15. Xylography

Why Young Abigail initially ended up on the back porch, playing with her father’s old pocket knife, is anyone’s guess – mine: boredom. But that’s not important. What’s important is why everyday since, she would at some point find herself splayed out on the weathered pine, digging the blade’s word tip into the surface of the planks and blowing the splinters and chips away like they were the flames of candles on a cake not quite designated for a birthday. She didn’t really know the reason, herself. All she knew was that suddenly she’d be there, working on yesterday’s pattern, which was an elaboration what had been carved the day before, and so on.

It was strange to Abigail – she had never much liked drawing or even doodling. She wondered if it had something to do with physical ease of dragging a pencil against paper. When she was chipping wood away, her mind would be so absent of the image – or anything really – as her hands seemed to be focused and preoccupied enough for the whole of her.

Occasionally her mother, whose routine these days was emptying a pack of cigarettes in the kitchen until she felt the obligation to prepare some form of a dinner, would forget to shut the back door. In such instances, it would be common that the billow and escape through screen door’s shoddy wire, and the cloud would distract Abigail, letting all the sounds and sights of the here and now remind her of something big and scary and not altogether real. There was an ever-present darkness within and among Abigail that was difficult for her understand or even really be aware of, let alone explain to her mother or school chums.

Actually, it’s tricky for me to explain too, because I’m not Abigail, but I do know more about it than you. All that I can feel comfortable saying about the darkness is that each etch and groove that was chiseled from the pine was bit of whiteness carved out from behind the mass of pitch-blackness she could sense. However, her hands knew that evening out all of the floorboards to a new, more or less, flat surface would just yield all of the white dim down into what it had been. There was something important in the tactile variance of depth. Something real.

Spin the seasons one good turn and you’ll see Abigail, still young but much older, standing on the rails and digging the knife into top-most trim of the porch, where the design had grown and where it would end.

Eventually, Abigail hopped down, barefoot onto the rough and ornate floor of the porch. She didn’t really know what to do. After a silent meal with her mother in a smoke-drenched kitchen, she decided it might be time to visit her father’s grave.

 

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14. Crucible

I wish I had a gun so I could just blow my brains all over the test and hand that in to Mrs. Bitch, the dumbest, bitch-faced teacher in the whole bitched-out school. I guess I couldn’t technically “hand it in” but I could write my name at the top of it, make a note on the back that says Here’s my test, you bitch, turn it back over, and then blow my brains all over the front of it. This is why I should bring a gun to school. That’d show the bitch.

Who is the author of the work?

a) Tennessee Williams   b) Arthur Miller   c) John Proctor   d) Dr. Seuss

Fuuuccckkk. None of the above? I don’t know. I mean: duh, it’s not Dr. Seuss. I hate it when teachers pull that shit. They think it’s funny and helpful to throw a joke answer in there, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s, like, patronizing as fuck. We’re not idiots, you bitch.

Maybe I would have actually read the damn play if at the end of last class, she had actually reminded us that we were having a bitch-ass test today. I mean, what kind of sick bitch tells you a week in advance that you’re having a test, but doesn’t take two retarded seconds out of her day to say, Don’t forget to study for the dumb-fuck we’re having next time!

The nerve.

What hand-made gift does Mary offer to Elizabeth in Act Two?

a) a voodoo doll    b) a supposed olive branch   c) a poppet   d) all of the above

What the shit-dick is a poppet? Oh, I’m sorry, Mrs. Bitch, did you forget how to spell “puppet”? I’m gonna say that do her. I’m gonna stand up, walk over to her, slap the test on the desk, point my finger to “poppet”, and ask her if she’s retarded.

A fire alarm starts screaming right before I was gonna do it.

Everyone stands up and Mrs. Bitch says, “Okay, hold on everybody, let’s stay calm and exit in a single file.”

In the halls it literally smells like smoke. And I’m like, hell yeah. It’s like God finally got his shit together.

Outside, everyone’s split off into their stupid little groups except for me, and then firetrucks start showing up. Then another class gets out and I can see Wendell coming toward me, grinning his ass off.

“What’s tickling your balls, asshole?” I give him a fist bump and then he looks from side-t0-side.

“Let’s go behind the old gym. Like in stealth mode, bro.”

On the way, he tells me that a week ago I mentioned I had that stupid test, and he remembered because it was the same day as his math test.

“At first, I was like, fuck it, ya know. I figured I’d just get the hall pass and pull an alarm. But then the next day, I was like, no way, that’ll be so obvious. So I thought since my brother is in town, he might do it for me. And he was like, ‘Pulling an alarm will buy you 15 to 30 minutes tops. If you want to be out of school for the whole day, you gotta set a fire.’ So I ended up paying him 35 bucks to swing by the school, all incognito, and set a fire in the fucking library dude!”

“That’s the coolest fucking thing I’ve ever heard in my life, man!”

“Nah, this is: I’ve got a fuck-ton of paint thinner in my back pack and you’ve just been elected to huff it with me.”

“Dude! Best day ever!”

All of a sudden, I’m hugging him. I don’t even remember doing it. I guess I just haven’t been this happy in a really, really, really long time.

Wendell pushes me away and said, “Don’t touch me, faggot!”

“Don’t call me ‘faggot’, queer!”

We do this for a while until we’re not best friends anymore. I threaten to tell everyone what him and his brother did. And then he says if I do that, then he’s gonna tell everyone that I’m a fag and that I hugged him. We agree that we’ll both stay quiet, and then he goes off to huff paint thinner without me. I wish I had a gun.

 

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13. Thole

Marvin and Frinkle had just sat down for breakfast at their usual booth, in their usual diner. Their usual waitress, Esther, stopped by the table and gurgled, “Well, well, well – look what the two cats dragged in. What’ll ya have?”

“The usual,” Marvin and Frinkle said. And then both tried to act fast, saying, “Jinks! You owe me a Shasta Cola!”

The two shared a polite laugh, and Esther threw up in her mouth and then swallowed it.

“I guess I’ll be buying Frinkle a Shasta Cola,” said Marvin.

“And I suppose I’m buying Marvin a Shasta Cola of his own,” said Frinkle.

Esther left before Marvin and Frinkle shared another cordial giggle, and then returned afterward with two Shasta Colas.

“Thanks, Esther. Now, Frinkle, where did we leave off last time?”

“Criminy, I don’t know. Something stupid like the meaning of life or something equally as presumptuous, I’m sure.”

“Oh, yes, let’s talk about that. The meaning of life will do just fine.”

“Come off it, Marv.”

“Come off what, Frink? I think it’s something worth talking about. It’s a little out there, sure. But it’s almost recklessly large in scope, so why not?”

“Because then we’ll be a couple of lizards.”

“Look at us, Frinkle. We’re getting old, we’re comfortably poor, and we talk all day long – we’re already a couple of lizards. Go on, tell me: what’s the meaning of life?”

“Nonono: this is your big topic of the day. The Meaning of Life by Marvin. Go.”

“Alright, lets see: I’d like to think the meaning of life is something both unknown, but also somehow always known, you know? Like something wordless, cosmic, and inherent in all things – all materials of the universe. In every subpart of every thing. And in all the subparts of every subpart. Something that’s fuckin’ huge in one sense and beyond microscopic in another.”

A dish breaks somewhere, and Esther wakes up and wanders into the kitchen.

“Scale it down a little, Marvin.”

“Okay, okay: it’s not that I think there’s a God in any conventional sense of the word – not like some king of the clouds or nothing – but, yes, I think there’s something out there that’s larger than us.”

“Like an elephant?”

“Suck on a rock, you son of a toilet.”

“Marv: scale it down.”

“Ah, Christ. Okay, the point of life is to-”

Marvin stalled to smile at Esther, who was approaching.

“The Early Bird Special for you,” Esther mumbled moistly to Marvin, and then set down his plate of: bacon, two eggs sunny-side-up, a biscuit with gravy, a side of hash browns, and Texas toast with a slice of American cheese sort-of melted on top. “And the number four for you.” Esther coughed, burped, hiccuped, then coughed again before finally setting down Frinkle’s place of: four cigarettes, four matches, and an ashtray.

“Thanks, Esther,” said Frinkle, a cigarette already in his mouth. He struck the match, lit the cigarette, inhaled, said, “Alright, she’s gone – tell me the point of life”, and exhaled.

“The point is to grow, to become aware, to learn as much as you can about yourself and the whole experience of life as possible. While! While knowing full well that you’ll never know everything.”

“Oh yeah?” Frinkle blew a beam of smoke at Marvin as he was sprinkling hot sauce on his eggs. “To what end?”

“Are you kidding me? To the end. Death.”

“And what’s the meaning of death?”

“Death is… life.”

“Christ.”

“Alright, hang on a minute.” Marvin dipped a piece of bacon in egg yoke and then in gravy, took a bite, and pushed his eyebrows together as he chewed. “Right, okay, so the point of death is making way for new life. It’s letting everything you’ve learned and felt be added to the whole fabric of everything. It’s about your body becoming one with the earth and your soul becoming one with the universe.”

Stamping out the cigarette in the ashtray, Frinkle should his head slowly, and lit another.

“What?” Marvin asked this with an edge in his voice, punctuated by clink-dropping his fork onto his plate. “Am I not ‘scaling back’ enough for you? Huh? How about you try taking a shot? Go ahead, Frinki-dink, what’s the meaning of life?”

“It is what it is, Marvin. Ain’t no meaning to it.”

“Very wise words, you old lizard. Care to elaborate?”

“Not really.”

Frinkle smoked in silence save for the sound of Marvin’s silverware cutting food into bites and almost chipping the plate beneath.

“Okay!” Marvin stopped dividing his eggs. “Tell me, what’s the point of life to a guy like you?”

“Oh, pretty much the same as what you said. Point is doing whatever you got to do, thinking whatever you got to think… to just… get through the damn thing.”

Marvin thought on this while wearing the face of someone who had to sniff excrement like doing so was his job. Frinkle used the cigarette he was smoking to light the next one on his plate, then slid the last one behind his ear and pocketed the extra matches.

Esther came by with the check and wiped spittle from her chin before grunting and asking, “Either of you boys got an extra kidney you ain’t using? Also, are either of you in the market for a new one?”

 

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12. Valorous

My father had once instructed me to find purpose in a verb rather than a noun; this was the only way to become a noun worthy of a positive adjective in this life. That which lived between these wise words had lain dormant within me for years, not quite forgotten, but never really called to mind either. Until the day my eyes first stopped to absorb her light.

Her. She was exchanging money for a hot dog with a vendor who smiled with a width that suggested he knew there would be no other customers that shone so bright for some time, if ever again. Based on the motioning of hands and the actions to follow, it would appear that she asked for extra mustard, and the old Italian smiled and obliged. A human after my own heart; I carry a travel-sized bottle of yellow mustard on my persons at all times.

The day was beautifully confused: frigid air to accompany the visual warmth from a cloudless sun.

Fortunate eyes held gaze on her as she strode by them. At the turn of a corner, compelled legs moved of their own accord to fulfill the wishes of eyes. This was not a stalking; it was magnetism.

An wisp of newborn cloud touched the line of eclipse, which had previously brought her to the sun and the sun to her, but no more. All subparts – the eyes, the legs – fell back into my ownership, and the trance fell to pieces. While she was swaddled in temporary shade, I could barely understand where I was or how I had gotten there.

Follow? The verb did not suit me well, nor did it entice the sort of adjective I wished to bear with my actions. All this from being enamored of a particularly lovely noun.

Shame would be both my noun and my verb as I turned my back to the accidental hypnotist and began to walk in the direction required of my initial errands to be ran in the city’s heart. The shrill cry of a woman tapped my shoulder, and before I knew it, the eyes were once again falling on a sun-drenched beauty, presently with a gun pointed at her ethereal face, whose change of expression switched temperatures inside the veins.

The lower portion of the mugger’s face was covered in bandanna, while the upper section was sheathed in a baseball hat and sunglasses. He barked at her and shook the pistol in front of her nose until she tearfully handed over the half-eaten hot dog. The sun reflected to me a woman crouching onto a sidewalk and using her hands to smother sobs.

Closer and closer, the burglar ran toward me, mustard flying behind him as a result of the movement of his sprinting arms – a golden mist.

The thought occurred and then was carried out before I had time to weigh the pros and cons. Right hand reached to the left breast pocket, retrieving my emergency bottle of yellow mustard. As the man approached, I painted the sidewalk yellow. As he slipped a little and then corrected his balance, I pointed the bottle at his face and closed his eyes for him. He screamed from the vinegar and dropped the hot dog into my outreaching hand.

“My hero! How brave!” She bestowed these words, these gifts, upon me as I handed the half of a street-vendor hot dog back to her, the rightful owner. “Thank you so much, my knight in mildly-shining polyester.”

“No pr-AH-blemo!” My voice cracked as I said this and I got embarrassed and scuttled away and slept under my bed for a few nights, cuddling dust bunnies who knew nothing of the power of words and would remain quiet until I gave them funny voices.

 

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11. Kudos

She began criticizing her close friends for the meals they would order at restaurants. She would occasionally recite healthy recipes in public as if they were poems. She even started a health food blog. In the beginning, people had merely resented her in silence, but soon they were barely tolerating her obnoxious and rather vocal vanity.

As this behavior continued, no one was returning her phone calls or e-mails. When she went on her morning and afternoon jogs, she sometimes saw people she knew, but they all avoided eye-contact or pretended to be answering their cell phones. And when her friends and family received the Christmas card of her wearing a red bikini and Santa hat while eating gluten-free fettuccine, not one sent theirs in return.

It had been over a year since she lost the weight. In as much time, she had also lost everyone she had once cared about. The initial praise she received for the accomplishment had gone to her head, and she knew it. But all things considered, she was just grateful that it hadn’t gone to her hips.

 

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10. Defer

He had been putting off applying for the deferment of his student loan payments. Sallie Mae’s constant stream of phone calls pushed him to finally submit the form. He felt relief; he had six months to focus on putting off the things he really wanted to do.

 

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9. Spendthrift

Maggie spent money faster than she could make it, but her painted pine cone collection was crucial to her quality of life, and if going in to credit card debt meant sustaining the flow of immersive, transportive moments that she shared with each new delicately decorated cone of pine, she would have no qualms sacrificing her future to feel whole amidst the present.

Years, pine cones, and bills piled up around Maggie, leaving her only with only one apparent option: she would have to kill the pine cone artist to increase the value of her collection. It so happened that no one really knew of Juniper’s work, no one really cared that he had “committed suicide”, and no one really wanted to buy any of his pieces from Maggie.

It only took so long for Maggie to pay off her debts now that she had no new pine cones to purchase. The day she had mailed in the final payment, she attached fishing hooks to all of her painted pine cones, stuffed them in two large gunny sacks, and spent the night hanging them on the branches of every tree she saw along her walk to the police department.

The people of the neighborhood were tickled with wonderment the following morning, but would never know of the misery that preceded the spectacle: a city’s forest of ornate trees.

 

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8. Mordant

“Another cocktail party,” some guy said to the reflection of Bartholomew Smith, who seemed to say the exact same words at the exact same time. “More like another cock-of-the-walk-tail party.” The two winked in symmetrical unison.

When Bartholomew Smith, who is some guy, exited the bathroom, he had a semi-moist towel wrapped about his waist, another wrapped around his hair, and still two other hand towels, each wrapped around underarm hair. He walked into his bedroom and when he came out, he was wearing black slacks that had been washed but not ironed and an ill-fitting, dusk-blue dress shirt that billowed gently in all directions no matter how deep it had been tucked.

A 42 dollar cab ride to the city of the city, a bottle of wine that cost half that much, and a sudden series of deep breaths – Bartholomew stopped, mid-flight, on the indoor staircase. “Cock-of-the-walk-tail party? What was I thinking?” Wishing he had a mirror with which to consult, he reluctantly continued to speak out loud, “Damn it, Bart, you gotta do better than that tonight!”

Local TV Show Host, who was the host of the tonight’s cocktail party, opened the door to her apartment, answering Bartholomew’s elaborate knocks upon it.

Pleasantry-Exchange. Mild-Embrace. Acquaintanceship-Renewal.

Then: a room full of people: conversing, c0mingling, drinking alcohol.

“Oh, how sweet,” Local TV Show Host said as she noticed and grabbed the bottle of wine from Bartholomew’s out-stretched hand. “You shouldn’t have.”

Professional Homosexual Blogger leaned in, read the label and said, “Oh, honey, you reeeaaally shouldn’t have!” A cloud of innocent laughter surrounded the joke, prodding a follow-up from its author. “Please, get it out of my sight before I faint. I’m already feeling light-headed!” The cloud dissipated for the most part.

“Perhaps…” Bartholomew licked his lips and cleared his throat. “Perhaps it’s because of all that thin air up there on that high horse of yours.”

A newer, more dense cloud of laughter, one with potential for adiabatic expansion, hovered above those near the door and appetizers.

Imported Cheese Critic raised his voice to say, “At least Professional Homosexual Blogger knows not to spend more money on the wine brought to the party, than on the outfit worn to it, I might add.”

The cloud was turned a shade darker, colored in by collective, Oh-hoh-hohs that signified a “low blow.”

“Yes, you may add, Imported Cheese Critic. You may even ad hominem when you least expect it.” There was a wave of pressure inside Bartholomew that undulated with each uncertain beat and successful sentence.

The laughter was a tad sparse here, yet the volume of each haughty giggle saw to the cloud’s growth.

Monocle Salesman stepped in to what was becoming either a public forum or a boxing ring, and said, “Prepositions and nouns be damned! If you think you are allowed to make any phrase a verb, perhaps your poetic license should be suspended before you hurt someone….”

How true the Monocle Salesman’s former clause was, though no one was to know it quite yet.

And so it went that, much like the quickdraw legends of 19th-century gunslingers, everyone from far and wide in the living room seemed to want try their wits against Bartholomew’s. It was inevitable that fatigue should set in for Bartholomew, who struggled to keep the cloud growing until the unleveling of his head turned his wit mordant, and the cloud grew so thick and black that it moved Upscale Male Timeshare Prostitute to open a window for ventilation.

When almost all visible light had been blocked out by the thundering cloud, Bartholomew and Child Actor were trading bitter yet biting “yo mama” jokes in the dark. Suddenly, lighting struck the arugula-garlic aioli and a showering of purple and green raindrops fell, stinking of metal and salt, onto all the young professionals – and onto Bartholomew too.

Scalps sizzled. Hot fluids bled out from pores and orifices. Skins split to reveal muscle and fat that soon bubbled before disintegration.

The steam and smoke from the burning of hair, flesh, and bone began hissing and pouring upward toward an opaque cloud of screams.

Bartholomew Smith’s Obituary: Some guy.

 

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7. Tome

Rocking in a chair that does not, she looks back fondly upon her years that were spent dreading the future, mourning the past, and therefore, constantly spoiling the present.

First there was her childhood. Then there was her second childhood, the one when she really thought she had become an adult. Next there was her pre-adulthood, which is the stage that showed her she never knew what being an adult was like during her second childhood, but now that she was wiser, she looked forward to knowing in the near future. After that, there was her second pre-adulthood in which she spent nerve-racked, constantly looking over her shoulder, wondering when and where adulthood would hit, like an age bullet – a bullet constructed of age. Not-so-finally, there was adulthood. Then there were a series of additional adulthoods (second, third, fourth, fifth…), each one a melancholic reaction the one that preceded it, constructing embittered nostalgia for a time that was spent being bitter and nostalgic of another time. Eventually, she reached her post-adulthood, also known as pre-death, which is the stage she is in now.

But she does not dwell on these aspects, nor could she if she tried. Her mind’s eye is blind to most specifics, but can see numerous pretty, blurry images that stimulate confusing and exhilarating sensations that have all but been forgotten. She sometimes refers to these flickers as “the ghost light” – she adores the ghost light. She once made a wish upon the moon that each stage of her life would become a volume in an epic series of a highly-informative, leather-bound books, so that she could pore over every detail of her own existence and experience it all once more before she died. The series was to be called, The Complete and Unabridged Ghost Light.

She sometimes liked to speculate how the final tome would end.

“She, the most self-absorbed woman in the world, read the last sentence of her life: Now shut the book and die.”

 

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6. Calaboose

“Another one in the clink?” Chubby Bernie asked, knowing full-well the answer, as he rubbed his tucked-in shirt that stretched across his intimidating belly and wondered about the man in black next to the passed out body of Bobby the Bottle, a regular.

“Uh-huh. Now, ya wouldn’t think it – on accounta only seeing his back, on accounta his head in the terlet, on accounta he was drunk and still is – but it’s the old Reverend Sheffield.” Replied Soft Jerry, the new kid under the badge, who was constantly shifting his cap by the plastic bill, trying to look like he’s worn it for years.

A few inches away from the greased surface of water in the toilet, Sheffield’s eyes opened, blinked several times, then locked shut. Dry-heaving. Shaking. Alive. On his knees. He wasn’t at all cognizant of his location, but he was vaguely aware of the conversation in the room.

“Old Sheff? You gotta be shittin’ me like I’m a bran-muffin!” Not even Chubby Bernie had so much as heard of such a thing. By Chubby’s estimation, Soft had to have been shitting him.

“No, sir. He was out breakin’ empties ‘gainst the the chapel steps. Broke my heart to do it, I swear, but I hadta haul him in.” Soft Jerry grinned his cheeks sore while snapping bubblegum between his molars. “An’ he’s all stinkin’ of corn-whiskey, mumblin’ how they ain’t no God no more, wiggln’ ’round like a night-crawler.”

Reverend Sheffield’s faith had been called into question decades prior, but in as much time he had successfully stifled the urge to answer such questioning. He would hear the voice of God and that would dominate all doubt. Recently, he had been prescribed Risperidone, and after months of taking it, he no longer heard the voice of God.

“Well, what on earth happened?” Bernie’s eyes were a sight.

“Reckon he lost his faith, C.B.”

Reverend Sheffield had first called his faith into question decades prior, but in as much time he had successfully stifled the urge to answer such questioning. He would hear the voice of God and that would dominate all doubt. Recently, he had been prescribed Risperidone, and after months of taking it, Sheffield no longer heard the voice of God.

(Jerry had hoped “C.B.” would catch on around the department. He knew Chubby Bernie was a perfectly serviceable nick-name, but when Jerry finally got labeled Soft, he wore it like a cap and gown, and he felt so touched by the gift that he wanted to return the favor, and then some. The first stage was “C.B.” If and when that  caught on, stage two would be to start referring to him as “Radio.” Were “Radio” to stick, Soft Jerry would find himself in a unique situation, wherein he could refer to Chubby Bernie’s good moods as “FM” and his grouchy moods as “AM” And this development was sure to become a regular form of ongoing amusement for the whole gang – assuming everyone in this theoretical reality could get past the fact that the name “Radio” had first arrived under the implication that it was a Citizens’ Band radio. This logical discrepancy would sometimes keep Soft Jerry restless at night until he hushed himself by riffing dialogue in his head, always ending with a phrase comparable to this one: Radio, what’s got you all switched to AM about?)

“Well, I reckon no-fuckin’-shit he lost his damn faith, but where’d he go and lose it?”

“Could ask him, but I wouldn’t wanna be the one to smell the answer.” The rookie held his own within the brusque banter and this made Chubby Bernie smirk up to one side before making his third lap to the coffee pot that night.

In the morning, Sheffield woke to Bobby the Bottle shouting, “Forgive me Father, for I gone and sinned! It has been never since my last confession!”

“Go on, leave the Reverend alone! You said you’d play nice if you got your precious coffee.” Soft Jerry yawned over his own mug of coffee while Chubby Bernie snored beneath his cap.

Bobby the Bottle pressed his face in between two bars and said through a half-drunk giggle, “Anything you say, Softy!” And then quieter, to Sheffield, “How does it feel to play for other team?”

“Hmm?” Sheffield could feel his heartbeat in every part of his face, and when he raised his head and tried to focus his eyes, the pulse rate seemed to triple.

“Now that’cha got you a taste for sin, you gonna keep it up or pray for forgiveness?” Bobby the Bottle was still riding the drunk out before the hangover took the helm.

Sheffield had not much more strength than it required to squint and grimace under the flickering florescence that obscured the gleams of natural light coming in off the sunrise. Soft Jerry tried to throw a pencil at Bobby the Bottle, but it bounced off one of the bars.

“Go on, now.” Bobby the Bottle had dropped just above a whisper. “Tell me: is this little hiccup gonna set well with your God?”

Sheffield closed his eyes without trying and said, “I have no God.”

“Oh yeah? That’ll be the hoot of the week. A preacher who preaches, ‘God is dead.'”

“How could God be dead?” Sheffield snapped back. “He hasn’t been born yet.” An unearthly silence fell, save for the metronomic contrast of Chubby Bernie’s snoring. Soft Jerry realized that the sleeping superior would want to see this.

“Hey Radio, wake up and give an earful to the Reverend!” Soft Jerry went blanch in the face and hoped that Chubby Bernie did not just wake up to hear that future nick-name slip. Sure enough, the snores kept coming.

Bobby the Bottle and Sheffield looked to Soft Jerry who was taking deep breaths. They both thought he had said this last comment to the radio on his desk.

 

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