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The day ended

Gibbered about on August 7, 2011.

While noshing upon some caterwauled meat Friday morning (made from real cats!), it hit me like ten tons of Dunkin’ Donuts bagel fists: An eighteen-wheeler hauling 20,000 pounds of Dunkin’ Donuts bagel fists. I made a mental note to refrain from eating my breakfast in the middle of Terwilliger Street in the future, picked up my severed limbs and extruded organs, and limped home.

Chrysobulls were on sale at the local Christ-O-Mart, I discovered upon returning home. Contrary to what you may think, I did not discover this by the all-too-common method of opening my mailbox and finding an advertising flyer therein. No, not at all. Instead this discovery involved an insanely complex, almost Rube Goldberg–esque series of events that started with me struggling leglessly up my muddy driveway and ended with me gibbering like a barefoot little girl still in her pigtails after I accidentally mistook two sticks of pepperoni for my missing corneas. (The intermediate events shall neither be committed to paper nor website—ever. The brain doctors tell me that even mentioning the name of what visited me this day will result in me lapsing into a permanent state of comatose goonflayvination.)

Putting that hair-raising adventure behind me (while saving the pepperoni for a planned noshing session on Saturday), I retired to my comfiest easy chair in the forty-seventh parlor on the third floor of my palatial residence, hoping to calmly and painlessly wait for Friday to come to its typical conclusion at 11:59 PM.

I sat. Time continued ticking. I sat some more. Tick, tock. Tick… tock. Tick… tick… tåaåaåack…

“Proplyds of planetars!” I cursed mightily at forty seconds past 5:47 PM, when I realized there were still several whole hours left before Friday came to a close. Parasitological overimaginative verisimilitudes refused to leave me alone; gnomes peeped in, peppered me with mockery, and popped out (but not before pooping all over my piping). “Will this day ever end?!”

Suddenly, the day ended—but another didn’t begin. I yerked and looked at my ceiling clock. Stopped at 5:48 PM. I waited a full minute: The damnable thing often displayed the exact same time for sixty seconds at a time for some reason. Still stopped at 5:48 PM. I looked out the window. Nothing but darkness as far as the eye could see—and in absolute darkness, that’s not very far.

“It’s not supposed to get dark at 5:48 this time of year!” Zippy, the little voice tucked away in the lower left-hand corner of my brain, piped up.

“I know that!” I retorted, my voice enquavering at octaves I hadn’t used since the last time I panicked two or three hours ago. I also knew that even at the darkest hour it never got this dark in my curious little town—at least not since that French-frying accident had started a permanent grease fire over on Farnsworth Street back in the summer of ’69.

“So what are you going to do about it?” Zippy inquired further.

“I don’t know!” I shrilled. Running around in circles seemed like a potential plan, perhaps shouting “Pwee, pwee, pwee-wee-wee!” and wetting myself at the same time. I gave it some more thought. How loudly should I shout and pwee? With what degree of panic? Should it be “horrified, abject panic” or perhaps just “abject panic” this time? Would screeching like a little barefoot girl still in her pigtails be appropriate once again, or had I worn out that analogy for the day? What would my new team of brain doctors recommend, and in what dosage?

“Stop that!” Zippy would have none of it. “You know that won’t help!”

“You’re right,” I replied—out loud and in a voice resembling a shorn sheep. Come to think of it, thinking has never helped me with anything, I thought. Action was called for: Decisive, impetuous, ill-thought-out action.

I ran. In circles. Like a hamster injected with pure PCP and set loose in your underwear.

Oh, how I ran.

Such a mad fit of horrified, abject panic could only end in one way—disastrous injury—and mine came to an abrupt end when I tripped over a pair of feet which I was reasonably sure was my own, crashed into the coffee table, flailed, knocked a lamp over, and finally became entangled in the lamp’s long, tentacle-like power cord. Flailing more only seemed to make it worse; I gave in and crumpled to a Pnårpy heap on the floor.

I paused to admire my predicament. Time had stopped, the world outside my window had disappeared, I had suffered a panic attack of elephantine proportions once again, and now I was hopelessly tangled in this lamp’s Cthulhian power cord like a glorpf-snake that had suddenly found itself hopelessly tangled in a lamp’s Cthulhian power cord. “Good job, you unga-bungler!” one of the gnomier voices residing in my skull taunted me. I had dubbed him Gnomey when he had first appeared years ago—but that was before the gnomes came. So now I just called him Wrrhnrrhthlplck’ck in order to avoid any confusion.

“Shut up!” I threw back. “I don’t need you gnoming around in my skull!”

Wrrhnrrhthlplck’ck fell silent. The gnomes accreting along my ceiling stopped their blasphemous writhing and wriggling and watched me.

Hours passed before I finally disenhornswoggled myself from the evil cord. I had made a most helpful discovery moments after that eighteen-wheeler hit me: I could now bend nearly all of my joints in any direction I chose, and furthermore I could even now bend my arms and legs at places where no joints had previously existed! Thus, within moments of recalling this new bodily feature (after hours of manic-depressive wailing and gnashing of teeth), I was able to wiggle myself free, glorpf-snake–like, from the power cord’s steely grip… and escape! I then slithered blithely out the front door.

“Yerk!” I yerked upon stepping onto my doormat. Complete darkness surrounded me. I looked down: There was no doormat, only pitch blackness extending to infinity. Momentarily I considered the possibility that I had returned to the Brundlesphere, along with my entire palatial house this time, but I quickly dismissed that thought; clearly I was floating in some horrible, gorgothine alternate dimension, but there was nothing particularly… brundly about this one. Instead of desolate skies and crystalline purple plains, there was blackness. Instead of tommygoffs and harooloos and squamous gnomes brundling along on impossible geometries, there was… more blackness. So, the Brundlesphere it could not be.

“Perhaps this is the Dark-o-sphere!” I mumblewhispered to myself.

“The… ‘Dark-o-sphere’?” Wrrhnrrhthlplck’ck asked incredulously. “What the hell kind of stupid name is that?”

“What, are your writers all on strike again?” Shnarkey interjected.

“He doesn’t have a team of writers! Just us!” Zippy answered.

“So which one of you came up with that stupid name? Zippy…?” It was Wrrhnrrhthlplck’ck again.

“Not me!”

“Lies!”

“Don’t call me a liar, you goonk-toonked floopity-flarble!”

“Liar, liar, liar, you moose-kvetching gnarly-smasher!”

“Shut up, you unga-pelunger! Go stick a stick of pepperoni up your nose!”

“I don’t have a nose! I’m just a voice in this guy’s fat head! Phtbhtbhtbh!!”

Aaaauuugh!! You stuporific, gnome-licking, cock-crowing, gonorrhific, beetle-twizzling, tweedle-deeing, donkey-schtu—!”

“Hitler! Hitler!! Hitler!!!” Shnarkey started chanting, trying to drown the other two out and perhaps end the argument on a high note. Hitlerrr!!!

Shut up! Shut up, all of you!! I interrupted them before they started throwing chunks of my brain matter at each other again. Back in ’86 Nosey had used my pituitary gland to pummel Zippy into submission, and thanks to him I had spent the next three months four feet tall and scurrying around like a rodent so I wouldn’t get stepped on. Don’t make me get out my sledgehammer!

At last the voices fell silent: They knew who was boss around here. I breathed a sigh of relief. My skull was already fractured enough for one day.

I retreated back indoors where the blackness didn’t reach, slithered back to my easy chair—not particularly blithely this time—and decided to nosh upon those two sticks of pepperoni now, for Saturday looked like it might never arrive and the two pepperonis were calling my name in such sweet, sultry, Siren-like voices. But as I began unwrapping the first greasy meat stick, in preparation of shoving the whole thing down my throat (lengthwise, of course), there was a knock on my front door.

“Ack!” I darted behind my couch and hid. If time had truly stopped, there could be only one possibility as to who was at my door—or what.

“I don’t feel like being eaten by Langoliers today! So go away!” I called out from behind my couch.

The knocking continued. I curled up into a Pnårpy little ball and tried to squeeze myself under my couch, to no avail. Realizing I was out of options, I did the only thing I could: I built a fort out of the couch cushions, dubbed it Fort Unballoobabubbable, and crawled inside. I peered out from between two cushions, eyeing my front door with my beadiest of eyes (the top one) and most horrified expression, waiting, waiting, waiting for that Langolier to get fed up and choose to go nosh upon someone juicier.

And then the blackness suddenly lifted, and I saw that the usage notes for the Wiktionary entry for “brain fart” asserted that the term is “[m]ildly crude and inappropriate for formal settings.” I resolved at once that the next time I stuffed myself into my six-piece suit, necktie, and codpiece, I would endeavor to use the term at the earliest opportunity. My dinner next month with the Queen of England seemed like the perfect chance.

I squeazled my girthy frame out from behind the couch and peered, weasel-like, out the nearest window. In place of the stark blackness there was my usual view of Bouillabaisse Boulevard and my curious little town. Cars drove by, a giant plume of thick smoke rose from the perpetual grease fire over on Terwilliger Street, and a lone ocelot riding an alpaca trotted by.

There once again came a tapping—as of someone gently rapping, rapping at my front-most door.

I looked up at my ceiling clock. 6:01 PM. Time was moving again—and forward, too. I looked back at my front door. Was it safe to open it now? Langoliers couldn’t survive the relentless, bone-crushing march of time, so who could it be? Mr. Wilson, returned from the grave? My dear brother Grårp, returned from the grave? Yappie… returned from the grave? An anthropomorphized gravestone, returned from the graveyard? Could it be Alyssa Milano barefoot and muddy? Or Jennifer Love Hewitt in a dainty pair of sandals? Or Britney Spears in anklets and toe-rings? Maybe it was the whole gaggle of Spice Girls and all fifty of their toes!

I opened the door. It was Mr. Van der Woobie. I was crestfallen.

“What do you want, you old skeezle-codger?” I grumbled as I bent down to pick up my crests and reattach them to my forehead and shoulders. “Do you know what kind of disappointment you just brought me?”

“I can only dream,” Mr. Van der Woobie grinned coprophagically. “I came over to tell you—”

And then it struck Mr. Van der Woobie like 20,000 pounds of Dunkin’ Donuts bagel fists: An eighteen-wheeler hauling ten tons of Dunkin’ Donuts bagel fists. He went flying. I cackled, my crests elevated to near-euphoric heights. That truck just kept coming back for more! Pwee, pwee, pwee-wee-wee!!