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Like a herd of turtles

Frightened on November 6, 2011.

“We’re off, like a herd of turtles!” a voice rang out again, awakening me from my deep slumber. Visages of a lithe Alyssa Milano dancing barefoot atop my solar plexus vanished into the depths of my unconscious once more, to be replaced with the stark blackness of my bedroom at 3:56 in the early, early morning.

Each night for eight nights, I had now been abruptly torn from my efflubiously lubricious dreaming and thrust violently back into dark reality, each time by the same voice uttering the same curious phrase. “We’re off, like a herd of turtles!” “We’re off—like a herd of turtles!” “We’re off… like a herd of turtles!”

Each night for eight nights, dreams of Alyssa or Britney or one or more of the Spice Girls. And each night for eight nights, suddenly: “We’re off: Like a herd of turtles!” tearing those dreams asunder. Not even the balefully growing mass of shuggoths bubbling and writhing in my bestiary were this cruel.

I had to find the source of this voice—and put a stop to it.

Sunrise arrived; the Sun popped up from its hiding place below the horizon and I was momentarily blinded. I stumbled out of bed and knocked over virtually everything in my bedroom, bathroom, and hallway before my vision returned. I cursed the dawn, then wandered blearily down to my sixteenth kitchen in order to fix myself a cup of coffee.

Six hours later, the Sun high in the sky and doing its damnedest to boil me alive (along with every other human being clinging to this otherwise lifeless rock), I had successfully fixed my coffee cup. It had only taken six bales of twine and two gallons of rubber cement this time. Relaxing finally, I poured precisely 8.0 fluid ounces of delicious, syrupy, black coffee into my cup, then took a swig of the refreshing elixir. Suppressing a gag, I took another swig, then another and another.

Finally having gulped down the vile slop that I had been boiling on my stovetop for six hours, I was now fully awake. My jaw set and my nose grim, I went about tracking down the source of that nightly turtle-herding cry, resolving that when I found it, I would strangle the life out of its owner with my very own two bony claws. This act of asphyxiation would make that recent chicken-choking accident look like nothing more than a light monkey-spanking.

My ceiling clock ticked the seconds past as I thought, pondered, considered, contemplated, farted, plotted, and schemed.

“If only Yappie were still alive, I could just dress him up like Sherlock Holmes and let him do all this tedious investigative work!” I wailed to myself. Idea after idea had strewn itself across my synapses, but only my Yappie-as-Sherlock plan seemed to hold any realistic possibility of actually working. The runner up, which entailed strapping Dinglebuckey to the hood of my car and driving down the interstate at 88 whole miles per hour, may work, I thought—but I was missing one vital component, and I was sure that the nearest teledildonics store was too far away to bother seeing if they carried capacitors of any kind.

“What?” a startled voice answered. I yelped. Was it the turtle-herder!? After another long pause, the voice continued: “Sir? …Sir? Are you still there? Did you actually have a question for Mayor Rhoodie?”

I yelped again, suddenly realizing that somehow my phone’s handset had ended up in my hand and that somehow, moments prior to that mysterious event, I had somehow dialed the office of Mayor Julian Rhoodie. I yelped a third time and threw down the handset like it was trying to kill me. (It probably was.) The voice on the other end of the line—clearly not the turtle-herder—continued prattling for a few moments more, then perfunctorily thanked me for supporting Mayor Rhoodie’s plan to feed the homeless to each other and hung up. I breathed a long, slow sigh of relief and then ate my phone’s handset in order to ensure that such a silly accident would not be repeated.

My ceiling clock announced rudely that the hour was past noon; I nearly leapt out of my skin at the sound (and did leap out of my skin at the revelation of what the sound meant). In an hour, I had an appointment with the captain of the Magic Oreo Machine™, whose services I required in order to flush out another infestation of viruses, trojans, and worms infesting my computering machine. He promised that this time, provided there were no more than zero actual infections, he would bill me not more than $1,769,230.34. It was a tall price to pay, but my virus-laden computer had ground to a virtual halt last Sunday afternoon, now being laden down with even more viruses than usual. I wasn’t sure where the old girl kept picking up all these diseases, but, since I had no evidence pointing in any direction whatsoever, I decided to simply blame my new next-door neighbor and his missing cat. I vowed that if I ever found that cat for him, instead of returning it I would cook it, eat it, and mount its whiskered head on a pike on my chimney as a warning to everyone not to mess with Crazy Ol’ Phil’s computering machine.

The appointment with the captain of the Magic Oreo Machine™ went swimmingly; I knew that after paying his bill, I would just barely be treading water, but hopefully I wouldn’t drown. He cleaned the six-hundred, threescore, and six viruses from my computering machine, gave her a new paint job, and then handed me a bill for $17,692,303.50. When I told him I’d probably have to sell my left cornea into slavery in order to pay that amount, he scoffed, and recommended I sell my liver and both kidneys, too.

And then he left, leaving me with a stern warning: Pay his bill by the end of the month, or be paid a visit by Joey “Rats” Ratzinger, the current pope and the meanest mob enforcer this side of the planet. I immediately set my flock of Mauritanian Minting Gnomes to work minting enough currency to pay this debt. Hopefully I had enough copper, nickel, and einsteinium on hand for them to get the job done by the end of November, or yours truly would be in a bit of a pickle!

Darkness descended across my palatial abode like Darkwing Duck descending upon Professor Moliarty, and my ceiling clock screeched out that it was time to fix dinner and go to bed. I grumbled, wondering what the hell had broken my dinner this time, then went about repairing the mess. Six hours later, I had my dinner all stiched and stapled back together and piled high on a plate the size of a manhole cover: An elephantine heap o’ pasta with a slatherin’ o’ tomato sauce and a blizzard o’ Parmesan cheese. Dessert would be a single dollop of mint ice cream—shaken, not stirred. I had carefully tucked the dessert under the pasta in order to ensure that it was right at hand after I devoured, Rhoomba-like, that rhinocerine pile of cheese- and sauce-laden noodles.

Six-hundred, threescore, and six seconds passed, and the pasta was duly devoured. Another thirty-six seconds were required to lap the melted ice cream from the manhole cover, and then an additional 10.6 minutes were spent surreptitiously sneaking over to Terwilliger Street in order to furtively replace the manhole cover from where I had stolen it. Finally, 60.1 minutes were spent wending my way home. (I got lost sixteen times and ended up at the hamstermongery on Alpha Ralpha Boulevard not once, but twice.)

Upon arriving home and divesting myself of every article of clothing save for my ruddy fez and even ruddier groin inserts, I looked to my ceiling clock for guidance once more. Sure enough, it immediately screeched, in its owly voice, that it was time for me to go to bed. I gave an obligatory yawn and began the long ascent up my staircase to my forty-first bedroom (the one with the strumpets).

I dozed snoozily, snoring dreamily, my mind slowly filling with visions of the Spice Girls clad in nothing more than loose-fitting clothing from head to toe. But they were barefoot—gloriously barefoot! Outside my phallubious dream world, time ticked by slowly. 1 a.m. arrived, then departed. 2 a.m. stopped on by, twiddled its thumbs for 3,600 seconds, and then went on its merry way, too. 3 a.m. was just about to knock on my door, when…

“We’re off… like… a herd of turtles!”