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A jaunt to Washington, D.C.

Filibustered on December 4, 2011.

My slow, languorous trip to Washington, D.C. was going along swimmingly: After a brief stopover in Secaucus, New Jersey, followed by a minor detour up to Sunapee, New Hampshire and then another down to Alabama (what a silly name for a place!), we finally arrived in Washington by way of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the land of goats. Soon I would meet President Piggy-Man himself, grab whatever nuclear secrets he had in his pockets at the time, find the nearest Soviet spy, and finally trade those top secrets for fifteen minutes alone in the room in the Kremlin that housed the Царь-пушка, the biggest cannon ever glued together out of smaller cannons. And moments after that, I would be on my way to southern Moravia, traveling via graceful ballistic arc, so I could once again say hi to my old friend, Mister Ollanthorpe von Sträsmussenbörg.

“I just hope this latest delay doesn’t make me miss my meeting with the president!” I mused out loud as I clung a bit tighter to the life preserver that was, quite literally, preserving my life against freeze-drowning in the icy water in which I was currently floating. The bus, after plunging off the banks of the Chesapeake Bay just as we made our way into Washington, D.C., could, through some amazing feat of engineering, swim just fine itself, but I—being the Grand Pnårpissimo, skilled in virtually nothing that didn’t involve gnomes, squirrels, or goats—could not swim at all.

Images of the amazing feet of Alyssa Milano flashed through my brain, and the water got colder. I clung tighter and floated toward the Atlantic. The bus swam back to the shore and continued on its journey.

Hours passed, and then more, and then some half hours, and then some quarter hours. Darkness loomed on the horizon, daring me to survive the night, and the passing time had by then divided itself up into sixty-fourths and then one-hundred-twenty-eighths. Just as I began to despair that the day would never truly end, a boat came into view. It was the size of a small skiff, but more of a catamaran, and with the mizzenmast of a schooner but the poop deck from a Pomeranian yacht. It looked to be about 200′ long, give or take a smoot or two, and was probably more of a container ship designed for cruises around the Bahamas, Bermuda, and Kazakhstan. For all I knew, the ship may have been a cutter, a pink, or even a snow, but one thing was for sure: I would be rescued.

I began shrieking at the top of my clavicle, and soon the ship changed course directly for me. Time was passing in increments so small now I couldn’t count. I breathed a sigh of relief as they pulled up alongside me and tossed an anchor at my head. Another 65,536th of an hour later, and I was hoisted aboard the Zeno’s Paradox, given a blanket to warm my caprine body, and asked to tell my tale of how I ended up floating in the middle of the North Sea.

“The North Sea!?” I grurked murpishly, trying not to cranch in the process. “But that’s nowhere near Washington, D.C.! I was on my way to Washington, D.C. on a bus and it plunged into the Chesapeake Bay! But that was really the North Sea, not the Chesapeake!? Are you sure?!”

The captain of the Paradox looked at me askance, probably thinking I was suffering from some sort of cold-induced dementia. (Either that, or I had a praying mantis lounging on my forehead again.) I looked at the captain like he was the late, great Captain Pinnfarb of the HMS Gormless Bastard and secretly a Knib-Knob Gnome, whom I had defeated last year with a bottle of buttwash. I hoped against hope that the captain of the Paradox wasn’t a gnome too, for I was not prepared to go on a gnome-slaying quest today!

“So how do I get to Washington, D.C. from here?” I inquired further after the captain (I think his name was Porb) stopped looking at me like I had a pair of Klingon antlers growing out of my nose. “And by the way, you wouldn’t want to buy a pair of ducks, would you? I know where you can get some real cheap!”

“You can’t get to Washington—D.C., A.C., B.C., Q.C., or otherwise—from here. But we can drop you off in Shitlingthorpe (that’s in the United Kingdom) when we drop off our cargo, a shipment of caramel gumdruggilies from eastern Pomerania, and swap out our team of Silesian Shipping Gnomes for a fresh one.” The captain grinned coprophagously. “You wouldn’t want to buy a team of Silesian Shipping Gnomes—slightly used—would you? I know where you can get some real cheap!” The captain’s counter-offer sounded like an even shrewder scam than my pair-of-ducks trick. I would’ve accepted it but for one thing…

“Gnomes!?” My corneas were ready to leap right out of my head.

“Yes, gnomes—of course. Who else could supercargo an entire shipment of caramel gumdruggilies from eastern Pomerania all the way to Shitlingthorpe (that’s in the United Kingdom)?”

I… had no answer to such a bizarre question, so I asked one of my own: “Do you have any idea how many golf balls it would take to fill up the Library of Congress?”

The captain gave me that “I think he’s suffering from cold-induced dementia” look again. I plowed forward without delay; I would prove this man was a Knib-Knob Gnome if I had to tie his entire ship into a giant bow-tie and dance the fandango with it hanging around my neck. “And how would you react if someone sprayed a bottle of buttwash right in your face?”

The captain (yes, his name was Porb!) thought it over for a minute, then answered evenly, “I’d clean his clock, that’s what I’d do. I’d swab the deck with him. I wouldn’t just knock him into next week, I’d knock his teeth right down his spinal column, and then I’d rip his head off with my bare, bear hands and use his gurgling trachea for a head! That’s what I’d do if someone sprayed me in the face with a bottle of that stuff, aye.”

I relaxed, unclenching my fists, toes, and rectum. Captain Porb hadn’t reacted with abject horror when I mentioned buttwash—and, demonstrating further that he really was a sea captain, had ended his sentence with the obligatory “aye”—so I was now sure he wasn’t a Knib-Knob Gnome… and more than likely he wasn’t any kind of gnome at all.

The captain went back up to the poop deck to do whatever it is sailors do up there, and I decided to take a stroll around the Zeno’s Paradox to see if there were any more gnomes that needed slayin’.

There weren’t, so I retired to the cabin the captain had chosen for me, which closely resembled an empty 55-gallon drum laid on its side in the engine room. I slept and I dreamed—about Britney Spears and that toe-tucking accident she suffered back in 1998 that cost her the Emmy nomination for “best hoosie-fessed skeetch-truncheon” that year, but catapulted her to fame for her efflubiously lubricious little feet.

I rolled out of bed the next morning (or perhaps it was the bed that rolled around itself) to find the Zeno’s Paradox docked in Shitlingthorpe, Yorkshire, United Kingdom. As I went above-decks and blearily made my way ashore, I saw that Captain Porb was overseeing the unloading of shipping container after shipping container full of caramel gumdruggilies, all from eastern Pomerania. The final container was stamped “Caution: Live gnomes!” and seemed to emit a wheedling, needling noise that filled the air when it passed by; it must’ve contained Captain Porb’s team of Silesian Shipping Gnomes that were going in for a refit or replacement. Rumor is that when such gnomes outlive their usefulness, they’re melted down, ground up into a fine protein powder, and sold as cat food in most first-world countries.

I chuckled bumptiously at the thought of cats everywhere devouring those wheezling, baffling, little gnomes—or what was left of them after they went through the meat grinder! Chomp, chomp, chomp! Squish, squoosh, squash!

Looking back at the elegant Zeno’s Paradox wafting gently in the water, its anchor tied around its stern as if a Cappadocian Twirling Hound had gotten jiggy with it, I thought I saw him again: The Fimbriated Man. He was casually flopping and wriggling about in the choppy water alongside the ship, besuited sable and argent, like an intoxicated zebra. But then I realized it wasn’t a fimbriated man at all, but merely a finibriated fish, drunkenly wallowing in the blue-green sea water that it called its home (and the place it pees when it needs to do such a thing). Relaxing, I waddled up the dock, then a set of stairs, then up another, and then up another, and, then, upon reaching solid ground again, I began to take in the sights of the Shitlingthorpe marina (that’s still in the U.K.).

A store selling nothing but the famed Shitlingthorpe–Alabaster Flapdoodles was the first thing that crossed my Pnårpy visage. I had had my first run-in with these curious little objects almost but not quite exactly six years ago, and, needless to say, my running into them had been less than pleasant. Shuddering, I sauntered by the stall selling the flapdoodles and moved onto the next business, a former Drunken Donuts converted into a donutbrothel going by the name of The Randy Munchkin. Shuddering again at the thought of the hairy, hoary sailors that probably partook in The Randy Munchkin’s services, I sidled down to the next storefront to see if this one sold anything I would ever touch with something shorter than a 39½′ pole.

This store, appropriately appellated The Pole Barn, sold nothing but poles. I was just about to yiff viciffiously at my find when I realized that, although they sold touching-poles in every length from one inch all the way up to 473 inches, they didn’t seem to stock any barber-poles, gnoming-poles, or even any garnering-poles. Any store lacking garnering-poles was in serious need of being firebombed; alas, I was completely bereft of my box of matches and tankard of gasoline (“petrol” ’round these parts), so someone else would have to do the bombing. I moved onto the next storefront, my crests already fallen as far as they could go.

The next shop (“shoppe” ’round these parts six-hundred years ago) was a travel agency. I scrutinized each faded advertisement duct-taped to the inside of the storefront windows with my beady little compound eyes, and Fate must have been smiling on me this frabdabulous day, for the seventh ad that I ogled touted aëroplanular trips to Москва (that’s in the former Soviet Union—and the home city of the Царь-пушка!) for the low, low price of a quattuordecillion рубля (that’s about three dollars and 69¢).

I shrieked in melanderous, gustolious glee and crashed through the door without even opening it. Shards of glass flew everywhere, but I was oblivious to the numerous lacerations and severings it inflicted upon my Pnårpy body: I was on my way to the former Soviet Union at last!