The Family Pig

The Phosphorescent Family had a pet pig. Its name was Baptiste, and it lived in a sty in the family compound. This compound was similar to the Kennedy Compound at Hyannisport, home of the Irish-American political dynasty, but in the case of the Phosphorescent compound it should be noted that the tall wire fence surrounding the property was, like the family, phosphorescent. The pig, by the way, was not.

Leafing through some old back numbers of The Hammer Of Christ the other day, I came upon an article recounting the tale of how the Phosphorescent Family obtained their pig. It was not a very interesting story, and I suspect it found its way into the magazine because the author was in possession of potentially explosive information about the editor. Never underestimate the amount of squalor, unseemliness, blackmail, and extortion in which even the most well-regarded periodicals wallow.

Anyway, the article has it that one day the patriarch of the Phosphorescent Family, Old Pappy Phosph, was leaning on a clump of gack in the compound, staring at the sky, lost in wonder, when he heard distant grunting. He rushed indoors to fetch his reel-to-reel tape recorder, for like everyone else in the family he was a keen tape-recordist of distant sounds, whether they were grunts or howls or gunfire or squelching. The Phosphorescent Family liked nothing better of an evening than to sit around splicing together tape-loops of various distant sounds and then playing them in unison. Over the years representatives from record companies and avant garde music festivals in Ulm had come bashing at the gates of the compound offering huge sums of money for these recordings, but they were always sent away empty-handed and with phosphorus burns in the very centre of their foreheads. The family had no interest in the stardom that would inevitably have swept them up had their tape-loops gone to the top of the hit parade.

On the evening that they listened to Old Pappy Phosph’s recording of distant pig grunting, it so happened that one of the tinier members of the family piped up with a query about the source of the sounds. Told it was a pig, she begged for a pig of her own. It was gently explained to her that a pig needs a sty to live in and there was no such sty in the compound.

“Then I thall build one mythelf, and thpread it with phothphorethent muck!” she keened, before bursting into tears.

And the very next day, she did, and so impressed was the family by her initiative and energy that Old Pappy Phosph strode out across the fields and abducted the very same pig whose gruntings now played on a continuous loop on the tape-recorder next to the tiny girl’s bed.

It was her cousin, Armand Phosph, a Francophile, who named the pig Baptiste.

As I said, it is not a particularly interesting tale, but I thought it worth sharing with you, if only because it gives us a first dim insight into the lives of the Phosphorescent Family. From a selfish point of view, it allowed me to make use – tangentially, but to my satisfaction – of the words “Readings have been taken from the soil. The pig has been chosen” which came to me in my dreams just before waking this morning. We have phosphorescent muck rather than soil, and the pig was abducted rather than chosen, but I have kept faith with my not yet quite awake brain, and that’s good enough for me, so it ought to be good enough for you.

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