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Friday, January 29, 2016

Dirk Destroyer Part 18 Chapter 9 Part 2 and Chapter Non-Ten

The Fellowship of the Bring is surrounded by sheep which they can’t move out of the way because of the 35th Really Good Idea.
“We have more problems,” said Lip Ton Tease, returning from his shower entirely dry if not sweet smelling. “The sheep upstream are urinating in the water.”
“This is all your fault heretic!”
“No, Uriculous” I said, “It’s yours.”
“Look,” said Lustavious. “I’m the Light Bringer which means I can arbitrate fairly. It’s that bird’s fault. Let’s kill it.”
“Catch me,” said Swampy taking flight and showing a remarkable bowel capacity by the number of passes he was able to make crapping on Lustavious. Lustavious thrust his finger into the air above his head, his index finger impressively alight. Swampy farted into the light and singed a few of Lustavious’ upper locks.
“This pitter patter won’t swoosh us from bah-bahs,” said Ono.
“I can’t sunbeam travel without a pristine shower,” said Tease.
Everybody looked at me.
“Look,” I said, “we could just push the sheep aside.”
“Sacrilege!” bellowed Akwar, who I thought had left.
“I’m already condemned,” I said. “I could do it.”
“Never!” harangued Akwar, who only harangued because she had already bellowed earlier, and she needed to break it up a bit.
“Find another way, Destroyer,” said Jonma Claim.
“I don’t know,” I said. “We could try to make a tunnel.”
“I can dig,” said Jonma Carry who had been silent and immobile since the night before. “I’m very good at throwing dirt.”
It wasn’t a boast. Jonma Carry was very good at throwing dirt. The only problem was that the dirt seemed to land on people – especially Jonma Claim, who spluttered and spasmed, and looked around furiously for a third appropriate reaction beyond spluttering and spasming.
“You could try snorting,” said Mage-e-not, who then disappeared from the collar up after receiving a particularly disdainful glare.
“Glaring is good,” I offered. I didn’t get a sputter, spasm, glare or snort for my suggestion. He saved his big ammo – his look of derision, for me.
Two people stayed clean throughout the astonishing excavation. Lip Ton Tease moved with dizzying speed, avoiding not only clumps, but even specks of dirt as they flew from the tunnel. At one point, he took out a fan, and by gently manipulating the wind currents, created a clean hole in our increasingly muddy atmosphere, in which he stood with serenity, and just a bit of monkish smugness.
Ono also stayed clean, entirely due to the efforts of Swampy, who showed a remarkable athleticism smashing dirt clumps with his wings, and redirecting them to Lustavious.
Akwar appeared one more time, received an impressively muddy deluge, and disappeared. After that, I didn’t mind so much getting dirty. I think Mage-e-not felt the same.
Jonma Carry dug deep into the earth, pausing only occasionally to ask us to call him Jon. A tunnel five paces wide and hundreds of paces deep formed, slanting down into the earth and under the surrounding sheep army.
I went out to observe our besiegers. Just as Tease had said, they stood in ranks, surrounding our little wood. Each beast stared in our direction, not a single one of them flinched or shifted.
I had to agree with Lustavious. It was very unsheep-like.
“Destroyer!” shouted Jonma Claim. “We are leaving.”
“Is Jon all the way through?” I asked.
“No, but he has encountered someone we must speak to. We will all stay together.”
Encountered someone? “Coming,” I said.

Chapter Non-Ten
The Nature of Satire

Headley here. I know it’s bad form to interrupt the flow of the story, but I just want to make certain that you all remember that this book is satire. That means I can make fun of ANYONE – even Barry Manilow if I want (but who would dare?) and lawyers can’t touch me.
Lawyers can’t touch me.
Lawyers can’t touch me.
Lawyers can’t touch me.
Lawyers can’t touch me.
I learned this trick from politicians. It’s called the BIG LIE. If you want to tell a fib, no repetition is necessary. If you want to tell something that is patently unjust or untrue, say it over and over again, and presto… it’s true!
And we wonder why people don’t trust politicians.
Why aren’t these BIG LIES exposed? Refer to the The Use of Satire by Headley Hauser. Go to Chapter 13, The BIG LIE subsection NM (for News Media.)
Lawyers can’t touch me. (Times infinity plus infinity times infinity to the power of infinity plus thirty-seven.) (As in thirty-seven really good ideas.)

So now that the spasm of disclaimer is over we can discover who Jonma Carry, who prefers to be called Jon, discovered in a big hole in the ground. But of course, we’ll have to wait till next Friday.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tricycle Baskets Full of Evil

My early evil development was stunted by good parenting. I don’t blame them. They were just trying to do what they thought was best.
I had to start small, a cross word, palming my dime as the collection plate went by, failure to say, “Excuse me,” when I burped.”
Ivan the Not-So-Terrible

In my town when I was little most moms stayed home. There were few day cares, no pre-k, and half of my neighbors didn’t do any schooling until first grade. From 9Am until 4PM, us 4, 5, and some 6-year-old boys wandered our neighborhood lawns – never crossing the street without first stopping, looking, and listening. If Sesame Street ever had gangs, they might have looked like us, surreptitiously sharpening our popsicle sticks against concrete basements, transforming them to wooden shivs.
We looked like a midget version of West Side Story except none of us had developed the fine motor coordination to snap our fingers.
The talk was tough.
“A little boy goes straight to H E double toothpicks if he says the F word.”
“Yeah, but he gets hit by lightning first.”
“Nah, he bursts into flames, and then he goes to H E double toothpicks.”
The agenda set, discussion ensued. It was our favorite theme because we got to say H E double toothpicks so often. Even those of us who couldn’t spell our names knew what H E double toothpicks meant. Clearly, spelling it out in our clever code made H E double toothpicks a non-swear word, because not a single boy had been hit by lightning or burst into flames while saying it.
George, my next door neighbor believed that a boy who uttered the F word would go straight to H E double toothpicks without the assistance of lightning or fire.
“H E double toothpicks is worse than fire or lightning anyway.”
George was Protestant in a largely Catholic neighborhood, so we didn’t expect orthodoxy from him.
We were bad, and we knew it. We reveled in it. At times we could almost smell the brimstone burning.
Of course we all scattered when the school bus pulled up at 4. None of us were ready to take on third graders.
And so it continued until the day when Joey Friend, who was really too little to hang out with us – being only three, asked the question, “What is the F word?”
Billy Brown, the oldest among us, having only missed the first-grade age cut-off by two weeks the previous fall, responded without thinking. He said the word – the F word. I trust I don’t have to spell it out here. I’ve heard that if you Google F word, that the search engine will tell you what it is.
Proof that the internet comes straight from H E double toothpicks.
But Billy Brown said the word that day, clear and loud like he was saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
We all stepped away, most of us two paces, being the acknowledged distance required to avoid lightning and heck-fire. We all stood clear except for Joey Friend who reached up to Billy Brown and tapped him on the shoulder asking, “What does it mean?”
Billy, who had been bracing for his eternal punishment looked down at Joey. “I don’t know,” he said.
Joey looked at each of us in turn. We just shook our heads or shrugged our shoulders.
“That’s okay,” said little Joey. “I’ll ask my mom.” And then he clambered up on a tricycle that was too big for him, and wobbled down the road to his house.
One at a time, each of us touched Billy Brown, confirming for ourselves that he wasn’t a pile of cinders. In that minute, our neighborhood changed. Our entire concept of badness moved to a new level.
We began an excursion into greater evil than we thought existed.
And we had Joey Friend, a little child to lead us.

Yup - we thought we looked like this.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Dirk Destroyer Part 17 Chapter 9 Part 1

Dirk Destroyer’s Less Destructive Brother is at a critical juncture.
Well, a stinky one, anyway. They are surrounded by a vast hoard of sheep.
Thousands of years earlier Uriculous Wisehind had reinterpreted Really Good Idea number 35 to Thou Shalt not bug the sheep (previously it had been, Thou shalt not bugger the sheep,) making the survival, or at least escape of our company of travelers, difficult.
Heroically, they turn on each other.
Chapter 9
Tossing Pols and Throwing Mud
Running From the Sheep

“We’re surrounded,” said Tease. “Ranks upon ranks of sheep, circling the woods and stream.”
“An army of snap rattle march sheep?” asked Ono.
“So it scheems,” sputtered Jonma Claim.
“Correct me if I’m wrong,” sang Lustavious, “but that’s just a little unsheep-like.”
“Moron,” said Swampy.
“How do we get out?” asked Mage-e-not.
“I could perhaps get out,” said Tease. With sufficient meditation, I could walk a sunbeam up into the atmosphere, and then ride an errant pollen molecule back down behind the sheep army.”
“Could you bring all of us out?” asked Jonma Claim.
Lip Ton Tease reached his hand to the heavens and paused. “I need a shower,” he said.
“I take it that means no,” said Mage-e-not.
“So what are we going to do?” the sputtering Jonma Claim of Uriculous Wisehind asked me.
“Uriculous,” I said, “aren’t I some kind of prisoner, or bait, or something like that?”
“And heretic,” Jonma Claim added helpfully.
“So why,” I asked, “do you expect me to come to your assistance in an enterprise that is clearly not in my interest?”
Dirk once told me that he rated people on the scale of paragon to waste of skin. Uriculous Wisehind, he said, was the most wasteful, (though not the skinniest) waste of skin of them all. It wasn’t one of the more clever things that Dirk ever said to me, but for some reason it stuck with me – perhaps because of what he said afterwards. “But no one can hold a candle to Uriculous for showing disdain.”
I had to agree. If showing disdain became a sporting event, Uriculous Wisehind could have represented the planet Two in the inter-galactic showing disdain games, and done us all proud.
The fact that he was no longer in the skin that he once (as Dirk put it,) wasted, but was in a Jonma Claim that was still largely strange to him, and was still able to show disdain at such an intergalactically elite level, was a tribute to his sole talent.
“Because,” said Jonma Claim (in a manner in which ‘because’ was meant to indicate how incredibly stupid I had to be to ask the question,) “it is for the greater good.”
“But what if I don’t agree that it’s for the greater good?”
“Well, that’s not surprising,” said Jonma Claim. “You are a heretic, and a co-cause of the entire calamity on the planet Two. Of course you won’t agree.”
“Then why should I wish to help?”
“For the greater good!” shouted Akwar, which creeped all of us out because we figured there was no way she was going to pop up so far from the ministry.
“But I believe,” and I addressed myself to Uriculous/Jonma Claim, because I didn’t want Akwar to feel justified in hanging around, “that you are the cause of the entire calamity on planet Two.”
“Sacrilege!” shouted Akwar. “Uriculous Wisehind is an ancient prophet, a holy high priest, a pillar of our beliefs! We are not even allowed to make representations of his likeness!”
“No,” said Mage-e-not, “that’s another ridiculous belief system.”
“All right,” said Akwar – “we ARE allowed to make representations of his likeness, but he is STILL Uriculous the Great! the most ancient and holy prophet and priest.”
“But I’m older than he is,” I said. “I’m considerably older. I remember him when his nickname was…”
“None of that, Heretic!” said Uriculous/Jonma Claim.
“All right,” I said, “but I still remember him long before he was the high priest of the thirty-seven really good ideas. I remember before he reinterpreted idea number thirty-five. I remember what idea number thirty-five was before he changed it. I even remember ideas seven and nineteen, though no one bothers to ask what they are, and I remember what people used to think about the thirty-seven really good ideas before it got all…”
“Magnificent?” asked Akwar.
“I was going for religious,” I said.
“Same thing,” said Jonma Claim.
I did my best to give a withering look of disdain, but like telekinesis, it has never been my strong suit, and in the presence of the master it probably only looked as if I was suffering with gas.

I read somewhere that it’s always good to end your excerpt with your protagonist suffering from gas.
Or maybe I dreamed it.
Will the Fellowship of the Bring escape the army of the decidedly unsheep-like sheep?

Tune in next Friday and find out.

Speaking of  unsheep-like.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cats Have Things To Say

   The most frequent "funny" picture subject I get from my FB friends is a cat.  And if you are one of my FB friends, then yes, your cat, cats, feline street gang is the cutest, coolest, smartest, funniest, most zen-like, and superheroish of all cats anywhere.
   (Cat keepers need reassurance like that sometimes.)
   The result of this glut of cat pictures is that we now have a glut of cat memes, where some clever FBer or blogger (don't you hate those guys?) puts words in the cat's... well they print them in the same picture with the cat, giving the impression that the cat has this to say.
   For instance:
   Hmmmm.  They're probably right about that one.
   Also possible.
   This one is actually likely.
   I'm afraid that one might be true.
   Really?  I've never met a cat that wanted to accomplish more than acquiring the best nap spot in the house.  Some of the rest of these are even more...  Well, you decide.
  Less than 5% of cats (and 4% of humans) ever listen to Ravi Shankar.
   Some cats are suckers for Cadbury eggs.
   Cats don't like practical jokes, but they're even less fond of meetings.
   All cat armor must be warm and fluffy.
   Less than 2% of accidental shootings are done by cats.  And finally...
   Well, okay.  I'll buy this one.

   And now, presenting the opposing point of view.

   The easiest thing to find on Youtube - a cat video.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Dirk Destroyer Part 16 Chapter Part 2

To those just joining, you are now lost in the bowels (yuck!) of Dirk Destroyer’s Less Destructive Brother, an unpublished novel. In the previous installment Elmer, our protagonist failed with his limited telekinesis to stabilize the magically levitated body of Jonma Claim which was hosting the ghost of Uriculous Wisehind. The ghost and host could have landed in a pile ewe poop as far as Elmer was concerned, had his failure not been seen as a betrayal by the winsome, euphonious, and calamitous Onomatopoeia Upsala (Ono for short.)
On her bed of soft earth, Ono’s eyes opened and met mine. “Why did you do that?” her eyes said figuratively, because of course, her eyes didn’t say anything literally.
Only a rare breed of chipmunk have eyes that can literally speak words, and they rarely say anything other than either, “please keep your cat indoors,” or “have any nuts?” I saw one at a traveling circus once. His cage was so full of nuts that the little guy could barely move around. I waited around for a couple of hours to hear his eyes say real words, and all the time I was there people kept coming by, saying things like – “hey, it’s an eyeball-talking chipmunk! Throw him some nuts.” Frequently, they did just that, more completely filling the poor creature’s already smallish living quarters.
Gamely, the little fella would munch on a few nuts, though he was already paunchy for his breed. When people saw him eating, they might say something like – “I heard about those eyeball-talking chipmunks. Look at him – he sure likes nuts. Throw him some, will you Hortense?” And frequently Hortense would respond by throwing yet more nuts into the hopelessly over-filled cage.
After spending the afternoon watching, though not throwing any nuts, I leaned against the poor fella’s cage and offered him a sip of my ice tea which he gratefully accepted.
“So,” I said finally, figuring the ice tea had broken the… “So,” I said finally, “do you have anything you would like to say?”
Lips formed grotesquely below the pupils, probably because there are not many non-grotesque ways that lips can form on eyeballs. “Please keep your nuts to yourself,” he said softly, before putting up an “on break” sign and burrowing into his massive nut pile.
I spent a century or five meditating on the words, “please keep your nuts to yourself.” I mentioned the words to Dirk, who was not impressed; though I’ve never found Dirk willing to give intelligent rodents all the credit they’re due.
I later learned that the species developed a nut allergy and were now extinct. I decided I wasn’t much for meditation, and had not thought about the eyeball-talking chipmunks until that moment when I faced Ono’s literally silent, but figuratively accusing eyes.
As I anticipated, my encounter with the extinct rodent was no help to me at all.
“You know,” said Mage-e-not. “I think she’s angry with you.”
I said nothing.
“I can usually tell these things,” said Mage-e-not as if I needed clarification on the matter.
“Thanks,” I said, offering him an algae bar that I had been hoping to offer to Ono during breakfast. Mage-e-not took the bar from my hand, smelled it, touched the end briefly with his tongue, and finally bit into it.
“What do you think?” I asked.
“It’s hideous,” he said, “but given time, I think I could really come to hate it.”

Tune in next Friday when our intrepid Fellowship of the Bring gallantly seeks escape from a massive herd of sheep.
Actually they just panic.

And they said I couldn’t write high adventure!

So I search YouTube for talking eyeballs and I find something.  Either I need to watch more TV, or less YouTube.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Greatest Con of All

In this year of presidential politics I’ve been thinking a lot about cons lately – more specifically, what is the greatest con of all.
I love the movie, The Sting, but as entertaining as it is, Paul Newman and Robert Redford taking Robert Shaw for a few hundred thousand isn’t all that earth shaking. It was clearly not the greatest con of all. Even upping the ante with George Clooney and Brad Pitt taking Andy Garcia, Al Pacino, and that freaky French guy for hundreds of millions ends up paltry when distributed across the planet’s population of 7.2 billion.
I mean, what is that – a nickel a piece?
More pernicious, (or it would be if I knew what that meant,) are the movie tickets sold to feature films that featured actors like Steve Guttenberg, Diane Keaton, Chuck Norris, and Chris Rock – actors that clearly couldn’t act to save their lives.
But even that, in spite of all the hours and money wasted in sticky-floored movie theaters, and graffiti-covered Red Box kiosks, is still small potatoes to the greatest con of all.
I was six. For some reason of inscrutable cosmic karma I ended up with an ENTIRE PACKAGE of Oreo cookies. Thinking back, that was the highest, most blissful moment of my life. Many’s the time I’ve wished I could have been cryogenically frozen, my package of hard chocolate-flavored disks enclosing sugared hydrogenated animal fat grasped firmly in my tiny greedy fingers. Perhaps I could have been thawed once a millennium for enough time to lick one cookie cream-free, only to once again be popsiclized.
I could have been the frozen Buddha of sensory contentment.
But it wasn’t to be.
Instead I remained in the standard time continuum, and just as atoms or electrons (I get those guys mixed up,) eventually collide with other atoms or electrons, I eventually came into contact with… another six-year-old.
“Gimme some,” my greedy contemporary demanded.
“No,” I replied.
“C’mon!” said the six-year-old.
(C’mon is among the most common phrases used for cajolery (?) in the English language, but in spite of it’s trillions of applications has never once convinced a person to do anything they didn’t already want to do. I didn’t want to share my Oreos.)

“Why should I?”
And here it comes, the greatest and most pernicious (I think) con in the history of humankind. It is great not because it has ever emptied a casino vault or cheated a mobster, but because it has been used successfully millions, billions, maybe even trillions of times.
“I’ll be your best friend!”
Into my naive six-year-old mind flashed images of earning a life-long friend at the cost of a few empty, and possibly carcinogenic calories. This hungry fellow would laugh at my jokes, help me stand against bullies, let me copy off his paper in arithmetic, and when we got really old (like twenty-five,) would loan me all his power tools.
It was a tempting trade.
“How many you want?”
“How about three?”
“You’ll still be my best friend?”
“Forever and ever?”
My hand shook slightly as I extended the cellophane reliquary of sacred snackery to my new best friend.
I don’t have to tell you how that ended. My guess is that everyone reading this post has either fallen for this con, or practiced it, or both during their childhood. By the end of the hour, two important things in my life had changed - I was out of Oreos, and my best friend was gone.
Was I foolish? I was young. I was innocent. My brain was partially gelatinized by cream filling.
(Of course that doesn’t explain how I fell for the same con regularly over the next fifty years.)

“I’ll be your best friend” is the simplest, the easiest; most ubiquitous of cons. It may also create the most heartache. In spite of feeding my life-long, heart disease inducing obsession, the Nirvana of Oreo satiation never returned.
My one consolation is the look on my ersatz best friend’s face months later when he returned from a painful afternoon in the dentist chair.

Ah, Best Friends!  What a great concept!  Maybe little Eddie got that on his TV show 43 years ago.
Here's Brandon Cruz (Eddie,) today.
   Sigh, it's all a con.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Dirk Destroyer Part 15 Chapter Part 1

This is the 15th installment of Dirk Destroyer’s Less Destructive Brother, an unpublished novel I had to give up due to the Donald Trump Ubiquity Law or 2015. If you’re just starting in, the hero is Elmer McFarland, or Elmer Destroyer, or Destroyer, or Hey You. There are no villains, though I can’t say I like some of the characters too much. For instance, I sure am glad we don’t have that Jonma Claim guy in our universe.

(I lost track – look it up.)

Nobody got up to relieve me, so I didn’t feel so bad about falling asleep. There were sheep all over the campsite, eating Carry’s beans, Mage-e-not’s shirt, and two of my precious store of matches. I asked Lustavious for a light, but he was in a grumpy mood, probably because Swampy wouldn’t leave Ono alone, and Swampy seemed to be the only being capable of stopping Lustavious from moving on Ono.
“Ono and the bird are inseparable,” Lustavious sang to me in a low – Leonard Cohen-type drone.
“I understand,” I said to Lustavious. “If you want, I can ask to talk to Ono and you can have time alone with Swampy.”
That really wasn’t a way to get a light from the Light Bringer.
“Say,” said Mage-e-not, awake now and looking at the state of his shirt. “You still using that bag?”
I looked into my cigar bag. I had smoked enough that there were only a couple cigars left. I managed to cram them into my fanny pack and handed the bag to Mage-e-not.
“Thanks,” he said. “I wonder how I can use this to patch my shirt without thread.”
I shrugged my shoulders in the universal gesture of, beats me.
“It’s just that I don’t look so good shirtless.”
I had to agree.
Tip Ton Tease was meditating while balanced on a slender branch twenty feet above where Jonma Carry had been sleeping. The tree was missing all its bark close to the ground – probably from sheep grazing.
“Why are you up there, Tease?” asked Lustavious.
“The thirty-fifth idea.”
“Oh… What do you see?”
Tease put his thumb and forefingers to his earlobes before responding, though it was hard to see how he might have gotten water in his ears up in a tree. “Sheep,” he said.
“What else?”
“More sheep.”
“What-do-you-mean, more sheep,” sputtered Jonma Claim. “Light Bringer, lift me up so I can see.”
The awkward little man waddled over to where Lustavious – reluctant, but obedient, lifted him into the air.
“Higher!” barked Jonma Claim.
“Top floor,” grunted Lustavious.
Suddenly the annoying host of Uriculous Wisehind began to rise.
“What kind of…” sputtered Jonma Claim… with a few spasms thrown in. “Destroyer, what are you doing?”
“You squawk for upsey,” said Ono who was clearly working very hard to keep the doughy Jonma Claim airborne.
“It can’t be!” Jonma Claim spitted.
“What?” asked Mage-e-not who had somehow found a way to join the bag to his shirt making an astoundingly ugly garment.
“There are sheep,” said Jonma Claim crossly.
“Isn’t that what Tease said?” I asked.
“But so many!” sputtered Jonma Claim. His body began to sway to the east. “Stop it,” he barked, but his body began moving even faster to the southwest.
“Whoop, swoon, swish,” said Ono.
“As High Priest, I command you!” commanded Jonma Claim... with a sputter.
“I would put him down, Ono,” said Mage-e-not.
“Squeak, sway, thump, thud!” said Ono, clearly distressed.
“Destroyer!” barked Jonma Claim. “Do something!”
“But you’re always telling me not to do things,” I said to him not helpfully. I enjoyed the look on Jonma Claim’s face, but then I glanced at Ono, and saw both panic and betrayal etched across her features.
“Hold on,” I said, and I tried to bring my limited telekinetic powers to bear. If I’d been a better telekinete, or if Jonma Claim had not been a moving target, I might have had more success. Whether it was my effect, or Ono’s magic, Jonma Claim’s swooping went from two dimensions to three, now shooting up near the treetops, then crashing down to within a couple of body lengths from the ground.
“Can’t you let him go when he’s low?” asked Mage-e-not.
Ono, her face set in determination, shook her head no.
“It would probably kill him, anyway,” said Jonma Carry in a tone that showed that wouldn’t bother him overly.
“This is unacceptable!” blustered Jonma Claim. “I will not have this!”
I almost gave up trying right there. Why should I care if the dead man died again?
“To me,” said Tease, still up in his tree.
Adding Tease to the equation, I came up with a plan. Instead of trying to grab Jonma Claim from Ono’s magical grasp, I started to build barriers of compressed air, herding the bouncing Jonma Claim closer to Tease’s location. Tease jumped from branch to branch, many of them too thin to support my fanny pack, much less two men.
“Let go,” called Tease, as he lunged for Jonma Claim. Ono swooned falling to the ground. Lustavious was about to catch her when Swampy hissed at him. Quickly, I brought loam and soft earth up to cushion her as she came to ground. She bounced gently as she might on a good mattress.
Tease landed moments later, Jonma Claim in his arms.
“Just like your brother!” Jonma Claim sputtered. “Thank the really good ideas that the world will soon be rid of you both.”
“I did my best,” I said.
“To get me killed!” he replied reproachfully with both a sputter and a spasm.

What will the Fellowship of the Bring do surrounded so completely by a seemingly endless flock of sheep? Me, I’d just push my way through and watch my step for doo-doo, but on the Planet 2, the thirty-fifth Really Good Idea might not allow that. We’ll find out next Friday… (Actually, I already know. I’m just trying to establish community here.)

For some reason, ELO kept running in my head as I wrote this.