The sky lay black and low over a gnarled landscape, somewhere East of the Urals. A fizzing shaft of lightning split the knotted, former-communist oak in two. An owl hooted, and that kind of thing. Hard to believe that any of it really happened. Their unmarked Transit with fake plates was parked in the rain-swept empty lot behind, but Beagles & Ramsay were hunkered down in their desolate Burgerheaven shelter, its broken door banging in the storm. Another blinding flash threw a stark silhouette of the waiting space rocket across the malevolent sky.

Funny, really. Things had looked so swell back in the day. We Are The People were signed to Nieuw Hoofdschudden records and the debut album, “Sell A Lung To Feed The Kids”, was kicking boss ass in Disco-Goth crypts. Their showdown with Babylon Boy would be make or break. But that was before Burgerheaven, Uncle Chop Chop, Groove Brain and all those other Beagles & Ramsays.
Odd that they should hook up in the first place. Beagles was the Fat Cop loner, solitary Lidl cruiser, solo keyboard dabbler. And Ramsay? He was a lab-coat dork, backroom boffin, home-alone tech-nerd. Word is that the flame-throwing antics of Gary the Misunderstood Toddler brought them together, but who really knows? Maybe it was their simmering, jealous and secret competition for Zombie Cowgirl’s affection. The point is, they were united by a common philosophy: if at first you don’t succeed, lower your standards.

Faith in fakes and trust in twosomes served them equally well. Until… Groove Brain was a top evil type, an unhooked genius who would gladly take heat for wicked Uncle Chop Chop. And Chop Chop was way angered. For years he had been trying to get down with the kids, get oops upside their heads, rule their world. Control young minds, he argued, and you own the future. Chop Chop had plans. The two quickest routes to the child’s soul, he figured, were toys and pop music. His attempt to storm the pop world (We Are The New Spice Girls – All Scary) bellied up, but he was hanging tuff with his range of toney Burgerkid action dolls. Beautifully moulded from finest plastic, battery operated Burgerboy and Burgergirl’s grab feature was their voice activated Kung Fu Kick option. Violence on command – that was the twisted crop Chop Chop hoped to sow in innocent fields. Lady Luck screwed his scheme, however, when Toys R Us refused to stock these vicious little items. Yet worse by far: Beagles & Ramsay happened along and gave the whole Burger thing a new spin. The celeb/burger crossover concept was no new thing, but in Burgerheaven the stakes were hiked. No more pining for dead stars such as Elvis, Princess Diana, John Lennon or Marilyn Monroe: taste their flesh in a sesame bun. This secular Eucharist captured the spirit of the age. You are what you eat, so why not chow down on some glamorous deities? Burgerheaven joints became the new temples of celebrity worship, and their founders – Beagles & Ramsay – accumulated great worthiness and devotion. Definitely a mortal blow to cunning Chop Chop’s hopes of wicked world domination through the burger route.

“Destroy them,” Chop Chop barked to Groove Brain in finely tutored Shakespearean tones. “Make ye in their lives a boiling mess of turmoil. Confound them with a barren harvest of confusion. Double ye their cares, multiply ye their woes. Unleash ravaging hordes of Beagles & Ramsays into the emerald expanses and azure depths. Yet shall quivering humanity rue the days of their singular lives. Make of them a pandemic pestilence! Betimes shall bewildered hue and cry deliver them to ye Scaffold of Truth and Justice. Then truth will be undone, justice rent in twain. The age of mirror’d faith shall dawn, and Chop Chop prevail.”

Groove Brain was bad at being a good person, but quite good at being an evil genius. He was exceptional in the ideas department, but oh so below average at making things. Because he was a bad person but a good genius, his first idea was conceptually good and morally bad. The Good Beagles & Ramsay, he reasoned, were beyond reproach, god-like figures presiding over Burgerheaven. What better way to nix them than to haul them thru the dirt? He tried to work a We Are The People payola-scam angle, but no dice. With the help of Gary the Misunderstood Toddler and Zombie Cowgirl they’d disappeared all tell tale tracks. Nothing for it, then, but to develop Evil Beagles & Ramsay # 1: Budget Range Sex Doll Beagles & Ramsay. Life size, flesh coloured, bespectacled, hung and affordable, the Budget Range Sex Doll Beagles & Ramsays would destroy their image, jerking it around from untouchable purity to a gross seediness. Who could take them seriously after taking them anally? Excellent idea, Groove Brain! Not! Seriously: who’s going to get off on a stuffed cotton bag? Wrong texture, wrong consistency, wrong smell, wrong vibe. Groove Brain’s below averageness at making things had let him down.
“Feeble artificer, maladroit manufacturer! Get thee hence to thine PDSA shop. Emerge not until thou has’t fashioned a simulation that would’st make even the eternal gods weep with envy. Mark me well, for I speak not to amuse: let thine next Evil Beagles & Ramsays lack neither for the gifts of locomotion to command nor voice to seduce.”

Some said that they were not so very different from ordinary ventriloquist dummies, just a bit cruder perhaps. These, however, were the sceptical minority. Somehow or other, Groove Brain had nailed it. The Evil Beagles & Ramsays #2 had caught fire. At first it seemed as if people simply wanted reasonably sized and moderately priced effigies of the prophets of Burgerheaven. But then it started to go weird. In one of those inexplicable historical coincidences, two unlikely events came together with disastrous consequences for the Good Beagles & Ramsay. These were the days, we must remember, of wonder, confusion and widespread credulity. It started among small, isolated groups, but then spread rapidly through media-fuelled rumour: the messages spilling from the hinged plastic jaws of the Ventriloquist Dummy Beagles & Ramsays were, in fact, originating from Beagles & Ramsay themselves. Needless to say, this caused great dismay and alarm. To make matters worse, a freak accident got mixed up with this general mayhem. A virulent toxic flu virus escaped from a genetic research centre in Hagshill, infecting the residents of Glasgow, causing nocturnal shrinkage of the victims’ bones. Adults shrank to the size of eight year old children. Rejected and shunned, they took up arms (liberated – love the irony – from Toys R Us). Due to the uncanny similarities between these miniaturized insurgents and the size of the Ventriloquist Doll Beagles & Ramsays, the belief grew that Beagles & Ramsay themselves were directly implicated in this revolutionary movement, that they had somehow predicted and precipitated it. There were increasing reports of Ventriloquist Doll Beagles & Ramsays uttering chilling messages of death, destruction and retribution. As terror mounted in the rest of the country, Beagles & Ramsay became increasingly feared and hated. Sales at Burgerheaven slumped and there were incidents of vandalism on the premises. An evil smile broke malevolently across wicked Uncle Chop Chop’s nasty face.

The Good Beagles & Ramsay were in a fix. How could they counter the devastating influence of the Evil Ventriloquist Doll Beagles & Ramsays? Their answer: defeat Chop Chop and Groove Brain at their own game. Make Aged Beagles & Ramsays – even Dead Beagles & Ramsays. Send them out across the entire world. Turn hatred and fear into sympathy and veneration. Who could feel threatened by these wise but impotent old gits?

It would be nice to say that this is the end of the story, but life is rarely so neat. It is true that Beagles & Ramsay began frantically producing Aged Us and Dead Us dolls in an attempt to stem the flow of hatred inspired by the Ventriloquist Doll Beagles & Ramsays, but their effects were mixed. The success of Burgerheaven could only happen in an age when hope, naivety and easily satisfiable gluttony were in the ascendant. But such a constellation of factors is fragile and unstable. One can easily become sated with Elvis flavoured flesh, one can even begin to believe that eating such delicacies is mundane and routine. One then finds it hard to swallow the idea that the taste of the celebrity puts one in the presence of celebrity’s aura. Hope, naivety and satisfiable gluttony then become displaced by despair, cynicism and an insatiable appetite for revenge. And so it happened. Burgerheaven gave way to Burgerhell, and Good Beagles & Ramsay gave way to Ambivalent Beagles & Ramsay. A darkness of violence and distrust descended, an irrational reign of suspicion and secrecy. Good Beagles & Ramsay, who had once united people in blissful ignorance, now became the fragmented focus of myriad cults. Some revered Beagles & Ramsay more highly now that they were presumed dead; some – refusing to believe the actuality of their death, but desiring it above all else – enacted ritualistic mutilation of Beagles & Ramsay dolls. Some worshipped Good Beagles & Ramsay effigies, others paid homage to the Evil Beagles & Ramsays. One obscure sect was even rumoured to devote themselves to Budget Range Sex Doll Beagles & Ramsays. Dark night had fallen metaphorically.

Even in the real dark of night the vintage Lada was unmistakable with its boot formed from melted down Rolls Royce angels. As it slowly headed across the launch site towards the storm battered carcass of Burgerheaven, Beagles and Ramsay exchanged places. The two occupants got out of the car and ran from the tempest into the gloomy shell of the building. The wind howled like something that should frighten you in a film. Once inside, negotiations began. Here was the deal: Beagles & Ramsay’s reputations were compromised good and proper, they knew that this was an offer they could not refuse. With the help of the skeleton crew (Uri, Ivan and Boris) they could steer the chartered spacecraft to Pluto. With their company of clone mating teams it should not take long for the programme of intense breeding to populate this dead planet. The clones number 48 pairs and are exact replicas of the infamous earthbound double act. This could have legs, they speculated.

The deal done, the parties separated. As they were about to enter their waiting Lada, Groove Brain spoke on behalf of both of them: “It’s goodnight from me, and it’s goodnight from him. Goodnight..” An evil smile broke malevolently across wicked Uncle Chop Chop’s nasty face. “Goodnight.”