XVII. Racing Thoughts of Sunset.

. . . if a reviewer said (as was more usual, for reviewers are, taking them all in all, a kindly race), “This is a good book,” people who didn’t know any better really thought that it was so. Then the author was pleased. Particularly as the book wasn’t really good in the least. ~ Rose Macaulay, Told By an Idiot (Garden City, NY: The Dial Press, 1983 (1923)), p. 280.

xvii — Racing Thoughts of Sunset.

          A teed–off, itchy Supreme Eminem, awash in barging the arduous flood, was skeptically mocking heroic ammonia tortoises near the repossessed deformation bandstand. Here, mired ad nauseum in sandy quirks, old issues and WYSIWYGs whirled.

          Treeing flatulent winds, yet ignorant of drafty brash lust with merrier yams, Arbuthnot booked up the chalcedon ledge, where gassed toe tappers encoded scuttlebutt. The Supreme Eminem readily preached love, truth, and shaky daisies, as a drab idle bandwagon nearby dumped off the rare volcanic mutation. Incompletely formed, it incited a stampede, a cataract of corn snatchers who earnestly bonded over thick tanks of filmy humdingers with aesthetic swim fins.

          Bounced from the precinct of a hamster, the Supreme Eminem condescended to end the use of gaga red herring as bait, as long as what some understood already was this: apostasies that offered no scary internecine stray swearing demeaned the vicarious Erlking.

          “Owls, hell,” Arbuthnot howled at saline fungi. “In due course,” he depleted, “a swan chases slithy toves for kicks, daring them to court ruin and evil, in order to leap ekistic limes in time.”

          The Supreme Eminem scared daffy road hits, tardily heating his elastic tights — “wear these, jester,” he adumbrated. “Whoa,” Arbuthnot confessed, “I didn’t mean to force feed that many viands to beguile the heathenry!”

          Sullenly Khan Omdrum–san said, “happiest are they who farm out cruder thorns. Now wieldy fettles are my stout apathy.” Bummed out, booths of mighty tractors zoomed away.

          Once more, depraved, evanescent, and deformed scarlet frappes bombed nascent Utopia as the next race tepidly flashed by. Arbuthnot recanted, treating the flimsy cures to a party over existential meager smores.

*        *        *

          Deliverance whizzed in neon selahs. Note Daddy’s tacit folderol nixed tweakers devoid of eerie easel dibs. Lofty and true, Note Daddy beamed a dove through restive and frank casuistry; other nuncios sealed the Mostly Color Shoe Tree with an epoxy of apogeal aloe balm.

          Daring the postulate of locked barns, everyone else filed out into the whoop–whoop for some arm wrestling. They were either sustained in all proper basso profundos, or tossed forever into fixed empirical shazzam gadget lounges. The sky was emprismed and shrill, and so many truly shaped mud pahoehoes receded that He loafed, still as a dense hollow keg of white noise.

          A swift kick leerily, we’d venerated leisurely, nuanced, fiery tomcats, who spammed earth tone vinyl tweeters, one dash away from pantheistic hedonists, whose thawed mea culpas formed echo asteroids on the town, so old hat, more ably to quit cold divinity fudge. “Heaven isn’t good enough for you,” hissed a dilettante folk hedge. “Nothing you idiots might take with you may stay in Thebes.”

          A wasp rolled out green tea mats. These bylaws, hidden in anti–ballistic seafood trout chains, withal pensively framing intimate menu cerulean skates, sounded fully revokable.

*        *        *

          To this day, crescendo bellwethers twitter, far too grating a Piedmont warp cubic engine fizzled on a point of order, using up so many volts that, aside from bent Doppler teens, on a series of old crabapples, and a few merry finders keepers (who were scared away by lemon firetrap robins), the raft sank in inches of mud before they could give three hip hip hoorays.

          Always tedious in calling dibs on the cheaply pragmatic marjoram noodle aisle, hidden wet hens deigned to know if Arbuthnot needed to send them up, albeit all that glittered wilted. Next, shipped–out Pentium windows peregrinated treble fun moons, nor were indifferent to peroxide ambience: ex–persons simply then extracted leased flimsy ghost frogs, sober, left–leaning master thin easel tinfoils, or a swift ratiocination.

          Thales’ swarm of lost fidgety beasts hovered, wearing retro wigs against all odds. “Tantamount,” he warned, “we’ve beans foaming on the sunny side of the catwalk,” and more original vandals gloatingly minced out of the pent-up whereabouts with shapeless pawn tickets.

          The flakier old rinks held bouncy rococo bandwidths, which foamed against unusually flaming wild dust devils. Maced with a charade of plundered couscous thrills, these fops alleged that chivalry ended amidst undeserved shalom chopper splutters, obvious to an asterix, if felt by some astral factions, as transcending pushed or shoved feasts.

          A daft ersatz waltz attended swatches of clowns who bumbled and grovelled out west indecently. Thales and Arbuthnot laxly retched in ignorance for a term of pensive bliss. The reruns began before they had even ended.

~finis~

circa early August 2008.

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XVI. Channels to Everywhere.

Spring Vacation, 1974. At some indefinite time in the distant past, a spaceship landed on our father’s turnip farm. We had just finished milking the rattlesnakes and were about to kick the bucket when their eyes met. A dazzling pond of coral soda sparkled like copper clip art. We come from all walks of life, the aliens explained, to guide a new and emerging culture. Our father finished throwing the last of the cat litter into the old Willy’s and said something endearingly homespun. At that moment the stars came out, flooding the turnip fields with a cerulean radiance. I ran out to my lemonade stand to make sure my boundary issues were still under control. A triangular crop circle, shaped like a giant lilly, was all that remained of our unexpected visitors. I wished I’d never opened that box of chocolates, I thought that evening, trying to read the WSJ by the light of a bottle rocket under the covers before our mother came in and brought up her own problems.

xvi — Bronze Clappers Signal a Tunnel to Everywhere.

          Ever the pent–up nocturnal, Arbuthnot began, among serious B–flat gadgets, sauteing newt meteors. Note Daddy, a dormant peaked vole of fabled crop rotations, willfully Delphic, imminently annealed welfare klatches, spun out auctions, had sordid loophole contingencies removed, bridged eerily one–sided cabarets, coughed twice, and phrased votives of Persephone.

          A dreamy intuition of riotous foolproof tools, who shushed you all even before stuffing these tuxes with devotees of drenched ill bandwidths, behooved warily lone shoe trees onto real isthmuses. Biased after giant Gunga Din regattas drew said things from rapt incipient equinox yurts, their stiff bash, where a minimal metonymy android brought everyone a new thesaurus, awakened staged daft behemoth foam nuts, nearly raising up frisky fussiness from they who yearned for flung pittances, gnats, beefy digits, off and on tossed pemmican, or desultory diva Matterhorns of boarded Stilton.

          Arbuthnot pecked at the commons, played down suspicious rave noises from yodelling atomic penguins caked in tan Mono Lake mud, and chatted with sob sisters about Ikea sales and zephyrs. Clearly, abased in privation, a nettlesome apostasy stared at Arbuthnot’s considerably disingenuous attempts to jazz up his on–line personae, which only went out after dawn.

          “Fiend, sit on it,” Note Daddy wildly grunted while hemispherically emerging from thin air with the Athenian, Theda. They grabbed their cat and went home.

*        *        *

          Most regretably, Lemaniac and Zorba, like two owls in the tapioca vestibule, had renamed all the roaches on the shelf and reformed bouncier entities, while a dreary after–hours adjustment of mere anthems, a torpid aura at best, disowned context and remained too benign for any ditties.

          Howsobeit that Zorba had discerned tingly trilobytes around the north forty, the ascension of Arbuthnot, inevitably deplored by any measure, unleashed a severe aloofness. To Trebizond, a major expedition, to force the issue of personal loyalty (thearchically, a laconic sitar allegro), trotted forth.

          Seething with an elastic offset penumbra, the day breeze fanned into a dry Santayana recital. Note Daddy steered their dhow through the Hellespont. Khan Omdrum–san emblematized a systemic apostasy, lending their vanguard a bad–assed leer of been there done that.

          Before the beige sands at sunset, acute infantry snaked in endless lines of argent; each hybrid chorion indeed swivelled in mitigant phalanx: Arbuthnot’s tutor, Praxiteles, decorously febrile Atlas, thunder geysers, deafened Woodstock argyles, some mad Brobdingnagian razorbacks, and slithy rest area bacchantes.

          Led by glum Leander, an oblivious Athenian ROTC, the tried and true sons of Trebizond lit into Thebes’ humble ranks. Khan Omdrum–san gyrated phenomenally and filled the dyke with sophists. Eerily resembling a stealthy chinquapin, a head rolled while Arbuthnot wandered off to shoulder more responsibility. The revetments sturdily hindered them in turn, albeit three blowhard myrmidons erupted en passant. All were on a dare, and deemed to riddle the forum with livid trebuchets.

          Eddies collided in the surly cavalcade. Since giants guarded the portico, cooler heads prevailed. Ashamed of his cruel prank on humanity, Arbuthnot fell out and signalled. Unusually askance humdrums sounded, and they moved out persistently down to the front of the promenade.

*        *        *

          An indentured slave brought Arbuthnot, Praxiteles, and Khan Omdrum–san up before a long bench, where twenty other–worldly archons sat still, headily sniffing asphodel and myrrh. “May joy reign in dank euphorbia as far as the eye dares to see,” Arbuthnot effused at the facile autarky.

          Hurriedly, they perforce obsessed about anemic repasts. And lo! Poking fun at their bereaved hymns, Arbuthnot flashed the grim Sanhedrin flippantly, ere their antiquated insolence, entwined with grotesque abacus chafing arts, indigo tantivies, orlon crepe, missing links peeping away like Holocene ducklings, mystified elusive diet flumes, odd benchmarks, al dente Heimlichs, supersized cachet, and aimless satraps, whose stings were worse than a soprano entr’acte igloo waltz, shooed in the great Ash Daddy Oldster, whose newest 45 (Turbid in My Sapporo Apartment), wedged out to air the pod bay, where they were expected to equipoise in spun sour pimento and pacify teetotalists who longed for absinthe, railed wintrily at spoonbill sessions, and looked as if an anchovy sprat had wriggled up their telly.

          “Arigatto, GI Zorba,” they quipped when Theda chilled with a lambada. Most regretably, Praxiteles fumed at vast henpecked philanthropists; Khan Omdrum–san, ill from spoofing peaceable guttersnipe, fell, snowed under by wanton Shakers.

          Arbuthnot miscondemned the frantic maniacs who stomped on tuffets, and vehement acrimony tinted the unseemly gaffe. An esoteric vortex, awash in fescue, dribbled out urgent spook muffins which foraged origami bibs for Theda, whose day clinic fund raiser in July amounted to tepid futility (not that their knock–off wattle ‘n daub shiatsu mats were valued at anything beyond a belief that totem stereotypes flew north at will).

          Out of further trances, two Mississippi, Khan Omdrum–san revived, and/if mythical resipsaloq, a bodhissatva headed toward Toronto, niftily noodled things around the pod bay rodeo, they schlepped metaphysical efflorescence in faith.

          If allowed, wily Toto ingloriously sniffed anisette chokecherries, while a like–minded treaclier number, resipsaloq, dangled ampoules of a crop den. They sourly finessed twittering omens of hard–wired lymph, callous fictive peepers, tripped-out zither tents, and thematic hat tricks.

Circa July 2008.

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XV. The Pines of Rome (Ottorino Respighi)

[Another suit. On a gusty Thursday, during an innate ten four, Arbuthnot, excited that his wainscotting everywhere emitted odd and earnest, if freak glow worm fiats, sporadically imposed this almost strident infrastructural acuity throughout the entire sponge sub–phylum in momentous mnemnonic idiom.]

xv — The Pines of Rome (Otterino Resphigi).

          Insipid mealy carmel sundaes melted into fondues too foppish for hypothetical sylphs.

          “Now look upon these things at times without any sense of arid soloist,” he declaimed. “Even the least barmy suspect is outgrabed to degrade the seedy smidgeons of dicier perspective. Formality was, or is, arbitrary. While there are oblate precedents for minority terrestrial macaroons, they are so far and few that, between imagining stovepipe discos are tantamount to vending Jolt Cola at an inquest, rather than typifying the steamy threads of inert scenery, it’s well to tiptoe upon smut so merrily.

          “So, heartily indefinite liaisons can, at times, enrich idiomatic growth, but headlong excursions into these flummeries are beyond the hereafter. In gravid anabasis from requited sites of lurid concavity, we rest abashed on our laurels.” Inevitably, precise canons of assent won their full place in the flush; upon such sotto voce evasions, deemed unconcomitant, were toe–tapping cash excesses coarsely mined, as if unnatural excuses for sympatico were variously end–state plectrums of feasibly incendiary tonalities of disorder.

*        *        *

          Within Thebes, each slumlord felt ill at ease, notwithstanding Arbuthnot’s originally trendy etiquette. Avuncular, yet pertinacious in the promulgation of euphemisms, they regarded his blandishments as wheedlingly paternalistic, and dispensed appropriately sanctimonious aegrotats to bolster their tralatitious privileges of unamerceable meum et tuum.

          Yet it were more piebald franc tireurs and nuncios who comprised a trove of imminent janissaries detached from effusive onanism. Amid contrarian circles, immaturely sheltered in cassocks prior to Arbuthnot’s accession, a foundation of inextirpable peerages (excepting the Erlking, Emmit, or Opal) metastasized aridly.

          Hearkening while folk reminisced upon comparatively domestic bliss, Arbuthnot left his estates with a sense of immeasurable omnipresence. He excoriated the practice of canvassing ditheistic policies against immediate gratification after referendums: as long as it didn’t hurt anyone, there was no point in kowtowing to talentlessly ingratiating self–aggrandizement, though an apropos shibboleth, given rise due to Guelph go–betweens whose furtive mores vexed neither pensive affidavits nor agnostic vetoes, uncertainly flared in unanimous earshot.

          Legerdemain, hitherto pallid and unterraced, now meagerly snubbed the lowest canards for pluperfect kickbacks, which in themselves fast inhibited formerly evasive (if diabolized selfsame) swamis from variegating, at least sub–consciously, antiquarian, ectogenic, dystopic portents used to foment the simple panegyrics of didactic cotswolders negotiating the scale of tillages due vassals expected every Tuesday afternoon.

          A swarm of speed racers emerged as potent lorgnette rational zephyrs, denying rather venial etudes courteously in the nick of time. “What a waste of dingleberries,” the penniless polar bears interjected in airy, frantic trepidation, too excited about twitching wood hives to fantasize that demented, indigenous, enormous, detached foam fingers, stipulated during each board summation, stumbled out “the trifecta gate.”

          Arbuthnot, uptight at tweaking dioramas, ordinarily wore out great lye ormulus whenever such wasps effervesced. The lack of a “perky side effect” also determined elastic stigmas toward beliefs, too thoroughly realized in today’s effusive gymnastic pontifex inception, still held despite all that was once aimless and yet golden.

          One time, he’d upbraided, with sternly contorted exit polls, a rinky dink sasquatch by the tennis court, and drew incomplete snow forts away from defibrillated mannikins, who, by the way, incited a major riot which shook manifold sallies assiduously, and was televised on improvident amalgams of indecent aversion.

*        *        *

          It took a week, of unlatching over–zealous hold–outs from a sad laundry, to stop the onslaught of beguiled yet somewhat bleary misnomers. Likewise, if irrelevant in light of the Susan B. asphalt warts: a serious Heathcliff hangover bent swept past roseate codgers and then destroyed the Philistines’ last need of ideal brand ethos.

          Such dispersions feasibly illuminated a mediocre wingding, where willy–nilly cavitations revolted against quondam off–the–rack. And so it began, one Friday mosque: almost everybody boldly wailed at bygone casuistry, then the clarion calls of Lemaniac invited a knock–off pell mell: “let’s fry the old foul willow gazebo, dilettantes;” here awakens the inkling that this was their omen — batholiths crumbled loudly, preternaturally staved eerie bodhisattvas hopped into the scary antipodes, and flimsy bacchantes surprised cyan atonal vermicules as slyly rural soft shoes revelled in the bohemian beech woods, wearing out early velour anti–art.

          Granted, here was an ulterior moiety of freeze dried kefir: Theda’s match made in heaven. Anon, the usually last unnamed Mikado, submerged from Nissan epicures, and then hereby airlifted amidst embraces, hopped and prodded a Sh’into auction. They wallowed somewhat scurrilously, raked in Zorba’s e–bay toxins, drank them (unusually insipid chloral hydrate), and sneaked around with several rhizopods.

          Almost despotic at any lack of homespun Till Eugenspiegel, the Erlking dribbled a bunch of tall orders at Feet on second thought. Arbuthnot was always the last to know of such things. Feet’s thrall soured over the moon while the Erlking skipped hurriedly around last. Stumbling over an errant ballad, Arbuthnot crashed the last chance finth and squealed too squeamishly as this perverse throwback chained the Erlking. For a second, the air stank with aplomb.

          “Hens love alarm, Arby,” pronounced Father Time from far afield, “and thereupon is fealty gained,” only to break up as distressed clowns ruddily strolled in from the diocese to mask the dark scene. Arbuthnot, with all pomp, babbled on about cheap vehemence, but just as luck would have it, everybody cited pressing engagements and stole away. “Change was the only constant,” they recited.

*        *        *

          Such curs had been the mainstay of his ascension: speciously, at the opening of So Ceremonious an Emergency, for sure to be shareless, daring remedially illegible scorn, he’d announced, “we are pleased that our scantily vague idyll, so soon before our marvelous titfortat, was ruffled for three fortnights at will. Yet we are disappointed in this respect: after caving upon the yonder moon, where captions were shroomy, our only hope for unity lies in sturdily festooned maenads, writhing with lizards of tinsly view, or desultory swatches of uncouth macarena surrogates.

          “Whenever any hang glider, lost in leitmotifs, ere another element went amiss, was, with giant aspirins, rolled into another dimension, it was a lead pipe cinch that you just couldn’t swallow them,” he added.

Circa late June 2008.

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XIV. Alpha Centauri’s Fitful Rays

Another dream (2/27/07): the jewelry section at Fred Meyer had expanded to fill most of the store, constricting traffic flow. I crashed over a table where some Eurasian family members were planning a wedding. A bearded lady told me there was a bypass behind a curtain, punch in 0014300, and I was outside, amidst a red brick ivy covered campus, watching students slide on the ice. They were all wearing blue chicken suits for some festival. Borne along in the wake of a fire drill, we all sat on a magic bus that stopped in front of a drive–in. As the occupants disembarked to place orders, I sneaked away, expecting to return to Freddy’s. In the heavy rain, the Eurasian wedding party disgustedly tossed their bouquets in the trash and followed. But all we saw were miles of wreckage, camouflage nets, and concrete security barriers. We returned to the drive–in and tried to flag down the bus, but it pulled away without us, and I wrote down the license plate number, 1 BLT, to lodge a complaint. We were apparently in a junkyard in Alaska, surrounded by primeval hills in a rainy sunset sky filled with eagles, and a huge junkyard moose, who was turned away from us, stood beside the front gate.

xiv — Alpha Centauri’s Fitful Rays.

          If, in anonymity, many sterile recalled fedoras were unquiet, the swan song for Pier Gynt was hardly back channeled when a de facto being alit on the octaform table. It was a bellwether of wingspan hitherto reserved for antique brooms. From any of the Mostly Color Shoe Tree’s spinier rest area footsie tantrum analogies, a blotto set of peepholes, Frederick Barbarossa, excelsior, was excused to exfoliate his camels. Flip also bugged out, hopefully shifting his after hours castling fidget.

          Other monads, nearly nematodes, coyly bottled dysphasia. As a result, that dream was expressly plunked to hawk loofahs, and distressed waifs, repeatedly soliciting them for therapeutic evaluations, were at least informally tacit accessories. K. harped on Pier Gynt’s right mind, and Lemaniac left his side to munch melba toasts in silence. Note Daddy and Father Time, with the blankest memories of the denouement, reenergized inane salt licks for proto–otters and brachiophilia. Emmit tritely walked Opal away from a ledge, while Thales stuffily darned farthingales with his left hand. “Tommyrot,” Zorba extolled the jammers’ inconsolable versification about novitiates, and they all dribbled their binkies vapidly.

          The mojo remnant astutely yodeled at every venial inkwell. The Erlking spouted so Zarathusra an outburst, as they grazed listlessly, that their feet fell asleep and a sense of license lurched under felt mistletoe. Scurrying through dissent, their loudly mimed prayers coughed up soupcons of ersatz nylon gambits that smattered intensely. “But enough about me unusually,” Lemaniac finessed the trial quote, which they made immodestly incorrigible.

          Dwelling upon second thoughts, K. thanked everyone for carousing at will. “Take care of the sad who might want to drum up a videlicet.” Ere they could obtain an exact count of whippoorwills, others had, while Theda tenaciously showed off her patio furniture, left unsanctimoniously.

*        *        *

          A small attention spam followed the wake in sooth, for whomsoever was not affectedly ingenuous with frescoes would fetch the after–burn soon. Nor had the severe loiterers of aromatic propensity, Note Daddy, Father Time, Lemaniac, and Zorba, each alleging hitherto malformed ninja ghetto, forsaken to gather at a door next year.

          Co–dependent with apneal camels for spent retro art, K. whipsawed along twill thistle–resistant evicted life. From those still standing at the edge of the universe: Zorba on fearful lilt, Mrs. Elf, Lemaniac and decanter, Father Time, and Note Daddy as mind blaster undefrayed, hasty lingual suits whooshed thicker and faster than sound: almost fierce pollywogs snored at their snickerdoodles and lit upon whomever bashed oblivion. In the heated acorn moiety, fabulous vetchlings dared anyone to form swim bees at tractor pull peepholes, and suave sinister snobs degraded evil gangplanks, between oaths, lest inevitably metempsychotic choruses of coarse eels synchronized.

          Ordinarily, K. moistened his thin whistle, “king me (at given Narnian cheap fake hair funerals),” and ranked hopscotch after magical shotgun weddings at bearing perfidious miasma parades. Calmly, his deviously magnified thirst only warmed on a bygone round ere being sloshed in degenerate temerity, and with finality, after anemic falsetto lurid buds, K. tanked on Vick’s, reckoning naught more than the sting of mayhap tasteless wedgie pods.

          Zorba morphed pheromones indecisively. “Enid, it’s geodesy, someone who now shazaams slim pickings,” he said of an albacore they had wrassled in Pago Pago. K., cloaked with bulkily mordant if culinary melanges, was extricated from the barmy shelf. Note Daddy wistfully mimicked lyres, as Zorba and Father Time pelted chamomile toasts and facile compliments.

*        *        *

          They allowed that a frantic walk to Lemaniac’s Carmelite sing–along gig had strengthened him. “Ignore it,” they chirped, as histrionic quota hurdles drew rough sterile streaks unfamiliar with the sunset. “And take care if fecund adjustments force a revived bucolic synthetic!”

          A clammier basis for inclusive seismicity, the freak necrosis had distilled Arbuthnot’s smug game, and he waved askance when Flip, in deference to Nifleheim, existentially jumped ship. Lemaniac solicited their rectitude a little longer, and they at last assented to stream doctrinaire Swahili wi–fi out loud into the ethers, as derided servants tore flax measly recliners and skewed venial demitasses weirdly hired.

          Limpid twisted lofts, concatenating Pliny’s parsed unconscious thematic stones, bolted up a melange orchid lull, melting fissile chunks of basalt glycerin. By the time they’d roused each of those heftiest shades, a naive scented Bythnian mime squawked at foment, and the nearest flappers, artistically creatined, paraded for racy calendars in worked up off–the–rack which, to this day, delineated ad hoc semi–formal back into the closet.

          Thankful that life, apart from disaster, had ended uneventfully, K. reverted to chaperoning designers.

Circa early June 2008.

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XIII. The Calliopes of the Actual Cottage Industry.

CASSIUS
Who’s there?
CASCA
A Roman.
CASSIUS
Casca, by your voice.
CASCA
Your ear is good. Cassius, what night is this!
CASSIUS
A very pleasing night to honest men.

~ Wm. Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene iii.

xiii — The Calliopes of the National Cottage Industry.

          Come what may, all sailors were addled, when deft plaudits rang as they returned to work out with the Erlking’s parrot on Mountjoy. It rasped a lot from melted fondue, prepared to fly to satellites 12,000 times. K’s last budgie! In ghastly haberdash, he entreated the fauns.

          Flip revved over amidst his brief fling and deigned to cringe gratuitously at themes of apneal hinds. Flushed with hubris, K. awaited a fervent storm of placid, if formally out–sourced funless drab reassurance. “You’ll do well to stop learning to go off half seriously here,” Flip harped severely. “This wet match adversary you schlepped is 112 years cold! Here’s a fresher start.”

          K’s insomnia shrivelled as he steadied the new one, which cast off tumble thorns in or near Lake Neato, where he’d sworn it would be bleary. K. mashed on decrying plush cotswolds of tacamahac areas where he’d see fit. Willessly thus was he unbalanced, stuffed with used thread, and Flip reverted to tactical gridlock, leering so mercilessly that even Lemaniac’s quaesitum had seemed a tad lame if tenuous.

          Buffeted here with as caustic, albeit prodigal, whiffs of tangible hotfoot thereby known, K. systemically flushed beet red. For his part, Flip deserved more than disowned wainscottings which bubbled off. In myopic decency, the wet hens bantered with workaday insolence, expecting formless meniscus ether rattlers.

          So thin meringue figs lofted forever, and for once melded with aggregate ersatz porpoises. Flip thereafter resonated eclectically with feasibly crazed noisy dull gusto.

*        *        *

          Perchance this spark fomented a major palace turnover. In de facto resuscitation of the ploy of simply unbesmirchable men, an artless appanage dealt over here two new arrivals who twanged mandolins of soft timbre.

          Lemaniac had eavesdropped Khan Omdrum–san and Arbuthnot dancing the tango at the Mostly Color Shoe Tree. “Are you crazy,” K. exclaimed at the next singalong, all the way groping at bouncier anisette salamis, “these clowns owe us lipiform service next to cardiograms, and you froze it.”

          Khan Omdrum–san woke up effusively in front of the jet set, “I only needed to be sure of a scalene yes man.” Lemaniac sidled away from the conspiracy. In weeding out the shape–shifters, Khan Omdrum–san averted a disparate calm that K. didn’t care to quash, although he did manicure his anemones and deodorize a filtered apple polisher.

          So that saga was rescinded, and all the way back Lemaniac entreated them to arrange for the viccisitudes of the carrier wave apportionment and pledge their unending support for Pier Gynt. K. wanted to play along somehow, but sensed a cold donut emanating from without. Wrapping the flag around, he sat in light–headed and heedless silliness as Khan Omdrum–san gave off glints of lapis lazuli anions.

 *       *        *

          The Emperor Frederick Barbarossa rode a colt stealthily under the stanchions that very fortnight, in ostensible tribute to the spiritual confessor, Pier Gynt. There, as the tensest piquancy accompanying any imminent change of regime eventually foreshortened into chic shadows, they calmly accused Pier Gynt of sequestering stylish eiderdowns.

          Arbuthnot also held that the latter had kept mum about altruistic premises ex officio, as well as raising svelte ringworms in the harsh arboreal cities off the clock, and in cantos, extolled Frederick Barbarossa as furious and notwithstanding, well over two hundred years old, and vigorous with red herrings. K. stashed his flyaway look during the incantations, slightly insane with uncertainty, and dove back into the chancel, hoping to be found diligently studying the canons.

          In due course, he heard anemic laughs hours later. Slowly he turned, somewhat afraid of irked barbers behind the arras, and said “ordinarily I don’t stand a chance of tumultousness.” In a spent, breezy, hectic form, he laughed sub–consciously at fishhooks and swarmed to misnomers: here was one who cried at witangemots, and knew his slim itsy–bitsy time would be prorated to calm this last cylinder.

*        *        *

          Frederick Barbarossa and Khan Omdrum–san were still too crafty to flout their niche investigations readily and, while everyone felt prepared to argue the toss, ostensibly named Arbuthnot as heir apparent to the post of Commutator Batrachianne (this nomination was deferred to the eunuchs in charge of the odalisque).  The incumbent, Zorba, seemed too undernourished to heave.

          Nor did K. finally solicit reams of advance firmament. His disposition, made awkward since Lemaniac, as his beneficiary, and Zorba, as his progenitor, had caved into personal pressures long before K.’s accession, was that of illusory harmony, disturbed only during mysterious azimuths, when the barter of backstairs offices became steadily more rigorous and thitherto noteworthy obversibles carried out grim and silent tasks.

          Arbuthnot drafted his investiture and then slyly backed K. as heir apparent, pounding the soapbox for emphasis. “Men,” he proclaimed, “we welcome K. with unvarying degrees of probation. Indeed our fairest image has turned unusually anti–rhetorical, and only he must know why. Zorba usually promulgates unsound paperwork.” There are stories (leaking from emblematic witangemots) about how they’ve been miserably shunted into star chambers of sorts and called upon to renounce polo.

*        *        *

          Ironically, Arbuthnot’s plug sharply reduced K.’s desire to hit the lists, as it were, and while he went around in sackcloth and ashes for two years, willing to denounce the counter–revolution as inimical to the civilized haven of mankind, he tacitly acknowledged that Zorba seemed to enjoy his bureau. Far be it from K. to pry: this left plenty of time to work on the past afterburners. He simply avoided him.

Circa May 2008.

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XII. In Front of a Large Building

Involving pointless anecdotes and repetitive alphanumeric sequences, the simultaneous pledge drive of the alternative, classical, and jazz stations failed to dislodge an endless video game jingle from the mind of Uncle Mishka. He tried whistling “Pennsylvania 65000,” which worked for a while until someone answered the telephone. Hello, said Cinderella. Hello, was the reply. Is there any hope for you, she asked? Don’t you wish, was the reply, that life was like a cassette tape, always retapable, unless you punch out the little plastic tab on the ledge?

xii — In Front of a Large Building.

          Dear widgets, their chia lasted for several weeks and adored the unknown, despite atavistic flops sporting unified folderol. Through a dafter toss–up, K. irreversibly dealt lax noise on how up to date a chutney thyme, fell prone to teetering miserably if unmoussed, and hearing about Manitoba flakes impinging wickiups in heaven, he’d fasted for October.

          Ere his hegemony of solid unironic puns were known by scraggly fiat, the only forgotten dusky sea snookered him along with old banyan repasts, and slobbering desires fanned him into a hive of really timid invective. There, foisting static andirons in phlegmy dungeons only innate, the Erlking’s parrot gazed across the asphodel toward a blushing Edwardian carapace, the High Lantern, chirping on a bleak tuffet.

*        *        *

          Overbooked on account of Pentecostal by–laws, it cemented an adroit endoscopy as inescapably savage. A wormy mellow dayglow was lit from within by redacted high tech savants cantering to themes of vide et supra. K. coiled knots, visualizing flimsy pretexts for tumbling into the lobotomy, sweating in duress as he was, to begrudge rusty carrots. He straddled oblong ivory colored malls, marauded amidst torpid glacial energies around the swooning piles, and floundered at the pink doorstop of a less than posh vestibule isthmus, the Blank Negus, whose theocracy was obstructionist in view of its ostensibly tasteless decor.

          Pretentiously disguised as an untenet out for a change, K. managed to waltz in time with Theda, vacate a lending machine, and strum enough quatrains with the kinky skylark to collectively miscegenate. If done with enough dim tinsel for a frayed e–kite, elastic minnow homes, ill stentorian patio lathes, tart forensic mute poppies who’d disperse on St. Swithin’s Day, twill beer stubs, ripped lace Dolby medleys, or signal active clarity, none of this prescient acutely rural time was yet evinced, though it was written that a sallow emu who stuck to surly flings of expiation always swam thinly for days.

          Did that idyll rank amidst couchant composts of drearier patinas? In a post–it to Fortescue, wading upon manly squeaks of expertise with the “real weird,” K.’s heartfelt fondness for filthy sing–alongs was burnt to cinders after enough furlough. All he tried in that interlude was to mix and match his guitar strings, gurgling to slug off–key brackets from pillar to post, while hoping his stormy mistress might soon bound away.

*        *        *

          As this was easier said than done, he chanced to elicit her sullen ignorance. Her formless eyes squinted at his dull puns, yet despite his monomaniac flow of chatter, she deigned to exhibit gossamer nighties. The breeziest redheads swayed tolerably as she barged into the creek.

          Beach scroungers pecked his head with startling dissonance, jays gobbled and turkeys rapped, and dormice shrieked above normal volume occasionally in the blue. This disconcerted other auks, who awakened a tiny charabanc near the hostels, misdeserved and unwillingly released (Thebes’ best echoes told of the afflatus inherent in primeval dewberries).

          Thereupon in long decapods, they reviewed each perspective from a nuance. “Their” brickyard shambled down the distempered hiatus toward droll adenoidal relics of lapse in tangentially froward bent. Above them, the rose–colored mirror, tainted with cruel battleship–grey, obtrusively surmounted red garden dwarfs. Rubbery endive werewolves stabilized among the shades.

          They caroused at best around rough mock lackadaisical trestle tables with the fairest calm, assimilated into the asphodel of their oasis; what contrast with the preternaturally ethical footsteps above the stone age flagon, where they regarded their new stint!

          Buttercups drifted around, flipping therein precipitous sibilance. Their Muses unleashed before too many years in the suburban tracts of Gonzo, they reckoned on happenstance to conceive some twenty–three juvenile silkworms, and dourly drove down bonsai costs. K. was imbued with a sense of futility. Here he was, forlorn amidst bacchanalia! What else could happen?

Circa April 2008.

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XI – Too Well to Fly to Trebizond

. . . men too often take upon themselves, in the prosecution of their revenge, to set the example of doing away with those general laws to which all alike can look for salvation in adversity, instead of allowing them to subsist against the day of danger when their aid may again be required. ~ Thucydides, The History of the Peloponnesian War, iii. 82.

xi — Too Well to Fly to Trebizond.

          One last downpour salute was inexorable. As tons of other crusts were honestly street smart, old Yoda rubbed over the rough mists atop a far far better hill, while K. saw stars and lit up like a critical mass. “Blow me down,” he swore, “if along the selfless DOS, this runaway, whom then dispersed into a briar patch of densest ground to a halt, made life like amscray, if that mattered,” and totally disoriented, came up with enough new ideas to complacently stop before quivering.

          Their stuffed helium–20 isotope power trippers, snaffled in flasks relined with astatine, were the only derivative automatons capable of dancing with Katrina, whose well–lit business neither sided with road–hogs, nor with any noctilucent casual patriarch caretaking stochastic inchworm farms. K. hanged the U–turn, backed into the ocean, and was soon ratcheted aboard the Maypole. Letting one rip, he hoped he’d soon be mistaken for a heifer.

*        *        *

          The Maypole was one merry heave–ho away from the slumbering scrapyard. Singing one radioactive ditty after another, the Erlking frantically stored Linotype pay–per–view facsimiles and romped at will. A shower of meteors highlighted the Flip Kelvinator’s placid appearance, and K. opened his hymnal too carefully.

          Periodically the edges warranted a genial if persistent dredging, and out with the dormant Thales, who had been rolled beneath the magical jolly boat. They gave him wedgies until at length the latter ranted about the climate. “One summer, it was freaking monstrous and rarely fogged out. One winter, it rained and was hot. Then icy steams swerved around the free for all, with water moccasins from which only Santa Claus could save us now, according to the panegyrics touted as rave.

          “There was once a spring, cool and clear, that meandered back toward the somewhere, and forget about stand–ins, it’s that damned queasy,” he said. There weren’t any Torquemadas to worry about, it was true, nor any hara–kiri (hell, once he’d adamantly dragged out a concertina and sang 867–5309 before they’d even cut off his phone service), and perchance one heard of ruthless undertows roaming as unchecked as could be. Only during Whitsuntide were there enough yawns to fill a spinnaker.

          “So we’ll run in snort mode,” K. lisped. “After all, we’re in international waters, n’est ce pas?

          Improvidently, the Kelvinator harangued them, “we suffered from a paucity of diesel. Lots of sterno requisitions shipped out indeed came back stamped unspecific, from whence we’d only sporadic camp revivals. Our weed–eater circus had ceased to sentence telltale pixels over the smellier fracas kachina. Unless we obtained a ghost (short for gee whiz ostensibly solar orbital torque blah blah saline dilating fresco), we’d be sculling dumber than a sea–snail at a moment’s notice.”

          And if that weren’t enough, the straits quivered at twill impresarios, rolled incognito scrubs ethereally, and flittered, albeit capriciously, and thus exasperated, just as they had hung up for disco mania with vermiform mites, an elastic pullet strolled past, reeking of frankincense.

          The Flip spoon–fed her despondently, fringed by warty ants. Tepid altos launched drastic dinghies. As far as this went, the Flip conceded that almost every tulip was for now ex cathedra. “Was this the first time that your momma screwed up,” K. blurted?

          “That will be for me to know and you to find out,” the Flip said in reframed echoes, wadded his hash into Legos, and added that “once even Zorba had said that Hell’s ilk edged out all gonged boondoggles, albeit nobody could stand for those cave lurkers either.”

*        *        *

          K’s tense yawn relapsed as he sponsored an incoming fete, but a Soul Train tune beckoned to his thing, rays of gray light demiurge somewhere, in nether plangence, 800 AOK, 1/12V: typical of a somewhat obscure irrational Dr. Frodo.

          Without furtive adieu, the Flip introduced the Catskill Chorus, whose forte capers redirected that all chi square tesserings of endomorphic sibyls best insert, at sixscore interims, valise trysts without fail in arranged coteries: a worsted though debased anthem moped which deservedly matched prosaic Gnostic atonal treacle thrown from the sixth–floor window.

          Persistently (aside from damascene umbrellas pigeonholed, incited allegory did notch a gender–neutral period of two by four eschatology), the contravailing beliefs, in faster core upbeat reticence, widgeted large plush androgens of coalesced ledge pews. Finth, somewhat robust, defenestrated astral bandwidths on a pay–per–view basis, and walls of acrimony resounded in debunked artifice.

          Rolling over urushiols was to be avoided; quadratic anteaters back and forth made fierce enough outbursts when summa tinpot gods forced coasters to fry anything, from genial tomfoolery to upright visitation that windsurfed direct agate–ware fewmets.

          By the bye, wormcasts fumed at scones inevitably, hatching resistance to Zoroastrian outbursts, and for all that swarms of conehead katabatic quartets were hearkening unto typically magical buses, “mass proximity” trysts discharged unspun if redolent stockings.

          Flip next shoveled in methane 175, a steady drool of outrance, using desultory effigy lots en route: minds, lizards, and sweaters on every hop. The shady myopia, nixed in regurgitation, transcended Ying, depicting a beefy Toto, who morphed alas into a florid aardwolf with thirty–seven feet and flung enough thunderclaps, ebullience, itching, figs, and oak salvoes to snare dreary topsoils.

*        *        *

          Munching moss prosaically, K. found that too many really furtive pickled “ashrams” insisted on furlong hepatic popovers from root word to silliness at fewer than five furlongs. Every so often, the mixed thing spoilsports from Pimlico who felt just enough sangfroid to crawl up your nose unwound for flimsier sights around the facetious past.

          While Flip booked them uneasily, thrusting meteors inside one of the most brilliantine rolfings ever aired over closed circuit TV, and fretting over the decomposed scampi on sale in the lobby, K. belted out a heavy andante for the residual watch which came fidgeting in around eight bells.

          Moistly depeche, Emmit and Opal were among the thermally clad frugal queues. Zorba, slim and draconian, hustled into the stockade. Lemaniac swooped in, charily avoiding the sunrise, glided to circumvent a twirly fire–drake fed up with unusually moribund inanities, and detoured onto Tobacco Road to fuss with the mise–en–scene and dust off chthonic forks.

          Pier Gynt rabidly outgrabed sundry simaroubas vilely when two hyssops iced shut Tlingit rodeos. Their furtive if lurid foray obviated a drought in progress, ere they turned to a mood–bending kite the likes of which had never been seen before, jampots clinging and clanging and depolarized rummies bristling. So incontinence prevailed until eleven thrifty ohms and their tea leaves dried: the Supreme Eminem and Feet, airing obscene zero–G feather–deckers, oblivious that this was NOTME time.

          Flip let them mangle these any day and K., sotto voce, descried red minty booth key ledges of incoherent presentiment as Flip, the Supreme Eminem, Feet, and Pier Gynt pistoned logarithmically. Lemaniac interpreted, “time waits for enough ‘lilting bowls’ — and spewed, “bored heresy stems on dependent hype to reassure synapses gone wild. Recall that memory turns dybbuks unexpectedly.”

          Before K. might leave for more noteworthy tinsel clowns than were honorific today, Lemaniac sandbagged him with huge shrill inquests that Noone could stand. The swarthy Supreme Eminem and Feet coaxed an asp from a dry tea barrel whereas, off to one side, stood crinoline tocsins of barmy assent to disperse mysterious pheromones.

          Lemaniac ungratefully plucked lemon band jewel strings as someone whispered, “Flip, go long and implant this parting edict.” “Some antics,” he scribbled, deadpan in a gloomy lullaby — “it’s all politics, my untold monotone were–rabbits.” The Supreme Eminem poked around amidst the rubble of thematic afterbirth, implicating an obsessively curious revetment.

Circa late March 2008.

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