Kifffarces (7): Kiff meets Grammstein

A few months after their adventures in Italy (see episode 6: Kiff and the Talking Carpet from Torino) the Accusable Alpha And Omega of Ailing Arrogance were scourging their German fan base with a series of brutal concerts, causing a flurry of angry letters to the editor in regional newspapers and a marked increase in compulsory admissions to Kneipp-Resorts. However, it had been a long haul and the last few concerts hadn’t been up to their usual standards. The break of a few days they now faced was just what they needed to recharge the old spite- and cantankerousness levels.  

For that purpose they were staying a mid-week in a rustic Bavarian hotel in the village of Bubenfels-am-Main. The village got its name from the eponymous Bubenfels rock that overlooked the river Main and was crowned by Schloß Grobiannenburg. The well-preserved castle was a major tourist attraction because it was the site of the high Medieval legend recorded in “Die traurige doch wahre und bemerkenswehrte Ballade vom Aufstieg und Fall des Grobianlehens Bubenfels”, abbreviated to the “Bubenfels Ballade” just as the castle was commonly known as Castle Bubenfels.

Of course neither history nor ballad had entered the mental event horizon of the Black-holes of Brutal Barbarity. Though the events mentioned in the legend cannot have been PG-13 material even under the much more relaxed medieval standards, the elapsed time had deflated them too much to qualify as sufficiently scary for consideration. This was a pity, because it might have taught them a few things about Bubenfels that would have lent them just that extra competitive edge in this episode … but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The Catastrophic Conciliators of Caterwauling were uncharacteristically quiet when checking in their rustic Hotel Garni. The landlord, a friendly chap with a curious frayed hairdo that fell down across his eyes and looked as if he had it styled by a nibbling rabbit, showed them into their room and then retreated to the kitchen with an order list for twelve Wiener Schnitzels and seventeen Bratwursts with Bull’s Eye Barbecue sauce and a tray of pints.

“Sure the first time in Yurp someone doesn’t put up a fight over our order, the bass player remarked. “It‘s weird, but I don’t feel like arguing myself, either … what think you, guys?”



“Lhah hwuh ohllol blol”, the lead guitarist produced, in an uncharacteristic languid tone.

“I noticed it as well, of course”, the bass player said, lowering his polyester-plated frame on a monstrous chair with chain mail upholstery. 

“Yesterday it felt as if we were turning into Hark Cloggo for real” he said, referring to their concert the night before. “Into … cheery bookkeepers in garden gnome suits. Damn disgusting.”

He glanced around the room and noticed that all furniture was similarly steel-spike-proofed. Even the beds seemed to have chain-mail sheets. He shrugged, jingling the steel spikes on his shoulders.

“Hîhh hâhhih hehôhihehh whâhdl hheahli ohtol blôl, hlêhld”, the lead gitarist spake, as he sauntered listlessly over to the heavy oak table in the corner and picked up what looked like tourist folders.

“Actually”, the bass player replied, “it was more as if the audience had been pre-scared by a support act, but … way too much, if you catch my drift. They felt like a bunch of East-coast sissies … no resistance at all … that sort of thing ruins the counter-whatchamacallit. It’s not natural!”

He scratched his nose carefully to not damage his scary make-up. 
“We should file a complaint with the Scary Musician Union”, he added. 

*Rhâcht* *ptooie*


“I say it’s a crying’ shame, spoiling our audience like that, whoever’s responsible … not for us, but I mean, they’re *people* aren’t they? They pay to be properly scared by professionals, not by some … band of Boy Scout Punks, what say you, guys?”


The lack of response made him look up, and found that the lead guitarist was deeply engrossed in a tourist attraction folder.

He got up to a chorus of musical poinggg sounds of vibrating steel spikes that had gotten stuck in chain mail.

“What have you got there?”

“Lhôoblooh ohtol blôl …” the lead guitar player poppled around his extended tongue, and handed the folder to his scary colleague. 

“Unique Chance to visit the scariest Castle in Germany for Free”, the bass player read out from the folder. Het turned it over to read the back side.

“It says there’s an medieval castle at the river here, on a rock … there’s a free guided tour tomorrow, through the creepy dungeons …”

He squinted trying to read the small print. “Well, I can use some inspiration, what say you? Especially after that floppy dud last night.”

There was a knock at the door, and their rabbit-hairstyled host wheeled in a trolly overflowing with schnitzels and beer, keeping the Defamatory Deluge of Destruction occupied for some time. 

After it had all been processed, the bass player put down his fifth pint and leaned back in his cavernous chair. 

“He may look like a floppin’ rabbit-whisperer, but there’s nothing wrong with his cookin’ …”, he said. “I feel a lot better already … let’s have an early night, hope for a few good nightmares and go checkout that castle tomorrow, what say?”


*ptooie* *splat*

“Lhâhlee ohlâllâl, ohtol blôl!”, the lead guitarist agreed. 

*  *  *

So, the next morning, after the Eclectic Epitomes of the Exploitation of Evil had finally managed to tear themselves loose from the chainmail sheets that clung like Velcro to the steel spikes on their scary costumes, they could be seen sauntering through Bubenfels-am-Main.

“No breakfast, because it’s a hotel *garni*?” the bass player muttered to himself, “… what the &#%!“ – but then he realised that his usual antagonistic temper had returned. He eagerly clapped his gloved hands together and rubbed them in anticipation, which sounded like a leather-clad Hell’s Angel falling flat on a leather sofa from the second floor and scrambling to get up, so that several passers-by instinctively ducked for cover.

“Come on guys, let’s see if we can score breakfast in that scary castle”, and jerked his painted head in the direction of the river to spur on his fellow Fearful Fausts of Flagitious Funk.

They crossed the river on a small ferry without incidents, but the climb to the castle was an arduous physical effort. They were panting and wheezing by the time they were halfway up, and the lead guitarist had barely avoided tripping over his cosmetically extended tongue several times. But a school-class having an excursion to Bubenfels Castle delayed them even more, as every few minutes a couple of twelve-something-year olds came darting down the path, requiring the Generation-Gap Gatekeepers of Grief to reflexively jump into their intimidating PR pose. It became increasingly difficult to produce a menacing enough look to mask their ragged breathing, and only the bewildered looks and cries for help they received kept them going.

But eventually they arrived at the entrance gate just as a touringcar with some remaining kids was leaving. The gate was ajar and there was nobody in sight, so the Hair-Raising Harbingers of Hissing Hypocrisy proceeded to enter Bubenfels Castle. There was presently no-one in the courtyard, which turned out to be disappointingly devoid of catering establishments as well. Only a few faded and peeling information boards were valiantly trying to satisfy the visitor’s thirst for cultural history, but the inner culture lover fared poorly in Bubenfels Castle.

The Instrument-Abuse Indignations of Insulting Inspiritment walked around the yard cursing and grumbling, to check out some of the doorways that were set in the walls, without much hope.

*rrhâcht* *spit* *ptooie* *splat*

*grarRÂrgh* *grummbll*

“Hlahllâhl ohtol blôl!”

“Hey guys, check this out”, the bass player said, arriving at a door on which the same tourist pamphlet they had read in their hotel room was flapping in the breeze. He put his boot to the door and it gave way, opening with a sinister creaking.

“That’s the stuff!”, he said appreciatively and gestured his frightening colleagues to follow him with another jerk of his head.

Inside there was a spiral staircase, leading up to the main part of the Castle. They emerged in a stony corridor that led left and right, apparently circling the perimeter of the building. Some daylight filtered through narrow slots that were set in the outer wall, and when their eyes had adapted to the light, they noticed a hand-written note stuck to the wall. Written in classic German Fraktur script it read: “Visitors are required to go zed Vay!” with an arrow pointing to the right. 
So, the Jingoistical Jitters of Joylessness turned that way, hoping it would lead them to the desired creepy dungeons. 

They clattered with rattling polyester armour and jingling steel spikes through the echoing corridor. It wound slowly up and around the castle and eventually emerged onto another, smaller courtyard. Three small and one large towers were set in the corners of the yard, and the parapets on two sides were low enough to allow for a magnificent view of the environment. However, the darth of catering establishments, and a tour guide as promised in the folder was even more sobering as on the first courtyard. 

*RrhaÂCht* *SPIT* *SPLAT!*
– the drummer put so much expression in it that it left a small crater in the dried mud of the yard.

But the bass player, as usual the most flexible and enterprising of the Knuckleheaded Knives of Kruelly Keeling Kludgedness, walked towards the larger tower and beckoned his dire comrades to follow.
They disappeared in the arched doorway, and a muffled grumbling and cursing was heard as they ascended yet another spiral staircase pursuing breakfast and creepy dungeons. 

But then, five other men clad in black leather emerged from the corridor. The last one of them quietly closed and locked the wrought iron gate, and they took up an intimidating pose, arms akimbo and head held high. The middle one was clearly the Leader of the band, towering over the others who tried to compensate for that by looking extra grim.

They didn’t have to wait very long before the Lewd Lucifers of Lubricity came stumbling out of the tower empty-handed. As soon as they spotted the newcomers they again sprang reflexively in their PR-pose, and thus the two groups of men leered menacingly to one another for some time without saying a word. The breeze tossed some debris around the yard and muted sound of the traffic from below could be heard.

At last the newcomers broke the silence. While maintaining his arrogant stance, the frontman sneered:

“So, at last ve meet Herrn Hark Klozcko in person, zugether vid his so-called Klöd Boyz!
Or, should ve say … Klöd Zizzies?” He grinned scornfully and his four companions broke out simultaneously in heavy German-accented contemptuous sniggering:

“Ahhâhhâh yâhah pfffyaya yukyuk ngâhhahuhuh”
“Tsssyamann dahahânäh hêhhêh pfffsâhihâh”
“Tchök tschök yiyiyhahihiha nggihihi …”

The Moaning Mephitic Mischiefs of Monkeyshines kept their pose steady, their proven approach to handle nearly everything from contract negotiations to vampires (see episode 4, “Kiff in Transsylvania”).

*rrhâcht* *spit* *ptooie* *splat*

*grarRÂrgh* *grummbll*

“Hlee hwâhld hlûhihl hlÂrh hlohho hÊhlou hlôw, hêhhôhl! Hlofplól ohtol blôl!”, the lead singer spoke, his tongue wriggling like a rattlesnake.

“I beg your pardon, I did not cadge zet?”, the frontman said, holding his hand behind his ear.

“He’s saying that we are Kiff, as you know perfectly well”, the bass player translated.
“And you must be … Grammstein, I presume?”

“Ve are. Mwuhuhuhu -“, the Grammstein frontman paused, looked over his shoulder and signalled his insubordinates to join him:

Mwuhuhuhuh! Ahâhahâhah …!!
Ahhahhahhah!!! Ahahâhhahâh…!! Mwahahhâhhah!! AHAHÂHAHÂH…!!!
“Mwuhahah!! Mwhuhahâhhahhah…!!!
Ahahâhohôh!!! Ahahâhohoh!! Mwuhuhuhuh … hohohôh hahhâh!!!
Ya, also nah du! MWUHUHUHUHAHÂH hahahâhahah …!!!!

After a minute of this had passed, the Naysaying Narrators of Nauseating Nervousness started exchanging glances and rolling their eyes in second-hand embarrassment. 
The bass player again jerked his head to signal let’s go to his comrades. They clattered around the yard to the sound of Grammstein’s continuing evil laughter, but found the gate to the corridor locked shut.

“What the f*!”, the bass player exclaimed as he pulled the gate’s handle.

They turned to face their rivals in musical brutalisation, who had taken care to keep their evil cackling aimed towards the Opprobrium Operators of Odiousness with clockwork precision. 

“Open the gate, you giggling nitwits”, the bass player demanded. 

The frontman pulled the key from his pocket and held it mockingly in the hand of his outstretched arm.
“Bitte mein Herr Klozcko”, he taunted.
The bass player was more agile than he expected and almost grabbed the key, but the Grammstein frontman quickly tossed it over the parapet. 

“Ach so! Scheisse! Look vhat you chev donn, Herr Klozcko! Now ve have zu stay chere!”

But the Personification of Pandemonic Petulance wasn’t lured into pointless bickering that easily. Just staring at the other worked much better. The other four Grammstein-members were still cackling half-heartedly but the frontman gestured them to shut up, visibly annoyed with their lack of strategical intuition and lackadaisical coordination with their leader.

The bass player cast a quick glance sideways and was confirmed that their closely-knit intimidating pose was sharp as a knife. They didn’t move a muscle and maintained an ominous silence, except for the occasional deep grumble from the rhythm guitarist and the meteorite spewing of the drummer. 

The Grammstein frontman must have felt the initiative slipping from his grasp, and he tried compensating for that by suddenly bellowing out: “Sooo … mein liebe Gardening Klöd-Zizzies, ve have invited you chere zu zeddle zet Ve ar zee grausamste Band der Velt … vile you arr … Eestcosed Zizzies! Mwuhahaha-“ – he again turned toward his minions and signalled them to join: 

Mwuhuhuha…! AHÂHÂHÂHAHA!!!
Ahaha…!! Yayayah, MWÂHÔHHAHHAH!!! Yukyukyuk *gasp*
Ahahahhahahâh … mwuhahhahhahhahhâh…!!! AHAHAHA!! Mwuhuhu … ahhahahâhaha!!! Ya, AHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

… and signed again to shut them up.
He straightened is back and bellowed: “Ve vill … have a Kontest! Ya, a Bettle of zee Bends … mitveen Hark Klozcko und zie … ya, … Klötzizzies … und Grammstein! Die Grausamste soll sicher überwinnen!”

He gestured, and one or two of his band members started to cackle hesitantly, not certain what he wanted.
The frontman swished around and snapped: “Holt euch die Ausrüstung, ihr verdammten Idioten! Und zwar schnell! Geplapperte Trottel!
They ran off to the smaller towers and returned carrying a drum kit, amplifiers and instruments; and one of them wheeled a diesel generator into a corner of the yard, started it and hooked the amps up to it.

While they were working, the frontman found it hard to keep up a credible-enough intimidating pose to counter the one that the Quacking Quintessence of Quailing was keeping up effortlessly like the Enterprise would, on one of the rare occasions where their shields weren’t compromised by importunate aliens using them for target practice. He looked decidedly nervous by the time the arena was ready.
Clearly relieved, he strode towards the microphone stand.

“Also, mein lieber Klödzizzies … “ sounded his voice through the small PA they had set up.
“Zese arr zee Rules! Ve vill play wan song, zen You play wan song, zen ve again – undsoweiter. 
Ve vill go on until you – *har har* until wan Band ist Knokt Out! So you must do your vörst! Mwuhahaha-“ 

Mwuhuhuhhah…! Ahâhhâhhâhhahah…!!
AHAHAHA…!! Yayayah, mwahahâhhah!! 

He snapped his fingers, the drummer counted in, and the infamous Grammstein launched into Schnappi, das kleine Krokodil, the theme song from a strange 1980’s children’s tv series:

*BAM BOOM flash*
Schni schnah schnappi *groarrr*
Schnappi schnappi SCHNAPP *fwoosh*
*BOOM* Harf HARF harf *BANG*
Ich *kaboom* Schnappi *screech* ya YA ya *bworrrrrk*
Das kleine Kro-ko-diiiil *bradam boombabam bam*

They had even brought a miniature version of their trademark pyrotechnics effects, and fireworks sizzled across the yard and ricocheted off the walls. As Grammstein worked their way through the song, the Resentful Ratbags of Rhyming Ribaldry looked at one another and shrugged. Though they indeed had a hard time dealing with cheerful and uplifting subject matter, their German wasn’t good enough to be hit by the song’s full impact. 

When the song was over, the Steaming Scurfs of Scurrility mockingly applauded their detractors, which sounded like a group of leather-clad bikers having a leather pillow-fight.


*ptooie* *splat*

“Lhâhlee ohlâllâl, ohtol blôl!”

“Indeed, that was very – er, scary”, the bass player lied.
“Terrible!” He looked at his dire brethren and jerked his head towards the stage.
“Our turn, lads”, he said. 

In close formation they marched towards the stage, where they clattered their heads together for a moment to discuss the repertoire. Then they took up their position and their instruments, the drummer raised his sticks and counted in and the rhythm guitarist fired off power chords playing windmill style, with his right arm mowing round in full circles:

*DRENGGGGGG* *a-thoomba-doomba dum dum* *DRENGGGGGG* *DRENGG DRRENGGG DRRENG* *screeeeeeech*
Ah *grunt* ah-Lady Lizzy was a-whispering to Granny Eiderdown *DRENGGG* *bham bhamm bam*
All-a-sulking and a-whimpering 
‘she felt so low and down *CRASHHHH*

Grammstein, arms akimbo, looked somewhat taken aback confronted with this unknown but viciously compassionate and gentle song from Hark Cloggo, but bravely kept their shields up while the Repellent Reporters of Racket launched into the refrain:

*CRASH BOOM* *screeech!* For she was saying *DRENGGGGGG*

Listless lawns *kaBOOM* but pretty petunia’s
‘s what I always get *screech* *grÂr* *spit*
– yeah *DRENGGG* yeah –
Listless lawns but *kaBOOM* -ty petunia’s
that’s no reason *screech* fret!

Ah wellah *CRASH* WELLAH
Lizzy felt a little BASHFUL *grarrr*
somewhere deep inside *BOOM* she knew
That she really should be thankful
More than she’d been hitherto
*screech* *grÂrr* *screech* 

The careful observer would notice that especially on hearing the word “bashful”, the audience seemed to slightly tense up as if they suffered from stomach cramps, then straightened up with visible effort and kept their posture until the song finished.

The frontman applauded in slow-motion, as arch-villains and overbearingly arrogant characters in certain movies are wont to do after witnessing something they strongly disapprove of, just to increase the contrast with how they plan to punish the subject later on. 

“Zed vas … reali reali gut, mein Klötzizzies … but not gut enuff! Our turn again!”

He beckoned his band members and, just to add a theatrical insult, took out his handkerchief and mock-dispersed an imagined foul smell, though truth be told, a good scrubbing wouldn’t have been a totally mad idea for himself.

He raised his hand to demand full attention, the drummer got his sticks ready, and they launched into their second battle song.

*bam* *boom* *flash* *BAMM*
YA ya YA ya 
stubi bubi ripselnippi *screech*
Pieps bekam *bworrrrrk* so tsîp tsîp tsîp
Meine kleine frotzel-pippi 
Hat die kleine frotzel fränzi *screech*
Gehöhrt dabei das flappi dippi *BOOM* *kabam*
*BOOM* Harf HARF Harf *BANG* *sizzle*
Ya YA ya *bradam* *boom* *BLAMM* *bam*

Grammstein had studied in a little dance to the rhythm that they all performed in sync: on every first and third beat they dipped with their knees turned outward, grinning like garden gnomes. It was utterly incongruous, designed to evoke paradoxical feelings that left anyone watching feeling ashamed about something they couldn’t quite put their finger on. The Tedious Throng of Torment hardened their pose and gnashes their teeth in defence, with the lead guitarist’s tongue wriggling like a sick earthworm as Grammstein worked their way through the second half of their spell-binding song: 

*fizzle* HIPSI bibsi BAPSI bein *fwoooosh*
FLIPSI knipsi KNAPSI knein *BOOM*
JEMAND soll die LETZTE sein!
Die pieps bekam *bworrrrrk* tsîp tsîp tsîp hinein
Doch *BAF* *BOM* *BWorrRRrk* ya YA so knein
*groarrr* HIPSI bibsi BLÖDSI *sizzle* *KABANG* *Groarrrrrâhh*

Then the bass-player remembered he had read something about the hypnotising effect of bouncy dancing combined with infantile songs, which was supposedly used to drag up repressed early-life complexes or something like that. While Grammstein was launching the final over-the-top fireworks display, the Ugly Übermarketeers of Unchastity huddled together to discuss their next move. 

“Listen up guys, those Germans use some psycherlogical trickery on us”, he whispered. 
“I read about it. Look away next time they start dancing, it messes with your head.”
“Lhûhh hlâl, ohtol blôl!”
*Grâr* *kill* *kill* *bâh*
*Ptooie* *splat*

“No worries, we’ll throw A Plot of Garden Gnomes at them … make sure you do the same dance in the refrain they did, bouncing down on the up-beat … turn yer feet so your knees bend sidewards!
“Lhugh hlâghal blâl!”
“I know, it’s ugly, but they don’t fight like men either!”
“Hlofplol blol.”
*Ptooie* *SPLAT*
“Let’s rock and roll!”

Grammstein’s leader was already quasi-impatiently tapping his foot. “Ach so mein süsser Klötzizzies, did you like our little … basilisk sürprise? Mwhuhuhaha-“ – he frowned when nobody joined in and turned towards his band: “MWUHUHUHUHAHA! sagte ich verdammt ja doch!”

“Mwuwuwuwhâh-“ they started guiltily, but the frontman angrily cut them off and they took their audience position.
“All right! Hit us, Klötzizzies!”

*DRENGGGG* *dumbahdumbah-doom-doom* *DRENGGG* *DRENGGA-DRRENGGG DRRENG* *screeeeeeech*


You’ve got your head up in *grrronk* cloud
says my willow maid
You’re always *CRASH* spaced-out, 
says my willow maid
*DRENGGGA* *drengga* *DOOM*
You’re forever hugging trees *BOOM*
always talkin’ love & peace *BLAMM*
never grew up from that sodden hippie crowd 
*screech* *grÂr* *spit*

The Grammstein frontman and his minions stood wide-legged and grinned. 
“Come on! Ve vant more! Zu-ga-be! Zu-ga-be! Hit us wiz your rizm stik!”, the frontman taunted.

But then, the Virulently Violent Vermin of Vicious Vitiation started on the refrain, and all four dipped with their knees turned outward on the upbeat, just like Grammstein had done. But their black-and-white painted faces bobbing up and down and the autonomously wriggling tongue of the lead guitar player lent them an extra edge that turned Hark Cloggo’s song into a truly fearsome weapon.

So I’m a-planning *DRENGGGG* 
PLOT of Garden GNOMES to *BLAMM* up residence,
A PLOT of Garden GNOMES, my little willow maid
in the LANDscape *BLAMM* your MIND! *CRASH* *DRENGGGG* *screeeeech*
WHAP-see-doo *grunt* little WILLOW maid *grunt* 
WHAP-see-doo my little HENNE-henne-*SCREECHA*-henne
WHAP-see-doo my little WILLOW maid *BLAMM*
the LANDscape of your mind 
*BOOM* * DRENGGGG* *screeech* 

After two lines the grins were already wiped off their faces, and by the time the Whap-see-doo’s were lobbed into the enemy trenches, Grammstein were down on the ground with their hands on their bellies, moaning as if they were internally haemorrhaging.

“Rinse and repeat!”, the bass player shouted, and they played the refrain again.
“Here’s your zoogâbâh, gigglewillies!”

After the last chord had died away, the Wanton Warblers of Wickedness surveyed the battlefield with satisfaction, arms akimbo. Their detractors groaned and scrambled up slowly, with the frontman being the first to recover. 

“Not bad, Klödzizzies, not bad at all … you vill have zu pay für zis … Ya! In pain!”

After he had gotten to his feet, he walked a little unsteadily towards one of their flight cases and took out several pairs of sunglasses and a box of earplugs. He tossed every band member one pair of each, and then took out a bundle of clothes.

“Allow us to … prepare for your cheap trix, aghâhhâh hâh hâh”, he muttered, straightening himself up with effort. 
“Round ZREE!” he bellowed, beckoning his band towards the stage that the X-Men of Xylophoning Xenoglossia had just left. 

He unrolled the bundle of clothes and tossed a garment to each of his servants. They all quickly changed into what turned out to be bright yellow shirts with a ridiculously low-cut neck line to showcase the wearer’s chest hair. 
Then they all lined up with their arms raised above their heads, the frontman holding the microphone in his hand.

“Klödzizzies, this is speziell für you … “, he jeered. He snapped the fingers of his free hand and the drummer counted in.

The song started with the whole band clapping their hands above their heads, as certain artists do when they are desperately trying to engage the audience: 

*Clap clap clapclapclap*
*Clap clap clapclapclap*

Then the musicians took over the rhythm, and the frontman put the microphone back in the stand, but kept clapping his hands above his head on the down-beat, as in a 1970’s Disco Schlager rhythm, and he lauched into the song.

Schö *clap* Maid, hast *clap*  heut-
a-*clap* -bend Zeit *clap* 
Ho-*clap* – Ya ho-*clap* –
Ya ho-*clap*  … *clap* 
… *clap*  … dann *clap* ‘n wir 
Trala-*clap* -la, und *clap* -mal
Hopsa-*clap* -sa, und *clap* -mal
Ho-*clap*  Ya ho-*clap*-Ya-
Also nah du! *clap* !
Yabbadabba-do! *clap* !

It just wasn’t fair. The Yelling Yahoos of Yo-Yo Yodelling had never heard this early 1970’s Überschlager and had therefore not built up any antibodies. It hit them right in the plexus solaris and they bent over in musical agony. The bass player muttered “… hang on lads, don’t go KO … just don’t look at them! Put your fingers in your ears and think about … how we’ll get them with Whoopsie Daisy after this …” he added, fighting the next spasm that jerked through his body.
“If we don’t pass out before”, he thought to himself, as the Hopsasa’s en Tralala’s caused wave after wave of nauseating cramps. 

As he tried to concentrate on remembering the words of Whoopsie Daisy it was as if he actually heard a Hark Cloggo song seeping through Grammstein’s Schöne Maid. He first thought he was hallucinating, but as it grew clearer he realised there really was someone singing Growing Hedgehogs Upside Down out there.
Even though the Zany Zealots of Zoophony resented Hark Cloggo’s Sesame-street-cheerfulness, it worked like a musical homeopathic antidote against Grammstein’s poisonously frumpy schlager. The cramps subsided as the singing got ever clearer, and turning around they saw an astronaut in a white space-suit rising up above the parapet. He sat in a low seat that rested on … on a carpet?

… growing Hedgehogs Upside Down
The Right-Way-Up-Squad’s at my door,

– it now sounded crystal clear and loud enough to completely drown out Grammstein.

“Hey guys, that’s Yttrach!”

The carpet sailed over the parapet and now the burble of the astronaut’s radio communication could also be heard:

{BEEP} {chchct} Papa Echo, Papa Echo, landing on target location … now
{BEEP} Roger that, Fussy Fox {CHCHT}

Grammstein fell silent from sheer astonishment while the flying carpet gently touched down on the courtyard. The Abhorrent Archetypes of Appeasing Antipathy walked towards the astronaut who they were, for once, more than happy to meet (see all previous Kifffarces), not in the last place because they hadn’t just already met this particular flying carpet, but even briefly owned it (see Kiff and the Talking Carpet from Torino).

“Good to see you again, mate!”, the bass player said, shaking hands with the astronaut, who, despite his face not being visible behind the reflecting glass of his helmet, managed to look slightly confused about this unexpected display of amiability.

{BEEP} {chchct} well … we actually haven’t met before, but you may mistake me for my colleague Harry, whom you met in Italy, wasn’t it?
{BEEP} What’s that, Fussy Fox?
{BEEP} no hang on Houston, I’m addressing some people here … will update in 1-five-three, over {BEEP} 

 “No worries”, the bassist said generously, “but do tell, what brings you here?”

{BEEP} {chchct} You best ask Yttrach, but it seems he picked up his favourite upbeat music being performed live by you guys {chchct}
{BEEP} Roger that, Fussy Fox, we copy Cloggo songs having been reported by Funky Flamingo on T minus O Eleven
{BEEP} {chchct} Thanks Houston, please allow to continue local interview with Cloggo
{BEEP} {chchct} A-OK Fussy Fox, copy that
{BEEP} Sorry about that … {chchct} … where was I … ah yes, best ask Yttrach. Anyway, we were not far away anyhow conducting some flying tests {BEEP} 

The bass player cast a quick glance at the improvised battle stage and saw that Grammstein still stood there indecisively, whispering to one another. Good. 
He quickly turned towards the carpet. 

“Hey, Yttrach! Great to see you again old buddy, I can’t believe it, is this really you? You look great!”

“Yes, don’t I?”, rang a voice from the carpet. 

“These NASA fellows sure know their laundering! They even upgraded the carpet, how do you like that?”


“As in – replaced worn Herdwick wool fibers with something new. It tickled me pink, and guess what? I lost my fear of heights afterwards! Those sheep, you see – afraid of pretty much everything and their uncle.”

“Great!”, the bass player said. “Hey -“

“But do tell me – how do you squires do?”, Yttrach carried on. “It’s been a most interesting time since we last met, but I must say that I’m a tad disappointed with the uplift from most of this so-called ‘pop music’ I’ve heard.”

The bass player cast another glance over his shoulder, and noticed with relief that Grammstein was engaged in a frantic whispered argument.

“Yeah. Don’t start me about Pop music. Ugh. I know what you mean. But, listen -“

“And especially this – whatchamacallit – this Arnbe music. It shivers me timbers, I can tell you that. Can’t even lift a sparrow with that!”

The bass player racked his brain – Arnbe … what the hell does he mean?
Arnbe? *aaaaahh!* – an idea hit him with a wallop.

“Aha … you mean contemporary R&B! Yes, that dreadfully spoilt sigh-croon-tingle stuff!”

He moved closer to the carpet and whispered conspiratorially: “Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but those other men behind me are the foremost producers of Arnbe!”

“What! Really?” Yttrach whispered aghast, “you don’t say!”

“I do. I’m sorry. Just before you arrived they were tormenting us with the very worst Arnbe ever. Maybe you heard it – a song called cheunah mite with down-beat hand clapping. It nearly knocked us out. Listen, Yttrach, for old time’s sake, let’s sing Whoopsie Daisy to them from the carpet to teach them a lesson! What say?”

“Deal”, Yttrach said, in a gleeful tone that suggested he would have been rubbing his hands in anticipation if he’d had them.

“Psst! Guys!”, the bassist jerked his head toward the carpet to motion the Barbaric Brotherhood of Bummering – who had been preemptively leering at Grammstein to keep them at bay – to board the carpet – with a finger put to his lips so they kept silent.

“Damn, we don’t have any corks at hand”, the bass player whispered. 

“No problem. They told me my new fibers are puncture-proof.”

As the Chest-Beating Crackerjacks of Criminality were seating themselves in the required PR-compatible pose grunting and cursing as quiet as possible, the bassist whispered “and what about him?”, gesturing towards the astronaut who was working through his backlog of technical messages to Houston.

“Oh, they all adore music … in their line of work they need a lot of lifting power! He’s just riding along for company, always chatting with someone called Houston. I’m sure it’s a Lady singer, maybe you know her? She has this lovely uplifting song One day I’ll fly away … it’s a small miracle she hasn’t ran off yet, because he never whispers any sweet nothings in her ear as he should – just those boring reports!”

“Yeah, women, eh …” the bassist said. “Let’s go!”

He saw that Grammstein had reached an agreement and was now lurching towards the carpet, but before they arrived Yttrach yelled: “And … here we go!!!”

WHOOPSIE Daisy – whoopsie! 
I’m half crazy – whoopsie!

– just like earlier in Italy, Yttrach jumped enthusiastically into the air at the first Whoopsie, tossing the Daunting Dictators of Disheartenment into a disorderly heap of black polyester armour.

Yttrach made a smooth curve over the parapet and back to the courtyard, circling it at about ten metres high. The astronaut leaned back to enjoy the ride while the Embarrassing Extremists of Evil-Laughing Extravagance tried hard to untangle themselves, muttering and cursing. 

But Yttrach didn’t wait for that and gave Grammstein a true masterclass in uplifting music:

… Just look what happened
with these precious Primulaceae!

He yelled in his stentorian voice to the Teutonian boo-boo-rockers, who were wriggling on the ground trying to plug their ears with their fingers.
He rounded another curve over the parapet and circled the courtyard again.

WHOOPSIE Daisy – whoopsie! – 
little Donna Abruzzese, 
have I been that lazy 
with these lovely Asteraceae?”



… Why should I forget to water 
all those lovely little plants? 
Am I tired, am I fretting 
‘bout my roses then, perchance YI-HAA!

The Ferocious Fixers of Foreshadowing Fearfulness finally sorted their limbs out and took their most vicious battle pose, while Yttrach turned and set course towards the courtyard once more:

WHOOPSIE Daisy – whoopsie! – 
will you be my bridal Daisy? 
It won’t be a stylish marriage,
‘cause I can’t afford a carriage, but …

Grammstein had run for shelter in one of the smaller towers but it did not avail them. Yttrach halted hovering in the air in front of it and let them have it:  

WHOOPSIE Daisy – whoopsie! – 
a wheelbarrow built for two-see, 
would be just the thing for you-see, 
so give me your answer, do-see?

It was loud enough to shake the ground and sure enough, the members of the controversial band came tumbling out of the doorway with their hands clapped to their ears.

WHOOPSIE Daisy – whoopsie! – 
Don’t say nay-see
Will you be my WHOOPSIE-Daisy wife?

“I hope they got the message”, Yttrach said happily in his conversational voice. “I really can’t stand that whining Arnbe stuff”, as he descended towards the courtyard. 

The silence was only broken by the continuing burble of beeps and squelch-sounds from the astronaut and the exasperated gasps from Grammstein. 

They touched down, the Gagging Gatekeepers of Grimness got off and lined up leering at their detractors, arms akimbo. 


*RhhÂcht* *pTOOIE* *splat*

“Hlallallagh hlofplol blôl!”

“I presume this settles the outcome of … your little contest, my little gigglewillies?”

“You von”, the frontman admitted raggedly. “Though I hate zu admit it … zis Kosmonaut zerr must have zranzmiddeld ze whole zing, yah?”

{BEEP} {chchct} That’s an affirmative
{chchct} Copy that Fussy Fox, received it loud and clear
{chchct} thanks Houston
{BEEP} it’s not NTV material but good honest fun {chchct}
{BEEP} Roger that, Houston {BEEP} 

“Also, dann you be die verdammt Grausamste Band Die Velt. Dreckhaufen!”, the frontman cursed. 

“We don’t give a damn”, the bassist said. “All we want is some breakfast.
I’ve had enough willies for now, what say you, guys?”


*RhhÂcht* *ptooie* *splat*

“Hlallallagh hlie hlâhhôh hluhh hîh hohhihl hlâhhehle hlehlfoohooh … ohtol blôl!”

“Damn yes, there’s a nice mess you gigglewillies have gotten us into, locking the gate and throwing the key out!”

{BEEP} {chchct} That’s no problem
{chchct} Come in Fussy Fox, what was that?
{chchct} Sorry Houston, I was talking to someone here.
{BEEP} Roger, keep us posted {chchct}
{BEEP} A-OK, Houston {beep} I meant, Yttrach can carry you down from here, no problem {BEEP} You can even have a coffee for the trip, I’ve got a mobile Barsuck’s here {beep} Just come on board and make yerselves comfy {beep} but please, no spitting on the carpet, and no singing-along allowed {chchct} {BEEP} 

“GASP!” the Heinously Ham-Fisted Hamlets of Horror reacted in surprise and boarded the carpet again.

“That’ll be four Quackuccino’s for us, one with a straw”, the bassist said while Grammstein reluctantly sat themselves behind the astronaut so they had something to hold on to.

{BEEP} {chchct} Do you want a coffee, gents?
{chchct} No thanks Fussy Fox, I’ve just had a double vanilla Flippuccino on the rocks
{chchct} Sorry Houston, I was asking someone here {BEEP}

“Bitte no, ve don’t drink Ermerican coffee.”

{BEEP} {chchct} As you wish {chchct}
{BEEP} Thanks Fussy Fox
{BEEP} Yttrach, please take us down {BEEP}

All righties!” Yttrach yelled, “Hang on everybody, are you in for a jolly ride? Here we go!”
He floated upwards, catching up Growing Hedgehogs Upside Down: 

Now excuse us Mr. Cloggo
we all know that you’re no loco
And I’m sure that you’ll agree that 
regulations must be met … 

Concerning animal gyration
such as hedgehog orientation 
We’ll have to fine you
even though it makes us sad!

The Inquisitors of Iron-Pinned Injustice looked grim, and had again four small thunderclouds of chagrin hovering over their heads now the combatant requirement for upbeat music was gone.
But Grammstein was wriggling and moaning on the carpet again as they flew down in a wide arc, circling the rustic town of Bubenfels to Yttrach’s chanting:

… growing hedgehogs upside down
The Right-Way-Up Squad’s at my door, 
With a hedgehog here, hedgehog there
Hedgehogs everywhere – they say that I’ve been
Growing hedgehogs Upside Down


* * *  Ze End  * * *