Did I ask for the designation? Indeed, I did not. Was I even Nicaraguan? Not entirely. I’ll let you ponder that, after the designation fades, otherwise there will be scandal. Or Hugh will climb the cage. Yes, the Hugh, the O’Connell, the original designee.
Hugh was a great mentor, I was just a lousy student. Hugh had metallic hair, I had a pony. Hugh claimed to have nine nipples, I had only the apparently God-given, yet meager, three. Hugh sampled bicameral falsetto orphan fish singing opera, leaving me in the dust with my Gwen Stefani CDs. Are you feeling me here? Do you have any idea of the shame of letting down your mentor, when the big ball of wax comes blowing out of the west?
Hugh told me that my biggest problem was nitroglycerine.
“Nitroglycerine is not a vegetable, Little Paschal,” he said. “It is a toy. You need to buy it by the dozen, and you need to forget about mouthwash.”
“Yes, sir, Mr. Hugh,” I said.
“Yes, sir, Mr. Hugh, what?” said Hugh.
“Yes, sir, Mr. Hugh, Almighty Falafel Man.”
“That’s better. Now carry on with your nitro.”
We planted nitroglycerine trees all up and down the Yucatan coast. We breakfasted with the local Maya, eating boatloads of guava jelly on toast. Juanita was smitten with the metallic man; she thought he looked like Regis Philbin, only shinier. Yes, I know you’re wondering, so I’ll tell you: Juanita thought I looked like Milky the Toad, only she said it in Spanish, so it sounded like she thought I looked like the Governor of California, Conan the Barbarian . Come to think of it, he looks like Milky the Toad, too.
Hugh told me that Cortez was out. This time we would conquer central Mexico with limousines, a fleet of candy apple red Hyundais, or else we would airlift in an avalanche of terrestrial orchids, and live with the consequences.
“You do the math,” he said.
I can see it in your eyes: you doubt the Falafel Man. You think he is airborne fluff, elementary foot cheese in Quasimodo underwear. But, hear me out: I kid you not: Hugh the Almighty Falafel Man is a shaman. He comes from the land of the Mighty Falafel Elves, and he is dead serious about his calling. Forget about the minor fact that dead serious to Hugh looks like seriously demented to you and me. Forget about the fact that lacrosse was invented in Gary, Indiana, despite everything else you’ve ever heard. Forget about the fact that Blandis really is the only full grown leprechaun you’ll ever see, and that he WON”T be dressed in green.
It’s time for us to end this little Alpine Noodle Fest: I can see that Barret is edging towards the door. Marisa has lost count of the words that offend her; Kristina has run out of staples to stab dollar bills into her right thigh; Robert is counting sheep in Japanese; Video is on the verge of committing identity-theft on Jamie, while Jamie has figured out how to walk on water without all the usual hype. Sam has found the coolest desktop background: it is a satellite view of belly button lint. Evan is writing the sequel to the prequel he just wrote; Jennifer is playing a bass guitar with her teeth. Nik wonders if Mr. Booker will ever watch 300, or just say he did. Krystle is showing Chris how to box; he now thinks he is the next Ali. Krystle, on the other hand, thinks he is the next furniture polish remover, only the kind you get at Whole Foods, meaning organic, meaning it probably won’t do a thing you want it to. I’ve taken more waxy buildup off with an eggplant.
Welcome to the Wide World of Wonders, the leftovers of Hugh’s imagination, the U168.