29 October 2011

Read Between the Lines

Zippa hit his prime and died. Hitting your prime and dying is the way to go about it, if you really stop to think twice about it, and after you hit your prime the rest is just going to be a lot of downhill finger-wagging, I-told-you-so's, and burnt muffins. Who the hell wants to wait around for a pile of burnt muffins? Certainly not Zippa.

Zippa hit his prime.

His lungs had stopped working several months before the day he actually dropped dead. People had gathered around his homestead with casseroles and vacuum tubes, offering both as if they might actually help. “Eat some of my casserole,” cried the women, bearing their hotdishes. “Here is a fresh 6L6B,” and “how about a new EL84?” called out the menfolk who assembled with the finest that tube technology had to offer. The introduction of any of the offerings into Zippa's system might have done him some good, but he chose to turn down all that was offered and he ceased breathing. His lungs squealed to a halt and the color of his skin began a slow transformation into a rich royal blue. The man who had travelled all the way from Fresno laid a 6B5Q at Zippo's feet and walked away, as did the woman from Watervliet after making a sacrificial offering of a pan of tuna-noodle hotdish.

So when the day came that poor Zippa actually hit his prime and died, there was little surprise. News networks carried live action footage of his death, and some independents actually set up websites with live streaming video of the event. Zippa stood motionless for the longest time outside of his paper-mache and ground beef hovel, singing songs of the Sudetenland and trimming his fingernails.

All the world cheered. Small children blew trumpets made of ram's horn. The skiers from Tommy Bartlett's “Hell-on-Water Show” made a flaming ten man pyramid. An honorary assembly of competitive eaters began working their way through several dozen buckets full of broasted chicken.

And Zippa died.

His body was taken first to the local Peruvian nail salon for the examination and subsequent removal of of his cuticles, which he had deemed to be left to science, owing to their fine quality. Zippa had existed for several years on a diet consisting almost entirely of peach gelatine dessert, causing his cuticles to be near-museum-quality. The cuticle technician saw fit to remove his kneecaps and ankles as well, just for good measure. Lacking cuticles, he was then trotted, in succession, to the ice arena, the furniture restoration shop, the bakery, and finally to Lulu-Mae's lingerie hut where Zippa was adorned in the finest satin, silk and lace undergarment. While the underwires in this garment poked and prodded his stiffening, cuticle-less form, they left him looking ever so alluring. Many of the pay-per-view sites that were filming the spectacle had to remind viewers that this portion of the show was not family friendly.

It made little difference.

Zippa's tarted-up body was placed on the point of a large metal spike and hoisted aloft over the city, where he could be seen by virtually all the nations of the world. From his vantage, Zippa could have seen all the way into Dutchess County, had he not been dead. A fine, fine day it was, and a fine, fine end for a man who had hit his prime.

The very next morning Zippa gingerly descended from the spike and shook his head, trying to clear the cobwebs and bits of breakfast cereal from his synapses. “Ugh,” he exhaled, wobbling to the shop on the corner for a cup of coffee, “what a terrible f**king hangover.”

(Editor's note: this story, unlike the televised pay-per-view of Zippa's death, has been rendered entirely family-friendly for your convenience.)

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