Facts about Lox (from the Lox Marketing Board)

Foot-weary ladies! Have you considered a Lox Instep? Don’t be lax, step in lox!

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Have you found the Golden Instep? Wrapped around only six bars of Lox Soap in the world is a delicious ticket to the Lox Factory of Slapp Headdi!

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Slappland, where sliced salmon-related industrial accidents really do come true…

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Reached the end of your regenerative tether? Relax in the altogether in a Lox-urious bath with new Instant Lox Flakes!

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Lox Fact: Slapp Headdi himself owes his remarkably wrinkled longevity to lying down every night in the same briny bath as produces our famous Lox Insteps!

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Feeling fishless, Neighbour? – Try our new Lox-ative pillules! That’ll put gills on your neck!

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Lox Fact: the Brine Pool at Slapp Headdi’s Lox Factory is bigger than two olympic swimming pools stuck together as though to house the Kraken!

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(Something which never happened and was not meticulously planned for almost a decade before a terrible accident which also never happened!)

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Hey Momma Bear! Have you tried new Goldi-Lox sliced lox? It’s Baby Bear-briny!

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Lox Fact: Slapp Headdi’s happy little goldfish, Bloater, likes nothing better than to swim with his owner in the Brine Pool of an evening. Unfortunately, he remembers nothing about this the next day.

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Say, while we’re on the topic of amnesia, why not revisit the Old Ones’ Factory Shoppe & Luxury Lox Emporium in Slappland? Bring the kids…

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Lox Fact: due to the head-pickling and -slapping Slappy endures on a daily basis, his memory is about as good as Bloater’s, and this has contributed to their long and happy friendship.

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We supply caviar to the generals and lumpfish to the lumpen other ranks. Balls, cheeks, bladders n skins – you want em, we know where to get em…

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Lox Fact: at 105, Bloater is considered to be the World’s Oldest Goldfish, a fact attributed to his fearless consumption of Lox Flakes!

(Our thanks to Chimeric Field Agent Mugatu Prote for research into the Slappland Kraken Incident, research which, sadly, may yet again have cost him his life.)

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Big Bill Backwards’ True-Faced Western Tales, 3: The Spirit of Doug McClure

Doug

‘That was some tough winter. Never looked at an eyeball since without thinkin “Fork n a fire n that’ll see me thru to mornin.”‘

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‘Lake froze so bad you could pick up the lake n peel the fish off the bottom.’

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‘You could snap off a beaver tail for a fryin pan, n squeeze the song right out of a bird for toothpaste.’

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‘That winter was when the spirit of Doug McClure began to plague me n I ain’t been free of him since.’

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‘”I been to the Land Time Forgot,” he’d say to me in the dark n the frost. “Yeah, well how come you remember?”‘

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‘”I seen the sunken kingdoms where the gill-men rule…” “Why don’t you tell that to the Virginian?”‘

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‘You look in Doug’s eyes n it’s like you’re lookin thru an ice core telescope; it’s like you got a narwhal in yore eye.’

House of Mirrors: new rooms

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She showed me her ID. It didn’t look like her. I took it from her and told her to stand in the corner while I checked it.

I went to the computer and typed in the number on her ID. “Not found.”

I went back to her and told her she wasn’t who she said she was. She didn’t reply. Just looked at the floor. She might have been smiling. I told her again that she wasn’t who she said she was and that her ID was invalid.

One of the Mirrors came in, grinning. He pointed at her and asked what was up. I told him that she wasn’t who she said she was, then showed him her fake ID. He grinned even more and pointed at the photo on the ID.

It took me a few seconds to see it was me, wearing a wig and makeup. I looked like a woman.

The Mirror left the room, laughing.

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They played peek-a-boo in the ruins of the mannequin factory, scampering around the hulks of the machines, frightening the cats.

They played hide-and-seek at the bottom of the sea, oblivious to their own drowning.

They played “What’s the time, Mr Wolf?” in the heart of the iron forest.

They played “It” on the rings of Saturn.

They played chess in someone else’s headspace, until they were evicted.

They played solitaire in a circle of Hell hidden from Dante but revealed to all users of social media.

They played with themselves under the table while your mother served them soup.

They played the parts written for them by the Bird King.

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The birds in Eve’s ribcage panicked and shrieked.

Wolfish eyes watched from behind the curtains as we acted out the seasons of someone else’s life.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. No one had warned us we would be reduced to marionettes. No one had told us our badly written dialogue would be drowned out by Eve’s birds.

At the end of the first half, during the blackout, I lost my bearings and fell off the stage. It was thirteen years before I hit the floor. During that time I changed into something else: my skin flew off in flakes and my hair thickened into a crown of snakes.

By the time I landed the theatre had been turned into luxury flats. An elevator took me to the top floor, where sluttish mannequins danced motionlessly in bone cages.

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House of Mirrors is an ongoing collaboration between James Knight (words) and Viviana Hinojosa (pictures). You can see more of it here and here.

The Ministry for Verification

Should you wish to establish whether the person you are talking to is real or a robot you should report them to the Ministry for Verification.

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The Ministry will dispatch a robot to your location with the Testing Needle. All true robots have a 45rpm record engraved on their hearts.

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The Ministry for Verification cannot accept responsibility for any injuries or malfunctions arising from the Testing. Check your insurance.

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Should you wish to establish whether the dog which fetched your stick is real or not you should deliver it to the Ministry’s Canine Section.

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You should bring the stick with you, and you must specify how many sections you would prefer the dog to be returned to you in.

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The Ministry for Verification cannot guarantee the number of canine sections unless you bring the stick. Place the stick in the Stick Box.

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Should you wish to establish whether a stick is real or a robot you should report it to the Ministry of Verification’s Stick Section.

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The Ministry will dispatch a dog to your location with a cybernetically enhanced nose. All true robot sticks smell strongly of outer space.

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You should note wrapping a stick in bacon to imitate the smell of outer space is an offence and carries a fine of one million Chimeric Drachmas.

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Should you wish to establish whether your bacon is alien or not you should report it to the Ministry for Verification’s Alien Bacon Unit.

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The Ministry will dispatch a human to your location to conduct the Fork Test. True alien bacon will yelp the chorus of a single from the 1970s.

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All alien bacon will be impounded and must be deposited in the Alien Bacon Box. Do not place alien bacon in the Stick Box.

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Please note our human agents are not legally required to tell you whether they have brought the Alien Bacon Box or the Stick Box.

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This is for your protection. Should you wish to know which box they’ve brought you should contact the Ministry for Verification’s Box Unit.

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The Ministry will extend a very long stick from the Ministry to wherever you are and tap a code on the side of the box causing it to sing.

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Please do not listen to the song of the box unless you are a robot. The human will fit Dried Dropping Earmuffs. This is for your protection.

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Should you have forgotten whether or not you are a robot, place a fingernail on your heart. It should be able to detect the grooves of the single.

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In this eventuality you may remove the earmuffs. It will be the same song. It will all be the same song. Climb into the box for collection.

Talk Show Ghosts

The talk show ghosts are waiting in the green rooms underground. What tales they have about their latest project! Someone will come soon…

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The assistant with a clipboard that doubles as a shovel will usher them towards the light. There will be air to be on. Clamorous action. Soon.

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The talk show ghosts knew everybody who’s nobody now. People forget they once wanted to know this stuff. It’s buried treasure. Gold. Dust.

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In their day they had limousines, assistants, shovels… They recall when funerals were funerals; they remember obituaries as long as your femur…

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Of course, hosts these days don’t got no respect. Used to be, ‘I command thee, Spirit!’; ‘Don’t break the circle!’; ‘Is there anybody there?’

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Now it’s, ‘I’m getting a “G”: has anyone lost a “Gladys”, no, a “Glanville”, no, a granny, that’s it!’ No respect, but the show must go on.

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Bookings ain’t what they were. But you gotta believe in belief, even when you don’t believe in yourself. The talk show ghosts wait. Soon…