Hello, my name is Pete Peru. I am the co-author of “The Reeking Hegs”. I wrote it in collaboration with my writing partner and friend, Lord Tupelo. The story of the writing of TRH is a story in itself. It all began way back in 1987! Tupelo and I shared a cottage in Cubbington, a village on the outskirts of Leamington Spa in the U.K. We often got together in the evenings in Tupelo’s kitchen where we’d generally watch a bit of something on his tiny TV, drink a few beers and chew the cud. Up there he also had an old portable typewriter and one night, I don’t recall who initiated the fun, one of us started to tap out some sentences on the typewriter in a totally impropmtu manner. That done, the machine was passed across the table and the other carried on either responding to the prompt or going off at a maybe completely unrelated tangent. In this way we completed the first page or two of what was to evolve in The Reeking Hegs. Although sections of TRH were written in many different locations and more often than not upon anything that came to hand; scraps of paper, the inside of a cereals box…whatever, we stuck to that original method of writing a piece and then handing it over to the other to continue throughout. We both enjoyed the strange twists and turns this method produced in the narrative. We both enjoyed feeding of the other’s imagination. We were both awed at how, seemingly out of absolutely nothing, by some weird magic, the entire story grew, developed, mutated and took over our lives! That process was deemed “finished” in 1992, by which time I had moved to Spain. I lost contact with Tupelo and my copy of the manuscript sat in a box that somehow survived the turmoils and upheavals in my life over the next 25 years. In 2017 I decided to, once and for all, transcribe the manuscript version onto my word processor – I’d started doing this twice before but had never got it completed. This time I stuck to it and got it done. Having done that I thought I might as well present it for publication and was overjoyed when Montag Press of San Francisco came through with an offer to publish. However, I then faced the task of finding Lord Tupelo who I’d not heard of since 1992! Knowing the man I knew he would not be found on “social media” but as luck would have it I turned up another friend from Cubbington days, got in touch and was told that he and Tupelo met every Thursday for a game of table-tennis! Thus was the Peru-Tupelo axis re-established and in July 2020 The Reeking Hegs appeared in print.
My friends, in the year 17P.H.(Pre-Hegs publication) I began to share the text of The Reeking Hegs as it then was on a Forum called Flowing Quills. The forum was dedicated mostly to poetry, but also included a place for short stories. fancying myself as a budding laureate I used to frequent the forum and post stuff old and new there. As the earth wobbled along on another 365 1/4 day spin around our local star I began to branch out in my contributions, delighting my fellow travellers with drawings, photos and, eventually, short stories. As The Reeking Hegs is most certainly not a short stroy, I decided to present it in serialised form.
Sadly, like most of those late 20th-early 21stC forums, the flow has dried up at the Quills. Nobody posts there any more, but if you interested you can still check out the website and the various forums and contributors : https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/thegoldenquill/celebrated-community-members-f91/
I am among the celebrated members, listed under my name: Pete Peru.
I posted the serial episodes under the title “Death in Ugzcyk”, and here’s #1
Jun 06, 2003#1
My name is Seighton. Nicky Seighton. An altogether uncommon name in Ugzcyk. My trade an altogether uncommon occupation. I had uncovered some vile misdeeds in my time, but none that held a tusk to what was about to unfold as the chase unlaced and I plunged into a below zero inferno of false intestine readings, unlicenced fishing-hole drilling and assassination.
It was a cold June, the dead month, day. Ugzcyk lay grey and smoky, silent and dull within the texture of a frozen velveteen undergarment. The phone split the silence. Gina Lorrabitchiner, my secretary, called to me. It was Dogsson, the District Commisioner. I lodged an icicle in my throat. Cool was the watchword where Dogsson was concerned.
“Zatiu”? He bawled.
“Seighton speaking”, I replied calmly.
“Srongwidja? Sounslikeyagorriceinyermowf, harharhhar! Now, shurrupanlissenup!Theresumfinsickbrewinintownanitaintsluice,
“Just give me the details”, I butted in rigidly.
I already knew I had no other choice than to accept the case.
In the case of appetite whetted, here’s a direct link to my archive!
Having got this far I’d say it’s time to Go with the Flow, like a speeding meatball to Amazone where you can avail yourself of a copy of The Reeking Hegs in Pback, Ebook and/or Audiobook form
LORD TUPELO’S OLYMPIC DIARY
Urgent from our A.P./Rooters correspondent:
In May 2021 Lord Tupelo was unexpectedly hospitalised, with his skin. He emerged three days later on prescribed steroids, and straight away started making appropriate plans.
Diary entries follow:
3rd June. I suppose I’ve done quite well to reach the age of 64 before having to spend a night or 3 in hospital. Back home now and on steroids, getting ready to compete in the Tokyo Olympics next month.
5th June. Training in The New Inn, Doom Bar. A good internal workout.
8th June. The Reeking Hegs is getting some great reviews, but I don’t Know about sales. I suppose in the unlikely event that the Hegs does not become a huge global success, with the accompanying much-needed revenue, my secondary concern is to get the physical paperback distributed as far and wide as possible, so that in 100 years a copy may still exist somewhere, to be found by a climate ravaged survivor who might be amazed and delighted all over again. (Probably not that delighted unless he’s short of loo roll. Which he will be of course, as we found out last year.)
14th June. Steroids now finished, antibodies too, I await bated to see if my new improved bod can sustain. Fingers still aren’t good, a life of crime beckons (no fingerprints.)
16th June. Pete Peru is trying to book us onto Danny La Rupaul’s show as “hot new drag authors.”
17th June. Training in The White Hart, Ufton. Great views of the HS2 folly cleaving through the landscape.
20th June. A hail of skin flakes brush off my hands continually as a second set of steroids kick in, hopefully avoiding another hospital stay. I suffered a relapse without them. Tokyo 2020 is still on!
22nd June. I’m getting reports from the Yorkshire moors of an ancient village once named Hege-Hoton, later becoming Hoton under Heg, apparently meaning “the burial ground near the hollow.” Leaving me unclear whether Heg means hollow or burial ground. Either way I think we can make it work.
23rd June. I was once asked if Hegs meant “hollow eggs”, which suits the evolutionary stasis theme very well. (“Nothing has changed in 100,000 years!” – Little Knowing What, p23.)
25th June. Steroids are eliminating my body hair. This can only be an advantage in the upcoming Olympic events where aerodynamics are important. Unable to compete in nimble finger contests, tiddlywinks is out, card games too. Olympic needlework would be impossible, Subbuteo also. But I’ll be entering in everything else.
26th June. Pete Peru emails: With my new aerodynamic bod I should enter the Greek wrestling, or the ski jump.
27th June. As part of my training regime last night I enjoyed the full 32 mins “Power Of Lard.” Tonight I’ve lined up the Tooth’s “Ceremony”, good strong stuff for a few lunges.
1st July. My fingers are bad again and strange leg pains out of nowhere mean I’ll probably have to strike more events from my Olympic schedule. Sprinting is definitely out. Hobbling more like. Feeling a bit frail for the Greek wrestling but ski-jumping, yes! I assume they’ll run it straight down the side of Mt Fuji?
14th July. Pete Peru phones with “Happy Anniversary!” The Hegs was published a year ago, on Bastille Day. We should try to get Les Hegs Fumisant into France, with their strong literary history of Dada delirium and the absurd.
19th July. Boris’s “Freedom Day” is upon us but there is great uncertainty across the land, as Covid cases rise again.
20th July. Training in The Red Lion, Hunningham, scene of a previous sporting triumph some years ago when I beat the entire pool team one after another, as they assembled for a match.
21st July. Getting ready now for my flight to Tokyo for the Opening Ceremony. Watch out for me hobbling the Olympic Torch up to the Olympic Brazier, shedding skin flakes at every step, which ignite in the flames and float away to burn down all their paper houses. O the carnage…
28th July. I have a date tonight in the Olympic village pub with Simone Biles. Because of Covid we have to drink at parallel bars, at least I think that’s what she said.
2nd Aug. Here in Tokyo it’s been mostly swimming races and BMX so far. As a non-swimmer I never had a chance, and in BMX my 1960’s Triumph Traffic-Master was at a disadvantage from the very first jump. Following our date in the Parallel Bars, Simone Biles has been inspired to copy my tactic of withdrawing from most events. But there’s still time for a big finish.
3rd Aug. Pete Peru suggests I might win the gold medal for Most Withdrawals. I could swear I saw him at the skateboarding arena yesterday, under a big hat, posing as a 46 year old South African, the oldest contestant in the event.
9th Aug. Following the disaster at yesterday’s Olympics Closing Ceremony, the following note was released to the press this morning, having been recovered from one of the bodies.
A.P./Rooters Newsflash update direct from Parallel Bars:
It is believed that the writer of the note was an imposter at the Games, identified as an ageing worst-selling author from Warwickshire, England, on steroids. His Majesty The Emperor is reported to be out of danger and in a stable condition.
It is unclear whom the note is addressed to. A mighty portent. It reads:
“Here at the summit the snow is crisp and the air is bitterly cold, but the views are spectacular. And so my part in this grand finale of the closing ceremony is about to begin. I decided to keep my trusty Traffic-Master and I’m joined by Simone Biles on the horse and the Latvian Beach Volleyball team in a canoe, shivering in their beachwear.
At a signal, we set off together. Mt Fuji’s slopes are very steep at this point, more than 45 degrees, but I’m told they level out a bit after a mile or so. Through the cloud cover we accelerate at phenomenal speed, eventually hitting the giant artificial ramp supported by thousands of derelict Nissan Bluebirds. This should send us on a trajectory of nearly five miles over the city centre directly into the Olympic Stadium to land in the VIP box right next to the Emperor.
At least that’s the idea. I’m feeling calm, but itchy.
OK Biles, vamonos!”
Here you will be able to read select moments lifted from the pages of The Reeking Hegs. Prepare yourself! https://www.amazon.com/Reeking-Hegs-Pete-Peru-ebook/dp/B08CZLKN97/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=The+Reeking+Hegs&qid=1628689102&sr=8-1
Seighton’s the name – but just what is his game?
Seighton is perhaps the only character to figure in almost every Canto of The Reeking Hegs (no sign of him in Canto 9), and is credited with being the narrator most of the time. Billed from the start as a private investigator, his negligible investigative powers are put to the test early on and then put to bed for the most part. Here, from the “Prequel” I offer exhibit#77 providing evidence for that extravagant, some might consider slanderous, claim:
I knelt over the stiffly sprawled corpse and picked up the tusk with some bar tongs. I sniffed the dregs…it had been poison, alright. The shrivelling odour of raw plate weed made me rush suspiciously out into the street. I offered several innocent bystanders a sip from the tusk, but all refused with vile imprecations on getting a whiff of the poison. That death-soaked stink was unmistakable…so, why had she taken the mortal swig? I couldn’t rule suicide out but suspected foul play.
As the story progresses we learn that detection is, at best, a sideline for Seighton. In reality he is driven by ambitions of an entirely different nature. For one, he fancies himself as a to be renowned poet. For another, he has his eagle eye fixed on the fortune of Aspidisteria, the daughter of the fabulously wealthy Kiosk Magnate. No spoilers permitted, so I will hold back from revealing if he manages to attain both the laureateship and the hand of the fair Aspid, gets one but not the other, or fails entirely and ends up as nothing more than the patsy.
Be all that as it may, Seighton devotes much time and energy to his main appointed task: to discover the whereabouts of The Reeking Hegs. It is his attempts to fulfil this purpose that lead him into one and another life-threatening situation variously situated on the Rictus Scale between levels 8. Instances of his teeth-skinning scrapes with the grim reaper are numerous – Mr.Yick, The Polar Bear, The King’s Thing all at one point or another show up in his vicinity with evil in tent. Not to mention the fact that he is put on trial for his very life (Canto 12).
Friends, there is a brain-twisting secret that Seighton has kept to himself through all this. A secret he guards until the very end is nigh and yay heaving over the horizon. I am not going to be the person forever maligned as he who spilled the beans, however. For the stinking mists to be lifted all you need is your very own copy of the 21st century’s most unparalleled literary roller-coaster: The Reeking Hegs – easily obtained from any Amazon; Amazon.com, Amazon UK, Amazon es…the list goes on but I feel sure you follow my drift. Just in case you have no clue as to that to which I refer, here’s an example of a link.
An arctic hare with frozen whiskers hides between snow drifts. Is this a metaphor?
Until next time!
Friends, the subject of today’s HEGBITE is rambling archivist and curator of arctic curios, Dr. J. Sidney Góngolphin. Let’s hear it for the good doctor, folks.
Góngolphin is the nearest thing to a Hegs enthusiast that you will find among the heroes, villains and plain ordinary when not ornery customers that make up the mittitur characterum of the world’s first arctic gothic horror – known to you and I as The Reeking Hegs. Góngolphin first shows up in Canto 8.
Having survived the great train disaster ( Canto 7) and a long and perilous journey as he follows the iron road alone across the ice desert our narrator finds himself on the banks of a sluggish stream. Across the way he espies a group of workers. In deed, they are the work gang detailed to bridge the river and so complete the railway. Seighton, for it is he, spends the night with them and next day continues his journey on a river ferry-boat bound, eventually, for Ugzcyk. On board he meets none other than Dr.J.Sidney Góngolphin.
” Dr. Góngolphin turned out to be a most amusing travelling companion. His erudition on all aspects of The Hegs was a joy to listen to. And with his unshakeable conviction that we were all living victims of an eternal rooting conspiracy, he proved a veritable mine of disinformation and falsehood. Everything I know today I owe to him.”
The doctor lengthily appraises Seighton of the matchless wealth of his Heg-related collection of archives and artifacts, but then events take a more sinister turn.
At Góngolphin’s behest the ferry makes a detour and then stops at what he calls an “ice-grotto”. But this is not any old ice grotto. This one contains and conceals something awe-inducingly diablongi!
“The day starts normally, full of hope. All of a sudden the world is broken into a multitude of pieces impossible to reassemble. Stepping into the cavern we were afflicted by a horrendous sight…a huge iceblock with a raging man frozen inside. Straight away I saw that it was Yick. It was too uncanny, too unreal, but might it just might…be true? It was. I went up close to study the face, closer than I had ever dared…The doctor took various measurements and paced about the ice chamber, scribbling in his notebook.”
Seemingly only a minor part of the jigsaw plot, the Doctor stuns one and all by reappearing in Canto 12, The Trial, as a witness for the prosecution. Here regard with full solemnity an extract from the trial mimeograph.
“And this was the real reason for the peoples’ excitement…?”
“No, no. The real reason was that Fume had invited Atiqtalik to be his Best Mammy Moose, and she was to ride in the King’s very own sled to the Lodge. All of Ugzcyk was agog with the news.”
“Agog and covered in something, I believe, Doctor.”
“Bunting. Yes bunting. I clearly recall that some of the heraldic devices on the Royal penantry were incorrect.”
“And that was the day Aspidisteria disappeared?” enquired the head.
“No, that was the night before!”
Want to know more? Wetted has been the whistle of curiosity? Fear not, friends, for thanks to the untiring dedication to literary excellence of Jeff B. and his cohort of fanatical librarians you can get yourself a copy of The Reeking Hegs in paperback, Ebook and/or audiobook from ANY Amazon in this here world. Here’s a sample link:
Subtitle: 208:The creative crucible
208 was the house number. The house in question was a building, some called it a cottage, that had seen better days located on the outskirts of a village which lay just beyond the outskirts of Leamington Spa in Warwickshire, England.
208 had probably been home to the owners of the woodyard next door at one time. The woodyard was still in operation at that time and the not unpleasant smell of sawdust and wood chips filled the air – but the owners didn’t live at 208 anymore. Instead they rented the house out and my part on the story of the how of The Hegs begins when I moved in downstairs. My accommodations consisted of a front room, a bedroom, a bathroom/W.C. and a kitchen which gave onto a backyard with a disused outhouse and the enormous greenly painted corrugated iron wall of the woodyard’s wood-storage shed. It all had a certain piquant, old-worldly charm but was definitely run-down if not seedy. I wasn’t bothered about any of that. In fact, it suited me down to the ground.
Upstairs at 208 he who I came to know to be Lord Tupelo was in residence. It was mostly from his kitchen, directly above mine, that the affairs of his Brewing and Banking operations were conducted if not controlled. The other tenant upstairs was Mr.Zloti, an artist of the musical kind. Gifted guitarist and drummer, he played in three bands at that time though not at the same time. One of them, Jackdaw with Crowbar, were top of the local pile of groups, had been on John Peel’s radio programme twice and released several albums on Ron Johnson Records. Mr.Zloti, in fact, rarely slept at 208 having converted one of his rooms into a rehearsal space for bands and the other into a recording studio.
That upstairs at 208 was the creative crucible. The inspiration of a lot of incredible music, birthplace of The Church of Bongo, the newly invented sport of Bastardball and The Reeking Hegs.
Mr.Zloti, a sort of amiable piskyish chap with a goatee beard and a ready smile loved nothing better after a workday of drudgery recording a run-of-the-mill Heavy Metal outfit from Solihull than to get together with us in Lord Tupelo’s kitchen and sample the brewery’s latest batch of fine, hand-crafted beverages. Often these get togethers would turn into impromptu recording sessions in which experimentation with sound, word and rhythm was the norm rather than the exception. Lord Tupelo was also in a band, The Tupelo Bogmen. He was their vocalist and supplied the lyrics for their songs. Not long after moving in I joined up with the drummer from the Bogmen and a new friend, Yvelin, to form Live Evil, in which I mostly played bass.
By day I worked driving a taxi. By night experiment was the name of the game. At first musical experimentation was at the fore, but within a short space of time literary experimentation also became part of the recipe and it was those initial attempts at automatic writing which led Tupelo and I down into the garden of many forking paths that was to become our over-riding obsession and metamorphosed eventually into The Reeking Hegs.
Sadly the careers of The Tupelo Bogmen and Live Evil were transitory and little trace of them has survived the long journey through time. Similarly nothing remains now of 208 or our Bastardball court. The Church of Bongo dissolved, though its brief manifestations left an indelible mark on the spirits of all its devotees. Mr.Zloti and Jackdaw with Crowbar on the other hand continue to delight audiences with their brand of indie rock.
To that short but happy list of survivors I proudly add The Reeking Hegs and admonish all who have not already done so to avail themselves of a copy. At once and without delay while stocks last. In its own way it is a testament to 208.
If you feel the urge to go beyond your usual literary confines and explore a completely different world of words conjured from beyond Babel, try The Reeking Hegs: The world’s first arctic gothic horror. Apparently a private investigator is contracted to go forth and unravel the mystery of The Hegs – but dark forces are astir and in the world of The Hegs little is as it seems. Simultaneously a high celebration of linguistic morphology, a pun-lovers paradise, a wizened commentary on the human condition and a remarkable, uniquely sustained imaginative tour-de-force, The Reeking Hegs is unlike anything that you are likely to have read before.
You are now but a clik on the link away from becoming the proud owner of this one-of-a-kind literary event. (The link is to Amazon.com, but you can obtain a copy from any Amazon in the world)
Let’s start by quoting my oldest (sic) friend who goes under the nom-de-wassapp as Ratatak:
Quote: Them leatherhead perchers r enuf ta giv yer nitemares (Edvard Munch emoji inserted) tha screamin heebi jeebies at least ( Sweaty blue forehead emoji inserted): End quote.
These flamboyant if disturbing creatures of the air are first encountered by our hero during his voyage to the Hegs aboard the Blood Soaked Noose – well, in fact they appear in the scene of the vessel’s foundering. They are aptly described as “large leathery creatures” which swoop and plunge about finding the spaces between the lightnings. Little more is known with regard to their physiology, but as the story develops two things become apparent:
- One or possibly more of these creatures has built its nest somewhere in the clothing and upper-head region of the narrator’s person.
- Once the nest is established it is uncommon difficult to rid yourself of.
- The creatures have some strange, esoteric, endearing even, qualities with regard to space, time and aerodynamics.
Ehhh…that was three things. Whatever.
By way of substantiating the above claims, read these here bits which is lifted direct from the pages of The Reeking Hegs. You can score points by relating the quotes to the above-mentioned bullet-points!!
” Nordic fjord style was my tailor’s speciality, and my yachting outfit had been his high success. But now the leatherhead perchers were making themselves at home in it, and one of their horrid number was perched on my head, this despite Yick’s efforts to dislodge it with a rake. It would not be budged. I was stuck with it.”
“At this he wheeled round laughing and beckoned to Joujoe. At the same time the leatherhead percher on my scalp shifted its position. Suddenly we were back under the cliffs and ribs of discontent.”
“From my vantage point I could see the tarot-etched frontage of the kiosk was but a façade and that I had been taken in by a cretinous ruse to relieve me of my manuscripts, which had been successful. The leatherhead percher on my scalp shifted its position slightly. This change of configuration had the unfortunate effect of sending us into a power dive through space and quills and back to Ray’s office.”
There is, of course, more. In fact, the nesting perchers are the only constant companions of our plucky narrator on his journey/quest to and for The Reeking Hegs. Some may consider that sad. Personally, I find it quaint.
For this and much much more, go getchyeself a hot copy of The Reeking Hegs, available in paperback, ebook and audiobook form – all at the same time if y’wish!!
You know it makes sense.
Dreaming of an absinthe Christmas: Part 2
You will doubtless recall my previous entry, which spoke of Tupelo and my own self’s wandering among the narrow lanes and edgy alleyways of the Raval district of Barcelona. And how we came across the Bar Marsella and were delighted and inspired by its clientele, décor and absinthe with Guinness chasers.
That all took place on one of his Lordship’s occasional cyclonic Summer visits-cum-residencies at my humble lodgings in Spain in the early 90’s of the 20th C. Now we fast-forward to late December of the same year. Christmas was looming, as it always does, and I was planning my yuletide expedition to England, as I always did.
My usual prefered form of travel was “light”, as they say. But Christmas always meant that my small travelling bag was discarded in favour of a large suitcase and said case would weigh a lot, being stuffed with all manner of goodies easily procured in Catalonia but of a more exotic nature in England (In those days. Now you can get all of this stuff in any Supermarket): Chorizo, cured ham, various varieties of delicious nougat (called Turrón), wines, Cava (the Catalan sparkling white wine) and, this time, an unopened bottle of absinthe which I’d talked the barman in the Marsella into selling over the counter. Now I just had to smuggle it into the home country. My plan was to spend the first part of the holiday with family in the traditional, accepted manner. The second half of my time there would be dedicated to dossing at Tupelo Manor where we would continue to wrestle with and/or on our masterwork, The Reeking Hegs. The wine, chorizo etc was for the family. The absinthe was to be dedicated to Hegs related inspirational business.
As it happened no sooner had I arrived at Chez Tupelo than he informed me there was a party that night and we were going. I brandished the bottle of absinthe. His eyes grew large and round as he rubbed his belly and smacked his lips. With no more ado we leapt into his Renault 4 and headed across town.
The party was the typical scene of youthful recklessnesses accompanied by very loud music. After salutations and a bit of communal yelping we decided to find a quiet corner, get the absinthe open and do some writing. We went upstairs into an empty bedroom, got comfy, served ourselves the first glass of absinthe and began to write. At first the plan worked perfectly. We were writing a section in which the Polar Bear figured prominently. We proceeded with our usual modus operandi of each of us writing a short piece and then handing it over to the other to be continued. This went on for a while. We’d sipped our way to just over half way down the bottle. I had started to feel distinctly strange in a numbed sort of way. In fact, writing seemed to have become a huge effort for both of us. We were thus stopped and statuely like unmoving, unblinking and silent when our hostess burst in and loudly berated us as party-poopers. I tried to move a tongue that felt thick and sluggish like an overfed mollusc in my mouth in order to explain what we were doing. She impatiently took up our sheaf of paper and read the paragraph we’d ground to a halt on. “Aha! I guessed as much” she said as she grabbed my pen and began to write her own contribution to the Canto – a sentence or two about the depth of fishing-holes if memory serves. She handed the page back to me with a “See? Anybody can do it. Now, get your anti-social asses downstairs.”
Words were unnecessary. I knew Tupelo was far beyond any hope of strutting his stuff, and he knew I was too. Leaving the bottle there in the room we left the revellers to it.
I’m delighted to reveal that the phrases in question have made their immortal way into the published version of The Reeking Hegs.
I challenge all Hegfans to locate those two or three sentences penned by our hostess!
If you are not already the proud owner of one, You can obtain a copy of The Reeking Hegs on Amazon. It comes in paperback, ebook and audiobook form!
Stop me and buy one today
Aspidisteria. Aspid. Asp. A. Hers is a name that conjures, in certain parts, fey images of a dreadful nature. There again, there are others – notably our plucky narrator AND Solid King Solid Fume III, no less – who find her allure alluring if not irresistible. Only child of the fabulously rich Kiosk Magnate, she is in line to become Queen of Ugzcyk if the planned marriage with the Royal incumbent proceeds as planned. That said, as all those versed in Heggery will well know, nothing should be taken for granted in The Reeking Hegs. Here’s a short excerpt which may shed some light ‘pon these matters…
” There are rumblings and there is fear. It was an ill-advised moment to mount her queenship bid. Notwithstanding that, Aspidisteria shoved the aged minister aside and seized the Tusk. The Night Vizier roared “Oafs!” and “Threads!” until he was quite hoarse, but it did no good. She had already made it to the Throne Room. Even as she hurried inside the first waves broke over the balcony, throwing over the occasional seal, barrel and beached mummy and the Vizier retreated, swimming for his life. Aspidisteria clung to the throne as it skidded heavily across the ice polished floor, climbing up onto its velveteen seat and reaching above her head for the jewelled Crown of Ugzcyk. The leatherhead perchers nesting there squabbled feistily and pecked at her fingers. It was a momentous occasion. Sceptre in hand she hurtled doorwards in the throne when all of a sudden a monumental lurch took the palace basement first into the fishing hole…”
Delightful tidbits of this nature AND a whole lot more can be found pithing twixt the covers of The Reeking Hegs, the world’s first Arctic Gothic Horror and simultaneous high celebration of the Queen’s English, no less! No? Yes!
Paperback, Ebook and Audiobook all available from any Amazon. Here’s a link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Reeking-Hegs-Pete-Peru/dp/1940233798/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1631028448&sr=8-1
Dreaming of an absinthe Christmas:Part 1
During the Summer of the year of our Boggon High 1991 or ’92 Lord Tupelo closed down his brewing and banking operations in order to spend a while with me in Spain. This was the year before, or maybe after, the Moroccan misadventure previously related. On this visit we ventured no further abroad than the fair city of Barcelona and the Priory of Sant Ponç – which is another story to be savoured in a later Hegblog.
So, there we were, walking the steamy, and in Summer in those days a bit smelly, streets of our favourite zones; the Old City; la Ciutat Vell or Barri Gòtic ( The Gothic quarter) which extends to the left of the Ramblas as you head down towards the port; and El Raval, commonly referred to by locals as the Barrio Chino. The Raval is a human-style warren of tightly packed streets many of which are mere alleys. You enter the Raval by taking any street on the right as you go down the Ramblas. Not for us the gaudy Gaudí and the hordes of goggling tourists vying to obtain the best version of the most-often-snapped pic of Casa Battle or the Sagrada Familia. Not.
The Gothic Quarter is really nice. It has retained much of its architecture – lots of lovely old buildings and imposing churches. That said, it’s a bit of a tourist trap-zone. The Raval, on the other hand, was and still is a bit naughty/risky. The once upon a time zone dedicated to sating the appetites of sailors on shore leave or well-to-do locals who fancied a bit of ick on their gristle was still patrolled by all manner of dubious types. Neither Tupelo nor I were old salts, of course, but if there was a hint of ick to be had, there we were sure to be.
Exploring the Raval we came across a wonderful place: The Bar Marsella. Sagging and dusty on a street corner that absolutely heaved with unsavoury characters plying their downright dubious if not totally illegal trades. Undaunted, we entered within and were delighted to find that the place not only had a pool table and Guinness on tap but you could also enjoy a glass of absinthe if the care took you, which it did. Technically, it was illegal to supply absinthe to the public at that time, so we were extra thrilled to spy the bottle on a shelf behind the bar. Once the barman had instructed us in the method and was satisfied that we’d got the gist of it we became obsessed with the ritual of the absinthe: The wine glass near brimming with a vaguely wickedly green liquid, sitting on it a sort of funnel and on top of that, balanced on toothpicks, a sugar cube. We dripped drops of water onto it, slowly dissolving the cube. The sugary water fell into the funnel and so found its way into the glass of absinthe, which gradually changed colour from vaguely green to a creamy, cloudy ivory. This we then sipped, chasing the aniseed flavour down with hearty swigs of Guinness. Needless to say, this was strong stuff. Needless to say, we were infrequent winners at the pool table.
Strange but true, we also continued writing sections of The Reeking Hegs during those long afternoon to evening sessions in the Bar Marsella, and it was upon a begrimed and stained wall of the bar that we encountered Farmer Massana, depicted upon one of those illustrated sheets of metal that served as advertisements in days of yore. There he was in his farmer’s cap, smoking his pipe from which indeed two lines of smoke arose. With no further ado we adopted him and Farmer Massana figures mightily in one of Atiqtalik’s 39 Steps.
Part 2 following soon. Stay tuned!
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Herr Erger…yes, well, little can be said about the Herr given the almost total lack of information regarding his provenance or the man himself. He moves in the shadows – well, most of the time he stays behind one sort of screen or another. Yet, in spite of that, it is clear that the enigmatic Herr has played a large, some may consider crucial, role in the downfall of not only Atiqtalik but also Solid King Solid Fume III – among others.
Get a glimpse of Erger in the following excerpt from The Reeking Hegs in which a late night interview between Erger and “the narrator” takes place on a weir:
” I bemoaned my fate; obliged to double-crossly own future father-in-law, recently deceased. What sort of seat on the board was that likely to proffer? Even as I resolved to be free of Erger once and for all a flaming ray scorched across the wastes again, striking a smoking course over the horizon. Herr Erger, apparently oblivious to these heavenly portents, was hissing at me.
“Ja ja! A tasty morsel car-up, nicht? Ze Hegs on a plate! Ve get FAT!”
“OK, I’ll do it!” I cried. “Have you the contract?”
“You mean you vill do it?” His shocked reply loin crippling.
“Yos. Yes, I mean. Bog clam you!”
“Zen zo be it!”
“Be it so.”
Through a slit in the screen came the contract, dripping with wax. Herr Erger brushed his hairy strands across his head and then beckoned to aides unseen to carry him off in a screened sedan.”
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