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And the neckties writhed

Spiraled around July 29, 2012.

1,207,567,339 pieces of glass, wood, and steel lay strewn about me on the undulating surface of this rock. Beneath me the soil roiled, black and pinstriped. I looked up; a starry sky looked down on me, and the stars screamed. Moments passed—perhaps an even 818⅛ of them; I wasn’t sure and had no way of telling. I lay there upon the urpsuline soil, as thin, dark objects mivulated and retispulated up from the earth, all around me, like ebony tentacles. I hadn’t a clue where I was or why I was where I was—wherever that was—or for what purpose I was where I was, or to what end, or wherefore, or why the stars howled furiously down upon me. Here supine upon my back in this place, my humperdumperdinky teranoösis allowed me only to peek into higher dimensions; within the three paltry dimensions that most of us inhabit on a day-to-day basis, only my bulbous vision functioned—and not even well to boot.

Making matters worse (matters are always made worse for me), my block-shaped head couldn’t turn in any direction, so all I could glimpse were dozens of blue-white points blazing down through the hazy sky, each and every one of them screaming—yowling like long-necked hakken-krakks—and filled with wrath. Twisting helices made of dark things streamed up from the soil all around me, at least seven of them, spiraling off into the haze and æther beyond. I had known what those were, and where this was, but I knew no longer. My brain resisted any attempts to recollect anything that had happened before I ended up here in this place—right here on my supernumerary buttocks. Amnesia and anoöia washed over me like a gentle, cleansing breeze. I murped a little.

My gnome-built rocket ship, the glorious ÅSS Goose from the Machine, lay in 1,207,567,339 pieces around me. The pieces were on fire. I closed my eyebulbs and withdrew into my own private universe. This one had nothing to offer me anymore.

A skeletal, black dog skulked back and forth in the shadows. It was enormous, yet I couldn’t tell if it was a mastiff, or maybe a Doberman, or maybe even a Chihuahua. I knew that the murky shadows were entirely in my mind, but that didn’t make the umbriated dog any less real. The air was hotter than a popcorn fart and twice as malodorous, too (stinky!). The helical emanations twisting and exuding around me were more beautiful than the Borromean ring of neutrons surrounding a 11Li nucleus—but what were they? And why did the curious phrase “barry of eight gules and argent impaling gules” keep reverberating back and forth in my unnerpated, underworn, overwrought little mind?

Gorplious glipfs and gynoriented glorpf-snakes glammered glyphously into my glorged and glivvening glial cells and gooeious ganglia. I granched. “This is who we are.” “We’re not who we are. We’re not who we are. It goes no further than this.” “Always avoid alliteration.” “Avoid clichés like the plague.” “Don’t anthropomorphize objects—they hate that.” “She spoils the taste of one’s muffin by questions of metaphysics.” “Hypoglycemia and digititis have no sway over me.” “Guilt doesn’t solve anything, really.” Mlaaaw! mlaaaw!!

I grimped, but it didn’t let up. “Why did the chicken cross the road?” “Because that tree that no one was around to hear almost fell on its head!” Guffaws rang out from the diffuse shadows. Even the black Dobermasthuahua laughed, low and dolorous. Mookey repeated the girreous two-liner in a voice approximating Gilbert Gottfried and g’brought down the house.

I wanted to go g’donning in Gdańsk, but my g’diggit was g’dirty.

I raised a hand to silence the voices pinging around inside my cranium. Their ruminations and insquiddiations were about as productive as cataloguing how many nebulas in the Milky Way are shaped like an anal sphincter, so I demanded they cease. I then put all my effort toward the immense task of standing up. I couldn’t stand up… something was pinning me down. I couldn’t stand up… yet the energy that my efforts had mustered must go somewhere, I squealized, and if not up…

I groaned, wide-eyebulbed. Not again! I tried not to deprotonate. I really, really tried—but I failed. Soon I found myself split into myriad NH4+ and OH- radicals, each ionized part of me doing a lively electric dance with the rest of me. My pH rose and I began to stink like old cat pee. After an electron-frothing panic that nearly sent all my anions careening away into space, I stopped exerting myself and at last regained my composure. Not a moment too soon I returned to my ground state.

“The fimbriated men! A whole planet of fimbriated corpses!” I quirled aloud, lipt and lapt at the same morphugt. Memory returned like a turgid, raging bull crashing through a china shop in search of a cow to schtupp. The amnesia jumped over the Moon—it was gone. Noösis returned! Somehow ionizing and deionizing myself had kick-started my huppalupthine memory engrams into elebesterous functionality agriffer.

And then, breaking me out of my reverie, the haze around my head shimmered, sparkling, and suddenly there he was: Úuxmal. My old nemesis, my old buddy, my old enemy, my old pal. But… I eyebulbed him curiously. Something was different. Some things were different. Was he a different color? A different shade, a different tint, a different tone? Did such things even have meaning for 26-dimensional, supersymmetric, anthropomorphic reptiles? Did he have more scales? Can one even count the scales on the body of a fractal lizard? I tried to focus the ridiculous gelatinous orbs in my skull, but focus wouldn’t come. My worries only deepened as I stared: Now I wasn’t even sure if he were a goat-in-waiting or a spider monkey with a beret on his bare buttocks. But of one thing I was certain: This gnute wasn’t Úuxmal.

The gnute gave a winsome grin. I lost some.

“Gra…” I looked around for my bottle of Anal Essentials® buttwash, which I had taken with me on my trip to the Bagel Nebula. Buttwash had served me well in the past; certainly a single squirt would vanquish this new foe just as handily as it had dispatched Captain Pinnfarb the Knib-Knob Gnome two hoary years ago! I looked to the left—I looked to the right. Surely the bottle was here, intact, amongst the other 1,207,567,339 chunks of debris from my unreliable rocket ship! Nothing can destroy a bottle of buttwash!

The gnute watched as I squirmbled and pimbled around, unable to turn my head but trying nonetheless. Suddenly it came to me: This gnute’s name was Dóorxmal, and he was from an even higher brane of existence than the one whence Úuxmal hailed. Did that make him more powerful or simply more sinister? Suddenly I wanted some lemons. Some really, really sour lemons.

“Oh, what a dilemma this is! What a trilemma!” I wanted lemons but all I had was lemmings. I glared at the gnute. He grinned his registered-trademarked Cheshire Cat grin; the lemmings all vanished in a furry puff of phlogiston and dords. I found myself now sitting upright, atop a pile of bright yellow lemons six storeys high. Below me, far below, the black, besuited ground roiled and the neckties writhed. Dóorxmal floated up and eyed me nose-to-nose again.

Øvn Nilsndot had been Straumli Realm’s champion trael runner. Now he was just a fimbriated cadaver six-hundred corpses beneath the surface of this caT-forsaken planetoid. I duddied morosely.

“Are you just going to float there, you gnutey thing?!” I wailed at Dóorxmal. “Am I doomed to forever suffer at the hands of Fate like this, unceasingly harried and assailed by you gnutey… gnutey things?! All I had wanted were some bagels!! I keened like a little girl realizing that McDonald’s was all out of Happy Meals and all mom had at home was can after can of string beans and Brussels sprouts. All I had wanted was to fly in a gnome-built rocket ship to the Bagel Nebula (just a few degrees west of β Pictoris and a hell of a lot of light years closer) and nosh upon bagels for the rest of my Pnårpy days. So far my rocket ship had been destroyed twice—once in outer space and once upon this hellishly fimbriated corpse-planet—and I still hadn’t reached my bagely goal. What would happen next? Would my own nose turn on me and strangle me with my own nose hairs? Would I be buried in an avalanche of my own snowy dandruff? Would the blebs and blurps blimmering from my buttocks bork me to a brindle-boodling borfnagle? Would a 50′-tall Lucy Lawless stomp me flat under her muscular, bare feet? What… what… what fate would befall me next?

I wailed again, 2½ octaves higher, and retreated into my own zero-dimensional universe again.

The gnute opened his serpentine mouth. Even with my eyes closed I saw it. So he could speak after all. “Not to put too fine a point on it, but…” he began, then shoved a sharpened pencil in my eye. I was too beside myself with morgling grief and strident gervour to protest his eye-poppery. Dóorxmal continued: “There are an infinite number of ways of saying any one thing. However, there are exactly zero ways of saying ‘My! That’s a big butt you have!’ in English, did you know that?” That didn’t make any sense, and—coming from a 26-dimensional creature and all—it didn’t have to. I wondered if the derbfine and obolus men could have explained it more cogently, but that was neither here nor there now—especially when one is trapped on top of a pile of lemons sitting on a planetoid made out of fimbriated and besuited cadavers.

Their neckties writhed still.

Dóorxmal calmly went on to inform me that Sheet’-ká X’áat’l was the place to be this time of year; the Khaaxh’oos.hittaan had told him. But instead of going there, I had tried to make my way toward the Bagel Nebula, and now I was stranded in this ilgothesque place, floating in deep space, without so much as a slice of pepperoni (let alone a bagel!) to my ergous name. Dóorxmal grinned his smarmy, mergfilious grin. His blazep teeth nilted and sprorked. I couldn’t think of any real words to use in response to his oogoo-latooterous bouŋaloobery, so I made up some more. Dóorxmal ignored me and my fanciful words. He then asserted that the total volume of the nebula was 16Л(¼π) ly3, which seemed a rather hyperbolic claim to me. Off in the distance, the black dog played a rim shot.

My red-haired second cousin, 1⅛ times removed—the one with the great hoo-hahs and round little wah-wah—slinked into my goaty mind just then. I didn’t have time for such lubricious distractions, however: I had a lubricous gnute to retort at.

I just glared with both my eyebulbs. “Crunk you, Dóorxmal. Crunk you.”

“Should I go?” Dóorxmal asked in his singy-songy way, completely oblivious to how morch I fantootled him—or perhaps he relished the ugglabuttery I felt toward him. His scales rippled and broke out in Mandelbrot sets.

“Πεrhaps you should go!” I howlshouted, initially in Greek, but then falling back to English. I grallumphed and nordblorted more affirmatively than I ever had in my many lives, including my previous life in 1699 as a tossed salad. I even glorked and ŋiffled ŋaffously for added oomph (and poomph). Dóorxmal nodded sagely, not protesting, not even mocking, and vanished in a puff of hairdryers and dishwashers. I was alone again—gnuteless.

The wind picked up; the neckties rising up from the fimbriated corpses all began fluttering in the same direction. It must have meant something was coming, but I knew not what. 1,207,567,339 pieces of glass, wood, and steel lay strewn about me on the undulating surface of this rock. Beneath me the soil roiled, black and pinstriped. I looked up; a starry sky looked down on me, and the stars screamed. But now, awash in my teranoöia, I understood why this was all happening again.