And it came to pass that I took pity on Mrs. Katz and bought her a new pencil sharpener, she having reached an impasse with the previous one by virtue of not having emptied it for three years, subsequent to which I cast her into the outer darkness (with the wailing and the gnashing of teeth and the stultifying sounds of elevator music) where you have to take your damn pencils home to sharpen them but, having taken them home and suffering sadly from extreme spallation of her wits owing to some genetic defect, she kept forgetting to bring them back to the office, so I did a volte-face and found an electric sharpener with a transparent receptacle in the front and, verily, I gave it unto her and am enjoying the sound of her reading aloud, slowly, carefully, and canorously, the directions (for operating a pencil sharpener, remember!) to herself these last ten minutes.
There once was a piebald soubrette, (a dappled light opera coquette) whose songs Ruritanian in accents Iranian bore witness to the pow'r of duet.
Big Eddie Salamando, potentate of the aptly-named Larrikin Lounge, sat with me at a table in the rear and still had to raise his voice over the cheerful racket of the large, tipsy crowd of Friday night regulars (nothing like the melancholy crowd at my own pub across the street, who were dismally abstemious in their drinking and subdued in their conversation), but even after I doffed my hearing protectors I couldn't understand more than half of what he was shouting at me.
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Ch. Marlborough's Larrikin of Glendale and his brother Whizbang certainly lived up to their names - being boisterous little creatures who got antsy quickly if they didn't get enough exercise - and were unfortunately purchased by an elderly meshuggener who had been fooled by the dogs' elegant poses in the publicity stills and lulled by the breeder's unctuous sales pitch into assuming they would be staidly ornamental.
The avocado green and harvest gold (two bilious decorator colors from far back in the last century) made Jason feel quite queasy but, for his grandmother's sake, he equivocated on the question of whether they would make the guest bedroom more or less "cozy", his apparent lack of enthusiasm prompting Grandmother, whom Jason would never have pegged as bloodthirsty, to propose instead a combination of brick red and claret of such unavoidable acharnement that Jason, an Iraq vet, got a bad case of the jimjams and had to go outside for some fresh air.
Tell me he's a couch potato, tell me he eschews work and personal hygiene of any kind, but when he goes away, that's a rainy day (i.e., the effulgence just goes right out of it) and when he comes back the day is fine (the sun will shine like a billion bottles of gin), so like fish gotta swim and birds gotta fly, I can't help lovin' that man.
In the interregnum between my grandmother's death and my mother's taking over the management of the household, my mother ruthlessly eliminated all possible competition (including her own sister, her two cousins, and even my grandparents' raggedy, shock-headed housekeeper) by the simple expedient of sending them all to the county seat to navigate the Kafkaesque bureaucracy of the County Clerk's Office, ostensibly to clear up the question of title to the Overbrook property, but really to get them all out of the way long enough to insure that she could consolidate power and assume control.
It was that very afternoon that we happened upon Nine Oaks Farm, a perfect microcosm of the village at large - tidy, prosperous, comfortable - where we stayed for the rest of the month while Miss McDonough studied butterflies (hoping to catch enough of the local Painted Lady butterflies to contradistinguish the British variety from that in her native Virginia) and Neddy, the cynosure of all local female eyes because of his classic beauty, wrote love songs in the hayloft, leaving me to sit by the kitchen window searching for apposite words to describe the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
We went to arrest the Chairman in his office on the top floor of an office building clearly designed by a triskaidekaphobic misanthrope: there was no thirteenth floor and no elevators either, so that by the time we got to the penthouse, our uniforms were damp with sweat and our heartbeats had started to blur together into a continuous thundering, drowning out the blandishments of DCS Mellon, who was indefatigable in his attempts to flatter and cajole us up the last eight flights of stairs.
Cosmetics tycoon Abby Williams, who was perfectly aware that she had a reputation for non-stop talking, named her new line of lip gloss PROLIX and reveled in the success particularly of the super-black Goth lip gloss "Ebony Metal", using some of the profits to build a small annex to the factory to house her photography collection (calotypes and cyanotypes with a few daguerrotypes for contrast) and to serve as a processing lab for her own photographs, especially since she discovered an unexpected ancillary use for the titanium dioxide ordered by the factory for use in all the pale lip glosses (e.g., "Ghost Smile"): namely, as a necessary part of the Polacolor SX-70 photographic process.
As soon as the reporters and photographers from VOGUE showed up, Annabelle's agent felt the opportune moment had come to observe in a stage whisper to his assistant that for someone of Annabelle's lofty pedigree (rich, famous, beautiful ancestors as far as the eye could see), the luxurious floor length cashmere zibeline tunic was, in fact, perfectly appropriate and it was the ersatz "suede"(actually microfiber polyester) boots that struck a jarring note.
To a bust of Midas made of dryer lint and a very large, unflattering bas-relief of the Board of Directors made of gum wrappers, there was superadded the company logo, three-dimensional, made of recycled tires, which Andrew was too cynical to deem anything but an inept attempt to distract the exhibit-going public from the EPA lawsuit, and he puckishly decided to test this possibility by arranging, with a great show of enthusiasm and magnanimity, for the artist to donate the bas-relief to the company, curious to see whether they would actually display it anywhere at corporate HQ once the need for diversionary publicity was past.
Thanks to the obliquity of the ecliptic, as the Earth's axial tilt is officially known, there is precious little sunlight in Saskatchewan in February, so the brilliant sunlight visible through the windows of Bert's Diner caused a very un-Canadian tide of schwarmerei in the bosoms of the local gastronomes gathered to partake of Bert's weekly Asian-themed lunch, all of them wearing their special conical straw hats at startlingly raffish angles, owing to the influence of unaccustomed pre-prandial baijiu.
"Welcome to my demesne!" bellowed Ignatius proudly, as he ushered us into his townhouse (which he had invariably described as "Elizabethan", masticating the word as though he were chewing on an exotic fruit, but which was certainly not at all "Elizabethan" in the common acceptation of the term, what with its ersatz particle board half-timbering and the extruded plastic window mullions).
Dunstan had not been cosseted or indulged as a child and had developed champion sitzfleisch as a consequence of being a Presbyterian minister's son and having to spend hours sitting quietly through his dad's impenetrable sermons, so the first two hours of the monk's talk were a cinch, and halfway through the third hour he briefly developed Stockholm syndrome, seeing his captor as flawed but kindly and well-intentioned, but by hour four he was ready to dismember the logorrheic swine and use his empty skull for a cuspidor, although on reflection spitting into it seemed insufficiently disrespectful once it occurred to him to use it as a urinal.
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