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The ÅSS Goose from the Machine

Bageled on July 22, 2012.

The ÅSS Goose from the Machine slid silently through the last light year of æther between me and my destination: The Bagel Nebula, a nebula shaped rather like a bagel. There was no doubt in my Pnårpy bosom that God had a blueberry-and-everything bagel in His infinite mind when He designed this nebula, all right: The nebula was the color and texture of scrumptious baked bread and was mottled with small blots of darker matter reminiscent of poppy seeds, and behind it all, shining through it, was a star cluster composed of dozens of bright, blue-white stars that looked like nothing more than brilliantly blazing blueberries. I got hungry just looking at the whole thing.

And, in less than 818⅛ ANSI standard moments, I and my trusty, gnome-built rocket ship would arrive at the outskirts of the Bagel Nebula at last. I would make my home there, my final repose, and I would live out the rest of my Pnårpy days there devouring nothing but blueberry-and-everything bagels—every day, day and night, and no fewer than six times per day. The nebula itself was over 818⅛ light minutes across, so it would have no trouble providing even a thousand Pnårps with a million daily bagels for a billion years. Therefore, I concluded that my goal of six bagels per day was rather modest and easily achievable.

The ANSI standard moment-counter continued clicking out the moments. I sat down in my throne-like captain’s chair and surveyed all the blinking, beeping, chirping, chirrupping, and whirring status monitors on the console in front of my eyebulbs. 24.1 °C at 37%—the perfect temperature and humidity levels for six-foot-tall man–squirrels such as myself. O2 levels were at 81.8%, which explained why my hair kept catching on fire. And the air pressure was holding at a perfect 1,024 hPa. I wasn’t sure what a “hectopascal” was, but all these dials, gauges, monitors, and readouts made my gnome-built rocket ship look all professional and cool and stuff, so I was satisfied.

I leaned back in my captain’s throne and smarmed a bit, steepling my fingers and grinning from eye to eye. Úuxmal had done a fine job repairing the damage that my rocket ship had sustained from making love to that micro-meteoroid. Maybe psychedelic gnutes from another brane were useful after all.

And in honor of my mad, blivening escape from Queen Hr’nk’rrg’ngeee’hngki and her golden goose horde, I had finally given my grand ship a name: The Goose from the Machine. It seemed like an appropriate name.

Time passed. My teranoötic mind wandered to and fro. I would have dozed, but I wasn’t tired. I should have noshed, but I wasn’t hungry. I could have fapped, but… I had left behind on Earth every single <m>TV Guide</m> that had Alyssa Milano on the cover. Becoming ever more bored (or, “bored’ning” as my grandpooty used to say) staring at the console and the slowly approaching Bagel Nebula, I went rummaging through my ship’s library (Did I forget to say my ship has a library?) until I found something perpeleptic to read. Turning to page 276 of Flatulence Jokes for Every Occasion, I started giggling like a prepubescent, prehensile teenager: I had found the perfect joke for my meeting next month with the governor!

After some time, I did become hungry, so I did nosh. I noshed and I noshed, on the most odiously malodorous flobcumber cakes that I could find in my ship’s stores. (Did I forget to say my ship has a store?) And then I did become tired, so I did doze. I dozed and I dozed, and I dreamed about the supererogatory pincushions and ill-devised nightcaps that are offered for sale by a blind man. An ungrulious man he was, mad as a hatter and just as eyeless, and he pulled a hat pin from the selfsame pincushion and chased Mr. Van der Woobie down a broad avenue—chased him with rhodomontade and braggadocio—so he could stick ol’ Woobo as hard as he could with the hat pin. As this surreal and madcap scene unfolded, I was busy alongside the road sculpting a bust of myself out of butter, while also planning my new career as a cake baker at Szczerbaczewicz & Smith’s Cakery Bakery on Swithenby Street. And as I was butter-sculpting—butter-sculpting and career-planning—Mr. Van der Woobie came running right up to me, frothing with fright and entrouade, and told me: “Niz-bubbit! Bubb-nizzit! Nar-Bibbly the Moon Rock! A nut-bubbet! A-bubba-nubbitt! Nizniz! Nizgidget! Nizgidge Ridge!”

“Exactly how naked is a jaybird?” I retorted after absorbing Mr. Van der Woobie’s words. He didn’t have an answer to my retort; instead he merely melted back below the low horizon and died, along with the ungrulious blind man and his semiautomatic hat pin. Ol’ Woobo dies a lot in the end, I realized just then. And still, eyeless potatoes watched me ominously from beyond that same low horizon. Still they watched me, and planned: They planned to avenge their fallen brethren who had died so that I might be able to eat French fries for 81.8⅛ days without cease.

“Moths enjoy water,” I continued while pouring so much orange juice into a glass that I nearly drowned in it. “I should get these moths some water.” I got the moths some water. I then marveled at the massive difference in value between 1.4½±0.52 and (1.4½±0.5)2, and wondered why it was so. Maths had always unnerpated my addled pate, even more than moths.

Mooments later, my dream segued into more yiff than even Jay Naylor and Doug Winger combined could ever hope to pinch out. Mercifully, the eldritch, furry dream ended moments later with me blasting SIM cards out my anus while belting out “Felony Cockrazor” by Murderdeathcock. I surmised that such symmetrical expulsions were good ways to end most anything. The noise was indeed horrendous; the blasting alone was like nothing other than the sound of dozens upon dozens of cadavers thudding and thunking along the metallic outer hull of a space-going vessel. And the genocide metal music blasting out my other large orifice was beyond any description that didn’t employ the colorful phrase “ear, nose, and throat gang-rape” in at least six separate paragraphs.

I croinked awake from my dozery-dreamery with a start… a yerk… and even—dare I say it!—a pinneous, dargible glipfmaffen-dorkheimer-geflugt. The Murderdeathcacophony had faded upon waking, but the sickening thuds and thunks upon the hull continued to ring in my ears: That sound was real. I bounced frippously out of bed, nigh onto panic, and bolted to the Goose from the Machine’s bridge to see what was the matter. Images of flammerous ecclesiometry or even fapacious, fruppious goonspoonking pitter-pattered through my labyrinthine, plastithine brain.

Bounding over the hatch coaming leading to the bridge, I eyed all my dials, gauges, monitors, and readouts with my beadiest glare. If the Goose had been built 150,000 years ago, I’m sure she would have come with a highly accurate DRADIS. As it was, all she had for proximity sensing was a makeshift SONAR which my lackeys, henchmen, and minions had cobbled together from the severed ears and throats of 150,000 fruit bats… and only now did I find out that sound doesn’t travel very well through the æther of outer space. So, I was pretty much flying blind at this point. I had to find a window.

“Did any of my lackeys, henchmen, or minions remember to put any windows in this butT-forsaken ship?” I wonderbuttered aloud as I rose from my captain’s throne. I scurried (squirrel-like) from corridor to corridor, cabin to cabin, fore to aft, port to starboard, mess hall to sick bay, trying to find a single window. Despair and panic rose steadily in my Pnårpy bosom with each unsuccessful scurrying-into. The thudding and thunking sounds continued along the length of my gnome-built rocket ship; it became obvious that I was scurrying to no avail. There wasn’t a single window anywhere to be found.

Faster-than-light travel. Artificial gravity. All the trappings of even the hokiest sci-fi brought to real life by my crack team of lackeys, henchmen, and minions. Yep, we had that. But a single sheet of plain old SiO2-based glass embedded in the hull so I could peep my Pnårpy eyes out and see what was going on out there? Nope, none of that. None at all.

I decided then and there that I would have to fire my whole gaggle of minions, henchmen, and lackeys when this expedition was over. Then I recalled that I had already slain them all, so I resolved instead to slay them twice. Squarish head hanging, shoulders drooping, and crests fallen to an all-time low, I shuffled back to the Goose’s bridge to pray to doG, caT, and even mousE that the sickening thudding and thunking along my ship’s hull wouldn’t be the death of me.

Returning to the bridge, I remembered the entire forward section of the room was one massive window out into space. I chuckled weakly. This wasn’t as embarrassing as that time I confused the word “paramedic” with “paruretic”, but it was close. I looked outside.

The sight that splattered against my retinas was incomprehensible. Terms such as “otherworldly,” “suppurthine,” and even “clownbuttishly mippinippish” didn’t even come close to what I was seeing—and what I was seeing probably didn’t even come close to the bizarrery that was going on outside the ÅSS Goose from the Machine.

Streams of fimbriated men—what must have actually been fimbriated corpses as a result of the terrible vacuum of space—flowed toward my ship, unendingly. There were thousands of them, all sable, and all fimbriated gules and argent and azure and Or. The corpse-flow was split into seven different spiraling streams, all spurging forth from a single point somewhere hundreds of light-smoots ahead, twisting around the ship in a dreadful, septupular helix of death and despair.

I backed slowly away, mipping meekly, turned 360°, and moonwalked off my ship’s bridge faster than the lights blink on your DSL modem. I was beginning to understand how and why those 946 fimbriated men had visited me in my dreams and died all over the place last October. As I retreated down the corridor, a question came to mind: Exactly how many objects in the world could be confused with Jada Fire’s big, black, round buttocks? Did they come on a cone? Did she? Before I could develop an answer, a sudden, much louder thud thudded along the hull a mere smidge from where I was moonwalking. The wall to my left buckled and suddenly my precious oxygen (and every other gas infesting the air in here) started streaming out through a fissure in the hull. That must have been one big, fat fimbriated corpse! I gripped the deck plating with my prehensile toes, hanging on for dearest life. I knew that I had to fix the breach, lest I die again out here—and dying was becoming such a pain in my tookus.

But I knew just what to do: I was all over it like white on rice. As the fimbriated men continued to thud and thunk and even thrud along my ship’s hull, I knew exactly what was called for to seal the breach: “No, Thudley! Not Thudley!” I shouted at the rip in the wall. “Thud, thud, thunk, and thud! Thud, thrud, thunk, and ngggrrrudd!! But not Thudley!!

Suddenly the breach closed, seemingly on its own, the metal straightening out and smoothing right before my very eyes. It didn’t make any sense and it didn’t have to. Maybe Strahazazhia Kalamazoo-Kintaki-Meeps was smiling on my today, or maybe my shimmering, gnutey friend Úuxmal had helped me once again without harming me worse while doing so. Or maybe, on a starship with a name like this one had, credible plot resolution wasn’t even necessary anymore. All that mattered was that I would live to piffle and babble another day. I might even be able to ŋiffle a bit. I trotted back up toward the bridge, moonwalking the whole way.

I was fewer than ten moonsteps down the corridor when the fissure ripped itself open again. Gorgontillions of helpless O2 and N2 and C8H7N molecules started whizzing out into the cold vacuum of space once again, freezing their little electron shells off before they even knew what hit them.

Απο μηχανης θεος! I swore mightily in Greek.

But I knew just what to do: I was all over it like blue on cheese. I had another plan! I pulled out the biggest, stickiest roll of duck tape that I kept in my pocket for just these kinds of emergencies, and started taping over the rip in the corridor wall as fast as I could. I taped and I taped, and I taped some more, and just when I thought it wouldn’t hold… it did.

I took two steps back. I watched it. I waited. I ŋiffled in relief. I had to pee. The endless thudding (and thunking and thrudding) along the dorsal section of the Goose continued unabated, but from down here in this corridor the sounds were nothing more than a muffled annoyance. Let the fimbriated corpses thud… and thunk… and thrud.

With a shlurpk! that rang out like Jada going down on a horse, the duck tape was suddenly sucked right through the breach. (“Blown through,” Mookey corrected me while Shnarkey sang a hitlery tune. I punched my head.) At least I had a new respect for what 1,024 hectopascals really entailed.

Tabernac! In honor of those fallen French fries, I switched to Québécois. “Pasternak and tabernac!

But I knew just what to do: I was all over it like green on bread. I pulled out the biggest, honkiest roll of goose tape that I kept in my pocket for just these kinds of emergencies, and started taping over and over the rip in the corridor wall as fast as I could. I taped and I taped, and I taped some more… and then I even taped some moar. And it held. It honked, and it tried to pinch me with its delightfully orange bill, but it held.

I sighed the Great Sigh of Relief, found the nearest ramrod, and stuffed my heart back down my throat.

Of course, Fate being the cruel dominatrix that She is, my tribulations were far from over. Right then, a deafening thud boomed through my starship, shaking the deck plates and my very bones; the Goose lurched and spun like a spinning leek. Slowly I noticed the gravity was pulling in the wrong direction. Did she strike an even more morbidly obese fimbriated cadaver? Or were the hazelnuts massing for another attack of hazelnuttery again?

Tabernac!! Pasternak and pataki and tabernac!!

I skittled back to the Goose’s bridge, my moonwalkin’ days far behind me. Every indicator was blinking urgently, dials were spinning, alarms were shrieking, and klaxons were klaxxing. Out in front of the ship—above her, for she was upside-down relative to the hideous object looming ahead—there appeared to be an entire planet made out of nothing other than the corpses of fimbriated men, women, and children. A writhing black ball the size of a small planet, it was: Millions upon millions of anonymous cadavers dressed in five-piece business suits. Millions upon millions of neckties waved up from the surface like the tentacles of hideous goose–things. From a single point along the midsection of the mass a fountain of fimbriation blasted into space, coalescing into seven different helical streams of fimbriated death and despair, spiraling out in the direction of my (stinky) home planet. The mystery of those 946 fimbriated corpses was solved at last.

The hoopadoopalous image continued to swell in front of me. The Goose’s forward thrusters pushed as hard as they could, to no avail. She was trapped in the fimbriated planet’s gravity well. Suddenly my bladder wasn’t nearly as swollen as it had been.

I meeped and crumpled into a shivering, boneless heap on the deck. There was no helping it: The ÅSS Goose from the Machine was going down, again—this time onto a dark, writhing mass made entirely out of the besuited corpses of the fimbriated among us. I regained my composure and clambered, clamb-like, back to my captain’s chair and strapped my butt in. Fortunately my butt restraints were still working.

<m>Life</m> magazine flashed before my eyes… followed by my own life. I remembered that this past Thrudsday had been the seven-year anniversary of my meeting Ravna Olegg-Thorssondóttir, my hoosie-fessed, raven-haired, little skeetch-truncheon with the delicate toes and porcelain soles. She even had very nice feet back then, and as soon as we had met she had even shown me her Jørgenssen Trooble! She kept it in an isosceles valise very much like my own, I remembered. It was love at first sight.

Other memories wormed their way out of my moldy gray matter. “Be not a baker if your head be made of butter,” my dear old Mamårp had once told me when I was seven. But my head was made of margarine, I had protested. And my head was still made of margarine, so I was sure that my dreamy new career choice as a cake baker for Szczerbaczewicz & Smith’s Cakery Bakery would be safe. Alas it didn’t matter now, for I was soon to meet my Maker when the Goose slammed into the fimbriated planet at 818⅛ miles per hour.

The black, pinstriped ground came up and filled my view, and—