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Vox clamantis in deserto

Cheddared on May 6, 2012.

Blocks upon blocks of cheese descended from the clouds—cheese of all kinds. I ate each and every one of them, snapping my jaws at them as they fell, sometimes swallowing blocks whole, other times gobbling noisily upon them before gulping them down. The feta seemed to descend with the most grace, I opined—just like the sheep from whence such cheese came. The Swiss fell stridently and with confidence; the Monterey Jack tried to overcompensate for its blandness by putting on a ridiculous show as it descended: Spinning, tumbling, even doing little cartwheels in the air. The American cheese cheered raucously and for seemingly little reason. At one point, a block of Stilton got stuck in my craw, but I remained steadfast in my cheese-catching after I dislodged it. I only gave up after sixty pounds of habanero-infused cheddar fell all at once and blinded me with its searing-hot rage.

Now this wasn’t as annoying as that time I lost the top to the bagel that I had been noshing upon (to wit, Sunday, March 7, 1886), but it was close. “Bison see, bison do,” I had reminded myself then in order to assuage my anger and keep myself from tearing all my curtains out of their sockets once again. Such westphorisms were best avoided, I had recently been told by my sixth-grade English-noshing teacher, so I tried to avoid the bison, but in this instance I simply could not: Hybridity and moribunditude would rule the day, and Samuel Dreckers would rue the day he ever crossed garrotes with me. I picked up the tellerphone, dialed his number (all useful digits of it this time!), and let him know this. He thanked me for letting him know… and then threatened to feed me weapons-grade anthrax in my sleep. I yiffed wide-eyed. I then hung up the phone, put down the whole bowl of ebola rolls upon which I had been noshing since the cheesestorm had ended, and considered my next course of action.

Realizing my brain wasn’t up to the task, I resolved to let Fate decide for me.

I searched around my house and its curtilage for something that I could use to channel Fate’s choice to me. I couldn’t find a coin to flip. I didn’t have any dice to roll, or rolls to dice up. I couldn’t even find any hats to pull rabbits out of. I briefly considered trial by combat between me and Moosey, but it didn’t take me long to realize that my domesticated bull moose was woefully outmatched by yours truly, especially when I was dressed in my newest leisure suit and crabskin cap. I snapped my fingers—an idea came to me, a better idea: If only someone else would be willing to engage in trial by combat on my behalf, Fate could speak through them! Before that thought had even finished groping around inside my cranium, another one popped into my vacuous head and informed me who could do the fighting. Lizard-like, I skittered down to my kitchen and opened the fridge. I fetched two jars and set them upon the floor. And so it would be: A fight to the death between a jar of mayonnaise and a jar of hollandaise would determine my next course of action.

The jars just sat there, glittering in the fluorescent overhead light.

I tried to coax and cajole them to action, but nothing seemed to work. The mayonnaise would only quiver slightly each time I slapped the jar upside its side. At one point, in my rising furor, I knocked the hollandaise on its side. When I righted it, apologizing profusely and begging it not to back out of the fight, all that the yellowish stuff did was slide slowly back down the inside of the jar and pool at the bottom. I wailed. I didn’t know what to do. Without Fate to make decisions for me… without Fate to assume complete responsibility for my life, leaving me blissfully irresponsible (and without having to hide behind the phrase “diminished capacity defense” like last time), I was lost… helpless… cast adrift. I was up a defecant river without so much as a single outboard motor to my name.

And now my shrubbery was hungry.

Cursing under my breath at the sound of rustling leaves coming from upstairs, I went out to my two-cart garage in order to fetch some shrub food. After several minutes of wading through my old collection of fifty-seven jars of cat urine (one for each variety of Heinz!), I found the big sack of shrub food at last and hauled it back to my seventh-floor shrubbery-room in order to feed the hungry, ornery little buggers. It may have only been fried froghen and toadbutt entrails, dried and ground into a fine powder, but it was what shrubs crave.

And indeed, the shrubs were happy: They curled their leaves at me in thanks as I sprinkled the ground frog-and-toad guts onto their soily, soily soil. The angry, anthropomorphic flower pots on the shelf above, however, were less than thrilled at the attention I gave to the shrubs: They leapt from their shelves, fists swinging, and battered me into a red-green pulp on the floor. They were always angry. So angry. Only Ravna Olegg-Thorssondóttir’s sudden and inexplicable appearance in the midst of this week’s jumbled narrative saved me.

“Celebrate the power of a point,” my lovely Rav had told me on Monday, before disappearing into the æther for a few days so I could mull and ponder. And I had done so, yet my only reward seemed to be the events of today: Left adrift by Fate, now beaten to death by angry flowers.

But! But now Ravna was here to save me from my tomfoolishness once again. Thrashing beneath her like a gaffed carp, it took me several minutes to realize that her choice of tactics would actually result in the saving of my hide. A less normal man would have concluded that she was trying to smother me, yet I was nothing if not perfectly normal (this week at least). Allegations of demagoguery, polemicism, and even pederasty wouldn’t sway Ravna one bit, either—she went on and on and on. Finally, much like a polecat upon the sudden realization that it had smoked its last pole, I capitulated. I surrendered. I just… let go. i even stopped using proper capitalization. wave after wave of salicyclitude and vibriscosity passed over me.

“Girllookatthatbody!”

“Girllookatthatbody…?”

“Girllookatthatbody!!”

When it was over, I thanked Ravna profusely, re-donned my leisure suit—now tattered beyond recognition—and clambered off to the desert where only clams had a voice.