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“Ari, what are you wearing on your hat?”

Alexia Laplace, finished of her maintenance tasks for the day, had settled down with The Times and a cup of tea (possibly faintly braced with London gin) while a popular song of the stage crackled out through a phonograph in the corner.

“What? On my hat? Oh those?”

Ari pointed to the band of his hat, upon which were sat a pair of industrial looking goggles with tinted lenses, hinting at an amethyst hue. The body was brass, etched with industrial symboles, and a leather strap held it on to Aristophanes’ bowler hat.

“Yes Ari, those goggles you have sitting on your hat where they can’t possible be any use to your eyes.”

Alexia took a pull of tea, and looked back down at the newspaper, an endless mass of blocks of type.

“I’ve been, er, working on something at home…a special project…was doing some heat fusing…”

A lock of fair hair escaped from under the hat, and sat rakishly upon Aristophanes’ forehead.

“Ari, I know that look, I don’t believe you.”

“I swear, I was working in the loft, and I forgot I had them on…and…”

“…And without realising, you took them off your eyes, put your hat back on, and then placed the goggles over your hat in a perfect, not-going-to-fall-off manner?”

“Yes! I mean, no…I was wearing the hat when I was working.”

Aristophane’s jaw flapped like a chick sensing the arrival of its mother.

“And also one of your better suits? I don’t believe a word you’re  saying.”

This was delivered without Alexia ever looking up at all.


“Ari, you are wearing those goggles on your hat as a fashion statement. I saw a group of raffish looking young men wearing exactly the same thing as they took air in a city park earlier today. And they were wearing similar waistcoats to that as well. Call yourself an innovator!”

Aristophanes could only look at the silver paisley patterns on his waistcoat, and give a nodding shake of the head. “Ummmm….”

“Those goggles are a ridiculous affectation Aristophanes Brown! Many young men of means are wearing such things, and talking of joining so-called “Balloon Regiments” or some other crackpot idea. You are by the far the better man Ari…you are so much better a leader than a follower.”

Aristophanes removed his hat sheepishly, and took the goggles off the band. “I thought they were rather fetching.”

“Only to a blind stevedore. Come on Ari, you know where the trends point. Feathers is where it is at. Raven feathers! Look I have some here…let’s set too with the sewing contraption!”

And Alexia Laplace took up her tea and moved over to the textiles desk, scrims of fabric littering the area all around. Amongst all this, was a copper tub containing feathers of all kinds…ostrich, peacock, buzzard…

And raven.

Goggles forgotten, Alexia took the hat, and began to look for a needle.

Copyright Mulberry Lightning 07.10.14

This was written in 27 minutes, and pokes gentle fun at that most obvious of all steampunk conventions – the pair of goggles. In truth, I’m desperate for a pair.