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Mooey, mooey, moo!

Lowed at on December 9, 2012.

Throughout history according to Wikipedia,[1] many a man has been buried with his horse, but only once in the entire history of mankind has a person been buried with a cow: Thus, I set myself a new life goal this week.

I began preparations at once. I called the local cemetery to ensure that they had a plot big enough for a man plus a cow. I called the local funeral home to ensure that they had a coffin big enough for a cow plus a man. Both the cemetery and the home assured me that they could meet my bovinatory needs. But then I remembered that I had no cow: Mooey was dead and gone, worse luck, and I probably have at least another thirty years in my corpulent, Pnårpy body before I start pushing up daisies and other assorted flora. So, getting myself a new cow anytime soon would not necessarily aid me in being buried with a cow upon my death. Thus, I grumpily scratched off the latest idea from the long, long list of failed ideas for possible life goals and headed back to the drawing board.

A knock on my front-most, outer-most door interrupted my languid walk back to my drawing board (up in my drawing room, naturally). I turned on my heel and called out, “Who is it?” and then, without waiting for an answer, started emitting noises not unlike those that Mooey would have made had she still been alive and kicking. A voice beyond the door had just begun to speak: Its owner got a single syllable out before stopping short—no doubt upon hearing the incessant and voluble lowing coming from deep within 229B Bouillabaisse Boulevard’s palatial residence. I stopped mooing the moment I heard footsteps retreating from my front door. They retreated quickly.

“Convince random visitor I am a cow,” I mused out loud. “Now that sounds like an attainable life goal!” I skittered, lizard-like, up to my drawing room, scribbled the idea across my drawing board, and then placed a big, satisfied-looking check mark next to it. I had just convinced a random visitor I was a cow!

I chootled and tweedled aloud for seventeen merry mirth-making minutes. With this accomplishment under my belt, what couldn’t I do? I bet myself that I could square the circle with nothing more than a stout crowbar and some leverage. I bet that I could double the cube with nothing more than an air compressor. Could I ingest a whole pound of 14SiO2·Al2O3·Na2O·3H2O without uncaking all of the salt in my body? I bet I could! Could I get myself declared entnazifiziert once and for all? I bet I could! I didn’t just bet—I didn’t just wager—I knew now that I could do these things, all of them, and without any further effort than that which a fat man seated in front of his computer screen would need to expend to reach for the Big Gulp that had he put down just out of arm’s reach. For me, the sky was now the limit.

It was then that the sky fell right on my pointy yet block-shaped head.

And it wasn’t just the sky that fell, either: What landed on my noggin was the entire chunk of empty, vacuous space from here to the teleological attractor at the edge of the Universe. At least I went down swinging, I mused. 25,900 light years from Earth, as dark S2 continued sweeping out its fifteen-year orbit around the dread singularity Sagittarius A*, there I lay, swinging and twitching, with a huge chunk of sky and space pressing dordly down upon my blunt and ridged forehead. What was I to do?

“You could skitter all the way to newly-discovered α Centauri Bb,” a tiny voice tinnily tittered from somewhere beneath my rhombencephalon. “If you were a lizard, you could skitter, that is. Or a Lizard. But you’re not: You’re a Big Ugly.”

“I’m not that ugly!” I protested to the newest member of my schizo-subvocal chorus. I dubbed him Tinny in honor of his tiny, tinny timbre. I wanted a mirror. I was sure that all the horse-shapedness that my face had possessed for the past 42 years had melted away by now in a blitz of Christmastime myrrh, mirth, and alabaster.

As it turned out, out I was wrong: Awful wrong, just as often as I’m often wrong. Often, awfully wrong, I was, and still ’m. Finally having reached a mirror and glimpsed my backwards reflection, I could see that I was still as horsey as ever—and even a bit cow-like now. I lowed again, then neighed. Inside my hippomorphic head, Murdle-Durdle the Turd-Burdle fought a battle to the death with Nar-Bibbly the Moon Rock. Nar-Bibbly almost won, too, if it hadn’t been for that ganglious dagger that Murdle-Durdle was hiding up her skirt. Pinkish gray matter started oozing out my ears and I wanted a coffee. My Trabant was all out of gas and other required fluids, so I wouldn’t be driving to the store anytime soon. My legs were in the shop, so neither could I walk there. And my own coffee pot was all out of electricity, so I couldn’t even roast and grind some shoe leather to make my own vile, vile coffee. What was I to do?

I considered acquiring some toast as a consolation—paltry and Malthusian though it would be—but I quickly concluded that the store which sold toast was the same distance away as the coffee-selling store (being the same store and all), and if my coffee pot was all out of electricity, surely my toaster was equally empty. I added both acquiring coffee and acquiring toast to my mental list of failed life goals, and decided to go take a walk along the side of my street—specifically, on the sidewalk—until I found somewhere more useful to be than the birdbath upon which I was currently sitting and musing.

After borrowing a pair of legs from the Fnords next door, I made my way to the new goatburping park in the international district on Ruecallestraße Street, my purpurineal ol’ kerfrumpt at my side. The park was bigger than the one on Shoehorner Street, and I had been told it was even goatier, too. Alas, all the goats were gone—they had been put away for the evening. I was tardier than a short-tailed wizzle-nipf in a rainstorm, but at least I arrived in fewer than seven pieces, I mused softly. When I tootled this observation in a louder voice, in a mighty baritone that rivaled the raspy clucking of even the most Drano-soaked hen, I was met with nothing from the remaining park-goers but stares as hard and stony as the enormous heads on Easter Island. I wanted to go on tootling, but I held my tongue.

I also wanted to go back to Harvard University and pin up thousands more ads for my website, too, but I was neither a student, faculty, nor even staff there, so surely I would be booted out on my buttocks as a trespasser. With no goats at hand, and Harvard University millions of smoots and a lifetime away, I decided instead to frolic around the goatless park with my gabbling kerfrumpt. Fortunately none of the other park-goers had brought their own pets with them, for in the face of a madly frolicking kerfrumpt, they surely would have been park-goners.

“Gangli-on, gangli-off, or maybe even a gangli-igloo,” I mused airily as I sat on a goat-shaped bench at the south end of the park, sweating porcupines and panting heavily. My kerfrumpt curled herself up at my feet, brilling contentedly and crunching on the remnants of the several squirrels she had mercilessly trapped in her eating-snout. Sunset was approaching. (Crunch, crunch.) I thought about the wattle and daub that I would use to paint my blog all hairy tonight. “Or… gangle-ions?” It didn’t make sense to my gangly self, and it wouldn’t make sense to any of my readers (you poor, poor souls), but it didn’t have to. (Crunch, crunch, crunch!) Nothing has to make any sense around here. If perchance President Piggy-Man was reading tonight, it would make sense to him—and that was all that mattered. He would know what to do, which buttons to push on the nuclear football, and which MRBMs, IRBMs, ICBMs, and SLBMs it would launch toward the erstwhile Soviet Union. (Crunch, crunch, slurp…!)

I explained all of this nonsense to the first passer-by who deigned to stop and listen. In fact, he listened with much gusto and even more glee. I talked and I talked; I bloviated and I gesticulated. At last I ended my exposition with a colorful bout of Polish vulgarity which—if the stopper-by spoke Polish, which he didn’t—would surely stand his hair on end if only he understood me (which he couldn’t).

The reception that I received upon concluding my sibilant malediction reminded me all too well of that time I confused Alsace–Lorraine and Elsaß–Lothringen, and nearly had my ass (and hat) handed to me on a silver platter by a gaggle of incensed Frenchmen. As it turned out, my new friend actually did speak język polski. He spoke Polish, too. And he turned purple. I got to my feet and ran.

Down Ruecallestraße Street I fled, my panicking feet carrying me as fast as they could. My scaly ol’ kerfrumpt scuttled along behind me on her six scaly ol’ legs. I wished that I had Chloë Moretz’s feet in my hands, instead of my own at the bottom of my legs, but that was neither here nor there now. What was here, I saw, was another verdant park, off to the left, within which was a large goose pond—replete with a flock of serene-looking geese. I broke left and dove right into the pond. The geese scattered, wings spread and anserine bills flabbling and honking with agitated urgency. My irate new Polish friend ran right on by. I waited a good 3½–4 minutes before I poked a nostril above the surface of the pond and started breathing again. Slowly, I swam back to shore and hauled my waterlogged corpse back up onto land.

The geese were not happy with my shenanigans.

Their angry, sidelong glances reminded me all too well of that time I confused revanchism and irredentism, and nearly had my ass (and hat) handed to me on a silver platter by a gaggle of incensed Frenchmen and Italians. Fortunately, this gaggle wasn’t composed of Frenchmen, nor bottles of French’s mustard, nor even French mouse turds. It was only a gaggle of geese. But they turned purple, too. I got to my feet and ran.

Down Ruecallestraße Street I fled, my panicking feet carrying me faster than my legs could carry me. This quickly put me in quite the sticky pickle, as my feet soon took off on their own, leaving me to stumble forward and fall flat on my face on the Ruecallestraße sidewalk. Scrambling to my ankles and shrieking in a frenetic, frothing panic, I rose to find myself only yards away from my town’s Annual Ungabugandan Festival. I blinked. I thought Ungabuganda was just some silly idiot’s joke, but apparently I was wrong. The manure was piled high in the middle of the street, and dozens of mules milled about, braying, donkeying it up, and generally making a shitty mess of things. They were bordge mules, naturally: A variety of mule known for their prolific production of dung, and thus highly prized by the pantsless peasants of Ungabuganda.

Also recalling that bordgies are prone to stampeding at the slightest provocation, I tried to suppress my squealing panicry down to a dull if bug-eyed roar. I succeeded not at all. Turning purple, the mules stampeded. Footless, I rotated 180°, stood on my hands, and ran.

Something flashed at the left edge of my peripheral vision. Was it…? Could it be…? I turned an eye turret to the left. Sure enough, once again appearing in my time of dire need, it was a little scaly gnute. He floated alongside me at ear level as I scurried, lazily bobbing up and down in the air along a graceful, sinusoidal path.

“Ψýxmal?” I conquavered. The gnute radiated wordless affirmation. “Your name is Ψýxmal.” How I had learned the trans-dimensional chameleon’s name before he uttered a single sound was a question that I sorely wanted answered, but at the moment—with two dozen bordge mules about to stampede over my pasty, pink body and reduce it to a pasty, pink paste smeared along Ruecallestraße Street—the question seemed less than significant. I filed it away on my List of Things to Worry About at a Much Later Time in § 606-A, ¶ 47, right after “Upgrade MP2½ player to an MP⅜ player” and “Retrieve fluppy crystal key from that evil miser Wagstaff.”

“Help, Ψýxmal!” I bawled at the little scaly devil. Help!!


And abruptly I was elsewhere: Sitting upon my voluminous buttocks on the sidewalk of Bouillabaisse Boulevard was where I was. I was a might bit muddy (at least I hoped that was mud all over me), and sore to boot—but I was far from the pasty, pink paste that I had expected to become moments before. I looked around. The pack of bordge mules was miles away, and was surely trampling someone else by now instead of me. There weren’t even any stinking fish or rotting flamingos around, I noticed. My kerfrumpt was sitting on her mid-haunches on the sidewalk, watching me, her cilia raised and her eating-snout cocked to one side—a kerfrumptly question mark.

I breathed a sigh of relief and unwetted my pants. But a question remained: “How did I get here…?” I mused aloud. “One moment I was… and the next, I’m… but how…? Did the gnute…? But how…?” I asked elliptically. I had been doing a lot of musing out loud lately—sometimes bemusedly, sometimes amusedly, but always confusedly. The gnute must’ve saved my leathery hide again. How didn’t matter—all that mattered is that it happened. This was the only answer that even remotely preserved my poor, abused readers’ suspension of disbelief.

“How, eh? Not even the lunatic asylum would take you in this time, maybe?” A voice croaked dryly. The question was punctuated not with a question mark but a cantankerous cackle.

I looked up sharply. My eye turrets swiveled in all directions. There was Mr. Van der Woobie standing over me, bergrumptuous and persnickety as always. My eye turrets kept spinning. I was still discombobulated in the extreme. Where did all those bordgies go? How did Mr. Van der Woobie get here? Where was the gnute!?

“Where’d he go!?” I twittered urgently at the old man standing stoopedly in front of me. Wiebe’s eyes narrowed. Not being the least bit telepathic, for all he knew, I was talking about J. Edgar Hoover, Hubert H. Humphrey, or maybe even Stanley H. Tweedle. I glared. “You know who I mean, Woobo! Ψýxmal, the gnute! The gnute! Ψýxmal! Ψψψψψ…!”

Old man Woobie just cocked his head to one side and eyed me as someone might eye a middle-aged man whom he recently discovered had only the mental capacity of an addlepated twelve-year-old boy.

“If all your brains were dynamite, you couldn’t even blow your nose,” he grinched acidly. He never could refrain from gleefully sinking such jabs into my flesh every single time we crossed paths with each other. I stopped making hissing, popping, and motorboat noises. I grimaced and turned purple myself, then turned into a big purple Grimace for added intimidation. Woobie recoiled but it was too late for him. I was carrying my trusty old hat pin on my person, which I removed from my icosahedral purse and brandished at him. I then went about doing some of my own jabbing. Jab, jab, jab! And there upon that sidewalk he died.

I chittled trioomphantly. Elephants, oliphaunts, and even heffalumps danced and pranced. Ψýxmal faded wavily back into three-space. I did the Dance of Joy with my newest gnutely pal and then wondered when I would get to see the lovely, blonde Chloë Moretz barefoot again. Ψýxmal and then Tinny joined the ’phants and phantasms in their dance, and the troupe of gnomes, too—the one that had been inexorably directing my every nutty act all week, that is. My kerfrumpt was up on three legs, dancing and queeging along with the rest of them. The whole band reassured me that the answer to my feetly inquiry was “Soon”: So soon I wouldn’t even be able to publish this blog entry before it happened. So soon I wouldn’t even be able to finish this sentence. Or even the next one. Or the one before that. I shook my head like a cross-eyed wizzle-nipf that had just survived a glorpf-snake attack. I tried not to hyperventilate. My mouth lolled open and I finally let go of my tongue. Things were happening fast now, shimmering and stunnin’ and glue-gunnin’ along at a feverish pace, jingling and jangling, twickling ŋippidly, but I was okay with that… I was okay with it all…

I was more than okay. I relaxed, lying back on the sidewalk, as waves of efflubious bliss washed over me like the gentle caress of delicate Chloë’s pair of gentle, delicate feet. I burbled lightly. Mooey was dead, but I didn’t let it get me down. Mr. Van der Woobie, dead or not, would return few days hence to grump and galumph and harry me again, but I didn’t let that get my goat either. The whole world could come and go as it pleased, Fate could try to buttrape me six ways from Sunday again and again, but I in my sempiternal euphoria would ignore it all. My kerfrumpt was brilling, and I brilled happily back at her, vibrating the whole block. We vibrated the whole block together.

It was all about Chloë Moretz now, little Chloë giggling as she bounced her përky little diaeresis off më, blonde little Chloë smïlïng down at më from on hïgh and bärë öf fëët. At last I had nothing to worry about.

And then I started worrying if that were truly so.