The Elsie & Nora dialogues, 4: The Orange Crate

– When I was a tiny girl I lived in an orange crate with Sputnik the Space Earwig and it told me the secrets of the stars.
– Did you really?
– No.
– Who really lived in the orange crate?
– Laika the Space Dog.
– Really.
– A terrier. But it downloaded Laika’s consciousness.
– Did it?
– No.
The terrier would never come out of the orange crate so one day I crawled in and it was conducting an entire choir of earwigs.
– Was it?
– No.
One day it was snowing and an orange glow came from the crate so I crawled in. The terrier snarled but the earwig welcomed me.
– Did it?
– No.
They had a lovely warm fire going made of the dried bodies of ants and were sipping hot Future Juice.
– No they didn’t and they weren’t.
– No.
I would curl up on a mat of matted curls the earwig had snipped away and listen to their tales of other worlds.
– But did you?
– No, I didn’t.

The Truth Machine

Every new president of Chimerica is given the Mammoth Bone Key to the Truth Machine. What is unprecedented is for Orange Hulk simply to swallow it.
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While officials wait for the Key to, um, re-emerge, the Ministry for Verification has been put on a 26 hour Emergency Verification working day.

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The Ministry for Correcting the Ministry for Verification has also been reinstated, though it is feared staff may themselves have been ‘corrected’.

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Until the successful acquisition of Space Honey, there are no funds to reestablish the Ministry for Correcting the Ministry for Corrections.

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Normally, each morning, the President is required to wheel a barrow of marrow into the Long Barrow to sacrifice to the Spine of the Nation.

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Inside the Long Barrow is believed to be (though, truthfully, no-one but the President ever sees it), the Truth Machine. It must be, delicately, wound up.

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The Machine has been wound up daily since before there were machines, Chimericas – or mammoths to remember either. It’s now been weeks…

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Given the lengthy constipation currently endured by Orange Hulk, the Privy Council have offered the services of the Lords and Ladies of the Stool.

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This office, which assisted their Chimeric Majesties in the movement of the royal bowels, lapsed with the accession of the Insect Dynasties.

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But a branch of the last family thus honoured maintains the accoutrements of the Office of the Stool: the Silken Wipe, the Golden Pencil…

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The Mammoth Key might be retrieved by the insertion of rectal nanobots, devised by the Office of the Stool for emergencies of non-emergence.

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Orange Hulk’s reaction to the rectal nanobot suggestion was not good. This is the fifth time the Whited Sepulchre has been wrecked this month.

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While Orange Hulk strains to pass the Key, here are some key Mammoth Bone Key Facts: 1) The key is very sensitive to the truth as it remembers everything;

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2) The original Mammoth Bone Key was given to the Chimeric Queen 7000 years ago by Palaeopontiki, Emperor of the Moon Rats…

Avian Lactation

Is it time yet to talk about avian lactation? Our reporters lift the lid on the latest displacement crisis to hit Chimerica: crop milk!
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Crop milk is outed as a major ingredient in deadly Future Juice, Chimeric Times reporters reveal in this avian lactation exclusive!

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Disturbed time-travelling teenage squabs discovered in Dark Cages. They could be from any historical period. 

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A spokesthing from the Ministry of Time said earlier, ‘That’s the thing about pigeons – if they came from the future, how would we know?’

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The Crop Milk Scandal is spreading: reports are coming in that penguins and flamingos may also be involved! 

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Officials at the Kryptozoo, where the elephant prawns are fed on an exclusive diet of fresh flamingo, assure us there’s no contamination.

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Meanwhile at the Temple of the Angry Penguin God, worshippers have assembled in a tightly packed circle in the nave, and are slowly rotating

Annals of Chicken Horse Island, 1: The Vampire Squid Bell

The Vampire squid bell, tolling in the fathomless deeps of the Blood Sea

Every year a giant vampire squid is woven from wicker in an attempt to lure Doc Moreau to Chicken Horse Island and sacrifice him to the fire.
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As you approach the only navigable harbour on Chicken Horse Island from the sea, its horse-headed promontory is immediately identifiable…

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As you prepare to land your biplane or dirigible on Chicken Horse Island, the coastline’s resemblance to a chicken is obvious & distracting.

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It doesn’t help that as you try to steer your boat into harbour the entire population of Chicken Horse Island cluck n neigh upon the pier.

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Some are dressed as chickens, some as horses, some as a ragged amalgam of both. Many jab canes into the air with chicken heads on the ends.

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It doesn’t help that, as you try to land your plane, you suddenly realise that the runway is in the exact position of the chicken’s cloaca.

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Every year thousands of devotees cram onto Chicken Horse Island for the casting of a new Vampire Squid Bell, which is then thrown in the sea

The Election of Orange Hulk

Latest news: even tho Orange Hulk was elected and really rules Chimerica, Orange Hulk was not not in fact elected and does not rule Chimerica.
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Following his first week in office, Chimerica has been declared simultaneously real and unreal. Unfortunately, Orange Hulk doesn’t care.

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‘Orange Hulk biglier than real thing!’ the president said today, altho Science has in fact proven him to be smaller than a little white lie.

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Citizens of Chimerica, plunged in existential bewilderment as to how they can simultaneously exist and not exist, have appealed to Pope Hulk.

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Unfortunately, Pope Hulk is on a papal fishing trip to an unidentified moon & left only this message, ‘Pope Hulk not come back FOR YEARS!’

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Many citizens have sought sanctuary in the Temple of the Angry Penguin God, whose priests say It does indeed appear to be ‘really angry’.

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People are asking openly in the streets, ‘Didn’t we use to have a queen or something that could save us or at least eat our heads?

The Adventures of Captain Anoxia and the Space Centipedes, 5: Space Honey

In other news, astronauts have discovered a colony of Space Bees on the Moon. Soon we’ll all have naked Space Honey on the ends of our spoons!
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Unfortunately, as these were merely imaginary astronauts, no-one can work out how to get all that yummy Space Honey back to the Chimeric homeworld.

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Fortunately, as Captain Anoxia no longer believes he exists, we should be able to get him up there in no time. The Space Honey shall be ours!

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Implanted in Captain Anoxia’s transporter dust is a disintegration code enabling the Ministry to dissolve n recall him at a moment’s notice.

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We may have failed to inform Anoxia of this particular code, but as he was only able to speak backwards last time we met, what could we do?

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This is the first time we’ve tried to transfer a real astronaut from Pluto to the Moon, and we’re not sure how much of Anoxia will reconstitute.

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The value of Space Honey renders all such considerations immaterial. As, currently, is Captain Anoxia. Hopefully, the bees will understand.

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Reports are coming in from our Remote Dreamers that parts of Captain Anoxia have begun manifesting all over the lunar surface.

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The body parts look like ersatz jade crystalline formations with occasional vestiges of a limb or feature. The good news: they’re all alive!

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We believe Captain Anoxia’s scattered limbs are attempting to locate each other in a Herculean feat of individuation: a true Chimeric hero!

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Urgent semaphore messages are being sent to our allies the Moon Rats. It is vital no part of Anoxia falls into the hands of the Cicadas.

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As we should have thought of that possibility earlier, the Minister for Extraterrestrial Affairs has been liquidised as a Salutory Measure.

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The Minister for Oort Cloud Trade has been instated as a replacement – its experience in the Space Centipede Wars will prove invaluable.

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This just in: in an unprecedented intervention, the Space Bees have taken all known fragments of Anoxia to an audience with their Queen…

The Kafka Beetle in ‘Smash It Up! Smash It Up!’

As it had for the past seven mornings, the Kafka Beetle noted that the park was full of tape measures all snipped off at about seven inches.
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There was a new hoarding over the ice rink: ‘Start every day with a bowl of Puck Scratchings topped with fresh elk milk!’ The Beetle thought, ‘Why not?’

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The slogan on the Puck Scratching packet was a little odd: ‘Smash all busts of Napoleon everywhere!’ But the Beetle thought, ‘Why not?’

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On the back was Puck himself dressed as a hockey player, saying, ‘Many plaster busts are maniacally convinced they are busts of Napoleon anyway.’

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There was something more-ish about Puck Scratchings but the Kafka Beetle couldn’t put its antenna on what it was. It certainly wasn’t the taste! 

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This seventh packet said, ‘Snip up all socks everywhere with pinky shears! Death to socks!’ The Beetle thought, ‘Why not?’  

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But when it looked in its drawers, all its pinky shears had been replaced by pinking shears, ‘You can’t get proper pinky shears any more!’ the Beetle thought.