Two days at sea can do wonders to a guy.
Captain Morse was a decent fella, I reflected as I examined myself against the choppy waters of the endless ocean. I noticed how different my reflection was: a few scars gave me a more violent edge than I used to have.
We'd all pitched in. Skoob had been promoted to the Best Man position, which seemed to be holding up his gerbil flu. Sure, he still scowled at everyone when we all drank our ration of buttermilk and ate cashew nuts. But that can't be helped.
Jaggedone, Charpa and Masterchev had taken turns up in the crows nest, with varying success. Right now, it was Birbee's turn up in the spy point. I could just about see him in the reflection near mine.
#3 placed a hand on my shoulder and smiled.
"We're getting close to the Oracle everyday Jean. I can just feel it," she whispered, before planting a brief kiss on the side of my cheek. I blushed slightly, before a shout interrupted my thought process.
"Land ho!" yelled Birbee.
Scurrying from a trapdoor, Captain Morse drew a long toilet roll tube and examined the land.
"It's unknown lads. We should be careful!" he ordered.
"Maybe they have nuts. Oo, maybe we should go make friends. And I can give out my autograph!" Skoob laughed.
"Shit its already happening boyo!" Masterchev replied in terror. "He's turning into Miley Cyrus!"
I examined the distinctive way that the mountains rose and fell. The way the sunlight bounced off the palm trees. The ominous looking cave nearby.
"It's not on the map," #3 mused, as if in confirmation of my thoughts. "You've been here before Jean,"
I shut my eyes, and saw a brief flash to the life I had before all this. Working in that tiny little office. A woman. A dog. A chihuahua.
A man with a metal mask in my eyeline, opening a single suitcase.
"Carina, what the fuck is there is a man in a metal mask in my mind?"
"That's the Administrator. You've all met him," she explained, then coughed into her hand. "OK, I'm afraid I haven't been honest with you. To get the Oracle, we need to get the Key of Thumbs. And it's on this island here."
Jaggedone examined the former Spoof-spy and hissed. "You could have told us sooner!"
"That's the easy bit, lying. Cause it gets a lot worse,"
The screams were drowned out by a sudden squeaking sound. Skoob looked up delightfully from his newspaper, whilst the rest of us listened intently to the sound: a sense of fear binding us. I looked down again at my reflection, but this time in the search for danger.
A shape. Three shapes. Maybe twenty, all congregating a metre below the surface of the water.
"Captain, what the fuck is down there?"
"This be the edge of the map. And there be monsters!" he cackled, reaching for a harpoon gun.
"Carina! Masterchev! Anyone! Explain!" I yelled, reaching desperately for the nearest weapon: which was a rather beautifully arranged bowl of petunias.
Skoob seemed to regain composure. As the first one of them jumped from the sea and arced towards Charpa's head, he spoke three words. And then I realised how much trouble we were in.
Gerbils of Hell.
"We've been followed!" Carina yelled as more of the beasts landed on the deck. Approximately 4 foot tall and armed with shruikens, the Gerbils of Hell advanced towards us.
"Mark must have sent them after us. Whatever you do, don't let them touch you," Morse offered as he stuffed a harpoon down his gun.
A group of one hundred Gerbils of Hell stood on one side of the deck. Approximately twenty Spoof writers on the other side. All with weapons. All in a stand-off.
Masterchev took a single step forward and aimed his Glock. As he fired the first bullet towards the wall of brown fur, it was Jaggedone's words which struck a chord with me.
"So it begins Jean. Welcome to hell!"