The dog and I were classifying our nicens little Baby Tuckoo CDs when there was a knock at the telephone. I wafted the diaphanous blower skyward.
"You're not dead yet?" said a voice.
It was the Slumbering Acres Funeral Parlor and Travel Agency again. Apparently, business had slacked off considerably since they laid off 25 employees in some pretty snappy mahogany and brass caskets. Now plumb out of in-house customers, they've taken to this rather tasteless dinner-time telemarketing campaign to beef up the funerary coffers.
"No, but I have the sniffles," I said, defensively. I had to say something. Telemarketers make me so nervous!
In the wink of an eye, there was a knock at the door. (This maneuver, in fact, requires a tremendous amount of concentration and physical dexterity. Try it. I dare you.) I wasn't born yesterday. I know what crappy things happen when I open the front door, so I climbed out the bathroom window.
It was a liveried footman (no, not that kind) with a stretch hearse waiting at my front door.
"I said I had a cold!"
"Close enough!" said the funerary representative, sharpening his spade.
Stately plump, I convinced him to drive me instead to the Pearly Gates Drug Store and Karaoke Bar to purchase some nasal spray. Mooburg is a small town. Everything on Main Street does at least two things at the same time.
"Sniffles, eh?" said the druggist, adjusting his carburetor. Things were a little slim in the drug and karaoke trade, so he was freelancing tuneups behind the blood pressure machine.
He led me over to the sniffle department and handed me a small container.
"Die-ox, eh? Is it good for sniffles?"
"It's good for just about anything. Sniffles. Scrofula. Asphaltfoot. Chilblains. Fantods. Not to mention Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy."
"BSE! Isn't that a cow disease?"
"I said not to mention it."
I asked him if Die-ox had any side-effects. He listed the usual suspects. Dry mouth, labored breathing, dyspepsia, projectile flatulence, broken leg, sporadic heart attacks, stroke, spontaneous combustion, and the occasional reincarnation as the Antichrist. Simultaneously, on his shirt, someone was projecting images of healthy people with re-treaded smiles holding hands and running through the forests of the antediluvian wetlands.
"Wait a minute!" I said. "This package has been opened!"
"The product is so effective that it has to be aerated continuously," he said, looking for a side exit.
"And there's a dead Junebug inside."
"You'll notice on the label that the product should be taken with meals. If you don't like Junebug sandwiches, you can substitute tuna."
That made sense. I'd heard of medicine you had to take with meals. I may be gullible, but I'm not stupid.
I bought the sniffle medicine, took one with a glass of Velveeta and prune juice, then left through a side door. At least I thought it was a side door, but it turned out to be the Karaoke part of the business. Hundreds of people (who turned out to be the Aardvark Tabernacle Choir, late of our bedroom) were sitting at tables, singing. Someone thrust a microphone in my hand. I was on stage. There was nothing else for me to do but follow the bouncing ball, which I hoped would eventually lead me toward home.
Everybody, now...One and a two and a three! Here comes everybody, now!
Four quirks for Mustard Murk!
Sure he'll have to stop driving his benzedrine Merc
And his bickley's sure muxtured without all his perks.
But O, Finagle Al-Aardvark, he's a sodova jerk
If he shrinks we won't nolvatice dark of his shirk
And him flipping those Great Speckled Burgs with his dirk?
The clyven-foot spry-ox of the Miltownic kirk!
And you think you've the ring of the load of the work!
Jigger's up! Dristan's the dry-nosed clerk
The celebrecksed dead-eye of benadrilled red-eye
Yet him seldame wonking the tale of his wet-eye.
And that's why hellbutrin Wethuselahs lurk.
Beats me what it meant.
Fortunately I didn't have to squeak out the second chorus because the projectile flatulence started early. Most of the gathered guests lost interest in music and left through various windows. Fortunately for me, the druggist had an extra pair of roller skates, so I was jet-propelled homeward, so to speak, and didn't have to hail a rent-a-hearse.
Fortunately again, I wasn't reincarnated as the Antichrist until early evening. So I got to watch my Seinfeld re-runs.
But the dog burst into flames after eating his kibble. He had a harrowing night.