I woke up with a dog licking me. That was typical of life in an alley down by the docks in Geneva. It was just like Third Elf’s life out back of Sugar Mountain, all candy and booze and kitty litter. I shoved the dog away and rolled over to try and get some more sleep.

I’d been trying to keep up with my yoga, but the booze got in the way. My health was beginning to suffer.

But… if you were living in an alley in Geneva, waiting for a blog post that might never come, from the best friend you ever had in the whole world, wishing Shelly — Shelly! Married! — had been able to have a little faith, to see you more clear, to look past your toned, tanned, muscular facade into the real truth in the heart of a man such as the kind of man you truly in your heart know yourself to be, well… you’d be socking back a few too.

They drink Schnapps over here in Switzerland. Some kind of pepperminty Euro swill. It does the job.

The dog was back. I shoved it away again. I was thinking about dames. Those Swiss dames, man, they’re something else, all blonde hair and sexy little dirndls. They look like something off a cuckoo clock.

But they wouldn’t come home with me. Said I lived in an alley. Which I did.

I just didn’t get what Foxy was up to. What was all that crap about black cats and weepy eyeballs? What was he trying to tell me? Why wouldn’t he get back to me? 

I was afraid he’d lost his mind. He never had that much mind to begin with. Salt of the earth, that Fox, but no intellectual.

The dog bit me in the ear. I rolled over to punch him. It was Fox. He had a couple of coffees and a bag of pastries.

“Foxy!” I yelled, but he shushed me. He didn’t seem to want to talk, but his tail was wagging like a puppy’s and he couldn’t stop bouncing and grinning. Me neither. 

We drank the coffees and ate the pastries, and then I packed up my climbing gear and fed the cats and before I knew it I was following Fox high up into the Swiss Alps, loping along easy in the bright spring air, through mountain meadows like emeralds bursting with wildflowers, higher and higher, Fox in his element in the wild and me, Sherpa Joe, me in my element too, dammit!

No more Schnapps for me. I swore it. I swore it out loud.

After five hours of hard climbing we arrived at the most beautiful meadow of them all. It was shrouded in mist, but when the mist lifted it was as if you could see for a million miles, all the way to Swaziland I bet.

“Sherpa Joe,” Fox said. There was mist swirling all around him, and it was glowing a faint golden colour, like amber or a cat’s eyes. I couldn’t help noticing that he was walking upright. How did that happen? He was taller, and he seemed to be wearing clothes. Some kind of robes.

“Allow me to present my beloved,” Fox said. “My lady the wood nymph Woodsy.”


Animal familiar

A familiar is a witch’s companion, a small animal that helps the witch with magic. The idea of the familiar is a very ancient concept and is generally applied to such creatures as cats, dogs, foxes, toads, snakes, and birds.


The ghostly double of a living person. They are generally regarded as harbingers of bad luck. In some traditions, a doppelgänger seen by a person’s friends or relatives portends illness or danger, while seeing one’s own doppelgänger is an omen of death.

Aqueous humour

A thick watery substance that fills the space in the eyeball between the lens and the cornea.

Somebody was yelling, “No!! Not you!!!”

I stepped inside and a cat slammed into me. 

It clung onto my head, hissing and clawing, and then another one hit me in the chest and stuck like velcro. I tried to shake them off but they stuck their claws into me and hung on. As soon as I got one off another one came flying.

There was a stack of cages against the wall. Somebody was opening them and hurling cats at me. As fast as I could grab one and fling it off, another one struck, hissing and clawing and caterwauling.

My arms and hands were bleeding from all the clawing. I’d had enough. I faced the hail of cats head-on and charged the mystery cat-chucker like a linebacker for the LA Rams. The crowd roared, “Joe! Joe! Sherpa Joe!” and I made the tackle.

It was Fat Neck. He was naked and crying. I tied him up with my climbing rope and hoisted him over a chandelier.

You don’t want to see Fat Neck naked. Especially not upside down.

“What the hell are you doing?” I yelled. “What’s with the cats?”

“Not mine!” he blubbered. “Third Elf’s cats!”

“I don’t care whose cats they are! Why are you throwing them at me?”

“I thought you wouldn’t let me have the blog. I thought you wouldn’t let me be the Grammar Gestapo,” Fat Neck said.

“You’re the Grammar Gestapo?” I couldn’t help laughing. That made Fat Neck cry even louder. “That’s ridiculous,” I said. “Anyway, you can’t have the blog. I’m holding it for the BSIs.”

“But I was learning how to knit,” Fat Neck said. He was whimpering like a bulldog puppy.

He was starting to get on my nerves. Dangerously on my nerves. I defanitly didn’t have time for this. I needed information.

“I think you know more than you’re letting on,” I said. “Where are they? Where’s Fox and Elf and the Autonomous Eye?” 

I broke one of Fat Neck’s fingers to let him know I was serious. You would have done the same thing. It was just one of the little ones. He screamed a bit and then he went back to his blubbering.

“S! S! S!” Fat Neck blubbered.

“Cincinnatti?” I said. “Cincinnatti, USA?”

“Sw! Sw! Sw!”

“Swaziland? Swaziland, Africa?” I twisted another finger. Anybody would have.

“Sw! Sw! Sw!” Fat Neck screamed.

“Sweden? Sweden, Scandinavia?”

I wouldn’t mind going to Sweden. I like the blonde dames they have there. Tall ones with blue eyes and pale skin. Freckles.

“Sw! Sw! Sw!” Fat Neck whimpered.

“Switzerland?” I said. He tried to nod while he was hanging upside down. It was comical. “Yes? They’re in Switzerland? Switzerland, Europe?” He nodded again. “What the hell are they doing there?”

Fat Neck passed out. He probably didn’t know anything anyway.

Most of the cats had gone back in their cages. That’s where the food was. Some of them were just milling around sniffing at each other. They seemed like a decent bunch of cats when they weren’t being used as missiles.

I grabbed Shelly’s panties, popped Fat Neck between the eyes, loaded the cat cages into a taxi, and set the bloggery on fire. Then I headed for the docks. 

Me and Third Elf’s cats had a freighter to catch. A fast freighter for Switzerland.

I just couldn’t let it go. I’d tracked down La Chaise, mommy-blogging about diaper rash and her giant stool, and Empty Shell — married! Married, damn it! Married! — and Shagatha, out in the desert gettin’ set to take Oprah down.

But where was Fox? Where was Third Elf? Where was The Autonomous Eye?

It kept nagging at me, like an itch you can never scratch no matter what advanced yoga positions you twist your tanned and well-muscled torso into, even if you’re hardly drinking at all that day, and all the time you’re crying out to the universe “Why? Why? Why?”

I decided to drop by the deserted bloggery one last time, to rake through the ashes and dust once more, to press Shelly’s panties to my tear-stained cheek one more time. I just had to find those guys!

Not Shelly, I knew where she was. She was married, damn it! Married! When she could have had a real man, a man such as I.

I went down and listened outside the door. I could hear voices inside. I knocked on the door.

It opened, and all hell broke loose.

Vee haff vays of making you speak properly! 

If you vomit, you retch; if you behave in a wretched manner or fall into wretched circumstances, you are a wretch. This is so simple I laugh and throw up at the same time when I have to think of it. Ha-ha-ha!!!!

Did you mean wretch?

  • Wretches are a type of locust.
  • A wretch is one who is despicable.
  • Just another ink-stained wretch.

 Maybe you meant retch?

  • retch vomit puke barf spew hurl throw up upchuck blow chunks disgorge gag regurgitate chunder lose it be sick heave drunk dry heave ralph sick chunks

…It is very quiet here. The BSIs have gone. I will be taking over from this day forward. 

The blog will be renamed in honour of myself. It will be called That_Friendly_and_Helpful_Grammar_Guy.wordpress.com.

It will deal with grammar and other interesting matters such as real estate and the importance of marching and proper haircuts. Maybe ve get a little kitty-cat and tell amusing stories about its antics.

Ha-ha-ha!! How amusing our stories vill be!

Wait, someone is at the door… Stand back a moment… I may have to shoot them…

No!! Not you!!!!!!!!

Alone now in the desert, I had two choices, so I reverted to an ancient sherpa decision-making tool for help.  Heads, I carry on through the desert living by my sherpa wits, sleeping under abandoned armadillo shells, eating sand beetles and drinking my own pee; or tails, I grit my teeth and make camp in Vegas.

Four out of seven flips later, I found myself checking into the Four Queens Hotel, and who should I run into at the elevators, but Empty Shell with a stunningly well-dressed young man.  The inscrutable Richard, I presumed.

 My presumption was correct. They’d just gotten married!

 “Isn’t it super?” gushed Shell, “I’m sooooo happy and so is Daddy and Vegas is totally so pimp and shiny and loud and fun!!!”

 I congratulated them and warned them affectionately (though admittedly not without a soupçon of gut-souring envy) not to gamble away all their fabulously excessive combined wealth.

 “Oh no,” said Shell, “We’re not gambling!  We only came to Vegas because Richard liked the idea of getting married in a super kitchy place. Vegas is going to be so much fun. I did buckets of research before. We’re only staying four days so we’re really going to take advantage of ourselves while we’re here.”

“Do you have a plan, or are you just going to play it by ear?” I asked.

 “As soon as we get our barrings we’re going to do heaps of site seeing on one side of the road, and then heaps of site seeing on the other side of the road,” replied Shell enthusiastically, “but absolutely no gambling unless we happen to stumble upon a casino.”

And off they stumbled, happily ever after.

Ta-ta S&R!

I won’t bore you with the details of my truly inspired detective work which led me to the deserts of Northern California.

 It was there that I spotted the luscious Shagatha, clad only in slinky battle fatigues, her trusty personal assistant at her side, dragging an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in a handsome ostrich leather golf bag.

I blinked and rubbed my eyes. I pinched myself. Was I being tormented by yet another of my nocturnal transmissions? Was this another nightmare? Was it a mirage?

 Unfortunately no.  With my own sharp sherpa eyes I witnessed this spectacle in the deserts of Northern California.

 “SHAGATHA!” I hollered. She turned, her face set with harsh determination; her eyes mere slits, her mouth set in a grim line.

 “Don’t try to stop me!” she yelled back and marched on.

 I trotted behind, trying desperately to keep up, and managed a few words with PA before they both disappeared in a cloud of sand.

Oprah goin' down And so it was that I learned that Shagatha is devoting the rest of her life to waging war on Oprah’s Big Mouth  Ass  Head Give.

  “Shagatha says this abomination against humanity must be brought to its knees,” whispered PA importantly, “Shagatha says Oprah goin’ down.”

 Farewell sweet Shaggie and godspeed. If anyone can bring Oprah down, I do believe it’s you.