Paris Portingale

My Brother-in-Law Ray, by the Month. August – September

Paris Portingale shares a year in the life of his idiot brother-in-law Ray. Part three of this four-part series shows Ray explaining Micenmen and his Barium Meal Radiology conspiracy theory.



In hospital for a week after the personal golf machine accident.

When he came out, as was Ray’s practice, he threw a barbecue to celebrate, which my wife said I had to attend, so after a bit of back and forth and throwing things, I did.

Now, the previous day, I’d been thinking about a quote of Robbie Burns which said, “The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft a-gley,” which in common layman’s terms, particularly if you’re not Scottish, means, “often go astray.” It occurred to me that if for some reason you misheard it, “mice and men” could sound like, “Micenmen.”

So, at the barbeque, being drunk, I had a temporary loss of control over the part of my brain used for talking to Ray and I asked him if he’d ever heard of Micenmen. Naturally, he had.

“Half mice, half men,” he said.

I thought I’d go along with that and I said, “Big?”

He said, “Of course, big, they’re more like giant rats.”

I said, “Giant rats with human heads.”

He said, “Other way around.”

I said, “Men with giant rats’ heads?”

He said, “Yeah, otherwise they couldn’t drive.”

I said, “Of course. Where do they come from?”

He said, “The jungle.”

I said, “What jungle?”

He said, “The big one.”

I said, “Where?”

He said, “I don’t know?”

I said, “Africa?”

He said, “Possibly. Anyway, the police are using them as a secret weapon to fight crime wherever it occurs.”

I said, “Funny, I’ve never seen any of them, you know, at crime scenes and like that. Do they wear uniforms?”

He said, “What do you think? Of course not, they’re just giant rats with heads.”

I said, “Fair call,” and went off to get another drink and tripped over the hose and fell down and went to sleep.

It was alright, people just stepped over me.



My brother-in-law and his Barium Meal Radiology conspiracy theory.

Ray says, “You know what the government’s doing? It’s paying doctors to send people off for a special test. It’s a big conspiracy, everyone knows about it.”

I said, “What are they testing for?”

“Super-soldiers, I think. It’s the Army. Or the Navy. Either way, you can’t trust either of them.”

I said, “Interesting, how does it work?”

“Well, that’s the brilliance of it, because everyone has to see the doctor.”

I said, ‘‘And?”

He said, “Well, you go to your doctor for a cold or something and instead he sends you off to this special place for a barium meal test.”

I said, “And?”

He said, “And they send you down to the cafeteria with like a voucher for a barium meal. I mean, it’s a cafeteria, nobody’s going to turn down a free meal in a cafeteria, that’s how they trick you into taking the thing.”

I said, ‘‘And then?”

He said, “And then the doctor gets a thousand bucks.”

I said, ‘‘No, after you do the barium meal test.”

He said, “They see if you’ve got superpowers. For the Army or whatever.”

I said, ‘‘How do you know all this?”

He said, “Dr. Babanim told me.”

I said, ‘‘The one with the handwritten certificate sticky-taped to the wall?”

He said, “Well, that’s because he comes from Bogustan and they don’t have typewriters in Bogustan.”

I said, “Why not?”

He said, “Because Bogustan is in one of the other worlds. The second one I think, or maybe the third. I don’t know, but they don’t have typewriters.”

I said, “I don’t think there is anywhere called Bogustan.”

He said, “Has to be, otherwise how did Dr. Babanim get here?”

Which I’m sure is unassailable from some form of logical standpoint, so I dropped it around then.


Paris Portingale

Paris Portingale is a writer and dog owner. While having a somewhat indifferent attitude towards abstemious self-restraint, he does follow the safe guidelines of four standard drinks a day, although his standards are a great deal higher than most, certainly the medical profession’s. Paris is visited often in the night by God, and the meetings are anything but pleasant.

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