The Gutterspines live on the outskirts of a small, delapidated town, called Ricketsville, in the heart of Kickapoo County, U.S.A.

They are a family whose home conceals the portal entrance to another dimension. It's down to Paw (Uncle Gimlet) Gutterspine, and his wife, Maw (Grizelda), to prevent, at all costs, the escape into our dimension of all sorts of horrendous entities and unspeakable creatures, known as The Swarm. We might also refer to them as The Forces of Weerdlium.

Weerdlium is a dimension not too distant from our own, wherein the Swarm and other strange races dwell. Ordinarily, the peoples of Weerdlium would have had no means of entry into our dimension. In fact, had it not been for the inadvertent actions of a certain chicken, - a Star Spangled Wyandot, named Agnes, - they would have remained completely oblivious to its existence.

So, what did Agnes do?

Let's allow Paw Gutterspine to explain:

"Well, first of all, y'all needs t' git yer minds round the fact that Agnes aint no ornery chicken. Oh she might look like a chicken - an' she maybe clucks like a chicken. Dang m' britches she might even squat from time t' time an' lay eggs like she's a chicken. But let me assure you folks; Agnes aint no ornery chicken. Fact of the matter is; Agnes is an Alien Princess, trapped in a chicken's body. Yessiree - absolutely - root'n'tootly - definchutely. An' if y' don't believe me, - hold on a second an' ah'll hold her up, - so's she kin explain."

"Pwaaawk, pwaaawk, wauk, wauk, pwaaawk!"

"Now, Ah knows what some of you folks is thinkin'. - Ye're thinkin; Them's just ornery chicken noises. Ha! - Well that's where ye're wrong. Y'see, inside them chicken noises there's a whole alien language goin' on. Like Agnes just said, - her real name's Zaboonga, Princess of Weerdlium, daughter of the Great Big Bahooky of Bong.

Ok, so what's this mess all about then?

In the world of Weerdlium, there's a war goin' on - tween the Swarm - an' another bunch'a folks, called The Bong. Now, the Bongs is normally peace lovin' folks, mindin' their own business an' never doin' nobody no harm. The Swarm aint like that, though. They're pretty much bad t' the bone.

Seems one day that the leader of the Swarm, a disgustin' ugly ol' feller, goin' by the name of Farticus Flail, decided that the Bongs was in his way, - so he reckoned he'd destroy them, - same way as he always does with folks that gets in his way. This time, though, things didn't go quite the way ol' Farticus was plannin'.

"Just like the rest of his folks, the Great Big Bahooky of Bong is usually a peaceable kinda feller. Same as anybody else, though, he's got his limits - an' he don't like bein' pushed too far. Once he got the picture that the Swarm aint the kinda folks that cares too much about negotiat'n' - an' he heard that they was plannin' t' plunder his cheese mines, he got t' figurin' that enough was enough. That was when he called out his Big Bong Army, so's they could defend the land of Bong an' its people - an', of course, the cheese mines. (The ol' Bahooky Boy, - he's powerful particular about protectin' his precious cheese supplies).

"Well, ah guess y'all kin figure what happened next. There was a ding dong doozy of a battle, tween the Bong an' the Swarm. At first it seemed like the Big Bong Army was doin' ok an' they was givin' as good as they was gitt'n', but then...

"At first it seemed like the Bongs was doin' ok, an' they was givin' as good as they was gitt'n'. After a while, though, they was plum tuckered out, - but the Swarm - they just keeped on comin'. They was playin dirty tricks, too, usin' puddin' blaster guns an' suicide frogs an' suchlike.

"The final straw came when the Swarm started sendin' in their airborne divisions of Beanie Boys, under the command of Thrash Bilebag, Flail's right hand man. Once they moved in an' mopped everythin' up, the poor ol' Bongs was just about beat. The Great Big Bahooky was captured an' him an' all his people was made int' slaves, t' work in the cheese mines.

"Happens there was a certain invididual (intentional spoonerism) though, who wasn't admitt'n' defeat. Don't ask me how she dood it, but somehow, Princess Zaboonga managed t' escape. She's a plucky little thing is the Princess.

"Hatchin' a plan as she went along, she figured that the only way this whole danged mess was ever gonna get fixed, would be if she was t' do somethin' that nobody - an' least of all Flail an' the Swarm - wasn't never gonna be likely t' expect.

"She knowed that the Swarm's eggheads was always developin' new weapons - an' forever tryin' t' impress Flail with all kinds'a doohicky devices designed t' destroy things. There was one partic'lar weapon, though, that she'd seen in Thrash Bilebag's grubby ol' hands - an' she got t' thinkin', if she could only find a way t' lay hands on it, then she might just be able t' turn this whole jing bang pickle patch around.

"The weapon she was fixin' t' steal was a Throbulat'n' Bibrainal Transmogriplex. Or, as Bilebag liked t' call it, a "Mind Zapper." This was a prototype device, the only one the Swarm's eggheads had been able t' make. It was powered by a single particle of Ging Gang Gooly, an exceedingly rare substance extracted from the core of a micro molecular pulsar. (What?) An' as any atomic physicist worth a danged nickle will tell y'all, micro molecular pulsars aint the kinda things that jumps up an' bites y' on the nose just any ol' day of the week.

"Anyhow, soon as Zaboonga had escaped, she made her way t' Flail's headquarters, a big ol' ugly heap of a place called the Twisted Stump of Mump." (Incidentally, the twisted stump is the most prominant remaining part of a ruined city that once belonged to the Mumpus, a civilisation that ruled the whole of Weerdlium in ancient times.)

And here we take a little break once again until my brain cools down and I can write some more. I'm fairly sure you'll see where this is heading... It's an unfortunate accident with the Transmorgriplex that causes Zaboonga to swap minds with Agnes, the Star Spangled Wyandot. It's that same accident, though, that gives the Princess time and opportunity to avail herself of the Gutterspine family's invaluable assistance. Prior to that happening, of course, she uses the device on Flail, causing him to exchange minds - albeit temporarily - with a piece of cheese.

The thing that will drive the plot along and lead to further action and adventure, will be the efforts of Flail, Bilebag and the Swarm, to retrieve the Transmogriplex. With it, they reckon they'll be able to take over our world. As old Gimlet would say, though: "Princess Zaboonga and The Gutterspines ain't about to lie down an' let that happen!"

(c) 1999 Douglas Carrel