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As kudzu crept up her ankles

Encircled on August 13, 2006.

Haldûrburðgar, release me from your gnomely servants! I shall never trouble your island, your dear New Gardegnomia, again! Please, please, release me from your gnomish hordes!! I shouted Monday morning, into the sky, as I picked barnacles from my claws and sailed Alyssa Milano’s Feet in strict parallelograms about the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Aden. Suddenly, and without warning or very much sprongling, Haldûrburðgar appeared beside me in a puff of bamboozled smoke and invidious pyrotechnics.

I pawed the air with fury, fright, and a bit of constipation.

Haldûrburðgar smiled his gnomey smile at me, his eyes twinkling salubriously. He answered, “If I make them go away, dear boy, will you promise me that you will never, never ever, not in a vigintillion years, visit New Gardegnomia again?”

“Why would I!?” I whined, throwing my arms wide and facing the Carpathian mountains. The mountains stared back at me balefully from across the Arabian peninsula. I flinched.

“And will you solemnly promise never to even think about going anywhere near North—or South—Lawgnomia either?” he continued, his beard quivering as lice fell from it to the deck plate of my dear, dear Alyssa Milano’s Feet. I nodded, bobbling my head up and down like a chipmunk on PCP, squealing so shrilly that only Yappie, my faithful yapping hound, could actually hear my utterances.

“—What about Nome, Alaska!?” he blurted whackishly. I blorpled a negatory, not letting him catch me off guard. He nodded smugly. I elicited a small bongle infibulously as he flaced back and forth, intending and distending his thoughts through his fingers. Off in the distance, a schtumpfenbeast fortengled dolefully.

Aaaaand will you promise to screw a pheasant every day—or, the mighty Gnome god Æþaldur willing, Regina Maria-Theresia Louisa Ilsa Ollanthorpe’s daughter’s pet geese, if pheasants are scarce—so long as you live?” he sniggered, niggardly.

“With pleasure! I howled to the four winds and the four elements (the fifth one smells). I pined for Regina herself, but her daughter’s pet geese would do frabjously. I added, “…Muuurp??”

He nodded sagely, comprehending my gesticulations and mastications. “Okay, dear boy—they’re gone.” With a loud poof, a sudden whirring noise like the sound of a polymerized tern crashing to the ground alongside stony Baffin Bay, followed by a kerplunk! that sounded lifted from an old WWII-era codebook, every single gnome—except old Haldûrburðgar—disappeared. I looked around, my pores slowly ceasing to slither lithe porcupines.

“Haldûrburðgar…?” I muttered, shaking from head to toe, wearing nothing more than an inflatable tarpaulin and a tarmac tarp on my back. Tarpe diem,” old Mamårp used to say. My shoes wiggled under their own power. The sudden silence aboard Alyssa Milano’s Feet was stunning, chilling. It was downright pre-Cambrian in nature. “Why… w-why do these gnomes h-haunt me so?”

“Why do you think they haunt you?” a familiar voice called out from behind me. As I spun about, my eyes widening and sliding up into my forehead, I saw that Regina Maria-Theresia Louisa Ilsa Ollanthorpe, Countess-Prelate von Sträsmussenbörg, stood on the deck of Alyssa Milano’s Feet—with her daughter, grinning, next to her. They had appeared there as suddenly as Haldûrburðgar himself. “Why, because you’re stark raving mad—that’s why, dear Phillip.”

Her daughter giggled as tentacles of kudzu (uh oh…) crept up her ankles, reminding me of Japanese fetishes and my trip to the wall gong exhibition in Wollongong. My brain tightened; my eyes boggled and exploded from their sockets like over-ripened stinkenberries. Haldûrburðgar chose that moment to poof out of existence, smiling from ear to hoary ear. The Countess-Prelate’s daughter went below with nary a word, only an awful lot of creeping kudzu entwining itself around her.

Regina and I had a lot of sex right there on Alyssa Milano’s Feet. It was the best lot of anything I had ever had.