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A wanted carton of wontons

Trotted out on April 10, 2022.


While wantoning around town Friday morning looking for my lost carton of wontons, I found many other things. I found some trumpet vines on Grimpley Street and some limpet mines on Ooidonk Avenue. I found a donut that I lost in 1983, now wedged in a storm drain near the hobnobbery on Hobgoblin Street (not the hobnobbery on Pinnfarben Street). I found out that Captain Pinnfarb is still a Knib-Knob Gnome and still wants to uncurl my dog’s tail. (Shows what he knows! Yappie died in a hapless cheddaring accident a decade ago.) I even found out that I would be a grandpapårp soon.

But I didn’t find my wontons.

Not that I wanted to eat my wontons—my exclusively pepperonial diet prohibited any thing not thick, greasy, and tube-shaped from passing my lips. Nonetheless I wanted to know where those dumpy little dumplings had gotten off to. What were they doing out there all alone in the world? Did my perfidious oatmeal cookies turn them against me? Did a pack of Cantonese Canting Gnomes make off with the whole carton, singing and caroling as they went? Were my wontons jealous of all the attention I now lavish upon pepperoni? Did they decide to abandon me in favor of a man who would actually eat them? Did they decide to abandon me in favor of an actual man?

I frowned and scratched my goaty goatee in sullen contemplation. (I don’t actually have a goatee.) Being a six-foot-tall man–squirrel has its advantages but it also has its disadvantages—a long, furry squirrel tail is one. I frowned and scratched my long, furry squirrel tail. (I don’t actually have a tail either.) Where, oh where, did my wontons wander off to? I resolved to find out.

And so, this quest took me on a journey all around the nameless joke that is my town—from the paperclip factory on Zubenelgenubi Street to the goatburping park on Shoehorner Street, where an angry group of blue-haired teenagers recently tore down the Nahum Dalhousie statue and replaced it with a lumpy potato. I visited the Randy Munchkin on Zubeneschamali Street to ask. And the Drunken Donuts on Strontium-90 Street to inquire. I visited the costermongery to implore. And the new squirrel hatchery on Squayzie Avenue to beg shamelessly for any wontonly news. But every one of them turned me away. Some called me a stumblebum, some called me worse, and the squirrels—worst of all—accused me of impersonating a six-foot-tall man–squirrel all these years.

“So you mean I’m really a man!? I was shocked. No, they chittered: But I wasn’t a six-foot-tall squirrel pretending to be a man, either. I was just a six-foot-tall doofus. And so, comfortingly reassured about my fathom-long doofoid identity but still lacking my dumplings, I continued my wantoning, my wanton wanderings, as is my wont… as I wanted to do… looking high and low for my wontons.

Friday came and went. Nary a wonton was to be found.


Saturday bubbled up onto my calendar like whale farts from deep beneath the high seas. But I was not at home to see: I remained out and about all night, painting the town red, white, blue, yellow, green, purple, fuchsia, crimson, umber, and puce. I didn’t even notice that Frigg had abandoned me and left me to the cruelty of Saturn.

As the Sun poked its nose up above the horizon, I took up position in the goatburping park on Shoehorner Street (as I am wont to do).

I pnipped and I pneeped and I did a Pnårpy dance. And…

I fnipped and I fneeped and I did a Fnårpy dance.

A Chihuahua yipped (but didn’t yeep) and ruined everything. I stopped and wandered away sullenly. My Pnårping had been ignored but my Fnårping attracted a clutch of fneedy fnords who wouldn’t back down unless I gave them my spare change, my spare shoe, or my spare tire. Rather than the tire, I threatened to set them afire—with the Molotov cocktail I keep in my purse for such contingencies. They relented and faded back into the pavement.

A man wearing two bolo ties, a Carpathian toupée, and a thousand-yard stare was standing nearby. I asked him what he was staring at so saturninely, and why he wasn’t wont to entertain himself doing his own Pnårpy dance as I was wont to do on this wontonless day. He morosely replied he too was looking for something somewhere, or someone, or something or another (or some mother), but he wasn’t sure which “some” he was looking for. Perhaps it was just a sum of somethings, he mused. But it wasn’t some wontons. I raised my hand and stopped him there. Perhaps he was looking for goose grease from Greece, I suggested. He disagreed. Perhaps a moose fleece, or a caboose lease, or a papoose for his niece? He disagreed harder. I hardly noticed and kept rattling off suggestions (as I am wont to do, too).

The grim man became less sure of anything as time wore on and I wore him down. Perhaps he was in need of an angle from Anglia? Or a germ from Germany? Or some fins from Finland? Or a Polish pole or a Spanish spanner? Or a Luxan from the Benelux countries? He still wasn’t sure. But at this last suggestion, he snapped out of his reverie and resolved to find out what it was he was even looking for. I was satisfied I had so thoroughly discombobulated this double-boloed man that he would never untangle his brain out from under the ridiculous toupée. I then resolved to wander over to that lumpy potato statue on the other side of the park and begin emitting strange and otherworldly noises at it.

I never learned what became of that cheerless man and his resolution. But I did learn Luxans come from another planet, not Europe.

I arrived home at 7:17 p.m., which was better than 8:18⅛ p.m. but not as good as the pile of burnt oatmeal cookies I found on my kitchen table. It seems the perfidious little fiends had planned to lay a deadly trap using an extension cord and a glass of milk. But they had electrocuted themselves in the process. Surveying the damage, I gabbled triumphantly and swept the burnt, oatmealy remnants into the bin. That would be last I’d ever see of them! With this I knew my really, really big and pointy number would continue to serve me well—this week and for weeks to come. It was even better than the really, really big fish I once employed to travel across the Pacific in 2010. My IT Morlocks had really come through for me this time. I would plaster that apotropaic number on as many things as I could find—I would never run out of digits.

I then bounded, child- and doofus-like, over to my refrigerator to fetch myself a fresh cylinder of pepperoni. I opened the door, looked down, and smiled wanly: I found my wontons. There they were sitting in their carton, the grease soaking gently through the white cardboard turning it slightly translucent. My wontons were right where I had put them twelve weeks ago. As wontons are wont to do when left to their own devices, these did absolutely nothing but sit there for twelve weeks.

My smile broadened and I downed an entire stick of pepperoni in one gulp.


Sunday morning invaded my life like an unwanted skin rash.

Paranoia and pronoia battled it out inside my skull. After a hard and bitter campaign that reduced my amygdala to rubble and left most of my cerebellum a burnt-out husk, pronoia prevailed: I now believed that the Universe was conspiring to do me good. The vengeful Owl Gods were in fact benevolent, beneficent, and probably Beneluxan, too. Fate and Luck in fact loved me passionately, and Saturn’s cruelties yesterday were just “tough love” to teach me the value of a stale carton of wontons left on a fridge shelf for twelve weeks. And, a century from now, my descendants would establish a mighty dynasty that would rule a planet orbiting a distant star in the Bagel Nebula, survive the Greet Noöclasm of 2186, and go on to eventually rule the entire Universe. (Or maybe they would just found a small company in Toroid Springs, Colorado, making the finest bagels this side of the galaxy. I wasn’t sure, honestly.)

My desire to see this through outstripped all others. It outweighed my desire to find all that weight I lost in September. It surpassed my desire to own 200,000 boxes of Surpass® two-ply facial tissues. It even exceeded my heretofore overwhelming desire to be appointed Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports one day. Not even a Palaeologan pronoia granted to my enemies could stop me now.

[Feetnote: You thought the third chapter of this dumpster fire would be labeled C, didn’t you? Shows what you know!]