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Pnårp’s docile & perfunctory page

A veritable trash dump of words

Whipped on September 18, 2022.

“A veritable trash dump of words, piled as high as can be without toppling completely, just waiting to be buried and turned into the next public park,” is how someone recently described my docile & perfunctory blog. (I think her name was Borbra.)

“Well, I’ll show her a thing or two!” I hissed through clenched teeth. My indignance was off the charts. My dudgeon was at an all-time high. I was mad. And my week was ruined—all becasue of this one single sentence I read somewhere. And becasue my computer was in the shop, I picked up pen and paper and began scribbling furiously. That was my first mistake this week.

Borbra McBorbley (no relation) had demanded I stay away from the Cthulomat becasue of June’s muldersome adventure, on penalty of a horrifying, slimy death. But I couldn’t resist that fine restaurant’s tentacle cakes and pulpy shuggoth soup, among other blasphemous delicacies. So I returned, again and again, each time wearing a different clever disguise. Each disguise, I was assured by myself, was cleverer than the last!

This time, I was being a six-foot-tall man–squirrel again. But since that disguise is indistinguishable from my normal squirrelly self, atop it I wore another disguise: A Halloween costume from 1991 which I think was originally Grimace from the McDonald’s media franchise, but thirty years later it looked like nothing more than a tattered, overstretched purple trash bag with googly eyes glued to one side. Nevertheless, the disguise worked like a charm—almost as well as the fake clown nose and Captain Picard wig I wore on my sojourn to the Cthulomat last week.

Upon arrival at the diner, I was greeted by the usual curious and askance glances and stares. Borbra was in the back frying up a fresh batch of Innsmouth frog legs; she had not caught sight of me yet. I sidled up to the counter, eyed the food slots with my usual slobbering, dog-like countenance, and began to make my selections. Fifteen minutes later, after much fumbling around in my pocket for an authentic U.S. quarter while the line of impatient lunchgoers grew to elephantine proportions, I had secured my fresh plate of gagh (with ghast garnish and a side of grilled gugs). I moved languorously toward the dining area, loudly chose a table, and plopped myself down with as little subsequent noise as I could muster. The palpable tension in the room visibly (and audibly) eased: Phillip Norbert Årp had completed his endeavor with no shrieking, babbling, sandal-throwing, or fire-setting!

That was when Borbra, be-sandaled and be–toe ringed as always, emerged from the kitchen and saw me. And that was when I realized that I had left my Grimace costume—indeed all my accoutrements, right down to my over-underwear and under-underwear—at home this morning. Her eyes widened, then narrowed. My eyes widened, then popped. I stood up. Obscene things flopped blasphemously in front of the table. Patrons gasped. Askance looks were exchanged with consterned glares.

And that was when I concluded this tale wasn’t going anywhere, so I decided to ramble about something else. That was my second mistake this week.

The can of shaving cream said “For external use only.” And so I didn’t eat it, all becasue of this little warning. Yet the can of whipped cream did not say “For internal use only,” so I tried using it as shaving cream. This blithe switcheroo didn’t work out as I desired, so—out of spite—I ate the can whole. Then I decided to eat the shaving cream, too.

That was my ninth mistake this week.

I nonchalantly watched the catastrophe unfold. I was absentmindedly eating spoonfuls of grated Parmesan cheese, caring not at all about the detonation and ensuing conflagration. I had plenty of other food in the house (like horse turnips!) but a canister of grated cheese really hit the spot right now. That was my eleventh mistake this week. Becasue the week was young, I was sure it wouldn’t be my last.

Why was I eating spoonful after spoonful of grated cheese, straight from the can? “Becasue I want to!” I grumped defensively, even though no one had actually asked. If anyone had been in earshot, they would have side-eyed me for sure. But becasue I was hiding deep in a hole in the ground, no one could hear me, and no one gave me any suspicious sidelong glances. I ate another spoonful.

That was my thirteenth mistake this week.

And since I was in one of my myriad hidey-holes, how did I watch this so-called “catastrophe” unfold before my Pnårpy eyes, you might ask? Let it go, man—it’s just one of my myriad plot holes: My fourteenth mistake this week.

Becasue was the new waitress at the Cthulomat. I was utterly perplexed as to the reason why an eldritch house of horrors restaurant based on the outmoded automat concept needed waiters, but there she was, redheaded and round as ever. She was voluminously ebullient. She was efflubiously voluptuous. She didn’t—unlike some people around here—look like a six-foot-tall man–squirrel, although she was vaguely reminiscent of a 5½-foot-tall girl–chipmunk. Even better, she didn’t have any tentacles. And best of all: She wore the loveliest orange flip-flops with matching nail polish.

It was love at first sight.

That was my nineteenth mistake this week.

Rumor was, some numbnuts had spilled a barrel of rancid bull semen into the Cthulomat’s automation machinery, rendering the whole lot of it utterly unusable, and rendering the entire restaurant quite manual in nature. Therefore, the Cthulomat needed a waitstaff like any other restaurant, eldritch or not.

Borbra McBorbley had checked herself into the local asylum—suffering from acute exhaustion, persecutory delusions, and to top it all off, female hysteria. Therefore, the Cthulomat might need a new owner soon, too.

I could rest easy however: Since I had not touched any barrels of bull semen in over a year, suspicion for no part of the gummy incident, nor Borbra’s ungrulious mental state, could fall on me. Nope—none whatsoever!

I continued my weekly, daily, and sometimes hourly visitations to the loveliest Lovecraftian restaurant, which now sported the loveliest Lovecraftian waitress around. “Becasue” wasn’t just some nitwit’s typo anymore: Rebecca Sue, that Cthulomat waitress, was now also that nitwit’s latest goonflayvinous infatuation.

That was my thirty-first mistake this week.

I tried to goad Becasue into going out with me next week. Merely asking hadn’t worked, nor had begging, nor bawling, nor even tripping over my oversized codpiece and what lay beneath it. My attempts at flattery and flirtery had failed. My surfeit of goats and toads were also thoroughly unconvincing. So, perhaps daring her to see if she could endure my presence outside of the safe confines of the Cthulomat was worth a shot. What did I have to lose?

That was my thirty-second mistake this week.

An editor from The New Yorker wrote back to me to inform me that none of their authors were named Borbra. He also asserted complete ignorance of my blog, even less knowledge of his magazine writing a review of it, and lastly, that I should refrain from going within a hundred yards of pen and paper ever again (and coming within a hundred yards of him). I knew he was a filthy liar so I threatened to mail him a barrel of bull semen—postage due.

As soon I acquired a new barrel.

That was my thirty-third mistake this week.

Playing chess with a pigeon is not nearly as easy or rewarding as it may sound.

There I sat, this Sunday evening, in the goatburping park on Shoehorner Street, hunched over a chess board, deciding on my first move. The pigeon looked at me, blinked, cooed softly. I lifted a piece; my eyes locked on my feathery adversary. “Beat this, you.”

And that was my forty-sixth mistake this week.

Pigeons may not be the smartest birds but when they go up against a Pnårp, they can sure give that impression. My opening move, the Hurlbut Gambit, immediately backfired: After I hurled all the chess pieces to the ground and sat on the board, the pigeon didn’t concede defeat. Instead, she got all up in my face, pecked at my eyebrows, insolently cooed a few times, and flew off without another word. I was shocked at such poor sportsmanship, but what else was I supposed to do? I had yet to learn the art of flight. I picked up the pawns, whittled each one down to a little nub with my fingernails, and ate them. (The Cthulomat was now a smoldering crater, so what else was I supposed to eat? The pigeon?)

As I whittled the eighth pawn into a bite-sized morsel, the sound of eructating goats echoed throughout the park: The H.H. Hobbes clock struck midnight. I popped the pawn into my gug-like maw and swallowed.

And that was my forty-seventh mistake this week. And it would be my last.