Just like pushy mothers, heartless bastards are not the sole preserve of our universe. You would not believe the con-fauna that pulullates all over the Middle Grids! As poor Liolí the BearBat can tell you, much to his chagrin. Last night a couple of itinerant mountebanks accosted him on his way back home from the George & Orange, where we had gathered to watch the season finale of Dimension of Miracles, a spiffing space soap very laxly based on Robert Sheckley’s masterpiece, on the landlord’s brand new ultra–photonic radical-definition holobox. He was, as we all were by the time our host chucked us out, well in his cups and in a jovial, fluffy, indiscriminating mood. Which unfortunate set of circumstances the two said charlatans took advantage of and in less time that is taking me to write this, they had persuaded Liolí that a onesie was “the” thing to own, wear and show himself in at social gatherings. And there you have it, dear reader. Now, I’m not making a case for abstemiousness, by any stretch of the imagination, but if you’re walking home, late at night and half cut, make sure you don’t do it alone. Ask Selina, the double-decker amphisbaena to walk with you. She’s immune to both high-proof alcohol and cant, hence she can spot mercenary bullshit before it turns the corner. She’ll be happy to see you safely home -as long as you let her prattle merrily on about the agonies and the ecstasies of twofold duality, with its attendant internecine contradictions, cognitive dissonances and the ensuing inner racket.
And here be a couple of ungainly creatures: Mr & Mrs Ugly, at your service. Too ugly for words, granted, but nicer monsters you won’t find this side of the Van Allen Belt, if I say so myself. I’ve attended their literary salons and poetry reading soirees many a time and I’ve always come out ethically uplifted, spiritually well fed and utterly & blissfully drunk. So there.