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.’



‘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?’