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A journey to Upper Silesia

Gruelled on December 18, 2011.

“Feet, buttocks, nose. Feet, buttocks… nose.”

That is what I said inwardly to myself as I stood in front of the door marked “Царь-пушка” in jolly Comic Sans. I don’t know why the three most-talked-about body parts on this blog popped into my head just then, but they did. Perhaps Nosey was nosing around in my memory engrams again, or perhaps those door-to-door dord salesmen that visited me last month had implanted the idea in my head when I had suffered a momentary lapse of vigilance.

I blinked, twitched, and shook my head like a water buffalo trying to ward off flies that just wouldn’t leave the poor beast alone. I stared at the door and its comically sans-serif signage for a few moments more before I placed my cloven hoof (for I really was being a water buffalo this week) on the Communist-made doorknob and tried to turn it.

Alas, gripping doorknobs made for true men proved to be nigh impossible when using a cloven hoof instead of the usual four, tentacle-like fingers and opposable thumbs that Homo sapiens typically dangles from his upper limbs. Unfazed (and unwilling to give up), I beat mightily upon the solid, oaken door with my two clivven horvves for fivve minutes, then another five, and then fifteen in total. The door was truly solid and wouldn’t budge. Lastly I tried head-butting the doorknob with my broad, flat head, but all that accomplished was stamping an imprint the shape of the knob, keyhole and all, right in the center of my forehead.

I blinked again, snorted, and thanked my lucky screaming stars that my head bone was too thick to fracture with anything less than a pneumatic drill.

The stars scream at me, but why? I see his fa—

“Great Custer’s ghost!” I exclaimed suppenly, leaping back from the door and transforming back into my usual Pnårpy self. “I’m so close! If I don’t render this door ajar, I’ll never be able to use the Tsar Cannon to cannonade myself toward southern Moravia just so I can say ‘frunknupten-klackheimer-geflugt!’ to my old friend Mister Ollanthorpe von Sträsmussenbörg who isn’t dead but still very much alive! Whatever will I do!?”

Suqqenly, that shimmering, rainbow-clad gnute that had so vendaciously helped me first find this door reappeared before my eyes. He wheezled and baffled in the air, fnord-like, sporting a Cheshire Cat grin and a corn-cob pipe rivaling even Justin Bieber’s at the height of his boyishly prostitutional career. I dropped to my knees in abject supplication before the gnute, knowing that this iguana-like little creature would guide me true. (Or, that door-to-door drug salesman was going to suffer my wrath if I ever ran into him again!)

Fading in and out of three-space, the swivulating gnute directed me to look at the writing on the door again. Indeed I looked. At first I didn’t believe the images striking my beady little corneas: The signage didn’t say “Царь-пушка” at all, but instead advertised the availability of buckets of golden cockroaches within, if only one had come with enough money.

“Three rubles and a pear tree,” the gnute explained subvocally.

“What!? I don’t care about golden cockroaches!” I snapped back, whip-like. “Why did you send me down the storm drain if this isn’t where the Tsar Cannon is hiding!?” I thought about transmuting my form into a water buffalo again and trampling the gnute under my heavy, heavy hooves.

Subbenly, the gnute’s ear-to-ear grin enveloped the rest of his face amidst an echoing cacophony of sinister laughter. He disappeared back into four-space whence he had come into this realm. I was left with one final gnute-thought: “The grues are hungry.”

I yerked. I looked around and it hit me like a pood of kettlebells—I had been standing in the pitch black for minutes, perhaps hours now, scrutinizing the advertisement on this door while a creature from a parallel dimension had misguided me right into a gruesome trap.

I ran, my weeble-wobbly legs carrying me in whatever direction I had been facing—which I was reasonably confident was “forward,” but it could have been “upside-down and leftside-out” for all I truly knew. It was a miracle that I didn’t run right into the door at which I had been staring, especially in darkness of the fact that the door had been mere inches away from my pointy nose mere moments before. Perhaps the doorway had been another trick of the gnute. Perhaps it was a trick of a harooloo or even the shuggoths bubbling away in my bestiary, who were slowly growing in size and power. I didn’t know and I didn’t care. Right now was the time for panicking: Sheer, terror-imbued panic flowed out of my adrenal gland, coursed through my veins, and oozed out of my pores like lithe porcupines. I ran.

If ever a man ran like a cockroach scurrying from a suddenly activated kitchen light, that man was I. I ran.

Suckaduckedly from behind me there came a slavering, growling gurgle. Then the noise was in front of me… then all around me. I stopped dead in my tracks and skidded a few inches on the slippery floor, almost falling flat on my clown-like nose. The noise shifted from side to side, reverberating and paternostering filibusterously. I could feel the sinister, lurking presence all around me. I had trusted that glimmering littul gnute, and now I was about to die in the gaping maw of a toothsome grue. Not since I had confused the Panchen Lama with the Punchin’ Llama had I been so mortified at my mistake. “Well, at least this gaffe won’t start an international uproar,” I consoled myself, chuckling grimly at the memory of clocking that sneering little monk right in his glass jaw.

“And one more thing—” the gnute puffed back into three-space, his voice taking on an edge of jolly sarcasm. “—I don’t think you know what the word ‘toothsome’ means.” Poof!

The grue snarled in the darkness. I shivered as I heard it licking its fearsome jaws.

“Meep… mippy-morp?” I mipped sheepishly, the desire to soil myself from every orifice growing by leaps and bounds.

Spuddenly, the gnute re-poofed back into this plane of existence, riding a potato and humming to himself about the newfound wonders of blonde Chloë Moretz and her silithicinely delicate little feet. He wore a galosh upside-down on his head for added oomph. My eyes narrowed as the thought crossed my mind that the “American” that I had encountered last week in Moscow had really been the gnute in disguise. “You know, Phil…” the gnute began tossing out suggestions on how to defeat the grue or at least escape from its grasp using nothing more than what I was carrying on my Pnårpish person at the moment. Time stopped; the grue froze in place somewhere out there in the inky blackness.

More unpleasant memories, this time of being trapped in the time-twisting Brundlesphere, shot through my unctimonious little cerebrum. “A veritable mountain of pasta, glistening with tomateous sauce and grayed cheese, and slathered in the thickest, gooiest s…” The gnute’s mesmerizing voice soothed me. I don’t know why an image of a mound of noodles would calm me, or how the gnute knew, but it did, and it did.

Unspecified time units closely resembling minutes later, I had fashioned a weapon of sorts out of the stick of pepperoni I had had in my left pants pocket, the empty lighter I always carry in my right pants pocket, the monkey spring I kept stowed away in my back pockets, the ten feet of schedule-40 PVC pipe I kept rolled up in my socks, and the disassembled pieces of a Mjölnir Mark IV cyborg that was, as usual, tucked under my shirt. I wasn’t sure what the weapon would do but the gnute assured me it would be spectacular. “A spectacle that would make Three Mile Island look like a mere three-sixteenths of an inch,” the gnute had said. Considering how horribly astray he had led me earlier, what choice did I have but to trust him completely now? It wasn’t as if David the Gnome was around to counsel me!

I pulled the trigger.

Time resumed. With a deafening report a bolt of pepperoni shot out of the end of the PVC pipe, followed by an electric-blue flash that spelled the slow death by radiation poisoning of every life form within a myriasmoot radius. With luck I would survive in cyborg form. (And if my luck had run out in the last few microts, I at least knew that my memory would live on in blog form in the pipes and tubes of the Internet and its ancillary clownbuttery.)

“Clownbutt!” I winced as the stark, withering light of the Sun surrounded me. I was no longer underground in a dank, stone hallway; I was now sailing through the Russian atmosphere along what four out of five doctors agree would be a fatally parabolic (albeit graceful!) arc. As the Russian soil spun into view I saw it was as many smoots below me as that release of Cherenkov radiation would soon sterilize. Realization struck me harder than a block of frozen urine falling from an aëroplane: I was the stick of pepperoni and I had been shot through that 10′ length of schedule-40 PVC pipe. The gnute had taught me how to MacGyver together a cannon that amazingly emulated the awesome might of the Tsar Pushka.

I yipped with glee, prancing like a happy Chihuahua along the imaginary arc upon which I careened.

I wasn’t even close to its apex yet.

The gnute came into view alongside me, donning the traditional uniform of a Ukrainian train conductor and ticket-taker. “Next stop!—Upper Silesia!” he bawled.

“Upper Silesia?” I gluondered. The littul monkeys in my head scurried around trying to dredge up the memory of where such an amusingly-named place might be. At last monkey #14159 dug it up: Upper Silesia was right next to Moravia—not southern Moravia, but it was close enough. It even had a cigar. (The monkey, not Upper Silesia.) Monkey #14160½ added that Upper Silesia was where the left half of his body had been sliced off in that disastrous envelope-licking accident in 2007.

The gnute vanished in a puff of mirth and alabaster. I was on my way to southern Moravia at last!

“No you’re not!” Nosey piped up, doing his doomedest to burst my bubble and rain on my parade. He probably wanted to piss in my Wheaties, too.

“You’re on your way to Upper Silesia, you dip-dong,” Shnarkey increased the chance of scattered showers to 60%, adding the possibility of heavy thunderstorms. He probably wanted to shit in my Wheaties.

“And when you get there, you’ll get stuck in some ridiculous predicament yet again and never make it to Moravia!” Mookey contributed. Heavy thunderstorms. Followed by sleet, hail, and a blizzard that would knock out power to the entire eastern seaboard for a week. Mookey probably already committed unspeakable acts with my Wheaties and was just waiting for the right moment to tell me.

“Enough! All of you!” I wailed, flailing, as it rained, sleeted, and hailed. I railed. I tried to gnaw my own brain off but needless to say, I failed. I did leave some nice teeth marks in the back of my skull though. And I sailed: Through weather that would no doubt freeze me to death before the landing even had its chance to try and kill me. Angry black clouds danced above my twirling form and the lightning flashed, the thunder crashed, and somewhere out there Chloë Moretz danced upon slender bare feet beneath clear blue skies.

“Upper Silesia!—directly above!” the gnute hollered through the howling storm. I looked up. Upper Silesia really was up. And it really was directly abo—