The Salmon Of Doubt - Unofficial Continuation Thingie
Intro and Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14 & 15
Chapter 14 & 15

It is amazing the effect different props have on people. If you are approached by someone with a clipboard, you naturally assume 'Oh, what a sad tit' and will then happily give away everything about yourself, even down to if you are a part-time cross dresser, or if you like to sleep with the dead, in the hope that you will receive a free chocolate bar or a packet of yak-turd flavour crisps. If on the other hand, you are approached by a man writing in a notebook, you begin thinking treacherous thoughts like 'Hmm, here's someone quite clever' and you clam up to prevent murderers being arrested, fraudsters being revealed to the unsuspecting public, or any other terrible things like that happening. Dirk knew all about this, but he still liked to use a notebook because it gave him a small piece of the unattainable gumshoe image he'd been seeking.

As he ambled around the rhinoceros enclosure, questioning everyone, he began to see something else that was rather odd. All the other animals gave the rhino a very wide berth. They wouldn't enter large areas of their own cages that were close to the rhino's. And, just as Eric was watching Dirk, the animals were all watching Eric. Dirk quickly hid behind a bush where no-one could see him, and made a note of this in his notebook.

What he found from his clipboard idea, however, was much less encouraging. Almost everyone in Los Angeles actually seemed to be a good ten years older than they appeared. Dirk was deeply upset by this. Another perfectly good plan ruined totally by those selfish plastic surgeon bastards, plying their false trade to make these damnable loathsome rich idiots look good when they should appear decrepit and toothless, like any self-respecting megalomaniac. Curse them all, all the way to Hades. It just wasn't right, playing God with the ages of mankind. If cloning was so illegal, why wasn't cutting open someone's face and changing it irreparably so that they seemed to be timelessly young? It was all wrong. Plastic surgery should be banned in anyone over thirty. He was about to give up, when he noticed that a few people, rich estate agents mostly, actually looked the age that they were supposed to be. He dutifully jumped into the bush again and noted this as well. As he emerged, a zookeeper ambled over to him nonchalantly and gently tapped him on the shoulder.

"Excuse me sir, but why do you keep going into that bush?"

Dirk cursed inwardly. Spotted, when he'd been doing his best to remain incognito. He thought fast, even though he wasn't very good at it. "I'm urinating."

The zookeeper stared at him in bewilderment, and then looked to his left. Dirk followed his gaze and noticed that, not five yards away, there was a large public convenience, standing proud and noble with a large sign outside declaring, for all to see, 'GENTS'. He followed the only course of action left to him.

"I'm English, you see."

The zookeeper suddenly developed a look of great and wise understanding. Of course, an Englishman. Third world countries, and all that. Europeans, probably still bitter for losing the Second World War. He decided that it was best to remain polite and also to talk loudly and slowly in case English wasn't the language that they spoke in England.

"Well sir, here in the USA we go in the public bathroo-oo-oo-ooms. I hope you understand, but urinating in a bush will upset the an-i-mals." He then proceeded to give Dirk a brief tour of the toilet, showing him how the flush worked, how to sit on it, and how to wash his hands. After about three minutes of trying to dry his hands under the blow-dryer, he lamely finished with, "And then you dry your hands on your pants... like this!" before walking off shaking his head sadly. The primitive nature of these foreigners. He couldn't see why America had colonized Britain in the first place, let alone given them independence.

Dirk, now merrily bemused, rang Kate on his mobile. He explained the entire incident, and then turned to the topic of rhinoceroses.

"Well, I looked them up for you," Kate began. "Apparently they have one of the most powerful noses in the animal kingdom. A rhino can smell things that have moved on days before, even weeks, but they have a great deal of difficulty seeing anything at all with their eyes. Oh, and some weird African religions used to worship them. Claimed the nose could be used to predict the future, or be used to move to anywhere another rhino could, um, smell." As she finished speaking, there was a faint crash in the background. Dirk heard Kate sigh patiently, heard a roar of divine anger, and then heard Kate say, "All right, but don't go to the zoo. You're banned. I'm not bailing you out again, you'll have to spend a night in the cells this time."

"Kate? Still there?" Dirk said, smiling to himself.

"Yes. That's all I could find about rhinos, Dirk."

"So these religions refer to the fundamental interconnectedness of all rhinoceroses? Please, just bear with me."

"I suppose that yes, you could say that. Thor! Look, I'll just call a glazier, all right? No, a glazier, they fix windows. No, we're in central London. A huge block of ice with a storm giant riding atop it would be a little conspicuous, wouldn't it. Fine, go then."

"I've not called at a bad time, have I?" Dirk was grinning enormously by now.

"No, he's gone. God knows what he'll do now. Anyway, the fundamental interconnectedness...?"

"Of all rhinos, yes. They could be used to travel through space and time as long as there was another rhinoceros at the other end? Like a portal, if you will."


"Did it say how you got them to work?" Dirk had, by now, strolled over to Eric's pen and was staring at the rhino's nostrils. It looked almost as if there was something up it, just out of sight, a little light almost...

"It did, but I didn't read all that. Look, Dirk, why don't you do it yourself? You said you could use the net on your phone. I've got to clean up after Thor, and it's a full time job. Not to mention my full time job as well."

"What?" murmured Dirk distractedly. "Oh, um, yes, yes of course. I'll see you in a couple of months. Yes, bye." He then hung up. He glanced at the rhino through the corner of his eye. Yes, there was definitely a little light up there, dim and purple, and almost invisible if you weren't looking out for it. He looked at the clipboard, found an address, and rang Jimmy.

The two of them sat in the car outside the vast house of the first real estate agent on Dirk's list. There were three, but Dirk was quite confident that they were all up to the same thing. Now they just had to wait for someone to make a move. This unfortunately meant Dirk had to talk to Jimmy again.

Dirk hard actually found it quite hard to locate Jimmy. The kangaroo had not been at the apartment and it was only when Dirk, taking a cab back, had seen the car parked outside a large house in Beverly Hills that he found him. Jimmy had gone to a fancy dress party. He explained to Dirk that, over the last eight weeks, he had been going to a large number of them, and was proving to be something of a hit with the ladies. Now, as they sat in the car outside the mansion, Dirk dared to broach the subject.

"All I'm asking is why you want to go to parties, that's all."

"Just 'cos I'm a kangaroo doesn't mean I enjoy sitting around eating grass. I like beer and dancing with girls as much as the next man." Jimmy was sullen, as he'd been dragged away just as he was getting to know a charming movie director who was trying to convince him to star in her new film, There Is A Rhinoceros Loose In L.A. He was to star as the rhinoceros. The idea of a leaping rhinoceros armed with a heavy machine gun was so patently ridiculous that Jimmy loved it.

"But why do you want to dance with human women for Christ sake? What about kangaroo girls?"

"Would you sleep with a female kangaroo?" Jimmy couldn't actually pout, but he was trying to anyway.

"I'm not a bloody kangaroo, Jimmy. Of course I wouldn't. It's not natural for a man to lie with a marsupial." Dirk sighed. They'd been arguing about this for about and hour now.

"No, the reason you don't want to sleep with a doe kangaroo is because they're absolutely bloody hideous. Think about it. They evolved in Australia. The place is so bloody empty that you only see one female every couple of years anyway. You're not gonna care what they look like, you're gonna be so desperate for a shag that you'd sleep with a three-legged sheep if it wasn't for the damn fences. All that boxing that the males do? That's not us fighting over the females."


"No! We're doing each other a favour."

"A favour?"

"Yeah, we're getting each other so punch-drunk that we don't recognise how foul the girls look."

"So you're saying that the sight of a female kangaroo arouses no more passionate feelings in you than it does in me?" Dirk asked, but he was no longer paying attention. There seemed to be activity in the house.

"None whatsoever. Anyway, why are we waiting out here? I thought you said this guy could take us where we're going." Jimmy had obstinately refused to listen to Dirk explaining the nostril. He claimed it didn't matter to him at all, as he was a kangaroo. Dirk couldn't fault this logic, but Jimmy seemed awfully selective about when and where it mattered that he was an Australian marsupial.

"He will. We're going to follow him. Wait a minute..." Jimmy had climbed laboriously out of the car and was now hopping up the mansion's path. Dirk ran after him. "Where are you going? We're going to follow him in the car!"

Jimmy reached the door and rang the bell. After a couple of minutes the man who had given Dirk the cake and coffee in the zoo cafe answered the door, and seemed quite surprised to see the offensive smoker and a large male kangaroo stood on his front doorstep. Jimmy smiled murderously. "Excuse me mate. I'm a large, angry male kangaroo from the future and this is my friend Dirk."

"Hello," answered the man with drowsy cheer. He waggled his finger at Dirk warningly. "I hope I'm not going to catch you smoking in a public place again."

Jimmy was a little put out about how little impact the presence of a large, talking marsupial armed with a heavy machine gun on the doorstep was having on the houseowner. "Excuse me, mate," he snapped.

"Yes?" smiled the man dreamily.

"I'm trying to frighten you here!" insisted the kangaroo.

"Oh right," nodded the man. "Do continue."

Jimmy let out a sigh and rolled his large watery eyes. "If you look at these big, powerful hind legs you'll realise I can disembowel a lion with one kick." He waggled his hind leg to emphasise his point. "We'd like you to take us with you through the nasal membranes of the rhinoceros in the zoo so that I can go home. If you refuse, I'll kill you very painfully and then steal your car."

The man nodded genially. "Certainly I will."

"You will?" asked Dirk hopefully.

"Oh yes," said the man serenely. "I'm really very scared now you see. You're really good at this threatening-behaviour lark. In fact I think I've wet myself."

Jimmy did not look convinced. "You have?"

"Well, no," admitted the man, "but I hope I did your confidence some good pretending like that. Do come in."

His name was Darik, and he had been expecting them. He had laid out on a small tray some intriguing sandwiches and some very large pints of the kind of beer that was so delicately nice and dry that it self-evidently wasn't American, and had arranged two seats by the fire for them. They sat and they ate while Darik smiled at them, and offered them things that they politely declined. Generally Darik seemed totally incapable of hearing the word 'no' anyway.

"Anyway, you say that you want to go through the Nostril. More beer?"

"No thank you. We have to go through the Nostril, yes. But I'm not completely sure why yet. However, I believe you can show us how."

"Yes, yes, of course I can. But why didn't you ask eight weeks ago when my boss hired you? Custard cream?" Darik beamed politely.

"No tha-... Your boss? Hired me? Us? What?" Dirk was so surprised that he nearly bit through his own finger instead of the excessively large and succulent cucumber sandwich Darik had forced into his hand.

"Well, I know that you said you needed time to prepare, but spending eight weeks fannying around on our payroll really won't do, Dirk. I'll show you through the Nostril, of course, I'll even do it tonight if you want, but we really can't be mucking around any longer. It all has to stop, you see." Darik lifted the edge of the sandwich he was holding very slightly. "Pork, I think. Anyone?"

"Oh, yes, yes, I'd be glad to go through tonight. But could you just refresh my memory about a few of the facts?" said Dirk hopefully, as Jimmy gratefully took the sandwich.

"Oh, certainly, certainly. Which ones do you need? Brandy, gentlemen?"

"Not for me thank you. If you could just tell me, oh, say, everything, from the beginning to the end?" Dirk noticed Jimmy slipping several items of food and at least one bottle of something pleasantly alcoholic into a bag, and decided it wasn't really his problem if a lethally psychotic kangaroo wanted to steal food from a maddened weirdo in downtown L.A. Probably happened every day anyway.

"All of it? Oh, all right then. Do have a refill though, Dirk, it's a terribly long story and I always find I need a good drink afterwards."


Chapt. 15

And he told them everything, pausing every now and again to offer them various things. And it was something like this:

In the beginning, there was the Great Rhinoceros, and He was called Tim. And Tim was a mighty Rhino, and he was good and strong, and I've got some lovely Chocolate Digestive biscuits if you'd like one. And then God came down from heaven and turned Tim into lots of little rhinos, but could not split Tim's mighty nose into many parts, and so the children of Tim were all connected, regardless of where they were in time or space, by their nostrils. And that is the parable of Tim, father of the rhinos, and would anybody like a butternut squash sandwich? No?

And then, many years later, came Los Angeles. And in Los Angeles was born the most terrible and evil of creatures, the Antichrist itself, and does anyone want a Kit-Kat? And it was called Dave, and it was an estate agent. And Dave found the children of Tim, and he used the power of the Nostril against them, and he did so to further his terrible ambitions. (Dirk was looking increasingly bemused by this point, but he had asked the man to take him up the nose of a rhino, so he kept an open mind.) And Dave did'st go unto the future, where he did not belong, and where he would face no opposition - would anyone care for an After Eight - and there he did build chondos, and luxury apartments, and indoor swimming pools and Jacuzzis, and the children of Tim were placed into bondage and used to bring people to buy these accursed abodes. And standing alone against him, for they understood the nature of Dave, were the Kangaroo People, and they were all nutters anyway. And speaking of nuts, would either of you care for some hazelnut whip?

And it was decreed that a champion was needed for the forces of goodness, a man to meet the challenges and defeat the evil of the real estate agents. And so the forces of light did take the yellow pages, and did'st find there the name of Gently. And he was good in their sight, if a little daft. And thus he was sent forth to close the way of the nostril once and for all, and finish the work of God. Now would anyone like more beer?

"Oh. I think I understand a little better now." said Dirk. "I'll have that drink now."