Facts about Tears

Over the course of your lifetime, you will weep exactly the same number of tears as the total number of raindrops which fell on your head.

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People who have been struck by hail are advised to move to a hot place to facilitate the passage of huge ‘ice tears’ through their eye ducts.

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Government moves to cut handkerchief size after revealing that ‘tears, idle tears’ are fraudulently hogging the absorbent paper. ‘We must offer meaningful material advantages to hard-working sweat,’ said the Minister for Exudations.

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Every year 96 people drown inside ‘Giant Tears’ – tears they themselves produce which are so huge they are immediately completely immersed within them, and cannot swim to their outer limits swiftly enough.

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In the 19th century, phobias about drowning in Giant Tears were so widespread that people carried ‘tear pins’ to burst tears before they could envelope their heads. Of course, this resulted in self-inflicted eye injuries as those weeping normally panicked.

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The Empress of Chimerica used to bathe in a pool filled with the tears of sleeping birds: she would send her moth legions out by night to gather the tears, which contained their concentrated dreams.

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When filtered through the rock on which her palace was set, the birds’ tears were released as choral song, which was trapped in nets attached to her bathrooms’ high ceilings, stored in golden eggs, and placed in silver nests to be cracked and released at the Empress’s pleasure.

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The Muttering, 2

Little Charcoal Echo

Last night’s statistics: 3 walkers driven insane, 2 divorces due to information received, 1 near-suffocation in Bonewell caused by sudden swarm of Ironic Pleachy Loners. Doc Moreau advises: don’t go out for midnight strolls unless roped together – and wear your earplugs!

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Have you received a muffled or distressing message from a nocturnal flying insect? The Ministry for Decipherment maintains a 24 hour service during The Muttering. Please send a recording or transcription. Our operatives are fully trained and can be reassuring. Why the hell not?

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Messages may be shared with the Ministry for Verification if they appear to threaten national security or are very embarrassing, but every effort is taken to ensure your anonymity is preserved. Except when it’s a criminal matter or it’s really obvious who it is.

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I hear that you were witnessed doing that in the back garden of your former home with a papier-mâché model of an appliance we shall not mention, but if you can deliver the or a moon to ‘Thee Mothes’ (it seems you know their details) we shall hear no more about it.

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It turns out our understanding of time is all wrong and Reality is actually happening backwards – backwards, I tell you! That’s why this is all so damn familiar…

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Well if that is true I will never do what you asked me to down by the creek though I may do it up behind the old gas station without you. It hardly matters no more as long as something dies.

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Whatever I thought, it was muttered back at me, word perfect, by a Little Charcoal Echo. When I looked more closely, I realised it had my face upon its back. It was my Dopplemoth, but it flew away before I could catch and eat it, as tradition demands.

Mutterfly Watch

Dozy Manicule Hawkmoth

‘Dear Doc Moreau, I am sending the mutterfly I trapped in our drains, please help me to identify. I’m sorry I hit it with a hammer so many times but it’s pretty spooky and it shouldn’t have kept singing.

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‘Dear Mutant Kid, Looks like an Orange Griping Wimblett to me. You don’t see many of them outside of Sarset, and most of those are actually Little Peach Grinders. Yrs, Doc Moreau’

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‘Dear Doc Moreau, please send help. The specimen I have photographed has had us cornered in the barn for 3 days. Cronkey our dog went for it and it made an awful mess of Cronkey. I wouldn’t mind, but it keeps trying to suck his remains up through its straw thing.’

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‘It could be a mutated Gazebo Plonker. Once they get addicted to Radonium, which their mile-long prehensile tongues can suck up from distant 1970s bathtubs, they begin sprouting plastic shower curtains.

I’m sending in a clean-up squad. Take to the shelters.’

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‘PS Unless it’s a Lucozade Cosh. That would explain the oozing. Yrs, Doc Moreau.’

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‘Dear Doc Moreau, Paw says we should start sacrificin the young uns ifn we want to survive in part this Cryptolepidopteran Calamity which has befallen Goose Foot Peninsula: do you advise sustren or brethren?’

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‘Dear Mutant Kid, I remember when the July skies used to be thick with Velveteen Kodiack Springers (not to be confused with the spaniels).

Different times. More Biblical plague-like than these humdrum hours and wishy-washy weeks we have now. Go with brethren.’

The adventures of Doc Moreau and I, 18: Moreau on Eyjafjallajökull

‘Reality,’ Doc Moreau intoned, ‘is just the lattice within which Quantum Reality unfolds within our dreaming bodies – each of which generates a totally new world every second of every night!’

‘Doc, please step away from the volcano or at least stop inhaling the fumes.’

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‘Right now,’ Doc Moreau continued, ‘there are ghost galaxies out there which are only visible after Universal Midnight. You cats are still on Earthtime, but I can hear the Cosmic Gibberings. We’ve got to get out there and harvest their spooky sheets for our interstellar craft!’

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‘At this point I’m going to hand over to my esteemed colleague, Professor Backwards. Take em away, Big Bill.’

‘I have me here a square of geenuine spectral solar fabric, obtained at great personal expense by a brave Chimeric astronaut, God rest his souls. What am I bid?’

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‘Now yew may be remarkin that that yew cain’t hardly see this here veronica of ghost galactic cloth, but all I gotta do is hold it before the Doc’s features… and lookit all them tentacules!

That’s alright ladies n gennlemen – the projectile vomiting will pass. What am I bid?’

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… ‘We’re gonna need a few more zeros on the end of that sum, son. Capitaine Anoxia himself snipped this square from the hem of the garment of an intergalactic deity so terrible that the good cap’s brains started a-bubblin in his skull. You can use this to strain dreams, boy!’

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‘Uh, sirs, we’ve been informed that the volcano has entered a unstable phase. We’re not sure why you wanted to hold the press conference here, but…’

‘Now hold yore helicopters, I’m workin here – the planet is bound to respond to the alien nature of this yoonique material.’

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‘Well, Doc, most of the major scientific minds of our time seem overcome by the heat n the sulphoor. Them that ain’t already burned up.’

‘It’s always the same, Mr Backwards: they lack the imagination to purchase, unfold and shelter under the dead fabric of the universe herself!’

Poisoned Pea World

That moment when you tentatively step on the frozen pond and realise that what you thought was thick ice was nothing more than a single, lightly chilled layer of pork scratchings. But who has perpetrated this illusion? Who?

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That moment when you can see tiny people have arranged the pile of nachos like a stockade or testudo, and are peering out from within, armed with cocktail sticks and tiny blowpipes.

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When hundreds of tiny people, having contrived to fill a balloon at least partially with their tiny breaths, manipulate its nozzle into the aperture of a peashooter, and ready themselves to fire a deadly poisoned pea by loosening their collective grip.

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That moment when, as the poison pea flies towards you, you realise that its surface is inhabited by millions of microscopic, featherless, bird-like creatures, for whom the venomous coating acts as a combination of atmosphere and nutrient.

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When you observe the turducken/octopoid/crab people observing you from elaborate stepped platforms as Poisoned Pea World hurtles toward the huge sun of your head, thousands of years of their history unfolding in frantic recalculations as you open your mouth.

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When, as the dried pea strikes your uvula and jams in the old epiglottis, it sounds like a dead bell in the empty oval of your skull, and, as you pass out, the lovely resonance seems to bear you down a long corridor lined with the muffled skeletons of flightless birds.

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That moment when you waken up inside a giant turkey carcass orbiting what you realise must be a distant planet. But who would live on a planet like this?

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.’

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…