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Time to draw the bull

Ejaculated on August 1, 2021.

“Time to draw the bull,” I muttered forlornly as I donned my farmer garb. I wished that it was time to make the donuts instead.

It was 4:04 a.m. and still dark. Somewhere, it probably was time to make the donuts. But that mattered not to me now—a vestige of a previous life was all it was. Years ago I had been employed as a junior donut-shaper at the Drunken Donuts on U-238 Drive. Brief as it was, working as a donut-shaper gave me the uncanny ability to know when it is in fact time to make the donuts—anywhere. My own circadian rhythm, to this day, revolves around the time that one is to make the donuts. And right this moment I knew, donut shops all over the world were about to commence squeezing and shaping and slapping and twirling and frying their morning donuts, while a horde of ravening customers abided just outside the locked gates, ready to storm them and swarm in like ants… if the donuts were even a single minute late.

Catching my own gonads in the zipper on my overalls brought me yelpingly back to the present.

“Remember not to get any prions jammed up your nose, son,” old Mr. Smuthabupple reminded me as I finished suiting up to go tend the cattle. This was my current job: Farm hand at Mr. Smuthabupple’s Organic Farm. My latest online degree, a PhD in veterinary medicine with a dual specialization in ovine sematology and bovine seminology, had led me down this fascinating if unusual career path. Since Mr. Smuthabupple had no need for someone who could interpret sheep sign language, I was given the daily duty of drawing his bulls.

“Prions!?” I stammered. “What’re those!?”

“Well, they’re these little spingly-bongles that come from the bulls,” he explained. “Especially the mad bulls. So don’t make ’em angry. Once these prions pry your nostrils open, they make their way inside your skull and then they pry all the proteins apart.” He paused, reflecting. “I think that’s why they call ’em ‘prions.’

I gulped, donned a second nose-guard over the first, and went to tend Mr. Smuthabupple’s tumid taurine beasties.

That evening, I used my computery machine to research prions on Wikipedia. Prions were a doozy all right, and made me resolve to never eat another cow brain in my life. Not even the Firstborn of Death, the King of Terrors, nor Mot and his seven sons were as abjectively terrifying as these insidious little demons. After falling asleep (after first falling abed in a fetal position), I dreamed dark dreams of a planet’s biosphere irreversibly becoming utterly hostile to organisms that use neurons to function, through accumulation of immortal zombie nanoparticles that convert more and more proteins to their side. Twisted bull-brain proteins invading my own twisted brain. And then, every other living thing with a brain—from sheeps to shmeeps to smeerps to rabbits. In the end, nothing but mad cows, scrapie’d sheeps, rabid rabbits, and—

I awoke shrieking and squeeorling like a little piglet still in her pigtails. Breakfast consisted of coffee, garefowl eggs, and more shrieking—and hiding under my kitchen table while my scaly ol’ kerfrumpt looked on curiously. Exacerbating things further, the song “Rabbit-Phallus” by Dishwasher Synergy was now stuck in my head; I whistled the tune endlessly this day as I milked Mr. Smuthabupple’s bulls. The other cow-orkers on the farm were not very amused. But they were very bemused. At least “Rabbit-Phallus” kept my mind off the prions (and the bulls’).

And at least the entire Moon returned last weekend.

On Wednesday, the bulls were in no mood for my manual ministrations. They were ornery and restless—one might say, bullheaded even. They stamped and snorted; a particularly taurocephalous taurid even tried to gore me when I let my guard down. One of my fellow cow-orkers got the beast into a headlock and gave it a noogie—one firm noogie after another—until the enraged animal conceded and let us finish our business. This was a good lesson in taking off one’s nose-guard while on the job! Later, another bully of a bull tried to kick me in the head, but fortunately the goggles, respirator mask, face-shield, nose-guard, and trauma plate I had mounted on my forehead protected me.

I sighed. My degree in ichthyiatrics did not qualify me to deal with ithyphallic bovines, despite the orthographic similarity.

On Thursday, the bulls were in a high dudgeon once again. Pow, Biff, and Zork, my old coworkers from the spam-canning plant had decided to play a prank on me. They were always up for a good laugh at my expense, and now worked alongside me orking Mr. Smuthabupple’s bulls. Being the gentleman that I am, the sordid details of their little jape shan’t grace this docile & perfunctory page, but I will say: While my circuitous ramblings about donuttery may have made for a sticky mess of an opening paragraph, that was nothing compared to the sticky mess I had to clean up after the bovinary knob-polishing catastrophe my bullyragging pals caused.

I sighed again and put the whole bizarre, grunting, sweating enterprise behind me.

On Friday, having completed our bull-milking chores at last, old Mr. Smuthabupple next put us to work turning his turnips and snipping his parsnips. I pulled these jobs off swimmingly, so soon my duties were upgraded to potting his potatoes and mating his tomatoes. Pow, Biff, and Zork were given the ungrulious job of de-billing and skinning the geese; they were then sent out to procure a new milking machine for the cows after ours was mysteriously destroyed on Thursday.

Saturday brought the culmination of all our hard work at Mr. Smuthabupple’s Organic Farm. Once monthly in the Spend-O-Mart parking lot, my homely little town holds a farmer’s market, at which Mr. Smuthabupple has displayed his fine products for over twenty years.

Smuthabupples Farmers Market read the curious sign above our tent. Aware of how much grocers adore the apostrophe, I asked Mr. Smuthabupple why he seemed to abhor the same. Was this some kind of rivalry between the opposite ends of our nation’s food-spewing pipeline? Or perhaps the law of conservation of matter and energy, applied to punctuation? But no, the old farmer told me: Our vaunted Mayor Julian Rhoodie had banned local businesses from using apostrophes in their names after a bad experience at Dunkin’ Donuts. That made so little sense it must be the explanation, I admitted. It was even sillier than when Dinkins Donuts (née Dinkins’ Donuts) was forced to close after Rhoodie was snubbed by New York City’s own mayor—told in no uncertain terms to stop referring to our city as “New York’s sister city.”

At the farmer[’]s market, Pow, Biff, and Zork were putting to good use the expertise they gained from their former career in spam-canning. They manned a table selling Smuthabupple’s® Bullamacow™: Authentic, organic, gluten-free, cruelty-laden tinned cow and bull meat. (Something had to be done with those obstinate bulls.) Other farm hands manned tables rife with vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds, nuts, berries, beans, drupes, pomes, samaras, roots, shoots and leaves, pulses, legumes, tubers, rhizomes, schizocarps, and goose pelts. (Something had to be done with those obstreperous geese.)

I manned the pastry table. Saturday notwithstanding, I wore my Sunday best: The finest pink leisure suit money could buy, and three asshats atop my head, each inside another. Glazed donuts and jelly-filled donuts were laid out in neat stacks and tilings from one end of the table to the other—yards of them. Donuts in all colors and flavors, and six different sizes: From thimble-sized to donut-sized to the size of a cheap spare tire.

No one made better donuts than Smuthabupple’s: Certainly not Dunkin’ Donuts, nor the Drunken Donuts I fled from in terror and then scurried back to for work. Not even Dunkin’ Dönitz, a curiously WWII-themed donut shop on Hegelian Avenue, nor even Dinkorn Donuts on Pinnfarben Street. No one even knows what a “dinkorn” is. But one thing was for sure: No one made better doughnuts than Smuthabupple’s.

For you see, authentic Smuthabupple’s® Doughnoughts™ were made with all-natural ingredients and hand-crafted by the finest donut-shaper (me) in the land. The cruelty-free, gluten-laden flour was milled by hand from our own-grown wheat, the cooking oil was squeezed (by hand) from our very own olives, and the thick, delicious glaze and jelly filling was manhandled directly from the livestock into the donuts.

[Feetnote: What happened to my donut-shaping job at the Drunken Donuts, you ask? I’m glad you asked. A few short, tiny weeks after I had donned my donut-shaped paper cap and started shaping the hell out of those donuts, a disastrous donut-soaking accident resulted in the shop’s entire distilling and brewing operation going up in thick, nutty (but not very doughy) smoke. I was blamed and, despite my vehement protestations and denials, fired faster than Michael Vale could drawl out, “Time to make the donuts.”]