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Book: The Impaler and the Slim-Jims
Chapter 10: Doughnut Machine

Panman met Peter the Ace and Sind’a at the front door. “Come on, hurry!”

Sind’a rushed ahead. Peter the Ace stopped her. “You’d better stay behind me. You may see something you don’t want to see.”

Sind’a agreed and stepped back.

Panman had already gone back into the office. Peter the Ace entered with Sind’a cowering behind him. He was perplexed. The Impaler leader’s office was full of the Impaler community’s most important males, and they were drinking, laughing, burping, eating, and joking.

Panman waved from the far corner. “Ace, over here!”

Peter the Ace joined his companion. “Why did you call me here so urgently? I assumed that the Impaler leader had been brutally disfigured somehow.”

Panman frowned. “He is brutally disfigured. Look at his ridiculous jaw-line for a start!”

“No. I mean life-threateningly disfigured.”

“Oh, you mean in the battle?”


“As far as I know he got a bruise on his shoulder, nothing more.”

Peter the Ace was still perplexed. “So why the urgency?”

Panman pointed to a gurgling device next to him. “This is why!”

“What is it?”

“It’s a doughnut machine! And it’s making the best doughnuts I’ve ever tasted!”

In timely fashion, two doughnuts appeared from the machine and landed in a tray on its front. Panman stuffed one in his mouth and handed the other one to Peter the Ace.

Peter the Ace placed the doughnut in his mouth. “Ah, yes! Tasty!” he said as he happily munched away. “I still don’t understand the urgency though?”

“Two reasons.” Panman said, swallowing hard. “One; doughnuts taste the best when they’re fresh out of a machine. And two; the doughnut mix has almost run out and I wanted you to try one before these contorted dudes ate them all.”

“You mean before you ate them all?”

“Um… yeah, OK. Before I ate them all.”

Peter the Ace chuckled. “That was very considerate of you, Panman!”

“No problem.”

Sind’a spoke. “Where is my master?”

Panman was busy trying to coax more doughnuts out of the machine. He pointed without looking up. “In that restroom, I think. He downed a bottle of strong ale in celebration of the victory and he needed to vomit.”

“Thank you.” she said. “Excuse me; I must tend to his needs.”

Peter the Ace watched her leave the room. “Sind’a is a finely developed girl.”

Panman looked up. He looked disappointed - the machine was empty. “She is perfectly formed.” he agreed, punching the doughnut device. “Why do you say that?”

“I’m going to offer her a job.”

“Doing what?”

“Tending to our needs on the Blenheim.”

“Another assistant?”


Panman smiled. The snacks Sind’a had made him earlier had been some of the most delicious he had ever tasted. It would be nice to have her on board. He was unsure, though. “Didn’t the Superior Beings only grant permission for each ship to have only one assistant and no more? Even we cannot break the regulations set by them.”

“Very true,” Peter the Ace said. “But those regulations were set in place three hundred years ago when all bounty hunters had a ship of their own. Although we’ve always worked as a team, we used to have individual ships and assistants until thirty years ago. As we share a ship, I feel we should be allowed to have an assistant each on board.”

Panman nodded. “With such impeccable logic, and also your status, the Superior Beings cannot refuse your request. You should speak to them as soon as you get back.”

“I will indeed!”

Tiyr’d, the Impaler leader, entered the room with Sind’a by his side. “Peter the Ace!” he said, his speech slurred. “You’re back!”

“Well spotted.”

Tiyr’d shook the bounty hunter’s hand. “Thank you for rescuing my servant.”

“No problem. Any well-toned female is worth saving.”

The Impaler leader nodded and turned to the small crowd that had gathered in his office. “My fellow Impalers. With the help of the bounty hunters and the divine guidance of the Almight Impaler, we have defeated the Slim-Jims!”

The crowd cheered.

Tiyr’d held up his glass in the direction of Peter the Ace and Panman. “We salute you, bounty hunters!”

The crowd repeated the words. “We salute you, bounty hunters!”

Peter the Ace and Panman nodded out of politeness only. It was common for them to receive praise from lesser life forms.

Tiyr’d spoke once more. “We are in your debt. If there is any way we can repay you, please let us know.”

Peter the Ace grinned. “There is one way.”

“Name it.” The leader said, dribbling ale onto his white coat.

“With her shapely and toned physique, her culinary abilities, and her desire to serve, Sind’a would make a fantastic assistant for Panman and myself. I ask that she join us on our ship. If she wishes to, that is.”

Tiyr’d looked unsure. “She is my personal servant. I need her here.”

“You did say anything.”

Reluctantly Tiyr’d nodded. He turned to Sind’a. “Would you like to go with the bounty hunters?”

“Only if you will be OK without me.”

Tiyr’d smiled. “I could get another servant, although not as devoted as you.”

Sind’a turned to Peter the Ace. “I have heard stories about your home. Is the Palace of Amino a wondrous place of opulence and fulfilment just as legends say it is?”

“It is indeed.”

“And are the restaurants and casinos the most scintillating in the galaxy?”

“They are.”

“And are all the bounty hunters as strong, intelligent, and as powerful as everyone says they are?”

“Of course, even more so in fact.”

“And do all ships in your fleet have holo-game systems fitted as standard?”

“Absolutely. And our ship has the most advanced system of them all.”

Sind’a smiled broadly, tears wandered down her face. She dropped to her knees. “Then I will come with you. It will be an honour for me to serve the greatest beings ever to exist!”


The crowd cheered.

The Impaler leader swigged another glass of ale and burped loudly. “Although I am sad to have Sind’a leave me,” he said unsteadily. “I am also proud. Proud that, for the first time in history, an Impaler citizen will leave our community and our planet and head for the stars.”

The crowd cheered again.

There was a crash and a thud. The crowd fell silent. Ross Mental stormed into the room.

Peter the Ace walked over to him. “Did you find your boots?”

“I fuckin’ did!” he replied. “The fuckers were locked in a fuckin’ cabinet!”

The foul-mouthed bounty hunter grabbed the nearest alcoholic beverage, opened his throat, and then poured the drink down. He swallowed hard. “Fuck! I needed that!”

Tiyr’d staggered over to Ross Mental. “I must apologise for kidnapping you and abusing your body in the way that we did. We were desperate. I hope you can forgive us.”

Ross Mental glared at the Impaler leader. “No fuckin’ way, you fucked up repulsive fucker! If Peter the Ace hadn’t absolved you I’d have wiped your fuckin’ face across this entire fuckin’ planet!”

Tiyr’d took a step back. “Hmm… right.”

Panman butted in to the conversation. “What are we going to do about the clones?”

“Fuck yes!” Ross Mental said. “We can’t fuckin’ leave them here!”

“I was hoping that we could keep them for defence purposes.” Tiyr’d said.

“No way, fucker!”

“We’ll have to take them away.” Panman said.

Ross Mental shook his head. “I don’t want those fuckers back at the palace. They’ll wander around and destroy my fuckin’ reputation.”

Panman wondered exactly how Ross Mental thought that his reputation could be destroyed. He ignored that thought and looked at Peter the Ace. “What do you reckon?”

“Well, the only other option would have been to destroy them, but they’re not ordinary clones; they’re bounty hunter clones, and they’ll therefore be able to defend themselves phenomenally well.”

Ross Mental nodded vigorously. “Good fuckin’ point, Ace!”

Peter the Ace thought for a moment, and then spoke with the wisdom of three secret monks. “There is only one solution. They must remain here after all.”

“What?” Ross Mental said in disbelief.

“Let me finish.” Peter the Ace said. “They will not stay with the Impaler community, though. A new place for them to live must be found. A place well away from prying eyes. They must be given suitable housing and the ability to cultivate their own food. They must be conditioned to believe that they are a unique race of people with the ability to look after themselves. Then they must be left alone to live out their nine hundred year life-spans in peace. They must never know that they are clones. And they must never know of their bounty hunter heritage.”

Ross Mental bowed his head in appreciation of his superior’s insight. “That’s fuckin great, Ace! I can live with that.”

Peter the Ace looked at the Impaler leader. “Will that be OK with you?”

“Not really.” Tiyr’d said.

“It will have to be. Ross Mental will stay here to supervise the clones’ relocation and re-conditioning.”

Ross Mental smiled at the Impaler leader. “I’ll be with you for fuckin’ weeks, how does that feel?”

Tiyr’d shuddered.

Panman laughed. “Cool! That’s that sorted out. There’s one more thing, though.”

Peter the Ace looked confused. “What do you mean?”

“The Blenheim. It’s broken, remember?”

“Oh yes.”

“What the fuck is wrong with it?” Ross Mental asked.

“The Inanuim fuel injector snapped. The sub-space engines won’t work until we replace it.”

“Isn’t the Inanuim fuel injector just an imensely strong fuckin’ tube?”

“Indeed it is.”

“And isn’t it about half a fuckin’ metre in length?”

“Again, yes it is.”

Ross Mental smiled. “I know of something that fits that fuckin’ description perfectly!”


“Fuck yes! It can even penetrate Amino fuckin’ body armour!”

Peter the Ace and Panman were curious beyond reason. “Show us!” they said in unison.

The foul-mouthed bounty hunter led them out of the office.

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