Hamster, penguin, monkey. Like dog, cat, mouse, a triumvirate that epitomizes a hierarchy of cuteness. As demonstrated by Darwinian natural selection, it is neither the will to dominate, the savage ascendancy, red in tooth and claw of the apex predator, nor the urge to reproduce en masse, to replicate like slime or some other low organism, that is the primal force, but rather a universal evolution toward greater cuteness. DNA has no other voice, except to cry – love me!

These three cute toy animals were discovered in their natural habitat: the shelves of the toy section in a discount supermarket. They are Chatimals; to give them the name by which they are branded. By a simple device they repeat any word, or phrase, or noise. Press a little paw (or flipper) and it glows redly. Speak and your utterance will immediately be repeated. No miracle of rare device here, no complex animatronics, clever automata, or even engaging programming. This is a discount arena afterall, requiring only a low orderof toyiciousness.

However, arranged in a circle, given a simple phrase; in this case a juvenile, penguine “Wa wa wa,” the sound is caught by one; repeated in a cartoonish, metallic voice. Flashing silver, like an idea, a maelstrom, looping, feeding back, caught by another, and caught again.

From there things grow harsh and severe and quickly escalate. Konstantin Raudive found the voices of the dead in the background static of the universe. Uproarious evangelists decried the sounds of Satan in backmasked metal. A million madman have heard the cries of damnation and derogation in TV white noise.

But it is in the escalating scream of monstrous tin voices, like nails scraped to the bone on a blackboard harshened by interminable abrasions, in a realm unspeakably cute, cute beyond repair, cute beyond remedy, a ludicrous seance, a rampant ring-a-rosy, an unremitting circle of hostility, repeated and unrepented, incomprehensible and unintelligible, that we may truly hear the deranged and despairing utterances of hell.

Like a cheeky monkey, you may hear no evil; if you add a drum track to a wail from the underworld, hell be damned, that’s just rock ‘n’ roll.

About The Author

C S Hughes

C S Hughes is a proud member of the TV generation, studied film and communications, collects the paperback books of Philip K Dick, loves science fiction and fantasy books, B grade movies and cult TV, American thrillers and British noir, restoring vintage watches, reading poetry, creating innovative illustrated poetry books which are available in Apple’s iBooks format, and cake. Especially cake. He has also written short stories, and has a collection of horror stories coming out in 2015.

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3 Responses

  1. Underdogge

    I’m sure there will be some little darlings who teach their “Chatimals” naughty words. I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories (not all apocryphal) of parrots who had a vocabulary that would make a trooper blush. I can recall some time in the 1970s a small talking bird (can’t remember whether it was a budgie or a canary) was eventually caught again because it knocked with its beak on a couple’s bedroom window and said “Who’s a naughty boy then?” Incidentally, you probably know that some budgies have escaped and reproduced with success in England (I know it happened in the Cray valley – the Cray being a tributary of the Thames). Some people think they are cute, others that they are a nuisance. I was surprised to learn of this because I would have thought that a British winter would have been too severe for them but seemingly not. As for the Chatimals acquiring noises from each other, I suppose if there is only one Chatimal in a household the cacophony that occurred in the circle in the toyshop scenario will be avoided.

  2. C S Hughes
    C S Hughes

    There are numerous reports of flocks of wild galahs and cockatoos that are repeating phrases learned from pet birds that have been set free or fled the coop.
    I say let your Chatimals run wild and free.

  3. Underdogge

    Actually it may be green parrakeets in London rather than budgerigars. Budgies may in fact be vulnerable if they escape unless they are rescued quickly.


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