the therry, the troof

Feckless

1.

Was I feckless?

She cheated on me and reported back, saying “When I argued with him over trivial things, I found that I had missed out on having someone disagree with me. All those years, and I never really had an argument with you. It was edifying to have someone violently disagree with me for once.” And we dissolved our marriage on those words. She said more and worse--indictments of my perception of myself as a husband. No response from me, like always. Too gutless to fight back.

I am still unpacking and repacking that last conversation, years later, to weigh it for truth.


2.

In the fourth grade, my best acquaintance told me I fought like a girl, and I spent the night dreaming about myself in a dress. Only brutality and nastiness would win me the right to be a boy, I decided, and a few weeks later I told the least popular girl in my grade that she was ugly and that I didn’t want to work with her for group work. I’ll never forget the way she sighed and said, “I know.” It’s worth remembering how terrible I was at that moment so that I never treat someone that way again.

I fought a boy who was shyer than me for a place in line in the fifth grade, and he bloodied my head with his lunch box. I’ll never forget. It’s worth remembering that I am not a fighter. I’m too squishy.

In a new town, on the first day of middle school, before school even started, I slipped in the rain while trying to join a soccer game, knocking the wind out of my lungs. The sound I made trying to get my air back was like a wounded dog. All the arm-wrestling I won at lunch tables for two years couldn’t outweigh my apparent crying on the first day of school; I had more bullies than fingers. I’ll never forget. 

My dad taught me to tell myself “water off a duck’s back,” which is like saying that all of these things people do to me are as transient as any other hour of the day. It’s also a way to yield to abuse.


3.

You get names when you give your female partner any authority in your relationship. My dad called me “pussy-whipped” when I told him that I was moving in with my girlfriend. They don’t really have names like that for people who blindly obey their fathers.

“I’ll consider you to be a full grown man when you have kids,” he said, when I told him I wasn’t having kids and carefully explained it.

He privately said, when I told him months later that I’d be marrying her, “The sex must be amazing, huh?” I didn’t reply, and he apologized later. I often forgive, but I rarely forget.

“That was pretty ballsy, when you stood up to me and married her,” he’d tell me nine years later, after she and I had divorced.

If the goalposts on what it takes to be a man are always moving or being decided by someone else, maybe it is a fake goal. Jack White said it in one of his songs: “I never said I ever wanted to be a man.” 

Maybe striving to be “a man” at all is a big joke. 


4.

I had some friends who invited me for Thanksgiving a few years ago. I came to their house, occasionally, to play games and pet their cats and drink. They had a big, fluffy Maine Coon named Charlie. He was a very shy cat, but he would come out for me.

“He likes you because you’re gentle. You don’t pet too hard, you don’t chase after him, and you don’t expect more of him than he’s willing to give. We’ve started calling you ‘The Gentle Human’ because Charlie won’t come out for any other stranger.”

I was almost thirty years old, and it was honestly the first time I’d been flattered to have someone call me “gentle.”


5.

A few weeks ago, I paid the remaining five dollars on someone’s purchase after their food stamp money ran out. I was next in line. They didn’t know me, but they asked me to help out. Five dollars is not make-or-break for me right now, so I agreed to help.

The check-out attendant was baffled that I would help or that I was even asked. “That lady brought way more up here than she could afford. Did she not think to do the math? She’s up here all the time asking for help.”

I said, “I’ve never been in a situation where I had to ask for help. I’m not sure what it would take to make me feel that, so I can’t really judge.”

The clerk told me that I’d definitely get paid back in karma or some such for the deed. Whatever. Feeling like my response to a situation was a morally good response is a good reward. It’s not like I can say I reacted in a positive way about many things.


6.

I want to say that I show my age now by making choices that dignify my inner sense of right and wrong and that feel good later, but this is like a hallway with parallel facing mirrors, and the image of who I was in the past reflects back into the present every time, if a little smaller than before.

In spite of this, I can still say that cowardice and avoidance of conflict don’t define my life, but being gentle and striving to be a genuine, kind person do. If that means that I’m not a good fit for someone horrible like my ex, then I’m probably doing better than I feel like I am, no matter how much I second-guess myself.

I would not say that I’m feckless. Not anymore. I think, refecktively, I have a fair amount of feck. I’m quite feckund. My feck runneth over. And I’m going to laugh at anyone who tries to undermine my sense of myself again.

the therry, the troof

What Walks

“Answer the riddle. Or try it, like so many of these other men, and see where you wind up. What walks on four legs in the dawn, two at noon, and three at dusk?” she said, a fierce glower in her cat eyes.

He hesitated, almost unable to breathe. “I am! I mean, I do that!” he replied.

“What?”

She had appeared on the roadway like a heat mirage made manifest. He stood between her giant, feline paws and tried to keep calm. 

“I don’t understand your answer,” she replied. “Can you clarify that for me?”

“I have extra legs at night and in the morning. Specifically, I have four legs total in the morning and three at night. I don’t know where my extra legs are going to pop out, so I can’t even disguise them when they happen.”

The colossal, mostly-cat woman swore under her breath to the gods that had cursed her to be a riddle sentry. The man couldn’t tell if she was more of a cat-woman or a woman-cat, but her face and black hair were unlike the fur of her coat. Below the neck, though, she was covered in a coarse, spotted fur, and her other features were indistinguishable from an over-sized cat.

“They’ve even popped out of my neck before, but as soon as the sun is up, they’re gone.”

“I can’t believe I’m hearing this. Are you telling me that the answer to this riddle that I’ve been asking for a year now is you, specifically?” she hissed.

“I know!” he replied, voice trembling with excitement.

“That’s ridiculous! This is supposed to be a question that anyone could answer if they’re clever enough! All these people trying to get to Thebes are now stranded somewhere else for no reason!”

“I’m sorry that it worked that way. I’ve been waiting my whole life to figure out why I was made to be this way, and here it is.”

“How do I know you’re telling the truth?” she said, eyes narrowing.

“You’ll have to wait and see. I tried to wait until right around dusk so that I could prove it more easily, but my nerves got the better of me. How do you not know it’s the answer?” the man replied.

“I guessed that I would just know, but apparently it’s not that easy.”

“I know how that feels. I kept thinking that something would reveal my purpose to me, like the old stories. A voice from above or something. Even my local oracle said ‘no, I have no idea’ before closing the door in my face.”

“How did you figure out to come here, then?”

“Some traveler appeared in my family’s farm, where I was working, and told us what the riddle was in exchange for food and shelter. He just appeared out of nowhere,” the man replied, relaxing, realizing that the woman-cat was unlikely to eat him.

“I’m always here or around Thebes,” she said. “I don’t get to know where travelers are coming from, but even when they try to sneak into the city, I find myself warped to them, unable to do anything but ask the question.”

“Then what happens?”

“Well, they usually stammer and then try some fool answer. Someone suggested that the answer to the riddle was a philosopher’s stone. I don’t even know what that means. He seemed pretty confident, but he vanished the moment he tried to take one more step into Thebes. His reasoning was really strange.”

“Huh. I guess it’s not surprising some people would think they’d have an answer. Knowing that makes me feel a little bad for existing,” the man said sullenly.

“I, as well, regret that I seem to have been put here just to make so many people’s lives worse. I tried to figure out if Thebes had done something to deserve having a monster like myself outside their city, but people are too scared to talk to me.”

“Why? You don’t seem like you’re all that bad.”

“You’re the first person in a long time that hasn’t screamed with terror at seeing me or who actually seems to want to talk to me. What’s your name, anyway? Where do you live?”

They spent several hours talking together about their unique circumstances. He had been married twice, once in an arranged wedding that didn’t work out for more than one night, and once for a year until his ex-wife got tired of the nights where a foot would randomly kick her back or her head in the early morning.

The cat-woman had never been given a name. Her parents were the gods, but being on earth made remembering the heavens hard. She tried to recount what she could, but the experience was too abstract to be able to assign it words.

Almost as soon as the last shadow of the sun fell behind the rolling hills, an entire leg came out of the man’s hip, to the right of his right leg. The whole process took less than a minute.

He moaned, and she asked “Does that hurt?”

“Not so much. I’m used to it. It’s difficult, because if I wear my clothes too tight, I might not be able to accommodate it, wherever it’s coming from.”

“Did you ever try… removing it?”

“More than once. It’s a different leg every night, actually.”

“I don’t feel qualified to judge this about you at all, considering that I’m half gigantic cat.”

“Plenty of people like cats though.”

“They don’t like me. I’m monstrous.”

“Not at all, you don’t even get to choose not to harm someone. In my thinking, if you’re bad to other people, you’re the real monster.”

“How do you know I’m not going to be bad to you? I’ve only seen one part of my riddle to be true,” she said, a little concern in her voice. “I could hurt you.”

“Do you have anywhere you need to be? I could wait here with you until the morning if you are able,” he said, ignoring the concern.

“I guessed you would, since you came so far to get here.”

They stayed up most of the night talking to each other. Neither of them had met anyone before that they could talk to so easily. The more she talked about her parents and the heavens, the more she remembered, and the more vivid her stories became. He was hearing stories about the way gods and nature and war and the afterlife functioned to which no other man was privy.

He talked with her about customs and the seasons and arguments he’d had with his siblings and this one drought that brought his father to tears and the taste of honey baked into a cake and the first night he realized that he was not the same as the rest of his family. She learned about simple comfort from him, about how fresh the first snow can feel, and about how the passing of time can have the gravity of everything and nothing simultaneously. She wondered how long he really had left as a mortal and whether all of her stories about divinity would make any difference. 

And when he started to fall asleep mid sentence, she offered him one of her paws to lay against and bent her great head down as well to rest it against the other paw.

An hour before the sun rose up, she felt him stir in his sleep and examined him. His fourth leg had emerged, as promised, from his torso.

“Hey, wake up! You were right! You were right!” she shouted.

“Hah, I told you!” he said, rubbing his eyes.

They laughed about it for a moment.

“What now?”  he asked.

“I don’t know. Do you want to go to Thebes?” she replied.

“It’s just like any place, I think. I always thought my journey was to here, to be this person. If there is nothing after this, I think I still don’t really know what is next.”

She thought about that. He wasn’t like other travelers. He came to her because he knew he was the answer to the question she didn’t know the answer to. Everyone else was pretty much interested in Thebes. Then she remembered.

“Oh! One of the other travelers told me that Thebes would welcome anyone who had defeated the riddle to be the new king and marry the previous queen!”

“I heard that too. It’s just that, when you live like me you get accustomed to being thought a curse. I’m sure Thebes would wind up worse off with me ruling it. And they’re pretty much going to take whomever walks through that gate next anyway for the job. Lucky him, I say. Hope he doesn’t bring his own baggage like I would.”

“I like your baggage. You are earnest and funny and have great stories.”

“I appreciate that you think so. You've seen the worst thing about me and celebrated it, which makes me feel... warm. It doesn't feel strange to be me around you. But, I think your stories are better--all your gods and goddesses and Olympus and--”

“But they aren’t as real to me anymore. In a way, I hope they stay that way. I’d probably get made, as fearsome as I look, to sit outside some other cursed place and police their inhabitants with some other nonsense riddle.”

“Do you want to go away somewhere then? You’re free of the riddle now. You can do what you want.”

“Will you come with me? I haven’t had a friend before.”

“Of course,” he answered.

The man and the woman-cat started moving when the sun came up and the two extra legs vanished, leaving no trace that they were ever there. He walked beside her because she wanted to move at his speed and see things as he would see them. A mile further down the road, they met a determined looking young man.

“The answer to your riddle is 'man,' beast!” he roared.

“Oh here we go again,” she sighed. “You’re going to say that it’s a man in different stages of his life, right? Like in the morning when he’s crawling as a baby, that’s four legs, right?”

“Ye--yes!”

“Wow. I haven’t heard this before. And then at night, when he’s old, he has three legs because he has a cane. Am I right?”

“Yes, I have solved it! Let me pass!”

“This man is not very bright,” she whispered to her friend.

“At least he’s eager to answer, I guess,” her friend replied. 

“Congratulations,” she dryly responded to the young man. “You’ve won. That was definitely the answer we were looking for and not something so obvious that dozens of other men previously tried it.”

The man cheered for himself and sprinted the rest of the way to Thebes, eager to claim his throne.

“I suppose that it is the answer to the riddle anyway,” she said with a soft rumble like a purr in the lower register of her voice.

“How so?” the new friend replied.

“Well, the answer was a man, just an incredibly specific one.”


The two had incredible adventures from then on. And although the many-legged man's story was largely forgotten because that last traveler bragged so loudly about having bested the creature’s riddle while they put the crown on his head, she became known as “sphinx,” which means “to tighten or squeeze,” as a result of the amazing hugs that she gave to her friend and many of the people they would meet together. 

the therry, the troof

The Really Real

Just north of Dingle, before the first rays of sunshine crack the horizon, the bleating of a nightmare sheep crashes up and down the grassy hills, pulsating its own epitaph that goes ceaselessly unfulfilled. The song seems to be over only to start again every day, every morning. One could normally hear the crow of roosters at that time, but their cries are all crushed beneath three droning pitches and shrill wailing above it all.

That’s Gavin Bradigan on the bagpipe.

It would be one thing if any of his neighbors, having woken up to his sounds covering in cold, sweaty dread, could just ask him to stop practicing outside, but they couldn’t corner him before they were supposed to be awake and off to business. Moved by his own music, the boy took flight, hovering just high enough to clear fences as he drifted over the hills. If that weren’t enough, his tendency to change path meant that cars couldn’t catch him while driving. Except for himself, no one enjoys listening to him play the bagpipe, not even his mother. And especially no one enjoyed him popping up outside their bedroom window blaring his bagpipe with a glazed over look on his face.

So we recorded his movements and charted flight paths every morning until we were ready. Then we made a big net and bagged ourselves a bagpipe boy. The look on his face when we cut off his song was so hurt that it rattled me, but this is what we do.

I’m Brask Stranahan, division lead inspector for the United Nations Bureau of Reality. Our mandate is to examine and resolve growing reports of unnatural events that are not being immediately acknowledged as harmful, especially in rural regions where local stories are still more prominent than national news outlets.

As lovely as it is to see a young man moved by his music so much that he takes flight, consider that he wasn’t able to avoid our nets. He had no conscientious control over where he was going, and if some time a stiff breeze had carried him into one of the powerlines he floated near, we would have had a tragedy instead of a magical coming-of-age story. The neighborhood is incapable of responding to the incident until it’s too late, because they’re also, in a way, bound up by the magic and significance of the moment. It all looks so commonplace to them.

“That’s just how young boys are!” his mother barked at me when we released him back to her. We had to trade his Scottish bagpipes for quieter Irish ones, which required him to sit down to play. He’ll probably play worse on those than on the others, but it won’t lead to him getting hit by a tall truck, which is a net benefit.

Our increasingly global world made intervention into the casual magic of smaller communities a humanitarian goal, but I sometimes wonder if it’s too invasive or if we shouldn’t just let these occurrences run their course as independent societies develop. One of my recent interventions had me trying to spare an elderly couple that were fading into their own house after having outlived all of their immediate children.

I know it’s not humane to let an older couple, ignored by their more distant grandchildren and silenced by their mutual losses, vanish into their own wallpapers and sofas and stone countertops, but it definitely felt intrusive to set up thermal imaging cameras to catch their presences in the plaster. Where we detected whole bodies, we cut. Those cuts stayed warm, so we covered them in blankets, put them in the back of a covered truck, and drove into the nearest city. Once we got far enough away from the house, we found that there were two elderly people in the back of our truck.

We found a well rated retirement home we could put them at and sent their relatives their new information. They’re happy in their new environs now, playing checkers with other folks and making friends, but neither of them can recall having literally been a part of their previous house, and mentioning it puts a cold, grey look in each of their eyes, like they could drift back to it at any moment.

I can’t help but think that something of the natural order is being interfered with when we pull people out of these circumstances. I’m good enough at this now to where I felt confident that cutting out the wall was a way to release those people from their own house, but when I was new I might have helplessly had their grandchildren come talk to them, only to escalate the issue and expedite the deterioration; local communities are never equipped to make this better because they’re usually, in some way, a little responsible for making commonplace magic happen.

This evening I have to start figuring out how to break a recursive loop where a hand-me-down dress is going from mother to daughter as the daughter leaves the house, but the mom keeps talking to the daughter through the dress and is very hostile and non-complementary. This has been happening every time the dress is passed down for at least a century. I suggested to the Bureau that we just buy the daughter a new dress and dispose of the old one, but they said that I had to find a lower cost option because I’ve used expensive means to resolve issues a little too often recently.

I am debating persuading the daughter to let me try on the dress. I believe that the voices of ancestors will probably howl with torment if that delicate fabric touches even one of my coarse chest hairs, but what can one do? We have to be the external influence that rattles people free of their small-town curses, but global groups aren’t really better. We have other divisions dedicated to stemming the effects of intercontinental existential crises, so if I have to squeeze into some young woman’s dress just to squelch the rude, constant, ghostly commentary of her mother, I’ll do the best I am able to do.

“Stranahan does all he can,” is what I tell myself. It’s good to have a mantra. Very centering.
the therry, the troof

Worm

The first sighting was during a nighttime storm in Florida. Lightning flashed through deep clouds every few seconds, backlighting for the undulating figure of something gigantic in the sky. Some people started screaming, hollering for their neighbors, their families, their lives. Thousands of people saw it, but no one that first night could get a picture of it.

National news outlets were prepared to crack a Florida joke, but it appeared in broad daylight in Kansas the following day, hovering over wind turbines. It looked like a squid, with four fluidly moving tentacles flapping behind an arrowpoint shaped body, drifting with its length parallel to the ground. People took pictures, which came out very nice, but that was it; it produced no sound as far as audio recording equipment could tell, left nothing behind when it traveled, and treated all places as equal, staying only ten minutes in a given place before vanishing completely.

After it blessed several military bases with its aloof hovering, the U.S. military decided to shoot it down. That was the protocol for all objects that challenged the rules of American airspace. While the president was still talking in one syllable words to reporters about how there would be a response forthcoming about the visitor, and “we’re looking into it,” jets were scrambled to shoot it down--it had appeared right over an Air Force base, conveniently.

Closing in on the aerial but stationary target, fighters readied and launched their missiles. And then it was gone. Not really gone. Behind them, doing nothing. For fear of the squid retaliating, the fighters broke off before the command was given again. Same result. Call off the mission. A couple of small hill fires and video of the incident were momentarily embarrassing for the president before his office began spinning the incident as a successful attempt at startling the entity, even though no one had yet been able to discern whether the thing was a spacecraft or a single organism.

The thing moved on. It started in the USA, as far as anyone was aware, but it visited a slew of other countries before, a few weeks later, it completely vanished.

Beyond pictures and externally observable statistics like size, no one knew anything about it. And a high resolution picture, without context, means very little. Is that a fleshy part or is that mechanical or is that somehow both? How does it stay afloat? Does it like us? Is it going to return later and kill us all?

Think pieces encouraged readers to believe that the presence of the creature would provoke a new desire for space exploration. It didn’t. The whole event was a good scapegoat to massively increase funding in the military, which made the arms-dealing friends of some Congresspeople very happy.

Eventually, time stripped the event of its urgency, but children laid awake anyway, wondering if the unexplained sky squid might be hovering just outside their windows in the pouring rain and lightning.


Recon Data Point: CS117 Sol Life 10^9.721

We found it! After scouring the myriad radio waves of this miserable rock, we secured the audio sample. At last, we’re free to leave. No more listening in to ill-informed public broadcasts likening our foray cruiser to a cephalopod. If we’d had time to park, I could have eaten thirty radio show hosts just to give them some different talking points.

Here is the sample that was giving Archenum Zarabus so many headaches. With it in our possession, the Archenum can give the audio the much awaited full-listen necessary to free his mind of blighted half sounds, especially the beginning duh… duh-duh-duh…  duh-duh-duh…duh-duh-duuuuh. We will all be glad, back in Curvaxala Prime board meetings, to not be hearing him hum his half-heard melody under his breath.

As for planetary viability, even though we bumped this one up the queue just to satisfy the Archenum’s need to fully hear the audio, it needs to be said that this planet is no good. It needs to be ignored. The only interaction they tried, besides just generalized scans and radio chatter that we ignored, was aggression. The whole team agreed that when humans write songs likening themselves to just the eyes of predators that have nearly been driven to extinction, perhaps their response to our presence was always going to be one of aggression.

Sure, let’s equate our survival instinct with a species that we seem completely dedicated to eradicating. That’s why you’re lobbing projectiles at your own hillsides, right? Trying to start an interstellar war just because you really value your endurance and survival? It’s a horrible song. Let’s just hope that upon sharing it with our home planet, it doesn’t become too popular like the last one, “Santa Baby.” 

You couldn’t get that one out of your head if you tried.

the therry, the troof

To Strive, To Seek, To Find

There were too many comforts for an aging cat. Too many bowls of wet food easily digested, too many deep naps on the sunlight strewn porch, and too many hugs from well meaning humans, who, especially the children, had never been taught how to touch a majestically old cat like Ludwig von Snagglefang.

So one day, when he closed his nearly blind eyes for his longest nap and opened them again to witness clearly a vast field of flowers glowing under a starlit sky and could smell them all and could feel the arthritis evaporate from his joints and could feel his whiskers twitch in the wind, he ran. Nothing like his purposeful hunts in grassy fields when he was barely an adult, Lud danced through the flowers, feeling his heartbeat quicken with exhilaration at the idea of freely moving again. Moving for the sake of moving, his scraggly tabby fur and all of his mats smoothed with his stride, becoming sleeker with every bound of his legs against the dirt.

There were dreams like these throughout Lud’s life. This was real. Lud also knew that this was how dying felt. He was munching on grass and deciding: will I go when I run too far through this grass? Is it over when I go too far to find my way back?

And then his eyes opened, the aches returned, and the dullness of living crept back into his body. He sighed with a little relief. Although he wasn’t a fan of hugs, Lud knew the sentiment and knew the people giving the sentiment would feel horrible if there wasn’t more time. Thinking back to another cat he had known, a gloriously silky, white-haired matriarch named Winter, he remembered her talking about something similar.

I’m starting to see a flowery, endless field when I close my eyes and sometimes when I keep them open, Winter had purred to Lud, when he was much younger.

That happens to me too, but I’m always hunting something and wake up because I was twitching too hard from running in my sleep, Lud replied.

You’re talking about dreams. This isn’t a dream, young friend. I think I will die soon.

You’re only a little older than me, and I’ve only just become an adult. Why would you think that you’re going to die? Are you in pain right now? Are you sick?

Winter wrapped her paws around Lud’s head and pulled him closer. No, not sick, but I know that if I wander too far into this field, I won’t be coming back. I want you to know that I treasure your company before that happens.

A week later, the people feeding them both buried her in the backyard. Lud only knew that one night she crossed the fence and the open road. There was a consistent bright light beyond the fence and then, shortly after, the people were all awake. After that, Lud was kept inside the building where the people lived for a long time, and they were constantly checking to make sure he was where they expected him to be, with panicked faces and a combination smell of wet dirt, dust, and salt in their clothes.


For Lud, it was different and slower. There seemed to be a long way to run in the field without forgetting how to come back.

When he did come back, he often found himself in the middle of a deep cry or in a strange place or tightly wrapped up in someone’s arms. Just like Winter had said, the connection to the starry field was growing ever more present.

One morning, all of the people greeted Lud in the morning, sitting around him in a circle. That smell had come back, with more of the salt than Lud had remembered. He didn’t know that they were taking him to the vet afterwards, but he felt their love pouring over him before he closed his eyes one more time and opened them on the expanse of the next world.

It was the same vast field and vast starry night, but something had shifted. The smell of the hunt now filled the air. Ludwig’s eyes dilated--something else was out there, and he would find it. At first he stalked it like an older cat that had to conserve energy for fear of tiring out, but eventually he started chasing. He swooped through the flowers and crashed through bushes and leapt into and across trees and jumped so high he took flight, fur rippling with the wind as it whooshed past him.

Eventually he found the source of the scent. Winter, but her coat was full of stars like the sky. They always had something to hunt then, together with many other cats. Always a tree branch to sleep on, always fresh dew on the grass and leaves to drink, and the stars were warm like the sun.


It doesn’t matter. You have assurance that your end will strip away the mystery of death and afterlife, or you’ll be too gone to care. Losing an animal friend or pet is completely different.

It doesn’t matter whether you don’t believe, or you have a different opinion because you can’t know. Give me this. I imagine my little cat boarding a boat like Odysseus at the end of Tennyson’s poem “Ulysses,” bidding farewell the life lived, in spite of whatever value that might have had, and sailing on to new adventures.

These creatures that we feed and give water give back so much love, but they were always worth more than their meaning to people, and they deserve to choose the infinite hunt or the infinite Frisbee that throws itself or the endless sky and clouds or whatever it is that fish like.

Onward, wanderers! Maybe if we can, we'll follow you some day.

the therry, the troof

Week 0, Introductions

Hi, my name is Troof.

Getting to know me is like getting to know popcan biscuits without ever having seen them. You start at the grocery store. Have you been to the grocery store? How could you have been to the grocery store and never seen popcan biscuits? They're right next to the cream cheese.

If you start trying to open the biscuits here, you're gonna go to jail. Buy them. You won't regret it. You needn't clutch the can so hard. They're not really going to arrest you, I was exaggerating probably. I'm not exaggerating about clutching the can, ease off, vulture-fingers.

And now you're back in the kitchen. The first thing to do is to tear open the seal to the can. Oops, now you're screaming. No, you're. No, you're fine, see what happened. What happened was.

Next time, you'll be ready. You'd like to think that. It would be comforting, to know that you weren't going to writhe with fear right up until the moment you did exactly as the can said and punctured the seam with a spoon, howling with terror at the pop and chucking the can as if it were full of fireworks that were also snakes. You're never fully ready for popcan biscuits.

One day, in a bewildered haze, you might confuse the popcan biscuits for something that tastes good while raw, like cookie dough; you'd put that raw dough nugget in your mouth and immediately wonder why anyone ever let you make choices, but now you bake the biscuits, and they're either burned or still raw. You're always checking the instructions and blaming your oven temperature. Blaming your incessant need to open the oven door just to see the level of browning, thereby inviting hot air into your face.

Biscuits are done, such as they are. Inside the biscuit is something new, something that is neither bis nor cuit.

I hope to be this and that and every part of your biscuit making experience and more. Thanks for playing this season with me!