Being Against Motherhood
Does Not Go Over In Peoria

It was a dark and stormy night during my quest — in convoluted, tritely self-referential sentence structure — through the Land of Metaphor. “You won’t win any awards,” said a voice, “for cutesy passages through the Arch of Introduction.”

I looked around, and the voice, fading, added, “Besides, the Contest is Over.”

“Until next year!” I shouted, shaking my fist. But my voice failed to carry, muffled by the underbrush of Obscure Reference. Frustrated, I resolved to quit right then and there, but the mosquitos (symbolizing irritation) began to bite, providing me with incentive for a plunge through the brambles and pine branches common in the Forest of Words. Besides, had I not undertaken this quest for my lady-love? I wore her colors, and no knight was I should mere loss of direction cause me to throw up my hands in disgust and go back home to bed.

This time it seemed as if I’d internalized the aforementioned underbrush for good, but this wouldn’t stop me either, although it promised to stop many others.

Before long I’d been stopped again, but this time because I had caught a glimpse of light. It faded quickly, proving once more that science is no help in providing materialist expansions — prosaic, as in swamp gas — for will-o’-the-wisps, Faery lights, which I resolved to track down and bring back dead or alive. I tripped over the underbrush, and fell face first into the mud, recalling the time when Sam — or was it Frodo? — did the same thing, well, it was after Boromir got killed, anyway, and there were ghosts and visions under the murk, probably like the old oil & tar pits that dinosaurs are reputed to have fallen into.

There were ghosts here, too, and it smelled, even though I was drowning and shouldn’t, by right, have been able to detect this, appropriately decayed. “If you don’t get up out of the mud pretty quickly,” said one of the spirits, “you’re going to be dead.”

“Bluh buh bimmah blunnha,” I gurgled, trying to say, “Just a little longer.” Now the mud was in my lungs for sure, and as I grew dizzy from lack of oxygen my pleasure grew. I saw fantastic visions, dangerous things because they make you want to stay and drown a little longer. But wait… someone had dragged me out! I was staring up at the night sky, symbol of regretted redemption.

An ancient man slapped me. “I am the Old Wise Man in The Story,” he said.

“So what else is new?”

“You’re making me wince, you jerk, and for that you must pay.”

The world is cruel, I decided, as he kicked me in the head so hard that I passed out. “And most lies are ripoffs,” he added, “representing a firm grasp of the obvious.”

Originally appeared in Inside Joke #23

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