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.

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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!’

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.’

The Adventures of Doc Moreau and I, 16: Good Dog Patented Nose Brain Grafts


Doc Moreau has been working on a nose/brain graft that will enable us and/or dogs to smell bad ideas.

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‘Dogs with human brains or humans with dog’s noses?’ he said at a recent press conference. ‘I don’t know, it could go either way.’

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In a rare move, Doc Moreau will run two advertising campaigns simultaneously, and see which gets the biggest take-up from people or dogs.

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‘Do you ever dither?’

‘Er…’

‘Have you ever havered?’

‘Um…’

‘Try Doc Moreau’s Good Dog Nose Grafts: everything’s coming up nosethinks!’

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‘My dog has nose idea.’

‘How does it think?’

‘Terrible!’

‘Get Doc Moreau’s Patented Canine Brain Grafts today: wake up and smell the cerebella!’

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So far dogs have been slow to grasp the advantages of Doc Moreau’s Patented Canine Brain Grafts so the Doc is throwing in a free opposable thumb!

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‘A big problem at the moment is the dogs bury the thumbs, so I give them an IQ booster jab and we talk, Doc to dog. Then they form militia…’

The Adventures of Doc Moreau and I, 15: Ringo and the Dormobeetle 

Doc Moreau would like to announce that, after reaching an agreement with Ringo, plans for his new Dormobeetle are finally going ahead!

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Imagine: a giant black Beetle you can sleep in as it crawls around in the dark, lulled to golden slumbers by the music of The Beatles!

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Doc Moreau reassures us that Ringo definitely agreed to all this after an extended drinking session saying, ‘I’ll get the lads on side.’

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This agreement (and the extended drinking session) either proceeded or followed his failed attempt to attach Ringo’s head to a brontosaurus.

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Doc Moreau says, ‘Give me a day or two for the precise legally binding memories to come back to me. In the meantime, prime the giant beetles!’

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To manufacture the Dormobeetle, Doc Moreau has to deploy the radioactive substance ‘Kafkanium’, extracted from the excreta of wild Kafkas.

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Wild Kafkas are notoriously shy and difficult authors to track and trap, and even then can be extraordinarily retentive of their excreta.

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‘The last one didn’t do a crap for seven years,’ Doc Moreau reminisces, ‘then finally he says, “You have captured me for no reason,” and poops.’

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The excreta is dry and firm to the touch. It has no detectable odour and resembles a thick biscuit. Sometimes it has ‘Ecto’ embossed on top.

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Hundreds of distillations containing Kafkanium can be extracted from a single ‘Ecto-Biscuit’, triggering the growth cycle of the beetles.

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‘Sometimes, before I start pimping up the beetle with speakers,’ Doc Moreau confesses, ‘I have me a little nibble of that Ecto-Biscuit!’

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It’s not clear what effects the ingestion of Kafkanium may have on the human body. But delusional states and random chitin growth are likely.

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What Doc Moreau dismisses as ‘pimp surgery’ is actually a complex procedure creating a luxury sleeping cavity in the giant beetle’s abdomen.

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‘This is gonna be better than that time we put bathyscapes in cows!’ enthuses Doc Moreau. ‘Tomorrow never knows how many we’re gonna shift!’

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