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A dark and spammy night

LARTed on February 20, 2011.

It was a dark and spammy night. The rain fell in torrents; except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is at the Hormel spam-canning plant that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the spamming.

After both the sudden disappearance of Mr. Wilson and numerous complaints from the ASPCA, the cat-canning plant was shut down this past Mooingday (née Momday, née Monday), whereupon it was quickly bought by the Hormel company and converted into a spam-canning plant. No longer would my tiny little town be able to pride itself on being the #1 producer of canned cats in the entire world, but in a very short time it would no doubt become the spam capital of the world, its junk mail output rivaling even Russia, China, and Burkina Faso (still encased in pie, I hear).

And so, at precisely 12:08 in the afternoon this past Frooeyday, I paid a visit to the new spam-canning plant seeking employment as a spam-canner; my most recent job in Q.A. at the horse factory on Hobbyhorse Lane had come to an abrupt end when I had wandered away from the assembly line in the middle of my shift, resulting in over 650 horses being manufactured without heads or genitals. My explanation that I had been in pursuit of something both shiny and puffy—an object clearly irresistible to low-grade imbeciles such as myself—proved insufficient, and I was promptly booted out of the factory with a size 13, wide, with hobnails.

The deceptionist at the spam-canning plant took my name, rank, and serial number, but fortunately refrained from asking for my soul—an improvement over tyrannical deceptionists I had dealt with recently. She then told me to go wait outside, so I went outside and waited.

Hours passed; I entertained myself by daydreaming of Alyssa Milano barefoot and mostly naked but for a thin covering of sticky brown marmite. How I yiffed at such imagery—oh, how I yiffed! And even more hours passed and still I waited outside; still I overused semicolons. And still I began sentences with conjunctions, no doubt causing my second-grade English teacher to spin in her grave.

Talitha, cumi! the knobby old deceptionist suddenly squawked over the intercom. Having been thoroughly lost in a most femjoyous daydream involving dear little Alyssa, the Spice Girls, and Lucy Lawless (and a 55-gallon drum of maple syrup!), I nearly jumped out of my skin at the sound of that cranky old lady’s voice. My eigenbriefcase hit the ground, spilling papers and nose-hair trimmers everywhere. I clumsily picked up the mess, shoved it all back into my fastidious little eigenbriefcase, and scurried back into the spam-canning plant like an embarrassed little squirrel on PCP.

“This factory doesn’t happen to employ any… guardsquirrels… by any chance, does it?” I asked the old crone as nonchalantly as I could. The mere thought of guardsquirrels sent lithe porcupines slithering down my veins and out my pores, especially if corn hadn’t quite gone wrong yet.

“No… why?” the ugly old bag of mostly water demanded. “You’re not planning on robbing the place, are you!?”

“No, no!” I yerked. “You see… I’m sort of… ahem, a man-sized squirrel myself, and guardsquirrels… well, they just give me the creeps… you see, and…” I trailed off.

The deceptionist just looked at me, blinked three times, and then sent me in to see the spam-canning plant manager. I think she thought I was crazy. Well, she’ll believe me when those guardsquirrels descend from the planet Uranus once again, kidnap her, and use her skin for an accordion! She’ll believe me then! Oh, yes!

The plant manager’s name was Norb—Norb McBorbley, to be precise. I asked him if he was related to my good old friend Borb McBorbley from the Spend-O-Mart on Alpha Ralpha Boulevard, and apparently he was: Borb was his brother. I also asked him if he’d ever been eaten alive by Mantrid drones, which he denied, all the while eyeing me curiously. Perhaps he was a Mantrid drone already! I tensed, realizing I now would have to stay on guard not only against a possible guardsquirrel attack, but against those little one-armed things that fly around, too!

“So, Mr. Årp, your last job was at the… horse factory?” Norb inquired as he looked over my résumé. I answered in the affirmative. “And you quit that job because… ‘something shinier and puffier came along’?”

I nodded. Shinier and puffier! Norb moved on: “And previously you worked at the moose kennel up on Saskatchewan Drive… where your duties included ‘bathing, shaving, and slathering each moose in baby oil’?” Norb’s voice took on a definite note of skepticism.

“Aye, that’s right, Mr. McBorbley!” I replied, trying to allay his skepticism. “Hey, it was a difficult job, but someone had to do it! I don’t mind getting my hands dirty—no, sir!”

“I can see this—it says here in 1991 you worked for the city water works as a ‘sewer-siphoner’ and… ‘effluent quality assurance director’?”

“Indeed! And until that disastrous toilet-flushing accident back in ’93 that shut down the old water works forever, we churned out the finest-tasting effluent this city has ever seen. And I can be thanked for that—yes, sir!”

“I… see…” He turned the page. “Tell me more about this bee-polishing shop on Goldfarb Avenue. What did you do there?”

“I polished bees.” My answer was quick, succinct, and right to the point.

“But what do they do with these polished bees?”

“Not even a barefoot Lady GaGa covered in a congerie of shiny, shuggothesque bubbles could answer that question!”

“Uh huh. ‘And if I wish to study a granfalloon…’?”

‘…Just remove the skin of a toy balloon!’ I finished for him. We both chuckled, chortled, and finally guffawed. Norb was so much friendlier than Borb.

“Excellent! Just excellent! Well, Mr. Årp, I think you’re more than qualified to can spam for us.” He stood up and stuck his hand out. “When can you start?”

I stood up, shook his hand, and then we shook noses to seal the deal. Not since Tricky Dick Nixon had stolen his campaign slogan from a little girl in Deshler, Ohio, had I been so alabasterously happy. And not since that hot lesbian scene with Lyta Alexander and Vanessa Damphousse that I’d seen on TV years ago had I been so turgid. I had a new job! And hopefully I could keep this one for more than 72 hours!

I returned home at 12:08 in the afternoon, exactly when I had expected. I was so overjoyed that I had a shiny new job at the spam-canning plant that I went hopping and skipping the entire way home, not unlike a little girl still in her pigtails. I called all my friends, girlfriends, neighbors, neighbors’ girlfriends, dogfriends, and even most of my enemies, and let them know the great news! Ravna Olegg-Thorssondóttir was impressed that I could actually find a business in town that I hadn’t already been fired from; Loquisha was even more impressed that I hadn’t been turned down the instant the plant manager saw I was wearing her sandals on top of my head. Plårp offered me her feet in celebration, which I accepted readily. Samuel Dreckers threatened to buttbuttinate me later this week, and Ol’ Dicko just acted like a dick as usual. Yappie yapped. And Mr. Wilson was nowhere to be found.

Hanging up the phone at last, I plugged my new alarm clock in and peeled the “12:08” label off the face of it—and miraculously, time started moving forward again normally.