29 June 2012

Theater of Another Sort

If you would please hand me that long, silvery implement right next to the bottle of soda-water, we could have this procedure completed within minutes. I need only to spread the thorax-aperture a little bit in order to get to the pustule. That long, silvery implement is exactly what we in the industry refer to as a “thorax spreader,” you see.

Thank you. There we go.

While I force my entire gloved hand into this most disagreeable place, let me tell you the story of the “Gooseberry Pantomime” that used to frequent these parts. Wilbur Chopstick was a man of extreme virility who had developed an appreciation – a fine, fine appreciation – for barbed-wire undergarments and pantomime shows. His lovely creation, then, the “Gooseberry Pantomime,” traveled a circuit of rural towns and villages some twenty-five years ago, spreading joy and something he called the “tubular arm salute” to the inhabitants thereof.

Please hand me a sponge, if you would. This extraction is getting bloodier than I thought.

I am sorry. I meant to say “juicier.” It is not blood – only juice. Reddish, salty man-juice.


The “Gooseberry Pantomime” opened one evening in June in the tiny village of Squeaker's Hollow. It opened to a crowd of mostly toothless hog-rapers who had never seen such a pantomime show before, or ever dreamed of such undergarments. Wilbur was only too happy to broaden their horizons and put on such a show as left them sweating and grinning from ear to hairy ear. After the show one night, Wilbur reclined in his dressing room, slowly removing his barbed-wire undergarments. There was a knock at the door.

I do believe I can almost feel the pustule. If you could just please hold this vein betwixt your thumb and forefinger, I think it would slow the trickle of man-juice. Please ignore the odor. That means we are drawing close to the pustule.

Where was I?

Oh yes. There was a knock at the door, and Wilbur covered up with a piece of typing paper that was lying nearby. He opened the door. 93 and a half square inches of twenty-pound cotton watermark were all that stood between his gorgeous, virile manhood and the vivacious Miss Anita Rhumbalessin of Squeaker's Hollow. She blushed, as did he.

Retraction. Retraction, please. The pustule is slipping deeper into the thoracic cavity.

The two stood and looked at each other for the longest time. It was days, in fact. They stood staring at each other for the better part of a three-day weekend, and Wilbur missed the next night's performance of the “Gooseberry Pantomime.” Wilbur and Anita only took breaks from their vigil long enough to heed the call of nature and to snack on small bits of cheese and a few capers. Not a word was spoken. They drew no closer than an arm's length from one another.

Only twice did Wilbur need to reach for a fresh sheet of typing paper

When morning broke on the third day, Anita and Wilbur both took deep breaths. Anita licked a film of capers from her lips, turned, and walked away, whistling a melody by Strauss. Wilbur collapsed into his dressing room chair, exhausted. He fell asleep and dreamed dreams that he never shared with a soul, and he awoke in time to shower, dress, and prepare for that evening's performance of the “Gooseberry Pantomime.” It was a splendid show, replete with hats and horns and petroleum jelly. All the populace for miles around turned out for the grand performance.

At the final curtain, Wilbur Chopstick took a deep, deep bow,and then turned to the theater attendant coming toward him. No doubt she was bringing a bouquet of roses for him, given by some admirer of his thespianiacal and pantomimical abilities.

The attendant handed him a bottle of correction fluid, wrapped in pink cellophane. The card attached to the bow read simply “dries to a paper-like finish.”

I do believe this has to be the largest pustule I have ever removed from a thorax. I will leave you to close the incision while I enjoy a nice, cool soda-water.

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