“Ari, you must be careful. You may use this device only twice in a year, my analysis has concluded.”
It wasn’t just Lady Alexia Laplace who was concerned. Carina sat in a corner, nervously arranging posies. The moon-a-much hooted nervously, perhaps more at the sight of Aristophanes Brown, his fair hair concealed underneath an odd silvery helmet with a somewhat rough and ready gladiatorial feel. Two inputs entered at the back, stepped down from the power source that fed the Poincare machine, and two outputs, rather thinner in cabling, exited from the temple.
These cables wound along the floor in a rather haphazard fashion, before leading up a wooden table leg to encounter a series of cunning actuators and pistons. One set to a crudish mechanical claw, the other to a set of hinged metal joints terminating in pseudo fingers, wracked with seeming metalloid arthritis, clenched round the grip of a kitchen knife.
“Close your eyes, and have a vision of what you want to do,” went on Alexia. “But if you feel any discomfort, you must tell me immediately so I may cease the experiment. I have no wish to damage your brain.”
Aristophanes, eyes hidden within the helmet but messy strands of fair hair edging the headpiece like a feathered nest, nodded.
“Very well” said Alexia softly. “I’m turning on the power.”
She threw a large dipole switch. A crackle of power fused the air into smoke, and Aristophanes jerked.
Upon the table, the metallic hands began to tremble and clench. What was visible of Brown’s face below the nose was a gargolye of seizure. The moon-a-muck looked terrified.
“Concetrate man! Envisage the knife in your hand!” shouted Alexia.
Brown’s nod was a collapse of his neck into his shoulders, head tilted at a terrible angle. “Increase power” he managed to strangle.
“NO!” countered Alexia. “You must increase thought!”
Sparks were dancing between the inputs. Carina leaned forward.
Upon the table, the knife was raised. Aristophanes managed to stretch his neck back out like a waking tortoise, and the knife drunkenly straightened up in the grasp of the metallic talons. In the other “hand” a carrot was held firm, the forces upon it limted artificially for fear it would have been crushed out of existence.
“Nyyyyeeeeaarggghhh” groaned Aristophanes Brown, and the knife descended upon the vegetable in a sweries of hesitant, jagged sawing motions as devoid as smoothness as a cactus.
Both ladies stood on tiptoe, breath held.
The sound of organic matter. The sound of organic matter being rendered. Being cut. Being sliced. The knife lifted again, the process was repeated. Hesitant and clunky to be sure, the carrot was indeed being sliced up as the ladies turned virtually blue, and sweat turned Aristophanes Brown’s morning clothes to a swamp of sweat. He kept going for as long as he could, straining for every breath as the visions in his mind were made into the motions of the knife. But eventually it was all too much, and he fell forward, making a slicing moment with his hand as he did so.
Alexia ran forward, and helped the adventurer out of the helmet. His face was white, and where the power inputs had entered the helmet, his hair had been scorched the black of anthracite.
“You’ll wear those marks for a while yet, Ari” she said, doing a good job of hiding her relief. Brown didn’t even have the strength to nod.
Meanwhile at the table Carina was examining the vegetable of their labours. The carrot had been cut up as if by a sickly beaver, and its orange flesh too was scorched in places.
“It’s a major achievement, to be sure, but it seems an awful amount of effort for the world’s most hopeless salad…”
Sharp, sharp and withering glares from Alexia.
“I think your flowers are wilting, Carina” was all she said.
The moon-a-muck emerged from hiding, and hooted joyfully that the noise and fuss were all over.
Copyright Mulberry Lightinng 22.02.15
Half an hour’s work after thinking about slicing up salad with the power of the mind
This is just astonishing. I wonder how much of their movement is autonomous, how much down to radio control or pre-programming. Never seen robots that move like that ever. Rather more sheeplike than dog like though, and the big chap is obviously a bull!
Certainly bellows like one
Lady Alexia Laplace was thoroughly glad to be out of her warehouse home by the river. Such had been the industriousness of the moon-a-muck, there had been more and more flowers cluttering up the building and the sting of alum made quite an unpleasant mix with some of the fruitier flowers Carina had been rescuing from disused gardens and the compost heaps of graveyards for the musical creature to revive with its song.
She needed rest, and relaxation, and clear air. She might find the first two where was going, or maybe not, but the third would be in perilously short supply once she arrived at her destination.
Off the underground in Ealing, she hailed a Hansom Cab, and found her way to Portabello, where up a side street not worthy of the name, and down a set of stairs behind iron railings, she came to a red door that had replaced the previous green one after the wife of a Lord had been found morally wanting.
Morals had no interest for the stern-ish and direct Lady Alexia. Behaving well was one thing. Making a big fuss of it was another.
She knocked at the door, three-two-three short-long-short.
The door was opened, and she passed a weighty coin to a tall blonde woman standing by a small table within. No words were spoken
Smoke issued forth from down the corridor, beckoning her in with ashen curling fingers. Within, she found her customary table for one decorated with a fern, took a silver conveyed gin that she hadn’t had to ask for, nodded polite greeting at the seven or eight other ladies sat in similar arrangement.
A woman of the South Seas, perhaps, took up a violin, and played a curious tune, half Vivaldi, half sea shanty from the bawdiest of harbour brothels. A gentleman, looking rather like a cricketer in grey and maroon flanneling, took the stage and at once began to dance. His cream shirt of finest linen he unbuttoned at the top, before offering the fastenings to a coppery haired ne’er do well woman with the look of socialism about her.
She undid two more buttons, and snapped a note, inked and white, into his black waistband. More licenstiousness on her part was to be denied. He caught the eye of Alexia, and advanced towards her, face gleaming by the oil lamps. Her hand raised towards his chest.
Her heart began to pound.
Copyright Mulberry Lightning 13.02.15
The Lady Alexia Laplace deserves more stories, I feel. 12 minutes, one gret afternoon
Upon hearing that a young lady of his acquaintace had fallen ill with pneumonia after working a punishing schedule in a flea pit theatre with no heating, Aristophanes Brown resolved to pay her a visit as she convalaseced in her lodgings at Charing Cross. He had seen her in a preview production of some Wildean fantasy or other and thought she was uncommonly good, but her admirable and steadfast refusal to give her all to the producers of the West End, it was rumoured, had led to a falling on harder times. He always liked to give her a good write up when he could, i.e. when the paper was happy that the the theatre concerned didn’t double as a brothel, and felt that a visit with cheering news of a new production by a more trustworthy producer would go down well.
Alone, he walked along the embankment, looking for a florist of high quality recently come into business by the river near the rail bridge. It was late morning, the streets quiet, and slipping a coin to a newsboy for the Times second edition, he made his way to the shopfront on the corner of a small street leading towards St Pauls.
The flowers on sale were indeed brilliant, and he took time to inspect all the blooms. They utterly glowed with life, irises, carnations, roses, violets and other brilliant efflourusecences a non-botanist such as himself had no chance of identifying.
“Are you going to spend all day spreading germs on those blooms, or are you going to buy anything?” said a scolding voice.
It was Carina the cat burglar, black hair spilling out from everywhere under a strawish hat, a green apron about her.
“Indeed I am, dear shopkeep! I’ll take a large spray of irises, and do we have any of those white things, you know, drat it I forget.”
“Lilies?” asked Carina. “We have nothing at the moment, but as you see, my gardener is giving the matter his most urgent attention.”
She stepped back with a discrete flourish to reveal the back of the shop. In the darkness, there was a familiar song, the natural sound of the most un-natural thing in the world.
“Hoooooo-heeeee….hooo hooo hooooo heeeeeeeee….woooo wooo, hoo-hee-hooo…”
The moon-a-muck sang to several plant pots full of dead flowers salvaged from parks and gardens of the city, before breaking off to snort a selection of alum crystals up its trumpet.
“Yes, he’s got natural green…er…claws” said Aristophanes, as Carina passed him irises wrapped in day old damp newspaper…
Copyright Mulberry Lighting 03.04.15
15 minutes work, thinking of spring and trying to bring colour into my mind