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Vigorously shaking every ficus tree

Shook before December 12, 2021.

Resurrected again, I continued holding my breath for endless hours in a vain effort to reduce my personal CO2 footprint. Since no one else was up to the task, I had to try. It was Moon Day. I also clenched my jaw as hard as I could, for as long as I could, in an effort to push my teeth back where they belonged. It worked: My teeth were safely ensconced in my jaw and perfectly aligned for another seven days. (And many, many scones were also firmly ensconced between my jaws.)

My decision to move to Venus had been canceled. It joined my trip to Finland on the ash heap of Pnårpy history. Turns out, Pnårps cannot survive on a planet where the air is composed of nearly pure CO2 and 800°F in the shade. Who would’ve thunk it?!

Here on Earth, I had more than enough CO2 to contend with. I had no desire to immerse myself in a superheated atmosphere entirely composed of the angry little molecules! Regardless of all its faults, I much favored the Earth over Venus, Mars, or even Dorvan V. The planet may be crawling with ugly human–things, infested with freakish squirrel–things, and soaked through and through with ghasts, gugs, ghouls, and other horrific creature–things, but it was also full of trees. And I liked trees. My spaghetti trees out back provided me with an endless supply of noodly pasta. My galumph trees kept the squirrel count low with their explosive acorns. And other nameless trees provided me with an ample supply of edible nuts, seeds, berries, cones, drupes, pomes, and insect-stuffed galls.

These comforting thoughts brought me to my newest hobby this week: Vigorously shaking every ficus tree that I encountered to see if any figs would fall out.


“It’s not that I don’t enjoy a ‘pile’ of breakfast as much as the next guy,” I patiently explained to my breakfast companion on Two’s Day, “but I prefer my breakfast to come in bowls, or on plates, or folded up in greasy, little cardboard boxes with wiry little handles on the top. I hope you understand.”

I don’t think he understood. I continued defending myself in my usual logorrheic manner. But the ceramic garden gnome just stared dourly at me, his frozen frown conjuring up fears in my puffed-up brain of the most scurrilous accusations. He probably concluded I thought him uncouth, even uncivilized, for his preference for a “pile” of breakfast. He probably thought I was a prissy, snob-nosed twit! He probably thought I was an antignomite!

So I smashed him into little bits and dumped them all in the dustbin. And then I went to do something else: Continue my pilgrimage across my squirrelous little town, shaking all the ficus trees (and any other shakeable trees) in an effort to collect all the figs.

And so, my revenant wanderings continued. I ambled about the neighborhood, stopping at every ficus tree and shaking it vigorously. Sometimes figs fell out, but sometimes it was anything from leaves, to branches, to pine cones, to birds’ eggs, to entire squirrel nests (replete with angry, chittering squirrels). I caught a lot in my mouth that day. I even swallowed Bouba and Kiki whole—that’ll show them! After shaking what I thought was a ficus tree but turned out to be a lamp post with a loose lightbulb, I decided to call it a day and returned home to buff the dent out of my cranium.


It was the best deviled ham sandwich in the history of deviling. That sempiternal lover of horse lips, another old neighbor of mine, could sure make a good deviled ham sandwich—you just had to remember not to ask him where he got the “ham.” He was my lunch companion on Wend’s Day. I had known him for forty-two years (or was it forty-two minutes?), ever since he had been belched forth from the Brundlesphere in the midst of one of my paternostering hallucinatorials. Even after forty-two years (or was it forty-two seconds?), I still didn’t know his name. But I knew he loved horse lips.

Forty-two more seconds passed, and I had an overwhelming urge to smash some more garden gnomes. But instead I just wanly finished my deviled ham sandwich and then took a walk down to the Cthulomat for some fish tentacles, gagh, and pipius claw. The fish tentacles were delicious but the gagh was half-dead. I really wanted to smash some gnomes.

Then the claw tried to claw my face off. I sighed. It was shaping up to be another Klingon afternoon.

The inside of my ears crackled: A sure sign it would be another trip to the hoosie-fess this fine Wend’s Day. But I got it wrong: It wasn’t Wend’s Day, it was already Turd’s Day. This made me squiffle abruptly: Why was there now a day on my gregarian calendar named after feces? Who named these things? Ron Jeremy? Rory Calhoun? Faster I went, and faster out it came. Blogging madly, my diarrheic dog vomit was coming out both ends now, and I couldn’t stop. In no time I ran out of space on the remainder of my bedroom walls, then the ceilings, then the floors. My scribomanic scribblings were only outdone by my hooting, tooting, and frenetic fasciculations; soon I was romping madly down the street and inflicting my hypergraphia on any and every other flat (or mostly flat) surface I came across. Neighbors watched, stared, and some tried to chase me away, but I eluded all of them!

If I blogged at less than fifty words per minute, the bus would explode. Or so I thought!

My last faithful №2 pencil was worn down to a tiny, landicular nub. I switched to a №1, used those up completely, then consumed my entire box of even gummier №0 pencils. Regretful I had eaten those instead of writing with them, I realized I had run out of every leaded instrument I possessed. Finally I switched to my homemade №−2 pencil—what others might call a tube of toothpaste dyed black. Even in the throes of my hypergraphic mania, it worked well enough to scribble out… something.

One thing I had never thought of, previously, but learned well today: Aluminum siding makes a good writing surface!

Turd, turd! Bigger than a bird! Turd, turd, turd!

Truly, this was not unlike the electrified butthole of damnation!

Imbly-puff, ımbly-puff, ïmbly-puff, we all puff up! And down. In the middle of the street I went stiff as a board—my hooting and tooting stopped. My fury of full-body fasciculations morphed abruptly into a corpse-wide catalepsy.

Rolling myself down the street, as I had lost the ability to engage in any other form of corporeal locomotion, I made my way back to 229B Bouillabaisse Boulevard. My neighbors retreated into their own abodes, thankful the show was over (or was it?). I rolled upstairs. I went to use the loo but I fell in and the toilet tried to eat me. I made a note not to lift the seat ever again. I then had a sudden urge to consume five cans of Chef Boyardee mini beef ravioli and spaghetti & meatballs, which I did with much slurping, gulping, gusto, and glee—whereupon I immediately collapsed into my bed in a bloated, cheap pasta–filled heap. I woke up the next morning and discovered that half my face had left me. Now my toes were crackling, too. I leapt out of bed, turned on all the faucets, managed to use the loo without opening any lids, and then sat down for a truly grumnutterous breakfast of swine cakes and garefowl eggs.

“Boing tingy-tingy!” I began chanting vociferously. “Boing tingy-tingy, tingy-tingy, tinnggyy-tinnngggyyy!” I was like a raving Balki Bartokomous casting a Mypiot spell to turn everyone into goatherds. But then, something got to burbling—rumbling and nurbling!

Time ticked and tocked, not unlike Tock the watchdog, and Bouba and Kiki continued to claw at the insides of my alimentary tract. That’s when things got interesting.

With little warning, my integument tore itself asunder and my organs started spilling out of every hole in my doofus-shaped body. My thyroid took a trip to Mytholmroyd to join the mythical hemorrhoids of Hebden Royd. My heart and corneas soon followed, leaving me in a bit of a sticky pickle! As I sat in my Hopeless Slack-Ass® recliner, watching individual body parts abandon me to my omicrimonious underdunkery, I sank into the cushions, then through the cushions, then the floor below, and finally all the way into my basement. I slurmed around morosely, again not unlike a glorpf-snake that found itself out-slithered by a wizzle-nipf, found a hole in the ground, and crawled in. Crawling deeper, I scrawled incoherent burblings in the gravel, floundered around like a gaffed carp, and begin to outgas my last gasp.

And lastly, mouth full of figs, I died.