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Squirrels, squeeorling, syrup of squill, and squee

Cocked up on July 24, 2022.

I had a dream this week that my unopened jar of salsa con queso had somehow become half empty. In the dream I stared and stared at the jar, utterly flabbergasted. How had this rubberized cheese product been used without the lid having been removed? The seal unbroken? I conceded that basic laws of physics do often fall victim to desuetude around me, but this was too much. Too much! After much deliberation, consideration, and even a bit of multi-infarct goonflayvination, I concluded that my house must be infested with phase-shifting, transdimensional house ants. I called an exterminator at once.

The exterminator arrived, went right to work, and after much poking and probing around my cabinetry, floorboardery, and wainscoting, he revealed the problem was much worse than we had initially thought: I had an infestation not of transdimensional house ants, but Thuringian Threading Gnomes.

“Gnomes! But it can’t be! Gnomes… gnomes aren’t real!”

The exterminator—also a rodeo clown in his spare time, and an intellectual property lawyer on weekdays, which explained his clown nose, clown makeup, and clownish lawyer suit—nodded. “Birds aren’t real—but gnomes are real,” he continued. “Westphalian Schmongeling Gnomes? Now those are just the rantings of a madman—” I suppressed my sudden desire to start ranting madly. “—but Thuringian Threading Gnomes? Those are quite real. See how your toilet is missing upstairs?” I ran upstairs and checked. My toilet was indeed missing. Even the drainpipe was missing. But I had two sinks on the ceiling, and my bathtub was full of donuts. But they weren’t donuts—they were gnome-sized life preservers. “That’s how you can tell. The Threading Gnomes unthreaded it and took it back to Thuringia with them.”

“I should have known! Gnomes!!” I exclaimed as I tumbled back downstairs into the kitchen, then continued tumbling until I reached the pantry, where the exterminator stood, honking his clown nose contemplatively while he waited for me to return. “It’s always gnomes! Gnomes, gnomes, gnomes!” But I had hoped for the best—no more gnomes, just tiny ants that could teleport through solid glass to nosh upon my salsa con queso.

The laws of physics remained in abeyance. The exterminator disappeared in a puff of three-ring binders. I woke up. I scrambled out of bed and down to my pantry to check on my actual jars of actual salsa con queso. They were not half empty—in fact, all 92 of them were completely empty. In each jar there sat, once again, a tiny IOU scrawled out in a tiny gnomish hand…

The day ended with lots and lots of gibbering and smashing.

The next day began with lots and lots of sweeping up smashed glass.

My brain cranched as I remembered for the third time that this was another one of those dreaded five-Sunday months. I hid under my kitchen table in despair. Being motionless took its toll on me, dread or no dread, and soon I fell asleep again. I dreamed I was a gnome darting about behind my own wainscoting. I woke up in a cold sweat, shrieking and squeeorling in Klingon. Not even a zebra nor a bump on a log could placate me.

“As if someone put a dictionary in a blender and hurled the resulting pulpy slop at the nearest blogging engine,” is what someone called it. This. “I’ll show him!” is what I shot back. But the computer monitor wasn’t listening, and I didn’t have a mic on this dilapidated wooden computer either. So, I resorted to tweeting indignantly instead: First doing my most obnoxious impression of a whip-poor-will, followed by the sound a grouse would emit if torn to shreds by a pack of estrous coyotes. It was still unsatisfying.

717 minutes later, my indignant grousing had died down to a low gruntle. 818 minutes later, I sat staring listlessly like a man who had spent nearly fourteen hours making bird noises and whose larynx had quit without even giving its two-weeks’ notice. I was only snapped out of my taciturn and hebetudinous state when a Zululand zebra came crashing through my ceiling and warned me my lethargy would soon result in irreversible steatosis of the toenails. My fear of lipofuscin won out and I stood up. My poor readers groaned. It wasn’t over yet.

My vacation to Kiewit to attend the Pukkelpop, Rimpelrock, Gurglefnock, and other absurdly named festivals was permanently on hold. I put it on my long list of on-hold travel plans right next to my trip to Finland to slap that fishbootmonger for dunning me unfairly, my sojourn to northern California to see if it really was the hell that poor old Mr. Wilson claimed it was, and my red-faced journey from Peniel Plaza on Hobgoblin Street to Kleinerschlagflügelapparat Plaza on Ornithopter Street after I embarrassed myself mightily that day.

Vacations canceled or not, one thing was lookin’ up for me this week: The Sneŗtman had been vanquished for all time. But now my nightmares were invaded by none other than the Seŗendipiţous Nubbļeţhwaiţe. I didn’t know what to make of him yet, but I knew it would not be good. Most recently, I stammered, “Serendipity is a whole lot better than fendippity!” between bouts of mindless shrieking and ugglious babbling. It didn’t wake me from that gorgothine horror, but it did make me more hoarse than a horse (of gorse).

It ended with much tail recursion. My night terrors morphed into a visage of a snake eating its own tail, but instead of solving any hard problems in petrochemical science like that Kekulé guy, I just woke up thinking an anaconda was trying to throttle me.

Today began with an Ypresso espresso from Ypres. I eeped and I meeped as I drank it. It was supposed to taste like delectable syrup of squill, but it tasted more like syrup of swill. I chuckled at my own clever joke. No one else did. Purple birds and even purpler squorls floated by outside my large living room window. “Jesus Horatio Christ, none of it makes any sense! I spluttered. But it was in vain: All the squirrels were still gone from my street. The lack of squirrels was emboldening the geese to slowly reclaim the neighborhood in the name of Queen Hr’nk’rrg’ngeee’hngki. Worse, no squirrels meant my slow slide into hebetude would continue unabated. And worst of all, if the squirrels didn’t return soon, all that squirrel cream and syrup of squeeorl I had bought for them would go bad. At least my gnocchi, still strewn about my kitchen, would not go bad. And lastly I wanted to make some squirrel-skin soup, but with no squirrels to skin, it wasn’t looking hopeful. So, for lunch, I noshed upon another bowl of squirrel nut soup.

S2 continued its ominous fifteen-year orbit around the dread singularity Sagittarius A*. Its accretion disk recently revealed in all its horror by a rogue team of astronomers bent on driving us all into the depths of madness with their evil tools of science, we all knew now the end was nigh. P/1997 Vansen West continued circling overhead, portending even worse horrors: Cats and dogs living together. Coyotes and squirrels schtupping each other. (Except there were no squirrels anymore.) And Smurfs. And gnomes.

And even more gnomes.

I sat hebetating slowly in my rocking chair, rocking back and forth like a senile old lady. Gnomes, gnomes, gnomes. Gnomes riding squirrels riding zebras riding squadrons of more squirrels. And turtles all the way down.

Turtles… all the way… down.

And then it happened. Not a calamity—not a catastrophe, nor a disaster, not this time—but something no less terrifying. Plankter upon plankter suddenly spilled forth from my nose. My nose hairs, recently loosened from another string of breakfastly calamities, catastrophes, and disasters—didn’t stand a chance. Plankton, then nekton, and finally a hemiekton of horse mucus followed the initial barrage. Of course it was horse mucus—what else could it be? Gorse? And it was relentless. And I could do nothing. And so I blamed that Finnish fishbootmonger and his €717 fishbootbill for this. (Fish don’t even wear boots!) And yet it didn’t help. The discharge continued relentlessly.

“Squee!” my ceiling clock squealed disturbingly. I yerked at the sound. I didn’t know who replaced that clock’s normal goat-like tolling with such a bubblumptuous ringtone, but I would find out. I am good at finding things out, when I put my smooth, shiny mind to it. If I had to search every square picometer of my town, I would find out. If I had to dig up every skeleton in my yard, I would find out. If I had to rip every nail out of every bit of my wainscoting and eat every one of those nails, I would find out. And then the ceiling clock would pay. Oh, how it would pay.

And then the day ended with utter embarrassment as I realized I had confused my abattoir with my boudoir again.