From Pack My Box with Five Dozen Liquor Jugs, a pangrammic novel by Tom Jenks & Catherine Vidler


‘How did it even hear me?’ mouthed a petrified Wexford to Zlatan, whose knees were quite justifiably knocking together like coconut shells.

‘This must be the famous cassowary,’ squeaked Zlatan, spooked, ‘the extrasensory jungle bird I saw on the Discovery Channel.’

‘Well, obviously, Zlatan,’ ‘squeaked’ the sequinned creature, jadedly, its three-clawed foot protruding at face-height from a fluorescent pink leg-warmer’s fringed extremity.

‘Jesus, Zlatan,’ gasped Wexford heavily, ‘look at those fur-lined aquamarine cowboy boots!’

‘I’ve witnessed my share of fingerless gloves, Wexford, but never have I dared even to dream of the likes of these thrice-talonless, heart-joltingly equine beauties!’ Zlatan rhapsodised, agreeably.

‘This chump Zlatan's so overexcited he’s gonna lay an egg for breakfast!’ jibed the awful quail.

‘It’s these fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine boots,’ reiterated Zlatan to the excessively hip-swivelling quail, ‘they’re just about giving me a heart attack.’

‘This crazy quail's hips don't lie,’ observed Wexford, frankly, 'he'll sublux his giblets or some other amusing poultry injury.’

‘Everything so unexpected, the way it rights and lefts it,’ improvised the Shakira-obsessed Zlatan, his attention switching to the juicy gyrations occurring somewhere above the quail’s monumental platform shoes.

‘My mother was an Amazonian wood quail,’ said the extraordinary bird, grooving freakishly, ‘I got Latin-American jungle petrol in my tank.’

‘And meanwhile,’ acquiesced the dazed, dejected cassowary, having eventually put its foot down, ‘my hip flexor’s bloody well killing me.’

‘This casqued monstrosity's extra special skillset evidently doesn't extend to mambo or frugging,’ whispered Zlatan, prejudicially.

‘I’d like to see you dancing the hip-hop version of the Jerk, Zlatan,’ blazed the liquor-emboldened, existentially wounded bird.

‘I’d be down with that, my extravagantly casqued amigo,’ flipped Zlatan cheekily, ‘but not to Julio Iglesias.’

‘But would you reject the track listing on Enrique’s excellently self-titled album, Zlatan?’ palpitated the cassowary, feverishly.

‘Julio, Enrique, whoever... if you think I'm going to be your hero,’ said Zlatan to the feathered creature, ‘you're extremely warped, baby.’

‘Would you at least take away the pain in my thigh and overextended hip joint, Zlatan?’ negotiated the almost irreversibly deflated cassowary, coquettishly.

‘Osteopathy and chiropractics are blatantly not my fields of expertise, leaving me ill-equipped to tackle your malady,’ wriggled Zlatan, not unjustly.

‘I’m baffled and disheartened to acknowledge, Zlatan, that the quaintly devastating utterance you just made was matched exactly by its accompanying telepathic transmissions,’ sighed the rejected cassowary.

‘This Zlatan dope's no medic,’ barked the quail, unfairly vehement, ‘and his buddy Wexford got no mojo.’

‘Those two jinxed bozos couldn’t do the reverse moonwalk even if they were on the actual moon!’ jabbed the cassowary, embittered, throwing a flightless wing across the quail’s sparkling shoulders.

‘Wexford's gone jolly quiet,’ contemplated Zlatan, ‘it seems forever since we heard his kooky velvet baritone.’

‘Hang on a moment,’ he thought further, his panicked eyes surveying the Jiggly Lizard’s dizzying rabble, ‘where in this godforsaken disco-den of grotesque drunkenness is Wexford?’

‘Your boy Wexford's done a vanishing trick, Zlatan,’ said the quail, ‘always seemed a jumpy little gofer.’

‘Perhaps, Zlatan,’ insinuated the opportunistic cassowary (after exacting a large swig from its flask), ‘you might now consider viewing me as something more than an object of your random acquaintance?’

‘You are indubitably a significant presence, casqued enigma,’ concurred Zlatan, irked, 'but where is Wexford, my jovial friend?’

By posting a comment, you agree to's privacy policy.