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Fungous hitchhikers from outer space

Rocketed on June 24, 2012.

The rocket ship that my minions, henchmen, and lackeys had been building for three weeks finally took off this Monday—took off without a hitch, it did—and it sent me on my merry way, it did. Toward the Bagel Nebula I did fly, a nebula just a few degrees west of β Pictoris and a hell of a lot of light years closer. Shaped like a bagel and just as delicious, the Bagel Nebula would become my home for the rest of my Pnårpy, telenoötic, teranoötic life: I would live out my days here, thinking with my skin—that is, my skin would be thinking—and no one from that pathetic, stinky, little planet called “Earth” would ever hear from me again, except through the periodic, weekly posts I make to this blorbsite of mine.

That was the plan, at least, and—now this will shock and awe my readers to no end, I think!—my plan went off without a hitch, it did. My rocket ship took off without a hitch, without a flaw, without a single problem, it did. And it shot through the atmosphere faster than a speeding baseball… faster than a flying rodent out of purgatory… faster even than a wet hen fleeing a wet-noodling contest after the poor, feathered wretch inevitably discovered that she had no hands and wouldn’t be able to grasp onto the wet noodles with her wings.

My rocket ship passed out of the atmosphere only a few moments after it took off—did I say it was a fast rocket ship that my minions, henchmen, and lackeys had built me?—and I nearly passed out as I was struck by the awesome, ultimaticious beauty of the vast expanse of dark, starry space that lay before my Pnårpy, bulging, little eyes. (I did pass out when I realized that I had forgotten my collection of every photograph of Alyssa Milano barefoot known to mankind, but that’s another story.)

The rocket ship passed the Moon four moments later, and after another 72.400 6 moments (to be precise), my ship bounced off the atmosphere of Mars—picking up speed, turning left, and then—wham!—rocketed out of this pathetic, stinky, little solar system forever. I said my goodbyes to Mr. Van der Woobie, Samuel Dreckers, Ravna Olegg-Thorssondóttir, Loquisha, and even Skippy, the peanut butter and jelly sandwich I had left behind on my countertop. I would miss him the most—and I knew the squirrels would find him soon enough, and then he would be no more.

While time passed, the moments piling up and up (and up), I entertained myself by thinking about stuff, stuff, and more stuff. I even thought about stuph sometimes! I pondered that YouTubing accident last week that had singlehandedly made the Internet 105% faster than it had been. I thought about how many different ways I could use a floating, dust-free, spinning heatsink if I had one. I even contemplated on the Man-in-Hooble that I had met in my latest transmetadimensional parallaxing experience. Man-in-Hooble had always been a booble, I remembered: But Man-in-Crunk had always really stunk.

Just like my home planet.

That evening I composed a poem that I was sure would be my magnum opus if I were ever able to transmit it back to my stinky planet of origin. It began:

Have you e’er seen a sneezing goose?

Or have you seen… a belching moose?

And how about a farting cow?

Maybe a diarrheic sow?

Or what about… a goat that stinks?

Maybe a fish …that clearly thinks?

And hamsters with… intelligence?

And hornets with …group sapience?

Or clams that hoot! And dogs that crow!

Or moose that bark! And meese that low!

I stopped shortly after this stanza. Terrible, caT-awful writers’ block gripped me in its vice-like, blocky grip when I tried to find a word that rhymed with “orange.” After 569 moments had piled up—all of them staring balefully down at me from the top of the moment-pile—I gave up and moved on to more productive things like clipping my eye-nails and brushing my tongue-nose.

When I slept that night, eyeless potatoes eyed me suspiciously from beyond a low horizon. Upon waking I knew it had been only a dream, but there was something more vivid about it than usual. Something was reaching out to me, I surmised—via my telenoötic skin—and I was being drawn in. I only hoped it wasn’t a trap. Where was Admiral Akbar when you needed him?

Kilomoments passed, they did—and then, entire megamoments—and as my ship slid silently through the æther toward the Bagel Nebula, one by one my minions, henchmen, and lackeys died off. But I didn’t let that faze me, no, no. I was sure I could stop somewhere on the way and pick up a few sacks of gnome feed before they all died off. τ Puppis was on my way, and I had it on good authority that the biggest gnome feed store—not to mention some human feed stores, too—were to be found there. And if I was wrong—well, the little buggers could all starve now, for all I cared. (And I didn’t. Care, that is. I didn’t care. I hate gnomes.)

“Maybe I should shove you all out an airlock,” I muttered to the nattering, nippering little fiends as I watched them crunk, scrunk, and squink around in their cages, hungry yet content in their little red fezzes and little white beards. I shredded an old shoe and fed them the pieces—it was all I had, and I knew that gnomes would eat leather in a pinch. Of course, this wasn’t a leather shoe, but it’s the thought that counts, my dear old Mamårp had once told me.

“Besides building me this enormous rocket ship, what have you little buggers done for me recently, eh?” I rattled their cages. “Can you brush my teeth for me—or even blush them? Can you trim my nails for me—or even pim them? Can you polish my boots, or pot my meat… or shave my squirrels, or stroke my roosters? Can you do it with a goat? Can you do it… in a boat?” Images of goat-schtupping in a canoe always made me chuckle. And I was on such a roll now: “Can you horse my feathers for me? Or underdunk my crunkery? Can you feather my horses—or crunk my undergarmentry? …I think not! You’re useless! Useless! Useless! Use… less!!

The biggest gnome just looked at me cross-eyed. I got angrier and started babbling in Athabascan.

I forced myself to calm down within a moment or two, though. My well-known and traditional unpredictability—my ability to fly into a frothing, wall-eyed rage at less than a moment’s notice—had no place on a rocket ship of this size and import. If I was going to gallivant about the Universe representing humanity, spreading peace and democracy, and all that rot, I had to learn how to behave more like a human and less like a squirrel/baboon that had been accidentally sewn up inside a human suit, handed the controls to a 3,250-meter spaceship, and told to fly it to the Bagel Nebula just this side of β Pic.

I suppose my reader is suddenly wondering who told me to fly off to the Bagel Nebula. So am I. Maybe this is just a bizarre plot hole in the otherwise entirely consistent story of my life. No one will ever know.

Briefcase! Gatorade!!

I slept again, this time dreaming of a thing even stranger than eyeless potatoes and diaeresisless Chloe Moretzes. A darkened room that was ultimately revealed to be a bathroom contained a horde of dour, wrathful clowns. Obscure light permeated the dream, a dim light so thick I could hear its presence. The clowns all got up at once, did their business on the one, single, fractal toilet in the center of the room, and… well, not since Saint Jarlath founded a monastery at Cloonfush had I seen so many clowns flush.

I awoke screaming of drowning in a fetid torrent of swirling, clownish H2O. Indeed something was drawing me deeper and deeper into the depths of teranoötic chaos. But what was it… and how many tentacles did it have?

Three days and three horrible, mind-bending dreams later, I was zipping through a trinary star system as yet unnamed by humanity (although those of the squirrel kingdom are known to emit a long series of chirping noises when describing it), when I accidentally picked up a hitchhiker. It was a fungous being of some sort, of a color not previously known to humanity either (although those of the squirrel kingdom describe the color as “chchch-chrrrh-chhchhrhrh-green-chrrchrrh”). My fungoid hitchhiker proceeded to kill off the remainder of my gnomely lackeys and henchmen (but not my minions), in a most gruesome and gooey manner… which was actually cause for celebration, as gnomes are known to emit the most long and annoying series of chirping noises when they go without any gnome feed for more than sixteen hundred moments, and I do so hate long series of chirping noises being made in my Pnårply presence.

Now I knew what had been affecting my noödermis. It wasn’t a trap, but a glorious, glorious gift from caT.

I partied and partied as the gnomey little corpses of my ex-henchmen and ex-lackeys moldered and decayed right in front of me, first enveloped in pulsing, throbbing tentacles of a most suggestive and obscene nature, squished slowly, and then left to be devoured by the spores left behind by the alien hitchhiker. My surviving minions continued to chirp and chirp in alarm as fungal tendrils wrapped their cages, bent bars, squeezed through, and threatened to consume each and every one of the peeping gnomes within. And then I discovered, much to my never-ending joy, that my eldritch, fungal hitchhiker, was not only possessed of an impossible color, but was indeed as telenoötic as a humperdumperdink, if not more so: All I had to do was think at it about swallowing up another gnome, and within moments, another gnome was indeed enveloped in gooey, writhing, tentacly fungus. Chomp, chomp, squish, squish, you little buggers!

I allowed one cross-eyed little minion to survive: If something went wrong on my magic rocket ride to the Bagel Nebula, I wanted someone around whom I could blame… or possibly sacrifice to the six-armed, twelve-legged natives that I expected to find inhabiting the nebula’s outer planets. (Yes, nebulas have planets. You didn’t know?)

It suddenly popped—plop!—into my head that β Pictoris was 63.4±0.1 light years from our (stinky) solar system—but that didn’t matter right now: The Bagel Nebula was only 9½ light years away, and my rocket ship could traverse a whole light year in under 818⅛ moments. So I went back to contemplating Georges Lemaître and his Technicolor Big Bang theory. I wished I had a hat to wear over the letters in my name, instead of that little, spingly-bongly ring that I wore on my A. And I wondered why he was plural.

I tried not being a six-foot-tall man–squirrel the next day. But I failed. That day slowly passed.

I yawned. “Goose dander!” I swore. I didn’t want to sleep again, but my Pnårpy body had once again gotten this idea in its fool head that it was “tired” and started demanding I sleep at flunce. I tried punching my body in its head several times, which hurt like hecklegroober, but that didn’t wake me back up. I yawned again.

My moldy, slimy, and tentacly hitchhiker enveloped my last surviving minion. (His name was Þegn Ûrðarl the Gnomely. I think my hitchhiker’s name was Blorb.) I went to sleep. That last surviving minion proved to be an excellent and tasty snack for Blorb, and so Blorb rewarded me for the filling meal by telenoötically filling my mind with the most salicious and lubricious images of Alyssa Milano, barefoot and green as an alien slavegirl, riding atop a giant, tentacled mushroom. Moldy bagels filled the background—bagels with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, poopy seeds, onions, garlic, blueberries, cranberries, nurpberries, crawberries, gooseberries, duckberries, chickenberries, green mold, blue mold, black mold, yellow mold, orange mold, moldy oranges, and everything else. So-called “everything” bagels fell from the sky, topped with such unusual toppings as horsefeathers, flunkery, thermometers, crimson-green mold, and socks people lose in the laundry. Alyssa caught the bagels with her toes as she danced her golden dance.

Ī slept well yt night. My skin contemplated. And my rocket ship continued sailing through ye æther, ye Bagel Nebula at ye of its journey.  ◊