Escape Pod 658: Beatrix Released
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By Shaenon K. Garrity
The lichen in the cupboard has at last begun to sing. It sings in two-part harmony, bel canto, essaying a faultless duet with itself. What a strange and lovely fairy! I am convinced more and more that my earlier theory was correct, that the lichen is a bipartite organism comprising both fungus and an algae or bacterium. A remarkable symbiosis, distinct I believe from any recognized taxonomy. The love its halves sing to one another is profound enough to make one blush, and I soon retreated to the far end of the room to sketch my collection of English mice in the bone cabinet. Papa and Mamma have allowed me to keep a few childhood specimens in my room again, to be used for art lessons only.
Dinner party tonight. All the MPs got a clinical dissection, it was lively. Papa and Grandpapa are appalled by Gladstone’s capitulation to the Irish Free Staters. I agree entirely. If it were me I’d turn them all out with a thrashing. When the guests moved to the drawing room for dessert and coffee Mamma suggested I retire, as the conversation was likely to get too intellectual for a girl like myself.
(Speaking of conversation: I’ve decided to continue this diary in a new code. The previous simple substitution code was v. solvable, and the thought of Mamma reading my less charitable observations was keeping me up at night. She will go through my things! Besides it is good mental exercise to practice a new writing system.)
A few new faces among the dinner guests. One gentleman with an amusing gait, stiff and precise, like a spider. He specifically resembles the Pholcus phalangioides or Daddy long-legs. The cause of the distinctive perambulatory motion of spiders is hydraulic pressure, which assists them in flexing their limbs. The cause of the distinctive perambulatory motion of the dinner guest is unknown.