The Adventures of Doc Moreau and I, 17: Doc Moreau and the Giant Mutant Bees

A spokesthing for the Ministry of Hope has announced, ‘For the first time in a hundred fears, the Ministry is hanging out the Hopenets on the Cape of Can’t Cope, hoping against hope that a few scraps of hopeyness can be carried hither in the Great Wind of Despair…’

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‘However,’ the spokesthing continued, ‘I got a bad feeling about this.’

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Chimeric physicists have returned to dangerous work in their laboratory in the trenches of the Pessim Abysm, attempt to split the primary matter of Despair into two volatile components: the D particle, and the conjectured Sperare Principle.

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‘If we can just implant the Sperare Principle into the minds of these giant mutant bees,’ lead scientist Doc Moreau explained, ‘then we’ve turned ‘despair’ into what I call ‘beespair’, which certainly sounds like it ought to be an improvement.’

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‘The plan then is to release the giant mutant bees so that, by producing ‘Hopey Honey’, they shift the National Cosmic Balance. Of course, there is a small but manageable risk that they will sting everyone in their path to death.’

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‘By ‘manageable’ I mean that most of the people they sting to death will be without hope in any case, thus reducing the overall quotient of hopelessness,’ Doc Moreau concluded.

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Beside him, the spokesthing for the Ministry of Hope reiterated, ‘I got a bad feeling about this.’

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Glass Heads

Forty watt glass-headed rabbits dotting the hillsides by night, apparently nibbling on grass, but electrocuting hapless foxes and foolish owls, then recharging by devouring their charred remains.

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Sixty watt glass-headed deer so you can see their greenest thoughts on distant hills by use of tele-psi-scope. Like deer astronauts their dreams ascend like lightning from their antler tips into the clouds and bring down ghost riders.

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100 watt glass-headed squirrels sending arrow showers of light through the forest as they dash up branches and hop onto the shoulders of fur-shrouded deities, biting their ears and drawing forth blood that groans as it slops down through the leaves.

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150 watt glass-headed mammoths blundering through the midnight forest, trying to get back to the steppe. Their heads are so bright they blind each other and crash into the trees, smashing the huge bulbs. Each light going out is one step closer to extinction.

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200 watt glass-headed plesiosaurs gliding rapidly through the peat-darkened lochs: their lights can be detected at considerable depths by nightboats crossing, as though looking out for the streaks of meteorites in the skies above.

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500 megawatt glass-headed Jörmungandr clearly visible crawling through the trenches at the bottom of the ocean by astronauts falling from space having forgotten where they left their spaceships.

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Forty gigawatt glass heads on either end of double-headed 500 km long space centipedes slowly arcing through the Oort Cloud in shoals of up to a million, lights pulsing in ornate patterns that appear to be some form of palindromic remorseless code…

The Great Moustachio, or, The Hair Artist

The Great Moustachio claimed to be the hairiest man alive, and hired two barbers to shave his body from head to foot each morning, leaving only a topknot and, naturally, the latest inhabitant of his sturdy upper lip.

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His stage act was predicated on the claim his hair grew so fast you could actually see this happening. Two members of the audience would be invited onstage to watch his moustache grow. Of course, he was secretly hypnotising them.

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Eventually one would faint in astonishment, whereupon his glamorous assistant, Bearded Beatrice, would rush to their aid. While they recounted their extraordinary moustache-based hallucinations to the audience, The Great Moustachio would slip into the wings.

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He would re-emerge at the climax of the act with a moustache exactly conforming to the strange ‘tache tales told by the volunteers.

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They’d then be invited to test it was real. This inevitably ended in slapstick scenes – often a gentleman, tugging with both hands on the moustache, would be positioned with a foot on each of the Hair Artist’s shoulders, and then the Great Moustachio would carry him around the stage, howling.

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Of course, the audience was in on the act from the outset, and would frequently call out for favourite recurring moustaches: ‘Give em the Spanish galleon!’ ‘Where’s the archaeopteryx, Archie?’ (The Great Moustachio’s real name was rumoured to be ‘Archie’.)

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Sometimes, if heckled, The Great Moustachio would threaten to grow all his hair back at once – he’d then apparently transform into a murderous bear, and bars would fall to protect the audience.

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On other occasions, he’d ‘top the act’ by shouting ‘Release the moustaches!’ whereupon all the moustaches – including the one on his face – would fly around the theatre, swooping on the audience, and snatching ladies’ bonnets.

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At such a moment, he’d reveal he was wearing a smaller, secondary moustache in yet another pattern. He often favoured a bat motif for this ‘under-moustache’, which he would then sport around town between shows.

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His favourite moustache was the one he cultivated into the shape of a hair ukulele. Often he would slip a George Formaldehyde 78 onto the gramophone, and pretend he was playing it.

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As Chimeramas approached, he liked to grow his moustache and beard into the shape of a Chimeramas tree, and paint the end of his nose as a rubicund bauble.

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(Indeed, it was rumoured he asked the barbers to shave, trim, and shape his entire body’s hair so that it formed the outline of a Chimeramas tree front and back, which he would reveal to Bearded Beatrice on Chimeramas Eve.)

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The problem was this made eating almost impossible, and the Chimeramas tree/beard would end up festooned with a slowly rotting advent calendar of his festive menus.

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Recently, then, he had decided to grow a neater transverse tree moustache, though you had to tilt your head to one side to see it properly, or, like Beatrice, simply watch him when he was sleeping.

The Wineman

I was up so early this morning I met the wineman in his little winefloat delivering the fresh wine to everybody’s doorsteps and whistling a very merry tune.

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As so often, he had crashed the winefloat onto the roundabout, so many of the bottles in his wine crate were broken and he was trailing wine up and down our garden paths.

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He didn’t seem to mind at all and gave me a cheery wave which caused him to overbalance and land in a holly bush, which he didn’t seem to mind at all.

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Morning just isn’t the same if you don’t have fresh red wine to pour over your cereal.

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Many people are just not people until they’ve had their cuppa of hot white wine with a teabag in!

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Dead posh people have their champagne plumbed in, but for us plebs, there’s nothing like a cheery bottle of Asti Spu upon the doorstep!

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Remember when winters were so cold that the wine on your doorstep froze solid in the bottles?

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The glass would shatter, and it’d be like you had a set of skittles: six moulded from urine, six from blood.

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Remember that time we found the wineman frozen in his winefloat, and we had to put him in the bath and mull him in his own wine with orange peel and cinnamon sticks?

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Remember that look in his eyes when he finally came to – like a hate-filled stoat or an atheistical otter.

Mooby Dick

Mooby Dick shunned all the other whales because he was embarrassed about his pronounced man-boobs, pronounced ‘man-boobs’.

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Why couldn’t he have mwoobs, or male whale boobs, like all the other middle-aged whales?

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His only friend, ‘Moogy Dick’, always carried a Moog synthesiser, together with an electricity generator, wrapped in a giant plastic bag, in his throat. Nobody thought he was weird.

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(Actually, everybody thought Moogy Dick was going through the most colossal mid-life crisis, but because Mooby Dick didn’t speak to the other whales, he didn’t know this.)

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Mooby Dick wondered whatever had happened to his other old friend, Moggy Dick, who used to wear a giant mask of the Cheshire Cat at all times?

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The mask, which was made of chewed-up wrecked ships’ timbers, required continuous repair-work, which meant that Moggy Dick never really had much of a life.

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Of course if, in the meantime, Moggy Dick had given up wearing his Cheshire Cat mask, Mooby Dick realised he would probably be unable to recognise him.

Facts about Bats

Bats hunt chocolate using echolocation.

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Bats and people attempting to give up chocolate should try e-chocolate, which still contains an echo of actual chocolate if you insert it into your giant ears.

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Gianteers are people who climb giants instead of or as well as mountains.

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Giant tears are defined as tears so large that the weeper can themselves bathe or swim in a single giant teardrop.

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Victorian teardrop baths were often used to capture the lachrymations of mourners, the repentant, or the miserable, as instant immersion was deemed most efficacious.

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Hot giant tears were felt to be the best, as chocolate could be heated in the tub, creating a delicious if salty bath. If you could drink it all, you would never be sad again.

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After immersion in a hot chocolate tear bath, people would lie naked all night by open windows, and bats would come and lick them clean.

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Bats’ tears are so tiny they have to weep two tears of hydrogen and one tear of oxygen before anyone realises they are crying.

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Every bat carries a small salt cellar in their armpit to sprinkle on their tears. These are family heirlooms, handed down through bat generations.

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Bats’ favourite habitats are inside the ears of giants, who do not know they are there, and believe they are suffering from a giants’ disease called ‘tiny tinnitus’.

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Giants’ favourite habitats are mountaintops, where they blend in and remain so perfectly still that people believe mountains are hundreds of feet taller than they actually are.

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Gianteers, climbing in giants’ ears, have had the chocolate plucked from their rucksacks by light-clawed bats in mid-flight, and not had a clue it was gone.

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Bats use the silver paper from bars of chocolate to wrap their young in so that they can survive at the high altitudes of the upper galleries of giants’ ears. These twinkle at night, deceiving climbers they are unfamiliar constellations.

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After years of symbiotic coexistence with bats, the accumulated layers of tinfoil in giants’ ears block out the lullabies of star music, and they awaken, hungry for chocolate, and the flesh of climbers.

Undead Shoal


Vampire mackerel were the most awkward of supernatural fish: barely able to fly, they would take hours to travel to land in search of prey.

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As they flailed their tiny fins, bobbing inches above the surf, vampire mackerel hunters would simply pick them off with wooden darts.

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Only the fact they travelled in bloodthirsty shoals enabled enough vampire mackerel to get ashore where they would descend on weasels and mice.

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Anything bigger than a weasel could punch a vampire mackerel out of the sky, and even the weasels had to be caught unawares in case of biteback.

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Vampire mackerels’ most convenient sources of blood, pinnipeds and cetaceans, heard them coming due to subaquatic lisping thru their fangs.

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Narwhal Van Helsing dedicated his life to hunting down Count Mackerula, but he would hide in the heart of his Undead Shoal and could not be found.

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As the sun descends below the nautical horizon, there is a green flash which reveals that Count Mackerula is nothing but rune-covered bones.