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From Commodus to Vespasian—

Detruded on April 11, 2021.

That missing Sunday appeared this week, landing squarely in the middle of the week with a resounding, fleshy thud.

I wasn’t sure what to make of this development—weekends and weekdays living together in the same square on my calendar wasn’t entirely unheard-of, but when I want to brazenly end a sentence with a preposition, “unheard-of” is a good choice. Some people also consider this curiously hyphenated phrase an adjective rather than a preposition, so I also retained that defense to stand behind. Other excuses I could also think of. Or, I could begin the next sentence with a conjunction—an even worse offense! And then I could move on. And on, and on, and so on.

Yet another meandering paragraph of pure grammatical spite wrung to completion, I checked my day planner (to ensure my day had been planned for me, rather than the other way around). Indeed, I had a whole host of quotidian appointments: Everything from getting my head examined, to my nose haircut, to having a plumber finish repairing and reinforcing my toilet pipery. The sadly inevitable climax of last week’s impactions and the ensuing denouement had thoroughly rid my house of every functional pipe, drain, trap, and bend. If I ever wanted to flush again and have it go anywhere except the downstairs living room, I had to have a plumber go about replumbing everything—


His name wasn’t Mario, but he did look like a red-capped mushroom. And after 38 minutes of pestering him about the different color flapper valves that were available, buzzing around his head like a delightfully persistent mosquito, he told me to buzz off until he was done rehinging my unhinged plumbing.

It hurt that my new mushroomy friend didn’t want to discuss interior toilet bowl decorating while he monkey-wrenched around with my toilet, but I knew that it would hurt more if out of irritation he conked me over the head with his monkey wrench, so I desisted and buzzed off. Briefly I considered calling him a big doodie-head, firing him on the spot, and doing the replumbification of my commode myself, but then I recalled the last time I had attempted a similar endeavor. In an effort to fix a faucet leak, I used Wikipedia in place of an actual plumbing how-to guide; I ended up dismantling my entire refrigerator and, ultimately, shipping it to Burkina Faso, yet even when finished meticulously following the instructions I still had not fixed the leak. Once again the encyclopedia that even a headless zombie can edit had failed me.

So, rather than do it myself, or wait in plumbid silence for my commode to be repiped and my faucets reinforced by a professional plumbician, I whiled away the time by taking a niftious jaunt down Bouillabaisse Boulevard. The Sun was out and the rain clouds were all in hiding. As I sauntered along my jaunt, I sang and tweeted merrily to myself, now taking full advantage of the new 280-character limit. My neighbors, friends, enemies, frenemies, and freighbornemies stood and stared, their jaws agape and ears a-cupped, shocked at my ebullient effrontery: How dare the man who threw a flaming brick through every Overton window just last week be so atwitter with oblivity? So cavalier with his audacity? So supercilious with his silliness? How dare he?

I smarmed unconcerned as I rounded the corner onto Shoehorner Street, the goatburping park being my antepenultimate destination. With the morning wearing on, my own commode no doubt still displumbed, and the seven litres of Mountain Dew I had consumed wearing heavy on my soul, I was now being urged onward by a growing turgency—quite urgently—to find another more accommodating commode, lest an emergency emerge presently. “A-ha!” I mooblespouted when I spotted it: A Vespasian commode, shiny and bright, right here in the goatburping park on Shoehorner Street—


I sighed heartily, relief washing over me. Turgency and concomitant urgency were both relieved. Other than my latent fears of going bald in my nose, I was at the moment totally at peace. I stepped out of the Vespasian and felt like a new man—a spring in my step that would make even Spring-Heeled Jack jealous. Accommodated at last by this fine public commode, my thoughts turned to Commodus and his a.d. 190 edict to rename all twelve months after himself. I wondered if I should do the same. Pnårpuary? Pnårptember? The possibilities were endless—


I ran pantsless toward Goading Road on the far side the goatburping park. The goats tried to goad me as I fled, taunting me on my jaunt, as goading goats are wont to do, but I didn’t let them get my goat. Next came the toads, goading me more intensely, but they were a lot smaller and made a delightful pop! when I stomped them, so they were nary a problem. Pantsless, I ran.

At a pavilion at the edge of the park, Mayor Rhoodie was giving a speech touting his new program to have all park benches reinstalled upside-down to prevent the homeless from sleeping on them. I had to admit, it was better than his last initiative to outfit all the steps and low walls around City Hall with razor wire to keep skateboarders away, but at the moment, I didn’t have time for any speechifying (or goatburping). Pantsless, I ran—


A flock of widgeons floated upon the pond. These were the same dabbling ducks whose dabbling in the occult last week nearly cost me my skin and then some. It doesn’t take much time for a flock of widgeons with a ouija board, casting their anagrammatic, quacking spells, to call up a wendigo of the most fierce and suppurthine nature. Pantsless, I came to a horrified halt, skidding on my heels like a cartoon character.

I yerked. Indeed these widgeons and their wizardry had conjured up… something. It stood before me, its own jaw agape and ears a-cupped. A wendigo it may have been, if the widgeons had made their incantations proper. Or was it merely some kind of anatine homunculus, called up from the depths of Sheol to rid these ducks of their enemies and bring them endless bread? Or was it a shapeshifting skin-walker… or Candle Cove’s Skin-Taker? I turned tail and ran in the other direction, feathers flying, lest this unearthly anatunculus take my skin right off and feed it to the toads at my rear. Dodging toads, goats, more toads, and more goats, I ran—still pantsless, but at least I now knew which direction to run (directly ahead). Goats belched, but got out of my way, and toads popped. I ran back past the Vespasian commode that had so graciously accommodated me earlier, then passed the newly installed Commodian vespase next to the statue of Nahum Dalhousie. Down Shoehorner Street I tore like a flash (featherless now), back toward Bouillabaisse Boulevard and ol’ 229B, where I would be safe from all these prying eyes—


My discommoded commode had been fully recommoded. The plumber had finished, leaving me both the bill and a dinner mint gracefully placed atop the closed toilet lid. All was well in the world. I sat down, relieved, and ate the mint and then the bill. And then I relieved myself once again.

All was well in the world—