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Fimbriated armless and legless

Charged on October 30, 2011.

Hundreds of fimbriated men floated down the fetid and weed-choked river, each one of them armless and legless. They weren’t moving. “Fimbriated corpses was a more accurate description, I mused. Somehow, I was aware that I was responsible for this—deeply responsible—but I was unsure as to precisely how I was so. The fimbriated man who had pursued me for the past few endless months was not among these nine-hundred and forty-six corpses (I knew the number precisely), alas, so I knew that my manic journey through this desolate world was far from over. The Fimbriated Man, fimbriated gules with a chief argent, and blazoned in archaisms not spoken aloud since at least June of 1686, would stop at nothing to cross me, per fess or per pale—or even per bend if it came to that.

And what did all these armless and legless fimbriated corpses mean? Were the shuggoths on the prowl again, or would it just be a pack of f’lickta out for a morning poo-flinging stroll? Or was I merely out of pepperoni again? Or… was it sausage this time? Come to think of it (and I come to think of things a lot!), I don’t think I’ve bought any sausage in months… if not years. Sausage pales in comparison to pepperoni, and the only sausage machinists in my town are Szczerbaczewicz & Smith, whom I have boycotted with gusto and glee ever since that drink-pouring accident six weeks ago which led to yours truly smelling of elderberries for about 5¾ weeks.

Enough about the sausage. And the pepperoni. Nine-hundred and forty-six corpses (I still knew the number precisely) were floating by in front of my hotdog-like face, armless and legless down to the last one. And here I was contemplating the fineries of pepperoni vs. sausage when I ought to be trying to figure out what horror had befallen these men and how, specifically, I was responsible.

I stopped, hooted like a screech owl as I often do in these situations, and balanced the nearest fat glob of turkey stuffing on the top of my curiously pointy head. “Peculiar,” I mumbled to myself under my beak, “’Tis not yet the season for turkey stuffing! What spurious interrupt has led to this fat glob of such a melanderous substance lying on my kitchen countertop?”

A moment later, my granfalloonerous mind recalled the navel-gazing calamity that happened last week on the sidewalk running along Schickelgruber Street, and the reasons for all of this—from the fimbriated corpses to the sausage shortage—became clear to me: Schickelgruber was Adolf Hitler’s maiden name, and when that butt-frump of a mayor that this town keeps electing decided to rename Strontium-90 Street in honor of such a silly, silly little man, a bunch of stuff that made no sense transpired, which, after some time and in a manner that would make even Rube Goldberg blush with envy, ultimately led to the untimely death and dismemberment of nine-hundred and forty-six fimbriated men (I still knew the number precisely). And somewhere in this mad sequence of events and commas, I had not only played a major part, but I had lost all of my fezzes, too.

My crests fell.

As I pondered this Schickelgrubery, the telephone rang. I picked it up, as tradition demands, then set it down and picked up just the handset. That sempiternal enemy of my left nostril, my newest next-door neighbor, was on the other end of the line: It seemed that he had lost his cat again and was desperately trying to find anyone—anyone!—to help him go look for the flea-bitten little thing. “You must be scraping the bottom of the barrel if you called me!” I tweeted into the phone. “For surely you know that, of all your neighbors, I am the least skilled in the art of cat-finding!”

Suppressing a frustrated groan upon realizing that my self-deprecating declaration was longer than 140 characters, I continued: “I am, however, quite skilled in the black arts of cat-swinging, cat-boxing, and cat-canning. I used to work at the local cat-canning plant before they remade it into an exploding spam-canning plant, you know. If you need your cat canned, or even just pressed and dehydrated, I’m your man! I can can your cat in tin, aluminum, or steel—your choice! All for the low, low price of—”

The phone went click! and a dial tone rang out. I paused in mid–em-dash. Despair washed over me like a flood of effluent as I realized that my cat-losing loser of a next-door neighbor didn’t care the least about my cat-canning skills. With the effluent I knew would come the f’lickta, so I scurried away and hid behind the nearest wall before they started throwing their poo at me again.

Nine-hundred and forty-six corpses (I still knew the number precisely) floated down the fetid and weed-choked river, each one of them armless and legless. I watched in despair, envy, and rage. I knew I was responsible for this terribly fimbriated disaster, but how I had caused it escaped me. Not even that elephantine heap o’ pasta quivering in the corner of my kitchen could help me discover the answer. Arbitrary lengths of time passed, and still no answer was forthcoming.

Chance tore and bent. I meeped. I murped. I mippy-morped. I slept.

The day ended: Another began. As I noshed mightily upon my breakfast sandwich made with real sheep eggs, I realized that truly only the nose knows for sure. What the nose knows I didn’t know—because I wasn’t a nose, after all! I had a nose—in fact, I still have one, resting gently on my upper lip—but since I wasn’t a nose, and still am not, I know nothing. My nose probably knows everything, but I’ve never learned how to communicate with it other than through the occasional sneeze, snort, or snore.

This day being Wednesday, I dismissed the fimbriated men and the Fimbriated Man himself from my addled little pate, and instead ordered the squishy gray thing resting atop my spine to concentrate on happier ponderances: Things such as Alyssa Milano’s slender little feet or Britney Spears’ darling little toes. My ceiling clock thwacked by the hours. The Sun, dying at last, sank below the horizon outside my corpulent windows, darkness filled my abode, and I dozed merrily. I drifted off into a dreamy state of unconsciousness that the experts usually refer to as “dreaming.” Instead of depressing images of nine-hundred and forty-six fimbriated corpses (I still knew the number precisely), images of Ms. Milano wearing nothing but an endless stream of glimmering, translucent numerals danced around in my head. Inevitably, ones gave way to twos, twos to threes, threes to foons, foons to sixes, and so on, until nothing was left but a shimmering stream of nines.

“Nine, nine, nine,” it went on—and she went on, uttering numbers in sync with the gleaming stream surrounding her esquiline form. I wasn’t sure if Alyssa was referring to Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution or Plan 9 from Outer Space. Either way, I was sure that there would be tentacles—lots of slimy tentacles—and that they would be wrapped around the toes and feet of my dear, sweet Alys—

“Great Custer’s ghost!” I awoke with a start, my wriggling dreams evaporating in a puff of eldritchry. “An air of French fries permeated my nostrils all week!”

And then, from deep within the darkness enveloping me at this early, early hour (only the fourth one, to be exact), a voice rang out: “We’re off, like a herd of turtles!”

My half-asleep, half-awake, and half-baked brain first concluded that this curious exclamation was nothing more than Ravna engaged in her own bizarre, gorgothine dreaming, just as I had been. But as the fuzz cleared from my brain (by way of my ear canals!), I slowly remembered that my hoosie-fessed little skeetch-truncheon with such lovely porcelain-white feet had abandoned me, again, this time as a result of that rather embarrassing chicken-choking accident that happened in my bathroom on Monday. She had left without even calling me a goonk-toonked floopity-flarble this time, too.

“I’ll show her! I garglemuttered as I reached for the telepoon with my bony left claw. I dismissed the sudden outcry that had transpired moments after I awoke as nothing more than the last vestiges of some bizarre dream that had been ricocheting around in my cranium moments earlier.

The phone wasn’t there; my bony claw (it really is quite bony this time of year) struck the smooth, empty tabletop and shattered like brittle glass striking a smooth, empty tabletop. I howled. Fimbriated men—and the Fimbriated Man—suddenly surrounded me. I squeaked in terror: In terror of a nature I hadn’t ibbla-bibbled since I had laid my eyes on a Fendippitous Eggman. Nine-hundred and forty-seven living, writhing fimbriated men surrounded me (I… still knew the number precisely), their fine suits chevronny sable and argent, their neckties chequy purpure and Or. The Fimbriated Man himself carried a gleaming sword and an escutcheon blazoned barry of eight gules and argent impaling gules, on a mount vert a crown Or issuant therefrom a double cross argent.

“Ah… ha! I spied a weakness. The Fimbriated Man was either Hungarian, or my name was really St. Joe Kowalski and I was from the Bronx.

I yowled in red, rampant rage, and lunged.