A Sampling of the On-going History of the Planet Blenkinsop


PREFACE: Betty Lou has nothing to do with this story, but it's a nice name (one of my old girlfriends, and I owe her one).

FOREWORD: This narration has been put together, with notes, by Borogrove Borgesborg with the help of the research file clerks of the Mallowfat & Fagg Bowery Office. Its compilation had its inception from the coincidence of two seemingly unrelated facts: (1) the report of Lt. (now Baronet) Ssespitt in which the startling discovery of the identity of Mr. Powchowder was announced, and (2) the chance unearthing of an unpublished chapter of Teddy Scotland's famous book Around the World in an Open Balloon (Liverpool & Tidy: Mallowbooks & Sons, 436 A.C.) by the M&F librarian J. Seymour Grouth. Let us say no more, dear reader; the facts speak for themselves. --B.B.

INTRODUCTION: Commander Theodore "Polock" Scotland, an ex-Royal Marine of Great Britain and a member in good standing of the Amateur Hot-Air Balloon Society (AHAB), emigrated to Blenkinsop in A.C. 431 at the age of 56. He soon became the pioneer balloonist of Liverpool & Tidy. In A.C. 434 (Watch. 22, to be exact) he went aloft in a one-man hydrogen balloon of his own design to attempt the first circumnavigation of the world by a lighter-than-air vehicle. He did not succeed: halfway around the planet, after six months of unbelievable suspense and adventure--one MUST read his account of the arctic wind-plankton spawning grounds and the green tornado, a classic by any standard--he was 'debagged' in that vile and desolate wind trap of Antipode, Hell Bay, and cast ashore on the Transylvanian Peninsula of Dracula. While recuperating as the guest of the famous director-actor Mallowfat I, he wrote his memoirs of the trip, subsequently (and alas posthumously) published as the best-selling book Around the World in an Open Balloon. First, let us start with extracts from the last chapter of this thrilling account....

The following extracts from Around the World in an Open Balloon are used with permission from the estate of Cmdr. Teddy Scotland. Copyright @ 436 by Mallowbooks.

The Colonel Blimp

A note on the Colonel Blimp: A large-capacity hydrogen balloon made of nylon-polythene fabric, with replenishment tanks containing enough reserve for a flight of one Blenkinsop year. The Gondola was a tiny (6 x 8 ft) fiberglass-aluminum construction weighing about one ton loaded; it carried supplies of food and fuel for a one-year trip, but water (for drink and hydrogen electrolysis) had to be replenished from the ocean every 3 weeks. Unusual features were its compact design, the backup capacity of its equipment, and the provision for emergency disassembly of its parts to make a lifeboat, sledge, cart, even a smaller balloon. An amazing flying machine; unfortunately the fierce and permanent Blenkinsop Gale Storm was too much even for this.

Chapter 27


...and then I saw. Foaming, seething, the roar of the waves audible even above the shriek of the wind in the rigging--HELL BAY! Surrounded on three sides by 2600-foot vertical cliffs. Open to the Gale Storm. A veritable funnel of death, with winds never falling below force 10. And at the very bung-hole of all this, the drain, the sewer, the anus of Blenkinsop, where all the forces of gale and surf, having traversed 2000 miles of open sea from the great Arctic Mascon to the Gehenna Shore with no let or hindrance, drive and strive and constrict into one 200-yard channel, yawns the bile-black bum-hole and depthless void of Hellmouth Cave...

...Caught in a sudden downdraft off the Hellsey cliffs, I realized my hopes of being uplifted by the slipstream and flung safely over the top were shattered. I braced myself for the invevitable plunge into the maelstrom, and no sooner secured to my hammock felt the first cold spume of that terrible surf flick like the contemptuous swipe of a beaver's tail across my ghastly eyes. "Stiff upper lip, old boy," I said to myself, the words vanishing with the spindrift ere I could hear myself speak. "Is this the way to meet thy God, with terror in thy heart and the drool upon thy lips? Courage, lad! and into the breach!"

The Colonel hit the wave with the shudder of a dying friend's last farewell. Hey, presto! and the bag was gone: I saw it bound up into the sky in a desperate bid for life. Up, up, toward the top of the Hellmouth cliffs. Two furlongs, one, one-half, yards, feet--will she make it?--yes, no, yes, yes! No; vanished! Pricked by a jagged boulder not 10 feet from the post....

In the meantime, I was snagged by broken guys and the remains of the crow's nest in a narrow defile between two enormously towering rocks....Onward, ever onward towards that gaping maw. My gondola was slowly but surely stripped of all gear, holed in many places, my hammock wrapping tighter and more tightly about me as though my swaddling clothes for resurrection to come, my shroud for the long sojourn in the bowels of Hell, were, with a will not to part me from my dearest earthly possession and creation, reluctant to leave me go naked into that dark night. The roar of the surf, the howl of the gale, the tumultuosity of that swift and ever swifter passage--these I refused to ignore lest I lose my sanity in the ultimate degradation of the cowardly heart, that contemptible head-in-the-sand delusion of the weak in spirit: "'Tis nothing. It's all a dream."

The depthless blot of madness, where the elements of air and water lose their nature and revert to that primeval choas of the two commingled as one, drew nearer and with more speed. I saw the terminator between the light and the dark on the cave roof, the waters uprose to obscure all vision, and the wind plunged down beneath my vessel to make it airborne once again and for the last time. Rocks raced past--fixed upon that roof--and I opened my mouth to scream, and my bowels let out their pent-up terror in that final acknowledgment of the true fear that plagues all mankind, the craven and the intrepid alike. And I passed out into the merciful arms of total oblivion....

The chapter goes on to describe the events that occurred after he recovered from his fainting spell. Of his incredible passage through the 4-mile cave and into the calmer seas of Gunner and Howitzer, he unfortunately was able to tell nothing. His account resumes with the story of his 3-day drifting at sea in the wreck of the gondola, barely afloat six inches above the surface, his complete lack of food and water, his hallucinations, and his final casting ashore on the Transylvanian Peninsula of Dracula. He subsequently mounted the cliffs and trekked for nearly a week across treacherous mountain terrain before finally stumbling into the courtyard of Stoker Castle--which he thought was the Pearly Lodge of St. Peter. A scene from the "New Adventures of Dracula" was being shot at this time, and this plus the fact that the interior is a sham stage-setting drove him completely out of his mind for a period of eight weeks.

He nearly killed Mallowfat I, who was playing Count Dracula--calling him 'Prince of Evil', 'Spawn of Satan', 'Doctor of Darkness', etc. etc. This, however, is not mentioned in the memoirs, which ends with the sentence "At long last I knew I was safe; I was in the castle of Count Dracula." For the true facts, see Quinn Anthony's Teddy Scotland: Captain Cook of the Wind Sea? (Mallowbooks and Sons, Liverpool & Tidy, 477 A.C., pp. 872-879). Oddly enough, Mallowfat I, not the most forgiving of men, pardoned Scotland for his attack; indeed, they became fast friends, and Mallowfat was eventually to publish the memoirs after the death of the adventurer in the Lugosi Twp. Ferry Disaster--but more on the latter in due course.

The memoirs end with Scotland's rescue, but another chapter was in fact written. It survives in manuscript form--unedited, untouched by Scotland's ghostwriter (i.e., Mallowfat--Scotland provided all the details, of course, but his literary style lacked polish). For some reason, Mallowfat did not rewrite this section for publication as he had done with the earlier chapters. The manuscript lay around for years in a filing cabinet in the M&F Bowery office until its recent discovery by Mr. Grouth. What is so startling and revealing about this MS is the light it throws on a subject of growing interest to all M&F officials. Relevant commentary will be interspersed with the following:)

From the Holograph Manuscript of Teddy Scotland

...when i done doing my dayly toylet i says to meself gotta go see Mallofat about hows he doing with chapper 24? Ok i guess says hee, now why dont you run along to see that feller whatsisname? you know the curit to be welding that steak into my hart in the nex episowed but it fails becoz he dont have the true crucifix in his thorts, tell him to learn these new lines...

[The first mention of a certain person in this context. At this time, the film and TV series "The New Adventures of Dracula," in which Count Dracula--played by Mallowfat I--was the acknowledged hero (as he had always been de facto in other revivals), was being shot. Mallowfat had plans for making Dracula Island into the grandiose New Hollywood at this time, but the project failed, not entirely because of bad luck and lack of money. Looking at the employment records for the Dracula series, we find the following entry: "Luke Fusswell......Extra; assistant curate to Father van Helsing; servant; peasant; victim...... salary class H." The personnel record contains data about what has turned out to be a genuine birth certificate. Luke Fusswell was born, illegitimately, in a barn on a farm near Mother Goose, Queen Victoria Land, in the year 400 A.C. He spent his early years swilling pig sties, got in trouble with the law over selling watered-down mash, and absconded to New Sydney, where he picked up a primary school education diploma by correspondence. He drifted to Liverpool & Tidy and eventually became a travelling mummer, then finally joining the Mallowfat troupe as a bit player during their fund-raising tour of Swettipore.]

[Seven Days Later]...the trouble over that accident when Fuzzle slipt with his steak and cut Mallowfat thru the nipple got bad today when Fuzzle accussed him on the set for giving him that black eye & wrecking his profile & givin him bad parts altogether becoz of it, he wants not to be assistent curit again but mind you full curit & a reglar in the caste which i think is a hell of a nerve & i told Mallowfat so when i ast him about hows he doing with chapter 25 and he says ok i guess? now why dont you run along he says & write chapter 26 now so i did, im becoming a reel pro at this authoring shit, ant i?

[About Scotland: read Anthony's book, especially the chapters on background. He proves almost beyond a doubt that Scotland was never in fact a Royal Marine but rather a Polish refugee to Canada. One would have difficulty in deducing this from the memoirs, but I, for one, think this newly discovered MS clinches the matter. One can only praise Anthony for his acuity (he of course never saw this MS, and all his information came directly from autobiographical statements and publisher's press releases). Anthony did, however, have his own axe to grind for he made three attempts to circle the world in a balloon himself, and never was seen again after his fourth take-off. But I really am digressing, since our object here is not to debunk a national hero but to expose a skunk of another stripe altogether.]

[Three Days Later]...i took the ferry today to Lugosi town to see if i could get pictures of the Trans[undecipherable] shore where i was shipwrecked for my book. i couldnt see no good ones so i came back and Fuzzle was on the ferry with some shifty looking fellers and i told him why dont you apologize to Mellowfat and all's well that end's well? but he took hombrage and we come to bloes over it until the first mate say look you give him another black eye huh? so whynt leave it be at that, and we gripped fingers and hand to say no hard feelings. but i dont really think so becoz i feel that Fuzzle had that mean and shifty look as Mallowfat tot me to say literary. when i got back Mallowfat said chapter 26 is ok i guess, go write chapter 27, so i did & now i only have to go back & write this logbook over again & im updated to now with my book and can go finish and get Royalities so i can build another Kernel Blimp & do it all over again and maybe write another book. then i can have money to send back to Mother in Gdansk (dont put this in the book).

[You see? His friends had good reason for nicknaming him 'Polock". But now to add a final account and sum up. Two items follow: (1) a Blenkinsop wire services account of the Lugosi Twp. Ferry Disaster, and (2) a top-secret Mallowfat memorandum that has just recently been declassified to authorized personnel.)


Novemberday, 435: Dateline Bela Steinburg town, Dracula


(We will summarize here, as the account is badly written and full of typographical errors and pied type: The Bela Steinburg to Lugosi ferry in the Antipode Island complex ran aground owing to a freakish rupture in the steering mechanism. There were 262 people aboard, including the famous balloonist Teddy Scotland; it is not known if he is among the 200 dead or missing. (He was.) The fire that destroyed the shantytown of Lugosi is believed to have been caused by the spontaneous combustion of the rubbish dump in Town Square; just recently a Security Council fire inspector publicly condemned the site as a fire hazard and warned of this very thing. Lugosi was a notorious hang-out for down-and-out actors and film people aspiring to positions in Mallowfat Productions, Ltd, who have been making the critically acclaimed Dracula series in nearby Bela Steinburg. A spokesman for Mallowfat lamented the loss of life-- undetermined at this time--but expressed relief that this "nest of vipers and white trash" has been eliminated. The company is seeking a Security Council injunction to prevent the rebuilding of the town or any resettlement on Voivode [subsequently granted and still in force.])


The late fire in Lugosi and the destruction of the ferry, while in the long run beneficial to our interests, is not a matter to be shrugged off. There is reason to suspect treason and sabotage--not by one of our own, God forbid, but by one who seeks to do us harm. His ways are devious, he is like the snake, he is a potential danger--but I think not at this time. So apart from my regrets at the death of my moronic but trusted friend, whose book, by the way, is fortunately finished, I cannot say that I wish to linger over the sad details of this 'accident'. However, I warn you to be on your guard and remember that the price of success and good fortune is eternal vigilance.

(Mallowfat I did not mention any name, nor is there any other reference we can find in any papers to the suspected villain, his methods, motives, or subsequent history. However, I think we can venture to suggest, in light of the Scotland MS, the following theories:
  1. Luke Fusswell, alias Fuzzle, had a motive for doing injury both to Mallowfat and to Scotland, but if he acted on his own feelings in the way we suggest below, he must have been a very devious and amoral person, wholly indifferent to human life.
  2. The freakish 'rupture' and the spontaneous 'combustion' could equally well have been sabotage and arson, respectively. The dangerous state of the rubbish dump was, in addition, common knowledge.
  3. It is possible that Luke Fusswell was responsible for both events and that he is the enemy referred to by Mallowfat. [He has not yet seen this compilation of papers, so at this point we are not aware of the evidence of malice, implied in his memo, that he might have had. Nor do we know why Chapter 28 of the memoirs was never edited and published. It seems very likely that Mallowfat has completely forgotten the incident in his long and varied life. But we are certain that the matter is important enough to be brought to his attention. Let us now reach into the realm of pure conjecture:

Alarming news! We have been out of touch with Blenkinsop for several years and the planet may have been overwhelmed by a Chronosynclastic Infundibulum. Also, the Bowery Office is no longer there -- left no forwarding address -- they had to leave when the yuppies discovered that area and drove the rents up out of sight. We might be in a time warp set up by our enemies. (B.B.)

You might find it hard to credit, but this scenario and many many more pages of Blenkinsop actually developed out of the game Gerousle (q.v.) through the codification of the adventures of 'real' characters from that game. I say there that it became impossible to play, so it became easier to just 'novelize' your character notes, as was done above.

More Blenkinsop Stuff

Return to Planet Blenkinsop Home Page