Thursday, June 15, 2006


Legs and Logs and Swampy Bogs

People here like to have their pants perfectly cylindrical. From the belt down to the cuff. The pockets can sag a little. I had spotted a few cases of this before, but most of the passengers waiting at the train station have stuffed their pants with decorative tissue. Some use a wire frame. And not stiff-legged, their joints work just fine.

We happened to be standing behind a professor in a vest who had a long baguette propped on his shoulder. He wore his pants without any infrastructure and kept his eyes closed, I gathered he was off somewhere else, postulating. Two kids ran up and sliced off the edge of his bread with a little serated boomerang, but Fleur chased after them and reprimanded them with a very mean, suffocating hug. She reached down the pants of the older boy and pulled out a styrofoam fish which had been puffing out his jeans' thigh. He jutted his arms out to reclaim it, but she adroitly knocked him on the head with it and he ran off ashamed.

"That's a strong woman," the professor said to me. "Can she swallow a sofa whole?" Fleur returned the missing cap from his loaf. He tried to balance it, but gave up. "My dear, can you swallow a sofa whole?" He chuckled and handed the roll to a toddler who had wandered up and was giggling and thrashing with a little serated (but plastic and child-safe) boomerang.

"Tell me. Are you usually this protective over bread?" he asked.

"I have a few brothers," she said. "Spoiling their fun is kind of my lifestyle." She tapped her chin with the styrofoam fish. The detail done on the scales was incredible. Someone out there is a fine craftsman!

I made a point to shake the man's hand. "Hello, I'm Pal." We shook hands and said nothing further. I made motions to start a few thoughts, but he was usually too busy searching the pockets of his vest or closing his eyes.

After awhile, he pulled out a cellular telephone and started surfing the web. Most of the time he spent reading about the Muppets on Wikipedia, but he also happened to visit Brim's blog! Something inside me shouted at the top of its lungs and I put my hand over his telephone screen before he could read any further.

Fleur pointed with the fish. "Train's boarding."

We sat next to a fellow with truly, truly puffy legs. But heavy. The kind log cabins are made of. Fleur went to put her seatbelt on, but the guy had crushed the latch to powder. She ended up sitting with the fish crossed from shoulder to hip.

The guy with the legs said, "Alright, Rabbit Internet!" He and his son turned on the computers the train gives you. They read rabbit blogs and downloaded rabbit files. He turned to us and said, "You guys want some Internet? It's rabbits only. And it's only on this train! You're missing all the news about the carrot crash!"

But he was wrong. We caught some of the news about the carrot crash. Yeah, sure, the carrot's having a hard time. Fleur and I looked at the train schedule and figured we should be arriving at Denny's house by tomorrow morning. We sang to each other very softly, the tale of the lost dogs and the tales of the swampy bogs. I looked out the window and missed my daughter.

Thursday, June 08, 2006


For a Day I Believe

You should see the religion they have down here. I don't know if your attention spans can bear it. There are definitely too many details to spring upon you, since you probably need to get going by next line break. I wish it could be summed up in a quiz. Which Desparate Housewife Are You? And you click on it and you are met with an animation of two rabbits grooming a radish. That might do it.

Stark sober before you, I say this is exactly what we faced at the steeple near the inlet between the Efflift River and the Touleres Bay. Four of our rag doll friends had really taken an aggressive stance in preaching to us, all of them raised as Polemites, well-versed in the books of Herman Melville and bred with a most acute vindictiveness. They take a very compassionate stance on mariners which I feel is lacking in modern times. Fleur hates seafood, but doesn't seem to begrudge its captors. We agreed to attend church with them, for which they would trade us a backpack full of tuna and six train tickets. Fleur is okay with tuna, I am okay with tuna.

The chapel was very bright and lovely, sculpted in a porcelain, similar to the faces of the worshippers. A dark pearl lining crossed under our feet. The curtains were thin and translucent. It was small, there was only seating for ten meager, aside from the throne, where laid a very large radish. At his side, each with a very piercing gaze which went well past the boundaries of this country, two tall rabbits methodically stroked at the radish flesh with sponges strapped to their hands. They wore brown work trousers and black boots, with belts and laces left undone.

The dolls gave me a sense of heaving from behind and I felt that I shouldn't sit, but make acquaintance first. I approached the throne and noticed on the desk a nameplate which read "Leo." My position gave me a central perspective, where I noticed not only the great quantity of skin which had been wiped from the radish, but also the cameras mounted on all corners of the room. Not video cameras, but mounted chassis and lens engaged in periodically taking flash photography. This gave the illusion of the presence of an attentive press. But the Polemite dolls responded contrarywise and seemed stricken by awe and reverence at the wonder of the sudden blinding lights.

I began to speak but one of the rabbits quickly swiveled the nameplate to face the radish. "No, you are Leo," he said, in scolding tone. This slender rabbit (to the left) had a darker black fur and I felt instantly that he was controlling my mind or deceiving the world or dispatching thieves with great subtlety.

I've often wondered how I would address royalty and I felt this moment was now upon me. I chose a very warm and informal voice. "Yes, thankyou, well. I am so glad to be among the Polemite friends and I feel very shaped by your traditions. There's no question that I'm a changed man and that I now have loftier aims than ever before. No, don't esteem me like you would a seaman. I have no harpoon. But I mimick his movements on land. I do the things he would do if he were here."

I looked at the radish and his attendants for some reciprocation. They were still. Although the lighter rabbit (to the right) broke character for a moment to coax me, "Give him a minute. And the dolls will translate. Just..." He made a quick little comforting circle with his paw.

I dipped my head and laid wait. Sure enough, the stench in the room began to rise. The influence of the odor was so great that I began to feel the vast power of the root and a very poignant, sincere gratitude for the cameras which watched over me. The dolls chimed in, chanting, "My death / Your feet / My bread / Your counting / Your numbers / Your death."

"Mmmnn," I shook my head. "Thankyou, that's... adequate. That's great. There is so much to learn here." The smell was hairsplitting. Fleur says my moustache was all fanned out. "I am not marooned. I sail on the earth. I cast off from my bed. You're right. For sure, I see it now."

Fleur and I left, feeling great ease coupled with great astonishment. We both swore that should be ever print counterfeit bills again, the visage of the radish and his keepers would grace the centermost oval without question.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


That's -uite the Rag People

Now it turns out I'm -uite a bit more lost than m- daughter. But at least I'-e got Internet. Fleur and I (and Brim, when he's around and not off dissol-ing between the High & Low Cities,) too- occassion to stop and camp along the Memor- Ban-s of the Efflift Ri-er. A little -illage of dolls was camping there. The- weren't real dolls, the- were people dressed li-e dolls, I'm sure -ou'-e seen them in other neighborhoods, their houses were real dollhouses. Their wee computers onl- ha-e nineteen letters, though, I'll as- -ou to fill-in the dashes. Most were dressed as Helping Dolls. Their bonnets loo-ed a bit more rustic than the street -ind.

We got to tal-ing with these -oung and gentle. The- had a dialect which was a bit hard to hear. Fleur pointed a flashlight at their mouths. That helped. We discerned that the- had a map in their possession and soon enough the whole thing unfolded right in our hands. It was a chec-erboard pattern, blac- being the Burroughs --A Supercomputer. Green being the dense flora/fauna.

The oldest doll girl, Chiffn-, her face a porcelain -arnish, cried remembering s-uare E-2 of the map, she said, "A- -u-- -- f-- ---n-'- -- ---t -h- ---a-a-!" Which I too- to mean that she harbored a great sadness for the loss of her homeland there in that s-uare.

"What happened to the Land of ---n-'- -- ---t?" I as-ed.

One compatriot, a -oung Ebbl- TeeFee Buttrespouts- said, "-t- o--- -- I --f ---au- -? O, -- - f-f- -o--!"

Fleur as-ed, "So, I don't understand -uite right. If that's all, can't she -ust go home? I mean reall-. Loo- at her." And Chiffn- went on somberl- a-blubberin, despite the comforts of her lace collar. While Ebbl- T.F.B. e-pounded the great distance we were from Chiffn-'s growing-up -ears (E-2 on the map) and, be-ond that, an- other coordinate on the grid. She said e-en the long leg of a great mountainous robot born on the moon couldn't stretch to where we were at -ust then in that little ri-er -alle-.

"What's the map good for then?" I said.

"-- ----?" as-ed Ebbl- T.F.B.

Fleur and I pu--led at that, but Fleur caught on first. "Ohhh, ah -a-. We're at unmappable coordinates." She held the flashlight up to her own mouth. "And this map's the proof."

Friday, May 26, 2006



We've made fast friends with Brim. However, there is a down side to this. He doesn't like us very much at all.

And yet, he follows us around with a curious kind of attachment. "Where are you taking me?" for example. But we're just wandering, too, and maybe he knows this. "Any of you got a pen or anything?" asks he. And then, "Curtains? Curtains in a forest?"

They're all great questions and he has a very abrupt way, which is nice, we don't have to wait for him to turn on. Like that electrical hum coming from Nels which crackles but never pops. You know, the other day, Nels says, "Okay, bye now, off to work." And this is at 9 o'clock, breakfast time. We get busy hanging up some new echidna posters and classic squid cutaways. Noon rolls around. We watch Turkish football. Finally, Fleur and I take a break, for which we strike out to the park.

And there's Nels, sitting there in his van. His hands were on the wheel. Back of his head. Looking straight. Glasses. Ears. Great posture! He hadn't budged.

Brim's well ahead of us. And rising. We look and he's way up in a tree. "Hey, where you off to, little man?" Fleur said that. He looked like a little wind-up duck pinned in the sky. Now how are we going to get him down?

But you don't ever have to get Brim down. It's a principle. He stayed up there long after dark, so we slept under the moist canopy and listened to his far off voice talking all about how to rig the Olympics and what sorts of places there are to hide money. For some reason, I always think of potted plants. But it turns out that rolled up socks are the way.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Collar Poisonings

We lugged up Brim and hung him up high where we could let the water drip down. On a hat rack in the motel. We let him air out a few days. Poor waterlogged joints. His knees especially, but mostly his face.

Yeah, let's see: you've got the lake and the motel and the trading shack and the sausage stand and the book mausoleum. That's it.

Saturday morning, Fleur and I came down and sat on the circular green rug just near Brim's feet. Both of us were wearing sky blue.

"So?" he said.

We nodded. We were sitting back to back. Arms folded, with sunglasses.

"So really? This is it?"
Fleur said, "What?"
"The inside of my washing machine?"
"Could be."
"It definitely is."
"You're sure?"
"That you're sure."
"Am I dry yet?"
"In a bit. You are sure then?"
"Exactly, but I can remember the sensation of the soles of my feet scraping against the linoleum of the kitchen."
"You must think you're pretty important."
"Well, somebody's trying to kill me."
"How's that?"
"With a car."
"No, how is that?"
"I'll show ya when my elbow moves again."

Fleur stopped a moment, a most expert pause, and I breathed in and then gave my explanation of the crisis he has contrived, how it places him at the center of existence while everything else folds outward.

"Am I gonna get a cramp up here?" And he also complained of itching and swelling in the collar. "What's that disease that travels on the hook?"

I told him cholera is intestinal, that he would feel a tremendous force in his stomach. This calmed him. I hit him hard with a common relaxation technique: I explained a few of the hundreds of words which Eskimos have for snow. This was certainly a grave embellishment, but we did take the hangman down after that.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


A Fine Job on a Very Full Lake

So, we are still in the woods and, a few days ago, a bear walked up to us, dressed in a very loose-fitting man costume. The mask was crepe paper and full-color. The gown was some shiny tie-on material. An ordinary man-style costume. A middle-class father with some paperwork to do and a general look of malaise.

And it was with some boredom that the bear walked by and said, loudly, "We've all got jobs to do. We all fit in somewhere."

Fleur and I both laughed because he said it like it was some kind of desparate joke. He kept walking and we kept walking. We had seen several other bears in the woods. Those bears had plenty of paperwork as well. But many of them were asleep or drunk with honeypots in their hands. And they fit in just fine.

We stopped for a bit to take a sip from a drinking fountain. The fountain was still attached to a staircase, which was laid out horizontally, a very long and winding staircase, parallel to the ground, still attached to the supercomputer. Remnants of the old control tower. You had to lie prone to get a drink. But it was good, pure water. Fleur took a stab at running up the stairs. Earlier, we had seen a bear in a blue shirt bounding up several flights with a clipboard. He kept falling on the dirt, too.

Soon, we found ourselves walking toward the first bear again, the one dressed as a typical man. We were walking the same way and he was walking in his original way. This time, he comes right up to us and says, "You know, I found a spot for you guys. Do you want it?"

Fleur says, "We're looking for a..." She sort of moved her hands.

"Just treat me like I'm one of you," said the bear. "Tell me, relate to me."

"We're looking for a young woman," said Fleur. "Brown hair and glasses. Very petite. But she's gotten bigger, hasn't she?"

"Age: forty-six. Five five. I mean she's small," I said, "Yes, and brown hair."

"Well," said the Bear, as man, "it sounds like you two would be perfect for an opening I have at the lake. It's a volunteer position and you get to talk to one British guy and there are possible blogging opportunities. Events happen there which are often bloggable, suitable for the public daily archivist inside you. There's a zipline and a trading shack."

Fleur outright busted up at that and, since I'm a blogger, I was just a bit befuddled, but Fleur thinks the word is crap, so she really gave it a mocking laugh. "No, no this is bloggable enough," she said. "No, no, thankyou, but no. We have a staircase. Show him, Pal. We have a staircase, right? Absurd, I love this. I am losing my mind. I love this!"

And the bear took off his man mask, as best he could, and looked at us with very sorrowful bear eyes, and he said, "There is a little boy drowning in that lake right now."

We were very concerned and ran down the trails behind the bear, though we had a hard time getting through some very dense electromagnetic waves, invisible but textured like thick foliage. We came around the lake and many bears were off in canoes, enjoying the day, but we clearly saw some catastrophic splashing just off the dock's end. Fleur kept her feet bolted to that last plank as she reached down to the wavering, colorless image of the boy underwater. His fingers now gently wrestled against the surface of the welling, burgeoning lake and she latched upon them and heaved the man out. For as he came out of the water, his body grew in scope and deployed new sizes of ribcages. This was the promised British man, sputtering lung and swatting us away, insisting that he was Brim.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


The Burroughs From the Trees

Hey, I've mentioned Nels' computer, haven't I? This thing is massive, I had no idea. We're just at Checkpoint L, relay 77, and I'm logged into a little screen that's plugged in down here.

Fleur and I have paced out eighty kilometers and we haven't even hit the spires yet. It's a decommissioned military supercomputer which used to fit vertically inside the very tall control tower in Seabirth, with a large percentage added underground during its second run. I think Nels said that the machine has only been powered down twice in its career. The last shutdown, back in 1986, was thought to be the last, when the Burroughs Corporation replaced it with a bunch of smaller computers that worked together on train cars, attached and stuff.

Nels was trying to mind his business as a minor technician on the faxmodem couplings, but news trickled down of management's plans to sail the machine off on a desolate iceberg. Finding himself very attached to machine -- due in part to a ten-year-long affection, but also incident to an elastic umbilicle fiber which kept the computer advised about the possible fluids and visceral resources available from its caretakers -- Nels marched up in a glorious fit (and one can just taste the sousaphone soundtrack) and offered the vast woods astride his apartment building as a crashpoint. Let the V-A 1200 Supercomputer give a heave of relief and settle its adequate trunk and spread out beneath the canopy. A few cords, of course, trailing up into the windows of my dear brother-in-law. And I do remember his perky whistling that day, skippety can do. We applauded, we barbecued, we nearly carried him on our shoulders, we certainly pounded the barrels. His depression granted him one day's immunity.

So, from the looks of it, I can't say that any kind of life has been back into Checkpoint L. It's like a world of magnetic crates and cylinders. A very large black unit is trying to detach itself from a very large dark dark black unit. None among the array of dark, house-sized diamonds and ellipses seems to care. It is rising so slowly. Fleur stood next to it and it was shoulder-height off the ground. She ran around it once and came back several minutes later. Stood near it and it was up to her chin. She whacked it with the tip of her blowtorch and it didn't do a thing. She fired up the torch and burned off a few cords and Nels got on the speaker.

He's back at the flat. He said he knew we were up to no good. An elephant character on his screen (probably off in the background of Bloodfoot Palisades) had jiggled. Overall rendering had suffered. One of his chat windows skipped a line. An online woman, a housewife, was revealing the location of a secret donkey. We had erased the 9-digit access code to the drawbridge.

"You should come down here sometime, Nels! Your computer looks like it's breaking!" I yelled.

"Then, it's probably working exactly right," his compressed voice bellowed. "Appearances mean nothing in the computer world. It's the design." He smacked his lips. He was probably eating a cinnamon bun.

"We're pretty deep," I said, in case he cared.

There was a silence and we walked on. We shared some dried fruit and stopped behind an upright circuit board, printed: Relay 77. Fleur has the schematics. She's really great at this stuff. I think she's paying alot more attention since her sandals got melted off when we crossed over that chrome conduit.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Our Man Jack's Womb

I'm sad to report that we bought all of our groceries with counterfeit banknotes this week. We didn't craft them, though. The postman gave them to us as change. He was standing in our yard, we bought alot of stamps from him, and he handed us currency which had two minor defects. First, all the numerals (upon examination with a loupe) were a simple series of ornate puppy tails; and, secondly, the bills were one-sided. The money was unfinished.

Which is where we came in. Fleur fashioned a small handheld press from condensed cork and a pair of dental tongs. The cork was fastened with a resin compound: coconut oil and sealing wax. The handle of the tongs was decorated with banded agate, polished over again with vinegar. I held my breath while she did that.

Then came the tough part. What sort of scenery did we want to project across the rearward surface of the cash? I voted for snails and their curly shells. Fleur said, "Whoa, whoa," and set a few ground rules. A moratorium on rich symbolism and encouraged me towards a soothing, natural scenescape. We both agreed on Hebrew text, though. Fleur envisioned a crosshatch vignette beneath the text. Perhaps a cat underwater. The cat would be dead. Still limber, but just drowned. And a nice coral border at his feet.

Off we went, contriving some God-beautiful Hebrew together. And by the time we brought our pens up the right side of the bill, we ended up with a portrait of our old neighbor, Jack Brownish, who had cherry orchards. We didn't have any room to add the trees, but he did have his own encompassing oval and cherry blossom boutonniere. Admittedly, there is some feminine symbolism in the oval. Fleur almost abandoned the design, but I patted her hand and got her back in her seat. Then, I added a small toner cartridge to our man Jack's breast pocket, which we both agreed was absolutely devoid of meaning.

We had twelve in all, which we spent on dog food and gin. And we tried our best to be casual about the transaction. We set our goods up on the conveyour belt with slight exhaustion, coupled with a very calm confidence. We took our time strolling within view of the cashier. And we waited to hand over the bills until she had clarified the amount aloud.

"Do you take dinars?" asked Fleur. Good, this is what I suggested.

"I don't read Hebrew," said the cashier, "and I am cautioned not to accept dinars. But I am also encouraged to embrace the cultures of our customers and, it is in this tender capacity that I warmly accept your dinars and eagerly anticipate the continued flourish of your people." The cashier read from a teleprompter beneath the cash register. Her eyes flicked up slightly. "Please hand me the dinars."

Fleur stretched out her hand, clumsily fanning the bills out and said, "We had a really hard time finding the toothpaste, you know. Actually, we gave up and went ahead with just buying dog food and gin." Perfect, that's my gal. Moving right along. She brought a real soulful energy that I just didn't have. But not possible without my very calm and dignified quietness that underscored her performance with implied scholarly annotations.

"Can you make toothpaste with dog food and gin?" asked the cashier. "Seems like I've heard of that. Or maybe it was soy sauce. Or like: you can poison your dog with soy sauce. Yeah, you can poison your dog with soy sauce. Very interesting stuff." Her hands had felt around the shapes of our new foods and she got it all packed away neat in a bag with tucked ends. "Here, let me see your teeth," she said.

Fleur clenched her teeth and reflected light, tilting. The cashier checked it out and said, "Okay, see." She handed me the bag and looked at me and really looked at me piercing. "You know, I've seen you play before out at Mulberry Kites. That kite store, you played there. Your name is Pal H."

Which was bizarre (wrong wrong bizarre) and neither Fleur nor I knew how to take it. We blitzed for a puppet frown apiece and ran the hell out of that place.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Meeting in Bloodfoot Palisades

Was there an earthquake? I can't believe I forgot to check. Nels missed three days of work to keep an eye on the situation. Supposedly, you can tell if you see the edges of paper curl up. I must not be doing it right.

"My notepaper will not stay flat," my character (the falconeer) said once he hoofed it up the hill, out in the biting wind. He clutched tightly to his jerkin, rubbing it to keep warm. The graphics were superb. I should splurge and get the goggles. "I mean, am I supposed to be flattening this stuff back out? Or does that just piss off the tectonic plates to no distant end?"

Nels' character (the chancellor) looked up from a parchment, whereon is written a spell he was memorizing. "Dear brother, what thinkest thee? I have said, and repeated, in no uncertain terms, that the boilings of the Earth do awake this very night. Behold the very quickness in mine eyes. Dost thy blood not quiver at the sight?"

I was on my office computer, he at home on his Burroughs V-A machine. We found a spot on the outskirts of Grimalkin to meet, deep inside Bloodfoot Palisades, an online roleplaying game. I'm only on for a few moments, when things get slow back in reality. Where I volunteer at a lamp restoration center.

"Well, how does it work?" I asked, pressing the hotkeys which scan the sky for my bird of prey. "If the paper curls, there's an earthquake. But if it doesn't curl, then there's no earthquake. And if the paper curls into a roll, that must be a massive earthquake, the sort where you die first from whiplash, then from crushing."

"Be at ease on the matter," spoke the chancellor, stroking his chin with a single, fat, jewel-encrusted finger. And, furthermore, laughed. "Dear one, brother of mine, how it amuses me to see you so concerned in matters seismological! Oh, the paramount valour expressed in every nerve! Thou art a portrait of solemn fright! Dear, dear. How great the stakes must seem to a mere falconeer. Even now, thou hast let thine worry possess thee, thy tremble has stayed thy senses, and now I have captured thy falcon!" My old friend and humble bird, Myrgrepphin, alighted on the chancellor's white hair, wearing a new mole of betrayal just to the left of his beak. The chancellor handed me his parchment and, written upon it, were the hotkeys which scan the sky for his associates' birds of prey.

Softly, I spoke, holding aloft my gauntlet, "You've been with me these three long years, Myr, will you not come to me?" But the bird looked away, quite caught up in a great fantasy of his new life of power.

"Come, let us enjoy victuals," said the chancellor, just as a great mob of ogres swept up the concourse of the hillside and slaughtered us. The chancellor deflected a few maces with his broadshield, pivoting perfectly along the balls of his feet, so great was his agility and deft distribution of weight. But this was a party of fourty ogres, hungry, unfed by their players, reeking of urine, and not their own urine but quite obviously the urine of dragons who had been their tormentors. Now these ogres had their first reign of freedom and fell upon us. I just laid still and let them rip me in half.

I scurried to log back in and clicked hurriedly through the sign-on screens, emerging in the Inn of Jory Sobgoblin and, at once, I dashed through the tables, spilling a midget's froth of mead, but soon out in the bustling courtyard. I paid for a steed and bolted back out to Grimalkin, clicking the mouse rapaciously until the chancellor and I were back on the hill again, out in the biting wind.

"Come, let us enjoy victuals," said the chancellor. And though I was completely out of breath, as the rumble pak on my mouse sorely indicated (making it very hard to walk,) but I trounced behind he and Myrgrepphin and we split a lamb between us for a quarterlunch time feast. When I left the game, I made sure to change the settings so that the rumble pak would, from now on, be triggered by my character's sexual organs rather than by his aerobic intensity. When in the Palisades would I ever be running while aroused?

Incidentally, I am NOT Nels' real brother. He makes it sound that way, doesn't he? I know it. But no, he married my sister Quinn. They actually used to play Bloodfoot Palisades together and they rode bareback together over the Cliffs of Whitemire, beyond the fertile vales where the ocelot doth play, and were the first to ford the great river Rothwyll, which is eventually where they settled, right there beneath the dam (they built the dam,) bearing five young and establishing a reputable tannery. Until Nels pushed her off a cliff during battle "as part of a greater strategy."

So Quinn ran off, she left Nels and moved to Boston. Who can blame her, she paid four-hundred gold for those red boots. And there were numerous virtual bracelets involved as well. I've heard she plays Senatorial Alliance now and has earned a congressional medal. Good lord, but not of honor, of something else. Aptitude or something. I haven't spoken to her in ages. I really don't want her to use Robert's Rules of Order against me.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Popular Soothsayer

Nels and I stopped into the police station this morning. Our contact there was one Deputy Clifford Munchel in the Murdererings & Lost Children Department. He doesn't work in the precinct building, though, since there really aren't many murdererings and lost children work in his diminishing jurisdiction. (Generally speaking, folks are migrating out towards the woods and the pavillions past the woods, cities with a decent fleet of helicopters, for afforadable helicopter rides.)

The lone exception being my daughter, a lost child, of whom I'm making a point to blog about, who was the topic of our business today, her given name being Chelsea Lisbon Annity, but always preferring to go by her stage name of Aliss H, even when leaving a name for the cooks at the taco counter or when addressing herself in informal circles of horse trainers. She had a very demure and pale grace, one which definitely warranted fewer syllables.

Anyway, yes, Officer Munchel works in a separate quarters, adjacent the precinct, taking a full time position screening clientele for a tarot card reader. He's a very stout man, very rugged, with dark and sloppy features of flesh, obviously very good at what he does, since every customer who jingled through the door had no shortage of finer apparels, and each filled the small cottage with a great outpouring of expensive scents. I felt I was travelling through Spain and Luxemborg in a coach made of breaded pork, although I was firmly seated in a short chesterfield. Nels looked like he was going to pass out, his head quivering and making short rings with fluttering eyelids.

Officer Munchel noticed my distress from his desk and hopped over to where we were, giving a nervous chuckle, "All queued up are we? I'm terribly sorry about this, please make yourselves comfortable. Or you might be better off just getting a prediction from the wizard as to whether I will actually prove to be a qualified sleuth!"

I put up a hand with a finger. "No, no. Please, yes, we're fine." Nels reached over to the coffee table before us and began flipping magazines over on to their faces.

"Sure, sure," said Munchel. "Sure, I need to get back, Time being what it is. Time is time. Say, you okay, can I get you anything?" he said, very concerned, pointing at Nels. "A book or anything? A milk? Maybe a stick of sour apple gum?"

Ah, this is our guy. For my part, I had a stick of sour apple gum, but Nels sunk deep down into the sofa, until he all but vanished and was completely sat on. By a very fat woman (who could have been a very slender woman doused in minks) reeking of exquisite cabinetry. The room quickly became so stuffed with a bounteous volume of furs and cloth that we had no choice but to squeeze through the spaces down by their legs in order to find our breaths waiting for us outside in the crisp sea air.