PORFLE!PORFLE VS. MY NEIGHBOR BILL

I was walking down the street one day, when suddenly the entire world was destroyed in a horrendous, horrifying, exploding fireball of horrible, annihilating horror.  At least, that’s what I thought at the time.  Actually, it was just my neighbor Bill blowing his nose.  The sudden, sharp report of his aggressively urgent nasal expulsion startled me out of my reverie about corn dogs.     “And so I languidly squirted a creamy trail of tart, mustardy...
August 6, 200814 min

I was walking down the street one day, when suddenly the entire world was destroyed in a horrendous, horrifying, exploding fireball of horrible, annihilating horror.  At least, that’s what I thought at the time.  Actually, it was just my neighbor Bill blowing his nose.  The sudden, sharp report of his aggressively urgent nasal expulsion startled me out of my reverie about corn dogs.    

“And so I languidly squirted a creamy trail of tart, mustardy goodness down the golden brown shaft, and then oh boy, ha-ha,” I was mumbling to myself, pretending I was being interviewed for Playboy.  FRRRT!!!  FRRRRRRRT!!! came the sound of Bill blowing his nose in rapid bursts, alternating from one nostril to the other in quick succession.  I stopped in front of his house and glared at him as he stood there in his undershirt and boxer shorts, oblivious of everything around him including the fact that he’d gone out to get the morning paper in his underwear again.  

“You’re in your underwear, idiot!” I called out.

“Huh?” he said, looking up.  “Is that you, God?”

“Oh, for Pete’s sake,” I muttered wearily, continuing on my way.  The last thing I wanted at the time was to devote any more of this beautiful morning to a nose-blowing moron like my neighbor, Bill.  The continuous FRRRT!!! FRRRRRRT!!! noises gradually began to fade away as I walked farther away from his house, enjoying the warmth of the bright sunshine on my face and inhaling the fragrant aroma of the many colorful flowers that were springing up all over people’s lawns.  The squirrels were out in full force, too, and I laughed softly to myself as I observed their playful scamperings.  

“Mmm, corn dogs,” I thought.  I stopped in mid-stride while images of giant corn dogs, dripping with mustard, began to drift like blimps across my mental landscape.  I imagined these huge corn-dog blimps in formation over my neighborhood, casting dark, creeping shadows over the houses as they loomed ominously overhead.  Something felt wrong.  I suddenly began to get the impression that these enormous aerial corn dogs were really an invading force of enemy zeppelins disguised as giant corn dogs in order to avert suspicion.  But then, in a brief, extremely rare flash of coherent logic, I shook off the thought as being utterly ridiculous.  Which, of course, it was.

When I looked up, the sky was clear.  “Ha ha,” I thought.  “The giant corn dogs were just a figment of my imagination.  Ha, ha.”  I continued to stand there thinking “Ha, ha” until I gradually realized that I was mentally laughing my head off.  Every time the image of those ridiculous giant corn dogs popped into my head again, I mentally laughed harder and louder.  

Squirrels scampered around my feet, their numbers growing.  Finally they began to run straight up my motionless body and dive off the top of my head, spreading their arms and flying down the street like tiny stealth bombers.  

Wave after wave of squirrels darted up my body and launched themselves from my head for the next two or three hours, flying down the street toward whatever future awaited them there.  I barely noticed them since my mind was still filled with non-stop laughter–roaring, hysterical laughter that bordered upon frenzied psychosis–as my consciousness zoomed headlong through a mind-bending stargate of giant corn dogs surrounded by strobing, swirling colors and brilliant yellow flashes of mustard.  I seemed to live an entire lifetime in that short time.  I won’t go into all the details of what happened, but it all ended up with me being transformed into a giant corn dog starbaby, orbiting the Earth.

FRRRRRRT!!!  The sound of my neighbor Bill blowing his nose jolted me out of my reverie.  I turned around to find him behind me with his dog Jocko on a leash.  Bill had decided to walk Jocko, which he did once a month or so, and had caught up with me.  Jocko barked as the final squirrel sailed off the top of my head and flew down the street.  The strange, unexplained aerial migration was over.  There were no more squirrels on our street and never would be again.

Bill, I then noticed, had devised a hands-free noseblowing device similar to that thing Bob Dylan wears on his head so he can play the harmonica and the guitar at the same time.  Only instead of a harmonica, Bill’s device held a large handkerchief which was positioned in front of his nose.  FRRRRRT!!! came the horrid sound once again as the handkerchief fluttered obscenely.  

His hands no longer occupied with the task of blowing his nose, Bill reached down and petted Jocko to calm him down after his squirrel-induced excitement.  With his other free hand, he was flying a kite.  

“Guess what?  God spoke to me today,” said Bill.  FRRRRRRRT!!!  “He called me an idiot.”  Absently, Bill had begun to twirl Jocko up and down on his leash like a yo-yo.  Jocko was a pretty small dog.  

“That was me, dumbass,” I informed him.

“Oh,” said Bill.  FRRRRRRT!!!  “Well, I was going to write another book about it to put in the Bible.  You know, right after ‘Revelations.’  I was going to call it ‘The Epistle of Bill to the Texans’ or something.  But now…well, now I guess that wouldn’t be such a great idea.”  Jocko seemed to bark in agreement as he twirled up and down.  

“No, Bill, I guess it wouldn’t,” I said, no longer wishing to continue the conversation.  I was still hungry for corn dogs, and suddenly wished to wrap up this stinking morning walk as soon as possible.  Bill’s presence had ruined everything.  The flowers now smelled like an open sewer.  The warm sunshine on my face now felt as though Rosie O’Donnell were sitting on it.  My hair felt all squirrely.  And the laughter in my mind had turned bitter, as though thousands of television weathermen were smugly mocking me.  

“Bill…” I started to say.  Suddenly, Jocko sprang from Bill’s grasp, darted straight up my body, and launched himself off the top of my head.  Silently, we watched him fly down the street and sail around the corner, barking.  The sound of car horns, screeching tires, and high-speed collisions wafted toward us.  A moment later, Bill’s kite abruptly appeared and speared itself on his head.  

“I have some frozen corn dogs at home,” he said at last.  “Want one?”  FRRRRRRRT!!!

“Sure,” I said with a resigned sigh.  We walked back to his house and went inside.  Bill microwaved a couple of corn dogs and gave me one.  He didn’t have any mustard, though.  We sat in his livingroom and ate our corn dogs in silence.  I felt uncomfortable because it seemed as though the last surviving goldfish in Bill’s fishtank was staring at me.  

The corn dog tasted bland.  I finally hid the rest of it behind an autographed picture of Willard Scott that Bill kept on his lamp table.  Bill finished his and put the stick aside for when he finally had enough to build a wooden replica of Fort Apache.  Then he sat back in his recliner and stared dejectedly at his feet.

“I was really excited today when I thought God had spoken to me,” he said.  “I felt sorta like…well, like I was the ‘chosen one.’  It gave me a special feeling that God had taken the time to come down and remind me that I was walking around outside in my underwear.”  FRRRRRRT!!!

I winced at the sound of Bill blowing his nose for the millionth time that day.  “But He called you an idiot,” I reminded him.

“Yeah,” Bill said thoughtfully.  “But I am an idiot.  And God always tells the truth.” His face brightened.  “Hey!  Maybe I’m the new patron saint of idiots!”  He whipped out his Big Chief tablet and started writing his epistle again.

I got up without a word and went home.  I never ate another corn dog.  And I never spoke to Bill ever, ever again, except to call him an idiot.  And whenever I do, he gazes upward and gets this goofy, beatific look on his face.  

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