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Seven point one hundred

Released on February 5, 2012.

[According to the IT Morlocks that plumb the technical depths and intricacies of this web blob so that I don’t have to really know anything about computers, today heralds the release of version 7.100 of Pnårp’s docile & perfunctory page. I have no earthly idea what this decimal-pointy little number means, but the IT Morlocks assure me that it is big and important, so there you have it. And if you don’t have it, it’s because one of my IT Morlocks escaped from their underground caverns and snatched it from you when you weren’t looking.]

Trying to change the fundamental nature of the Universe to suit my needs proved fruitless this Wednesday, so instead I went about fouling my toilet bowl with fish. Guppies I dropped into the bowl first and, when I was unsatisfied with mere guppies, I added some goldfish. The goldfish swam about and ate all the guppies, so I added more guppies, which the goldfish ate too, so then I added some sunfish, which ate all the goldfish in retribution. “You put fish in your boiler? Did they… boil?” Ravna asked me when I explained the empty aquarium to her later, but I had to correct her: “No, not the boiler, but the toilet bowl! How did you confuse the two?”

“I blame Tocobatto,” she retorted succinctly, as my fish sucked—and sank—in the sink. (Ravna had moved the fin-ridden little buggers to the sink when she needed to use the toilet.) “Furthermore, if it wasn’t for Nebethetepet and Darvulia, I wouldn’t even be back here right now.”

I yerked, taken aback at her invocation of such mediæval demons and Hungarian witches. With the gremlins lurking in my walls and the gnomes nattering about my wainscoting, it wasn’t safe to be so idly tossing about such gorgothine names!

Ravna would have none of my yerking. With a poof! that reminded me of a nuclear bomb going off on the far side of Uranus, my raven-haired, Icelandic beauty was suddenly replaced with a stack of Bohemian Tunnelling Gnomes, writhing and wriggling and stacked in a roughly humanoid-shaped pile. The pile immediately—wrigglingly—collapsed under its own gnomey weight; the gnomes scattered with the most awful multifarious buzzing that 91,835,038,275 gnomes are capable of simultaneously emitting. Each of the gnomes quickly bored through the tile floor beneath the erstwhile Ravna simulacrum’s equally erstwhile feet. I sprung back in disgusted recoilment, yerking louder and with more gusto (but no glee).

“Oh, Jebus Horatio Christ, Ravna! My Ravna!” I wailed. Outside my window, a whale barked.

And then there were more gnomes: Googols of blue-hatted little fiends began worming their way out of my electrical outlets, eel-like, and began flopping around on the ground like fishes out of bicycles. Suddenly my walls were all perpendicular to their own selves: They were parallel to the floor. Then… I had no walls: Just an endless, darkened expanse of dark-hearted gnomes. I squatted down, hands over my ears to block out the droning din, and tried to maintain some semblance of sanity in the sea of gnomes… upon gnomes… upon gnomes.

Were the gnomes that were vomited out of my NEMA-compliant outlets Slavic, Slovakian, Slovenian, or even Slovincian gnomes? Were they Wallachian Wallowing Gnomes, or Ruritanian Writhing Gnomes? Perhaps they were Marcomannian Marking Gnomes! But Marcomannia happened to happen in Slovakia, so I didn’t happen to have time to happen to think about this happenstance anymore. But perhaps I had to make my way to Slovakia before Marcomannia ended and I was deprived of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s happy, young feet for another 364 horrible, hapless days.

My nose hairs set in grim determination, I realized that there was only one thing to do: I pulled the phone down from my ceiling and began a dialing spree.

“My new neighbor! My most supposititious friend!” I chootled into the telephone’s mouthpiece after dialing my new neighbor’s number—plus a bunch of other superfluous numbers after he had picked up. Knowing my proclivities, he waited patiently and without complaint until my Pnårpy self had finished tapping out digits #4,901–4,989 of pi on my touchy touch-tone telephone.

“Yes… Phillip?” he inquired cautiously. He knew my name. Why didn’t I know his?

“My osteopores are bothering me today, so I doused them in vinegar!” I explained my reasons for calling. “Abnegation is betrayal, you know. The vast, pony-riding public doesn’t seem to ‘grok’ this for some reason. They don’t even get it. Would you have idea why this is, O dearest new neighbor of mine?” I ended my spiel on a vocative note.

After a long pause, my queries were met with dead silence on the other end of the line. I was used to that—I called people all the time and asked them incoherent questions like this—so I just plowed forward as if I were conducting my usual weekly monologue directed toward my kitchen appliances and Moosey, my cross-eyed pet moose.

“I take umbrage, you know, at the new bridge they built over in Umbridge next door. Did you hear about it, O new neighbor of mine? They built a new bridge in Umbridge, connecting the Burnt Umber Ridge to Umbrella Ledge! How useless! How preposterous! What a waste of taxpayer money!” I was on a roll now. “It would have made more sense to spend that money feeding old tires to the homeless… or collecting chunks of concrete for orphans… or maybe even building a new dog-wrapping facility where the old spam-canning plant used to be. Or maybe—”

My cat-losing, not-so-new-anymore neighbor interrupted my droning mumbledy-bumbling at that point; I tripped and stumbled off of the croissant I had been riding and listened as my neighbor responded at last to my barrage of discordant lexemes, morphemes, and Pnårpemes. He said something muffled, something stifled, something that started with “Gr…” but concluded with sounds not representable without turning letters upside-down or drawing amusing dots and squiggles over them. I tried to guess what he had said so I wouldn’t have to ask him, “Spwahh?” and embarrass myself. Was it Gra…? Gro…? Groo…? Grue…? Ģř’ů…? I searched the Merriam–Lobster’s Dictionary that I had had surgically implanted into my brain (just this past Monday). Did my neigh-boar mean to refer to Gropius, famous architect… or Grotius, famous jurist? Perhaps he just meant the groatiest man alive, a farmer by the name of Nahum MacGropeham who resided in western Greorgia and farmed goats, oats, and groats for a living.

Perhaps my new nay-bore had just meant to verbally mimic the sound of Jennifer Love Hewitt’s delicate, little feet trouncing across a sheet of ubblabumptuous bubble wrap, the little plastic bubbles popping under her heels as she giggled madly, wiggled her toes, and stomped, stomped, stomped those detestable bubbles flat!

My new née-boor made the noise again; I hung up before the urge to call my him a “fat glob of turkey stuffing” became overwhelming. My call had been fruitless, vegetableless, and even meatless. Now what would I do? I paced around my parlor like a caged hippopotamus, knocking over furniture and punching holes in walls.

Time slunk by like a burglar in the night. Thursday came into being.

Green mint juleps lazily floated through the purple, hazy æther now infusing my parlor; suddenly the scene shifted without so much as a clever segue. I was now seated in a three-legged (and two-tentacled) chair in my bestiary with a bowl of unpopped popcorn in hand as I watched my exotic creatures at play. My shimmering shuggoths were oozing and wriggling around their cavernous tank. My mubbleduck was trying to hypnotize each passing fly to fly right into its yawning, billed mouth. And my other beasts of bird and burden were simply going about living out their lives in the most unnatural and confining surroundings that a Pnårp could provide.

Observing my pair of naugas playing and shedding their hides reminded me of a song I had once heard, composed by a Mr. Richard Uptown Pluckman in 1922, another man who had also kept a bestiary stocked with the most exotic and fictional creatures that he could find. The ditty began:

As the hatterpillars caterpilled in a lazy circle,

And the schtumpfenbeast let out its laminating cry,

I sat here watching a kerfrumpt brilling and queeging,

Its cilia brilling along its lower-upper, up-and-under spine.

Alas Pluckman only had the chance to compose this one verse: Upon attempting to set the words to music, he vanished without a trace. All that the authorities found when they finally succeeded in forcing their way into his boarded-up home was approximately two hundred pounds of finely shredded flesh, bone, and ligament splattered floor-to-ceiling in nearly every room (save the upstairs bathroom), mixed with an inhuman, green ooze that glowed an indescribable hue of orange under a Wood’s lamp. A blood-, bile-, and phlegm-stained note was found glued to Pluckman’s typewriter, containing only three words: “Toad rental—cheap!”

As if the stinking mess texture-coating the walls of every room (save the upstairs bathroom) wasn’t enough, the most gruesome discovery was made when the authorities made their way, Keystone Cop–style, into that immaculate and unstained lavatory: In the bathtub, seated amongst the most well-polished enamel and chrome they had ever seen, there sat a bright yellow rubber ducky with an orange bill and blue eyes. It was rocking back and forth slowly, and as they opened the door, it turned…

The officers were overcome with fear and panicked revulsion, and halted their investigation into Pluckman’s disappearance at once. The police simply abandoned the case without another word, leaving Pluckman’s true fate officially unsolved. Three of the investigating officers took their own lives in the years that ensued. Two more were committed to an asylum for the insane and another—the last of the group that had witnessed the rubber ducky—retired in 1929, ultimately becoming an alcoholic sidewalk clown in Arp, Texas. Theories that Pluckman had been devoured by his own shuggoths or even the rare razor-nosed mubbleduck that he kept in his bathroom closet were met with stonewalling, ridicule, and cover-up. The man’s worth of biological matter found coating the inside of Pluckman’s home (save the upstairs bathroom) was blamed on a freak accident at a nearby meat-packing plant. Officially, Richard Uptown Pluckman had simply disappeared.

The rubber ducky was never seen again.