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A skeezle-wumpus? In my cabinets?

Marred on August 14, 2011.

This Tuesday had started out normally, but it hadn’t stayed that way for long. I had gone down to my kitchen (the large one, on the first floor of my palatial abode) to fetch my favorite lunchtime treat, a can of delicious potted meat packed into little tiny cans by illegal immigrants from Eigentoria and sold for the low, low price of 33¢ at the local Spend-O-Mart. Nothing had been amiss so far, so I had entered my kitchen in my usual oblivious state of mind, engrossed in some trivial conversation with myself, the subject matter of which I have long since forgotten but it was most likely something about the fineness of Alyssa Milano’s feet or Britney Spear’s toes. I had only gibbered out loud to myself occasionally, and usually in a voice low enough to not startle the neighbors. Ravna was out walking our new pet moose; I was home alone.

But then, as cruel Fate would have it, normalcy would once again be stripped from my day—torn from my goaty little fingers despite my strongest resistance—and replaced with surreal bizarrery more aptly fitting the life of a polymorphically demented lunatic than my own life. As I entered the kitchen, meeping quietly and with a can of horsepiss-flavored Mountain Dew in my hand, I saw it: Before taking Moosey for a walk, my hoosie-fessed little skeetch-truncheon had left a newspaper on the kitchen table—an unfolded newspaper. It was open to page A12, casually displaying an article about Pope Palpatine’s visit to the state capital and the rejoicing it had caused among the peasants.

An unfolded newspaper. My eyes widened and my heart tried to do that crawling-out-through-my-gullet thing again. The can of Mountain Dew clutched in my bony hand hit the floor, fizzed, foamed, spun around displaying some neat aspect of angular physics that would no doubt send a high school science teacher into fits of glee, and sprayed soda everywhere. The smell of horse urine and high-fructose corn syrup filled the room as I blivened wildly over to the kitchen table and slammed the newspaper shut as fast as I could—before anything else went wrong as a result of this gaffe and ruined the rest of the day.

I sighed and looked up. My ceiling calendar continued displaying Tuesday; the little box with a nine in it was wholly unmarred, reassuring me that the remainder of today would—could? must!—pass in an equally unmarred manner.

Relaxing a bit more as I felt my heart sink back into place between my large intestine and small left testicle, I resumed my eggluescent journey toward the cabinet two to the left and three down from the big one perched over my stove. This cabinet, this week, should have contained my entire supply of Spend-O-Mart potted meat. (I move it each week, in order to stay one step ahead of that flock of Silesian Shipping Gnomes that keeps trying to steal my meat and ship it to Pomerania.) This cabinet, last week, had also been upgraded with the finest security measures I could afford, such that it could not only serve as a secure repository for my potted meat collection, but also as a safe for all the pots of gold I planned to steal next week from the gnomes living under my back yard.

“Potted meat, here I come!” I trilled. I stopped in front of the window, opened it, and re-trilled my gleeful exclamation at the next six cars that drove by my house. Each car’s driver responded with a different confused or surprised expression, each more entertaining than the last. Across the street Mr. Van der Woobie looked up from watering his lawn ornaments and shook his head with disgust and bemusement. I responded with more glee and amusement, sticking my tongue out and crossing my eyes, nostrils, and testicles. (I had my pants on while doing it, but I think the old cootery-codger got the message.)

I trilled once more at a passing eighteen-wheeler, slammed the window, made two more juvenile faces at Mr. Van der Woobie from behind the glass, then again continued my journey toward my potted meat and the cabinet that contained it.

I finally arrived at the cabinet. I looked around furtively—to the left and to the right—in order to ensure that no one, not even Ravna Olegg-Thorssondóttir, would find out where my potted meat was stored. I looked down and up, too, ensuring that neither scurrying rodents nor flying ones could be observing me. Finally deciding it was safe to do so, I pulled my Eigen® multi-tool from my pocket and began hacking away the layer upon layer of duck tape (made from real ducks!) that securely held the cabinet shut.

π2±½π minutes later, I had succeeded in removing every last scrap of duck tape. My chest swelled with pride as I counted up the number of times I had become hopelessly entangled in the duck tape and the number of fingers I had accidentally sliced off, and came up with a number astoundingly less than five. After one more solemn moment taken to contemplate my accomplishment, lasting ¼π minutes, I grasped the latch… salivating so loudly I was sure Mr. Van der Woobie would be able to hear me… and opened the cabinet.

Instead of rows upon rows of potted meat greeting me, a large, furry arm reached out of the cabinet and mauled me across the chest with what appeared to be talons made of pure titanium. A horrible rasping, gabbling noise came from deep within the cabinet as the claw slashed and slashed. The coarse fur appeared to be different colors at each angle that my Pnårpy little eyes viewed it—sometimes appearing to be colors that I was quite sure didn’t exist on this colorful little planet of ours.

I slammed the cabinet shut. The ravenous gabbling continued for a few moments, slowly diminishing until it was nothing more than a skeezly gurgling.

“Hmm. I don’t remember leaving a skeezle-wumpus in here,” I pondered to myself as my sucking chest wound bled out all over the floor. “And I certainly don’t remember acquiring an untamed one!” I went upstairs to check my bestiary and see if my new skeezle-wumpus was missing. Sure enough, it was there, nestled all snug under its psychedelic glacis plate, its seventeen furry arms and legs tucked under it as it slept.

“Curiouser and curiouser!” I pondered deeper. Perhaps this skeezle-wumpus was just another practical joke that Pow, Biff, and Zork had decided to play on me because I had done something silly! My ex-coworkers from the spam-canning plant were always such a barrel of laughs—this reminded me of the time that I had fallen asleep on the coffee pot at the plant and they had fed me head-first into a meat grinder to wake me up. I was three whole feet in before I finally did so! I walked around without a head, arms, or torso for six weeks after that—but I sure had learned not to ever fall asleep on the job again! (And the spam we made that week tasted sooo good!)

My pair of kerfrumpts started brilling and honking through their eating-snouts as I turned and left; the puddle of blood and serous fluid I had left behind in the middle of the room was no doubt setting them into a feeding tizzy. I returned downstairs and peered in the cabinet again. Immediately I was met with the same frantic gabbling and gurgling; the glittering claws lashed out once again and got me right across the neck this time. I closed the door before the inscrutable creature could escape… and then dutifully collapsed in a bloodless and unconscious heap on the floor, before my brain could start lecturing me about how I should have fallen unconscious about ten minutes ago.

Fortunately, before Ravna came home, my crack team of gnomish EMTs had sewn my body back together and pumped… something… back into my veins to make up for the lost blood. I later found out it was a mixture of corn oil and red food dye, but it seemed to do the trick keepin’ the ol’ heart pumpin’, so I’m not complaining (or complainin’). I am, on the other hand, complaining about those damned gnomes sewing an entire stick of pepperoni into my chest. I have yet to understand why they did that, and I was planning to eat it! Now what am I going to do?!

Ahem. Anyway. And so, to this day, that cabinet—two to the left and three down from the big one perched over my stove—contains not a single can of potted meat, but instead a ravenous, wild skeezle-wumpus in all its holographic glory.