PERSONAL DIARY OF MUCK FLECKNOE
Likely written sometime in January 2----, either on board the space shuttle Expulsion 1 or in the holding Cape Canaveral holding area. The other diary/journal entries in this chapter probably originate from the same time.
Well, it looks like they got me. I don’t know what happened, how we got here or what’s gonna become of me once we get to Orthicon, or whatever the name of this place where we’re all supposedly going is. All I know right now is that it doesn’t look good for any of us who apparently aren’t human.
Maybe if I review how all of this happened things might come to pass. It’s pretty much all I can do here right now, anyway.
So I just got back from Christmas vacation in Cuba. I have no idea how my Mom managed it, given the fact that Americans are kind of unwelcome there, but, still, we went there. A nice change from gritty, grimy East Townsberg, especially when the winter hits.
The wind blowing off the lake in winter is really uncomfortable, let me tell you!
Anyway, I was still adjusting to being home when the events that led up to what seems to be this permanent vacation from real life started.
I was walking down the street, still trying to get used to the bone-chilling cold after a week in the Caribbean, when my jaw seemed to separate itself from my face as I looked around a corner, and I had the most difficult time getting it back in place.
For what did I see on the corner but my imaginary friend, Bootylicious J. Krinklebein-
“Boot” for short (look, I was only two years old when I created him, okay, so give me a break about the name!)- standing on the corner clad in a yellow stocking cap and scarf, busking- busking!- and actual seeming to do a good job at it, in spite of the fact that he has no voice and no other perceivable talents other than trying to con people out of their money. People like me, for instance.
There was a time when he and I were the best of friends. Of course, I created him because I didn’t have a lot of friends in the first place- very few two year olds do, after all. The trouble was, as I’ve grown older and slightly more mature (at least I think), he, on the other hand, has not. He and I (or, if you are naïve enough to think that imaginary friends are not real, simply I) did raise a bit of hell, so much so that my Mom put her foot down and said I had to get rid of him. That was two years ago, when I was six.
Fortunately, there just happened to be a place in town, Finster’s House for Previously Utilized Imaginary Acquaintances, where he could live and be safe and I could continue hanging out with him. Things worked out, after a short period of adjustment on both of our parts. At least they seemed to-until now.
Because there he was, all 4 feet of him, entirely blue in color, with no visible parts except his eyes, mouth and hands, prepared, as I was, for the weather, but otherwise not
wearing a stitch. And singing. Playing a guitar he had somehow filched. And somehow, as he always has, believing the world owes him a living and that it’s only going to be a momentary lapse of time before he cashes in the cheque.
Of course, I wasn’t going to let him rip off any innocent bystanders, much less myself, without letting him know how I felt about it. Politely, I waited until he had concluded his excruciatingly painful “set”, and then I approached him with anger in my heart and voice.
“Boot!” I cried, to get his attention as I approached.
He had not noticed me among the crowd that had milled around him, but the crowd had thinned out enough by this time, so that he was by now able to see and hear me.
“Muck!” he exclaimed, as we had not seen each other for some time by this point.
“How goes it, buddy?”
“Fine,” I mumbled with gritted teeth.
“Did you enjoy Cuba?”
“Well, it was a little hot at first, but after a couple of days I started to-never mind that!
What are you doing out here?”
“Whatever do you mean?” he asked plaintively, in his innocent little boy voice. He still uses it on me, even though it stopped working on me once I started school.
“I mean, why are you out here living like this? Why are you not back at Finster’s like you’re supposed to be?”
“Oh, yeah. Well, the thing is, I can’t go back there. For the time being, anyway.”
“Oh, right. You were on vacation, so you don’t know.”
“What do I not know?”
“That it was shelled by the government.”
He proceeded to give me his version of how things went down, seeing how, as he put it, I was uninformed on this little matter. It seemed that President Mucklebackit’s
“whacko” Secretary of Defense, Fenwick Finster, had freaked out when he discovered that there was an institution for imaginary friends bearing his name here in East Townsberg, the slightly less prosperous neighbor of Townsberg, on the other side of Lake McCracken. (This was how I discovered that Mr. Finster’s nickname was, in fact, “Freak Out”, because he had apparently done things like this more than once.) This couldn’t stand, of course, particularly since he wasn’t a blood relative of the proprietors- who have since become very close friends of mine- although if that had been the case, things could have gotten an awful lot worse. President Mucklebackit had been elected because he campaigned to stamp out all signs of liberalism in America, and there wasn’t anything he thought was more liberal minded than a house for imaginary friends. So, with the President’s backing, Finster ordered General Berle and his troops to start shelling the old Victorian mansion in town that Finster’s is based out of. The friends and the management put up a terrific fight for the place, of course, but all that got them was arrested and deported to, of all places, Gary, Indiana, because they were “war criminals” who were interfering with the proper due process of the law of the land. That was where all of them were now.
“But what about you?” I insisted. “You’re still here!”
“I wasn’t there,” he admitted.
“What do you mean, you weren’t there? You just abandoned them all?”
“I most certainly did not!”
“Then how did you not get rounded up and deported to Gary like the rest of them?”
“Because I wasn’t in the house when they came. I had gone to the store to get my own supply of junk food, because some people were upset about the fact that I was taking more than my share of it from the fridge. I was gone for, like, thirty minutes, and that was all it took. Everyone was gone, and the house looked like someone had shaken it like a snow globe.”
“But haven’t you done anything about getting everyone back from Gary?”
“Don’t think I haven’t thought of that. But first things first.”
“What does that mean?”
“I have to raise the money I need to bribe the Defense Department so they can start considering the idea of bringing them back.”
“Bribe the- Boot, that’s not the way democracy is supposed to work!”
“Is it, now? Then how did Sandy Mucklebackit get his way into office? It sure wasn’t because we voted for him!”
“I’m not old enough to vote! And you’re a physical non-entity, so you’re ineligible!”
“Physical non-entity?”. He was getting belligerent, so I needed to change the subject before things got violent.
“Look, Boot,” I said calmly, “that whole 'bribe the Defense Department' scheme of yours is not going to work!”
“I thought you might say that,” he said rather smugly. “So I’ll have to go to my backup plan now.”
“My, we’re asking a lot of questions today, aren’t we?”
“All right, you impatient little wretch! Here it is!”
He opened his guitar case and handed me a sheet of paper- on which he had drawn something. Very crudely, I should say. I can draw better than he can now- since I’m older than he is!
“What is this?” I demanded as soon as I saw the drawing.
“This,” he said calmly, as if talking to someone much younger than himself, “is my backup plan. Did you not hear me tell you that first time?”
“I know that,” I responded. “The question is, what is it supposed to be?”
“Only the greatest club in the universe!” he shouted into my ear.
“What?” I answered. “You’re crazy!”
“Why am I crazy?” he retorted. “You’re crazy for not believing in me, Muck!”
“First of all,” I reminded him, “you get one of these stupid ideas every day! And on the rare occasions when you actually try to make them a reality, they never work because you never even consider the amount of actual hard work you have to put in. Not to mention the fact that you totally and completely absolve yourself of all responsibility by shiftlessly handing it over to those who have no idea how to deal with it. Like me, for instance!”
“Oh, pardon me, Mr. Let’s Go on An Ice Cream Soda Bender every time he can‘t deal!”
“I’m getting counseling for that, okay? There is no way anyone is going to give you a permit to build this thing based on this one crude drawing! Let alone help you find a contractor who would be willing to risk their health by lining the ceilings and floors with asbestos!”
“Goggles liked it. Pitched it to her before they all got pinched.”
“Well, where is she? Let her help you build it, then!”
“She’s in Gary, stupid! With the others!”
“But she’s not a…”
“They couldn’t tell the difference! Sometimes I can’t either!”
“Enough already! The point is, nobody in his right mind is going to back this thing. Like the world needs another monstrous casino sucking away the world’s money from the people who actually need it!”
“I see. Castro got to ya when you were in Cuba, didn’t he?”
“I never even saw…- Quit messing with me!”
“Oh, I’ve only just started, angel!”
“ “Angel?” What are you talking abo…Oh no. You did not!“
On many occasions in the past, Boot has felt it his obligation- nay, his duty- to abscond with money from me to finance his mad desires. When this happens, he believes
he can raid my meager funds to his heart’s desire. I was finally forced to relieve him of the key to my apartment I gave him when he first went to Finster’s, so he could return and visit me if he wanted to prevent a reoccurrence of the burglary scenarios that had already occurred. But now he’d done it again! How?
“How in the world did you get another key?” I demanded. “And how much did you take?”
“Skeleton keys are perfectly accessible to the public, provided one has the kind of connections that I possess. And I took all of it!”
“All of it?”
“All of it! Casinos don’t come cheap, Muck!”
That was it! In spite of the chill weather, I felt warm. Extremely hot, in fact. I suddenly realized what my Mom meant all of those times she said I was “boiling her blood”. My own was getting pretty hot at this moment.
“You took all of my money?” I screamed. “After I specifically prohibited it?”
“Come on, buddy!” he said softly, almost pleading. “It’s for a good cause.
Seriously. Ten percent of all the profits goes towards a fund to get everyone back from Gary…”
“Ten percent?” I shouted. “Ten percent of a pipe dream?”
“I didn’t say it would happen immediately!” he retorted, defensively.
“I have had it with you, you little blue thief!” I shouted again. “You are not worth all the pain you keep putting me through every day! Look at me! Look at me! I’m eight years old, and already I’ve got bags and wrinkles under my eyes! Bags and wrinkles! And it’s all because you keep hounding me and harassing me to keep you in
clover every time we’re even remotely near each other, you rotten…no-good…cheap…horrible….son of a SEA COOK!”
This, for some reason, set him to laughing when it was supposed to shame him.
“What are you laughing about?” I blazed.
“You,” he breathed between inane giggles, “called me a “son of a sea cook”.
Technically, you’re my father, since you created me and everything, so that makes you…A SEA COOK!”
“I’ll cook your sea,” I threatened, stepping forward to giving him a beating.
“Along with your goose!”
That was when it happened.
Pitch blackness engulfed the entire town, followed by an illumination source that wasn’t coming from the normal streetlights.
“Sucking procedure commencing!” a foreign voice said.
And then, from out of nowhere, the sound of a giant vacuum cleaner rumbled in the distance. And then it began sucking up everything. Everything! People, buildings, sidewalks, cars, fire hydrants. Everything!
Boot and I took one look at the giant lights in the sky, screamed our lungs out, and started running away. But we didn’t get far before both of us were sucked into a void and carried along by the vacuum along with everything else.
“Muck, I had nothing to do with this!” Boot said over the sound of the vacuum as we went in. “I swear!”
For once, I actually believed him.
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