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A crater full of Volvos

Hidden in ice for centuries on October 31, 2010.


Dying… freezing and sinking…

Sinking… freezing…

Armless, legless, and without a single working eyeball to my name, I finally sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean early this week. This quickly proved to be an even worse chapter in my ongoing watery predicament than what transpired last week, because I soon discovered that my Pnårpy little body was in dire need of something called “oxygen,” and the floor of the Atlantic is one of the least likely places to find any of this curious substance in gaseous, diatomic form!

On the other hand, the floor of the Atlantic is one of the best places to find gluefish—entire schools of gluefish—which made me happier than President Piggy-Man at a tax farm. I quickly formulated a new plan to save myself: Gluefish, as you may remember, stick to damn near everything, so, I concluded, if I inserted enough additional commas into this sentence, perhaps I could adhere myself to a gluefish or two, and then, if I were lucky, I would be able to coax them to swim to the surface, with yours truly in tow.

Unfortunately, this plan proved easier said than done, as I still had no arms to speak of, and attempting to catch gluefish in my ponderously large mouth, although amusing to observe, turned out to be nigh impossible.

It was then that an entire army of grizzly bear shock troops from Cape Suzette swam by—an ominous sign if there ever was one. Not since Pope John Paul II, in a particularly gnarly bout of senility, had beatified every resident of Weewahitchka, Florida whose name ended with the letter O, had I been so stupefactually flabbergasted. I had no time to worry about any of it, though: I had a life to preserve—my own!—and if a pack of grizzlies was about to invade and conquer the United Spates, there was nothing I could do. President Piggy-Man was on his own.

So, how to get myself out of this watery little pickle before my body realized it had run out of oxygen hours ago and should be dead by now? I pondered. I considered. I reflected. I hallucinated. But no good ideas were forthcoming—and other than perhaps attempting to induce a massive farting spree and propel myself to freedom atop a plume of flatulence, not even any bad ideas were forthcoming, either.

If only I had remembered to bring the tons of junk mail I’ve been receiving from the Julian Rhoodie reelection campaign—surely I could easily fashion a life raft out of all that paper, and even more easily inflate it with all that hot air!

If only I had remembered to bring Ravna or Loquisha along with me—surely their warm and supple feet could save me!

If only I had remembered to eat my spinach! (For I am Pnårpeye the Sailor Man…)

If only I were close to a stuffleupagus eyrie, or even Coraline’s Other Mother!

If only I hadn’t forgotten all about Hitler again!

If only I had some moths—lots of moths!

If only I—

Then, it struck me like a barrel of head lice dropped from a bald man’s earplane: A terrible idea. A horrible idea. Probably the worst idea I had ever had—at least since the last one, about a month ago, which had nearly resulted in wiping Harvard University from the face of the planet. This idea would be so stupendously bad, so intensely horrible, so infractaculously mordulous, that people everywhere would remember it for ages. And when, hundreds of years from now, anyone would dare to mention the giant glowing crater full of Volvos where Bobo, Mississippi used to be, they won’t be able to help adding, “And that there is all because of Phillip Norbert Årp’s terrible, terrible idea.”

I immediately set about laying the groundwork for what would hopefully, in a decade or two, result in my frozen corpse rising to the surface of the Atlantic and floating happily westward, where it would eventually wash ashore somewhere along the coast of the Grizzly Bear Empire (formerly the United Spates). Laying the groundwork was easy: First, I flopped onto my back—not a difficult task considering my armless and legless state—and began wallowing in the meter-deep slime coating the floor of the Atlantic, all the while hooting and burbling aloud in praise of the dying planktonic foraminifera that continuously rain down on the sea floor and make all this slimy, slimy slime possible. Next, I envisioned a sea of paper towels as far as the eye could see: Paper towels… towels, made of paper. That helped focus my mind on my final series of tasks: Panic, writhe around helplessly, despair, accept my fate, and finally simultaneously freeze to death and drown.

And with that, I was done: So I freeze-drowned, and died.