Chumbley the pig-sticker had just completed his morning chores and was about to stimulate his elbow chakra with a nice round of yoga and iced vodka when a small bird lighted upon his head. “Chirrup,” called the tiny little bird, attempting to get Chumbley's attention.
Chumbley swatted his hand at the bird and moved his head furiously, trying to dislodge the perching creature. As he did so he became aware of his own body odor – something of a blend, it seemed, of bacon-cheeseburger, sweat, vermouth, and cookie batter. His brother Marco had referred to such a scent as “drunken old man stink,” and Chumbley was horrified to notice the odor rolling off of his very own personal carcass. “Uggh,” he called aloud, “I stink like a drunken old man!”
“Chirrup!” called the tiny little bird, still clinging to Chumbley's head, “you think I don't know? I'm sitting in your freaking hair! Chirrup!”
“Holy cow,” said Chumbley, startled beyond belief, “a talking bird!”
“Chirrup! Not just a talking bird, you stinky old nutter, but one with a sensitive beak and a good understanding of chakras. Chirrup!”
Chumbley marvelled at this. “You know about chakras?” he asked.
“Chirrup! I know all about chakras, homeboy.”
“Well,” said Chumbley, “I think I've got this problem with my elbow chakra – there's not nearly enough chi and vodka flowing through it, so I thought I might try stimulating it. I think that's the reason I've got this drunken old man stink going on. Kapiche?”
“Chirrup! I've got you, stink-boy, but I've also got some bad news for you.”
“Wuzzon?” asked Chumbley.
“Chirrup! Well, let's look a bit more closely, shall we?”
The tiny little bird flitted to the top of a fence post and sat down. He folded his legs first in the lotus position. Then he folded them in the pranuhama position. Then he flipped his little wings up into the squatting artichoke salutation. “Chirrup! Hammba hammba! Parhuna! Krishna rama! Mantequea de cacajuete! Shave and a haircut! Now you try it. Chirrup!”
Chumbley sat down on the grass and folded his chubby, white, hairless little legs in the lotus position. Then he folded them in the pranuhama position. The he tried to flip his chubby little arms up into the squatting artichoke salutation. “Crap!” he shouted, “Krishna bollocks! I can't parhuna for the freaking life of me!”
“Chirrup! Not to worry...I think I am beginning to see the problem. But let's try something else first.” The tiny little bird folded his legs into the lotus position again and withdrew a pale pink crystal from beneath his wing. He slowly rubbed it and softly chanted, “llama...llama...baloonga. Llama...llama...baloonga.” His tiny little eyes rolled back in his head while he chanted and attained cosmic parhuna consciousness.
Chumbley followed the bird's lead and folded himself back into the lotus position. He took the crystal and fondled it a little. “Llama...llama...baloona,” he chanted.
“Chirrup! That's 'baloonGA,' chunk-style! Get it right!”
Chumbley tried again. “Llama...llama...baloonga. Llama...llama...baloonga.” His yellowed, beady eyes rolled back in his head while he chanted but he failed to attain cosmic parhuna consciousness. “What the hell is wrong with me?” he shouted at the little bird, “my chakra still feels plugged and I stink like an SOB!”
The tiny little bird looked at Chumbley and from beneath his wing he drew a beautiful gold watch on a long gold chain. Holding it up before the pig-sticker he said in his most breathy and mystical voice, “chirrup! Keep your eyes on the watch...you are getting sleepy...sleepy...you are getting very, very sleepy.” The little bird dangled the watch before Chumbley, swinging it to and fro. “You are a racoon...a hairy little racoon. Make the sound of a hairy little racoon.”
“Blehnna...blehnna. Nyahhhg,” said the hypnotized Chumbley, making the sound of a hairy little racoon in his mesmerized state.
“Chirrup! Good, very good! Now crawl around like a hairy little racoon,” continued the little bird.
“Nyahhg,” said Chumbley again as he scurried about on all fours, intermittently licking his perianal glands and looking for all the world like a pale, chubby racoon.
“Chirrup! Good, very good!” The little bird flitted back to Chumbley, perching on his head once more. He took a long sniff through his tiny little beak. “Hmmm...hey fatty, you still smell like a blend of bacon-cheeseburger, sweat, vermouth, and cookie batter. If I didn't know any better, in fact, I'd say you smell even more like a drunken old man.”
Chumbley shook his head as the bird released him from the hypnotic trance, and he sat down cross-legged on the ground. “So,” he said, “the yoga didn't work, the crystal didn't work, the chanting didn't work, and the hypnotism didn't work. What the hell am I supposed to do?”
It was just then that an air-breathing Tilapia (a rare species in this part of the world) wheeled himself by on a little electric-powered cart. The Tilapia looked up at Chumbley. Chumbley looked down at the Tilapia on his little cart. The Tilapia looked up at the little bird. The little bird looked down on the Tilapia on his little cart. They all looked at each other for some span of time.
“So you stink, huh?” asked the Tilapia.
“Yeah, I stink,” said Chumbley.
“He really stinks,” said the tiny little bird, still perched on Chumbley's head.
“And you tried yoga? And crystals? And chanting?” asked the Tilapia.
“Yes,” said Chumbley.
“And hypnosis,” said the tiny little bird.
“And nothing has worked?” asked the Tilapia.
“Nothing,” said Chumbley and the tiny little bird in unison.
“Well, if you are so disposed, I have something for you. I have a feeling that there is one last bit of ancient wisdom that might just allow you to reach the place you seek.”
“Lay it on me!” said Chumbley. The bird looked skeptical.
The Tilapia leaned forward toward Chumbley's ear and cupped his little fins around his mouth. “Three words I have for you. Three words from the wisdom of the ancients. Three words that can change your life.”
“Lay it on me!” said Chumbley, trembling.
The Tilapia whispered three words of ancient wisdom ever so softly, ever so quietly, but with power and great authority.
“Take a bath.”