If you’re just joining, this is a serialization of the satire novella Dirk Destroyer’s Less Destructive Brother. Dirk Destroyer is the third book in the Genre Series, the first two being Trouble in Taos,Volition Man.
And you’re also joining in the middle of a chapter. Elmer, (Dirk’s less destructive brother,) while trapped in a cave guarded by sheep has blown it with the delightful though confusing Ono. In searching for a solution to his dilemma in the school of amazing stuff, he has encountered a spigot spewing small sausages.
A considerable number of presumably non-excrement flavored little smoky sausages had by this time poured from the spigot, without a single one landing in the bucket directly below.
Could this be the answer to my problem? I imagined myself approaching Ono.
“Hi Ono, I still haven’t figured out how we can get out of this mess, but would you like a sausage? It doesn’t appear to be at all excrement flavored.”
I was reasonably confident that this was not the answer to my problem. It was however, something edible and edible would be appreciated by the non-dirt-sucking members of my traveling party. I opened my fanny pack and saw that it was almost completely full of cigars. Ordinarily, that would be a good thing, but in the present situation, I required a conveyance other than my hands. I pulled out a handful of cigars and put them on a nearby shelf, then stuffed my fanny pack with as many sausages as would fit.
I reversed the knob, and the sausages ceased to flow from the spigot, the last one finally falling in the bucket.
Realizing that the bucket would make a more convenient conveyance, I tried filling it with sausages, but in spite of my efforts and the spaciousness of the bucket, only the one remained inside. I decided I would use the bucket as a scoop, but I couldn’t budge it.
“Are these the actions of a desperately insecure man?” I asked myself. “No, they are not.” I forgot about the bucket, and the cigars left on the shelf, closed my eyes and blundered forward.
After marking a number of counters, tables, and lunch trays with my blood and other seeping bio-fluids, I blundered out of the cafeteria and ran blindly into unknown zones of fewer obstacles. My progress was stopped by a shin-high obstacle that was less painful than the many others I had encountered. My momentum projected me downwards onto an unexpectedly soft surface.
I opened my eyes. I was face-down on a cot. There was a second cot across the room, and a scalpel along with a plentiful supply of cotton balls on a wheeled table. I was either in the school’s nurse’s office, or its taxidermy lab.
There were several dials, knobs and levers about, but none of them seemed to be labeled. One dial caught my eye. It was more elevated than the others and it was encased in glass and metal.
“That will be impossible to open,” I said to myself. I braced my feet against the wall, grabbed the case, and pulled for all I was worth.
“I guess not,” I said as the case opened easily and my momentum crashed me headfirst onto the floor.
Like all the other dials in the room, the encased one was unlabeled, but the case, said to me – in a voice that sounded like my old next door neighbor growing up, ‘don’t turn this dial. This sucker is really dangerous. Just stay away.’
Or maybe I hallucinated that.
Above the dial was a cartoon drawn with the skill and precision usually found among middle-schoolers suffering from illness and bored out of their minds. The cartoon depicted a person, or a person-shaped cloud. Inside the chest of the person, or the stuff of the cloud, was a heart shape, broken in two.
Was that me? Was I a heartbroken cloud? Who could tell, but I was desperately insecure, so I turned the dial.
I was back in the entryway. This was unexpected. What just happened? What did the dial do? What were the implications of me turning it? How many questions in a row could I ask of an empty entryway?
I now perceived the second great flaw of my earlier close-my-eyes-and-run-into-everything-search-technique.
I had no idea where I had been. But couldn’t I just follow the trail of blood I’d left behind as I stumbled through the school? I inspected my body
I was unmarked. My clothes were not torn either.
I could see the cafeteria from where I was, so I entered and looked for my trail of blood on counters and tables.
No blood, mucus, or personal slime. I went into the kitchen. There was no pile of smoky, non-excrement flavored sausages on the floor, though there was still one in the bucket. My cigars, however, were on the shelf.
Had the custodian cleaned the kitchen already? If so, he was one efficient custodian. What did I expect in the school of amazing stuff? I reached into the bucket for the remaining sausage. It was a more painful experience than I anticipated from a nearly empty bucket. In spite of my hand visibly grasping the sausage, the sausage didn’t move as I pulled it out.
In my hand was a fish stick. Maybe it was chicken; I didn’t check. I threw it at a corner of the kitchen, but it disappeared in mid-air.
This was just too complicated for me to figure out, so I tried to think of the explanation that suited my purposes the best.
Then I gave up – no explanation that suited me best came to mind.
I stumbled with my eyes open, but still bouncing off counters, tables, walls and doorways until I found myself back in the nurse’s office. I looked at the dial and the broken heart cartoon. What does the guy with the broken heart want the most?
A second chance. If this was the dial of second chances, it could take me back in time. I could say something else to Ono – something more optimistic with maybe the cadence of a calypso beat.
Well, maybe not the calypso beat, but I could definitely handle the situation better if I had a second chance.
I decided to test my theory. I turned the dial about half as far as I had the first time.
My eyes were closed and I was falling. Thankfully, it was onto the nurse’s cot.
I stood up and planted my feet shoulder length apart. I raised my hands into the air and shouted out into the ether. “Do you see this all you desperately insecure guys who’ve blown it with the women they desire? Do you see this dial? Here it is: the dial of second chances and it’s not in the custodian closet like we all figured it to be, but right here – where people go for healing. Your second chance is right here in the nurse’s office!!”
I shouted the last couple lines so loud that I could see the exclamation points hanging in the air.
Then I just felt kind of stupid. Who did I think I was talking to?
I turned the dial in what I hoped was the right amount, and as luck would have it, I found myself at the beginning of the increasingly interminable chapter 11.
I feel like I should make an exclamation like, “what an unexpected turn of events!” As I wrote this story, that seems a bit ingenuous. Instead I’ll say – please buy Trouble in Taos and Volition Man, and visit this page next week to see what becomes of Elmer’s redux.
And now, for no particular reason, this is a sampling of the finest comedy available a hundred years ago.