Tuesday, July 25, 2006


By Sebastian Manx

Old Man Huppleschmitt was about as mean as a one-legged goat in battery acid. True, his wife had been devoured by a family of praying mantises, but even this fact failed to justify Huppleschmitt's preternatural crabbiness, to say nothing of his powerful urge toward public displays of perversion.

One summer evening found Huppleschmitt sitting on his porch, drinking Schlitz and polishing a pile of walnuts as the neighborhood children scampered to and fro in search of fireflies. Bobby Peterson was collecting the creatures in a glass jar, and soon the other children gathered around and oohed and ahhed at the swirl of green and yellow lights.

Suddenly, a fat hairy hand reached down and yanked the jar out of Bobby's grasp. It was Huppleschmitt. The brute unzipped his pants and, to the children's horror, proceeded to drown the fireflies in urine.

"To hell with your little insect friends," he bellowed when he was done, "each and every goddamned one of them."

Later that night, as a dozen sobbing children were being comforted by their parents, the surviving fireflies gathered in the parking lot of the community center, where they flew in lazy circles until they saw a police officer making his way down the street.

As he approached, the fireflies quickly came together to form a bright, flickering arrow that pointed toward a row of azaleas in front of the building. Curious, the policeman walked over to investigate. Through the window he could see the Daughters of the American Revolution drinking tea and knitting scarves. And when he peered behind the bushes he discovered Huppleschmitt, crouched and pantless under the window ledge, his forbidden lust now wilting in the vengeful glow of his insect adversaries.

(Once celebrated as the "Dennis Quaid of Entomologists," Sebastian Manx abandoned science for a gloomily unsuccessful writing career soon after he made his greatest discovery: the pleasurable effects of sniffing glue and various solvents.)

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