failed to notice the plum a moment earlier, but she also didn’t see Lucy, who was buried under the blankets.

The nunja is about to have a moment of self discovery…

However, Lucy was well aware of the nun and grabbed her leg as she moved across the bed. The nun tottered for a moment, then fell on top of Lucy.

“Holy Mother of God! There is another woman in here, and she is naked!” exclaimed the ninja nun on top of Lucy. “I have never seen such a vile den of iniquity!”

Meanwhile, Lucy stretched her head up and kissed the nun on the lips.

The nun, initially surprised by a tactic that she had not been taught to respond to at the convent, pulled her head away, but Lucy reached up, put her hands around the nun’s head and pulled it gently towards her. She kissed the nun again. The nun pushed back half-heartedly, but only for a moment before she let herself fall onto Lucy and kiss her back with passion.

The ninja nun, you see, had never received much affection in her life. Moreover, she had been taught that men were evil and women virtuous. So, when a woman kissed her with passion, the nun felt a flow of what she could only assume was love towards the woman in the bed. In fact, it was repressed lust combined with a lot of adrenaline.

Had a man kissed her, she would have known how to react. Indeed, any man trying such a stunt could at best have expected to see several important bits of his body sliced off within nanoseconds. Then the nun would have got nasty – very nasty.

But thanks to the naiveté of her trainer, this ninja nun had no preparation for dealing with a seductive lesbian. Moreover, following a life of being told that she was loved only by a rather cold, heartless Jesus – who seemed to spend most of his time either as a babe in Mother Mary’s arms or hanging painfully from a cross to which he had been nailed, and who never personally acknowledged his love for her, let alone offered to hold hands – the nun felt a flow of loving passion towards the soft, warm woman who had kissed her. She returned the kiss with as much naïve passion as she could muster.

Maxwell thought briefly, very briefly, about suggesting a threesome, before deciding instead to disappear. He grabbed what clothes he saw on the floor and dashed out into the hall. As he did so, he saw a familiar mustache poorly decorating the face of an even more familiar preacher. Beside him was another nun in a black tracksuit who was in the disturbing process of throwing a spear in Maxwell’s general direction. Fortunately, for Maxwell anyway, the nun had never seen a naked man before and the sight of one distracted her sufficiently to put off her aim by just enough arcseconds to ensure the spear missed Maxwell by a centimeter and a half.

“Lord love a duck, Phinny,” Maxwell shouted. “Are you trying to kill me again?”

“Why yes, Maxwell, I am,” said the preacher. “And, please: it’s Phineas now.”

©2013, reprinted with permission

Short summary of The Insane Journey

The Insane Journey is a twisted tale about mentally unbalanced men, clever women, a talking penguin and a couple of aliens all participating in a deadly chase across a desolate, wind-swept Europa that exists in a tomorrow slightly to the left of yours and mine.

Link: http://www.insanejourney.com/

About the Author

Jeffrey Baumgartner has done a great many things in many places, including studying art in London, teaching English in Lisbon and writing magazine columns in Bangkok. He’s also launched an early Internet company, advised the European Commission on e-commerce, and given creativity workshops throughout the world. These days, he lives in Erps-Kwerps, Belgium with his patchwork family comprising his two sons, his sweetheart and her son – who all think he’s bonkers, but in a kind of charming way.

More about Jeffrey and his work at http://www.jpb.com

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