Kiss My Left Foot, Episode 1
Our protagonist, radio DJ Nicki Rodriguez remembers a particular day of her life in Perswayssick County. The bizarre locale is run by the elbow-high, walking, talking, zany Jack Russell-type dog Gneeecey.
Trapped, broke, and suffering from dangerous dimension burn, Nicki’s living in Gneeecey’s pigsty of a mansion and working for him.
On her birthday, Nicki finds her cash-filled portfolio case, which she’d been searching for desperately. Now, when her purple-tinged skin and weakened legs heal, she can finally attempt a perilous return to Earth and her old life, which doesn’t seem so bad now.
Only Nicki has to get through today. Gneeecey is taking her out for a birthday lunch at the exclusive Tricycle Club, where, unbeknownst to her, diners eat while riding bicycles.
Nicki squeezes into Gneeecey’s tiny Porsche. He hits trees and houses. Watching a TV embedded in his steering wheel, then driving with a cookie box over his head, Gneeecey smashes into a milk tanker. He jumps out to dunk animal crackers in the spilled moo juice, then leaves the scene. The two arrive at the Tricycle Club, making a grand, glass-shattering entrance.
Not much on the menu appears edible, and Gneeecey informs Nicki that he said he’s taking her to lunch but not paying. Gneeecey eats so gluttonously that food literally pours out of his ears onto his shoulders. Then, an evil alien spots him…
…Later, Nicki takes Gneeecey to visit veggie meatball shop owner (and licensed therapist) Ingabore Scriblig, AKA, Grandma. And, as our Frank Grillo says at the very end of each podcast, “It’s a Gneeecey thing!”
https://perswayssickradio.buzzsprout.com (our Buzzsprout website, episodes, transcripts)
https://www.nfreads.com/interview-with-author-vicki-sola/ (Interview with Vicki Solá)
And much thanks to disproportionately cool artist Jay Hudson for our podcast logo! https://yojayhudson.com/
This Perswayssick Radio: Unearthly Comedy podcast is made possible in part by a generous grant from The Ardelle Institute, providing Executive Coaching for aspiring and established professionals who want to develop their careers, including upwardly-mobile executives, professionals who may be in between jobs, and college graduates transitioning to the workforce. The Ardelle Institute helps with resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, interview skills and effective job search strategies. For more information, please call (201) 394-6939, that's (201) 394-6939, or visit them on the web at ardelle-institute.com, that's A-R-D-E-L-L-E dash institute dot com. Take it from me, Gneeecey!Support the show
Transcript / “Kiss My Left Foot,” Episode 1, written by Vicki Solá.
(Based on material from THE GETAWAY THAT GOT AWAY by Vicki Solá (2011, Full Court Press)
All content © 2021 Perswayssick Radio: Unearthly Comedy.
Music/Intro: Hi there, I’m author and radio host Vicki Sola, welcoming you to Perswayssick Radio: Unearthly Comedy.
I invite you to escape with me into the bizarre dimension of Perswayssick County, where wackiness rules!
The laughs begin when I morph into my alter ego, radio DJ Nicki Rodriguez and clash with the zany, alien canine-humanoid Gneeecey!
And now, I turn it over to my other self, Nicki….
SFX: [Magic Spell]
Hey there, Nicki Rodriguez here. Now, picture your life being run by an elbow-high, walking, talking, wise-cracking control freak, a Jack Russell-type dog-lookalike named Gneeecey. Well, this has been my life.
I’m a young, recent college graduate stuck in a nightmare. Being accidentally trapped in Gneeecey’s wacko, unearthly dimension of Perswayssick County has wrecked any plans for my future that I might’ve had. It’s destroying my whole life!
Stranded in Gneeeceyland, with dangerous dimension burn and nothing but the clothes on my back, I’ve had to live in county leader Gneeecey’s mansion, work full-time at his GAS Broadcast Network, and part-time at his gross Gneeezle’s Restaurant. Plus, I have to take minutes for him at his county Quality of Life meetings. Back on Earth, I had begun a career in radio and was even considered by some to be a workaholic. But this is ridiculous.
This whole thing’s been so traumatic that I can’t even remember it all. Guess my brain’s been protecting me by making me forget. But lately, I’ve been remembering different bits and pieces—but not in any real order.
Just remembered a particular day, after weeks and weeks of searching, that I finally found my precious maroon portfolio case. I knew Gneeecey had hidden it away. All my stuff had ended up at the bottom of the murky, disgusting Perswayssick River when my car was shoved off the Perswayssick Bridge by some invisible force. I’d barely escaped with my life.
Gneeecey had the river dredged to recover my things—something I never asked him to do. For some reason, he believed that my portfolio case contained certain secrets, some that he could use for himself, as bargaining chips. Speaking of secrets, unbeknown to the money-worshiping dog, one of my case’s hidden compartments held ten thousand dollars in cash. The day I’m gonna tell you about here happened to be my birthday. This is how it all went down:
SFX: [Magic Spell]
“Holy Crap!” I hollered, knee-deep in rubbish. “I don’t freakin’ believe it!” My rapture was tempered only by the slight dread that I might be hallucinating. Maybe the oxygen was thinner up there on the fourth floor. Swaying, as Gneeecey’s pigsty of a bedroom spun ’round me, I flopped onto his bare, striped king-size mattress.
I had to get my act together. Gneeecey would be home any minute—he was taking me out to lunch for my birthday at the exclusive Tricycle Club. Don’t ask me why.
Forcing myself back up, I crept forward, past half a tire, an empty pizza box, and a heap of Gneeecey’s soiled, smelly aqua T-shirts. When I reached his spit-stained pillow, I froze. I wasn’t dreaming. There, right out in the open, in front of my very eyes, sat my maroon portfolio. Gneeecey’s worn teddy bear Yammicles was stuffed inside. A hand-scrawled sticker that Gneeecey had evidently taped to my case read, “Camp Bingaboonga sleeping bag.” (That’s where Gneeecey, as a child, had attended summer camp on Planet Eccchs’s resort moon Cronon.)
I yanked at the teddy, finally dislodging him after a half-dozen attempts. He’d really plumped out since I’d last seen him. According to Gneeecey, Yammicles had big bones. And an eating disorder. I had a strange hunch that he was filling his bear with something…but not food….
Back to my portfolio…. I licked my quivering lips. Oh, God. Please let it be there. Let it all be there. Eyesight pulsating in tandem with my pounding heart, I reached inside my case’s main compartment. Pulled out my passport and shorthand outline of my novel. Both had been marked up in red pencil. The little hairball had even defaced my passport photo—he’d scribbled a handlebar mustache under my nose. I held my breath and slipped my fingers into the secret compartment, hidden behind an open seam at the bottom of the case’s silky— and thankfully waterproof—lining. And I gasped. Nothing?! Nothing there?! Dirty little thief! Wait. . .wait a minute. . .I’d made the same mistake before. There were two hiding places—one on each side. I plunged my fist back in and groped around, this time surfacing with four bulky wads of my hard-earned cash. Exhaling, I rifled through each bundle. Twice. It was all there. Thank you, God, I whispered as tears burned down my cheeks. Happy Birthday to me! I am so outta here!
I began to howl. That is, until I became aware of a white-coated golden retriever canine-humanoid, glaring down at me from inside a frame sitting atop Gneeecey’s prescription bottle-infested night table. A stethoscope hung from her neck. Stitched red letters on her pocket indicated that I was staring up the snooty black nostrils of Dr. Goonafina Blopperdang. Ah, Goonafina, Gneeecey’s former fiancée. She had broken his heart—jilted him, all the way from Planet Eccchs—by interdimensional email after he’d become stranded in Perswayssick County.
A pair of briefs, polka-dotted with dimes, hung from one corner of Goonafina’s tarnished frame. Splashed across the seat of the underpants was the slogan: “Stummix Bank: We Cover Your Bimbus!”
As I stuck my tongue out at Goonafina’s glossy image, a boinging sound beneath the window—possibly that of an unlicensed fugitive kangaroo, or more likely, Gneeecey’s pogo stick—grew louder by the second.
Gneeecey had moved his mansion’s front steps over from below his front door to underneath an enormous first-floor picture window. This was, he said, to fool potential burglars. To enter through the main entrance, you had to use a pogo stick. Or jump really high. I always just used the side door.
Anyway, I didn’t have a second to waste. I couldn’t let Gneeecey catch me snooping around in his bedroom. I crammed my cash and passport into four inner pockets of my zillion-zippered navy-blue jacket. I jammed my other papers into a couple roomier outer pouches.
After scooping supermarket tabloids off the floor and stuffing them into the empty portfolio, I ran out into the hallway as fast as my nearly normal legs could carry me. Yes, my legs were getting better. My dimension burn was healing—that was yet another birthday gift. Now that I had found my stuff, I just had to wait a little longer until my muscle weakness totally disappeared. Then I could safely attempt a return home to New Jersey and my old life on Earth. Be really great to leave before I came down with ooglitis, the disorder that caused Gneeecey’s speech impediment—or impedipoodiment, as he pronounced it.
Just as I reached the staircase, a blaring nose honk informed me that Gneeecey had returned and had, no doubt, banged his bulbous schnozz, probably into the door on his way up.
SFX: [BOINGING, DUCK HORN]
The moment I hit the first step, I realized I hadn’t replaced Yammicles in his, uh, “sleeping bag.” Cursing colorfully, I sprinted back into Gneeecey’s bedroom and jammed his teddy bear back inside.
Phew! Close call! I flew down the three curving flights of stairs and out the side door, pleased that my limbs were cooperating.
And there was Gneeecey, waiting for me.
“Get in awready!” he barked.
I pointed to his microscopic white Porsche idling on the driveway. A tail-on-a-spring wagged atop its trunk. Vigorously.
“Gneeecey, I won’t fit—”
“That’s stinkin’ Diroctor Gneeecey—I’m a doctor an’ director of this here lousy county!”
“Uh, stinkin’ Diroctor—uh, I mean, Diroctor Gneeecey, I told you, I won’t fit.” [SFX: Metallic Bang] I punched the car for emphasis.
“You punched my beaudiful car!”
“Uh, I’m sorry—”
“Now, stinkin’ get in the car!”
[I moan] “Can’t we use the limo?” Gneeecey’s luxury limousine was fully articulated and boasted thirty-two doors. The white vehicle slithered around corners like a snake.
“Limo’s dislocated—waitin’ for parts they hadda special order all the way from Slipshodville.”
“Yeah. Her automatic GPS dragged Culvert through the swamps an’ halfway up the river—an’ you know how stinkin’ twisty the Perswayssick River is.”
“He couldn’t override the system?”
“Nope—I designed it foolproof, y’know, to cut wear an’ tear.”
“Is Culvert okay?”
“Proboobably—I mean probably?!”
“He’ll be outta the hospoopital in a coupla weeks. Which is perfect—limo proboobably won’t be ready till then.”
My eyes widened. Poor Culvert. Gneeecey’s six-foot-tall albino mallard chauffeur already had to put up with working for Gneeecey. And now this….
“Aaaaah, don’t worry, Ig—ducks always land on their bimbus.”
Gneeecey insisted on calling me “Ig.” The name referred to the clumsy three-legged troglodytes that ground-pounded their way through the hills and mountains of his native Planet Eccchs. I’d long given up on Gneeecey ever calling me by my actual name.
Gneeecey glanced over at his Porsche. “Lucky I remembered to roll this baby outta the trunk before Zeke put the limo in traction.” He stomped over to the tiny vehicle and pointed to some dark, baseball-sized globs. “Look! That lousy Poe Crow’s been defooficatin’ on my car!”
“Gee—” The giant crow usually sat perched atop the window ledge outside Gneeecey’s first-floor bathroom, shrieking, “Nevermore! Nevermore!” The bird always seemed to know just when the chronically constipated diroctor was, uh, seated there.
“Now, get in!”
“How come,” I asked, stalling for time, “there’s a tail on the trunk?”
“Anti-gravoovitational antenna. Now if ya don’t stinkin’ get in awready, we’ll be early.”
Yep, it was Blirg, the season where time itself flowed in reverse. It was caused by Perswayssick County’s annual dimensional axial reversal. Ended right before the big Grimace holiday, which is kinda like our Christmas….
“Durin’ Blirg,” continued Gneeecey, “the Tricycle Club charges for bein’ early. It’s a very igscloosive joint—hadda make resuscitations three whole weeks from now! Now get in!”
“But—but—I can’t roll myself up small enough to—”
“That kangoogaroo I brung home, he fit—an’ don’t worry, I cleaned up his little accident off of your seat there—”
“You brought home a kangaroo?”
“Thought if I brung one of our county mascots to our next county Quality of Life meetin’, it would take people’s minds offa other junk, y’know, distract people from the real issues—”
“A kangaroo is in the house?”
“The marsoopoopial’s locked up in the third floor lyberry. There’s plenny of stuff for him to color up there.”
“But nuthin’! Now, will ya stinkin’ get in the lousy car awready?”
[I sigh.] Couldn’t go in my Splodge—it was in the shop again. It’d had a seizure. On main drag Murgatroyd Avenue, during rush hour. For twenty minutes, I’d cringed while the backfiring jalopy—jackass horn honking nonstop—heaved and shuddered, hurling rusty fender bits sky high. Screaming pedestrians had run for cover as pieces rained down on their skulls.
Had to talk my way out of a ticket, too—for pollution. The mechanic from Zeke’s Pizza and Transmissions had to come cut the ignition wires before he could cart the piece of junk away. He still can’t figure out what’s wrong.
Finally, crouching low, I backed into the Porsche’s Gneeecey-sized bucket seat. With great difficulty, I swiveled around to face the bird-bombed windshield. The stale-smelling vehicle’s ceiling scrunched my head so far down that my chin touched my collarbone. To see straight ahead, I had to roll my eyeballs upward. My knees, pinned by the blood-red dashboard, jutted up around my ears. I was a living pretzel.
“Ya look like a pretzel,” observed Gneeecey, plopping onto the county phone book he had duct-taped to his seat.
“You’re plannin’ somethin’, Ig,” he added, turning on the wipers, the bird droppings creating a gaggy mess. “I can tell you’re plannin’ somethin’. But’cha ain’t foolin’ nobody.”
Little did he know whose turn it was to be fooled. I just smiled.
“Another thing, Ig—why d’ya keep smilin’?”
“Uh, I dunno.” I bit my lip. Hard.
“Somethin’s gonna come wipe that grin right offa that Ig face of yours. Now, lemme concentrate—gotta back all the way down this here driveway. Forgot how stinkin’ big this car is!”
Even sitting atop the thick phone book, he could barely see over the dash.
“Diroctor, isn’t it dangerous to back all the way down such a long, curvy driveway?”
“It ain’t dangerousical—everyone knows, ’cept yooou, that drivin’ backwards, ya burn less gas.” He accidentally slugged me in the ribs as he slammed the gearshift into reverse.
“That tree!” I screamed as he zoomed out onto the roadway. “You’re gonna hit it!”
“Don’t worry, Ig—it’s a one-way tree.” The Porsche grazed the fracas tree’s lumpy bronze trunk, then bounced back onto the pavement.
“By the time I was old enough to drive,” said Gneeecey, flying down Femur Avenue, “I was rich enough to hire folks to do it for me. But don’t worry—I’ve watched Flea drive.”
“Oh.” I shuddered. Gneeecey’s red-caped, black-furred canine-humanoid superhero pal was a nice guy, but one of the worst drivers I’d ever encountered. On any planet.
“Oh, looky!” exclaimed Gneeecey. “A little ol’ lady. Lemme get outta the car an’ help her cross the street!”
“How do you know she even wants to cross?” I asked. “You really shouldn’t—”
SFX: [Tire screech]
The Porsche screeched to a stop, and Gneeecey sprang out. He tore over to the other side of the road, where an elderly human woman ambled very slowly down the sidewalk.
He jumped in front of her. “Hey, lady, lemme help ya cross the street!”
“Get out of my way, young man! I don’t want to cross the street!”
“I jus’ saw ya an’ wanted to help ya cross the lousy street! I figure it’s nice to help ol’ ladies cross streets.”
“I said I don’t want to cross the street!”
“Well, ya stinkin’ looked like ya did!”
With that, the woman began pummeling him with her rather humongous beige purse.
“Stinkin’ ow!” yelped Gneeecey, high-tailing it back to the car. “Youse lousy huuuumans are so ungratitudinous!”
“Well, like I said, I really don’t think you should’ve—”
“Don’t tell me what I should’na done! I was jus’ tryin’ to, y’know, be a good snitizen.” He climbed back in, slammed his door shut, and turned the ignition.
After a couple minutes, Gneeecey broke the silence. “Y’know,” he said, screeching onto Triple Bypass Lane, “I read that if ya were born durin’ Blirg, you’re actually two months younger.”
“Younger than what?”
“An’ y’know what else?”
“No. What else?”
“Well, Ig, when we get back home before lunch—”
“As I was sayin’, before ya rudely interrupticated me—”
“There ya go, doin’ it again!”
“Don’t make me change my mind, Ig. As I was trynna say, I’m givin’ ya a surprise birthday party—earlier, when we get home.”
He almost wiped out, turning onto tree-lined, paperclip-shaped Diaper Pin Drive.
“Well, the party’s not a surprise anymore, is it?”
“I’m surprised.” Gneeecey floored the gas, forcing a group of senior citizens hobbling on walkers and canes to clatter to safety. “I’m surprised I’m even givin’ ya a stinkin’ party.”
“Second thought, I am surprised,” I said, straining to look his way. “You’re actually cracking your wallet open for me, aren’t you?”
“Don’t worry—the bathroom guest fees alone’ll cover my igpenses—I’ll turn a nice profit.”
Surprise, surprise. . .Gneeecey had an agenda. Well, won’t he be surprised when I’m history? Could be any day now. . .maybe even yesterday. I peeked down at my bulgy pockets.
Gneeecey cleared his throat. “Ahem. You’re smilin’ again.”
“Uh, must be because you’re giving me that party, and it’s not even gonna, y’know, dent your wallet.”
“Speakin’ of wallets, I igspect folks’ll bring me over lotsa purple rubber billfolds—”
“Y’know, as host gifts, this bein’ so close to Grimace. That’ll put me ahead.”
Yep, the Grimace holiday season was in full swing. In Perswayssick County, violet-tinseled dead rubber chickens ruled. Frenzied shoppers—primarily a mix of canine-humanoids and humans—agonized over which purple rubber wallet to buy for whom. I couldn’t understand what was so thrilling about giving or getting a purple rubber wallet. Whenever I dared question the custom, Gneeecey would always answer that whoever has the most at the end wins.
“Whoever has the most at the end wins,” said Gneeecey, as if he were reading my mind.
“Yaaaaaa—you hit that blinking purple reindeer—on that lawn, by the house you just sideswiped—”
We’d just entered Curdlecrumm Township, decked out to the max with lit, inflatable purple wallets and miles of matching lights and glitter-sprayed dead rubber chickens.
“Ya see that reindeer over there?” asked Gneeecey as he knocked over a mailbox.
“The one you just hit?”
“Yeah. See its horns?”
“You mean, its antlers?”
“Yeah. Reindeers were made that way on purpoopose, wit’ antelopes, so ya could hang tinsel an’ junk on ’em.”
That moment, a cluster of disembodied, vividly colored eyeballs drifted by. The evil alien Markmen, their bodies temporarily invisible, must’ve been following us. They were all named Mark—except for their leader Bob. “Diroctor! Look!” SFX: [Scary Ambience]
“What now, ya Ig?”
SFX: [Scary Ambience]
“By that telephone pole you just scraped—more floating eyeballs! The bad guys are following us!”
“I don’t see nuthin’.” Gneeecey flung a little brown bottle of Repulsid at me. He had been prescribed that med because he was constantly imagining that trees, furniture, and other inanimate objects were moving around and even stalking him. “Here, take one, Ig—it’ll make all your little eyeballs go away—”
“Now whaaat, ya Ig?!”
“That man—you just ran over his foot!”
“That guy in my rearview mirror?”
“Yes! Aren’t you gonna stop and see if he’s alright?”
“He’s okay—he’s usin’ the foot,” snapped Gneeecey.
“I see in my rearview mirror, he’s hoppin’ behind us on his left foot—the one I thought I ran over.”
“In your mirror, left and right would be reversed.”
“Aaaaaah—the guy’s proboobably some actress my insurance company hired, y’know, to trick me.” Snarling, Gneeecey clicked a switch, and a TV screen embedded in the center of his steering wheel came to life.
“My favoovorite epoopisode of ‘Angry Little Airplanes’—y’know, where Daddy Airplane’s ridin’ his half-donkey-half-cow through a blizzard in the tropics, to buy his son the last two tickets in town to see Spit Wit’out Color’s farewell concert. But, the boy awready bought ’em, to surprise the half-donkey-half-cow.”
“But nobody knew, he was half-goat too—ate the tickets when the mailman’s uncle-in-law stopped by to borrow some recycled toilet paper—”
“You’re freakin’ watching TV while you drive?!”
Head rotating with each turn of the wheel, Gneeecey didn’t answer.
“You trying to kill us?!”
“Y’know, Ig, I’m starvin’!” He extracted a box from his lumpy, endless pit of a T-shirt pocket, ripped it open, and submerged his snout. “Mmmmmm—I love aminal crackers! But I ain’t gettin’ at ’em faaast enough!”
He turned the large cardboard container upside-down over his head. Its flaps covered his sloping shoulders.
“Are you nuts—driving with a box over your head?!”
SFX: [Horns blasting]
“Don’t worry.” SFX: [Horns blasting] “I can still see—a little. In fact, I got a phoootographical memory, I can kinda remember where stuff is on this road.”
“Take that box off your head or we’ll end up—”
“End up what, Ig?”
“Freakin’ dead! You’re weaving all over the place—we’re gonna be roadkill!”
“Stuff like that only happens on the news. Besides, I always snack on the road.”
“Yeah, while Culvert’s driving!”
“But he can’t drive. He’s in the hospoopital.”
“That’s where we’re gonna end up—”
“Yeah—if I drive wit’ low blood sugar!”
My overworked heart flew up into my throat. “Oooh my God,” I croaked, “we’re headed straight for that big—”
“—Milk tanker!” shouted the officer as he bent down to get a better look at Gneeecey. “I said, you hit that big milk tanker!”
“So that’s what that nerve-racketin’ noise was.” Prying the box off his noggin, Gneeecey leaped through his open window and shoved past the policeman.
“Excuse me, sir—where exactly do you think you’re going?”
The deep-voiced six-foot human bore an uncanny resemblance to Justin Imbroglio, a reporter who always got under Gneeecey’s fur-covered skin.
Gneeecey skipped over to the silver rig as it lay on its side in an ocean of white, smack in the middle of Plunger Road. “Lemme get to that moo juice, before it freezes!” He began to dunk his animal crackers in the milk and shove them, two-fisted, into his salivating trap.
The officer turned to me and shook his head. “What’s with your, uh, friend?”
“Oh, he’s not my friend—he’s my boss.”
“Gotta go back and check on that other driver. His tanker’s cracked in half.”
“Is he okay?”
“Yeah, but pretty traumatized, as you can imagine. Ambulance is on its way. Are you alright?” The policeman leaned in so closely, I could smell his musky aftershave. Had to be Justin’s brother, Ethan. Shorter hair, but same face. And same rippling physique—hugged by a close-fitting, jet-black uniform. He kept staring. “Anything you need?”
“No, no thanks,” I lied, forcing a weak laugh.
The officer smacked the Porsche. “Not a scratch—must be made of rubber.”
“Must be,” I agreed, shivering uncontrollably. The cop’s hazel eyes brimmed with concern. “It’s warm today, but you’re freezing. And you look so uncomfortable. Would you like me to go back to my cruiser and get you a blanket?”
“I’m baaack! Ran outta crackers before I ran outta milk. So, I asked the truck driver if he had any.”
I winced. “You didn’t.”
“If he’s transpooportatin’ milk, he must carry cookies. Anyways, he said somethin’ ’bout stuffin’ ’em. Guess that was his way of sayin’ he awready ate ’em all. But I comforted him anyways, even though he couldn’t be of no use to me. See him there?”
“I told him, don’t cry over spilt milk. An’ I told him not to worry, that I wasn’t even mad that I had to watch out for pieces of broken glass when I was dunkin’ my aminal crackers!”
“Is that why he’s sitting on the curb there slapping himself in the face?”
“Nah—I told him to cry for Argentina instead. Y’know how your Earth entertainment always amuses me!”
My jaw dropped.
“Musta really touched his nerves.” Grinning—a brilliant milk mustache contrasting with his grimy, off-white fur—Gneeecey chucked his empty container onto the pavement.
“If you don’t go pick that up right now,” warned the policeman, flexing his biceps, “I’ll cite you with a 3379.26, section bs-45, article 3.9—littering a public thoroughfare.”
“Someone else’ll pick it up,” said Gneeecey as he climbed through his window, back into the Porsche. “Someone else always does. Now, I’m real busy an’ important! Gotta go!”
“Wait a darn minute, sir—I don’t care who you are. You can’t just leave the scene of an accident. And one that you caused! I’m already citing you for reckless driving, operating a motor vehicle while wearing a box on your head—that’s a 759.06, section 4a, article 13, and—”
“An’ stinkin’ whaaat? I’ll tell ya what! Ya look jus’ like someone I hate!”
The cop clenched his fists. “And who might that be?”
“Can’t remember the lousy chump’s name—but yooou look jus’ like him. Lookin’ at’cha dumb badge, I think youse even spell your crummy names alike.”
“Imbroglio would be the name,” the cop replied, his exquisitely sculpted cheek muscles twitching.
Gneeecey turned his key in the ignition. “You ain’t one of my regoogular cops, are ya? They always do what I tell ’em to do.”
“I need to see your license, registration and insurance,” demanded Officer Imbroglio, articulating each word clearly. “Take ’em out slowly.”
“Ain’t showin’ ya nuthin’, ’specially not slowly. Ya know who I am? I’m Grate Gizzygalumpaggis of this here county! I sign your stinkin’ paychecks!”
“I know who you are,” replied the officer. “You leave the scene of this accident and I’ll charge you with a 1096.27, section 78, article 3, and put a countywide APB out on you—”
“Kiss my left foot!” Gneeecey stuck his red high-top sneaker out of the window, up toward Officer Imbroglio’s nose, then gunned the gas. The Porsche farted down the road on its two rear tires.
And, about a half-hour later…we arrived at the Tricycle Cub…with a bang….
SFX: [Shattering Glass]
“See, Ig, I told ya somethin’ was gonna come wipe that grin offa your lousy huuuman face.”
“I don’t freakin’ believe this,” I wailed. “My legs were almost normal— and now I can hardly walk!”
“Guess yooou ain’t goin’ nowheres for a while. Not that’cha thought’cha were.”
A couple of Tricycle Club busboys snickered as I clutched their arms and negotiated my way around the piles of shattered glass that had enclosed the Tricycle Club’s distinctive art deco-style lobby.
“Sorry,” bleated Gneeecey. “Didn’t mean to actually drive into the place. The Ig here was distractipatin’ me.”
Yeah, right. Adding insult to injury, I’d been thrown from the vehicle. Just missed taking a dip in the restaurant’s fountain.
“You certainly do know how to make a grand entrance, Diroctor,” said a waxy-faced, silk-suited gentleman, poking his silver head through a doorway. His tone was icy.
“Sorry, Bob. Put it on my account.”
“Will do. And I’ll have the valet guys come get your, uh, car down off the top of our vending machine. One of my, uh, smaller guys’ll put it in the lot.”
“Heh, heh, thanks, Bob.”
“Car must be made of rubber,” remarked one of the busboys.
Bob’s electric-blue eyes narrowed with contempt. “Lady luck isn’t exactly on your side these days, is she, Diroctor?”
Gneeecey stuffed one of his laxative Health Cigars into his mouth and peered up at his Porsche. It rocked gently on its roof, atop the giant vending machine. Its tires were still spinning. “Why won’cha let ’em hang your coat, Ig? Nobody’s gonna steal that stooopid thing.”
“I’m cold,” I lied, perspiring.
“Must be sevooventy degrees—real warm for Octvember.”
“But it’s chilly in here,” I insisted, hobbling into the dimly lit dining room.
Glistening bicycle frames—aluminum and titanium—and reflectors, sequined saddlebags, silvery rims with ornate spokes, and every other cycling accessory imaginable adorned the walls, from top to bottom. Hundreds of handlebars sprouting lit streamers sparkled as they hung from the black ceiling.
“Interesticatin’ place, huh, Ig?”
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” I answered, craning my achy neck. “Whoa—what the—”
“Ya always gotta watch the ground. Bob there almost ran ya down.”
Sure enough, patrons and staff zoomed around on bikes. There wasn’t a table or chair in sight.
“Sorry, miss,” apologized Bob, grinning down at me from atop a unicycle. “I’ll show you to your bicycle. We’ve reserved a red three-speeder for you—it’s over there, in that cozy corner. And Diroctor Gneeecey, your usual two-wheeler’s waiting for you. Follow me.”
“Forgot to tell ya, Ig—everyone eats ridin’.”
“How,” I asked, dodging a fast-moving cyclist, “can anyone eat, riding a bicycle?”
“Look around ya—everyone is—even the little kids. Handlebars got these little grooves in ’em to hold your tray in place.”
“I can’t eat riding a bicycle,” I protested, as a unicycling waiter sped through someone’s spilled beverage and splashed me like a city cab on a rainy day.
“You’ll jus’ hafta try, Ig.”
“Can’t we sit at the bar?” I pointed to a row of stools, topped by shiny, red bike seats.
“Can’t eat there—that’s only for drinkin’. Bob, can we get the Ig here some trainin’ wheels?”
“Sorry, Diroctor,” he replied, regarding me with a mixture of pity and amusement. “We don’t have training wheels—we just assume that our customers all, uh, ride.”
“Maybe she could use the kickstand,” suggested Gneeecey, swerving so as not to collide with another diner who refused to make way. Everyone was too busy playing chicken to eat chicken.
“She can use her kickstand,” agreed Bob, “if she stays in that corner and doesn’t ruin the dining experiences of our other customers.”
“Well, hapoopy hatchday, Ig! Order anythin’ ya want.”
“Anything?” I asked, slumped against the wall, astride my two-wheeler.
“Yeah—I’ll jus’ decapitate it from your next paycheck.”
“In that case,” I replied, “I’m really not hungry.”
“C’mon, Ig—of course ya are! Don’t be a soiled sport.”
“You said you were treating.”
“I stinkin’ said I was takin’ ya to lunch, not payin’. There’s a difooference.”
My stomach rumbled so loudly that folks turned to look. “How much,” I wondered aloud, pointing to what looked like the only edible item on the entire menu, “is the Vegetarian Platter Number Five?”
Gneeecey chuckled. “If ya hafta ask, ya can’t afford it.”
An athletic, white-shirted young human glided over on his unicycle. “Bad afternoon,” he greeted
us in the customary way that Perswayssick County residents and Planet Eccchsers do. “My name’s Wade. I’ll be your server.”
“How much is your lousy Vegoogitarian Platter Number Five?”
“$14.95, sir,” replied Wade, as he pedaled his unicycle in place like a swimmer treading water. Excellent choice.”
“Wouldn’t numbers four, three, two, or one be cheaper?”
“Sir, we only have a Number Five. If you’d like, I’ll guide you to something more affordable—”
“Nah, don’t bother—the Ig here’s payin’.”
“My name’s Nicki, and yes, please, I’ll have the Vegetarian Platter Number Five.”
“She’s one of them vegoogitarians,” explained Gneeecey. “Blindfolds her plants when she eats broccoli.”
“One Vegetarian Platter Number Five. Excellent choice, Iggy. And you, sir?”
“Well,” answered Gneeecey, riding his mountain bike in circles, “I’ll have one of them Frummidge melts—nah, wait—doctor says I awready got too much cheese in my blood. I’ll jus’ have one of them there bread sandwiches.”
“Excellent choice, sir.”
“An’ gimme a bowl of fully simmered ice block soup. An’ some bloonked parrumph, wit’ extra blurdle sauce. On the side. An’ bring me a chain an’ some grease.”
“Trouble with your bicycle, sir?”
“Nah—jus’ want an apoopetizer.”
“Very good, sir,” replied Wade, his jade eyes studying Gneeecey. The auburn-haired, thirty-ish waiter’s demeanor was that of an actor-in-training, merely tolerating his lowly job until he could land his first big break. Wade cycled back with our orders in minutes.
“Wow!” I gaped, transfixed, as a waitress unicycled by, juggling flaming desserts.
“They charge more,” warned Gneeecey, “for juggled food.”
“Now, Ig,” began Gneeecey, slurping his soup noisily, “I wan’cha to redo that bweeek commercial.”
“You mean, the Buick spot?”
“Yeah. The bweeek commercial. Bogelthorpe himself called to say the music bed ya used made his voice sound fat.”
“Uh-huh.” I pushed some wilted parsley around on my spiked chrome plate.
“I stinkin’ can’t afford to lose that account. He owns the dealership.”
“Uh-huh.” I couldn’t take my mind off my legs—my numb, newly injured legs.
“Y’know, Ig, I think I’ll jus’ have good ol’ Stuey redo it.”
“Uh-huh. Okay. Whatever.”
“Your too-good buddy Cleeevoooveland’s too busy workin’ unpaid overtime.”
WGAS’s AM, FM, and TV stations were no longer running on autopilot—Gneeecey’s automated Mr. Bloopy-Loop had finally self-destructed. Guess he couldn’t stand working there either. So, it looked like Cleve and I would never get out to celebrate my birthday together or drive downtown to pick up his new guitar. I threw my fork down.
Stop playin’ wit’ your food!” admonished Gneeecey. “You’ll knock your tray offa your handlebars.”
“Uh-huh. Yeah. Y’know, Diroctor, I was wondering, how’s Spot?”
“Your pet puppy Oxymoron, who you nicknamed Spot. You know, living all alone high up in that condo in Seemingwhale Towers,” I replied, stunned. The only time the poor dog had any company was when the doorman showed up several times a day to feed and walk him.
“Oh, him. Dunno—he ain’t called lately.”
“Why don’t you keep him at home? I mean, why bother to keep a dog?” In Perswayssick County, many canine-humanoids kept pet dogs—tiny regular dogs. I’d been unable to convince Gneeecey to let his pup come live with us in the mansion. Cleve had even offered to look after him in his cramped studio apartment. Gneeecey seemed to think that supplying Spot with luxuries could replace any need for companionship.
“Why keep a dog,” began Gneeecey, “when ya can bark yourself?”
“That’s one of our revered Grand Oogitty-Boogitty’s wise sayin’s—I wouldn’t igspect yooou to understand.” The Grand Oogitty-Boogitty, the Eccchers’ spiritual leader, was an expressionless, overgrown toga-clad potato that arrived on the tail of a comet. Every year, at the end of Blirg, for the Grimace holiday.
Gneeecey dipped his bike chain into his cup of grease, threw the clanking thing up into the air, and caught it his yapper. And swallowed it whole.
“Why,” I asked, taking a sip of bad-tasting, lukewarm water, “do they call this the Tricycle Club? I haven’t seen a tricycle yet.”
“Well, ma’am,” answered Wade, rolling up with Gneeecey’s bread sandwich and bloonked
parrumph, “our chefs ride ’em. That’s why our food’s so known for its excellence—they don’t have to expend energy balancing while they cook.”
“Only busboys walk,” added Gneeecey. “They gotta earn their wheels.”
“Weird,” began Gneeecey, “ya forgot—”
“That’s Wade. Name’s Wade.”
“Name’s Wade,” growled the waiter, doing a slow burn.
“It is weird. Now, ya forgot my side of blurdle sauce. An’ gimme a crappucino. Gotta stay awake this mornin’. ’Kay, Weird?”
“I’ll get that right away, sir,” answered the scarlet-faced waiter.
With that, Gneeecey rode off to the restroom. And it took forever for him to return…
I tapped my watch. “You were in the men’s room for twenty minutes.”
Gneeecey glared at me. “Timin’ me while I’m in there?”
“I thought you decided to stick me with the check—that maybe you climbed out of a window or something.”
“Tol’ ya before—I’m takin’ this outta your pay.”
“Diroctor,” I began, anger crackling in my voice, “you’re not getting by with this—”
“Yummy!” He stabbed his fork into his chin-high mound of parrumph. It smelled like cauliflower gone bad, seasoned with sulfur and a dash of skunk. Smiling, he dipped a massive glob of the mashed potato-like mush into his headlight-shaped cup filled with pungent purple sauce. He then shoved it into his kisser. Half a foot of the tie-dyed mess hung from each corner of his mouth. It all moved upward as he chewed. Some remained glued to his fur. Totally grossed out, I had to look away.
[SFX: Bang] “Here’s your extra parrumph,” announced Wade, banging another dish onto Gneeecey’s gumped-up steel tray.
“I’ll try an’ finish it,” squealed the good diroctor as he steered around in lopsided circles. “But I’ll wanna take home any manevelins.”
“You know, stinkin’ leftovers.”
Wade frowned. “I’ll get you a doggy bag.”
“Nah, guy-wit’-the-weird-name, I ain’t sharin’ this wit’ Spot. Hardly ever even see him.”
“Whatever, sir. I’ll just bring you a waterproof receptacle so that you can bring your manevelins home.”
“Good—the stuff’s comin’ outta my ears.”
Parrumph was actually pouring out of Gneeecey’s black triangular ears, right onto his shoulders.
“Whattsamatter, Ig? Ain’cha never seen someone eat till it came outta their ears?”
“Uh, can’t say I have.” SFX: [Scary Ambience]
“Heya, Doc, whaddaya say?” SFX: [Scary Ambience] It was redheaded, broken-nosed Mark, flashing into our midst on a gunmetal ten-speeder. He was one of the evil Markmen. He had taken the time to create a body for himself by slathering his invisible form with mucky mierk. The toxic substance coated the banks of the Perswayssick River. The alien’s eyeballs glowed an unnatural lime-green.
“Heya, Doc, I’m talkin’ to ya!”
Gneeecey almost fell off his bike. “Uh, Mark, whazzup?”
“I expect you’ll tell us.”
“Y-yeah,” stammered Gneeecey as he knocked his parrumph to the floor and drove through it, leaving tire tracks in the mess.
SFX: [Fail Horn] SFX: [Magic Spell]
Nicki here again. Yep, that sure was quite a lunch. At least I have some good news. Gneeecey has actually agreed to attend therapy sessions with me to talk about some of these incidents.
Our therapist is a woman named Ingabore Scriblig. In Perswayssick County, it’s not unusual for people to own and run, I guess I’d call them, dual-purpose businesses. There’s Zeke’s Pizza and Transmissions. And the kindly Mrs. Scriblig is the proprietor of veggie meatball shop Ingabore’s Meatball Express and she’s also a licensed therapist.
Perswayssick County is populated by a mix of canine-humanoids like Gneeecey and other animal-humanoids, plus humans. These fifteen million citizens of Planet Eccchs were stranded when their planet accidentally grazed Earth’s atmosphere, right over my home state of New Jersey. The mishap created a whole new dimension. Mrs. Scriblig, who has a strong Eccchsian accent, is one of the many humans living in Perswayssick County. Here’s how our therapy session went.
IS: Bad afternoon, Nicki, and Doctor Gneeecey.
N: Bad afternoon—(Gneeecey interrupts)
G: Bad afternooon, Mrs. Scribbles or whatever yer name is. An’ call me Diroctor Gneeecey—I’m a doctor an’ director of this here lousy county! I’m stinkin’ Grate Gizzygalumpaggis—but I shorten it to Grate Gizzy, y’know, to conservate valuable vowels an’ consonants!
IS: Alrightsky den, Diroctor Gneeeecey. And you can bot’ just call me Grrrandma.
N: Thanks so much for seeing us, Grandma.
G: Well, Grandma gotta see us, don’t she? She got eyes in her head!
IS: I do hawe two of them, and they have looked ower the qvestionnaires you bot filled out in dee vaiting room. Now, Diroctor, do you really tink it vas good to driwe so recklessly, vit a cookie box ower your head? And to run avay from de police? Vas it nice of you to take dat birtday lunch out of Nicki’s pay? You inwited her out! Vell? Vhy are you just staring at your red, rather grimy sneakers?
G: Guess I shoulda cut eye holes in the cookie box so I coulda seen better.
IS: I’m sorry, I don’t tink anyvun should driwe wit’ a box on their head.
G: It really ain’t that dangerousical if next time I make eyeholes in the lousy box. An’ I guess I should’na made the Ig pay. I’ll give her back the lousy fourteen-ninety-five for her dumb meal.
IS: Now, dat’s vhat I like to hear!
N: Thank you, Diroctor.
G: In little bits, though. A few bucks each paycheck. It was yer stooopid birthday…
IS: I don’t tink Nicki’s birtday ees stupid. Vhy do you say dat?
G: Well, Graaandma, we could argue ’bout all this junk for hours, but I gotta get back to the office. Got lots of junk to take care of.
IS: But vee hawe a lot more to discuss.
G: Ain’t got no time to disgust nuthin’ else now.
IS: Vell den, before you go, vhat have you learned from all of dis?
G: That cleanliness is nexta Goldilocks?
SFX: [Fail Horn]
Well, I could argue for hours too, but instead, I’m thanking you for hanging out with us, and I look forward to next time. Now, I’m turning it back over to my alter ego, Vicki….
SFX: [Magic Spell]
Music/Outro: Thanks, Nicki! Vicki here again. Thanks so much for tuning in to “Perswayssick Radio: Unearthly Comedy.” We hope you enjoyed traveling to this loopy dimension with us and that you’ll come along again! Our new episodes drop every Tuesday morning! Please make sure to subscribe and tell a friend! And keep on laughing!
Frank: It’s a Gneeecey thing! [SFX: Door Slam] ###