29 October 2012

Bezelda...a Travelogue

(This may or may not be an excerpt from Yerba Maté- A Novel)

“So tell me about your home planet,” said Michael Nitrous.

Jerry Grogan leaned back in his chair, took a long drag off his cigarette, and blew the smoke out in the shape of a question mark intersected with an exclamation point. He ran his fingers through his hair, broke wind, and then began to tell Michael Nitrous all about the wonderful springtime on the planet (or rather, moon) Bezelda, how the flowers only bloomed in the middle of the night so as not to be accused of vanity, and how the barnyard animals have elaborate mating rituals involving dice and hat pins. He told the tale of the Way-cheeda Glacier that encircles Bezelda like a great, icy doughnut, forming a perfect circle around the equator. Unlike so many planets and moons that you find out there, the equator of Bezelda was the coldest region, while its poles were the warmest. Don't ask me how it works – I have no idea. Jerry Grogan couldn't explain it, either.

Grogan went on to describe the miniature mountain lions that were used for giving exfoliation therapy in the barber shops of Bezelda, and the things that looked like leeches that were used as marital aids. You could buy these anywhere, incidentally – not just at special shops. He sang a few bars of the Bezeldian national anthem – there is only one nation on Bezelda, so there is no need for a whole bunch of anthems. The anthem went something like this:

Bezelda! A little dab'll do ya'!
Bezelda! You'll look so debonair!
Bezelda! A little dab'll do ya!
An extra-planetary home so fair!

Grogan did the little Bezeldian dance that traditionally accompanied the singing of the anthem, wherein the singer places his or her hands on his or her buttocks, stamps his or her feet repeatedly and then shakes like a bed-vibrator in a cheap motel.

“That sounds a lot like an old advertising jingle that I remember,” said Nitrous.

“Impossible,” said Grogan, going back to his seat. “That song is from another universe – a parallel universe.”

“Well, then there is an incredible coincidence.”

“Impossible,” said Grogan again, “there are no coincidences allowed on Bezelda – beside the fact that they are impossible there, owing to the interesting laws of metaphysics that the whole of Bezelda embraces.”

Michael fell silent again and lit another cigarette. He really didn't like to smoke, but sometimes he did this – he would buy a pack of cigarettes and smoke all of them, usually in one sitting. He wouldn't do this again for a year or two, and in between he would sometimes make a puritanical display of displeasure if he happened to be in a roller-skating rink or a milk-bar and someone lit up. He would fan his hand in front of his nose and maybe even move to a different table. This day, however, he was going for all the gusto – smoke 'em up! Yeehaw!

“Let me tell you about the medicine man, OK?” asked Grogan, taking his finger out of his nose and wiping it on his trousers.

Nitrous made a sour face. “OK.”

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