Upsideclone: For that which can't, won't or shouldn't be on Upsideclown.
Write for usArchiveUpsideclown

Black Rain

Once upon a time, it was possible to go out in the rain without having to shower upon entering a dwelling or place of work.

In those days, rain was composed primarily of some form of hydroxide, not the hydrocarbons we see these days. It was a transparent liquid, much like shower-gel is now. Actually, it was more like Perrier, but it's hard to imagine Perrier falling that way. It was a sight to behold - millions of sparkling droplets, each near invisible, together casting a haze over everything they passed between. If it was somewhere you didn't want it to be, you could simply wipe it off. If you waited long enough, it would disappear on its own.

Back then, people would probably have found our multicoloured rain an amazing spectacle. They used to have a whole day each year dedicated to igniting small explosives, for brief fiery flashes, far less dramatic than what we, now, consider a normal aspect of a day of bad weather.

As if on cue, some small spark outside ignites the rain. An expanding fireball flashes out, scorching the grimy windows and walls of buildings, setting embers dancing along the limbs of the few petrified trees still standing.

Imagine, they used to run to shelter from it - virtually Perrier from the sky, and they tried to avoid it, hide from it. Even if they were out walking, they would raise curved shields of plastic or waxed cloth over themselves. Imagine, if someone had been wise enough to collect it then, the competition Perrier would be suffering now.

This wasn't so long ago, either - it was within my lifetime. I remember I used to enjoy playing in the rain - hah, imagine anyone doing that nowadays! My parents would tell me to come inside, they'd tell me I'd get some sort of disease from the rain. Nowadays, of course, they'd be right, but back then it was nonsense. Mostly I ignored them. When it was raining was the only time I could be outside alone, or with a few like-minded people.

Now, only the insane and desperate go outside in the rain.

A flash of memory, a man with black streaks down his face slamming up against the reinforced ground floor windows, hammering on them with his tightly balled fists, mouthing pleas we cannot hear. Another flash, this time of fire, and he is gone.

The change was a slow one. Nobody seemed to notice but me. I'm sure there must have been others, people who used to enjoy the rain, but I didn't know any, and they never made news. At first, it was just little things. Walking from outside to in during a storm, you'd have to take off your boots, or you'd leave permanent black trails of footprints everywhere. Windscreen wipers - they didn't used to have soap in them - no longer cleared the glass, instead leaving greasy smears. Later, if one went out in the rain without protection, it would be difficult to breathe - the dark greasy phlegm would last for days, like an infection but with no cure.

You stare at the window, inches thick plexiglass with seared indentations on the other side, through which rivulets of disgusting sludge trickle, slowly, before dangling ominously and, at last, falling to the ground.

Now, we can't even go out without protection, and we can't take off our protection without showering in it first. I wonder, sometimes, what unexpected effect our shower-gel will have, in fifty years' time.

I used to love the rain.

Write for Upsideclone

Upsideclone is now shuttered and no longer taking submissions.

Upsideclown is an evil cartel of seven who only write in a certain style on certain days of the week, and refuse to expand. Fah, say we! Upsideclone (this site, incase you hadn't noticed) serves to subvert the name of clown and to bring others into the fold.

If you've read Upsideclown and old articles here, you get the idea. Submissions are always welcome: We operate a strictly hands-off editorial approach (we won't even correct your spelling). Once submitted, your article goes to the vote by the seven clowns. A majority, and you're in the queue for Friday publications. Go on -- And if you want to know more, hints or clarifications: come ask us in talk.


Clare Maguire > 6dec2002 > The Face of The Future
Simon Batistoni > 15nov2002 > Ghost
Kelly Bean > 8nov2002 > The Program
Anonymous > 1nov2002 > Winning the Lottery
Ned > 25oct2002 > Calibre
Tom Massey > 4oct2002 > Roses
Simon Batistoni > 27sep2002 > Message Centre
Riana > 20sep2002 > Value Added
Giles Turnbull > 13sep2002 > A lab technician's lot
Kevan Davis > 6sep2002 > The Campaign for Real Advertising
Giles Turnbull > 30aug2002 > The old lady and the whelk
KTL > 23aug2002 > Feet
Sandy Tulloch > 16aug2002 > How the people came to stop thinking
RavenBlack > 9aug2002 > An Arm And A Leg
Nicholas Wilshere > 19jul2002 > Two full-page ads
Dustin Ruby > 12jul2002 > Family Life
Matt Jones > 14jun2002 > The end of history
Cathrine > 7jun2002 > The Eye of the Beholder
Nick > 31may2002 > I wanna shake your hand
RavenBlack > 24may2002 > Precognito Ergo Sum
Ned > 10may2002 > Spambot
Tyrethali > 26apr2002 > The Contest
Holly Gramazio > 19apr2002 > A Tale of No Watermelons
Brooke Magnanti > 12apr2002 > What The Dead Remember
Tyrethali > 5apr2002 > Superego
RavenBlack > 29mar2002 > Black Rain
james > 22mar2002 > The Atom Thief
RavenBlack > 15mar2002 > Soul Trap
matzu > 8mar2002 > Angry Elton
RavenBlack > 1mar2002 > Hell Is Other People
JT Bruce > 22feb2002 > Door Ajar
matzu > 15feb2002 > Send in the clones
Kevan Davis > 8feb2002 > Litter
RavenBlack > 1feb2002 > The Perfect Job
Tyrethali > 25jan2002 > Mystery
Giles Turnbull > 11jan2002 > The Twisted World of Advertising
Tom Armitage > 21dec2001 > Numbers
Sandy Tulloch > 14dec2001 > Killing Cats
Brooke Magnanti > 7dec2001 > The Jet Set
Giles Turnbull > 30nov2001 > Driftwood
james > 23nov2001 > with you in mind
RavenBlack > 16nov2001 > UpsideClones
Kevan Davis > 9nov2001 > Do Not Stand Forward Of This Notice
Giles Turnbull > 2nov2001 > Group Effort
Kevan Davis > 26oct2001 > Ask The Audience
RavenBlack > 19oct2001 > Don't You Just Hate Stupid People
Martin Griffiths > 12oct2001 > Your Nearest McDonalds...
RavenBlack > 5oct2001 > Life's a bureaucracy, and then you die
Kevan Davis > 28sep2001 > Work To Win
Tom Armitage > 21sep2001 > Don't Book it - Thomas Cook it.
Giles Turnbull > 14sep2001 > What happened to George
RavenBlack > 7sep2001 > Mental States
Kevan Davis > 31aug2001 > Walking Distance
Stuart and Jack > 24aug2001 > dialogue
Kevan Davis > 17aug2001 > Collector's Item

Articles by email

You can sign up to receive articles by email. Simple send the word subscribe in the body of an email to To leave send the word unsubscribe, but why would you ever want to?

Contact us

Catch us at Upsideclown, homepages of authors are hyperlinked above, or directly at