Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Terribly Trite & Terpsichorean Tale of Toby


It was a Tuesday.
The garbage cans were emptied. And the baby was thrown out with the bath. Was it an accident? Mr. Pershing didn't think so. "That's the third time this week," he muttered to himself.

Meanwhile, in the fourth star to the left in Magellan's Cloud, known by some as Fresno. But to most of the galaxy, it was called Drachma. Because from space, it looked just like a Greek coin.

A tall man with a tattered newspaper and moose dung on his shoes. This man, by the way, was no ordinary man. He wasn't your average everyday reptile. He was a man of the cloth. In this day and age, meant that he was a pimp. For on this far planet, sex was religion. His name: Gouda Ramirez Fritz O'Henry. An interesting man, yes....

What a pity he has nothing to do with this story.

Meanwhile, back in Pershing's home town (wherever that may be), a faint cry. But no one heard. They were all in church, making love. While a man named O'Henry-- no, that's another story. But back to a fetid dumpster.... Inside, the remains of a cheap dinner party. Empty buckets of the Colonel's chicken (extra crispy) abounded. Crammed into one of those buckets was a small, writhing kitten. (The narrative here pauses for the requisite "Awww!") But this was no mere mundane kitten. This was not Mr. Pershing's kitten. It wasn't O'Henry's kitten (obviously, since he isn't in this story). This was the kitten of Toby, the small and pitiful paraplegic dwarf. A quietly contented man (he was mute) who made a living as a ballet dancer. He played the toad stool in Swan Lake (and excellently, I might add). In secret, he was actually an operative for the Zambezian spy network. Zambezia? That's the third star to the left in Magellan's Cloud. Which is irrelevant, immaterial, fleeting, and has nothing to do with this story (Explanation? I'm paid by the word). His code name: "Toby." His mission: to destroy and seek out (not necessarily in that order) strange new girls; to white out the unwanted Black Plague.

Toby's kitten mewed again and died. The tiny, telltale green stamps apparent on his stomach as the Black Plague made itself known in an impolite fashion. And obfuscatory, too. Toby sobbed, but still had the presence of mind to cut out the green stamps. He knew what he had to do. He went back to his sleazy apartment and did two things: First, he pasted the green stamps in his saver book (he was saving for a new auto-erogenizer. After all, not many girls went for paraplegic dwarf ballet dancers, because they thought they were gay). Second, he cooked the remains of the kitten for dinner. But how? That's a very difficult question. It wasn't that it was morally questionable, nor grossly unsanitary; it was simply that on Drachma, culinary secrets were among those most closely guarded. He picked up the phone and immediately dialed his friend, who was annoyed by being dialed and asked him to use the phone next time. Then it wasn't not now later, but only presently back then when the mosquitos returned to Capistrano, where they bugged the hell out of a lot of sparrows. "Damn Indians," remarked the janitor.

It was time. Time for time. But- did Toby have the time? Would he take the time? Or would he have to buy it? A timely question. So answer it yourself. I don't have the time.

There was one chance, though. Myrna still had the baby. She was giving it a bath, amid his protests that he wasn't thirsty. "Just throw the damn bath out," said the baby. And with that, she did. Pershing frowned for the fourth time, and belched his disapproval. Could it have been that the baby was somehow involved in the spreading of the Black Plague which Toby and Myrna had fathered? And were also trying to escape? To Equatorial Drachma, where they would unwittingly meet O'Henry, who isn't in this story. Or was it all just the result of a mushroom-induced hallucination?

In a small-time bar in Newark, the phone rang. It was the baby. He had the wrong number. And the bartender was very annoyed at having been dialed. Pulling his pants back on, he noticed a wide red lipstick stain on his lover's cardigan sweater. "Have this cleaned immediately," he said. Toby was the bartender's lover. All those girls were right. All right. "All right," sneered Toby, "I've had enough of this fascist dictatorship! You and your crummy Nazi friends are never going to be able to paste green stamps on innocent kittens again! And take a bath, for crissakes." With that, Toby thrust two of his personal appendages through the pinned sleeves of his cardigan. "I'll bet you didn't know I was armed!" he laughed hideously.

"Put them down," said the bartender. "You offend...."
"But I use Orinade No-Plague...."
"You offend...."
"The phone's ringing...."

As the bartender turned, Toby saw his chance. He made a mad dash for the men's room, where he immediately asked one of the urinals out for a date. Pretty good for a mute guy. The urinal said yes, flushing with delight. He hoped Myrna didn't find out, otherwise she'd be pissed off. Scrawled on the wall in trashy handwriting was printed "Sitting Bull goes here" and a phone number, which turned out to be that of the church pastorized by O'Henry, which possibly explained his shoes. This little literary gem was perpetrated by the janitor, who was on vacation from Capistrano. Some of his best friends were sparrows. He was always talking about birds. And since we're on the subject, Toby put his away and gasped, for he had caught himself in his zipper. Which was pretty hard to do, considering it was on the side. All those girls were right. Toby, however, was a dwarf in only some respects.

Meanwhile, in the Knesset, Myrna was worried (Knesset is the second- oh, nevermind. It's not in the- never mind!). Golda hadn't shown up for years; the last anyone had seen of her, she was going to the corner drugstore to buy some bobby pins. What was keeping her so long? Was it international subterfuge, or merely an incompetent clerk? Nobody knew, and nobody cared. Except perhaps for Falawful, who ran the local deli. He needed the bobby pins.

In Geneva, there was a convention of Truffles, which are kind of like the Knights of Columbus or the Kiwanis or some such crap as that. With one notable difference: their noses are broader and flatter. As are their women. They were about to perform the traditional rite of printing green stamps. These, they then sold to unscrupulous Nazis. With the money they made, they amassed the largest stockpile of Lacy Underwear in the Western world. Excluding the edible kind. For as we all know, Luxembourg has that market cornered. The Russians panicked; because Lenin had once said, "In the twenty-third century, no one will ever suffer from the pain and discomfort of jock itch." Did this mean the end of Cossack sex as they knew it? The bartender didn't know, but he disposed of all the vodka he had within two days. He sold it to an unsuspecting widow who thought it was for bathing babies. Until one morning when she was found in a 1971 Toyota, dead, with all of her bodily orifices sealed tight with green stamps. And just because she was a paraplegic. Whatever happened to freedom of religion?

In the Knesset, Myrna sent out for lots of bacon. Golda hadn't returned, but she had already sent a telegram to the king. It read: "Toby armed. Beware. Is in alliance with Walt Disney Productions. Watch out for seven dwarves and some bitch with an apple." Myrna panicked. She couldn't read. "George," she whispered, "that doesn't sound like Golda. It doesn't even look like her. She's a lot fatter and smells like the great outdoors." But before George could answer, the doors to the Knesset squealed on their hinges as Toby swung in, hanging from some very thin piano wire, which promptly cut his hand off. With his remaining hand, he fired several warning shots. Which were ignored. He then fired with all he had, and shot the bird, too. The janitor was grief-stricken. He went back to Capistrano, where he bugged the hell out of a lot of mosquitos. Toby suddenly grew a beard, and started to sing "Heigh Ho." Myrna screamed.

"Golda's warning! She was right! Call out the Truffles!"
"You can't! Switzerland is neutral."
"I know! I've been out with Swiss men!"

By this time, Toby had retrieved his other hand, and, with a sewing kit, did a neat embroidery job on his boxer shorts. This being done, he glued his severed appendage back on, thereby becoming a handyman. Myrna watched in fascination and felt the pulse of the familiar dry heaves that she got whenever Toby did do that voodoo that he did do so well. The fetish didn't even have a name, but Myrna didn't care! Nay, she let her freak flags fly. At this, the peak of the crisis, Golda suddenly arrived, clad only in a girdle and earmuffs. Toby fainted at the sight. As did the rest of the Knesset. Thinking quickly, Myrna pretended to be doing aerobics. Pretty good for one who has just fainted.

George and Golda got married. They had the baby who disappeared earlier in the story. "I understand now," said Toby, "it was you who, through dishonest manipulation, got a great reputation for, you know..." Golda smiled knowingly. She knew. That was how she got her reputation. George was stunned. He left Golda and founded a home for the tragically dismantled and hard of hearing. With Toby, who vowed never to see the bartender again. The urinal was happy, at least when last seen; it had plumb disappeared. Myrna subsequently became a terpsichorean ecdysiast. And the baby inexplicably disappeared, until one dark afternoon, when he was found unconcscious, on a serving tray at a nearby McDonald's. Green stamps lined his diaper, one of the new "Superfund" brand. With nothing else to be done, the police took him down and cashed him in for an iPod Nano. As for the rest- well, who really cares, anyway?

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3 comments:

blue5goddess said...

Oooookaaayy - Wrote your own 3-word story here, didja?

Mark Woodland said...

LOL It DOES sound like one, doesn't it? It's more along the lines of stream-of-consciousness and a bit of Hemingwayesque structure.

Or, in more plain words, silly nonsense! ;)

blue5goddess said...

;) - We can all use some silly nonsense in our lives! I try to laugh as often as possible every day. Thanks for the smiles.