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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Toons In My Face........Book

   My stolen pictures folder is getting fat again, so it's time to push... offer you some of the... stuff that my FB friends have been posting.
   Beats writing my own material.
   Today's genre is cartoons.
   After Easter Sunday with it's deep reverence punctuated by jelly bean toting bunny rabbits my confusion over what is secular and what it sacred has intensified.  The recent FB toons seem to reflect this.
Let's start with secular toons:
Dogs don't do so well on cartoons
Though cats do no better
Animals as a rule should avoid being in toons
Not that it's so good for humans
My favorite of the day.
Then there are the sacred toons
Can't blame them.  I've never heard anything about naps in heaven.
Bass sigh
Are there puns in heaven?
So raking leaves is part of the curse?
Rock on, Gladys!
But what is secular or sacred these days?
I did this in school
I want to know who writes the book
Yup
Yup, Yup
And finally here's one for those of us who pretend to write.


   My favorite video toon is The Tick, but Dilbert's not bad either.


Friday, March 25, 2016

Dirk Destroyer Part 26 Chapter 11 Redux

As you might have guessed, this is the 26th installment of a piece of long fiction (though the first one doesn’t really count because it’s stuff you shouldn’t bother reading.) This particular installment is the last in a chapter that was so long that it was threatening to grow teeth and eat the rest of the novel. Elmer (the protagonist,) blew it with a young lady. He discovered a way to travel back in time, and now he’s reliving that moment of failure in hopes of not blowing it once again.
Chapter 11 Redux
Another Moment in Time

I’d say I was in deep thought, but as Dirk would tell you, I’m not really known for that. I was in deep fuzziness though. The drone of All Bore, the stench of the sheep, the pleasant effects of the smoke, had me suspended in that hammock of thoughtlessness that isn’t asleep, but isn’t aware either.
Blah, blah blah.
I never noticed how tedious my inner dialog was until I had to relive it. This traveling in time thing was very useful, but it was also embarrassing. Thank goodness Ono comes by and Swampy snaps me out of it.
“Um…” I said wisely – at least by my standards, “you want to sit?” As if Ono needed my permission to sit on the cold earth.
“I think,” said Ono. “That I’d like to sit on that ledge.”
“But the sheep.”
“I’ll try not to bug them.”
Sure enough, there goes the ram flying through the air. Let’s see if I can change speeds here. Whoa, that ram is flying! Now backwards!
I should probably get back to the story.
“You don’t have another algae bar, do you?” she asked.
I knew I had several little sausages in my fanny pack, but if I gave her food now, would we smoke cigars together? It might change the whole timeline.
Oh gee! There’s that stupid brook bounding down a rocky bed thought again. Like it wasn’t embarrassing enough the first time.

She smiled – just as pretty as she did before, and I fidgeted, just as I had before – even though I tried especially hard not to.
“I could offer you a cigar,” I said off-handedly.
“Please!” she said. There was still enough of my first cigar for us to use it to light two more. “Teach me,” she said.
It’s pretty hard to pay attention when you’re living a scene over again in your mind. I’m trying to get all my lines right about Dirk, Swampy and the school. But I never noticed how nice her hair smells – even with cigar smoke and a hundred stinky sheep in the immediate vicinity.
I wanted to throw in something about that, but I stick to the script.
“Magic,” said Ono.
“No, not magic. It’s all logical. It all makes perfect sense once you learn it, or figure it out.”
Blah, blah-de-da-blah! Man, I do go on, don’t I? I’m surprised I didn’t tell her all about Dirk and my Fassentinker duets on scratchwing and bellow. I need to face this – I’m a bore.
“Can you stop Lustavious from banishing you to oblivion?”
Now we’re coming to it. This is the second chance I’ve been looking for. Maybe it would have been a good idea to think what I’ll say here.
Oh great! I have no idea what I’ll say!
“So All Bore made me an offer,” she said.
All Bore, that dirty old man! Of course I’m over eight thousand years old, so what does that make me? No time to worry about that. Look concerned. Try to pretend you haven’t heard this before. She starts to hyperventilate and I take her hand.
“You thought I could save you?” I asked.
“We could save each other,” she said tentatively, hopefully, and at that moment I realized that she was right. I needed saving as much as she did.
At least I figured that out the first time.
“I don’t know how.”
“You could go to that school and figure out how!” she said. “We could be together.”
Silence. It wasn’t complete silence. All Bore was still talking, though I have no idea why. Maybe it was one of those dream talking things practiced by the Sublimin people.
My throat was dry, and it wasn’t because of the cigars.
Here it is – the moment! What if I can’t change history? A great time to think of that, Elmer. I should have offered her a sausage, just to test it.
The sausages! That’s it. I have changed history. I have sausages in my fanny pack. All right – here it goes.
“I understand,” she said.
Wait – that wasn’t in the script! I waited too long. Speak Elmer!
“I’ll try,” I croaked.
“What?” Her eyes, downcast before, raised to meet mine.
“I don’t know what I’m doing,” I said, “but I’ll try. Maybe you’re right. Maybe we can save each other.”
“Really?”
“I’ll probably fail.”
She laughed as if I was joking, then threw her arms around my neck and hugged me. It would have been a beautiful moment if I hadn’t gotten a face full of Swampy.
“Ouch!” she said.
“What?”
“The cigar is hot.”
“Just throw it away.”
We both threw our cigar stubs into the dirt, where they smoldered together. Really, I’m not making this up – they smoldered together. It’s not another of those brook down a rocky bed romantic thoughts; the stubs landed near each other, and they both smoldered.
“Say,” I said. “I’m out of algae bars, but I seem to have supernaturally acquired some little smoked sausages. Would you like some?”
“Would I?”
Oh yeah. This is a much better ending.

Okay, I’m pretty sure that next week we’ll be exploring some scary territory – Dirk Destroyer that’s not Chapter 11 (or some form thereof.)

Well, it frightens me anyway.


Speaking of irrational fears.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Thank You for Your Stuff

What could be nicer than lying on a hammock, under a canopy of trees on that one rare day when they don’t throw, sap, nuts, cones, or bird crap at you? It’s a lovely peaceful moment that lasts about 15 minutes every summer. In exchange - if you own the land and cabin where that hammock is located - you’re almost certain to spend a hundred hours or more, cleaning gutters, cutting fallen trees, dealing with slow, uncooperative county bureaucrats, negotiating, waiting for, and complaining about plumbers, electricians, and other repair guys. In the weeks before and after your moocher friends visit you’ll be winterizing, unwinterizing, and/or rodent chasing in exchange for that perfect 15 minutes of arboreal bliss – that is if you guests don’t stop you by asking, “When’s lunch?.”
You want to really relax on a hammock in the woods? Choose a friend that owns such a cabin. Sure you might have to listen to your buddy brag about his house a bit, but that’s a small price to pay. Just be happy that he’s too proud of his hide-away to ask you to come up and clean after it floods each spring.
I’m grateful that people like to own things. I don’t understand it, but I don’t have to. My job is to collect friends that have all the things I want to play with. I get all the benefits and I don’t have to spend the time and money to purchase and maintain these leisure-eating monsters.
I mean, who, other than a professional fisherman, would ever want to own a boat? I can see having an inflatable dingy that fits in the closet, or maybe even a six foot canoe, but what kind of masochist buys an ocean-ready cabin cruiser?
The answer? My kind of masochist! He can have all the pride of ownership he wants. I’ll just tag along on a sunny day in the bay and disappear when it’s time to scrape barnacles off the side or wash the smell of rotted sea bass off the deck furniture.
I have loads of fun playing catch with someone else’s black lab in the park. I’ll never spend a moment cleaning dog puke or waiting in a well-slimed chair at the vet’s office.
Wow! You have a pool table? Sure, I’ll play, but I’ll be out of town if you ever move.
Thanks for all those tomatoes from your garden! Too bad you can’t sit up straight at the lunch table because your back is still bothering you.
It’s not just pets and stuff. A couple of days a month I wander into meetings at the really cool hobby society. I play with all the gadgets and toys that people build or collect. The president of the society approaches.
“Say Headley, you’re here again!”
“Yup. I sure like other people’s stuff.”
“Why don’t you join our society?”
“But I don’t do hobbies or collect things.”
“You could still be a member. As a member you could serve on a board and sit through boring meetings. You can arrange events and spend your own money on refreshments. You can pay annual dues, and then feel pressure about button-holing all your friends to join. Membership will suck all the joy out of playing with other people’s stuff, and make these meetings a source of anxiety, drudgery and poverty!
“What do you say?”
“Um… tempting, but I’m good just showing up and playing with other people’s stuff.”
That’s right; I don’t join hobby clubs, churches, political parties, civic organizations, or alumni associations. I don’t see why anyone joins, but I don’t let it bother me.
So the next time you’re in a meeting, feeling anxious that somebody is going to ask you for money, or to carry the club’s worries on your shoulders. Next time you’re overhauling your snowmobile, or Jet Ski. Next time you’re in a tussle with your neighbor because your golden retriever, while playing fetch with me, crushed her prized zucchini that were almost big enough for her to harvest, bag, and give out to freeloaders like… who?
That’s right, think of me, relaxing on that hammock in the woods, and being grateful that the world is full of people like you dedicated to making my life better.

Now in an almost related note, a musical pause from the great movie: The Blues Brothers.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Dirk Destroyer Part 25 Chapter 11 Annex Part 2

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,
and 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?
Four, apparently.
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.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Clark's Day

I posted a story on Junk Drawer.  Here it is with a few pictures added.


Clark’s Day
by Headley Hauser
It’s a January day in 1952. A bespeckled man in a conservative suit steps gingerly up to a mid-twentieth century sky-scraper, the Daly Planet building.
Although it’s cold, he doesn’t seem to be feeling it. Wait a moment. He just shivered, but it sure didn’t look like a natural shiver.
What is he thinking?

Alright, here’s the door, gently grasp the handle and pull lightly.
Perfect. That looked just right.

Hi Clark! I heard you were on vacation.”
Hi Sam. Yeah, I had a slight mishap at my vacation home, so I came back early.” Why did I ever make my house out of crystals? Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t compress coal into diamonds. One little slip and the whole place came down.

Sorry about that, but welcome back, Clark.”
Slap!
Remember to wince. Sam likes to make people wince when he slaps them on the back.

Yup, Clark, back to the old grindstone. Just don’t get your nose too close!”
Remember to laugh. Earthlings expect laughter even about things that aren’t funny.

Ding!

Now the elevator. Walk slowly; don’t jostle. Let other people run into you. Don’t crush anyone.

Somebody hit five for me.”
Oh no, I’m next to the panel again. Pushing these buttons is like pressing down on lily pads without sinking them.

Seven for me, Buddy.”
Twelve.”
Twelve for me, too.”
Right.” The twelve button is showing a worn wire behind the panel. Should I tell someone? If I was alone, I could probably fuse it myself.

Twenty-five for me, Kent.”
Right, Chief.”
So Kent, We’re looking to have Superman as the Planet’s Man of the Year for 1951. Can I depend on you for an interview?”
You want to interview me?”
Great Caesar’s Ghost, Kent, of course I don’t want to interview you. I want you to interview the Man of Steel!”
I wish people didn’t call me that. I sound like a character from the Wizard of Oz.

Oh, yes, I think I can manage that.”
Honestly, Kent, sometimes I wonder where your mind goes.”
Bing!
Let me by, will ya Buddy?”
Right.” Step slowly back a half step. Don’t land on somebody’s foot or dent the wall. I wish the shaft wasn’t lead-lined. I can’t see a thing outside, and everyone in this elevator is showing early signs of lead poisoning.
Oh no, Jimmy!

Hey, Chief! Hi, Mister Kent!”
Olson, what are you doing on the fifth floor?”
I wanted to ask Angie in classifieds if this ad for stuffing envelopes is on the up and up.”
Of course it’s not, Olson. Those things never are.”
Then why do we advertise for them in the Planet.”
Don’t be impertinent, Olson.”
Oh, Mister Kent, Mister Boyle says he can’t repair your typewriter this time. You’ll have to requisition a new one.”
Please stop talking, Jimmy! Why can’t you ever stop talking?
What’s this, Kent!”
Oh, I had a little problem with the keys.”
I’ll say, Mister Kent! The whole side of the carriage is busted! How’d you manage to do that?”
Bing!
What’s this? Someone is pushing me from behind. Is it an attack by a super-villain? Maybe I should… No, just a rude guy.

Outa the way, folks. This is my stop.”
I don’t know who you are, but if you work on the 7th floor, you work for me! Walk around!”
Yes Sir, Mr. White.”
Golly gee, Chief. You sure scared him!”

I wish I could scare you into doing your job, Jimmy, instead of your cockamamie want ad schemes.”
Well, gee, Mister White. You could pay me a little more.”
You think I’m made of money, Olsen! And Kent, I’m not made of type-writers either. Stop ruining the equipment!”
Sorry, Chief.”
Sorry doesn’t feed the bull dog.”
Gee Chief. Don’t blame Mister Kent. He types like a thousand words a minute.”
Don’t be ridiculous, Olsen. Nobody types a thousand words a minute.”
Mister Kent does. I’ve seen it. He typed a whole page in seconds.”
Jimmy always shows up at the worst times. If only I could make him forget the things he sees. Maybe I could learn hypnotism and do it at super speed. I’ll take a class and sell Mr. White on a story about the subject.

Olsen, I’ve heard about enough from you, today. Next you’ll be telling me that Kent was flying through the air like Superman.”
Well, once I thought…”
Jimmy and Mr. White is a dangerous combination. Maybe a little heat vision under Mr. White’s collar will do the trick. Not too much. People are starting to doubt that spontaneous human combustion excuse.

Be quiet, Olsen!”
Ulp. Right, Chief.”
No matter how scared Jimmy is of Mr. White, he can’t stop talking all the way up to the 23rd floor. If only I could just fly to work. If I flew fast enough, would anyone see me? If I flew faster than atoms collide, could I fly through my office window without breaking the glass? I should ask Professor Einstein next time I see him.

Why bother. Even if I could, Jimmy would probably be in my office looking for a paper clip or something. Would it be such a bad thing to be a few seconds late next time Jimmy needs saving?

Bing!
I’ll be getting off, here, Mr White.”
What business do you have in legal, Kent!”
Ah, time for my blanket excuse that Mr. White always buys. “I’m doing a favor for Superman.”
Well then, go right ahead.”
See ya later, Mister Kent!”
Olsen, I thought I told you to be quiet.”
Right Chief.”
Jimmy won’t be quiet though. Maybe if I… Whoa! Check out the skeleton on that secretary!

Hey, Fella. We work here on twelve. We’d sure love to help Superman.”
Uh, no thanks. I’m just going to take the stairs.”
I get it. You don’t want to ride all the way up with the boss.”
Something like that.”
Don’t blame ya, Fella. I wouldn’t want to be around Mr. White much either, but say hello to Superman for us, will ya?”
I sure will.”
Alright, lightly grasp the door handle, twist slightly and pull gently. Well, at least nobody’s in the stairwell, but it’s hard to see through all this lead paint. I have to walk slowly and remember to breathe heavier as I go. Maybe I should start to show symptoms of lead poisoning. When’s the last time I pretended to catch a cold? I should have marked it on my calendar.
It’s not even nine AM, and I’m already a nervous wreck. Anyone who thinks it’s great to be super should see how many buttons I have to sew after changing to superman in super speed.
Maybe I can do that tonight.
No, tonight Superman’s got a date with Lois. She says she wants to introduce more passion into the relationship. How do I do that without turning her into a red smear on the wall?


I should ask around at the next Justice League meeting. Maybe Wonder Woman or that Lantern guy can recommend a more durable planet.


I never knew there were words to this song.


PS
Some of you may have noted that I didn't not do my annual NCAA tournament post this year.  The reason is simple.  By some act of great injustice the team that I have so successfully chosen to win it all each year, State University of New York, Albany Great Danes
was not invited to the tournament this year.  I guess I should pick someone - maybe at random.  How about if I pick the team that won it all the year in which this story is set?  So who won the NCAA tournament in 1952... The Kansas Jayhawks.
Nah, I can't pick those guys.  They don't stand a chance.






Friday, March 11, 2016

Dirk Destroyer Part 24 Chapter 11 Annex Part 1

And now, from ridiculous to tedious, Chapter 11 – the chapter that refuses to end – evolves once again. It’s not that I don’t care about my protagonist, Elmer, and his dubious love-life, but when is this story ever going to move on to chapter 12?
Chapter 11 annex
Always Time for Sausage

Though I was still in the cave next to the ram, I submerged myself into the liquidy sensation necessary to travel to the school of amazing stuff. I arrived, as I always did, in the front hall, as if I had just walked into the school from outside.
Dirk didn’t know why that was, and I sure didn’t.
There was a large bulletin board with normal looking bulletins posted on it. All the bulletins, except the one stretching across the top, were different than the last time I’d come, but in one way they were the same – I couldn’t read a single one. I couldn’t even tell if they were written in my language. There was something about being in the school that disconnected my ability to read – at least most of the time.
Not that I’m a big reader. I haven’t read a book since I finished the last book of that great series about the short wizard and the dragons fighting against a female wizard that looked and spoke like a common country woman. They just don’t write books like that anymore.
Being able to read would have been handy because many of the dials, levers and knobs in the school of amazing stuff were labeled, and as Dirk told me, with a few exceptions, I couldn’t turn a dial, pull a lever, or fiddle a knob without knowing what it did, and even if it did work for me – I had no idea what a dial might do to me, or to all of creation, when I turned it.
But I was desperate and insecure. I needed to find a way to make things right. I ran up the stairs and straight for the custodian’s closet.
It had been a dial in the custodian’s closet that allowed me to gather nutrients, precious metals, and algae from the soil and water of Two. Turning the dial the other way pushed dirt and stinky-stuff from my body and clothes. It was a pretty handy dial for a single guy without a kitchen or bathroom and living in open space.
The closet was full of dials, levers, knobs and even switches, which I’d seen nowhere else in the school. I need to find a way to fix things with Ono, I repeated over and over in my head, as I looked at all the labels, some blurred, or even torn. Only one was clear, and now that I knew what it was, I could read the label clearly – ‘the dial of matter attraction (solids and liquids only.)’
Why couldn’t I read any of the others!
In spite of Dirk’s warning, I started grabbing knobs, dials and levers, searching for anything that might move. It was disappointing, but probably fortunate, that nothing budged.
So many devices were here. It just made sense that the answer to my problem was in this little closet. I threw myself at the switches, which I’d been too afraid to handle before. One moved. Above me, a glass bulb burned brightly. It made the labels much easier to see, but no easier to read.
I wondered if the bulb above me signaled the destruction of Two, or perhaps the light of all the stars were now captured in the bulb, making the night sky dark. I looked at the label and saw that I could now read it. It said, ‘closet light.’ That didn’t sound dangerous, but I moved the switch again just in case closet light’s function was to trap all light in the closet instead of just a being a super mechanical candle switch.
It seemed darker than before. Maybe, in spite of what Dirk said, the switch was magical.
I had to find an answer! Maybe I wasn’t desperate enough yet. I wailed and grunted, and butted my head against the closet wall.
It was surprisingly unhelpful.
I left the closet in such a fury that I left the door open. Then I went back and closed the door. That proved it. I wasn’t desperate enough.
I closed my eyes and started running, hitting walls, and doorframes. I tumbled down a particularly painful set of stairs. I didn’t care. I just kept running blind – then bleeding and blind, until I ran into something that was neither doorframe, nor wall.
I opened my eyes and saw a giant covered bowl set on a pedestal. The cover had a lever, and it moved when I jerked it, but all that seemed to happen was that the cover released most of the way around except a hinged edge on one side.
Was my answer in the bowl? I lifted the lid. The bowl was empty. I closed the lid, then lifted it again in case it was one of those magician tricks where the ewe lamb suddenly appears in the empty space.
No, just an empty bowl. Of course a suddenly appearing ewe lamb wouldn’t have done Ono and me much good under the circumstances. Two had a lot of ewe lambs, and besides, those magic tricks with the ewe lamb had been shut down after Uriculous retranslated the thirty-fifth idea.
There was a knob on the wall. Attached to the knob was a spigot. Beneath the spigot was a large pail. I grabbed the knob and it turned in my hand.
Brown items began popping out of the spigot, landing everywhere except in the bucket. My first thought was that I had activated a mechanical Swampy, but when the brown objects fell they didn’t sound like excrement. I picked one up. It didn’t feel like excrement. I put it to my nose. It didn’t smell like excrement. Among my senses, I had one vote for excrement, and three votes against. That left only one sense.
I put it in my mouth and bit down…
It was a little squishy, but not at all excrement flavored. I say this, though I have very rarely tasted excrement, my own or others, but after a few centuries one comes to believe, rightly or wrongly, that one can recognize the taste of excrement.
This is the great argument of faith put forward by Reverend Elmer Gentry (no, I was not named after him.) Elmer was challenged in court by Scoops Barrow to prove his faith.
“Do you believe my squat would taste bad?” roared Elmer. Barrow said he did, at which point Elmer produced a prodigious pile right there in the courtroom and handed Barrow a spoon. “Prove your faith,” he said.
The case was dismissed as no-one could remember what the case was about after that, and the courtroom was in serious need of airing.
All that being said, and not being a proper theologian, I still believed that the brown object was not excrement flavored. As a matter of fact, it was tasty – meaty and smoky.
I decided to name the object a little smoky sausage. This little smoky sausage bore a striking resemblance to the mysterious item I’d found in my fanny pack earlier.

It appears there is too much to accomplish in the school of amazing stuff to wrap up Elmer’s journey in one post. And what more can we expect of chapter 11? Will we see Son of Chapter 11? Chapter 11, a New Hope? Chapter 11 Apocalypse? It is a reasonable assumption that this chapter will end sometime.

Maybe in time for Memorial Day.


Some folks went to a lot of trouble to salute some other school of amazing stuff.