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Vigorously shaking every Solanum dulcamara

Vigorously shook before December 19, 2021.

My infructuous attempts at holding my breath to reduce my personal CO2 footprint continued this week, with renewed determination. I carried on both living and dying. I was at once both dead and undead. I walked to and fro in the land and quietly moldered away beneath it. If I had been a cat, surely I would have been sealed up in an airtight box by Erwin Schrödinger and not let out until Christmas.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, I suffered through a host of even worse problems this week. This week wasn’t my week, that was for sure. My sempiternal admiration of Chloë Moretz’s feet distracted me from the Macedonian mastodon that crashed through my living room and broke all my flatware, shattered all my stemware, and bent all my silverware. A hapless typo in the opening sentence of the first draft of these hebdomadal natterings caused me to lose all my weight again, but I found it eventually. And then—even after my full breadth was safely restored to me—a catastrophic groinrinsing mishap just yesterday resulted in a calamitous decline in the local cockroach population.

Furthering my week-long disapillitude, the Cthulomat was closed for the holidays. When it came to breakfast, I was on my own. No tentacle muffins, no wriggling gagh bacon, and no bat–octopus soup would be had. Fortunately my pantry was well-stocked with puffed wheat, puffed rice, puffed garlic, and other puffy breakfast cereals, so—despite the inherent dangers in yours truly using a gas stove to cook cereal for breakfast—at least I wouldn’t starve.


“Goodbye, morning coffee!” I loomed over my morning toilet, whizgiggling merrily. “Goodbye, morning coffee! Goodbye, morning coffee! Flushed right down the drain!” I watched the water ripple. And then the water in the toilet suddenly drained away on its own: The toilet had flushed itself. I panicked and ran out of my porcelain throne room like a bat out of northern California.

“Why did my toilet do that!?” I wondered aloud as I wandered the halls like a revenant sheep. The logical conclusion was that the reinvigorated gnome population had surreptitiously attached a vacuum cleaner to the vent pipe on my roof and, upon hearing me whizzing and giggling, they decided to play a cruel trick on me. The nefarious little beardies have been getting a lot bolder. This kind of trickery was right up their alley.

Having run out of ladders I was unable to crawl up onto my roof and confirm this theory, so I did my darnedest to put it out of my mind. Despite frequently being out of my mind myself, putting a gnome attack out of my mind proved easier said than done. Gnome anxiety was my lot in life and today would be no different—but now I had even more to fret about. I was ladderless, my toilet was flushing itself, and there was likely a vacuum cleaner atop my roof sucking up all my H2O. My easy chair was insurmountably far away, so I sank down to my haunches on the floor, covered my face with my eyelids, and bawled like a demented hundred-year-old man who thought he was twelve again.

All of these discomfiting thoughts eventually brought me to my newest hobby this week: Vigorously shaking every Solanum dulcamara that I encountered to see if any tiny, tiny tomatoes would fall out. My attempts at solving global smarming on my own may have proven fruitless, but at least these lovely, bittersweet vines would bear me plenty of fruit. Tiny, tiny fruit.


When’s Day brought me a shocking surprise. That sempiternal tripeman—everlasting afficionado of sheep entrails that he was—had stolen my potato juice and covered my Hopeless Slack-Ass® recliner in ugly, ugly duct tape! I was shocked—appalled—even flabbergasted. I didn’t know what to do without my potato juice: What would I drink?! And with my Slack-Ass® covered in slippery, unsittable tape—where would I sit?! Honking fitfully, I scurried about looking for my faithful №2 pencil, so I could write him an angry missive and staple it to his forehead (or, failing that, to his front door). Alas, my last №2 pencil had been worn down to a landicular nub weeks ago, so I was forced to resort to the №200 pencil I kept around for these occasions. Neither the sheepy man nor his forehead being anywhere I could find them, I marched down to Mr. Tripeman’s door, flipped my pencil open, and carved my correspondence into the wood right beneath the grotesque door knocker:

My most serene Mr. Tripeman,

You have my potato juice! And I have your duct tape. If you ever want to see it again, return my potato juice at once—skins and all.

I give you 23⅞ hours before I unleash the stuffleupagus!

Yours truly (not really),

Phillip Norbert Årp

P.S.: Love the door knocker shaped like a sheep’s buttocks. I simply must have one of my own! Where did you get it?

I then lifted the knocker and slammed it into the door three, four, fifty-six times. There was no answer. Amidst knocking I began to pound my fists on the door, which segued into slamming my whole body into it while huffing and puffing about blowing his house down. I only ceased when I tripped and fell backwards down the steps. Hard, hard steps these were. My not-so-hard (in fact quite fleshy) corpse landed nose-first in a bush full of angry beavers. Angry, angry beavers these were. I shrieked and ran.

I returned to my kingly abode and sat upon my gleaming white throne once again. If I were to loose a stuffleupagus upon that ovine man, I had some work to do!


Furrsday blorpled its way into my week, punctual as always. The stuffleupagus was not forthcoming. I gave up. I had also given up my parsimonious grumnuttery for some spendthrifty dinglefarbing: Having maxed out all my credit cards on 360 varieties of syrup of squill, there was now only one thing to do. I prayed to the doleful Owl Gods for enough moolah to renew my membership in the Horse Fanciers Association, which was due this month. Those prayers proved fruitless, so I tried instead praying to Chloë Moretz’s feet. Thwarted again, I brundled up to my computering chamber, plopped my doofus-shaped buttocks in my computering chair, and tried to make some moolah by mining bitcoins. But try as I could, swivel in my chair as hard as I could, I couldn’t generate enough electricity to keep my mining rig going. Another plan, another bust. I sank back down into my computering chair and forlornly click-click-clicked all over the web in a desperate attempt to fill the remainder of Furrsday with mindless, mouse-driven, soul-crushing entertainment.

Time passed, ludicrous bird noises were emitted, /b/ was browsed, and the bowyangs and collywobbles piled up on my hard drive. Maintaining my upright, seated posture become more and more of a chore and soon I found myself slumped backward, wall-eyed, and drooling. More time passed—whole hours at a time! Only after dribbling down onto the floor in an amorphous, gooey heap did I realize what I had become: A six-foot-tall man–amoeba.

Oops!

Another oops: I had completely neglected to take my brain medication at the appointed hour. “This doesn’t bode well for the rest of the neighborhood!” I claphed fripciously. “Not well at all!” My burbling consternation rose to an all-out, wall-eyed mouth-gaping: I knew that in no time I would begin seeing the fnords again. The fnords that were everywhere. The fnords hiding in culverts. The fnords concealed in clouds and jet contrails and COVID vaccines and 5G phones. The fnords lurking beneath the messages on every billboard. “Oh no, not those fnords! Not those fnords! I would likely even see the Fnords next door. Not those fnords!!

I bolted from my internetting chair, swiveled around on my heels, and began circling my computer room anxiously. “And Christmas is this Smatterday! I haven’t even bought them any gifts! Mr. and Mrs. Fnord will think I’m such a dunderpate!”

There was still Frÿday—why, oh why day!—to dig myself out of the crecarious faux pas into which I had entombed myself. I sat down again and, to calm myself, noshed on a handful of tiny, bitter, sweet, nightshady tomatoes.


Frıday arrived, spelling itself correctly but forgetting its dot at the cleaners. It squatted grimly on my calendar, then departed with nary a word. My car was out of gas, out of oil, and out of tires, and I was all out of legs, so Christmas shopping was canceled. I wasn’t going anywhere. And I was now even out of ramen noodles. I turned back to my nightshade, growing serenely on my over-sink, under-cabinet windowsill. Its tiny, red tomatoids glistened in the sunlight, beckoning me to snarf them down.

“Poisonous, shmoisonous!” I declared deciduously. “If they look like tiny tomatoes, and they taste like tiny tomatoes—”

I then died.