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Stumped on October 16, 2011.

Do, guppy, guppy! Do, guppy, guppy! Do… guppy, gup!

I held my breath as I dumped another five pounds of live guppies into my schtumpfenbeast’s tank. It had been unusually hungry all week, and I couldn’t figure out why. This time of year wasn’t mating season for schtumpfenbeasts, and even if it were, I only have one schtumpfenbeast, not three. I briefly considered the possibility that it had escaped at some point and mated with one of my kerfrumpts, as some randy schtumpfenbeasts are wont to do. But I had heard none of the characteristic bubbling and burbling cacophony that usually accompanies such a coupling, and none of the neighbors had complained to me about blown-out windows, cracked foundations, or bent satellite dishes, so I was quite sure that no such unholy, apocalyptic union had taken place. (And, I must admit, some small part of me refused to consider the possibility of a schtumpfenfrumpt hybrid no matter its likelihood: The last time a schtumpfenbeast mated with a pair of kerfrumpts, what issued forth from that union caused what is currently known to historians as the Tunguska event.)

In any case, the schtumpfenbeast was hungry, and it was my responsibility to feed it—feed it live fish plucked from the fish tree that I kept in another part of my sprawling bestiary for the express purpose of feeding the schtumpfenbeast. I stepped back as the schtumpfenbeast’s beastly teeth went to work noisily gnashing and mashing the five pounds of wriggling guppies that it held in its horribly asymmetrical maw. Time passed slowly as I waited tensely, ready to run like mad at the first sign of trouble. It gnashed and it mashed, mashed and gnashed, and gulped, gulped, gulped down each mouthful of guppies I poured between its five unsettling, never-ceasing jaws. Oh, how it gnashed. At last the schtumpfenbeast began emitting an odor reminiscent of a pair of unwashed testicles marinated for six days in a mixture of rancid goat semen and fresh horsepiss. I breathed a sigh of relief and relaxed; feeding these beasties was always precarious, but the malodor demonstrated that the creature was sated, its multiple stomachs full and its multiple throats clear, and that the possibility of a fatal obstruction of its ductal tracts had passed. (The last time a schtumpfenbeast suffered from obstruction of its ductal tracts due to too-rapid noshing, what happened moments later is currently known to historians as the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event.)

I held my breath again until I could make it out into the hallway, praying to all that is holy that I could get through the door before I passed out from the noxious, schtumpfenbeastly fumes. I thanked my lucky stars that at least it appeared that I would make it out of the room before the gorgothine creature had begun to evacuate its multiple waste orifices. Few men have survived being in the presence of a urinating, defecating, exfoliating schtumpfenbeast, and lived to tell the tale with their olfactory bulb still intact and snugly embedded up their nose where it belongs. (The last time a man nasally witnessed a schtumpfenbeast in full-on evacuation, what happened moments later is currently known to historians as the Britney Spears–Kevin Federline marriage.)

As I ran, squirrel-like, toward the door, a flurry of feathers in one of the cages caught my attention and caused me to look ever so briefly at its source: One of my more recent acquisitions, a single, rare mubbleduck from the Central American Alps. My mind concentrating on the mephitic schtumpfen-aroma displacing the oxygen in the room and visibly wafting out in to the hallway beyond, I made a terrible, fatal mistake: My eyes momentarily locked with the mubbleduck’s, and the mubbleduck instinctively did what all mubbleducks do.

Its eyes spun. Its hypnotic powers took hold of my mind. My mind spun—

Do, duckie, duckie! Do, duckie, duck… Oh, Lord! Not another quack attack! Not now!!