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Chronicle of the NonPop Revolution

The Essay
Show #361
David Gunn

The woman awakens with a start. Her heart is pounding as if the entire Monday night zingo class were dancing the macareña in her abdominal cavity in Kegler boots. She glances up at the stars popping and fizzling in the early morning sky, a sky tinged purple by the titanium clouds, whose orange highlights are due to Ganthall the Cloud Seeder mistaking Tang® for silver iodide crystals. She is lying in a field of visions, with thousands of tangential dream fragments waving hallucinogenic tendrils in the breeze. The breeze, the woman realizes, is a consequence of the huge vehicles that traverse the valley below her. That truck on which she had thumbed a ride the previous night, for example, was so big that it generated its own storm front as it blew down The Roadway. No longer the domain of the 18-wheeler, pivotal character in myriad country and western songs, The Roadway now endured motor transports that sported 70, 90, even 105 wheels. As the pre-dawn traffic increases, a restive southeast trending wind springs up, mimicking the prevalent flow of vehicularum giganticus.

The woman stands up and allows her body to absorb the wind, hoping it will displace the anxiety that she feels. A delegation of air molecules petitions for and receives permission to enter, but her internal trepidation is so ingrained that the air meekly exits her without a fight. Why is the woman so angsty? Because she is far from any fishatorium and Ursanola, her charge, is about to give birth.

Ursanola is a genetically altered hyperlobster, measuring two meters from tail to antlers, and weighing 195 pounds without prey in its pincers, which isn't often. It is one of only a handful--though rare is the conscious person who would willingly put his hand around it--of stalk-eyed crustaceans that have grown to such enormity without first exploding, and is therefore seriously valuable. Some would say she is priceless. Thermidorologist Beauregard Pomerantz, while attending the 21st Annual Lobsterilization Fertility Clinic in Bismuth, Delaware, points to six colossalobsters noisily sucking down a lukewarm potash broth in the Carra gene pool and suggests a number in the six figures, though perhaps those figures instead match the atomic weight of the leftover broth.

The raging wind at last rouses Ursanola from lobslumber. She paddles to the top of her tank, pokes an antennule into the air and sniffs. ("Lobsters," says Bell Telephone Science Hourís Dr. Frank Baxter, "can't see worth a darn. Their smell organs, on the other hand, are quite refined, and can easily differentiate between potential snacks and predators with one beezer tied behind their backs, or exoskeletons.") It just so happens that, during its nocturnal swoop across the Salton Sea, the wind picked up millions of succulent bee plankton that were out for an ill-advised evening stroll. Ursanola instantly senses l'arome du petit déjeuner and clambers out of her watery bed, her prehensile claws snapping an eager, macareña-like tattoo.

The woman is momentarily nonplused. Surely Ursanola has grown during the night! Dr. Clobberworm, the lobstetrician, had confirmed that the big girl's girth suggested that she would lay between 25,000 and 30,000 eggs, but these eggs would be tiny, smaller even than second servings at Loco Bob's All-You-Can-Eat Sweetbread Buffet in Pillager, Texas.

Ursanola extends a swimmeret into the air, snags a podful of plankton, and bolts it. The woman's nonplusness turns to disgust--not because of the poor table manners, which are inherent in hyperlobsters, but because the digestive process triggers the release of a fetid pheromone that smells a little like chickenpox. Ursanola repeats the hunter-gatherer process 20, 30, 130 times, her cephalothorax swelling a bit more with each swallow. The woman, meanwhile, is desperately trying to recall Clobberworm's warning about appeasing an hyperlobster's voracious appetite. She remembers only one word: donít! Unfortunately, she remembers it one moment too late.

In the valley down below, citizens band Channel 19 crackles to life with vivid expletives of surprise from a dozen vehicularia giganticus operators noting the fresh gobs of crustacean carrion plastered all over The Roadway. One 70-wheeler, unable to avoid a huge hunk of pleopod as it plummets from the sky, loses control and crashes into the hailstorm that is accompanying an approaching übertruck. Other exclamations describe the redolence in the air. "A little like pustuled sweetbread," someone suggests. Lying a thousand and sixty feet above him in a recently egg-spattered field, the woman would tend to agree. She is sponging clumps of erstwhile Ursanola off of her, chagrined that her charge met a fate similar to other hyperlobsters. But then she brightens. At least she no longer has to pay exorbitant arthropodal sitter fees during her Monday night zingo classes!

Above her, the Tang® particles have at last provoked the titanium-tinged cloud to release its rain drops, and the orangy tincture is soon helping to wash away Ursanola's gamy pheromones. But it is also stimulating a gaggle of eggs that were properly exuded before all fulminatory heck broke loose. Clinging stubbornly to the lobslumber tank's inner wall, the eggs are already looking forward to adolescence.

This 361st episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, on the other hand, or antennule, is looking forward to the next two hours, during which time our hearpores will be subject to newly minted acoustic events as selected by the newly returned from the heathcliffs Kalvos.