Moon-a-mucks are not real, but I wish they were and so does everyone who ever read about them.
I created them a long time ago, I think when I was studying a course on moons; our own Moon of course played a prominent part, geology thereof, vulcanism, impact crater formation, the Tycho rays stretching across the surface, glittering vitrified beads making the moon glow.
As interesting as it all was, I wanted there to be something alive up there, something making the moon more than just lava and dust. So I conceived the idea of the moon-a-muck, a creature that hoovered up crystals of quartz and assorted spars, and in return for this lunar nourishment it was able to sing, through a vacuum at that, to the moonflowers that deposited them as a sort of seed, and thus make them grow through a sort of quantum resonance process.
Then there was Lord Moth, who was the lord of all moon-a-mucks. He sent them across warps in space time to earth, and there the moon-a-mucks sang in dreams to people, for the gain of I know not what.
The joy of it, perhaps.
Then I realised this was all rather remote, and decided to team up a single moon-a-muck with Aristophanes Brown, my late Victorian sort of detective, inventor and theatre critic bon viveur and his companions Lady Alexia Laplace, and Carina, walker of moon-a-mucks. And in my London of then, they work together solving improbable crimes and doing improbable things.
Copyright Mulbery Lightning 05.01.16
“You know”, said Aristophanes Brown, walking arm in arm with Alexia Laplace along a quiet stretch of the Thames near Richmond, “this is had been the most appalling summer for bees I can remember. No wonder the flowers have been dismal.
The moon-a-muck, trailing behind Carina on a lead, in its doggy disguise, hooted to itself. It felt that songs, not bees, ought to be the key to a successful summer bloom.
Alexia admired the winter waterfowl out on the river, then looked up to take in the graceful sight of a swan in flight, no doubt searching for inspiration for her design and gadgetry.
“This is true Ari, although I’ve never figured you for a botanist. It’s been a year short of colour anywhere where our moon-a-muck hasn’t sung its song.”
The moon-a-muck skipped along, delighted to hear its name in conversation.
“Well, at least we won’t get stung” Aristophanes opined.
“That is small consolation for world starvation when all the crops fail, Ari.”
“Surely not, my dear?!”
“Surely too. Without these pollinating insects, we are, to be frank, bloody well doomed.”
Alexia adjusted her flaming hair, and lit a cigarette.
“Do we know what’s behind it?”
“No, I don’t. But if we don’t find out, then no matter how much our mucky sings, we are going to be eating each other in a few years.”
They walked on in silence.
Not so many miles to the North West, under the grounds of a family country estate just outside of Oxford, a man releases a thousand bees from an enclosure in an underground chamber where there buzzing echoes with apocalyptic feedback from the concrete walls. Then another thousand. And a thousand more. And he wades through the swarm, happily allowing himself to be stung as his mind homes in on the centre of the galaxy.
Fin du Siecle and Hereward Blyth, a scientist working out of the Botanical Gardens at Kew, made a discovery of importance.
He was collecting honey from the beehives the garden ran as a semi commercial, semi scientific operation, when he tripped on a badly placed hoe and fell into one of the hives, knocking the top off and understandably causing the bees within to get very angry within. Sadly – or not – for Hereward, his protective helmet had become dislodged in his fall, and he was badly, indeed terribly, stung.
But as he lay, deep in his anaphaytic shock, he noticed a most wonderful occurrence. The centre of the Milky Way suddenly appeared, bright as the sun, in the sky towards the horizon, and he felt himself moved towards it through the vault at an accelarating rate. He had only moved, without moving, a shade of the way across this galactic disc. but as a person, he knew staring at the expanse of hot gas and stars whipped into elliptoids by the speed of their orbit, he knew he could never go back.
Shortly after, he came too on the lawn, and life could never be the same again.
<i>5 minutes work, a strange tale that may be going somewhere</i>
Ever since the strange animal with the musical nose trumpet had first mysteriously appeared, padding down the steps of the Poincare Machine in the warehouse lab of Lady Alexia Laplace and Aristophanes Brown, they had wondered about some of the creature’s odder quirks.
One of the oddest of these was its obvious great interest in any passing moth or butterfly that fluttered past is Cleopatra eyes. On its muzzle disguised walks, the sight of a red admiral would always cause it to emit a “hoo-heee-hoooooo” of joy. But now it was autumn, and butterflies were less numerous on the Embankment.
However, in the equinoctal nights, moths would flail in through open windows, and the moon-a-muck would behave very differentlly. It wouldn’t be excited, it would be as calm as a manatee in a warm ocean having its tummy tickled by a mermaid.
The cause of this was the night-time moths of autumn, the yellow underwings, the drinkers, the vapourers. They would swarm around the moon-a-muck, gently landing on its silvery-grey fur, and everytime one did so, the creature would gently croon “woooooo” until it fell asleep, more satisfied even then when it hooted up a whole bowl of crystals.
The moon-a-muck’s love of moths must mean something. But what?
Copyright Bloody Mulberry 09.09.15
The crowd gathered as the sunset over the stones, and sat politely and waited for the dawn. June 20th 1899. There was music, a strange but fair string quartet of ladies playing Holst’s “The Planets”. There had been hawks in the wind in the twilight, looking for titbits from the picnics.
Stonehenge. Where antiquarians gathered in the sounds of the pipes of pan.
3AM. Now the 21st. Just before twilight began to paint the eyelid of the horizon. There was a fuzzy crack of lightning, and a flash of blue radiation washed out over the crowd like Thor had hit his hammer.
They ooohed. They ahhhed. They swallowed their laundunum for the sunrise and looked for their gods.
And sitting atop one of the triptychs within his Poincare machine, Aristophanes Brown and the moon-amuck chuckled and hooo-eeh-hoo’d their little heads off, before repeating the process as they headed back to London
Because Ari has been under neglect.
“One gets a sense of perspective up here, I find” said Aristophanes Brown, as he surveyed the London he loved so much from a relaxed slouch.
“That phrase, Ari, is a cliche now, was a cliche before and will be a cliche long into the future of this pitiful planet.”
“Well often cliches are cliches because they are true. I love looking at the West End from up here, puts me in my rightful place above the sycophants and cretins of Theatreland!”
“Anything you say” sighed Lady Alexia Laplace as she went back to minding the compressor controls. “I’d hate for anything to take you off your lofty perch,” she muttered, before giving a swift twist to a valve, causing Aristophanes’ chair to lurch drunkenly back and forth.
“Ow! Stop that!” he said from his eyrie about the roof of their warehouse.
He was sat, in smoking jacket and rather raffish striped trousers cut for him by Sieberg of Chelsea, in his favourite garden lounger, some 15 feet above the parapet of their building. A flexible india rubber tube of some length reached up to the chair before splitting into four just before the legs, whereupon they were directed downwards to provide upward thrust. A device with little practical purpose other than to act as an ego trip for the dandy theatre critic, it was far too earthbound top ever provide an easy form of transportation.
And as Aristophanes found when he looked back down to find Alexia gone inside, it’s lack of onboard controls were a nuisance.
Copyright Mulberry Lightning 07.07.15
“Well, rather expected that would happen” said Lady Alexia Laplace in her usual dry as dust manner, as the tumbler of Tom Collins Aristophanes Brown had been playing with rather than drinking on a warm spring afternoon, met its maker on the tiled floor of the Warehouse kitchen.
“Bloody thing, always should have known to buy cheap glass that bounces instead of decent crystal, Alexia. We’ll be getting cuts if we are not careful, and as for the moon-a-muck’s feet, poor thing.”
“Ari, your concern for the creature is touching, but there is no cause to worry. I’ve been working on something, allow me to show you while that ne-er do well Carina is out taking the muck creature for a walk.”
Clad in her khaki-gold overalls, hair knotted in a scarf, she clomped across the flagging to the door of her small laboratory, reserved for her more lightweight projects. The sound of clinking, chinking and a gentle clattering could be heard, as Aristophanes made up for his clumsiness by taking a sneakful pull from Alexia’s glass, hurriedly replacing it just so as she returned, carrying a ceramic white tube about a foot long.
Sher pointed it at him, exclaimed “Observe!” and then set herself down onto the floor upon one knee. As she waved the rod around, Aristophanes noticed with a start that it was attracting up shards of glass, from large to tiny, without any effort like the attraction of static electricity.
A couple of self satisfied sweeps from the Lady Alexia, and there was not a trace of any glittering glass splinters on the floor.
She straightened her back, looked at Aristophanes across the table, and pressed a button on the end of the device. All the accumulated glass dropped nicely onto a dish Ari had been eating cake off just shortly before.
“Alexia! You are truly even more of a genius than I ever realised! We shall call it, we shall call it, “The Glagnet” – and more funding for our good work shall come our way.”
“Not “We’ll make millions!” Aristophanes? You surprise me.”
Aristophanes just shrugged.
Copyright Mulberry Lightning 20.05.15
Overall, written in about 20 minutes, inspired by a conversation I had with a colleague where the concept of “The Glagnet” erupted into shattering life.