One of the most festive ways to change the outer reality is to plant clown flowers and clown forests in OtherLand. <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Clown School taught silly songs to eager plants who were sick of being solemn. To wheat and rice, they implanted a flavour of the absurd so that the new bread from the Clown Bakery made people chuckle. Cows who ate giggle grass gave milk that allowed people to laugh outloud so cheerfully that it was called the full montypython syndrome. The Clown Oneiro Products were so popular that Digrif and Flan could afford to subsidize oneirotists who were searching for a vaccine to wipe out the Serious Disease and the Megalo-religiophoid Disease. These epidemic diseases destroyed the natural happiness of billions of Earth inhabitants on every continent planet-wide.
Alohaha was Digrif and Flan’s favorite parrot friend and an absolutely brilliant oneirotist. “Pina colada,” said Alohaha when Digrif asked what was her favorite flavour of the new ice laughter made of the thick cream from cows grazing on the lush giggle grass. “Coconut and pineapple, muy yum.”
Just as all the creatures had been asked not to harm Baldar in ancient times, all the furred and feathered and finned and even the cosmically retarded bipeds were asking the local plants to mutate their genes to montypythonize themselves – thus giggle grass and anti-ava-rice and chaffing wheat. Black Adder Beer made people drunk with laughter, hopped up on fun. People were laughing themselves well. Guffa Wing products flew off the shelves. Joy was ordinary. Salacious, delicious, topsy-turvy, somersaulting joy. You could infect people with it. It was great. The Giddy Revolution had begun beyond the rainbow, turn sharp left at the left-most star of Gata Grande’s constellation.
Alohaha ruffled her shocking feathers. Her head feathers and ruff were a glistening green, her wing shoulders scarlet, her long wing feathers alternating scarlet and ripe banana yellow, her soft belly feathers a shimmering chartreuse. “These pious suckers earthside are seriously serious,” Alohaha said, rolling her eye. She probably rolled both eyes, but you never saw both of her eyes at once so she often seemed to be winking at you. “We’re trying to cleese the vaccine – it needs to mutate its wit at lightning speed to outwit the ever-dirging seriousness of this megaloreligiophoid virus that is epidemic on Earth. Brave Pog surreptitiously collected some, ahem, ‘samples’ of his genetic material from some rags in his trash and we’ve been trying to isolate that radiant hilariens mutation so we can graft it onto our virus for our vaccine. We re-hydrated his, ahem, fluids and put them in that new clownclone holofuge that Aunt Silly designed.
“Homo hilariens. Viv Id said he was new. Homo hilariens. I like it,” Digrif gave a quick private glance at Flan. He continued, “Alohaha, we can’t emphasize the urgency, the panic really to develop this vaccine.” Flan grinned and grimaced, “No joke, Alohaha. Earth is fucked if we don’t figure this out and soon.”
Alohaha stretched her shocking wings, “No clown rests. All of Gata Grande is tinkering and napping and puttering. And vats of ice laughter are being licked and spooned. With you two as, ahem, exemplars, there is giga-mating going on. All creative resources are being brought to bear. Everything to stir the dream, bestir the dream.” She clicked her bright blue beak three times which is how you know a parrot is laughing.
“Flan did a vision for us which we put on holovid. Now we can study the frightening pathology of their auras.”
Flan shuddered. For a clown to get that close a sample of the radioactive aura of a person afflicted with full-blown megaloreligiophoid was completely dangerous. She still had flashbacks she hadn’t told either Digrif or Alohaha about.
“Tell us again, honey,” Digrif said softly, his turquoise eyes watching her with special concern. He knew something was wrong. “Maybe we missed a clue.”
Flan flicked her deft to the megaloreligio she had deliberately encountered for study. Like many beings brought up by animals, Flan used her sense of smell in a symphonic spectrum that people brought up by bipeds could never fathom. It was partly why she was so smitten with Digrif who smelled of late summer grasses and salty waves splash and the bittersweet smell of their mating. Gods know that was better to swim in than the sickly sewage stench of the fear-sweat megaloreligios.
“Unnatural fear,” Flan murmured. “Unnatural fear. That’s what hunts and haunts them. Natural fear alerts and protects you. It has a real beginning and a real end. Unnatural fear is self-generated and self-perpetuated and the copious stale adrenalin toxic-rots the flesh, the body-flesh and the psychic-flesh. These poor pizzles are rotting alive – you can smell it. That’s what we need – in addition to the cleese hilariens element, a vulture element to clean up the rot at the molecular level so the hilariens can take hold. That’s what it smells like.”
Digrif put his fingers on her forehead and moved them slowly and lightly. Flan far away heard the whisper of his fingers on her skin and her nausea at the grim smell subsided.
She said, “A megaloreligio’s aura looks like a dense layer of grimy white coagulated exhaust with many prongs of barbed wire flailing in it. A ‘normal’ aura has huge varieties of weather, of flux patterns but it isn’t this styrofoamic foot-thick mummy wrapping of frantic static and flak that isolates them, insulates them from fun or spontaneous thought. They’re safe from the challenges, the choices good and bad, of the novel, the quixotic, but they are the living dead. And anyone different from them is a menace to them whom they hunt down in slavering hyena packs. They are so fear-ridden, so fear-laden.” Tears ran down Flan’s still face. She fainted. Digrif looked at Alohaha, “Do you have what you need?” “Yeah, some new clues. She’s never fainted at anything. I don’t like it. Getting too close to the megaloreligios is damned dangerous. Put somebody else on this until Flan clears up. Give her some ice laughter. Some sunshine. Take here to the damn beach.”
“She’s the best and toughest psychic spy we’ve got,” said Digrif. “She has to foray again soon.”
Alohaha clicked her bright blue beak three times. Except for the connoisseur, it was hard to tell the difference between parrot-laugh beak-clicking and parrot-vexation beak-clicking. But this time Digrif had no doubt and was chagrinned. “Take her to the beach, Digrif. She won’t do you or us any good dreared and dimmed, heart-dead. She needs to breathe salt. Do you hear, take her to the beach.”
“I hear. I will,” said Digrif as Flan woke slightly and looked at him dully. Digrif felt a chill crawl his skin as he thought of the mind parasites infecting their beloved Earth. The clowns would win. But at what cost, at what loss? Pizzle the megalos. Grinning, he put his finger in the carton of Pina Colada Ice Laff and wiped it across Flan’s lips.
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