And Ne’er the Twain Shall Meet

(Or is it Clemons?)

“Nyah nyah! Your name rhymes with lemons!” said the alarmingly irritating and pimply young lad.

“Doesn’t,” he said, smoking furiously on his pipe in spite of also being an irritatingly young lad sans pimples. For now. Also, even though he was twelve, he had a large white bushy mustache.

The other fellow balled up his fists. “…Does!” Was probably expecting a better class of retort, but found hisself resorting to what amounted to nursery-level exchanges.

With finality: “Does.” Twirling mustachios was a new and eminently satisfying activity. If he must say so hisself. And he did. The other boy looked like he was going to cry. Maybe he would. Sure enough, there went the waterworks.

Helped along by that stomp to his toes acourse.

He wandered off, leaving the crying boy to his dusty tears. He was going to write an international best seller, no doubt about it! Yessir, just as soon as he finished whitewashing this whale.

Satisfyingly Crunchy!

(Or was it more curiously filling?)

The Hrordks and the Mutresps had been fighting for 22 years over the question of whether Old Father Grorp’s crackers were Satisfyingly Crunchy! OR Curiously Filling!

It all started when Gutrum Hrordk and Philologer Mutresps sat down to discuss the Flyminder Creek situation over a box of Old Father Grorp’s You Got ‘Em! Sassemfrass Crackers. A casual remark from P. Mutresps about the curiously filling nature of the crackers led to a pointed retort from Gutrum Hrordk that they were satisfyingly crunchy.

The silence between them lasted 217.3 seconds, and then the two patriarchs went at it, hammer and tongs, as it were, until they’d made three cutting boards, seventeen butter knives, three compasses, and a garden gate hinge.

Twenty-two years later, and their output rivaled that of the not unindustrious nation of Hoovelmaskerpoot. Every week, it seemed, some new warehouse was being built just to store all the new stuff.

In his darkest moments, old Gutrum Hrordk wondered if perhaps those crackers were curiously filling after all. These thoughts he quickly and viciously squashed whenever they arose. Philologer Mutresps never had any doubt in his mind.

Curiously filling!
Satisfyingly crunchy!

Both were true, but you’d never hear the younger set saying that out loud. And, sure enough, after enough time, there was a bonafide, full meal deal Romeo and Juliet-type situation that went down.

After all the weeping, those crackers weren’t quite as satisfyingly crunchy as before. Also, who wanted to eat?

Freaking patriarchs.

The Other Side of the Story

(Or was it?)

For a long time everyone assumed there was just one side to the story. Then the famed historian Heinrich Edsel Von Kroumhauyber proposed his, some might say infamous, doppelseitig or double-sided theory of stories.

Heinrich E. V. K. was showered with fame, fortune, adulation, etc., as only historians can be. He especially loved his appearance in Layrina Horsetaol’s 37th footnote*. The ecstasy!

Von Kroumhauyber died penniless in ruin a mere 17th months after the unveiling of his Theory.

After a hiatus of 74 years, Chuck Torp, a vague and mostly unnoticed autodidact and insurance salesman, scribbled out a counter-theory: the Polygonal Narratives Proposal.


By which I mean Chuck Torp had an infestation in his larder, in his garage, in his bedclothes. To his dismay, he discovered that his insurance didn’t cover crickets. Either literal or figurative. Also, no one was talking about his Proposal.

Chuck Torp took to hanging around outside weddings and accosting young, easily impressionable guests in order to bludgeon his ideas into their brains. He would figuratively just smash those ideas right up inside their skulls.

Fast-forward three weeks and Chuck Torp is leading a vast cult of failed historians, actuaries, and beekeepers. What fun!

Anyway, that went on for a while. Chuck Torp, now The Exalted Gruncle, sighed and remembered crickets.

*Until the 42nd footnote, that is: “…Von Kroumhauyber and his asinine breakfast habits are the folly of the age. One finds it impossible to parse any of his proclamations with bacon and orange marmalade crusted in his beard…” And so on for another three pages.

Flipping the Flops

Until that ship-burning fiasco, Cortez was a pretty famous, one might say infamous, flip-flopper. The priest whispered to his cronies that it might have been the heat stroke or maybe all those people dying of that damnable fever. Whispered still that it was pretty weird that Cortez never took off his metal hat. Then went back to his constant scribbling in the book. The others stopped saying things to the priest. Except for Cortez, of course, who never stopped talking.

Had they still been in Spain, it might’ve even been funny. Just another blowhard soldier ranting incessantly over tapas and wine. But Cortez wasn’t drinking. And he spoke a little too often about his God-given purpose.

Many took comfort in all the heaps of gold. There was mountains of gold. At least, the locals said so.

Still, they were all pretty bummed about the boats.

Counting Down to… Fun!

On the planet Derginuuz fun was a serious business. We’re talking industrial, national levels of attention paid to this most serious of endeavors. Gantt charts (or the Derginuuzian equivalent), spreadsheets, tracking systems, etc etc.

The intergalactically renowned somber, gloomy, and downright melancholic Derginuuzian took their fun seriously as only the morbidly depressed can. Also, there was no opting out. This fun was mandatory!

You. Had. To. Have. FUN!

On the Derginuuzian-equivalent of Thursday, on the 13th day of Luupido, the largest nation on the continent of Spazadyp was preparing their third FUN for the decade.

The countdown began.


Yupeet Gazx wept in anticipation for all the fun he would be having.


Pyreut Hiffn prepared to scream with delight. (She’d been training for months.)

8! 7! 6!

Countless children and adolescents were admonished not to take the imminent fun for granted. Few listened to their elders.

5! 4! 3! 2!

Countless hushes fell over countless crowds.



Otherwise, There Was No One There

(Or was there?)

There was a time, thought Carlos Rodrigo del Iglesias Jardinio (Cridge, for short–only his mother called him Carlos Rodrigo del Iglesias Jardinio and only then when she was really mad at him, like that time when he painted all the ducks purple and orange: only blue paint allowed!), when scores of people would have shown for any kind of soirĂ©e or garden party he might decide to throw, not to mention cocktail parties or brunches!

So the lack of guests, if not quite alarming, sure didn’t sit right. No, it didn’t sit right at all. Cridge spun a party favor bag around and around on his left index finger while the fingers on his other hand reached for a (his third!) delicious chocolate lavender macaroon.

Granted, his last party had ended somewhat poorly. The helium powered hyenas had, well, lead balloons came to mind, let’s just say.

Cridge sighed and reached for some pink lemonade (spiked, obvs, with his favorite brand of vodka).

Later, he would put all this excess away. Later.

Filthy with Soap

(Or was it coal dust?)

Trevor Meredith Van Woort had a peculiar twist in his brain whereby he perceived soap bubbles as tiny fruits, huckleberries and watermelons, say, and even sometimes vegetables.

There was one strange weekend in his 34th year when every time he washed his hands, he lathered up with clocks.

Needless to say, it certainly made bubble baths interesting!

Trevor Meredith Van Woort never spoke of it to friends and family, and though it wouldn’t be fair to say that he suffered in silence, he was often vaguely troubled by this curious flaw in the neuronal connections in his brain.

It was the morning of the “wildebeest” bubbles when Trevor Meredith Van Woort really started getting concerned…

King Kong Wasn’t a King, But He Sure Acted Like One

(Or did he?)

King Kong and Donkey Kong were having coffee and cigarettes at a very large diner in Queens. This was the 1980s, so people still did that, or maybe it was the 1930s, I forget which. Donkey Kong had this, like, perpetual grimace on his face. It was a great sadness for him in his life, because he felt like, hey, just because he looked mean, didn’t mean he actually was. OK, for real, he did have this compulsion to set barrels on fire and throw them down ramps. Especially he liked doing this toward overweight, balding, Italian plumbers who had, like, this chip on their shoulder whenever he seemed to be going out on dates. Still.

King Kong, whose expression was slightly less stuck in an “angry face”, stirred his coffee with a sugar spoon, dumped, like, the 37th packet of sugar or nutrasweet or whatever into there. King Kong was pretty unhappy to be in Queens. He missed his prehistoric jungle hideaway, missed romping with dinosaurs, and missed eating gigantic bananas. Still, it wasn’t all bad, he supposed.

“DK, how ya doin’ ape?”

“Oh, you know. Apart from this infestation of Italian plumbers I got, not so bad. They’re always all up in my face, but at least I got no plumbing issues at my place. Silver linings, ape, silver linings. You?”

“I still have this compulsion to climb the Empire State building, but ever since that restraining order. Well, I gotta stay away. Been in therapy for my aviophobia. Only got dive-bombed twice yesterday. Can’t complain. I guess.”

Donkey Kong took a bite of toast. “That’s tough. Honestly, I don’t know how you do it.”

King Kong sipped his coffee. “One day at a time. One day at a time.”

Donkey Kong stared out the window.

King Kong stared out the window.

The waitress left them alone.

Cornelius, Cornelius, What Have You Done?

(Or rather, what haven’t you done?)

Let’s say your name was Cornelius. No really. You are now Cornelius. Every day for your entire life that’s the word you’ve heard, consistently, more than any other. Cornelius. Cornelius. Cornelius. Cornelius!

Now let’s say you really like marmalade. It’s your favorite thing. More than chocolate. More than ice cream. Even more than gluten-free bread! More than bagels. More than kumquats. More than violets and pumpernickel. More than raging waterfalls. Even more than all the things you’d think would be your favorite thing. But, just, there’s something about marmalade.

Cornelius. Cornelius. Cornelius. Cornelius! Cornelius. Cornelius. Cornelius. Cornelius!

Well, Cornelius, you’ve got some brussel sprouts. Do you put marmalade on em? You sure do!
How about spam? Also, yes. Your best three-piece suit. Well, secretly, hell yes!

Cornelius. Cornelius. Cornelius. Cornelius! Cornelius. Cornelius. Cornelius. Cornelius! Cornelius. Cornelius. Cornelius. Cornelius!

That’s just the kind of person you are, Cornelius. You love marmalade. And now, you don’t even bother to hide it. And it’s marvelous.

Benjamin Franklin Plays It Safe

(Or was it dangerous?)

Benjamin Franklin was the talk of Paris with his raccoon hat. Especially after it bit Mde. Portreleaux on the nose when he leaned down to kiss her hand. Such a furor! Such scandal! Benjamin Franklin was oblivious, because his French was a little rusty. (Using his trusty pocket French-English dictionary, he’d snowed John Adams and gotten this cushy, all-expenses paid trip to Paree!)

Granted, things were a little terrifying. Or would that be Terrifying? Still, Old Ben rode out the deadly dangers with aplomb (or at least obliviousness) and feasted on the pale shadow of French delicacies. (Anything was better than the oatmeal he constantly ate at home! Oh, also raccoons.)