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Cities of obsidian in the Canadian Shield

Dismantled on March 26, 2023.

Has anyone else seen them? I have seen and heard them—felt them, even. Creatures from another reality. Often descending upon the grassland and skulking the shadows, they appear as pitch-black squids with a single, bright white eye along a rigid mantle, their tentacles adorned with needles they can use to pierce your body. Giant ones roam the sky and near orbit of Earth, changing reality at their whim, often modifying the environment with no one the wiser, and generally feeding off the negative emotions of us human–things. They are invisible to most people, of course. I’ve had visions of them ever since 2012 when they invaded our world. They have made huge cities of obsidian and basalt in the Canadian Shield, around Dorset in the U.K., and in the caverns and grottoes outside Türkmenbaşy in central Asia.

Perhaps they’re a mutant form of Manitoban Mantle-Needle Gnomes.

Others have seen them, lithe and sleek, as many Internet forums can attest to. But at the same time, only I have truly seen them—only I know what they are. Manitoban Mantle-Needle Gnomes.

And oh, how they needle me so. Oh, and how the clams dance with the tides beneath the pale moonlight as the periwinkles skip and scuff through the waters, singing their doleful song to ears that can no longer hear and beneath eyes that can no longer see. The squid–things have devoured them all. And what even the squid–things have not deigned to touch… razor-toothed, aquatic gnomes have surely finished off. In the end, it will all be food for foraminifera. We were all food for foraminifera.

A night of onions, it was, with an old crone, four centuries or more, aligned with the fiery stars and all hexagons. The stars screamed. The gnomes whirred… wheedled and needled. And the sable squid–things awoke from their long slumber to once again alter our reality and grind us into fish food. Their dorsal sections black, with the shining white eye mounted amidst it, devouring all the human–things from Dorset, as Jack Dorsey sells his tweeting bird–thing to Elon Musk, Horst Dorsten Forster gives Parndiddle McForsterbaster a run for his money, $30 bills spew from my own wallet and flutter off into the sky, and a horsey, phossy horse again runs his course in the moss and gorse!

I won’t be an old man in a tree! I won’t be an old man in a bag of fleas!

I discovered that finging my nails (with my fingernails) and plupping the mumble-door proved to be an impenetrable defense against not only the squid–things mind-control eye, but even toe rust. Toe rust would have no sway over me this week.

I tried to dismantle them, I did, their mantles and all, but I could not. I was too busy being a six-foot-tall man–squirrel again. Then I got squished under someone’s SUV, being a squirrel and all. Murp.

It wasn’t quite Dors Feline invading my “mind” this week, but I did suffer a nightmare in which a coarse caprine head-butted me until I broke in half.

The doors, the floors, and even my roolf was ablaze! [I call it my “roolf” because it’s opposite my floor and “floor” spelled backwards is “roolf.”]

The doors, the floors, the moors, the moops, the poors, even the poops! All ablaze!

The horse, the Dors, the worse flurse plurse plorse glorse florse borse bourse course doors! All ablaze!

A flaming horse with a phossy jaw, bedecked in moss, a glossy horse, amongst the schplorse! Schplorse! Schplorse!!

Great Custer’s Ghost! It’s full of screaming stars!!

Messrs. Snulbug and M’Nummenschantz, along with fellow Poet-Man Roy G. Biv and a burgeoning number of golden cockroaches, held an hours-long poetry recital at the Abecedarium on Alpha Ralpha Boulevard this week. Their poetry consisted of 3½ hours of this:

Axbvctesdr . . . . . . bcceechi!

Eqgph . . . . m mnopq!


This dysphonic poetastery was repeated over, over (and over) until everyone went home in confusion and frustration. (Of course, no one went in the first place, so no one actually went home.)

“Hnefatafl and gwyddbwyll!” I heckled them from the back row. (I was the only one who went.) They ignored me and just kept nattering hoarsely. I heckled louder. They nattered more insistently, only desisting to flap their arms like owls as they tried to contain the rapidly scattering golden cockroaches. (Even cockroaches hated them.) I started heckling them in French.

(Surely this is the last parenthetical, you ask.) (No, it isn’t.)

The gnomes ebb and flow. They natter and wheedle and needle and whine and kerplunk. They squiffle and babble, wetly, like a squid out of water flailing about. They dost my gazzles and guzzle my gnizzles. And I drop into a deep sleep, dreaming, nightmaring, my sadistic mind terrorizing me with the most horrifying of night terrors. It only stops so it can start again harder.

And still the eyeless potatoes eyed me from beyond a low horizon. A nameless, eyeless dread overtakes me nightly as I nestle myself into my bed cushions, close my various and sundry eyes, and gaze into the darkness awaiting sleep to take me. Minutes pass, and I begin to see the eyeless potatoes again—staring at me. The three-eyed gnomes may be a thing of the past, long dead, but the eyeless potatoes are with me always. Eyeing me. Brown and lumpy, resting just beyond the horizon where they cannot be seen (but they can if I squint hard enough), they gaze balefully at me, silently reminding me: Life is short, full of terrors, and we’re all lumpy, brown potatoes in the end. Inhumed in the earth, eyeless ourselves, we will all molder away like amorphous lumps of starch. Because that is all we are—amorphous lumps of starch. Amorphous, brown, lumpy lumps of starch.

If only these nocturnal visitations involved a succubus, I’d be having sex with it. (Or Becasue.) But nope. Potatoes. It’s eyeless potatoes for me.