Like Wildfire

Figurine damage indication is just one of the important areas [here at Gareth Laboratories] where I’ve made myself indispensable. I’ve trained 54 associates–and counting–to specialize in the sixteen elements that directly contribute to the continuation of our great institution. I’ve created a simple mnemonic device for them: HOME SMELLS FUNNY P. I’m not very good with anagrams, so that last P is just kind of sticking out there to the side. But that doesn’t matter very much to me, because it serves as a reminder of the absurd penguin amendment to the corporate charter that Lance’s nephew added as a joke (but then ironically caught on like wildfire when I unknowingly passed out invitations to the zoo’s new special penguin house later that afternoon). Coincidences sure are a bitch.

Bonanza

Gordon George’s
Estwing Bonanza

tweaks recognition, that
underrepresented showcase
of carnival barkery.

At its finest,
you’ll see Jeffrey Finito——
attractive man of misery
and attentive sham of Mister T——
slaloming
down the underweather pass to
transfer schmaltz patterns
to his underwater dentist’s
cauldron collection,
one schmutz at a time.

DFM

Enter our eternal and infernal friend,
Deflatermouse–
careful about the point he makes when scrimmying across the kitchen floor in a fairly affluent suburban subdivision that would otherwise say it’s been treated well by the rodents and mongrels of the world. Only DFM (as the folks in the know have referred to him) gets a pass–you know, for sheer name novelty that has nothing to do with his aptitude for deflating himself (or others) and everything to do with occupying the (then) hovel of Fretful Fred, a beleaguered baritone at the peak of malaise and circumspection.

“Well hello there, little fella.” DFM pauses, startled to be addressed in such a cordial way.

“You’re the first visitor I’ve had in quite some time!” DFM appears to be intently listening to Fred, if only to take in the sonorous quality of his voice.

“Take a load off, friend! I don’t have much of anything to offer, but I’m sure you’re fairly adept at fending for yourself at this point.” DFM then immediately proceeds to scrimmy away, marking the exact moment in which his fabled moniker first graced Fred’s consciousness.

Fretful Fred considers himself a bit of a wordsmith, in addition to his accomplishments of the stage and screen. It took about two to three seconds to formulate the nickname, during which time there were numerous cognitive connections taking place, not at all dissimilar to the series of adjustments that a world-class athlete must make while performing the repetitive tasks that put them in that spotlight in the first place.

Our tiny rodent companion lit the fuse that led to a lightning-quick series of self-deprecating blasts. Every moment neglecting my life’s passions seems to just fuel the bonfire of self-hindrance, perpetuating a “woe is me” mentality that only spirals as the moments compile. My pesky new pal graced me with his presence at the intersection of doubt and fear, giving me the semblance of camaraderie, no matter how fleeting. But, just as all moments ever experienced by we, the mortal folk charged with hoisting the weight of the cosmos (whether or not weight is an accurate measurement), our fledgling friendship seems to have vanished as suddenly as it appeared.

“You’re a real Deflatermouse, you know that?” Freddy knew that an intellectual connection couldn’t be made, now or ever, but he continued to consciously deny the existence of a language barrier for the sake of infusing any wonder into his underwhelming existence.

Sailor Parry

In the midst of a blight
brought forth by injustice,

Sailor Parry
abandoned his bow

in favor of an idiosyncratic approach
buoyed by the near-legitimate agency
with which so many people
squabble on a near-daily basis.

Suffice it to say that he’s miserable now.
The life on the sea was a demanding one,
but nothing he couldn’t handle
(with a nice snifter of scotch
warming in his palm).

He’s not as much of a red tape connoisseur
as most folks sharing the cubicle farm,
and his frustration tends to surface
in the form of a lighthearted jibe
(sometimes misconstrued as unobstructed malice).

As the weeks and months pass,
Sailor Parry begins to doubt
the instinct that drew him
from the briny depths to the skyscrapers
of those self-professed modernographers
who derive satisfaction
from pushing the 21st Century agenda
as far as it can possibly go–and then some.

“All the world’s a sea, but some of it
parades around as a c-word.”