A Symphony unto Oneself

A Symphony unto Oneself

Chapter 7

     The Story The Authors
"How dare you think that of me," he said. "I'm looking for someone more beautiful and wiser than you because I'm looking for love. Are you my Matchmaker? Becky
"Well sorry, I'm not!, the old man said," but I know where you can find one. His name is San Sung Fun. He lives in the remote mountains. The trip is dangerous and long but well worth it. He found a match for me and he can do the same for you to. Bring something to trade for this match. He is old and wise and will help you. Now be on your journey. You want to get there before winter hits or'll you'll never make it. Becky
Then the old man looked her right up close in the eyes. "Riddle me this," he cackled. "There are three men in a lifeboat. They have four cigarettes but no matches. How do they smoke?"
She puzzled that one out for awhile. She pictured them, the three men, the gently bobbing boat, the increasing need for nicotine as the hours passed and the salt-spray inflated their tarry lungs...She couldn't figure it out. It must be one of those inscrutable koans for which these wise sons of the Celestial Empire were known, 'Sound of one hand clapping' and all that rot... The old man sat motionless in the corner beneath his oversized sombrero. She looked at the clock. She sighed. She threw her hands up. "Alright," she said. "I give. How do they smoke?"
"They throw one cigarette overboard, which makes the boat a cigarette lighter. Get it it? A cigarette lighter." He collapsed on the floor, convulsed with hysterical giggles.
She stepped back and regarded him. If this is an omen of what's to come, she thought, it is not a particularly auspicious one...
Mr Tickles was seasick. he'd long since given up on wearing the silver space helmet. No matter how stylish it looked, after the first time he lost control of his heaving entrails in it overboard it went. Even the delights of their impending arrival held no joy for him at the moment. the merest whiff of a thought of rich devil's food and creamy filling was enough to send him skittering to the railing. mostly he just lay on a deck chair with a blanket cursing Injun Joe for convincing him to undertake this journey.
Injun Joe for his part was nonplussed by the trip. He spent his time meditating crosslegged with his peace pipe on the foredeck. his thoughts drifting far away. Soon, he thought, the Mystery would reveal itself and he would find his purpose and his mate.
At the ship's helm, Cap'n Cupcake and his old friend Big Chief Big Wheel took turns steering the vessel along on her tremulous course and eating delicious Hostess Fruit Pies˙. Sharks coursed in the foam along both sides of the brig, Ignavia, leaping up to snap at delicious Hostess Fruit Pie˙ crumbs which the stiff wind carried from the walruslike moustaches of the Cap'n and the Indian Headdress of his portly old buddy. The sea-air invigorated them again and each though, in his own way, that, grey in me muzzle or not, ache in me old bones or not, a sailor's always a sailor, even if he's a red injun to boot! And, by the hagfish and all her briny minions, it's good to be sailing back to Cupcake Island, after all these years... Philip
The sound of all that munching on sugary baked goods only aggravated Mr. Tickles' seasickness. He threw back his blanket and stumbled to the railing where he heaved bilious fluid from deep within his bowls out to the deep blue sea. Injun Joe approached the ailing dwarf and put a hand on his shoulder. "You lookum heap mighty green." said the red man and he offered Mr. Tickles a toke off his peace pipe. Mr. Tickles refused, he was drinker, not a smoker. Injun Joe just shrugged and then offered his diminutive companion a handful of Dramamine which Mr. Tickles gobbled down in an instant. Over the wind and the sound of the waves slapping the bow, they could hear Big Chief Big Wheel calling "Land ho!" Mr. Tickles was overcome with relief and flopped himself back down on his deck chair. cuddles
Cap'n Cupake knew that they must be getting close to their destination. There was already a hint of cocoa in the air when the breeze blew in from the nor'east and a few of the gulls who came to rest and roost on the Ignavia had their beaks stained brown with chocolatey crumbs. He turned to big Chief Big Wheel. No words were necessary. The Chief had seen it too. There was a ghost of a tear in the Big Chief's eye as he turned to inform their passengers. Home at last. lanark
While Cap'n Cupcake sat musing on the bow, astern stood his first mate, Ho-Ho, gazing out at the frothy blue sea as it lapped against the speeding hull of their trusty vessel. Too much time in the northern climes, he sighed. Closing his eyes his mind was filled with visions of Snowballs--those big, pink Snowballs--so cold and uninviting. He smiled as he felt the warm, salty breeze blowing back his hair, and opened his eyes once more upon the vast blue vista stretching out as far as his eyes could see. His reverie was broken by a small voice piping, "Mr. Ho-Ho! The Cap'n wants to see you on the foredeck!" It was Ring-Ding, the captain's cabin boy. Ho-Ho tousled the little chap's head and said, "Tell the captain I'll be their presently..." Jeffster
Suddenly, upon the veryest edge of the horizon they saw the masts, the sails, the potbullied hull and the rippling, modified Jolly Roger (a duck's skull and crossbones, to be exact) of their worst nightmares come true -- The Drake's Cakes Fleet!
"Hard ter Starbo'd!" howled Cap'n Cupcake into the gale winds. "AN' quick about it, ye jolly jack tars! We've got company!"
First Mate Philip
This sent Mr. Tickles into another vomitous fit and Injun Joe escorted him below where they'd both be safe - or so he thought. First mate Ho-Ho brought Cap'n Cupcake's spyglass to him. The captain stretched the telescope to it's full length and gazed through it with his good eye. "Shiver me timbers." he said in a low, frightened to the marrow of his bones tone. "It's the dread Pirate Twinkie and his band of bloodthirsty Zingers! The scalliwags!" The captain lowered his scope. "Man the cannons, Mr. Ho-Ho." he said, still staring across the sea towards the oncoming fleet. The first mate blew his bo'suns whistle to call the crew to arms. cuddles
tHEY ALLcame running. they feel over each other as they ran for the guns. they were not afraid. DVWM
Leaving Mr Tickles in a heap on a pile of rigging in the belly of the brig Injun Joe leaped into action supervising the loading of the cannons with ten pound malted milk balls. The crunchy shrapnel of these had been known to rip the tenderest and flakiest of pastries into a bloody pile of crumbs. Swords were drawn and the fearless crew prepared for battle.
"If it's a fight they're after, they've found the right snack cake fer it" intoned the good Cap'n Cupcake. "but I'll not die today. I've got a tresure chest full o'gold foil coins and the finest candy necklaces to keep me in fruit pies til I'm old and stale. Brace y'selves lads! The battle is joined! and at that the first volley erupted from the Drakes ship.
The decks were awash in creme filling as the injured and dying lay groaning on the boards. The roar of the cannons from both ships ripped through the smokey air. Flames began to lick at the sides of the ship, filling the holds with the stench of seared chocolate. "Put out those fires!" screamed the bo'sun's mate. "Aye, aye, Mr. Hines!" yelled a greasy seaman. Duncan Hines had seen many a battle, but none that raged so furiously or placed so much on the line for so many. Jeffster
As the seaman pumped Pepsi from the great and vast Cola Sea to extungish the greasy artificial flavored and colored pastery fire on board the S.S. Twinkie, he had visions of the great cake land that he and the other Mass Produced Desserts were fighting for. For the Mass Produced Desserts were fighing the Independant Consolidated Pastery Makers of the World for supreme control of the universe. Miriam
As the seaman pumped Pepsi from the great and vast Cola Sea to extungish the greasy artificial flavored and colored pastery fire on board the S.S. Twinkie, he had visions of the great cake land that he and the other Mass Produced Desserts were fighting for. For the Mass Produced Desserts were fighing the Independant Consolidated Pastery Makers of the World for supreme control of the universe. Miriam
You see, the seaman loved his pastries as he wanted it all to stay natuaral so he went to Europe can conquered The pastry company. He took control of the company and invented a new pastry called the sunshines. They were the best. becky
Bravely and ferociously Cap'n Cupcake and his fearless crew fended off the attack from the S.S. Twinkie, but they were horribly outnumbered and outgunned. It was three against one and even Injun Joe who knew no fear began to wonder if this wouldn't be the day that he joined his ancestors in the Happy Hunting Grounds.
Smoke began to billow out from the lower decks. Flaming marshmallow skewers were fired into the sails. The S.S.Ignavia was hemmed in on all sides by the enemy vessels. There was no place to run to. Cap'n Cupcake marshalled his crew to the foredeck where they were prepared to make their last stand. "All right me Lads, this is wherein we'll put up the good fight. Ye been a grand and jolly crew and I'll see ye in hell when we all get there."
Chief Big Wheel let out a fearsome, bloodcurdling war-cry, to which the brave sailors (chocolate-covered, creme-filled jack tars to a man) responded by leaping to their stations oat the bubblegum cannons and beginning to pump nickels in and turn the levers. Pop! Pop-pop-pop-pa-pop! Brightly colored gumballs shot out across the water and peppered the pirate ship... Philip
The crew of the Ignavia fought bravely but for naught. They were simply outnumbered. It seemed that all was lost and just as the brave Capn' Cupcake was about to blow up his own ship rather than lose it to that rapscallion Twinkie, another ship appeared over the horizon and made it's way toward the battle at a goodly clip. Gazing through his spyglass, the captain recognized the vessel as the goodship Lollipop and at the helm was his dear old friend Captain Moonpie. Capn' Cupcake laughed out loud. "It's Moonpie! That ol' seadog's come back to repay that favor he owes me!" The captain's spirit was renewed and he charged the crew to hold the pirates at bay, help would soon arrive! cuddles
Reloading their bubblegum and gumdrop cannons with a renewed fervor of nickels, the bold crew of the Ignavia launched into a rousing rendition of that veneerable old sea-chantey, "There's Nothing Else To Do," as they volleyed the ever-nearer specter of the pirate ship of Sir Francis Drake's-Cake with a fresh barrage of candy niblets and Mini Crumb-Crunch Donettes˙, singing:

The ship's dog's name was Rover
We turned that damned thing over
And bunged the butt
Of that faithful mutt
From Corsica to Dover!
[Chorus] Friggin' in the riggin'
Friggin' in the riggin'
Friggin' in the riggin' --
There's nothing else to do!

...When over the waters their singing was cut short -- and through -- by a small, high-pitched, squeal of a voice, rather like a an octave or two of tuned doggy squeaky-toys, but insistent nonetheless, and familiar. Was it the fabled sirens? The mermaid, the sinuous hagfish, the fearsome Hai Ho Shang or the dread say-sarpint itself...? They stopped their singing and listened as the voice came winding and ululating over the bloodsoaked waves and wrapped its octopoid tendrils around them.

O-on the-eh
Good Ship
It's a ni-ice
To the can-dee shop
And sail a-way-yay-yay
To the sunny shores of Pepp'r-mint Bay...

Horror of horrors, it was none other than Little Debbie. none
Her siren song reached down into the very creme filling of the sailors. Swords and nickels were dropped in rapt attentin to the deadly and enticing sound of L'il Debbie's voice calling them one and all to come to her, come to her. A song of destruction that had many a tender flaky gob to hiws doom on the big rock candy reefs that surrounded Cupcake Island. Lanark
At Cap'n Cupcake's command, the sailors and passengers aboard the good ship Ignavia stuffed their ears (and sundry other orifices, for good measure) with delicious creme filling, to drown out the keening vocal bansheetechnics of Li'l Debbie and the Mormon Closet-Junk-Food-Junkie Tabernacle Choir as they launched their assault upon the frigate of Sir Francis Darke's-Cake and his marauding buccaneers with an echo-laden version of "Bali H'ai." Philip
For good measure Injun Joe, a Ho-Ho protruding from each ear, lashed them all together to the mizzenmast where even muffled the keening wail surged through their salty veins with lusty desire. Suffering though they were at least they were safe from their own worst impulses.
There came a low moan from the bowels of the Ignavia and from the hatchway arose the anguished Mr Tickles frothing at the mouth and headed for the rail.
He could not resist. He'd once read a theory on humanity's long-time emotional response to stringed instruments, in which it was hypothesized that the cutgut strings of the instruments vibrated at the same frequency as the churning bowels and guts of the listeners. He understand that now, the dwarf did, tears streaming down his face as he crossed the slippery deck. Across the suddenly quietudinous bay the sailors on the deck of the pirate ship writhed about like a great gestalt of reef-chafed octopi beached upon a shoal of purest rock-salt. And Mr. Tickles understood that. Each emotion was a string to be plucked, love and hate, pain and pleasure, all part of the great song of life. And moreso, the now-drolling dwarf knew (with zombie eyes rolled back into his head) that his time had come. And it was about time, ne? His operatic brides awaited him across one small stretch of water. He stood on the rail. He threw wide his arms. He tilted his head back and he raised his voice in song:

"Toooooooooooo dreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeam
The im-possible dreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeam
To fiiiiiiiight
The unbeatable foooooooooooooooooeeeeeeeeeeee
To liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive
With unbearable sorrooooooooooooooooooooooooow
To goooooooooooooooooooo
Where the brave dare not goooooooooooooooooooo
This is my quest"
[stepping now onto the surface of the bay; a step and then another]
"To follow that staaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar
No matter how hopeless
No matter how farrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

...and crossing the gentle wavelets, Mr. Tickles came to the sirens' ship.

*growls* What happened to eating veggies for a living. Laura
Step by careful step Mr Tickles traversed across the placid seatop towards L'il Debbie mesmerized by the siren song. Carelessly stepping on the heads of the less fortunate Drake's sailors laboriously swimming towards the same goal.
From his place on the deck of the Ignavia Injun Joe could only look on. There could be no escape. Even if Mr Tickles managed to free himself from the clutches of L'il Debbie's spell, the sound once heard would torment the wicked dwarf into madness for the rest of his days. It would be better to just go than to exist like that.
One of the sirens produced a gilded lyre and the trio launched into a slow and langorous version of "Temptation". Mr Tickles began to run.
So possessed by the most unscratchable of all itches did the music have Mr. Tickles, as he stepped across the surface of the water with a grace and a lightness that would've done Fred Astaire proud, that (unlike you and I, dear reader) he completely failed to notice the irony of the briny Fate which was then befalling that scourge of the seven seas, the bloodthirsty buccaneer and pederast Sir Francis Drake's-Cake. Having craftily stuffed his ears with delicious marshmallow Fluff˙ to immunize himself against the bewitching songs of Li'l Debbie and the Del-Sirens, he had come up onto the deck of his ship only to find that his trusted crew of maritime brigands had not only neglected to stuff their own ears against such obvious auditory danger -- and, thus crazed, were consequently tearing each to gory shreds with anything handy, teeth, nails, deck-mops and flensing knives -- but, even worse, had neglected, down to the last pirate, to don their life preservers in the face of gross and obvious trouble, type B, as defined in Blackbeard's Rules for Pirates (Third Edition, Revised). Appalled behind words but wise enough to recognize defeat when he saw it, that most notorious leader of pirates had abandoned his own ship, leaping into the warm green waters of the bay, only to find his delicious chocolatey sponge-cake exterior and his tasty creme center instantly set upon by ravenous fishies and crocodiles from below and hungry screaming gulls from above. Within seconds he was gone. The sugar-frenzied fishes, crocs and gulls smacked their lips (or beaks, for those who had no lips) and proceeded in the direction of the first of the water-treading pirates. Philip
It was at this moment that Mr. Tickles nimbly boarded the caravel (or was that caramel?) H.M.S. Lollipop.
The orchestra launched into a sumptuous tango as the dwarf launched himself at Li'l Debbie, sliding across the nonpareil-strewn foredeck on his knees and bursting into song.

I ache [sang the dwarf to the siren]
for the touch
of your lips, dear
but much more
for the touch
of your whips, dear
You can raise welts
Like nooooooooooooobody else
As we dance
to the
Mas-o-chism Tan-go!

Li'l Debbie scrutinized him, hands on her leatherclad hips. How dare this little man intrude upon the tightly sealed, vestal certainty of a lead siren's rightful domain... not to mention the effect on the new recruits... especially that music, so barbaric, so primitive, yet so... so... bodily. The dwarf continued his mating-dance, tangoing back and forth across the deck with a mop for a partner, continuing in his shrill peeping soprano voice:

Let our love be a flame
Not an eh-ember
Say it's me
That you want
To dis-me-ember
Blacken my eye
Set fire to my tie
As we dance
to the Mas-ochism Tan-go!

You held my nose, love
In you-or-or left castanet, love
I can feel the pain yet, love
How it throbs and it thrums --

And I en-vy the rose
Th-a-at you held in your teeth, love
With the thorns underneath, love
Sticking into your gums...

Li'l Debbie was wholey unimpressed. She folded her arms and gave an impatient sigh but the diminutive Mr. Tickles sang on. Your heart is as hard as stone or mahogany That's why I'm in such Exquisite agony My soul is on fire It's a-flame with desire Which is why I perspire when we tango! At your command Before you here I stand My heart is in my hand "Eeew!" said the siren It's here that I must be My heart entreats Just hear those savage beats And go put on your cleats and come and trample me! Mr. Tickles was now on his knees, shamelessly grabbing at Li'l Debbie's skirts. cuddles with a nod to Mr. Lehrer

"Take your cigarette
from its holder,
[continued the dwarf, miming the supplication of a love-slave by crawling across the damp deck on all fours]
"And burn your initials
In my shoulder --"

...at which point Li'l Debbie stamped on the poor dwarf's hands, one-two!, and screamed "Enough! Stop! I command you to stop immediately!"
The music stopped.
The dwarf scrambled to his feet.
The scantily clad female review flanking Li'l Debbie clustered up behind her like a batallion of Amazons.
The last pirate's light, flaky exterior and delicious, creamy interior disappeared down the maw of a wizened old shark who had seen too much to even taste what he gobbled anymore.
Silence surrounded them like an intimation of death. Even the gulls were silent. The dwarf regarded the siren shyly, humbly; the siren regarded the dwarf with a sneer of contempt.
And then, and then, there arose, out of the green swells which billowed between the Ignavia and the Lollipop, between the two ships and the long white sandy stretch of Peach Cobbler Beach on the exposed east side of Cupcake Island, there arose, on a chariot of bubbles, scattering the sharks, the crocodiles and the cud-chewing sea-cows, there arose, from the depths of the sea...

...a great and hermeticly sealed bubble. Inside the bubble was an assortment of bright and sweet smelling tropical flowers strewn about the base of a crystal pyramid. The fading days sunlight shining through the showered all who watched it rise from the deep with multicoloured rainbows. Faint orchestral shimmers whispered through the air and good vibes rained down from the bubble. For seated at the very apex of the pyramid sat a long mop topped man in a long and brightly coloured caftan lightly strumming a guitar. The many glass beads that he wore about his neck effervesced with LOVE. He softly and sweetly sang to those gathered before him of a beautiful lost city called Atlantis where everything was groovy. The beautiful vibes that emenated from his person calmed even the most wizened of sharks which allowed itself to drift softly before the bubble with just the merest swishes of its powerful tail. The stranger ended his song and all was calm and still and radiant with Peace, harmony and Good Vibes. Then the stranger spoke.
"Greetings, beautiful creatures! I am Donovan."
"Now, for starters," intoned the Scottish mantra-man, "I'd like to state, for the record, that (a) not only Superman, but Batman as well, ain't got nothin' on me, and (b), I implore you, radiant creatures of God's kingdom, fellow passengers aboard Spaceship Earth, to desist, immediately, from your frenetic consumption of sweets! Your teeth are rotting, your bowels contain veritable traffic-jams of carcinogens, rancid undigested red meat and stalemated carbopolysaccharides, and, to quote a sweet old adage (tripping over the clubfeet of his own brogue, he somehow managed to pronounce it in the French manner), You Are What You Eat. And you people (save for yon fair-haired bonny nymphs upon the deck; 'Hi, lassies...!) seem not to have changed your diets in decades, for to a man ye resemble not sailors born and true, not the jolly jack tars I remember so well from me bairn-days along the wharves singing 'Haul an' the Bowline' and their sundry other filthy chanteys, but so much unhealthy snack treats have ye consumed, as to render ye in the form a' bon-bons, cookie-cakes, and sweetmeats! And where is the humanity in that, I beseach ye? Stand up, and show your mettle as men! Come forth, lads and (especially) lasses, and groove on my stash of organic figs, of wheat-free pastas, of fat-free seedcakes seasoned not with horrid refined sugar but with the sugar of Eden, the sugar o' the bees, the sweetener o' peace and light and love, virgin clover honey..." Philip
It all sounded so enticing to the obsequious Mr. Tickles and he soon lost interest in the beautiful sirens before him. He dove off the deck of the Lollipop and began to swim towards the pyramid in the bubble, licking his lips for the fat-free seedcakes with virgin clover honey that was promised him. The Sirens, who were not used to loosing their dupes, broke out in song anew to lure the sycophant dwarf back into their clutches.

I'm your only friend
I'm not your only friend
But I'm a little glowing friend
But really I'm not actually your friend
But I am.

And there, 'midst the roiling and lapping waves, the dwarf stopped. Treading water, he looked first at Donovan -- resplendant atop the Atlantean Eco-Bubble, verdant with ferns and vegetables fully certified by the Organic Framers of America, a pair of baby unicorns sleeping softly in his dashiki'd lap -- then back at Li'l Debbie -- a petulant tigress, hands on hips, lower lip thrust forward in a pout promissary of much danger, intrigue, and wild nights of hot jungle lovin', so reminiscent (he'd been trying to place it and now it suddenly poured over him like a shower of warm, clotted yogurt) of Olivia Newton-John's spike-heeled matamorphosis at the denouement of Grease --
First one, then the other. And then Mr. Tickles burst into tears. What would it be -- the organic, earth-friendly bonding of two muscular druids, straight out of Robert Bly with a pungent homoerotic twist, or would he find a mate in Li'l Debbie, badass queen of the sirens?

What is it -- with me? [he sang to Donovan]
Am I straight, or a I -- something else?
I was sure I heard those -- wedding bells
And then suddenly there's youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

Cows are singing -- oh so sweetly
Fish are nibbling at my -- tiny toes
Hark, how yonder Cupcake -- Island glows
And then suddenly there's youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

[Now to Debbie] Never thought I'd worry I was gay
With a girl -- like you -- on my arm --
For you feel just like a summer's day
With your -- voice -- like a fire -- alarm...

[Before the Hibernian poof in the fishbowl had a chance to jump in, Debbie raised her voice and sang, in response, to the dwarf]:

Cliiiiimb eeevery mountaaain
Foooord every streeeam
Follow every rainbooooow
cuddles von trapp
The thirty one piece orchestra in pit below the stage filled in behind Debbie with a cascade of strings and sparkling brass. She had already slipped into the wired harness and now steadied herself as she majestically marshaled her vocal ammunition towards the second chorus. The wires tensioned as the winches began to lift Debbie, in full voice, up and then out over the audience. She exulted in the experience every night and her voice filled the huge auditorium with emotion and love. Up, up, up she flew! Iggie Stardust
And as she sang, notes as dulcet as dew-kissed honey dripping from the hive, the audience was swept along as wave after wave of magnificence washed over them. Every man and woman closed there eyes and sunk into a smiling reverie, as her song brought them back to memories of sunny, flower-filled meadows, the scent of lilac, lavender, and jonquil wafting along in the breeze. Debbie could feel their joy, revelling in their love and peace; and this only urged her on to new vocal heights, daring to sing with a power and range that threatened to shake her vocal chords apart. Yet on she sang. Yes, she thought, this is the moment I've always dreamed of, when my spirit has become my song. When she could hold the world in the embrace of her music. When the love that filled her soul could find release and nestle gently in the tender hearts that she so longed to touch. When--"Mommy! Look!" piped a small voice from the audience, "The flying lady isn't wearing any underwear!" Jeffster
and... and... she isn't a lady! Ignacious