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Ol’ Grummie’s back!

Bungled up on June 3, 2007.

While freebirding around town today, I ran into an old friend of mine, Grumfeld van der Spooijwanker. We’ve known each other for years; the only reason I’ve never mentioned ol’ Grummie on this here “web plog” of mine is that I only just met him for the first time today.

He was just coming out of the asshattery on Wiggensworth Street (Harry’s—right next to old Thad’s haberdashery) while I was heading in. Like the old gentleman that he always has been for the approximately eighteen seconds that I’d known him, he tipped his hat cordially to me as he passed—a beautiful new asshat, it appeared, that he had just bought at Harry’s.

“Hey, Grummie! I haven’t seen you in years! How’ve you been, old chap?” I shouted as we crossed paths, startling him immensely. I’m not sure why he acted so surprised—certainly he remembered I knew him from so short ago. I persisted: “C’mon, Spoogie, you remember your old pal Pnårp, right? From northern California, wasn’t it?”

I tried to remember the last time I’d never seen this man before in my life. Northern California, Mr. Wilson’s short-lived final resting place (before going to Hell) came to mind first, so I went with that. Much like invading France by tromping across Belgium, it seemed like a good idea at the time. He opened and closed his mouth a few times, ruminating over my accusations of his knowing yours truly from somewhere or other. Or some mother.

“I—” he began, but I cut him off before he could confuse the issue with denials and questions.

“Grummie, old chap, let’s go have lunch—we can discuss everything there. I hear they rebuilt Pam & Meg’s again, and they serve up a mean plate o’ shit-on-a-shingle. What do ya say, pal?”

“Uh, who the h—” Again I cut off his protestations, by grabbing him by the collar and dragging him along with me to the new Pam & Meg’s. I resolved to return to Harry’s Asshattery later on to purchase a new asshat to replace my worn out old fez; right now, I had more important things to attend to—stuffing my face at Pam & Meg’s along with my newest old friend whom I’d never seen before. He struggled a lot, but after I clomped him about the head and shoulders a couple times, he resigned himself to joining me over shit-on-a-shingle at the new Pam & Meg’s.

“Phillip! Our favorite customer! And who’s this you’ve got with you?” Pam herself greeted me at the door with a warm, patronizing smile—not unlike the smile a mother gives her toddler after a series of endless exclamations of “Hey, Mom! Look at me!” She was wearing the most adorably revealing sandals I’d seen in months, her toes splayed wide for the world to see.

“This here’s Grumfeld van der Spooijwanker, an old pal of mine from the asshattery down the street! You can call him Grummie, or Spoogie. Say hi, Grummie!” I tried to sound as nonthreatening as I could.

He did that fish-gulping thing again, his eyes darting from me to Pam to the doorway, a helpless and dumbstruck look on his face. I clomped him over the head again with his own asshat. He started to squawk again, so I cut him off before he said something we’d both regret. “—So Pam! Let’s have a seat, shall we? It’s just me and Spoogie here.”

Pam nodded and led us to a table near the alley where Pam & Meg’s dumps its trash. Ol’ Grummie looked ready to bolt. I grinned and gabbled about the gnome-killing expedition he and I had gone on three years earlier. He didn’t remember, and it seemed to only make him more agitated when I kept mentioning swords and “running ’em through the bellies with their own little fezzes.” The third time I made a stabbing motion with my hand, at his belly, my eyes all wild with thoughts of gnomeslaying, he blanched and nearly swooned. I mocked him for being a big baby.

Meg brought over our shit-on-a-shingle: Grade A chipped beef, smothered with something reminiscent of ol’ Spoogie’s surname, and served on a house shingle—no clapboards for us, no sir! Meg dropped the slop on our table and sauntered off. I thanked her kindly and ogled her sandaled feet as she withdrew, then I turned my attention back to ol’ Grumfeld van der Something.

“So, Grummie… how ya been?” I asked cordially as I poured the shit off the shingle and shoved the shingle, whole, up my left nostril. Much to the chagrin of the other customers, I started making loud honking noises as I waited for Grumfeld to come up with a good answer. Despite the honking, my severe countenance left no doubt: His answer better be good—damned good—or he’d be walking out of Pam & Meg’s wearing his ass for a hat. If he walked out at all. He gulped a bit, took a deep breath, and opened his mouth.

“I’ve been just swell, Phil—just swell.”

“And the kids?”

“They’re doing good too, Phil. Little Ahmenotep just turned five, and lost his first baby tooth last night. You should’ve seen the look on his face when he found it in his ear!” Grumfeld chuckled.

I smiled. “See?” one of the voices in my head said to me. “He was fakin’ all along—he remembered you!”

“No, he doesn’t! He’s a clever liar! And he’s one of those Schmongeling Gnomes too, I tells ya!” another voice suddenly piped up.

Shut up! Shut up!! I screamed, pounding my fists on the table. Shit, shingle, and utensils scattered everywhere. Grummie turned even paler as he watched my gesticulations and goonflayvinations. I growled and squirmed; I couldn’t let Grummie know I knew he was a gnome. I tried to think of something else—Alyssa Milano’s supple young feet—Britney Spears’ toes—Jennifer Love Hewitt’s ankles—but nothing prevented the image from forming. There in front of me, Grumfeld van der Spooijwanker slowly transformed into a bearded and befezzed gnome of the worst kind: A Schmongeling Gnome from Westphalia. I picked up a butter knife and smiled sweetly at him. In soothing tones, I said, “Grummie… don’t move… just hold sti—”

I lunged.

He squealed like a little pig still in his girltails and bolted, overturning the table, and tripping yours truly with a chair. Utensils, shit, and shingle went flying every which way, some landing on me, some on the other customers. A glob of chipped beef hit the ceiling fan and sprayed everywhere. Pam shrieked. Other customers jumped and foamed. Grummie darted out of the restaurant like a snail darter on crack cocaine, flabbling about some maniac trying to kill him. Poor guy. He sounded crazy.

[Feetnote: So what happened to my ravishing Ravna and my ravenous gorillas, you ask, dear readers? …You probably don’t want to hear about that. The gorillas are gone, and they won’t be coming back for a long, long time. Ravna misses them, but that will be quite enough of that, now.]