• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 08

The Gnome In The Dome – A Wondrous Find!

The eminent explorer, botanist and zoologist Sir Charles Barley, referred to in cheaper publications as Charlie Barley, has dumbfounded the world with his touring exhibition of “The Mermaid” currently on display at The Natural History Museum of Ireland. Sir Charles returned with the taxidermic creature following his six-month exploration of Madagascar’s east coast where he also procured hundreds of pressed examples of a true-blue orchid, now extinct.

One visit to the affectionately nicknamed “Gnome In The Dome” chills the blood, its terrifying wide-eyed grimace preserving the manifestation of the beast so accurately it is, in the words of the Lord Chancellor, “as if the creature is reading one’s own private thoughts!”

Crowds queuing the length of Merrion Street and beyond continue to disrupt the progression of traffic as the public flock to visit, despite caution from rival zoologist John Beaverbrook. “Exotic animals, particularly from the depths, have previously disappointed upon discovery of stitch-marks in the hide, revealing immoral amalgamations of beasts,” he warned upon return from Northern Africa with not a single find, his sponsors embarrassingly out-of-pocket. For the public this spat is a mere sideshow as street vendors make enormous profit selling colourful mermaid prints.


The Gnome In The Dome – A Wondrous Find!

Meanwhile Museum security has increased, four policemen now at their posts, following Thursday’s foiled sabotage by two young ladies, Jane and Audrey Winters, brandishing hammers stolen from their husbands’ work-boxes. In an expedited hearing the sisters reasserted ridiculous beliefs that The Mermaid possesses supernatural powers capable of “crawling about minds in the night persuading victims to behave in strange solitary fashions.” The mentally unstable duo told of their husbands’ Museum visits and their “sudden turning of their backs against society,” acting in a style hitherto unknown to the wicked wives approaching the description of Hermits. It is their incredible defence that The Mermaid is a conduit to isolate all who see it and to alter them into “unthinking consuming carcases.” More on this in the Court News page of our periodical.

Policeman Jack Penderghast informed us the responsibility of protecting the most important discovery of our time weighs heavily upon him that his head aches and sleep has become impossible. “I just want to close the curtains and shut out the world these days,” he said. Our gratitude extends to these four policeman for the services they are graciously providing. Who among us does not feel so vanquished of vitality by the nonsense of the outrageous detractors regarding this wondrous find that he does not also wish to live a life indoors surrounded by comforts, far away from the sights and sounds of the tenements and the homeless?


The Gnome In The Dome – A Wondrous Find!

One enthusiastic Museum attendee told us upon exit, “It is remarkable to stare at this extraordinary creature bewitching us from within its glass dome. It feels like it reaches into the soul and breeds a silent peace there. I know now we need nothing but our own company. Hallelujah!”

“It is from Mars!” shrieked one over-excited young man. The Mermaid Exhibition has been extended until Easter.