Torpid Slivers #15-19
by Colin Raff
The Bijou Bazaar of Gems and Other Angular Things.
(Prop hands dressed as elves replace the lily pads from the previous scene with an assortment of large polyhedra painted to resemble jewels and rocks. The Primrose Urchins continue their ribbon dance, &c. until GOBLIBERTA resumes center stage.)
GOBLIBERTA (To 17th PRINCE.)
From here you must select a jewel or stone
That may effect the passage to your throne.
The gnomes are fair; the price shall not be steep,
But heed! Your choice you must forever keep.
From here, you say, one stone is boon to me?
That should a friend and not a bauble be.
Yet there’s a shape, three edges to each face:
Strange — to my mind, it dominates the place.
It does not shine at all — but watch it stir!
A visage grows, while other things occur.
He sprouts a neck, a trunk, limbs finished soon —
His name is Tom O’Quompuleptitroon.
So you’ll help me in my quest?
At first pray demonstrate what you do best.
(Music. Tom O’Quompuleptitroon enacts his serpentine jig.)
With Tom erupting thusly into dance
Let’s vitalize the small folk: now’s the chance.
(Fairies 62, 54 & 71 enter the audience at various points to rouse all sleeping children. Those able to stand are led in a processional queue, entreated to chant the “Pudding, pudding, &c.” ditty if necessary. Resume seating at music’s end.)
So now, with thirteen treasures from before,
And Tom O’Q besides, would I need more?
I think our duty here is at an end.
Enormous feather fans and clouds descend!
(Deployment of cloud and peafowl props hasten change to)
The Golden Court of the Sebastocrat Floggrimoodle.
[Here the fragment breaks off.]
Buphelleruck’s Confectionery continues to offer edible busts containing the precise amount of sugar (according to current medical science) required to kill the subject, should he or she consume it in one sitting. Sculpted from prizewinning anise pastillage, Buphelleruck’s Lethal Busts come in numerous shapes and sizes. By far the most popular of these is the company’s crown jewel, “Girl of Fifteen 2a,” based on a mold by Polindrio Macdomphlid. A sample resides in the main shop’s window display, circled endlessly (via mirror-based illusion) by the specter of someone departed — presumably due to overconsumption of delicious anise candy.
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A quack found a patient unsightly
Whose chin round her temple wound tightly.
But just having imbibed,
He unkeenly prescribed
“2 spleāndules of urbulquelpthttttt nightly.”
The page that follows is the most obscure of the manuscript, presenting a group of ciphers that, in their impenetrability, remind us how the entire opus must remain an enigma. Each image defies representation, save perhaps the isolated head — which superficially resembles the “king” figure depicted earlier, yet deviates from it in ways that, as previously noted, mean it cannot be considered the same. The others are even less intelligible.
Plymenctitus (ibid.) theorizes (but for purposes of secrecy does not elaborate) that these figures retain their hermetic qualities only as static formations of ink on paper, and that were they granted three dimensions and even the slightest mobility, they would betray their mysteries, and all would be lost.
We have ascertained that the tail of Subject X can indeed work in conjunction with the test membrane and produce an apparition that will generate a modicum of fear in Subject A. The effect does not last, but the manifestation of sentience is indisputable.
We consider this experiment a success and subject to further refinements.