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The Escape from Cacophony Island

Chapter 2

Arrival on The Mainland

2.1 The Unknown Future Begins

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It took two hours for the Angry Honey Badgers to disembark, pushing and shoving, quadruple file and carrying camouflaged duffle bags hanging on their hairy shoulders and crumpled Jubilee invitations now tucked into their sweat-soaked trouser pockets. That was all they carried as their thumping badger feet echoed into the still night air from the wooden gangplank.

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A lorry sent from the Hotel stood nearby. Excitement was in the air. Little did they know what awaited them.

2.2 You Are Being Watched

But on this night, however, there was more than just excitement in the midnight air. Circling high above the commotion below, a dark-winged figure silently cut through the warm, damp sky, unseen and patiently observing. Now, with its work completed, the Raven banked sharply and accelerated on a southerly path back to the Chaotic Hotel. Preparations for these guests would be complicated.


2.3 Reward Beckons The Journeys End

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Mad as Hell headed the group and was the first to get seated on the lorry. The rest fell into Line and took the first available bench seats.













A bell rang, the doors closed, and the lorry turned carefully onto a dark and thickly wooded road illuminated only by the pale amber light from a half-moon, the same moon that moments before lit the way for the unseen Raven, the owner, and manager of the Chaotic Hotel.


2.4 The Boulevard of Next Futures

A short 30 minutes later, the lorry emerged from the woods onto a tropical boulevard with a massive Chaotic Village welcome sign above a crowded roadway called the Boulevard of Next Futures.








The excited and wide-eyed badgers began hanging from the Lorry windows, staring at the passing crowds as the lorry slowly moved through stalled traffic past the Stars Galore Performance Theater, the Chaotic Village Art Gallery, and the Chaotic Village Brand Institute. Many new buildings were under construction. The Chaotic Village was a growing community.


They shouted to passers-by. They would be back soon to visit these shops and venues.


2.5 The Chaotic Hotel

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And just then, in those last hours of darkness, the Chaotic Hotel emerged at the end of the Boulevard, its French Colonial architecture casting a majestic silhouette against the torch-lit street.


Overgrown with dense tropical foliage, the circular driveway seemed to beckon, daring Enzo and his gang of Angry Honey Badgers to approach. Its signage flickered with some bulbs burnt out, lending an air of mystery to the hot, humid pre-morning atmosphere. What has the Raven planned within those three-story walls?


2.6 Anticipation Provides No Guarantees

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The lorry pulled up to the hotel's main entrance. The gang of Angry Honey Badgers got off with Mad as Hell leading the charge. They bounded up the two flights of stairs and through elaborately carved wooden entry doors into the hotel lobby, which was precise in every detail.


Unexpectedly, however, a liveried servant, this time a mink, greeted them, not the usual bovine. Enzo remembered during past visits that the servants were always cows, oxen, goats, sheep, bison, or buffalo. Since Badgers don't like surprises, they sensed, in mass, trouble immediately.

But the mink took no notice of their surprise and, with a sly smile, directed their arrival like a flight attendant, leading them through the carved wooden doors.

As they entered the lobby, Mad as Hell took his rightful place as chief arbiter at the front of the line. The rest of the Angry Honey Badgers stood in small knots behind him. There was a definite pecking order, with 15 Badgers sporting a gold hoop in their left ear to communicate chief status, the remaining Badgers wearing copper hoops indicating underling apprenticeship. Time and hard work would eventually win the gold. 


Mad as Hell advanced to the reception desk with two Badgers, each wearing gold hoops and showing proper respect for their chief, following close behind. Regally appointed, Mad as Hell slapped the desk bell, and the manager, the Raven that circled the earlier night sky, immediately appeared. Mad as Hell growled.

               Where is my welcoming party?


The Raven spoke, giving no indication of recognition from his earlier moonlit observations.


               Pardon me, sir; we are short-staffed today.

This was not beginning well. There would be trouble ahead.

2.7 Entry Has Requirements

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With a slight bow, the Raven motioned that Mad as Hell and his group should give up their bags to the night porter who had just arrived for his eight-hour shift. The Raven spoke from behind the desk, with the amber light throwing a dark shadow from his hulking body, save for his luminescent eyes and large beak.


         Come one and all, and there's room for all.

 He had a bit of a lisp, which made him sound like he was recovering from a rheum.


         Monsieur, how good to see you and your cohorts again.

Mad as Hell gruffly replied

         I expect the usual impeccable service…and the suite.


The Raven replied





There was a flurry of activity, where the Angry Honey Badgers regrouped so they could fish out their reservations from dirty, sweat-soaked overalls (they weren't quite sure what 'vestments' were). Their attached Jubilee invitations would be the only legitimate proof for entry into the annual event.


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Par usual, monsieur, please allow the Porter to help you with your suitcase, ahem, duffel. To ensure no interlopers, I will collect your hotel reservations with the attached newly minted invitations to the Jubilee; your party should have them in their sweat-soaked vestments.

2.8 Interlopers Are Often Among Us

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But a problem arose in the collection process. There were supposed to be only 30 Angry Honey Badgers, but 31 invitations were collected.












A voice was suddenly heard from the end of the Line,

            It is I, number 31,


said a stranger, a cockatoo in trousers and a waistcoat.

            My name is Ain't it Awful.

The Raven now rankled and furious, shrieked in dismay.


             A cockatoo stowaway?

            ...never can I allow the Hotel's reputation to be sullied in such a tasteless way. Do you not know that our soirées are legion?  


2.9 Surprises, always surprise 

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Ain't it Awful gave a slight bow and explained his position.



The Raven reluctantly swiped invitation #31 from the Jubilee invitations stack and opened the envelope. After reading it, he excitedly spoke.

       You have exemplary status.

       You are included with the 30 Angry Honey Badgers.


At this point, Mad as Hell interrupted




Now angry and exasperated, he continued.

         I see his invitation is missing the official seal.


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A small accounting error happened when I boarded at Cacophony Island. With so much confusion and the risk of more coconuts flying from the trees, no one noticed me trailing behind the Badgers on the gangplank. There was so little time to embark. I was number 31 and following just enough behind the rest that, in the confusion, only the 30 badgers before me were counted. But I have an official invitation; I can prove it. Read the notation on the invitations.

2.10 LongReign Sanity 

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As the Raven quickly moved aside to avoid a collision, the Cockatoo leaped atop the front desk and lifted his vest, revealing a small tattoo on his stomach where his feathers had been plucked. In bold letters, it said LONG REIGN SANITY. This was the official seal, but it was tattooed, not printed. He was a member. The Raven, Mad as Hell, and the remaining Angry Honey Badgers were satisfied. 


You are welcome even though you don't suffer any rancor. Welcome to the Jubilee of the century.

There was laughter and good cheer uproar as the Cockatoo lowered his vest. Much backslapping and high-fives followed.

2.11 There's Anger Under the Surface 

Every one of the Badgers was content, but as it turned out, only for the moment. It wouldn't last long for these jacked-up, angry, and furious Honey Badgers.

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They couldn't afford to accept an alien in their where would they vent their latent fury?

But the problem seemed to evaporate into confusion when they realized that the stranger was as discontent and angry as they were. They watched as Ain't it Awful rattled his feathers and howled like a banshee when the night porter accidentally bumped into him.

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The Porter quickly apologized, but that acknowledgment did nothing to assuage the Cockatoo's anger. He is just like us, mused the Badgers, beginning to feel some respect

There was laughter and good cheer uproar as the Cockatoo lowered his vest. Much backslapping and high-fives followed.

2.12 All That Glitters Isn't Gold 

Mad as Hell was quite a pleasant fellow, at least for a honey badger. But when provoked over what could be just a lukewarm morning coffee or a snub by one of the hotel staff, his kind eyes would become hooded, and a flash of anger would reflect his restless soul.

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His visage changed on a dime. He would furrow his brow, squint his eyes, flare his nostrils, and curl his lips over his shark-like teeth, and with spittle flying everywhere, what he said could make a sailor blush.

The only monitor of Mad as Hell's quixotic mood swings was Tallulah. The trice-mated and now gloriously single female calmed Mad as Hell's furies while burying her rage. This could explain why she had the nervous tic of constantly clearing her throat. They listened to Chopin's Etudes, which seemed to quell his overreactions.

Together, they were ideally suited until Ain't it Awful, a Cockatoo in a waistcoat sporting a tattoo, came along. 

No one saw Tallulah's eyes flutter nor heard her smack her beak.

I, Ellie, the hotel doctor, and your guide through the Chaotic Hotel Saga wager that they will be playing pattycake by sunrise.

Tallulah had learned her lessons very well; her erstwhile virtue was a thing of the past. So, she sauntered over to Mad as Hell and coyly asked him to introduce his new newly invited friend.

Of course, mon Cherie, he is one of us now, permettez-moi de vous présenter mon bon ami, Tallulah Hyster.

Tallulah snorted as she offered her paw to be kissed.

       Puleezed ta meetcha

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Ain't it Awful demurred and pretended to sneeze into his gloved Talon.

     Likewise, he mumbled.

He was hoping that Mad as Hell overlooked the slight. He was a master at gamesmanship, and Ain't it Awful would not tempt Mad as Hell into one of his notorious rants. Cowardice and restraint kept Ain't it Awful from going for the tasty bait offered by the temptress Tallulah. So, he tilted his head and politely excused himself from the jeu à deux. A smart fellow that Cockatoo, no fool was he. He could sense a setup when he saw it.

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