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Catastrophes—but no anastrophe

Mishappened on August 14, 2022.

I had that dream again last night. I was a muncher of numbers, moving about in a grid eating all the numbers that matched some daunting mathematical rules before I was assaulted and eaten myself by monstrous green and purple beasts. With each passing level the numbers became larger, the rules more esoteric, and the troglodytic creatures dogging my every move all the more formidable. I couldn’t escape, I couldn’t stop, and when I found myself having to eat only Mersenne primes, I just rolled over and let the damnable troggles take me alive.

Then I woke up. Screaming. Screaming enormous numbers like 2,147,483,647 and 2,305,843,009,213,693,951. At least I couldn’t die of dysentery in this dream.

Closed timelike curves were strewn about my parlor floor. I didn’t know what to do. More and more poured out of the yawning chasm in the wall, which had opened up when a gnome had divided by zero. Time slowly began to curve back on itself. In no time I was detached from causality—along with my entire parlor. Effect was emancipated from cause and nothing mattered anymore. I did things. I did the following things beforehand. Things transpired which didn’t even happen yet. Today was tomorrow—tomorrow was yesterday. Time was no longer on my side. It was all shaping up to be a catastrophe that would make Three Mile Island look like a three-foot sandbar.

On the bright side, it wasn’t yet another anastrophe—a recurrent theme in my life up with which I shall not put today. But as time curved and bent back upon itself, I lived the whole catastrophic day over and over again. Fusilli hung in the air, spiraling around endlessly, thick and palpable. They were ticking, tocking, and mocking me—before they even appeared. A horrible din arose, ended before it began, then ended again—a castrophony of tolling clocks, ticking tocks, and fussing, fizzing fusilli. And then the clocks all just stopped: They ran out of time.

Then I woke up again. Screaming. Screaming the names of pasta varieties in an overwrought Italian accent.

I discovered an arithmetic operation that our best mathematicians had ignored for centuries: Multiplitraction. I wondered if this one would be as useful as my discovery last year of subplication or my rediscovery of zero back in 1980. (That breakthrough was hailed as the behind-the-scenes innovation that both cured stagflation and my rampant butt-baldness, but those are stories best left to another day.) I wondered what other mathemalogical wonders I would discover next. Were there more digits hiding along the real number line… perhaps between five and six? Were there more operations I could concoct by adding extra dots, strokes, and splats to the basic arithmetic operators we all know and love? Would I finally be able to solve the problem of striped polynomials in zebraic equations?

Then I woke up again. Screaming. My butt-baldness had returned. I went fumbling around in the darkness for another zero.

Both Fate and Luck were having at me this week with fist and truncheon, so I tried something new: I deposited a freshly dried cat in the wall of my house. If this good luck charm didn’t work, I would be totally out of ideas.

The Spend-O-Mart on Alpha Ralpha Boulevard is having a sale on imported fish this week, which is good, because I really like fish, but these fish taste like burnt tires and old thermometers, which is bad, so I decided to stick with flobcumber casserole, endless boxes of Cheez-Its, and bags of Cheetos. It ain’t easy being cheesy—but I vowed to give it the ol’ college try.

The Spanish word for “pump” is the same as their word for “bomb,” which explained why what was once a water well out behind my monumental residence is now nothing more than a deep, water-filled crater. At least it isn’t full of Volvos. I decided not to hire that plumber again.

Ten million million fish carcasses floated down the river. I knew each of their names. They were now all dead—a sea of dead fish floating in a dead river which emptied into a sea, which would soon be dead too. The destruction I witnessed wasn’t as bad as the nine-hundred and forty-six fimbriated corpses back in 2011, but it was close. And it filled me no less with horror and despair. The fish eyed me as they floated by sideways, fishy little mouths gaping open. I recoiled from their wordless, piscine recriminations—I was to blame for this. I had implored those Bavarian White-Tailed Gnomes not to dump all my barrels of mercury-laden bacon fat and pig semen into that river, but they didn’t listen. And now ten million million fish were tits-up.

Then I woke up again. Screaming. Screaming like a fish without an epicycle (or a bicycle).

“Down they go! Mystery turds, mystery turds, mystery turds,” I intoned as I gently depressed the handle on my oversized toilet. I wasn’t sure where they all came from—mysterious turds indeed. “Turds, turds! Bigger than a bird, bigger than a… bigger than a bird!” And indeed they were that too. They weren’t mine. But the toilet was.

The whirling water disappeared in a throaty gurgle. Satisfaction washed over me as water washed over the bowl. The toilet had been flushed, the bowl now clean. Sparkling, clear water continued to cascade down the insides of the bowl, filling it. I watched. Then… things changed. A darkness fell over the toilet and my mood. Foreboding crept in like a gargoyle, squat and stolid.

My oversized toilet appeared to begin to grow.

I now stared with trepidation into the yawning bowl before me. The porcelain monster now appeared twice, almost three times, the size of a normal commode. And the bowl was full to the brim with water, threatening to overflow at any moment. Deep down at the bottom of the shining white horror, the drain was like a dark entry to a baleful abyss—what black depths lay beyond? Where had that swirling water and the turds riding the maelstrom gone when the flush concluded? And what could, at any moment, emerge from the shadowy lair beyond?

A terrible anxiety gripped me in its bony hands like Gargamel squeezing a smurf until its eyes popped, while he cackled in his old-man way all the while. Why was this toilet so big? Why was the water so deep and disturbing? What kind of enormous man or man–thing sat atop it when he had to go? What eldritch, betentacled thing might emerge from that dark hole at any moment, seize me in its pulpy arms, and squeeze me until my eyes popped?

The toilet had not stopped running all the while I had stared transfixed into its bowl. The water began dripping over the lip, running down, pooling slowly on the tile floor. My nameless dread transformed into abject terror: I shrieked like a twelve-year-old girl and ran from the bathroom like a smurf fleeing that hoary old wizard.

Then I woke up again. Screaming. Screaming in terror at the watery horrors and toiletty doom that nearly took me.

At least I wasn’t going to be eaten by a Dolly Varden in this world.

“Horgle! Horgle!” I chanted this morning. “Horgle! Horrgle!” After last week’s gorkling spree, it sounded like a good idea at the time. It had just the right pitch of confusion and intonation of meaninglessness to start my morning. I then retired to my computering room to work up a nice blogging storm.

Time passed. All the closed timelike curves had by today unraveled. All my fusilli looked like limp spaghetti now. Time passed more-or-less linearly. Cause and effect stayed strictly aligned as doG intended. Time’s metastrophe was complete. My catastrophes were over for now. And my cat-ass trophy sat triumphantly on my mantle.

Blogging rapidly, I typed and I moused and I typed some more. Words, sentences, paragraphs, and endless, streaming tracts of pure, witful boobery appeared on my glowing monitor. I paged down, down, and then down some more. The words flowed. The world flowed by.

Thousands of words later, deep in thought and pensively plucking all my nose hairs out, I realized: Those weren’t thoughts I was deep in. My beady, snail-like eyes widened and I stood up. No, these weren’t “thoughts” at all. I had… to go.

I ran. But I couldn’t scream. I didn’t need to wake up. I was already awake. And I had to go—horror of horrors! I was full of it. And I couldn’t scream.

And after it all… the toilet wouldn’t flush. Unlike the overflowing commode in my night terrors, this one was dry. The water was still out. I cocked an eye stalk toward the in-bathroom, over-toilet window and peered out into my back yard. Now the crater that had been my well was full of mushrooms and turtles. I grumbled and decided not to hire any more Italian plumbers either.