Short 'n Curlies #34 by Si Spurrier

Short 'n Curlies #34 by Si Spurrier


I long to live in a world in which "toilet rolls" are a complex Acrobatic Manoeuvre reserved for an extremely specialist Olympics Event, rather than a shitrag wound round cardboard.
Just saying.

The AutoCue Says Keep Filling:

Exciting news coming out of Porton Down recently. For the uninitiated, that's the Ministry of Defence's facility for wacky research into How To More Effectively Kill Foreign Devils And Keep Our Own Brave Boys™ Safe; sort of S.H.I.E.L.D, but with added tweed and crumpets.

And yes, before you ask, there is an element of nationalistic envy at work here: you Yanquitypes get vast and sinister bases out in the Bumblefucks of Nevada, festooned with signs saying "APPROACH AND DIE, COMMIE SCUM", oozing a rich mythology of UFO captives, eerie lights and impossibly powerful microwave antipersonnel devices, whereas we Creaking Colonial Retirees get a daggy little place in the middle of Wiltshire which — we're now told — has been spending its recent R&D budget on…


Well, on blowing the living fuck out of entirely innocent Hogs.

"LIVE PIGS BLASTED IN TERROR ATTACK EXPERIMENTS" says the headline, and — reading between the lines — it was all the copywriter could do, having unhappily found himself working for a Big Bland Broadsheet, to avoid slotting-in a few opportunistic gags about Makin' Bacon, Pigs Might Fly, and Thbuh-thbuh-thbuh-thaaat's all folks.

This, after all, was serious.  It contained references to Actual Terrorism, and came with a snidey little coda about Outraged And Indignant animal rights campaigners being, well, Outraged And Indignant.  No Jokes Allowed.  HA.

The story goes like this.  "Scientists" — probably wearing actual white coats and everything — have been anaesthetising pigs, wrapping them in Kevlar blankets, placing them three feet away from explosive devices, and hitting the trigger.  Then seeing how long they can keep the mangled squirting porky little fuckers alive before — one assumes — retiring for a freebie dinner of Sausagemeat and Black Pudding.

All of which porcine pesterment is supposedly helping them combat the man-mangling effects of IEDs, RPGs, and other frightening acronymic nasties in far-flung dusty places where Our Aforementioned Brave Boys™ are going Kablooie.

So far so Okay, right?  Sounds like a fairly sensible bit of ScienceMaking, and when the inevitable shaggy hippies pop-up to say how awful it is, AWFUL, that Actual Living Animals are being hurt (while blissed-out on Lorazepam, remember, and all instead of being railspiked in the brain down at the local abbatoir), we don't feel too bad rolling our eyes and Ignoring the vegan cockwits for all we're worth.

Except.  I quote:

"Before being blown up [the pigs] had tubes inserted into their blood vessels and bladders and their spleens removed.  A major blood vessel in the abdomen had a wire put into it so the vessel was lacerated during the blast."

Which is… well… all starting to look A Bit Weird, no?  I mean, it's either Kinda Odd, or nobody thought to tell me that UK soldiers have been having routine pre-battle Splenectomies for decades, and NATO's taken to cheerfully lacerating the abdominal arteries of its best beret-fodder Just For Giggles.  One does rather wonder, ultimately, what the Scientists hope to get out of it all.

Except for, y'know, a bunch of pigspleens.

Anyway, all this cruel and unusual Fun With Livestock reminds me of another Science-Meets-Silliness Story from a while back: the so-called "Birdstrike Emulator," more correctly known, I shit ye not, as The Chicken Gun. It's a glorious piece of apparatus which — by means of a cylinder of compressed air, a detachable cardboard cuff, and a llllllot of cheap LSD — can accurately propel a ballistic chicken through the air to impact with the cyclonic blades of a commercial airliner: all to test the effects of a mid-air Flock/Fan interface.

KA, as they say, SPLUT.

The chicken gun has entered the massmind with the sort of enthusiastic fanfare usually reserved for Bullshit Urban Myths, and is all the more remarkable therefore for being Completely Real.  Pretty much everyone's heard of it by now, mostly because of a rash of publicity a few years ago from the likes of Q.I., Mythbusters, and similar Weird-But-True tellyfun.  In fact, that little spike in interest is beginning to look, with hindsight, like the most interesting thing about the Military Fowl Flinger in and of itself.

See, the Chicken Gun had been cheerfully hurling doomed avifauna towards a premature gibletting since the 1960s, but no one much batted an eyelid until…  when?

Until the world was in the grip of a tumbling teetering terrible — and utterly overblown, as it later turned-out — Pandemic scare.

Remember Avian Flu?

Coincidence?  HA!  Drag your mind back to the present, oh cynical reader!  Media-splash healthscares occur with a solid regularity every bit as Reliable as they are Fucking Stupid, and what pernicious pestilence have We Lucky Billions survived by the skins of our mytochondria, just recently?


Behold, then, gentle friend, the True Goal of modern military research.  It's not to develop amazing weapons of war, no no no.  It's not to protect Our Brave Boys, or Be Better Prepared For Enemy Strikes, or even to Develop Cool Robots Which Can Walk On Legs And Not Fall Down And Everything.

No.  Military R&D is solely, exclusively and uniquely concerned with Taking Revenge On The Animal Kingdom. Fakt.

You doubt me.  That's your prerogative.  But you just wait, fleshy one.  Give it a couple of years and the next tedious nonevent healthterror will rumble round to the Newsdesk — Sardines Cause Diarrhoetic Decompression! or Sheep: Secret Source Of A.I.D.S.! or PenguinPox Claims Four Billion In Unpronouncable Foreign Shithole — and before you know it we'll be hearing tales of earnest Science-Types developing Ballistic FishMissiles, Self-Immolating Cottonbuds and Nuclear Tuxedos.

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About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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