Dispatch from The Inebriated Press
Cellar masters – those who toil in the barrel cellars of wineries everywhere – are being urged to exercise extreme caution when entering their workplaces, as reports of several deaths and disappearances of cellar workers continue to flood municipal law enforcement offices worldwide.
The fine wine region of Rioja – where nearly 60% of all of the deadly cases have been reported to date – seems particularly susceptible, though dozens of cellar workers in winemaking areas throughout the globe have disappeared without leaving a trace, usually after going to work in their dark cellars alone. Others (though a much smaller number) have been found dead with their necks snapped violently.
Barrels in the crime scene areas have excessive amounts of wine missing from them, an extreme case of what winemakers call “the angel’s share” – a portion of wine thought to evaporate during aging in wine barrels, requiring them to be periodically “topped up” with additional wine to keep the barrels nearly full. In many of the reported cases, sightings of life-sized stone statues of weeping angels among the barrels have been reported, only to later unexpectedly disappear without any physical evidence of break-in or other theft.
These strange events took an even more fantastical turn when the Spanish Ejército de Tierra, called into Rioja to assist local law enforcement in the ongoing investigation, installed motion-detection cameras at various points in the subterranean crime scenes near Rioja Alta…
“Images captured by our cameras suggest that a malevolent alien life form might be to blame for these hideous acts,” Chief of the Spanish Army Staff, General Jaime Domínguez Buj told reporters today, speaking through an interpreter, from a prepared statement. “This alien life form is responsible for the disappearing wine, and apparently they will not hesitate to mercilessly attack anyone who inadvertently gets into their way.”
Film images from the motion cameras show motionless statues resembling “weeping angels” among the wine barrels. While most of the statues appear suspended in a motionless posture with their hands covering their eyes, some have been photographed in more animated poses, taking grotesque and violent positions and reaching out ominously in the direction of the wine barrels.
Though spokespersons for the The Spanish Army would not comment on the specifics, it is widely believed that they have enlisted the help of an eccentric German native named Ernst Loosen, who more commonly goes by the simple moniker of “The Doctor,” to help find a solution to the menace. Loosen, who claims to be nearly 910 years old, professes to have deep expertise in dealing with the appearing/disappearing statues. Loosen told reporters today that the statues are actually malcontent – and extremely dangerous – alien life forms capable of quick ambulatory movement only when they are not being directly observed. Dr. Loosen went on to detail that the statues frequently cover their eyes after moving, thus feigning the appearance of weeping, so that they minimize the risk of observing one another and ceasing one another’s motion.
“Fascinating race, the Weeping Angels,” Doctor Loosen told reporters for TIP via telephone. “The only psychopaths in the universe to steal your wine and kill you nicely. No mess, no fuss, they just zap you and the wine into the past. They then consume the energy of all the drinks of that wine that you might have had. They’re creatures of the abstract; they live off potential energy. That’s why the wine is disappearing from barrel so rapidly; the Angels want the energy from all of the potential drinks it might have provided. It’s why they call it the Angel’s Share, after all… they just seem to be particularly thirsty right now…”
According to Loosen, this explains why Rioja appears to be the focal point of the crimes, given the massive amount of wine barrels stored there, a byproduct of strict regulations governing the barrel aging of the region’s Reserva and Gran Reserva red wines.
The Doctor also described the statues as “Thirsty Assassins” and elaborated on their mysterious past and apparently terrifying abilities: “No one quite knows where they came from, but they’re as old as wine in the Caucasus, or very nearly. And they have survived this long because they have the most perfect defense system ever evolved: they are Quantum Locked. They literally don’t exist when they are being observed. The moment they are seen by any other living creature, they freeze into rock. In the sight of any living thing, they literally turn into stone. And you can’t kill a stone. Of course, a stone can’t kill you either, or steal your wine… but then you turn your head away. Then you blink. Then… oh yes, it can! And really, a stone shouldn’t be drinking wine, should it? Stone people are much better suited to wine marketing, I should think. Anyway, it’s only when you’re not looking at them that they can move, drink your wine from the barrel, and then kill you. It’s like a game of Red Light/Green Light, only a lot… deadlier.”
At that point, the Doctor attempted to end the phone call, telling reports “Yeah, listen, listen, got to dash… things happening. Well… four things. Well… four things and a lizard. We call that MOG – short for ‘material other than grapes’…” but stayed on the line just long enough to deliver a warning for cellar masters in the wake of recent circumstances:
“Don’t blink. Blink and you’re dead. Don’t turn your back. Don’t look away. And don’t blink. Oh, and top off those wine barrels once in a while so you avoid wine faults, I think they make the Angels a bit angry. Especially Brett; don’t ever give the Angels Brett! Good Luck…”
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