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 Elsie & Nora Dialogues: Doc Moreau Origins Story, Part 2

‘I hear the veteran veterinarian took on a new partner.’

‘You can hear that?’

‘What’s more, this extra vet is a bit of an extrovert.’

‘Ouch.’

*

‘His name is Dr Moreau, but he says to call him “Doc”.’

‘What’s up with that?’

‘His field is cryptozoics – what is that?’

‘It’s a mystery.’

*

‘Dr Wells must be on his last legs now.’

‘Who would’ve thought donkeys’ legs would attach so well to a human frame?’

‘Good old Hunter Gatherer!’

*

‘Did you see his assistant in the pantechnicon – I didn’t know those things were allowed to drive.’

‘Didn’t know they were able to drive…’

*

‘That was more giraffe necks than I’ve seen in – forgive me – a long time.’

‘It’s not within my remit to absolve that sort of remark.’

*

‘Tied together in bunches like that, giraffe necks look astonishingly like asparagus, don’t you think?’

‘If I could think, I wouldn’t be here.’

*

‘There’s something reminiscent of the fasces about the way his assistant carries them.’

‘You mean it looks like an animal lictor?’

‘Argh.’

The Elsie & Nora Dialogues, 2: Some Nice Variations

‘I got up this morning. I thought, it’s nice out. So I left it out.’
(Hamlet, Prince of Denmark)

~

“I was in the South of France and thought ‘it’s Nice out’.”

*

“I poked myself in the eye with a biscuit and thought, ‘It’s Nice, ouch!'”

*

“I had a favourite pair of jeans but sadly I’ve worn its knees out.”

*

“I was visiting my sister’s and it was such a nice day she had told her daughter to play in the garden. We’re quite a laconic family, so when I asked, ‘Niece?’ she simply answered, ‘Out.'”

*

“I was a bit hasty clearing and scraping the plates at dinner last night. So much so that my friend exclaimed, ‘Why did you throw my salade niçoise out?'”

*

“I was on holiday on the Isle of Lewis, which has large deposits of metamorphic igneous rock, so, indicating the view from the breakfast bar, I asked my landlady, ‘How are things, geologically speaking?’ and she replied, ‘It’s gneiss out.'”

*

“As you know, I’ve just been cast as Cornwall in King Lear and on the phone my mum asked me what the hardest part of rehearsals is: ‘It’s pokin’ eyes out.'”

~

(This dialogue was a collaboration with the pun-lovin’ criminal and Chimeric field agent, Mugatu Prote. For security reasons we cannot reveal his or her true identity. Or indeed its.)

Elsie and Nora: the dialogues

Elsie

‘Very like a llama…’ – Hamlet ruined clouds for everyone. He is Prince of the Air and travels from thought to thought in his vapour chariot.

Nora

Hamlet glides from battlement to battlement on a tiny Japanese cloud singing softly to himself, ‘I kissed a llama and I liked it…’

Elsie

Hamlet arranges the cloud cover so that the whole of Elsinore is contained within a giant skull looking north through its two eye-sockets.

Nora

After a decade inside the cloud skull, everyone crowds to the battlements each morning to witness the intense blue skies north of Elsinore.

Elsie

Out there, over the sea, Hamlet compresses clouds into ice sculptures – colossal hollow-boned creatures gliding on the distant thermals.

Nora

While the court struggles with SAD, compressed cloud albatrosses swoop, and great white Aeolian harps dive harmoniously into the sea.

Elsie

At night, the mist forms itself into giant letters that loom and retreat, forming and deforming soliloquies everyone attempts to ignore.