Pabstus Tack came back! He’d been away to sea. The sea was vast and wet. That is what he told them, at the symposium held to mark his return. He was not believed, at first. How could anything be so vast?, so wet?, they asked. He had an implausible air, and a ratty moustache. The moustache was new…
It was a very special day, so I wore the least tatty of my vestments. The chasuble is only slightly frayed, the stains on the cincture have faded, the alb, granted, is little better than a rag. I cannot get the grease out of the amice, and the stole is in tatters. The less said about the maniple the better. But by adjusting the lighting so it played through the cobwebs I think only the sharpest-eyed of congregants will have noticed. I did my best to disguise the stink by spraying the chapel with an aerosol can of Essence of Blood of the Lamb. It was decocted, of course, not from the real blood of a real lamb, but from chemical compounds manufactured in the lab by boffins. I have seen pictures of so-called “real” lambs in a codex. They look like tinier versions of sheep, if, that is, they were drawn to scale. Who knows?
This theme of this episode of the Drabblecast is family unties: Nontraditional homes and family situations. In the drabble, the enterprising resident of a haunted house fools its ghosts into performing everyday domestic tasks. In Divorce in the House of Flies, a young boy has to deal with his parents’ divorce at the same time he has to deal with their transformation into human-shaped masses of tiny insects. In Wendigo Bake Sale, residents of a small town overcome their initial terror of a pair of wendigo participating in the school bake sale, only to be frightened anew when the wendigo reveal they are supporting the school because their child attends. In Knit, after losing their first yarn baby during her rebellious teen years in a tragic unraveling accident, a couple tries vainly to reconstruct her from the scraps of yarn, stuffing, and buttons left behind.
In the place where I was born, stones had been used to mark boundaries for four hundred years. We harrowed stones up in fields, turned them up in roadcuts. We built the foundations of houses from stones, dug around and between them. We made stone walls, and our greatest poet wrote poems about those walls and their lichen-speckled granite. The gift of glaciers, and the wry joke of farmers. “She’ll grow a ton and a half an acre, between the stones.” The people who lived there before mine made tools of them, made weights and currency.
This episode of the Drabblecast opens with a Drabblenews story about the resurrection of an ancient human vaginal yeast once used to make a fermented drink fittingly dubbed “vag yeast moonshine” by Norm. In the drabble, while Shouting Cloud has correctly read the signs predicting the return of the Sky Father, there isn’t only one – and they are armed and dangerous. The feature explores the need to adapt to new environments. Humans have fled a ruined Earth to find themselves on a planet where they can’t digest the plants or communicate with the oddly amiable natives, and their preserved supplies are dwindling. While reflecting on memories from a visit to Africa on Earth and desperate to discover some clue about how to survive, a xenobiologist risks exhuming the corpse of a juvenile native for dissection even though one of her colleagues was brutally slaughtered for doing so. When she is discovered by a group of natives, she is sure she will be murdered as well, only to find herself forced into nursing from one of them. As she drinks its milk, she realizes that the intelligent natives, after dissecting rather than slaughtering her colleague to learn about human biology and digestion, have likely theorized that the microscopic flora in their milk may allow humans to finally be able to digest the alien crops on their planet.