It was long ago reported in this journal of the extent to which exposure to the venom of a certain species of wasp caused people with the correct cerebral receptors to be able to internally warp time and space to find themselves drawn to the centre of the galaxy.
It had long been assumed that the galaxy concerned was the Milky Way, the barred spiral we call our home, but it is not. It is far further away than even the unimaginable distances to our own galactic centre.
The galaxy concerned is The Wasp Galaxy, where wasps are formed and transported to earth via portals into and out of the 11th Dimension.
This explains the human race memory that wasps have no evolutionary place on Earth. They are right. They are not from here. They are formed from giant galactic clouds of dust and gas and are in fact light years long. Strange relativistic effects and the dreams of higher dimensional creatures make them smaller in our universe. In other universes, they are the size of clusters of galaxies.
It is said the nature of people who can envisage the wasp galaxy through their venom is evil. This may not be true. They may just be different.
When a wasp stings you, you are being stung by a galaxy entire.
Copyright Mulberry Lightning 28.02.17
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
A moth flew in through the open summer window, and the moon-a-muck awoke from a light slumber from atop its cushion in the warehouse.
Feeling like a stroll on what was clearly a nice day in the world outside, it padded across the warehouse floor to where Aristophanes Brown was at work at his accounts on his difference engine before looking up at him with a hoot.
The response was a pat on the moon-a-muck’s grey head, but not a positive one. “Hello fellow, I’m rather busy at the moment…would you not rather have one of these and do some singing.”
Brown proferred a crystal, to which the creature only gave a derisive “Phooot!” before ambling off towards Carina, who was at work sewing repairs on a shawl. She just gave a wave of non-disturbance, altering the creature’s course towards Lady Alexia Laplace in the Poincare chamber.
The aristocratic mechanic was atop a ladder, fixing the vectoral psytransponder atop the Poincare Sphere.
“There’s nothing I’d like more than to have a trot outside and get away from this machine, but I can’t leave this undone. What about Aristophanes or Carina?” asked Alexia, her hair a blood auburn nest pinned atop her head.
The response was a sad hoot and a lowering of the moon-a-muck’s sad eyes.
“Oh dear. Well, I’m sure you can wait a little longer. It’s not as if you need to “empty” anything like a dog.”
“Huuuh” was all it said to this. But rather than trot back off back to its bed, the moon-a-muck looked bak to the open window.
Reflexively drilled in the need not to attract attention, it slinked quietly across to an open utility room, and found its dog mask sitting on a low table. It pushed its face snugly within, then, claws retracted to silence its approach, it made its way over the floor to the window.
Climbing up was no effort, and lit by the sun, scaling the 3 storeys vertically down to the ground was even less so with claws extended, and the moon-a-muck’s cunning and as yet unsuspected ability to vary its weight.
It knew that the normal social walk would head East along the river, but it wasn’t a very map savvy animal, and it soon ran off course, confused a little by the friendly pats of passers by. It entered narrow streets, and, occasionally frightening dogs and cats with its surprising size – nearly five feet nose to tail, took in what it could.
It could make no sense of what it saw. Houses were not all big and spacious like the warehouse, or tidy and in order like the master’s flat. Everything was close together, uncomfortable, awkward angles and falling-apartness. The moon-a-muck’s trumpet twitched, it could smell disease in the air. Unpleasant liquids flowed along the street. People not as friendly as master and mistresses pummelled at each other in doorways, pushing themselves up against each other. Some seemed to have more money, dressed in black with tall things upon their heads. They seemed rougher. Despite the smoothness of their voices.
At the end of one such road, the moon-a-muck encountered a young girl,a flower seller. Er dress was streaked with dirt, as was her face with the addition of tears. A bruise rose up above one eye, and her brown hair was stringy and tangled.
Her flowers were wilted, dead, dying daffodils and tulips. A little beret was empty of money save coins of the dullest metal and smallest denominations. The moon-a-muck looked at her sadly. “Hoo-hee?” it asked. In response she reached up and stroked its head with a grey hand.
Then, as hand moved through silver-ash fur, the moon-a-muck was struck with its concept of an idea. It looked around, then spotted what it required spilling from a sack nearby. It pottled off, slipped off its muzzle, and returned with several lumps arrnaged around its trumpet.
Then, as the child looked wild eyed, the moon-a-muck dropped the lumps of coal on the slimy cobbles. It then sucked them up, hooting and hee-ing as it did so.
Then it sang. Sang not to the young girl, but to her worthless, ragged, dead-on-their-stalks flowers. And as it did so, people gathered. The flowers rose themselves up on their dying greenery, their petals brightened and what was dull brown turned bright green.
There were audible gasps from the watchers.
Crocuses were purple as amethyst and tulips so stiff they could have drilled through concrete. The moon-a-muck sang on, and daffodils glowed almost as the sun, and lilies smelt as the wings of an angel.
When every plant looked like it had come from The Garden of Eden, the creature ceased its song and backed away, giving the girl a cheery “Hoo-hoo”.
The moon-a-muck went un-nticed, as people crowded in to buy flowers as glorious as the wold had ever seen.
Copyright Mulberry Lightning 17.03.15
I’m actually cross posting this from my nature, astronomy and Tourette’s blog, but it is equally home here, I’d say. I really hope you appreciate it
The piece is pretty self explantory, and me feeling I ought to comment on the passing of a sci fi icon, but wanting to take a different approach from the usual tribute.
Many better writers than me have already been pretty eloquent in expressing the impact Leonard Nimoy and his creation of Mr Spock had on their lives.
I’m not going to bandwagon jump, nor am I going to pretend that Spock was some kind of inspiration for my love of sci-fi, spaceships and astronomy.
I’ve written elsewhere of where that came from – the artist Donald Rudd – but what was actually going through my mind on hearing of Nimoy’s death was a piece by Oliver Sacks in his collection “An Anthropologist on Mars”. Sacks writes of two autistic people in that anthology, the artist Stephen Wiltshire, and the animal behaviourist Temple Grandin. I think it’s in the Grandin piece that Sacks talks of how autistic people often stated that their favourite character from TV was Spock, and his latter day successor Data.
Sacks, who incidentally himself has stated recently that he is not long for the world – theorised that it was the portrayal of a person with very non-human emotional needs trying to make sense of a very human environment that appealed to folk with autism. I think also that the fact that the tremendous contribution these people to those around them, and the fact that their colleagues valued them and treated them warmly when they were perhaps not able to respond likewise, would also be influential in this.
Perhaps also the Aspergic love of knowledge and information too would be an attraction.
Seven of Nine, a character who would also would have had “AS Appeal” in addition to her other obvious charms, was not around when Sacks wrote the article. Certainly sat where I am upon my Tourette’s spectrum, where it dances with that of Asperger’s, I found all these characters fascinating, and enjoyed their relationship with the neurotypical world, although I was and still am very suspicious of how the terms “Neurotypical” and “NT” get thrown around sometimes.
There is a whiff of contempt about it, I occasionally find…albeit a rather understandle whiff.
Still these are terms that have entered common (ish) usage. And it is to Leonard Nimoy “and the character I created” that a huge amount of credit must go to for making not just autistic – or non-neurotypical – people perhaps feel more comfortable in their skins, but anyone who felt that maybe you know, “knowing stuff” was more important than having cool hair.
Arisophanes was taking in a new production of an off West End play called “The Penitent Woman” which despite the title, was a light comedy. The curiously named Welshman’s Theatre off the Strand was not large, with space for barely a hundred, but it did have a reputation for putting on adventurous new work.
Privately Aritstophanes didn’t see how a light comedy of manners could be seen as radical theatre, but he did owe the promoter a favour after accidentally ruining an important dinner party by setting the tablecloth alight while attempting to demonstrate some scientific process or other. He’d agreed to review the play for “Arts of London” monthly, and promised to mention the comfortable and intimate demeanour of the venue even if the play was rather duff. Which frankly it was; the leading lady was an inexperienced 21 year old called Penelope who kept falling, never mind treading on the lines of her fellow cast members. She was a pretty enough girl, and after foozling her lines for a third time she was looking more than penitent.
The fluffing of her lines was particularly grating, as tonight Aristophanes was wearing a device to help him hear quieter lines in theatres where the punters were a little less well behaved than should be – tonight, a rather merry couple had been talking too loudly during the early scenes before the man fell asleep.
It was a curious sort of hearing aid, consisting of two glass tubes that went into his ear, and curled up under his hat to meet at two sound collecting cones concealed within. Arranged front and back, they gave excellent enhanced 360 degree hearing in a discrete design, and enabled him to ignore the distractions around him in the theatre.
Only there was a new distraction, a new sound. A rustling, a gentle scraping as of manicured nails on silk. The sound of hand brushing faintly against silk and satin, and fine wools. Aristophanes was wearing a lurid moss green and yellow tweed, but he’ felt nothing as of yet.
More sounds, the gentle click and clatter of pearls making their way into a velvet bag, a gold bracelet being somehow removed from a slender society arm without the wearer noticing. Aristophanes smiled to himself, and flexed his fingers.
The sounds came closer…a jingling of coins, and the peculiar scrape of high heeled boots against carpet. Air being displaced, a gentle shockwave of displaced air mixed in with seductive scent, and skin as clear as a mountain stream…
Arisophanes shot his right arm out, and caught the slim wrist of a woung woman clad in black right down a rakishly perched hat, and eyes like the night under coal black hair.
“Oh sir, sir, I’m sorrry, I just dropped my…my engagement ring…I was just looking for it down here.”
Then she looked inhis eyes, and a surpressed flicker of recognition was there for him to see.
“Carina my dear, I’m sure it must be in that bag you are carrying,” he whispered. “Come out with me into the foyer, and let is look for it in better light, Miss Carina…”
Copyright Mulberry Lightning 22.10.14
“I warned you this sort of thing might happen ‘Ari! It’s the consequence of the machine’s operation.” Lady Alexia Laplace was lying on the floor, her ivory shirt, riding jodphurs and boots looking rather dusty and distressed.
“I know Miss Laplace. I only dreamt the Poincare Machine, I have no idea of how it works”. Aristophanes Brown, in cream cricket trousers and sweater, was also lying on the floor a few feet away, with his hands protecting the back of his head. “I rely on you for that”.
Alexia looked indignant, although this might have been a consequence of having her face rather squash down upon against the floor. “I just made something you drew on various bits of old paper Aristophanes. I’m amazed it works as well!” “WEll, hmmmm”, muttered Aristophanes as the ceiling of the warehouse space seemed to crush down upon them again. “I wouldn’t call this well”.
“WELL DON’T BLAME ME” shouted Alexia into the floorboards. “Next time dream a bit bloody better, you scribing cretin! OW!” – this last was caused by her embedding a splinter into her full and sweet bottom lip. “Buggery. Oh lord, here come the damn walls!”
The two of them shrank together as the walls of the warehouse space seem to close in, bending as they did so, seeming to travel through the ceiling without actually doing so.
“I haven’t even been in the machine yet, you won’t drattedly let me, and yet you expect me to fix a problem like this!”
“It’s what I pay you for,” said Aristophanes firmly.
“Even if that tongue is in your cheek I shall reach across and rip it out in a second Aristophanes”, muttered Alexia. “Now look, the air is changing colour!” Indeed it was, it was now suffused with a light blue tinge, a duck egg blue hazing the world.
“The Poincare Machine has distorted the fabric of reality. I only used it to go to Hampstead Heath for a walk!” said Aristophanes. “What will happen if I go to New York?”
“Hopefully not come back!” exclaimed Alexia. “I’m going to try and turn the wretched thing off.”
She began to crawl like a wounded gecko across the floorboards. The object of all this ire sat oblivious in a corner of the warehouse space, humming in its dully glittering silverness, apparently protected by a bubble of its own space-time, the wall and ceiling bending around it like rubber.
“I can see what has happened. You didn’t fully withdraw the sphere from the cube. Fool!”
“You don’t expect the Universe to fall apart when you don’t close a window properly!” protested Aristophanes. “Can’t you fix this?”
“Only after I’ve killed you, Aristophanes Brown! Ah right, here we go.”
Alexia had reached the Poincare Machine’s protected space, and was easily able to stand upright and slide the sphere down its rails and remove it completely from the dimensionsal cube. At once, the humming stopped, and the walls and ceiling returned to their correct and proper places in reality. Outside seagulls could once again be seen screeching over the brown grey Thames.
Alexia Laplace sat on the floor, slightly dishevelled and staring at Aristophanes with a fair degree of anger.
“Right then”, he said. “Cup of tea?”
There was no reply.
Copyright Mulberry Lightning 18.10.14
Inspired merely by watching a tree bend in the wind, this piece was done in two 30 minute sections. I hope you flash fiction afficianados are not offended by the gap.