“He has googly eyes,” said Mavis. “Why does he have googly eyes?”

“Googly eyes are cheap,” said Gerry. “Marbles are expensive.”

“Still, with the pose that they have him in, holding his golf club on the range, it looks like he’s psyching out over the shot.”

They moved to the next display. “This is a really unnatural pose,” said Gerry. “Do you think they didn’t have enough skin to work with?”

“She’s awfully fat,” replied Mavis. “I think they were just lousy taxidermists.”

“But a ballet move, en pointe? That’s a stretch.”

“What about this one ever here?” Mavis pointed. “This one’s not so bad.”

“Humans don’t have three arms,” sneered Gerry. “I think this entire display is just crap taxidermy. The Betelgeusians are hardly even trying.”

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The four kennels of the legendary Dogwarts School are:

Wigglebutts
Founded by the powerful dog Muffin Wigglebutt, Wigglebutt Kennel prides itself on nurturing pups with the traits of howlery, digger, powerful noses, and tail-chasing.

Snufflepups
The work of famous 15th-century dog Brutus Snufflepup, Snufflepups kennels nurtures the virtues of hard bark, coming when called, being a good dog, loyalty, and playing with balls.

Ravenpaws
Famous dog Mitzi Ravenpaw made her name by hunting birds, and her kennel therefore prizes obedience, knowledge, sitting, and of course birding.

Shitindoores
Smoochums Shitindoor is known among dogs for his controversial insistance that dogs knew better than their masters where, when, and how to poop. His kennel is therefore dedicated to tha art of defecation, making messes, running, and sneaky eating of kleenexes stolen from the trash.

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PAÜNCHY Armchair
Sink in deep and slouch to your heart’s content in modular style. Available in mustard, burgundaise, kellygreen, and camouflage colors/prints.

BØB Lamp
Named for the designer’s sister’s roommate’s cat, the BØB perfectly captures a Stockholmian’s ideal of rural America with its beer can shape.

HERMES Bookshelf
Our cheapest model, and one that will provide days if not weeks of solid service before disintegrating. Made from the finest reclaimed Somali tank seats.

BICKERSBY Outdoor End Table
Nothing says sophistication like our BICKERSBY line, and nothing says sophisticate like leaving a pressboard end table out in the rain.

OXBUNCH Decorative Sculpture
The vision of acclaimed interior designer Njord, this fifth-dimensional figure will make everyone an art critic.

KNUDSBORG Bed
Everyone knows: when you need to get in bed, you want to get KNUD and then BORGed!

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THE DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE CLEANSE

Through the simple application of our patented* halite-derived natrium chloride cleanse, you can purge your body of dangerous over-concentrations of hydroxyl acid!

Did you know that hydroxyl acid over-concentrations can lead to:
-weight gain
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Your body naturally accumulates hydroxyl acid from the surrounding environment! Big business and the fat cats in Washington don’t want you to know about the simple cleansing power of natrium chloride!

For the low cost of only $19.99 per packet, we will send you natrium chloride crystals that you can use as part of a full-blown hydroxyl acid purge or just a daily cleanse. Just mix it into your drink, sprinkle it on some food, or eat the crystals as they are to start gaining the benefits!

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“What do you mean, it’s a pisstery?” said Bill.

“Well, the drug test came back clean…but it also says that you’re a woman,” said Dr. Carruthers.

Bill looked away, blushing.

“So either you’re undergoing a spontaneous sex change, or you smuggled in some urine that isn’t yours,” Carruthers continued. “As I said before, quite the pisstery.”

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5 minutes
Brubaker: It’s an ox!
Scipio: Nope.

17 minutes
Luchelli: I think it’s a tree.
Scipio: Nuh-uh.
Luchelli: A shrub?
Scipio: No.

35 minutes
Hojimori: Definitely a hedgehog.
Scipio: Definitely not.
Brubaker: Porcupine?
Scipio: Still wrong.

1 hour
Luchelli: Maybe a forest?
Scipio: Why are you so stuck on happy little trees? I’m not Bob Ross.
Luchelli: Because you’re using so much green!
Scipio: Could be abstract, could just be how it goes with wet on wet.

1 hour 22 minutes
Brubaker: It’s a landscape! Mount St. Helens.
Luchelli: Scipio’s technique could use work but I wouldn’t say it blows that badly.
Hojimori: Could be a very poor Mt. Fuji.
Scipio: IT’S NOT A MOUNTAIN.

2 hours 5 minutes
Hojimori: Those are definitely buildings.
Luchelli: It’s Milan.
Scipio: No.
Brubaker: Shouldn’t you have painted the buildings before the trees?
Scipio: It’s a technique I’m trying.
Luchelli: Or you’re changing what you’re doing because someone guessed it already.
Scipio: NO I’M NOT.

3 hours 44 minutes
Brubaker: There, it’s a path. I see it, it’s a path. Appalachian Trail, that’s what it is.
Scipio: There aren’t skyscrapers on the Appalachian Trail.
Hojimori: Raleigh-Durham. It’s Raleigh-Durham.
Scipio: It’s not.

4 hours 18 minutes
Brubaker: Central Park in New York City.
Scipio: Right! That’s right! You get the point.
Luchelli: Dammit, how are we supposed to tell the difference between Rome and New York when it’s all abstract?

4 hours 19 minutes
Hojimori: It’s my turn next, yeah? Let me draw my card. Ohh goodness, I don’t know how I’m going to paint this.

4 hours 24 minutes
Scipio: Trees. It’s a forest.

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“Oh my God!” cried Leon. “It’s Metaphor Man!”

Indeed it was; Metaphor Man streaked down to the city jungle, a comet across dark clouds. The impact was a tiny tsunami, the superhero a wall between Leon and Nöel and evil.

“Who’s this chump?” said the lead mugger, deftly juggling his pistol between two hands. “It’s not Mondo Man. Think he’s bulletproof?”

“Your bullets are hollowpoint insults, raindrops on oilskin,” growled Metaphor Man, a pitbull in his element as he baited large, dumb bovines.

“Huh?” The mugger said, looking down the barrel of his pistol, which he had learned how to use from TV shows.

Metaphor Man glowered, a judge at an execution. “Your death is your birth, an unfortunate accident.”

The gun went off and the mugger crumpled to the ground. His companion, visibly shaken held his gun on the superhero. “Stay back!”

“You are a simpering kitten, the slightest sound blowing away the mirage,” sneered Metaphor Man, his voice deep and imposing whiskey-soaked gravel from a bar parking lot. “The ground, a magnet, draws your failure to it…just as the horizon is a siren’s call for the cowardly.”

Mugger #2 dropped his gun and ran.

“The police are flies, drawn to a stench you cannot conceal,” Metaphor Man cried after him. “A dog to its vomit, you return to them soon.”

“Thank you,” said Nöel, as a weak and weeping Leon cried on her shoulder. “You were like an angel. How can we ever thank you?”

“Your gratitude is sweet nectar, but your simile is a bitter salve,” grunted Metaphor Man. “You make your thanks palpable by sending the latter to its grave an unmourned corpse.”

“Huh?” Leon said through the sobs.

“He wants us to use more metaphors, sweetie,” said Nöel. “Thank you, Metaphor Man. You were manna from heaven on a day otherwise marked by biblical blood rain.”

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