I was walking along the other day, just minding my own business and basking in the oneness that is man and communing with nature. As I often do. When suddenly and without warning I was confronted by an apparition. He (It was probably a He as She's rarely confront someone without any advance warning whatsoever, shoe store sales notwithstanding) was dressed head to toe in skintight, green spandex and wearing what I can only describe as the skin of a deceased Yak on his head. One who pretty obviously died from Ebola exposure.
"Hi" I said. I am after all naturally polite. "Can I help you?"
"Aarrgghh!" The apparition cried.
"Yes, well....Er, is there something I can do for you Mister Aarrgghh?" Did I mention I am unfailingly polite?
"I am the bringer of discomfort, illness and loose bowels! Fear me puny mortal! And my name is not Mister Aarrgghh. That was just my way of introducing myself."
"Yes, I see." I was taken aback. I mean, how often is it that one finds themselves face to face with the bringer of all those maladies, especially one dressed like Liberace's Dancercize instructor and who clearly thinks he's a gay, disco version of Kermit the frog with a bad toupee?
"Don't you know who I am you pathetic worm?"
"Ah no. Sorry about that. If you're lost I think the Democrat Party headquarters is just down the street there a bit. Hop on in and be sure to ask for Muffy."
"Fool! I am the scourge of the world. The Fifty Second Horseman of the Apocalypse though at the moment I'm riding this moped. My horse is in the shop. Broken Miter Valve."
"Yes, I see." By this time I was becoming somewhat alarmed. I mean, I know people in this town and if they caught me carrying on a conversation with The Green Satyr from Sesame Street there'd be talk. "Um, is there something you need? I'm afraid I don't have any spare change on me at the moment."
"My name is The Creeping Gamboo you weakling human! Does that not strike fear into your quivering heart?"
"Well, no. I've never heard of you. Sorry. And I don't think my heart actually quivers. Shimmy maybe but never quiver."
"I am the The Creeping Gamboo, bringer of discomfort, illness and loose bowels! Also sometimes headaches and sore throats. I've even been known to inflict body aches on the particularly unwary."
"Yes, I believe you may have mentioned that. What is it exactly that you want?"
"Your very sooouuulll!!! To devour!!! Well, not to devour exactly but at least to chew on a bit."
"I see. Well, thanks for that and all but really, I must be on my way. Got a long ride home tomorrow don't you know."
"That is a ride you will never make for you see I have already smitten you with a curse. Hahahahaha!!!"
"A curse? What kind of a curse?" I inquired. Because I'm just a naturally inquisitive type as well as being polite. Besides, it seemed kinda important to humor the guy at that point.
"I already told you before. Weren't you listening? Sheesh, what's a guy gotta do to get a little respect around here?"
"Oh, that bit about war and famine and all? Sorry, I may have been a bit distracted there for just a moment what with the outfit and all. Plus there's the odor coming off whatever that is on your head. I mean, really, that thing positively reeks. Couldn't you, I don't know, wash it or something? Maybe try some Rogaine? A nice bottle of Fabreeze? I think I've got some in my saddlebag."
"Oh, insult and sarcasm! Listen, don't start on me with that stink and washing crap. You don't have to wear it on your head. Besides you're way balder than I am. So why don't you just piss off already with that kinda talk. And it was discomfort, illness and loose bowels. Plus some other stuff. Idiot."
"Ok, Ok. Sorry about that. I'm just having a real tough time taking you seriously. I mean, who goes around dressed like that, approaching total strangers on the street and throwing curses about all willy nilly?"
"Not as sorry as you're going to be in a few hours. Maybe a couple of days but no more than that I'm sure of it. Then - Bam! - You'll be all Woe and Alas and Honey can you bring me some more NyQuil? Then we'll see who's a smartass too distracted to pay attention to the guy who is clearly a Harbinger of Doom and not a gay Sesame Street character."
"So what happens now? Do I fall over dead with my stinking corpse rotting in the street while the city burns around me and the world sinks into the abyss of Heck where life is pretty darn inexpensive and chocolate chip cookies becomes the black market currency?"
"Nah, nothing like that. You're just gonna feel like shit for a while. You'll probably recover in a few days, unfortunately, and then go on about your life making wisecracks to hard working pestilence mongers and generally being a huge pain in the ass to everybody else. Serves you right."
"Of course. If there's nothing else...?"
"G'wan, beat it before I decide to give you a bad case of jock itch."
"So, I'm still good for the ride then?"
"Oh yeah. I don't think the curse will really kick in until maybe Wednesday. But then watch out! Because it's gonna be horrific. Can't be fathomed I tell you. Epic. I swear."
"Well...thanks. I guess. I'll just be on my way then. Goodbye. Oh, I do have some change after all. Here's 87 cents."
"Thank you you cheapskate and goodbye. For now. Muahahahahahaha!!!"
If you haven't guessed it yet, yes, I am sick. I blame small persons of the child variety. Little germ factories. I was fine until today and then, just like Mister Gamboo predicted, I feel pretty much like I got ate by a Coyote and crapped off a cliff.
Stupid harbingers of discomfort, illness and loose bowels. See if I ever give him my spare change again. Friggin' evil Sesame Street characters. Next time I'm just gonna start shooting.