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The long, greasy road

Lubed up on July 3, 2022.

Today was day 161 of my entirely pepperoni-based diet. After my internal organs had decided to go on strike once again, it would be my last.

Eleven years ago they had done the same, that time after only a week of nonstop pepperonity. This time, they tolerated my greasy shenanigans for 161 days—they were far more cynical and jaded, I surmised, far more accepting of what it meant to be my internal organs. But all good things must come to an end, and even internal organs have their limits. In the dead of night they fled, and I awoke to find my goaty frame a shell of its former self. I was downright hollow inside.

My main fear now was that, try as I might, I would not be able to coax them back into place. (Well, my “main fear” after all the other fears—like spiders, and fingernail warts, and capybaras, and codpieces made out of pins and needles. And gnomes. Oh, doG yes, gnomes. Gnomes, gnomes, gnomes…)

It had been a long, greasy road getting to where I was now. I sighed, deflated, and considered just lying in bed until the mold took me. But then I looked on the bright side: With no kidneys, at least I wouldn’t be woken up in the middle of the night anymore needing to pee! And with no liver, my desire to consume vast quantities of alcohol and antifreeze could finally be satisfied!

I immediately leapt out of bed and downed an entire jug of antifreeze. To Hell with you, liver! Nuts to you, kidneys!

Then I looked down and shrieked in horror when I realized those were gone, too.

Production, staging. Prod, stag. My IT Morlocks, maintaining both of these versions of my wobsite (along with bags full of gnome beards to feed to the Ethernet gremlins so the ports wouldn’t get all blocked up), called them this. But a question remained which they wouldn’t answer: Prod a stag? With what?

A fishmonger rolled through town this week, and since I was no longer on my omnipepperonial diet, I decided I wanted some fish—my freezer stuffed to the gills with frozen fish notwithstanding. One can never have enough dead fish. But my reputation preceded me and the fishmonger wouldn’t deal: He knew all about my altercations with the medal peddler and the duck broker, so he wouldn’t mong any fish to me. I went home empty-handed and called upon the vengeful Owl Gods to descend from their owlish thrones in the trees and peck his eyes out. As always my imprecations proved fruitless—as did my visit to the costermongery for some fresh fruit. I went home fishless and fruitless.

Coming off my pepperoni diet was proving to be an arduous experience!

Home again, home again, zigazig… ah! As I entered my kitchen, I grabbed the bottle of antifreeze from the fridge and chugged it down. Still my liver was giving me the cold shoulder, so I thought, why not? My previous ritual, carried out with gusto and glee each time I arrived home for the past 161 days, frantically scurrying to the kitchen and stuffing at least a third of a pound of pepperoni in my cheeks and down my throat, was now as obsolete as a Windows 98 CD—so I needed to establish a novel and equally bizarre home-sweet-homing sacrament to perform with equally chipmunk-like solemnity. Chugging down a tankard of smooth, refreshing ethylene glycol fit the bill.

Thinking of “bills” made me remember I still owed a visit to that Finnish fishbootmonger over a fishy €717 bill. It also made me think of ducks so I started quacking polyphonically again.

I eventually calmed down and waddled over to the freezer to fetch myself some frozen fish. Dodging gnome after gnome, remembering to avoid the cabinet-dwelling skeezle-wumpus, and briefly considering how I would cook my frozen fish—in the oven, on the stovetop, or not at all—I finally arrived at the freezer. With only three broken bones, a sprained bellybutton, and a bent cornea, I considered the 15′ journey a rousing success. I gripped the door handle and swung it open.

My eyebulbs swelled. The freezer was empty.

It was as if an occult hand had plunged itself into my freezer and stolen all of my frozen fish.

I started flapping. Screeching and flapping. Keening, screeching, and flapping. Someone had stolen all my fish. Someone had stolen all my fish! Every fish, fish product, and fish-like product the local Spend-O-Mart had sold me four months ago was gone. The white fish and oily fish had oozed away. The cod and scrod had scrammed. The sunfish and starfish had set. The catfish and dogfish had meowed and barked their last. I was fish headless, fish gutless, and fish tailless. In the corner of the empty freezer, there sat a single fish scale—and an IOU on a tiny Post-It note next to it, signed in a tiny gnomish hand. I wailed. I floundered. I made long, dolorous whale noises until the neighbors started throwing things at my windows.

Then I realized I had earlier mistaken a bottle of Mountain Dew for a bottle of antifreeze. Now I knew I would surely die.

The next day was looking up. After insufflating enough St. Jeb’s Wort to cure not only my depression, but my mania, dementia, anosmia, and ageusia, everything was looking up. Even the cryptocurrency scam I was running in my spare time was back up! I ran out into my front yard in pure, manic glee and began belting out that old Three Fat Fish hit “Pepperoni Jelly Time!” until I was blue and greasy in the face. No longer demented, noseless, nor gooseless, nothing would deter me now. Predictably, neighbors stopped and stared. Off in the distance, a dog honked and cars barked. I continued my bubbly warbling and exultant crooning—whooping triumphantly each time another missile hit one of my windows. “Hah, missed me! Missed me, missed me, missed me!”

Hours later, right as I was finishing up stitching some tarpaper over a new cranial skylight, I discovered I was hungry again. Being fishless and also swearing off pepperoni for the remainder of my Pnårpy life (or at least the next 23¼ hours), I had some decidin’ to do!

A newsletter from recently informed me of fifteen exciting new uses for silica gel desiccant packets. Indeed mine had been piling up for months now and I had no idea what to do with them—but coming off my pepperoni diet solved this problem, too. Thanks, Fark, but no thanks!

But at the moment I was all out of silica gel, and the silica strewn all about the local beach, in grain and granule form, made a poor substitute. I had already been chased off by the life guards once. So I nixed silica of any kind from my list. I briefly considered a diet of worms. Tigernach of Clones and even Ole Worm himself had advised against this, warning that after a week or two it would turn out to be as much of a failure as the one in 1521. I nixed this too.

Roast wainscoting was right out, as mine had all been purloined a month ago. My attic was stuffed to the gills with rotting fish of unknown provenance, which I blamed either on a manic episode of freezer-cleaning I forgot about—or perhaps the zebras who moved in next door after a meteor struck Gnaddeus Underdong McDoggerel Kleinbutt and gave him his own cranial skylight and a free, one-way ticket to northern California.

I decided upon a trip to a store such as the Spend-O-Mart, which could possibly sell me some actual food. “And we’re off, like a herd of turtles!” I announced as I settled into my Trabant’s driver’s seat, tied the door shut, taped the steering wheel back into position, and tried to turn the key. Then I remembered why I needed those bicycle pedals so badly from that medal peddler. My mania slowly descended back down into a depressive funk; I slunk back into my house and contemplated eating a skunk. At least it would rhyme.

And so it was: 161 days of nonstop pepperoni-gorging, followed by my house becoming a veritable food desert—except for the delicious antifreeze, horribly toxic Mountain Dew, and foully fermenting fish dripping through my bedroom ceiling panels. I decided to eat a car battery. Now I knew I would surely die.

That “161” put me in mind of my precious, big, pointy number,, and the weird little network service that serviced it—serving up little tidbits of data about my docile & perfunctory blog to the slavering masses (that is, you). My IT Morlocks assured me that my cessation of nonstop pepperoni noshing would not impact this “port 161” in any way, so I was at ease.

P.S.: My organs never came back. But then again—they never left.