Tag: satire

The Appliance of Science – a story in 100 words

Case notes. Planet #3, Star-System #495177230648683. Deep archaeological analyses indicate rapid evolution of intelligent primate species followed by sudden decline/disappearance. Unlike previous extinctions, appears self-inflicted. Evidence from widely-scattered artefacts suggests that the early social-cooperation instinct universal to all advanced species was – for reasons yet unclear – supplanted by an overwhelming urge to compete. This set individual against individual and group against group, leading to chronic over-consumption of resources. Undervalued and depleted natural-science investigation meant rear-guard efforts to shepherd/conserve environment too little, too late. Full contact with remaining species awaits detailed linguistic analysis but positive  signs observed in early encounters with ants and cockroaches.

 

Image result for aliens observe earth

 

Image: The Taxman

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That’s Rich! – a story in 100 words

Miles Bragge-Hampton hated contradiction. You couldn’t blame him. As the only child and heir of wealthy and indulgent parents, his every little whim was gratified. A furious turnover of nannies, servants, estate-workers, tutors and even doctors bore witness to the force of his thwarted will.

A particular revolving-door involved girlfriends and, later, psychiatrists. Mere expertise couldn’t save anyone who got on the wrong side of Smiler.

The nickname stuck when he entered politics. Small fish feared the flash of teeth, notably in his very first Head of State broadcast warning ‘welfare leeches and parasites’ that he was on their case.

 

Image result for spoiled rich kids

 

Image: YouTube

Halfway There: a story in 100 words

Light.

Where?

At the end of the tunnel.

That’s only a pinprick. Let’s go back.

We’re halfway there. The end is in sight.

I’m tired. Let’s rest.

We’ll fall asleep and never wake up.

That’s just an old story –

Bones in the dark!

Ooh, give me a piggyback!

I’m not carrying you. Not over rough ground when I can’t see where to step.

Tell me again, then.

Not over rough ground when –

No, I mean, what it’s going to be like there.

Better than here. We’ll see more clearly.

Better than before the tunnel?

Maybe appreciate it better. 

Let’s go.

 

Image result for light at the end of the tunnel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image: Medium

The Big Ask

It was two years ago today that Bafflesby Borough Council – responding to the widespread perception that it was doing nothing much about anything at all – voted to hold a people’s plebiscite that posed a single, seemingly-simple question:

Are you in favour of change?                Yes                No                (tick one only)

The result was famously close. After several recounts Bafflesby’s Returning Officer, a very weary Ida Clare, gave the victory to Yes by one vote.

In keeping with the Town Motto Better Late Than Never, Bafflesbytes then began a furious debate which – arguably – they should have conducted before the vote, about how much change they actually did want when push came to shove. Some thought lots, lots thought some and lots more thought none. The only area of agreement was that nobody trusted anybody else either to change anything or to keep it the same.

Ever happy to serve our fellow citizens, we at the Bafflesby Bugle are throwing open the pages of our publication for all and sundry to have their four-pennyworth! Not getting your point across in the pub or over the breakfast table? Bursting with big ideas? Well, friends and readers, here’s your chance to let rip!

Today’s precious print platform goes to Curio Corner proprietor and part-time local historian Luke Backwoods, who reckons we can learn a thing or two from the distant past:

My big idea is to rebuild the medieval walls that used to go right round Bafflesby. Can’t beat heritage, can you, when it comes to pulling in the tourists? You could vet them at the gate to keep out undesirables. Any of them turn up with foreign bugs you just keep them in the gatehouse till they get better.

Or say the police are looking for shoplifters in Bafflesby. Put the word out. Lockdown. Besides, building up the walls again means jobs for local people. And you could stop all these cheap memorabilia products flooding the market. Charge them tariffs when they come over the drawbridge. Plus you’d have a portcullis when  things start to kick off with other places. 

Improve morale no end. Peace of mind all round. Easy.

 

Image result for medieval walls

 

Image: Bluffton University

Meanwhile, on the wrong side of history …

 

Is that a frown, First Minister?

Your people are uneasy, Sire.

Wherefore? Are they tired of bread and circuses?

Our straw polls show that no amount of bread nor frequency of circus can assuage their deep discomfort.

Will they not accept their Sovereign’s gracious word that all is well?

No longer, alas, Your Royal Reassurance! Such soothing sentiments simply serve to fuel the fires of faithlessness. Your billowy blandishments are become red rags to rampant bulls of disbelief.

Fires? Bulls? You’re babbling, man!

Forgive me, Your Brightness, my lowly gaze is dazzled!

Cut to the chase, you chump, or those eyeballs shall peep out of tonight’s goulash!

Well, High-and-Mightiness, not to put too fine a point on it …

Spit it out, you nincompoop!

your subjects seem to have lost their simple faith in your omniscience, All-Knowing One.

How come I didn’t know that? Whatever happened to my enormous network of neighbourhood noses?

Bunged up, Your High-and-Mightiness, ever since your omnipotence was called into question.

And who would dare to defy that?

Pretty much everybody once your omnipresence grew so thin on the ground, All-Overness.

Ah questions, questions, questions! And to think how easily satisfied with any old answer those credulous crudscrapers once were!

Halcyon days, Sky-Blueness! But now it is the latest craze to perform autopsies on every dead, discarded philosophy and the platitudes from the pen of Your Royal Mindfulness have been much dissected of late.

So, Earhole, have they managed to penetrate the beating heart of my pronouncements?

Such a miracle of regeneration is beyond even their capabilities, Your Otherness. It appears that nothing is taken on face value but must be mined for deeper meaning. They say no man is to be trusted until his peers confirm his conclusions.

Peers? A ruler has no peers within his realm! His word is law, no evidence required! And as for these pedantic nit-pickers that seek a reason for everything, why, let them spend a dreadful night or three in the Caverns of Chaos and Old Night and pick the bones out of the bad dreams they find there! Ha, do they not know how often I inhale the embalmed bodily vapours of my mummified forebears?

It is not common knowledge, Your Royal Sniffiness.

Well, you puny pipsqueak, let us blazen abroad our olfactory intimacy with the Old Ones as proof positive of timeless credibility! We must rescue our poor nation from the icy clutches of pen-pushers and box-tickers by bringing a halt to so-called progress and putting the clock back to glorious yesteryear. Can a proud scion of Ulf the Uncompromising and Unk the Unstoppable bow his knee to straw polls and focus groups when he should be soaring with eagles far above the common clouds to build a new Eldorado, Shangri-La or Elysium for the truly worthy?

The flying machine is under construction as we speak, Your Loftiness. We only await the perfection of a heatproof wax to hold the feathers …

 

Related image

Pieter Bruegel “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels

Image: novaziodaonda.wordpress.com

Fare Thee Well! (3/3)

Greetings, Earth Dwellers!

Zog from Alpha Centauri here. May it bring some consolation amid the inescapable trials and tribulations of uncommon sentience to know that your musical artistry, travelling at the speed of light, has inspired us to make the most of our final days. To dance and sing as if this could revive our sterile oceans, our polluted skies, our dying flora and fauna – as if we had somehow remembered just in time the blessings of a simple life before our crazed stampede to the edge … the eve … the brink of  …

Ah, for once I cannot blame my communication breakdown upon this old steam-driven inter-galactic language-transposer of mine! The words are there if I can only bring myself to use them. And now our last log is in the wood burner to keep the water bubbling – the stream of translation flowing – a little longer.

Our very last log.

Oh, with life itself at stake I expected a battle but in the end … well, none of us could come up with a better idea than to send you this token of our gratitude. All the more surprising, perhaps, as our message to love is no more than a shot in the dark with no expectation of ever receiving a reply.

Send us your response, by all means, although there may be nobody here to listen. Eight Earth years is a long time when your place in nature is so imperilled. Please think of us as you celebrate your own narrow escape from the jaws of extinction, hearkening just in time to the piper at the gates of dawn who smiles and plays our death knell.

I watch the embers darken.  Too late now to open the subsequent boxes of delight you beamed through careless timespace and perceive for ourselves the renaissance unfolding like a universal flower that surely must have followed your Aquarian awakening – a golden age where new communities discover how mutual sharing and sensitive collaboration can create aesthetic and scientific wonders far beyond the scope of mere self-interest?

How it hurts to realise that runaway competition and its concomitant over-consumption wrecked whole words with idiotic duplication and insane destruction when all we really needed was the infinite variety of nature left to her own mysterious devices. The choice was ours – to learn at her feet or lead her by the nose. We grew impatient and chased quick kicks instead of slow satisfactions.

Almost the only relic of our better days was the compunction to smile, forced where once it was freely given. Who wants a world, asks one of your Woodstock organisers, where you are afraid to smile? Or, I might add, where you are afraid not to smile? Perhaps we can agree – who wants a world where you are afraid?

Our lights begin to flicker and the steam-gauge falls. These words are raindrops on a drydust desert … wo whoa woe a turning point has passed … has past … the past is never dead – it’s not even past … 3 days of loving peace … 3 million years … waterproof that it can happen … the I that is all of us … forget yourself and live together … it’s only the beginning … but whatever it is, you can’t buy it, man!

Zzzzog out …

Post Scriptum … hell and high water, post every damn thing, did Brian Wilson ever get to Smile?