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And I still couldn’t find my comb

Nosedove before August 22, 2021.

“Where’d the—where’d the—where’d the comb go, chrome dome?”

This is what I asked this week when I suddenly realized my comb—always in one of my many pockets—had gone missing, and at the exact moment, a rather bald individual was passing by on the sidewalk. (I myself was on the same sidewalk when this happened.)

This rather bald individual—and he wasn’t just bald; his head was actually perfectly dome-shaped and appeared to be made out of the same chrome that adorns the typical automobile—except mine of course, which is a Trabant, and has not one single chrome item at all on it, nor anything else beyond the bare necessities to make it start moving when wants it to, and to stop moving—most of the time—when one does not—as I was saying, this rather bald individual stopped to look at me, with a countenance that revealed a poindextrous personality and localized shock to his pituitary and adrenal systems. (Yes, that sentence finally ended; what did you expect, it to go on forever? I’d like to see you try to write a sentence that never ends.) As he looked at me, the light of the Sun and all the streetlights—which were mysteriously all on during the day, at high noon no less—glinted off his chrome-plated and perfectly hemispherical pate. My recent masters degree in phrenology assisted me in quickly assessing the man’s overall personality from nothing more than the blinding light reflecting off of the Platonic solid that was his head. He was an ungrulious man, of an esquivalient nature—a misdadiger for sure. He also had no ears.

“Excuse me, Mister…” The senile delinquent’s audible ellipsis hung in the air between us. He wanted to know my name. Did I want to tell him my name? Only time would tell—I wouldn’t. I checked my wristwatch to ensure it wasn’t about to snitch on me; it wasn’t. I then glanced at my elbow watch—would it remain as loyal as my wristwatch? Then I glanced at the two squirrels sitting atop a nearby mailbox. Those two would surely rat on me—squirrels are after all nothing more than tree rats, and what is a rat most wont to do? Rat on people. These rats would do it from the trees—or, since they were currently perched on the apex of a mailbox, they—both of them, for sure—would rat on me via first-class mail. Finally, my mind refocusing on the situation at hand rather than the thousands of distractions passing by me on the sidewalk, road, and hanging out every window—I tried to look Mister Chrome-Dome-Face in the eyes, but the sunlight radiating from his forehead caused me the need to shield my eyes lest I go immediately blind from the intense UV rays in the light.

I used my other hand to wave away the three closely-linked periods suspended in the air between myself and baldy here, then let loose with my own verbal punctuation: “…? …! …?? …, …, …!!!”

The misdadiger standing before me clearly had had enough, for he snorted loudly—sending my carefully crafted punctuation marks scattering in all directions—turned on his outermost heel (Did I mention he had five legs?), and stalked off. He clearly had had enough of me, but—not knowing the man’s tolerance for punctuation—thinking it a good idea at the time, I picked up all my periods and question marks and exclamation points from the sidewalk, and chucked them as hard as I could at the back of his receding head (—certainly not his receding hairline, for he was completely bald).

Naturally, not a single punctuation mark hit the mark. I took grim satisfaction that my .000 batting average stood unchallenged by any accidental success. Most of my periods landed on the sidewalk or out in the roadway a couple yards away, bounced, and ended up down the storm drain almost as if attracted by the water, darkness, and killer clown lurking within. One period hit the curb—or as the British would say, the kerb, or as the French would say, the quérbe—did a little pirouette on the pavement (in French), and then rolled back in my direction. The first question mark hit—and knocked over—a free newspaper kiosk, sending the worthless, ad-ridden newspapers scattering and fluttering—for I did say it was very windy out, no?—in every direction. Butterfly-like, the newspapers flew away. A second question mark got caught on a nearby lamp post by its crook, swung around not unlike an acrobat, and fell directly down onto the sidewalk, injuring a passing ant. The third question mark just …vanished. I could only assume a rift in time had opened up at that exact moment and swallowed it whole.

The exclamation points—sword-like little things that they are, nasty, nasty, sharp little things—all embedded themselves in the tire of a passing car, blowing out the tire, and causing the car to careen (I’m sure if it was a bus, it would have “plunged”) into oncoming traffic. The resulting pileup, I stopped counting at the tenth car, deciding my best course of action, before the authorities—or anyone putting on the pretense of being the same—showed up, was to sheepishly slink away from the scene on my tiptoes, lift up the nearest storm drain or manhole cover, and hide until the calamity and its aftermath blew over.

Mister Chrome-Dome-Face didn’t even look back as he exited the scene. A heat dome was once again descending over my fine city—but the chrome dome had departed. One damned dome replaced another (dumb) one. I looked up—the air was roiling, turning red—in the distance, trees were bursting into flames and closer by the lamp posts started to melt and bend downward toward the roads. Off in the distance, a dog boiled. Pigeons burst into flames in mid-air—a now-frequent occurrence that was barely worthy of mention, honestly—but this particular heat dome was so sudden and so intense that it also caused a flock of passing seagulls to simply… detonate. I stood there on the quickly softening sidewalk, gawking in awe as feathers and fully cooked bird meat descended around me: One of the genuine benefits of global narming, to be sure. I squatted down on the sidewalk and picked up the pieces of what would become my dinner tonight.

But I still couldn’t find my comb.