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Goatburping and speechifying

Blustered about before November 20, 2011.

“Rah-rah, ah-ah-ah… roma, roma-ma… GaGa, ooh, la-la!” I began this week’s lecture in the public goatburping park on Shoehorner Street. I hadn’t decided yet what this week’s speech would be about, but naturally that didn’t stop me from starting my speechifying at precisely the hour I had chosen. I was confident that the words would come to me: They always had before. And if they didn’t, some semblance of squeaking and babbling that closely resembles modern English would issue forth from my vocal cords and pour out of my curiously frog-like mouth in a more or less language-like manner. Of that I was sure.

My speech continued with a poem:

I once knew a man named Horkheimer,

The grumpiest of grumpy old timers,

And I asked him one time,

“How many horks have you heimed?”

But he just said instead, “You’re a bad rhymer.”

This poem had popped into my head in the dead of night three days ago, in the middle of a dream involving the Spice Girls wearing nothing but comical hats each representing one of the five most popular British cheeses. But I had first composed the poem during my previous life in 1886, when I was employed as a master cobblestoner at the cobblestonery on Hobgoblin Street. (You’ve probably never heard of C.C. Cobb’s Cobblestonery: It burned down in 1887½ after I accidentally kicked over a lantern which in turn set fire to a stack of cobblestones that I had just finished soldering together. The conflagration was the worst disaster my town had seen that week, killing zero people and injuring another none. But over 9,000 cockroaches were roasted in the cobblestony inferno, so it was still listed in the town annals as the worst disaster of June 5–11, 1887. It was quickly overshadowed by Mrs. Twinkacetti’s eyebrow-tweezing accident in Gorgonzola Plaza the next week, but that’s another story.)

I continued: “No matter where I go, I always seem to be in a place called ‘here.’ Why is that?”

I looked out across my audience. My question was met with dead silence—silence so dead it made me wonder if at any moment it would come clawing out of its grave in search of delicious, delicious brains to nosh upon. Images of zombies noshing upon my brain not only frightened me, they downright scared the living daylights out of me. (As for the dead daylights nestled deep within me, just below my pancreas, I simply hoped against hope that they too wouldn’t join the zombie hordes that were about to be unleashed upon the public goatburping park and its dozens of hapless goats and pigeons.)

I dove behind the goatburping park lectern, cowering like a little girl still in her pigtails. If only I had my 12-gauge toilet plunger handy, I would show those groaning, shambling zombies something when they finally arrived! A single pigeon took to the air and passed overhead; I cowered deeper.

As time marched unswervingly forward, it slowly dawned on me that perhaps there would be no ravening zombie hordes overrunning the goatburping park today. I peeked out over the lectern, my beady eyes mere slits in my bizarrely horse-shaped face. (It really is horse-shaped this time of year.) No zombies. Plenty of goats, a few of them eructating softly, a few concerned-looking people staring at me from across Shoehorner Street, a clown with no underwear, and a flock of pigeons… but no zombies. Not even zombie goats or zombie pigeons—or zombie underwearless clowns.

So. It appeared there would indeed be no zombies. Not since I had confused the words Bereshit and “bear shit” had I been so embarrassed at my mistake. I straightened my tie, even though I wasn’t wearing one, and cleared my throat sheepishly (even though I wasn’t wearing a throat either). I continued my speechificationalisms as if nothing had actually transpired:

“I never seem to end up at that place called ‘there.’ Whenever I try to go ‘there,’ I end up at a place called ‘here’ instead. It follows me around like an alabaster albatross tied ’round my neck. Why is that? Does anyone know? Zigazig… ah?”

Silence reigned. I blinked, murped twice, and—deciding that the joke had been tortured enough for one day—put it away and moved on to my next frabdabulous idea. “Ideas? I am laden down with ideas, each zanier than the last!” Lady GaGa’s bare feet suddenly popped into my mind, and I was glad that the lectern concealed the fact that I wasn’t wearing any pants or even any underpants.

“We live in a society full of rounded rectangles and squared circles that almost—but not quite—fit in round holes.” Rhyming and jokery having gone over like a lead-acid balloon, I decided on pure, unadulterated sophistry instead. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time. “But!—this begs the question: How large a sledgehammer is needed to force these rectangles and squares into those round holes that society carves out for us all? The recent protesters gathering in Wal…”

I trailed off when I spied him strolling down Shoehorner Street on the opposite sidewalk: That most doldrumious of men—the most innocuous man in the world—my friend from the Spend-O-Mart on Alpha Ralpha Boulevard, Borb McBorbley. He appeared to be out for a lunch break, dressed in his usual pink shirt and even pinker necktie, and seemed to be going about his day completely oblivious to the fact that I was mere smoots away from him. I knew I had to rectify that at once.

And I knew I had to act fast before he strolled into the pizzamongery and ordered what would no doubt be an Italian sub with pickles, mayonnaise, hots, and sprinkles: The lunch of innocuous besuited men everywhere.

“And in closing, let me remind you: The wheel, it turns, it… rolls around. It makes an ancient… rumbling sound!” I quoted Shakespeare—or at least the closest thing to Shakespeare that the scrambled eggs inside my head could currently pull up from the depths of my addled, addled memory cells. With that, I once again packed up my stack of color-coded pepperonial visual aids in as much haste as I could muster, and blusteringly rushed across the street to brighten Borb’s pre-lunchtime day as only the Grand Pnårpissimo knew how. Still lacking pants, things that should never see the light of day flopped and wriggled blasphemously as I ran like a retarded twelve-year-old chasing after an ice cream truck that was quickly speeding away.

“Borb! Borb…! Mc…! Borbley!” I hooted, doing my best impression of all five of the Spice Girls at once. Realizing that that was an inscrutable and confusing analogy that not even the insipid twits that read this blog would comprehend, I started over: “Borb! Borb…! Mc…! Borbley!” I hooted, doing my best impression of a howler monkey being slowly roasted alive on a spit in the perpetual Terwilliger Street grease fire.

Borb stopped. He turned. Our eyes met. My frog-like mouth widened in a coprophagous grin; his mouth did this curious fish-gulping-for-air thing that many people are reputed to do when they catch sight of the Grand Pnårpissimo. Even his eyes started wordlessly gulping for air. I returned his gestures with as much mirth and alabaster as I could schmuster, sauntering across the goatburping park in order to greet him with even more gusto and glee than I usually display upon meeting old friends once again.

“Borbey! Ol’ Borbles! I’m so glad to see you with my own two little eyes once again!”

Just as I was about to make physical contact with Borb’s pudgy jaw, a gurgling bellow exploded behind me. Something made a sudden and newtonful impact directly against my rotund gluteal organ and sent me flying forward, arms and nads spiraling madly, into the muddy sod below. Borb girlishly skittered off before I could right myself and give chase. I flailed for about 46 seconds (plus or minus one pi of a minute), and, once covered head-to-toe in sticky, brown mud (at least I think it was mud…), I was able to flail myself into a seated position and see what had so artlessly rammed me from behind.

The biggest, meanest-looking she-goat in the goatburping park stood there smirking. The hornèd wench let out another bellowing gurgle right in my face, daring me to do anything about it. This was the same she-goat that had protected me last week from the ravages of that mysterious plurking noise! Not since Pope Calixtus II issued the Concordat of Worms, ushering in eight centuries of wriggling, vermicular popery, had anyone—man or goat—done something so salamanderously treacherous.

Salamanders! That’s it! I thought to myself. “Go, go Gadget salamander launcher!”

Three people glanced in my direction, but other than that, nothing of note happened. Each of them looked as if they were wearing an outmoded toupée, so I didn’t care what they thought of my salamandery exhortations. I exhorted again. No salamanders came to my rescue; no rocket-propelled salamander launcher emerged from under my sleeve. I looked down and realized I wasn’t wearing any sleeves. I looked harder and realized that I wasn’t even wearing a shirt!

I squeaked like a little girl still in her pigtails as I became aware of my complete and utter nakedness. I didn’t even have my traditional burnt-umber fez on, nor my set of Pomeranian pom-poms tucked against my nipples. “Swive!”

It was then that I noticed that Borb was still there, on the sidewalk on the other side of the street, watching me and shaking his head. Duotropes, ruptureworts, and typewriters fell from the abortifacient sky as I leapt off the mud-laden grass like a spring-loaded grasshopper on meth and seized the now-not-so-innocuous man by the throat. He gurgled grumptuously. Goats scattered. Simple sentences surrounded us and egged us on fendippitously as we wrestled. I realized I had used this literary device too many times to count, but at the moment I didn’t care: I delivered another punishing blow to Borb’s pudgy jaw, and another, and another. He went down like a sack of offal pushed out a second-floor window after a careless butcher had left it lying on the sill and his clumsy apprentice had tripped over his own feet and fallen into it. Borb McBorbley was out. Finished. Out cold. Out so cold I didn’t even have to imagine the cartoonish ring of little stars and birdies flying around his fat head; I could actually see them. (As y’all know, I can usually see a lot of things that aren’t really there; it’s one of the Grand Pnårpissimo’s many gifts.)

I stood up and hootled triumphantly. Other passers-by stopped passing by and instead swerved around me, giving me a wide berth (as my wide girth so widely deserved), in an effort to avoid meeting the same unfortunate fate as bleeding Borb McBorbley. I resumed the grasshopper-like posture which had for the day become my customary stance and, casting one last defiant glance back toward the madding crowd mivening about the sidewalk, I hopped back toward my palatial home. Zigazig, ah!