The hole in the sky filled in, the mountain of lime-green Jello dissolved in a puff of smoke, and the Giant Eye Transubstantiative Support Desk Person left me with a mind-numbing decision to make: did I want to spend the rest of eternity as a slug? Or spend it as a clone of Bill Gates?
It was a tough choice.
On the one hand, Bill Gates had a gazillion bucks. On the other, the slug choice might be taking the moral high ground. At least it was better than being an NHL hockey club owner, which was the runner-up choice.
The Giant Eye gave me one night to think it over, so I slept in the cud silo. I always think better if one of my six stomachs has a good supply of cud.
Not much happened during the night, except for the sack of money that fell off the Brinks truck. That doesn't count, because it happens with astounding regularity since I put the speed bumps in the road.
Oh, yes. During the night, I had a conversation with the silo's wastebasket, who picked that night to begin English lessons.
I know what you're thinking. Here he goes again. Throwing the old bull. But in actual fact, the wastebasket did talk, and it turns out this is not an uncommon experience.
According to page 2,068 of the Encyclopedia Britannica (soft-cover edition) wastebaskets have been known to speak ever since Sir Geoffrey Nomenclature revealed in the British Parliament in 1837 that in fact his views on reorganizing the fur trade were not his own, but were dictated by a fairly erudite oak poubelle in his downstairs den.
Apparently the poubelle had been silent for years, but felt it had to
speak its mind since it was passionately convinced that beaver hats, which were out of fashion by this time, should be right back in. Its views had something to do with a chance encounter with a rabid beaver on a caravanning trip in the Lake Country.
But I digress.
At this point, you, gentle reader, are probably muttering under your breath: "For crying out loud, what did Aardvark Al's wastebasket say?"
And you would be well within your rights to ask.
The aforementioned basketspeak occurred, mind you, in the dead of night (about 3 am) in pitch dark, and it appeared to be a quotation from a book, to wit: "Keimt ein Glaube neu, wird oft Lieb' und Treu, wie ein boses Unkraut ausgerauft" (with apologies for unexpressed umlauts).
Which just goes to show how little I knew about this wastebasket. I had no idea he was French, but when we looked on the bottom the words "Made in China" were plainly printed.
This nocturnal verbal burp reminded me of a passage I had read recently in Freud's Psychopathology of Everyday Life concerning various types of parapraxes, such as bungled actions and slips of the tongue. This, of course, set me to making the connection to Saint Parapraxus, patron saint of wastebaskets, and it all began to fall temptingly into place.
This knowledge placated me, and I dozed peacefully off to sleep. It seemed like mere moments later when I was surprised by a bulldozer pushing the silo over onto the ground and knocking me out of bed.
I was surprised, because the silo didn’t have a bed.