Psychogalactic Pizza: Third Fragment

The Third Fragment:

“Oh,” the other marshmallow shouted suddenly. “I found it!”

“Where?!” the urinal demanded, “Where is he?!”

I jumped back to attention and nearly gave myself away. Thankfully, my fears were unfounded.

“I found the castle!” the marshmallow continued. “It’s right there!” The urinal gurgled angrily and flushed, then all was silent for a minute or two.

“You know what?” the urinal started, “I’m going back to find another mark. You two scout the area and see if you can’t find our… friend, eh?” Before either of the marshmallows could answer it, there was a flash of light and (presumably) the urinal had gone back to entrap another helpless soul. In that moment, I pitied my successor, fearing he would not have my luck, and in my soul I entombed these words of sorrow:

One leaf falls
untrodden
and feeds the earth
in its own time.
The next—
thoughtless—falls.

It will be devoured
by an onslaught of steps,
fodder for shoes, but

we will remember.

Caught within my inner-monologue of composition, I failed to notice the marshmallow beings, now standing on either side of me. Frightened though I was, and though in truth I leapt near ten-feet up in the air when I noticed them on account of my startlement, I can now look back on them fondly. Though the endless barren snow of their faces seemed to me as horrid as the most terrible ghost in the moment, it must be said that neither thence nor hence have I encountered beings of such untrampled purity and good-hearted belief. Though, as mentioned previously, their faces lacked the spark of middling intelligence, their eyes did instead shine with the very stuff of dreams and fancy, limitless in quantity and eager enough to find direction under whichever creature, fair or foul, first claimed these marshmallic men of well-meaning, these albumen angels, these sugary saints.

“We found him!” one cried happily. Perhaps unconsciously I realized that there was no quavering thread of malevolence in its timbre.
“We found him!” the other echoed with equal mirth.

Dumbfounded and fearful, my tongue took charge of its own command and hollered, “We found him!”

“Where is he?” the second shrieked excitedly in reply.

“He’s here?!” the first responded quickly, craning its wiry hand over its brow to shield its now-squinting beady eyes from the sun. Dumb luck be praised! or, perhaps, luck be praised for the dumb-being. Unwittingly, I was entrusted with an upper hand.

“Right there, between the trees!” I shouted, my brain beginning to settle and pull together the disparate aspects of my situation. “Look, there! There!”

They strained together, leaning forward far as they could without risking another good toppling, their wide mouths frowning—not in frustration but in sorrow, like a twenty-something realizing his would-be love had just walked out of his life forever.

“There,” I said again, and “there, there! Don’t you see—oh! Damn. You’ve just missed him.” Their arms dangled by their sides in shame. One of the marshmallows was quietly muttering but, but, but… and in that moment I knew what I had here were not enemies, but allies—nay, friends.

“There, there,” I said, this time comfortingly, trying to get as much use out of the word as possible. I said this softly, a genuine and pitying smile upon my lips, and wondered to myself how long these gentle souls, these genteel candymen, had been thrall to that bathroom devil and misleader of fools, of whose number I must count myself amongst, given the circumstances that lead me here.

“Maybe we can still catch him,” one of the beings said, sadly but with earnest optimism.

“Maybe we can,” the other nodded. Nodding, for these creatures, was less a gesture involving the neck and head, as we know it, but more a gentle bobbing of their whole being, given that their heads and bodies are one and the same.

“Maybe,” I said in agreement, staring out where I’d said I’d disappeared from. I must admit that in that moment I was nearly taken in by my own fabrications. “But why?”

“Why what?” the second asked, shuffling ‘round to look at me.

“Why doesn’t the castle serve ice-cream?” I asked, disappointed in my mediocre improvisation skills, over which I tend to be—amongst friends—something of a braggart. The truth, hurts—but lies lose limbs daily.

“It doesn’t?” the first asked, now also turning to face me. It furrowed its brow in heavy concentration and scratched under where its lower lip might’ve been had the creature lips. “That’s silly.”

“What’s silly?” I asked.

“It’s silly,” the second piped up happily, “that the castle doesn’t serve ice-cream.”

“It doesn’t?” I asked.

“Nope,” the first answered, shaking itself slowly to signify no. “Sure doesn’t.”

“How do you know?” I asked. “How do you know that the castle doesn’t have ice-cream.”

“Heard it somewhere,” the first responded, concentrating with all its strength once again.

“Not sure where,” the other one shrugged.

“Well, maybe they DO serve ice-cream,” I suggested, smiling. The trap was set, and was set almost too easily.

“Really?” they asked together, their unified excitement nearly knocking me from my feet.

“Well, I’d go check, but I don’t know the way there,” I sighed.

“We do, we do!” the cheered in unison.

“Follow us,” the first cheered, beckoning me with its wiry arm before charging off into the woods.

“It’s an adventure,” the second cheered, disappearing after the first.

“I suppose so,” I laughed. “I suppose so.

And with that I took after them into the woods toward the wondrous castle that loomed beyond.

Psychogalactic Pizza: The Second Fragment

Second Fragment

 

I’m many things, but no liar, so believe you me when I say that there is no-one else alive less qualified for a good brawl than yours truly. The drunkard, in his stumbling, has a swan’s grace when wobbling in my vicinity, and even the infant child’s dexterity is fit to dazzle my poor and clumsy soul and inspire in it a true and jealous yearning.

 

Yet this fight was not hopeless in its entirety. Urinals, you see, are fixèd ornaments, so though my foe had transplanted himself from the stained walls of its mart to this grand and honest tree, transplanted still he was and thus unable to maneuver himself as you or I might have done and often do. And though the marshmallows, which were tall enough to approach my pecs (had I pecs to boast of) and wide enough to topple most dogs, were amply limbed and most capable of mobility, their capacity for movement dwarfed their capacity for thought. I suspected this as they stood silent for the totality of the urinal’s monologue and recognized it as certainty once they were sicced on me like obedient-though-feral hamsters belonging to some ornery pet-store fiend.

 

“Get him!” the urinal cried, and the marshmallows ambled after me with surprising speed. Luckily, just before they reached me—stunned beyond movement as I was—they collided into each other and toppled to the ground. As they struggled to return to their feet, one’s flailing limbs would trip up the other, and vice versa, leaving me free to regain my nerves and acknowledge a fear-buried desire to chortle madly like a sitcom studio audience.

 

“Not both at once,” the urinal snarled. “Use your candied brains! Approach him from either side. Give each other space! Do I have to spell everything out for you? And—for the love of scrubbing—stand up one at a time!

 

Just then, an idea struck me. I gallantly leapt over the marshmallows (though I’ll admit I caught my foot inside one of the fiend’s elbows and unceremoniously met the earth with my face, but I did not thus tarry long) and—after I had cleared them—I then charged the urinal straight on. Though it had no face with which to don an expression of surprise recognizable by my too human eyes, its warbled scream belied its fear. Just before I reached it, I dove to the left and—on all fours—scrambled behind the tree, which was wider than I (a feat in and of itself! Grand tree, you have my thanks!), and there I remained, catching my breath as quietly as I could.

 

“What—where is he?” the urinal barked at once. “Get to your feet, you fools. Get up, get up!” I peered around the tree carefully and spotted the gelatinous creatures, finally on their feet, in a desperate search for my visage. This endeavor consisted of their waddling in semi-circles without moving from where they stood. After twenty seconds or so, one shrugged and then the other followed suit.

 

“That’s not good enough!” the urinal shouted, fear creeping into its voice. “Damn all, damn all!” it cried. “If we don’t find him soon, he might make his way to the castle and uncover our scheme. I’ll be ruined. Ruined!”

 

“But he’ll never find the castle,” one of the marshmen spoke at last, his voice floating to my ears as a sleepy, fan-warbled sound.

 

“Are you an idiot?” the urinal shot, “of course he’d find it. It’s the only bloody building around. It towers over everything around here and it’s right behind my tree. I’d be surprised if he hasn’t seen it already. Only a fool could miss it.”

 

My cheeks burned as I craned to look behind me. Sure enough, there it stood. A silver structure reaching up high enough to pierce the clouds, resplendent and… ah… silvery.

 

And though unfairly shortened this fragment must seem, I fear it is here that I must end for today. This segment is already two days late and I am two hours late for lunch—though my stomach screams out as if years instead where what had transpired since last it had something fitting to dissolve.

 

But fear ye not! In a week’s time, or somewhen there-like, we shall return to this poorly wrought narrative and—perhaps—to the castle itself!

 

Be well, friends; be well!

Psychogalactic Pizza: First Fragment

PSYCHOGALACTIC PIZZA

Being the ongoing transcendental prose melodrama of André Katkov, BA, MFA, and Fourth-Order Earthen Pajama Lord

First Fragment

They say the grass is always greener on the other side, but that’s just stuff and nonsense, isn’t it? Anybody who’s dined in Odin’s halls or hummed the bass line for a chorus of spacemaids in the seventh circle of Jorxan 12 knows that sometimes the grass is pink, gold, or a duller, yellowed green. Sometimes it’s not grass at all. Sometimes it’s made of cats or glass or sandwiches.

If you think it sounds like I’m speaking from experience, you’d be half-right, though I feel experience is an awfully generous word for it. That said, yes. I’ve seen my fair share of the Suchdoms. I’ve traveled through space in bootleg spacecans while blasting handcannons from the hip at astral dragons and thrice-dead mummies as the Bubar Nexus collapsed into a nearby sentient sun. But I’m nothing special. No, I’m mortal as they come, and my adventures—if I might be permitted to offer up a somewhat over-exciting term to refer to my many and manifold mishaps—have been more the product of chance, luck (both good and ill), curiosity, and good ol’ fashioned American procrastination.

But I digress. I’m here because I’ve been prompted by some of my best friends and most mortal enemies to jot down my experiences for the benefit of those who have that good and holy ability to learn from the mistakes of others. And though I’d love to recount some of my more classic misadventures, mistake-making is a lifelong venture and I fear it’s all I can do to hurriedly chase after more recent happenings and hope that my life is—at some point—dull enough to allow an interval wherein I can return to my more distant memories and relay them here before my bad brain drops those shards of thought into that unbreachable ether of anti-eternity.

My most recent outing that might be considered noteworthy started with a quick run to a consumer supercenter (which I can’t name here for legal reasons, but it has the word wall and the word mart somewhere in its title, though not necessarily in that order, so puzzle at that if you dare). I’d landed back in Rhode Island, a tiny, tiny state renowned for its smallness, cephalopodish elder creatures, and being really tiny, just the other day and realized I had a dearth of paper towels, which is an unforgivable sin for any sanctum sanctorum caretaker, no matter the size or importance of said sanctum.

The drive itself was fairly uneventful, though I composed this poetic gem in my head on the way:

The road, cold road,
is cold, so cold, and is
a road—o, road! I rode that cold road,
rode that cold Rhode Island road.
Look at that toad on this Rhode Island road
waving his tongue as he talks on the phone
, cold phone, running down the minutes
‘til he has to go home. I check my phone…
no signal, so roam, phone, roam. Like
a free-willed toad on this Rhode Island road.
Roam, phone.
Roam.

I grappled with potential titles for a few minutes, but I arrived at the shopping center before I could settle on a title that felt suited to the magnitude of my new work, and perhaps because of that—and not long thereafter—I forgot how the words to the poem itself, and to this day have been unable to remember its sweetly musical combination of nouns and verbs. These are the tragedies of the troubadour. Verily, these moments are the crystalline melodies that lay down rails upon which the poet’s tears flow!

In my artistic distress, my soul quivered like the bestial inner-being of a cornered crow, wounded and at death’s edge, and—not unlike any other foul in such dire straits—I developed a fierce and whelming need to urinate.

Quick as I could, I rushed into the store, hustled past a stand of some straight-to-DVD Mark Wahlberg movies, and blundered into the restroom proper. And here—dear reader—is where the adventure began in earnest.

The restroom, praise good dead Baldur, was vacant, save for some devilish gurgling in the far stall upon which I shall not here dwell. I hobbled up to the second urinal from the left, readied myself for the act, and let that warm golden current flow. Though I am prone to exaggeration, know you now that I tell no lies when I say that I stood there peeing for thirty-eight seconds straight. It was as though some faraway force hungered for my inner heat, longed to drain me of every drop of liquid warmth. When the urine ceased to flow, and pajamas were back in proper order, I turned, ready to approach the sink and wash mine hands, but lo! A voice called out, and to me thus spoke:

“I’ve awaited long for one such as you, my friend!”

I turned back, but there was nobody to be seen, save for the urinals and the being in the far stall which I shall proceed to omit from this narrative. In my confusion and distant fear, I spoke out to identify the source of my would-be partner in conversation, rallying years of sharpened writerly skills and conversational expertise to dance upon my tongue.

“Ahhh, what was… who?”

“Cast your gaze downward, goodly sir, whereupon your urine recently did flow.”

Obediently, I looked down upon the urinal and in my heart I knew that here was the source of verbal expression that had briefly eluded me.

“You’re a urinal,” I remarked.

“Yes, and in recognizing that,” the urinal proclaimed proudly, “you have passed the first test.”

“The first… the first test? I did that?” I asked.

“Did I not just so say?” the urinal replied.

“I… what?” I asked wisely.

“Yes,” the urinal replied quietly. “You passed the test.”

“That sounds good,” I said, smiling a little. My spirit, still downcast from its recent loss of poetry, took heart at the urinal’s proclamation of some small success.

“It is indeed,” the urinal gurgled. “You are the one we’ve been waiting for.”

“You’ve been waiting for me?” I asked, incredulous. “You’ve made a mistake, dude.”

“No,” the urinal said solemnly, and though eyes it had not, I knew it was peering into the very depths of my being. “Middling intelligence… pajamas… beard… a knack for self-deprecating humor… well-maintained rotundity… yes. You are the one.”

“Well, uh…” I said, frowning slightly at my so-called rotundity, “thanks… I guess.”

“But as a formality,” the urinal pressed on, “there are a few additional tests that must be conducted to verify your identity. Flush mine handle thrice and say, ‘Beetle, beetle, made of snow, show me where the pee-pee flows!’”

“Um,” I started, glancing nervously at the door, “I’d really like to, but I have to get some paper towels for tonight so… I’ve got to… um… there’s a Mark Wahlberg DVD out there with my name on it, and—”

“Flush mine handle thrice and say the words,” the urinal commanded. I jumped sheepishly and did as I was commanded.

“Beetle, beetle, made of snow,” I intoned, “show me where the pee-pee flows.” And even as that last sibilant slid from my tongue, good reader, the walls of the restroom didst melt away and the floor, of questionable cleanliness, evaporated into a fine mist that hovered over grass that would make any golf course gardener gape in wonder (and, I’ll admit, it was indeed greener than any grass I’d theretofore seen)! In place of the walls stretched a forest of gnarled, blackened trees, and upon one such tree our friend, the urinal, did sturdily hang. On either side of him stood giant marshmallows with beady black eyes and long, thin emotionless mouths that could only be rendered by pen upon paper by the most unskilled of three-year-olds. They had thin wiry metal arms and stood upon legs of the same. I glanced at horror at one, and then at the other, and then—using my peripherals, in horror I beheld them both at once.

The urinal, acknowledging my fear, laughed evilly and shook his tree just, splashing bits of water here and there, including one of the marshmallows toes (the puffy thing, I noticed, frowned slightly, though let it be known that he made a valiant attempt to mask his disgust).

“You have fallen for my ruse,” the urinal declared. “And now… you die.”

And though it is an uncommonly strange place to leave you, the hour grows sevenish, and there is leftover pizza I needs must microwave and cola I must guzzle as the gods guzzle… mead, I suppose, so leave you I must, dear reader. But take heart, dear reader, for next week we’ll return to this horrible tale and see whether I best this toilety fiend and his campfire friends or if… heavens forbid… I die!