by Matthew Lee
“Take us to your proctologist,” said the largest dollop.
This utterance represented the evolutionary summit of the Ululating Tzatziki. From this point onwards it was all rapidly downhill.
“Wot?” said the Earthman, who took his cigarette out of his mouth and looked about the dark train platform.
“Take us to your proctologist,” came the voice again after a pause. “We are the Tzatziki. We ululate.” It sounded like speaking was difficult.
A frail sycamore leaf, carried by the late autumn wind, brushed against the leather darts case in the man’s sizeable hand and then fluttered onward to caress the gelatinous surface of the Semi-homogeneous Quasisymbiotic Lifeform (Yoghurt-based), to which it now found itself stuck. The Earthman looked on, entirely unable to grasp the momentous event that was taking place before his eyes. It was none other than the greatest singular event in the history of Tzatzikikind. It was the culmination of centuries of preparation. It had brought with it such controversy that at one point the pandimensional entity had declared war upon itself, adding a sociopolitical entry to its already impressive catalogue of firsts. Through a gargantuan collective effort, the Tzatziki had finally succeeded in communicating with a human. This was an act which they deemed to be the equivalent of finally holding the key to sublimination.
“Can’t hear yer,” said the man.
This was disappointing. It would be minutes before the Tzatziki was able to summon the strength to communicate again, and the 22.14 Regional Express to Skipton, which the human appeared to be determined to catch, was already late. The Tzatziki relaxed its anal sphincter and ululated.
The Ululating Tzatziki are not the only species in the cosmos whose members use their recta for purposes of communication, but they are the only species whose members worship their own recta. According to one of the great Ululator-Theologists, the anal threshold represents the gateway to an identical small-scale copy of the universe. Within this universe is to be found another identical copy at the equivalent location, and another ad infinitum minus one. As successive ani, or gateways, are passed through, reality as experienced by the observer becomes increasingly pleasant, and as the infinity-minus-oneth and final threshold is crossed Life becomes Really Quite Pleasant Indeed - a condition known as sublimination. It ought to be said in the defence of the Ululator-Theologist in question that its vastly improbable anus/parallel universe theory was drawn up while it was recovering from the effects of having been served on a piece of pitta bread together with grated cheddar, extra onions and a substance known as Dimitri’s Extra-Hot Homemade Chilli Sauce, a hallucinogen so potent that it would be the equivalent of an average human ingesting four times his or her body weight in LSD. The strangest thing about the anus/parallel universe theory, though, is without doubt, the fact that it is entirely correct.
The human paced impatiently back and forth along the platform while the Tzatziki, seeing that its opportunity was slipping away, intensified its cross-dimensional ululations in order to focus its collective mind.
A tremendous quantity of Tzatziki exists scattered throughout the multiverse, the vast majority of which exists not, as mankind generally assumes, an accompaniment to Greek-based cuisine, but primarily to amplify intra- and pandimensional ululations created by other quasi-autonomous dollops, and has the approximate quality of life one might assume a being which is essentially a sentient gob of mutated yoghurt might have. Around two per cent of its current total volume is assigned the function of Ululator-Contemplator, whose job it is to ponder the Grand Tzatzikian Goal, which may be roughly simplified as The Rather Difficult Problem of How to Disappear up One’s Own Rectum. A breakthrough in recent years has drawn the conjecture that here, on Earth, exists an omnipotent being in possession of the answer to the Grand Tzatzikian Goal. This being is known as The Proctologist.
“Take us … to your proctologist,” the Tzatziki articulated feebly through its anus, yet again defying all reasonable expectations of what a mouldy blob of yoghurt-based relish is capable of.
“Fuck off,” said the Earthman, with a rather definitive tone. A luminous display on the station wall read “22.14 to Skipton - 2 minutes”.
The Ululating Tzatziki sighed a collective sigh of disappointment that spanned known time and space. Much merit must be given to the unfortunate race, which had achieved more than anyone could have anticipated since its humble beginnings in a refuse recipient behind The Krafty Kefalonian Snack Bar 'n' Grill. To give the Earthman due credit, the dimension that he inhabited was one in which all but the gobbet of Tzatziki in question had yet to progress beyond being a non-sentient yet tasty Greek-style dip, his scepticism was perhaps to be understood, even if his interpersonal skills were somewhat lacking in finesse.
The train’s whistle blew shrill in the distance.
Unluckily for everyone involved, the man - who turned out to be the darts champion at The Dog and Hammer - aimed and threw his half-finished cigarette at the pale form on the ground, aiming for its central fissure. The cigarette landed on target. As the unwitting ambassador to the human race celebrated his good aim with a small punch in the air, the cigarette end became wedged in its rectal aperture/dimensional gateway. Little was the man aware that he had just succeeded in setting off a cataclysmic chain of events that would bring down not only an entire race but also countless others with the same fell stroke. The reader is asked to recall that the anal passage serves not only as a gateway to a practically infinite number of parallel dimensions but also as a physical exit point for feces and waste gases accumulated in the digestive tract - including methane. As a pocket of the gas was just about to leave the Ululator-Communicator’s body, the flame ignited this pocket which, in its current position, bridged this dimension and the one contained within the rectum of the hapless being. The igniting of the methane pocket caused a fireball that engulfed the entire miniature universe, and consequently, due to the parallel nature of the nested universes, instantaneously triggered a simultaneous event in each and every one of the infinity-minus-one others contained within its rectal tract, as well as scorching the anus of each and every autonomous part of the Semi-homogeneous Quasisymbiotic Lifeform (Yoghurt-based), causing the first and, thankfully the last, instantaneous pandimensional genocide in history.
As the man boarded the delayed 22.14 Skipton train, he looked over his shoulder to the discarded polystyrene box, and what the moribund Ululator-Communicator within judged to be a wistful gesture of respect to the newly-extinguished race and its failed plan to achieve sublimination, was in fact an expression of mild annoyance at having dropped a perfectly good bit of kofta kebab (“with extra tzatziki, please, Dimitri, bud”) he had just bought for dinner because he’d had one too many pints of Stella.
About the Author
Matthew Lee is currently teaching English in Zaragoza, Spain, and sometimes feels like he spends more time correcting writing than producing it. One of his goals is to tip that balance. Sometimes he thinks about his native England. He has had work published in Farther Stars than These.
World's Shortest Author Interview
What is your favourite imaginary colour?
Greem. Robin Cooper describes greem as "like a field of undiluted emotion, cut clean with steel scissors, wielded by a fragrant farmgirl who has just written a belated birthday card to her dearest nephew." I disagree with this. As I'm colour-blind, it looks just the same as worange to me.
Make up a word for "uncomfortably warm" and describe its origins.
Rather than make one up, I'll choose the Spanish word bochorno. I love Spanish. The word means something like uncomfortably warm and muggy weather. I know the Spanish took it from the Italian buongiorno, but nobody believes me.
About the Artist
Our very own D Chang is a designer and game writer from Austin, Texas. His short fiction has appeared in Avast, Ye Airships! and the Cryptopolis science fiction anthology. He does the Space Squid cover designs and other squid stuff.
Takis Kolokotronis from freeimages.com provided the food photo.