Dr. Milquetoast sometimes wished that whatever pepper-uppers the Magical Exploding Unicorns consumed before class had been left untouched, because---between their hyperactive fidgeting and their persiflage, which ranged over every imaginable digression and irrelevant remark---the actual practice of writing was often reduced to a festinate few minutes at the end of class, with no time for revision; Dr. Milquetoast was perpetually unable to decide whether this state of affairs was unique to Millennial classrooms, or had always been part of the general lacrimae rerum of teaching teenagers.
Peculiar ingredients have always been an element of quack leechdom, from the head of a mad dog immolated to make an ashy cure for cancer to the relief for arthritis held to be found in copper bracelets, used for a while and then later found, tarnished with verdigris, in a drawer; yet our shock when these strange remedies don't work never changes, and our cries of frustration echo down the ages, from "Forsooth!" to "WTF!"
A limerick-rhymester named Bix Felt the need for a flow of spondulicks; Mythomania, it is sad, Was a talent he had, And he zombied-out swindling hicks.
The confident young stockbrokers who hung out together at Highsmith's Wine Bar, mostly for the purpose of picking up women, had developed their technique to the point that they executed their routine with a Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance precision, while their friend Caspar Milquetoast was such a complete poltroon that--while able to talk to ordinary women--he was rendered speechless in the presence of an eyesome blonde, a toothsome brunette, a lissome redhead, and any other female of that ilk.
There was a fever of anticipation when it was announced that a previously unpublished Sherlock Holmes story had been discovered, but there was a marked defervescence when it became known that the story was an account of Holmes' latter-day hobby of beekeeping, mixed with his contemplations about death: the idea of combining beey adventures with thanatological reflections left the public so cold that they opted instead for a variorum edition of "A Scandal in Bohemia" that included annotations and commentary by five scholars, a sequel by Neil Gaiman, and three graphic novel adaptations.
It was the week the Web appeared to become the compere of some strange fashion show: some said #TheDress was black and royal blue, while others--per contra--insisted it was white and a butyraceous shade of gold; meanwhile, experts on perception, optical illusions, and the biology of seeing pontificated across the more respectable online journals, memes multiplied like lovesick tribbles, Facebook divided itself among the obsessed and the indifferent, Twitter tittered, and the internet well nigh imploded.
When the auction started, many people were pontificating on the history of their items, but when the compere cleared his throat with a few coughs, they stopped: while I saw one person with a barrel of unpopped, tasty, butyraceous popcorn, many other people had toys and gardening tools.
For the coronation of the new Queen of England, the elderly President Humblefink was asked to be the compere; he gladly accepted and at the ceremony he pontificated about the queen as if he were her father introducing her to a new suitor, preening himself at the audience's apparent approval of his speech; per contra, the crowd was pleased, not about the speech, but by the president's warm, soothing, butyraceous voice.
When the muscular compere of the Oscars came out, my mother was surprised at the sound of his butyraceous voice as he started to pontificate for twenty minutes about the best animation; per contra, I believed that his voice was about as smooth as a rusty nail.
Dr. Watson continued to beaver away at preserving for posterity the cases of Sherlock Holmes, but because Holmes, when pressed for details, tended to reply with such captious descriptions of his own reasoning that the confused Watson was unable to accurately record them, the resulting stories were an inutile reflection of the sleuth's genius, and even caused people to doubt that Watson was his bona fide associate.
Publisher Houston Kronkeit didn't mind survivalists per se, but not only had Trog Bentwell literally been raised in a cave, boasting with crude thrasonical glee of his exploits in wrestling grizzly bears, he also accepted a large advance for a wilderness adventure novel that was a sure-thing bestseller, and then turned in a book that had been demassified into an incoherent diatribe against postindustrial civilization, guaranteed to appeal only to cracked old Luddites, disadvantaged technopeasants, and paranoid militia types such as himself.
When Augustus Brilliantine, the leading light of his glittering young social set, took up as his latest hobby the study of slugs and snails, everyone knew it augered a season in which the entire jeunesse dorée would follow him into dorkish biological arcana, but when Esmeralda Thripp began bringing her slime molds to cocktail parties, it was clear the trend had jumped the shark, and soon they all returned to their usual upper-crust pursuits---all but Caspar van Milquetoast, who took a formal degree in bryology, and spent the rest of his life happy among his mosses and liverworts.
When Esmeralda woke up the very next morning seven months pregnant through apparent parthenogenesis, she figured she was right to question her judgment in ridiculing the outlandish costume of the woman she had met among the neolithic ruins on top of that tor in Devonshire: the woman obviously had the ability to put the whammy on her, and Esmeralda now suspected that her effulgent quality was the nimbus of divinity, and not just the reflected glow of her cell phone.
Tired of writing dialogue for his often logomaniac detective Sherlock Holmes, and of having to invent plots and clues that would show off his artisanal approach to crime-solving, Arthur Conan Doyle killed off his creation; he did not anticipate the resulting outcry, however, and although it seemed it would take a true thaumaturge to raise Holmes from the dead, once the vox populi had spoken, Doyle brought his character back with no more than a little plot-tweaking.
Sherlock Holmes was such a skookum detective that he caught the murderer just as he was about to cleave the head of his preantepenultimate victim with an ax; he saw that, though disguised, the murderer did not have the comportment of a sick old man, but instead was the American wanderer, taking revenge for the wrong done him years ago in the xeriscaped Mormon community in the Utah desert.
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