“Let’s Have Another Piece of Coffee, Let’s Have Another Cup of Pie,” Episode 26
Nicki recalls the night she stayed in Gneeecey’s lookalike miniature pet puppy Spot’s four hundred-fourteenth floor condo. After serving bitter, gelatinous Freak O’Nature Merk Perk coffee to Nicki and childhood pal Sooperflea, Gneeecey has a meltdown recounting being bullied during his school days on Planet Eccchs.
And Gneeecey shows a sudden interest in Nicki’s possessions lost in the Perswayssick River during her explosive arrival in his unearthly dimension.
We thank Marysol Rodriguez, Sandi Solá, Sal Solá, Marcellina Ramirez, Rick “El Molestoso” Rivera, Diane L., and Toni Aponte for being generous supporting members via BuyMeACoffee.com! We appreciate their sponsorship and support more than words can say!
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https://www.amazon.com/Vicki-Sola/e/B07J29RVMQ (Amazon Author Page, check out our Gneeecey/Nicki e-books and paperbacks!)
https://www.nfreads.com/interview-with-author-vicki-sola/ (Interview with Vicki Solá)
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Transcript / “Let’s Have Another Piece of Coffee, Let’s Have Another Cup of Pie,” written by Vicki Solá. All content © 2022 Perswayssick Radio: Unearthly Comedy.
Music/Intro: Hi there, I’m author and radio host Vicki Solá, 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] [Door Opens]
DOCTOR ALEXANDRA C. IDNAS: Hallo, Nicki, good to see you again dis veek!
NICKI RODRIGUEZ: Hi, Doctor Idnas. Good to see you as well. And hello, Mrs. Scriblig, I mean, Grandma, as you prefer to be called, good to see you too.
INGABORE SCRIBLIG, AKA, GRANDMA: Hallo, hallo, Nicki, how doodle you do? Vee are both looking forward to your telling us about your latest memories!
DI: Yas, deese previously lost memories are resurfacing in chronological order now. It looks like dee dimension burn dat has been plaguing you since your arrival here in our Persvayssick County is seriously receding!
IS: Yah, Doctor Idnas and I, your terapist, are so happy about dis breaktru!
N: I’m happy too, so relieved to finally be able to begin putting the pieces of this strange puzzle back together. Like I said at the end of our last session, I feel somehow lighter!
SFX: [Clinking Coins]
N: What—what’s that noise?
DI: Eet sounds like eet ees coming from dee closet over dere!
SFX: [Door Open]
GNEEECEY: Ah, hah, haah, fiduciary! SFX: [Clinking Coins]
DI: Doctor Gneeecey, vhat are you doing here?
G: That’s Diroctor Gneeecey! Rememboober? I’m a lousy doctor an’ director of your here Perswayssick County—ah, hah, haah, fiduciary! SFX: [Clinking Coins]
IS: Cover your nose, please, Diroctor Gneeecey. Now, vhy do you keep showing up vhen you are not scheduled! Dis is Nicki’s session!
DI: And vhy are you sneezing dimes into your hands like dat?
G: Ah, hah, hah, fiduciary! SFX: [Clinking Coins] I been sneezin’ out dimes all day. Now here, I jus’ came by wit’ these papers ’cause that Earth human Vicki Solá stinkin’ forgot to thank these other Earth humans. Here. SFX: [Rustling Papers] Ah, hah, haah, fiduciary! SFX: [Clinking Coins]
DI: Diroctor, I tink you should head over to dee clinic next door at Florence Ferguson Hospital. I can write you a referral right now.
G: Ain’t goin’ to no clinic. I’m sneezin’ out some of my favorite stuff! Always hoped somethin’ like this would hapoopen! Goin’ to the bank instead to deposit all these dimes! Guh-bye!
SFX: [Door Slam] [Boing] [Duck Horn]
G: Ow! Fell on my lousy bimbus again— Ah, hah, haah, fiduciary! SFX: [Clinking Coins]
DI: Vell, I vill read dis announcement: Vee vant to tank Marysol Rodriguez, Sal Solá, Sandi Solá, who seems very familiar to me, and Marcellina Ramirez, Rick “El Molestoso” Rivera, Diane L., and Toni Aponte for being generous supporting members of “Persvayssick Radio: Unearthly Comedy” through BuyMeACoffee.com.
IS: And now, Nicki, sit down and make yourself comfortable. You’ve told us about how you vere on your vay to your first vacation in five years, and suddenly—explosively—you ended up in our dimension of Persvayssick County. Gneeecey’s childhood friend, superhero Sooperflea, rescued you vhen your car vas pushed off dee Persvayssick River Bridge by some invisible force.
DI: Yah, and last veek, you told us how you first met our Gneeecey, and how Sooperflea, oddervise known as Flea and Fleaglossitty, drove you to Gneeezle’s Restaurant—
N: Yes, Doctor Idnas, a horrible experience! I was starving, dizzy, and just plain traumatized! Nothing on Gneeecey’s menu but stewed athletic socks, sautéed nuts and bolts. And algae-covered tire gauges.
IS: Yah, vee generally try to stay avay from places like dat.
N: And then I got into real trouble. After Gneeecey scolded his Gneeezle’s delivery boy Altitude—he’s actually a mouse—for coming in late, before he began closing up his restaurant, I decided to stretch my dimension burn-weakened legs to show Flea that I was not too weak to attempt a return home. Flea had promised to get me back to my Garden State Parkway—in regular New Jersey, not this one here in Perswayssick County. Then he insisted that I stay, that I was too weak and could die if I tried to return to my world too soon. I was distraught—I—I—
DI: Relax, Nicki. Eet ees alright. Vee are here vit you.
N: [takes a deep breath] I mean, I have to get back home—to my family, and my jobs!
IS: Yah, Nicki, vee totally understand.
N: Okay…so…so I get up and walk over to the back, by the kitchen, to these ugly, really fake-looking puke-pink plastic Greek columns. And…and…I reached out and touched one…lightly…with just one finger…and…and…the whole thing cracked in half and crashed to the floor….
IS: Oh, my, Nicki. You must have felt terrible!
N: Yes, Grandma. It was an accident. I’d never do something like that on purpose. Ever! Next thing I knew, Gneeecey came climbing up on my shoulders, pulling out my hair and screaming at me that I busted his whole restaurant. Then, I yelled for Flea, who finally peeled him off me.
DI: Dat vas trauma upon trauma upon trauma!
N: Yes, Doctor Idnas. And then, after Gneeecey collected money from his patrons and locked the place up, he, Flea, and I headed for Seemingwhale Towers. Gneeecey had grudgingly agreed to let Flea and me stay in his dog’s condo for the night.
DI: Nicki, take another deep breath and tell us vhat happened next.
IS: Yah, Nicki, please do.
N: [takes a deep breath] Okay…here goes. This is how it all went down….
SFX: [Magic Spell]
“Watch out for that treeeee!” warned Gneeecey, to no avail. Flea was already down. “Ya got astinkmatism in your left eye, don’cha?”
SFX: [Duck Horn] replied the superhero’s nose.
“I remember, Fleaglossitty, ya always wore glaaasses when we were kids,” continued Bizzig “Zig” Gneeecey, money bag wedged between his knees as he secured his precious Gneeezle’s Restaurant’s dozen locks and alarms. “Big, thick, funny-lookin’ glaaasses. Ya better thank your lucky gizzards that science came up wit’ contractin’ lenses.”
“An’ you, Zig—you’re still allergic to fracas trees.”
“Yeah—sneezed down four tonight. An’ I do pride myself on sneezin’ phonetically! Uh-oh, Flea, take cover—ah, hah, haaah, hatchoo!” SFX: [Duck Horn]
“It’s okay, Zig, in the superhero academy, they taught us how to duck.”
“Y’know, Fleaglossitty, I’m hopin’ one day I’ll sneeze actual mon-ney! Heh hah, heh haah!”
As the two canine-humanoids conversed, Gneeecey’s giant delivery boy Altitude—a mouse— tiptoed over to his famous red bike, roped to a nearby lamppost. His excuse for being very late to work had been that he’d had two flat tires. Well, both of ’em appeared to be fully inflated. Stealing furtive glances over his shoulder, he unfastened his two-wheeler, hopped on, and flew down Murgatroyd Avenue and out of sight.
“Let’s stinkin’ go,” barked Gneeecey, slinging his money sack over his shoulder. He tossed a handful of trash onto the sidewalk, at the black-furred Flea’s feet. SFX: [Metal Crash] Snout crinkled, the superhero pointed to the heap of rubbish.
“Someone else’ll pick it up,” stated Gneeecey, with his usual air of self-importance.
“Yeah…right.” Bulgy oval eyes rolling upward, Flea whisked up the litter and dropped it into a nearby receptacle. SFX: [Metal Crash]
“Told ya someone else would pick it up. I’ll meet youse at the condo.” Gneeecey shot me an icy glare, then dashed across the street. He began ripping “out of order” signs—a whole city block’s worth—off parking meters adjacent to his snakelike, fully articulated thirty-two-door white limo.
SFX: [Fail Horn] [Magic Spell]
Miraculously, we arrived at Seemingwhale Towers intact. Flea’s already poor driving skills had deteriorated further after only a couple of hours away from the wheel. I was too weak to drive my own car. “Prndl was the prettiest girl in third grade,” he recalled, scraping my red 64-and-a-half vintage Mustang’s tires against the curb—struggling with the shifter and probably burning out my clutch.
By the time we finally stepped out onto the pavement, Gneeecey was already dragging his loot up the walk toward the skyscraper’s entrance.
“Bad evening,” simpered a patent leather-haired doorman, leaping out of the way when Gneeecey smashed the door open. SFX: [Bang] The slender middle-aged fellow’s accent and long, pointy incisors reminded me of a certain Transylvanian nobleman’s.
Gneeecey pushed past him. “Baaad evenin’, Bogelthorpe. An’ I ain’t greasin’ your palm—ya didn’t hold the door.”
“Wery good, sir.” We followed Gneeecey through the marble-floored lobby and into an elevator. Its neutral shades were most welcome after Gneeezle’s Restaurant. My eyes were still playing tricks on me after that whole visual nightmare. I studied the blinking, gold-toned control panel as Gneeeecy pressed buttons. I gulped. “Four hundred-fifty floors?!” This was one heck of a dream, I thought to myself.
“You’re not dreamin’,” said Flea.
“Hey,” I shouted, “you assured me that you wouldn’t violate my mental privacy with your, uh, superhero ESP powers!” He was a good guy, but enough was enough.
“Sorry, Nicki. guess I jus’ guessed what’cha were thinkin’.”
“Only the highest for my dog,” stated Gneeecey. “I can afford it. He lives on the four hundred-fourteenth floor.”
“When we built this place, we were real astoopt—we skipped from four-twelve to four-fourteen, so there wouldn’t be no four-thirteen.” He smiled condescendingly. “Woulda been bad luck, y’know?”
I bit my tongue.
“An’ it was my idea to make this one buildin’ insteada two. Cheaper. More cost-defective.”
My fortunately empty stomach plummeted through the soles of my feet as the elevator continued its high-speed ascent. SFX: [Elevator Chimes] And Gneeecey suddenly appeared thoughtful. “Don’cha wonder,” he asked, studying the ceiling, “what would happen if ya jumped real high when ya were goin’ down real fast? Would the ceilin’ hit your head?”
He jumped until our rocketing capsule, which he’d forgotten had been soaring upward, slid to a smooth halt. SFX: [Elevator Chimes]
Gneeecey, Sooperflea, and I exited into the plush corridor. “We put suite 414-A all the way down the hall, to fool burglars,” Gneeecey explained as we waded through ankle-deep crimson carpeting. “Putting it in the front woulda been too oblivious.” He dropped his sack and began fumbling with keys.
When Gneeecey finally opened the door, there, on four paws, stood a tiny white-and-black pooch, absolutely identical to him, except for size. SFX: [Puppy Barking] The little yapper, who couldn’t have weighed more than two pounds, bounced into the air like a spring. The pup’s wildly wagging tail created a small windstorm. Gneeecey caught his look-alike in midair.
“This is Oxymoron. I call him Spot for short. Conserves vowels, Oh, an’ I did the decoratin’ here, too. Did it up the same way I did the restaurant—wit’ lotsa classy downtown sophistiphoostication an’ junk.”
Gneeezle’s had indeed metastasized its way uptown. Purple walls, orange beanbag chairs, and hot pink shag reigned supreme, accented by color-coordinated lava lamps and Grecian end tables. It wasn’t wise to look in any one direction too long.
“Spot loves it here, don’cha boy?”
“Did the that lousy doorman Bogelthorpe feed ya that new food I sent?”
“Grrrruff! Ruff ralph!”
“You’ll get used to it—it’s a inquired taste. Freak O’Nature gave me fifty free cases.”
“Did Bogelthorpe walk ya?”
“I wish you’d learn to use your own bat’room. I better call down an’ remind ol’ Bogelthorpe that I’m jus’ visitin’—he might think I’m gonna take care of ya.”
The air was thick with doggie smells, and mountains of shoes cluttered the living room. Crouching down, I read labels. The chewed-up pumps and oxfords were actually pricey French and Italian imports. “Spot takes after meee,” declared Gneeecey. “He’s too cultural an’ discrimulatin’ for toys.”
Weak and dizzy, I braced myself against the wall. Gneeecey peered down his snout at me. “I only bring back the best luxurities when I visit your mudball plaaanet.”
My eyes widened. “You—you visit my pl-pl—”
“Why don’cha siddown?” He pointed to two squat orange blobs. “They’re occasional chairs—occasionally they let’cha sit in ’em.”
Before Flea even finished lowering himself, his occasional chair threw him like a defiant stallion. But luck smiled upon me for the first time that hideous day—I sat and wasn’t thrown. Sighing, I watched Spot, otherwise known as Oxymoron, nose around in a box labeled “Puppy’s First Chemistry Set.” Excited, he galloped over and deposited a slimy red microscope in my lap. Although riddled with bite marks, the polyurethane instrument appeared fully functional. We engaged in an exuberant tug-of-war.
“Don’t play wit’ him—he’ll get used to it!” Gneeecey scolded me. “Spot, go watch TV.”
The pup dropped his toy. He trotted purposefully—and obediently—to a switch partially hidden in the shag carpeting. With a click of his penny-sized paw, he activated a screen that transformed an entire wall into a vividly-hued test pattern.
“Put on my station, Spot—it’s more ignorcational.” Oxymoron complied, clicking to Channel 3½. The pup flopped down, fascinated by the sight of a singing scarecrow.
“This film’s about a wizard of ounces,” Gneeeecey informed me. “Y’know, a sorcerer of measurements. Cute little documentary.”
“One of my all-time favorite movies,” I replied. “but it’s not a doc—”
“Who aaasked ya?” Scowling, Gneeecey glanced at his watch. “Can’t stay—got lotsa important junk to do. That’s how it is wit’ us busy, important people—we’re real busy an’ important. Youse want some coffee before I go? Well? Tell me quick—yup or nope? Nope or yup? Will somebody answer awready?”
“I’ll have some, Zig,” replied Flea.
I nodded in agreement. “Me too—some caffeine would really hit the spot.”
The elbow-high Gneeecey aimed his clenched, revolving fists at my kneecaps. “You’re gonna hit my dog wit’ coffee? I’ll have ya arresticated—I’ll make a snitizen’s arrest right now an’—”
“That’s not what I meant—”
“Ya gonna hit my Spot wit’ coffee?”
My muscles tensed. “‘Hit the spot’ is a figure of speech, An expression we use back on Earth, to indicate that something—like a cup of coffee—would really be great.” Shuddering, I realized I’d just referred to my planet as being somewhere else.
“You’re not gonna throw hot coffee on Spot?”
“I’d never harm Oxymoron—”
“Ya mean Spot—stop wastin’ vowels—an’ ya wouldn’t harm him, but would ya hurt him?”
“Zig, ‘harm’ means—”
“I meant,” I shouted, “ I’d never hurt Oxymoron—uh, Spot—”
“Nebberd-kinnezzard?” demanded Gneeecey, fists still clenched.
“Nebberd-kinnezzard. Means ‘extra-never’ on my Planet Eccchs, an’ here in Perswayssick County.’ It’s a, uh, igspression— like youse use on your Earth.”
“Nebberd-kinnezzard,” I assured him, “would I ever hurt your dog, or any other dog! I love dogs!”
He unclenched his furry fists. Hoping that our relationship might be on the verge of becoming friendlier—or at least less hostile—I ventured, “Flea calls you ‘Zig.’ Is that short for—”
“Only my friends can call me Zig,” he shrieked, shattering any illusions of impending camaraderie. “So that means yoooou caaan’t.”
Staring at Gneeecey through narrowed eyelids, I massaged my sore scalp. He had climbed me like a ladder, right up onto my shoulders, yanking strands of hair from my scalp after I’d accidentally broken one of his restaurant’s fake puke-pink plastic Greek columns. “I wasn’t asking you if I could—”
“Well ya caaan’t!” The white-and-black Jack Russell-like canine-humanoid stomped into the kitchen, presumably to brew coffee…or something like it….
Flea shrugged. “Ya can still call me Flea.”
SFX: [Fail Horn] [Magic Spell]
SFX: [Boiling Radiator] [Metal Crashing] [Flushing Toilet] [Shattering Glass] [Glass Debris] [Pouring Sand] [Clown Horn]
SFX: [Bang] “Sorry it took so stinkin’ long,” snarled Gneeecey, bursting through the kitchen door toting a tray containing three tottering mugs and a heap of cutlery. “Sorry for meeee, that is—it’s my valuable time bein’ wasted—hadda make your lousy coffee from scratch!” A molasses-like stream trickled down his left elbow. Flea and I exchanged glances.
Gneeecey shoved a gooey mug filled with a solid, gelatinous material into my hands. Balancing the burning beaker on my knee, I shifted uneasily, turned off by the brown goop’s sickly-sweet smell.
“Whattsamatter?” he demanded, irritated, I guess, by my scientific approach. “Ain’cha never ate coffee?”
“I was just, uh, looking at how different—”
“It’s Merk Perk, the coffee ya eat wit’ a fork,” he explained, a hint of defensiveness creeping into his shrill tone. “Another fine Freak O’Nature food! Like it says on the package, ‘look for the three-headed hawk!’”
Slobbering, Gneeecey and Flea attacked their wobbly mud with glee. SFX: [Dog Eating] Aware that caffeine deprivation wouldn’t help my migraine, I took a stab, literally, at the jiggly java and put fork to mouth. My eyes popped out, and my cheeks sucked in.
The two canine-humanoids gawked. “What’s thaaat?” jeered Gneeecey. “Some kinda fish imitation?”
The bittersweet flavor and gruesome aftertaste sickened me. A single word came to mind. And I was unable to prevent its escape from my pursing lips. “Yiccch!” Without apology, I rested the vessel on an end table.
Like a heat-seeking missile, Oxymoron’s pint-sized body fired across the room, straight into my cup, knocking it to the floor. SFX: [Dish Ceramic] Only the tip of his ceramic-battering tail was visible.
“Spot! What baaad manners!” howled Gneeecey, as he wiped his honking schnozzle on his left wrist. SFX: [Duck Horn] “Ow—this stinkin’ watch always hurts my nose!”
Having gulped down every last glob of gelled joe, Oxymoron backed out of the rolling mug and zoomed down the hallway.
Without warning, Gneeecey hurled himself to the floor, convulsed with sobs. SFX: [Sobs] Flea struggled to pull his pal’s rigid body up off the carpet. “C’mon, Bizzigsickles.” Clutching clumps of frizzled shag, Gneeecey resisted with all his might. After a good ten minutes of howling, he crawled into my lap. His pear-shaped body was surprisingly light. “In school,” Gneeecey blubbered, swollen eyes gazing into mine, “everyone always made funna me ’cause I loved mon-ney, an’ I even said the word real funny. They called me ‘Cash Register-head.’” I listened, rapt. “They’d put a dollar bill on the floor—wit’ invisible string tied around it—then they’d pull it an’ make me fall. Once, in chemistry class, they even set my propeller beanie on fire.”
Flea chuckled. “Ya wouldn’t take that hat off, even though your head was burnin’ up.”
“Couldn’t. Lousy hat cost me ten whole zork—that’s about twenny Jersey bucks today.”
“Lotsa moolah, back then.”
“For a stinkin’ whole year—thirteen months—I delivered the Daily Prognosticator an’ sold Rindom Doodles door-to-door, plus I schlocked grongoids on weekends, to earn enough mon-ney to send away for that hat.”
“What,” I asked, “are grongoids?”
“They’re these hairy gourds that grow on fracas trees,” explained Gneeecey. “Ya eat ’em.”
Flea swallowed another mouthful of solid coffee. “Your allergies really kicked up, schlockin’ those grongoids.”
Tears trailed down Gneeecey’s dirty cheeks. “Well, it was worth every lousy sneeze—whadda beaudiful stinkin’ hat!” He punched my kneecap. Hard.
“Had red, multidirectional propellers,” recalled Flea. “Turbo-driven—not bad for somethin’ advertised on the back of a cereal box.”
Gneeecey bunched up his shirt and blew his nose. SFX: [Nose Blow] “I ran down the hall, fast as I could! The fire was outta control—set off all the alarms!” SFX: [Barbecue Sizzle][Fire Alarm]
Flea nodded. “My geometry test got canceled—”
“Stop interrupticatin’, Fleaglossitty! So, I stuck my head in the janitor’s bucket. Even underwater, I could hear everyone laughin’.”
“An’ we got dismissed early—”
“When I finally came up for air, my hat was ruint! All that was left was melted propellers!”
Flea patted his buddy’s shuddering shoulder.
“Looky.” Gneeecey pointed to a microscopic, paisley-shaped scar on his lowered dome. “I still got a mark, right here. It’s permutant—hair don’t never grow there no more.”
“I’m sorry, Doctor—”
He slapped my thigh. “An’ yooooou. Ya come an’ bust my beaudiful column—accident, schmaccident—”
“I really didn’t mean to—”
“Then ya threaten Spot an’ tell me my lousy coffee stinks!”
“I’ve worked like a dog to get where I am today!” He jumped down off my lap. “An’ I shown ’em all! I’m a zillionaire! Ya hear me?”
I reached into my purse for a roll of antacids.
“I’m meeeee!” He smacked my leg for emphasis. Wincing, I popped a chalky, cherry-flavored tablet.
“Look, Fleaglossitty—she was lyin’ about havin’ no food!
“This isn’t food,” I protested. “It’s—”
“Who asked ya?”
Flea rose. “Zig—”
“Lemme keep tellin’ her how much better than everyone else I am. How G-R-A-T-E I am!”
Flea fell backward into the violet sofa.
“Everyone loves me—I love me! Ya hear me?”
“Yes,” I replied, chewing on a second antacid tablet.
“An’ I got lotsa education an’ junk. On your dopey planet, I’d proboobably win a nobular prize.”
“Uh-stinkin’-huh? That’s all ya can say? Y’know what I do when I’m bored? Brain surgery!”
Eyelids clamped shut, I visualized myself helpless on an operating table, Gneeecey’s chainsaw poised over my skull.
“Stop calling me—”
“I am grate!” he screamed, hurling an end table at me. “G-R-A-T- E! Ya hear me?”
“Uh-huh,” I replied, ducking. SFX: [ Wood Demolition Bang]
He pounded his fists on his chest. “I’m stinkin’ filthy rich! Stinkin’ an’ filthy an’ rich!” He collapsed into a beanbag chair. After several moments of sweet silence, my empty stomach roared. Oxymoron jumped sideways.
Under most other circumstances, I would have been embarrassed. Flea ripped open a snack bag of Freak O’Nature Rindom Doodles and held out a handful. “Try one.”
Noticing the razor-sharp quills that covered each rust-colored arrow, I declined. Even so, the superhero dumped a mound in my lap. “Y’know what they say—‘One day, that three-headed hawk’s gonna bite’cha.’”
A flake punctured my thumb. Gneeecey gaped at my wound. “In all my years sawin’ skulls open, I ain’t never seen real Ig blood. It’s red—like ours!”
Flea threw a doodle up in the air, caught it on his tongue, and scarfed it down. “Rindom’s a valuable grain, right Zig?”
The superhero’s jaw dropped. “Zig—ya jus’—”
“Jus’ stinkin’ whaaat?”
“You’re exhibitin’ symptoms of infected speech! A little while ago, ya said ‘proboobably’ insteada ‘probably’! An’ last night ya told me ya seen chairs an’ trees walkin’—”
“Awready told ya, I ain’t goin’ to no nervologist.”
“But Doctor Idnas is supposed to be really—”
“Y’know,” continued Gneeecey, changing the subject, “ya can actually see our beaudiful Planet Eccchs’s golden rindom fields all the way from outer space.”
“Speaking of space,” I began, “would someone please tell me what’s going on? I mean, I can’t actually be on another planet—”
“I told ya after I rescued ya, all your questions’ll be answered,” snapped Flea. “Later. Later."
“I need to know now—”
“Later!” Flea cracked his fur-covered knuckles. “It’s not as simple as ya think.”
Gneeecey’s piercing peepers drilled through me. “Ain’cha gonna make nice an’ try one of our Rindom Doodles?”
I thought it best to change the subject. “My luggage!” I exclaimed, actually only just remembering it. “All my stuff’s at the bottom of your river.” Grimacing, I pictured slimy goonafish swimming through my underwear and other possessions.
“Couldn’t save you, your car, an’ your stuff!” shouted Flea. “I hadda prioritize—that’s one of the first things they teach us at the superhero academy.”
“I—I didn’t mean you should’ve—”
“He’s a superhero, not a porter, ya Ig!” exclaimed Gneeecey, delighted to have an opportunity to take a shot at me without incurring Flea’s disapproval.
I plucked a Rindom Doodle from my cotton sleeve, ripping it. “Flea, you saved my life—I can never, uh, nebberd-kinnezzard repay you for that. And I’m certainly not criticizing you.”
Gneeecey screwed up his snout like he smelled rotten eggs frying on the Jersey turnpike in July. “She certaincerely did criticalize you!”
“It’s okay, Nicki—I know what’cha meant. I understand—”
“I know y’know I meant y’knew what I understaaand we both knew ya were sayin’,” cackled Gneeecey, shoving a finger down his throat.
“Thanks, Flea,” I replied, ignoring Gneeecey. “Y’know, I do think I’ve lost some really important stuff. Confidential stuff. I can’t even remember exactly what—my head hurts and I’m so dizzy right now—”
The superhero’s big brown eyes widened with concern.
“Do you think there’s any way I can retrieve my bags?”
“Not likely,” answered Flea. “Aren’t too many divers worth their salt who’d venture in those murky waters—for any price. Way too dangerous, especially what wit’ all these sudden inversions we’ve been having lately.”
“Isn’t there gonna be that festival by the river?”
“Yeah, Nicki—but no one goes in the water.”
Gneeecey’s eyeballs had taken on the appearance of cash register windows, displaying actual dollar-and-cent signs. I expected him to begin beeping like one. SFX: [Electronic Cash Register] Suddenly, he seemed much friendlier. “What was in your luggage? How valoolable was your stuff?”
“Zig—ya jus’ did it again—”
Gneeecey’s noggin spun around. “Fleaglossitty—for Bogelthorpe’s sake!” Lowering his voice, he turned back to me. “Maybe I can help.”
He spoke fast. “Ya lose any mon-ney? Any jooooolery? Any secret formulas? All your luggage fell in? How many pieces? What did they look like?”
My fuzzy mind drew blanks. “I think I had a coupla small suitcases, and my green duffel bag. And—I think—my maroon leather portfolio.” I groaned. “I sure hope that didn’t end up in the river—”
“What part of the river?” inquired Gneeecey, doodles crackling in his mouth like fireworks. “Wasn’t it by the middle of the bridge? Ya went off halfway, right? Well, stinkin’ answer me awready! Yup or nope? Nope or yup?”
Flea stood. “It’s late. Let’s call it a night.”
Gneeecey’s dark eyes bored into mine with a spooky intensity. “Didn’t your car go off halfway? Yup or nope? Nope or yup?”
A feeling of dread gripped me. I’d already given him too much information. “Yeah,” I answered casually. “I guess.”
“Ya guess what? Were ya goin’ north or south?”
“I dunno.” Who freakin’ even knew where north or south or anywhere was around here….
A nefarious grin illuminated Gneeecey’s begrimed face. He stared into the distance through narrowed lids, rubbing his palms together. Perswayssick County’s Grate Gizzy-elect plunged a last wiggly forkful of coffee into his pie-hole. SFX: [Belch] “’Scuze me, heh, heh. Gotta go home an’ count my mon-ney now, plus I gotta call Mark—”
Flea’s head tilted. He didn’t approve of Gneeecey’s strange new waxy-faced, gray-suited friend.
Gneeecey didn’t notice. “An’ I gotta put the final touches on Petey’s papers.”
“Things workin’ out wit’ the foster family?”
“They’re adoptin’ him, thanks to meee, great philanthropoopist that I am—”
“As I was sayin’, I completely rehabituated Petey—replaced his busted handle an’ straightened out his bars. Groceries’ll never fall through him again.”
I must’ve looked puzzled. “Remember that Shopping Cart Orphanage we passed on our way here, Nicki? Remember that fenced yard?” asked Flea.
I nodded, still confused.
“Y’know,” continued the superhero, “full of poor shopping carts that are rusted, bent, an’ even missin’ wheels? Zig here rehabilitates ’em! He’s a dedicated volunteer!”
“Yep,” piped in Gneeecey.
Flea smiled. “How carin’ an’ selfless.”
“Best of all, the family’s payin’ me top dollar.”
SFX: [Fail Horn] [Cuckoo Clock]
“Oh, looky what time it is. Gotta go—also gotta work on my altercatin’ plans against the divloppers, in case the election don’t go the way we’re tryin’ to rig it—I mean—”
“Ya mean developers, Zig. you’re tryin’ to keep the developers from—”
“I was wonderin’ when ya’d finally get it,” snapped Gneeecey. “Even our dopey pal Flubbubb understands that redivlopment would ruin the county’s ekookology—”
“There ya go again—”
“I mean, whaddabout the poor goonafish?”
The Perswayssick River was teeming with those luminous blue two-tailed, no-headed fish—a staple on Gneeecey’s Gneeezle’s menu.
“Where,” continued Gneeecey, “could they swim in pieces an’ have hapoopy, produckative lives? Poor dopes ain’t got heads.”
I had to speak up. “I couldn’t help noticing goonafish entrées listed all over your Gneeezle’s menu. You say you care about them, then you eat them?”
Gneeecey waved his finger in my flinching face. “We wouldn’t eat ’em if we didn’t like ’em, would we? An’ we’re helpin’ Ol’ Mother Hubbard thin out their popoopulation—makes more room for the rest of ’em. An’ havin’ more room makes ’em hapoopier—it’s a vicious cycle.”
“Isn’t your logic kind of muddled?”
“If our side does stuff to ’em, it’s different. We got the right reasons. It’s the reasons that count—not what we do.”
“I don’t understand—”
Gneeecey peered down his snoot at me. “I’m a crusader. One day they’ll name a turnpike restroom after me.”
“Zig,” began Flea, “ya just said our buddy Flubbubb understands. So how ’bout lettin’ him play his triangle wit’ us when we perform at the Save the Goonafish rally tomorrow night?”
“Certaintifically not! He suffers from xylophobia.”
“He’s afraida xylophones.”
“I refuse to disgust it any further.”
“Aww, put yourself in his place, Zig—imagine how he feels.”
Gneeecey looked up at the high, purple sparkle-painted ceiling. “Like a spigot-brain, I guess. Hmmm...I wonder how much divin’ lessons cost?” Flea sank back into the couch.
Gneeecey shuffled over to his money sack. “C’mere, Spot.” Oxymoron trotted over obediently. “Don’t spend all this right away,” warned Gneeecey, depositing a wad of bills in the pup’s mouth. “An’ don’t use too much electricity—remember to turn off that lousy air conditioner. An’ don’t forget, I make your lifestyle possible—I’m your bent factor.”
“Woof—scrrrimp!” replied Oxymoron, through his cash-clogged muzzle.
“Call the office if ya need anythin’.” Face suddenly contorted with fury, Gneeecey addressed me. “Ya may be leavin’ tomorrow, but’cha ain’t seen the laaast of me. An’ that story ’bout my hat an’ the fire—happened to someone else. Bad night, Fleaglossitty.”
“Bad night, Zig.”
Gneeecey stormed out, nearly slamming the door off its hinges.
SFX: [Door Slam] [Boing] [Duck Horn]
“Ow!” shouted Gneeecey from out in the corridor. “Jus’ fell on my stinkin’ bimbus!”
[Fail Horn] [Magic Spell]
Nicki Rodriguez here again! We hope you enjoyed this week’s episode of “Perswayssick Radio: Unearthly Comedy!” And we thank you for listening. Please help us spread the word—please tell a friend about us! We appreciate every single download! And again, thank you, Marysol Rodriguez, Sal Solá, Sandi Solá, Marcellina Ramirez, Rick “El Molestoso” Rivera, Diane L., and Toni Aponte, for being generous supporting members through BuyMeACoffee.com!
Time now to turn it back over to my alter ego, Vicki. Until next time, be well and stay safe!
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] ###