Old Jellaby, when he first came to the Vale, sought to ingratiate himself with the great and the good by holding elaborate soirÃ©es at the Lodge. These mostly revolved around the selection of ordeal poisons he’d brought back from Africa. “Don’t worry,” he’d rasp around his giraffe-hide tongue. “These saucy little essences can have no effect at all upon the sound of mind and kind of heart.” The Reverend died almost immediately, of course, in appalling contortions. His bollocks exploded like handgrenades, taking Mrs Naismith’s hand off at the wrist and knocking Dr Gideon’s dentures down into his left lung. Where they remained, chattering eerily each winter as the snow covered the small children that the Women’s Institute would nail to the village green every December to get them some fresh air. Some people still believe they hear Dr Gideon’s lung-teeth singing hideous numbers from “The Music Man” and occasionally yelling for Pure Boys, despite the local constabulary having helpfully worked his cadaver over with iron bars prior to the funeral, “just in case the uncanny little bastard tries to come back.”
That sort of thing had been a local problem since I was a boy, when Farmer Hobble contracted the fabled “terrible cock-mange” from the sheep who ate the dumped army chemicals and learned to have sex in the missionary position.
But that, my darlings, is a tale for another time, for I see that the horse tranquillisers have already taken effect.
((C) Warren Ellis 2004. Written last year. I was trying to replicate some of the effects Vivian Stanshall got in his “Rawlinson End” stories (and also a half-remembered Garrison Keillor piece). You test these things out to see how the effects work, so you can pull the cogs and levers apart and work them into your own style.)