Tanderra Sladenpuddin and the customary three-quarters of her areola.
In late 1982, a package arrived on the doorstep of Temponnie and Pavelkay van der Strop, a noble couple recently wed. The package was in fact a wicker basket containing an infant but was otherwise empty, much to the dismay of the seemingly Germanoslavic duo.
“Outrageous!” cried Pavelkay who, in the eighties, was actually quite vociferous. “This is the last time I am ordering blankets from Canada,” he continued with an emphatic nod, removing a Return to Sender sticker from his oft-carried packet of Return to Sender stickers and slapping it on the baby’s forehead.
Temponnie lit two cigarettes in her mouth and handed the other to her husband before they re-entered their house.
The next morning, the van der Strops descended the stairs in unison, singing Physical. Despite the fact that the music video had not yet been released at the time, the two always pictured a gym-slash-gay bathhouse despite an abhorrence for innuendo after watching Porky’s during their honeymoon.
Tanderra Sladenpuddin, Temponnie’s milk nurse, sat at the bottom of the stairs in a slinky, metallic dress she had stolen from Joan Collins’ wardrobe on the set of Dynasty. In her arms she cradled the basket delivered the previous evening, the infant removed, head down in a nearby trash bin.
“Huhn-esser!” shrieked Pavelkay at Tanderra, using her forgotten title from a bygone past. “Hure für Geflügel!”
“I don’t speak that, jerko,” Tanderra replied softly, reaching into the basket and caressing the roast chicken within. “I found this when I checked the mell.”
Pavelkay looked into the basket, and sniffed at the air, his massive nose producing a noticeable breeze. He screamed. “You roast the baby with rosemary?! ROSEMARY BABY!!”
Tanderra, wild-eyed, looked into the basket and began to scream, throwing it across the foyer where it landed, skidded across the floor, and slammed into Igedore Enderfolden who was returning home from Studio 54 thus explaining why he was dressed like David Bowie.
It later turned out that this was, in fact, the real David Bowie and Igedore had switched places with the musical sensation back in 1981 as Bowie really disliked Freddie Mercury but had already agreed to do Under Pressure with Queen. No one noticed as everyone was freebasing at the time.
Temponnie rolled her eyes, finger pointing across the room. “The baby’s in that trash bin, you stupid, fat fucks.”
“Oh,” Tanderra and Pavelkay replied simultaneously and, composure regained, the quartet went to the kitchen.
As the day went on, the Van der Strop cadre sat by the pool, smiled at the moon, and lay unconscious in their own vomit at least seven times before the garbage men arrived and took the trash away.
In the back of the garbage truck, between Pepsi cans and an eight-track player, the small baby sat, malevolent eyes focused on the shrinking mansion in the distance. Pudgy fingers curled around the ethereal strands of her ginger hair, soaked in bleach and gasoline.
The infant watched as the truck continued its journey stopping only once, at a border station. Before she could make her move, the truck was on its way again and the red and white, maple-leafy flags could mean only one thing.
She opened her toothless mouth and screamed in a rage, causing the whole world to shake as if a horse cock was unexpectedly thrust into its asshole.
Temponnie and Pavelkay Van der Strop, Tanderra Sladenpuddin, Igedore Enderfolden, Wilhembur Wurgenmugen and a rooster at Club Mink, c. 1998
Less than five minutes after Wilhelmbur had deciphered the identity of the new Pope, he had the entire van der Strop cadre, himself, and a lovely packed lunch of Vienna sausages and jelly sandwiches crammed into his twenty horse-driven stretched carriage. Anonygeoff sat aloft the vehicle, driving the horses, as he was formerly employed as a jockey.
“The food is disgusting,” remarked Temponnie, her face scrunched sourly. “Someone’s elbow is in my thigh. It will take forever to get to the Vatican. I can’t feel my legs. Who is the new Pope? This road is ugly. I hate you,” she calmly continued, the latter statement directed at Pavelkay whose face was smashed against the door handle.
Wilhelmbur sat in rigid silence at the front of the carriage, his eyes on his balls. On either side of him sat Tanderra and Igedore, the former muttering something about checking the “mell” and cats, mascara still streaming down her face. Igedore had two jelly sandwiches in each hand and ate them all simultaneously. “Carbo-loading,” he barely pronounced, spraying strawberry jam on the nameless members of the entourage. “Ha-ha!”
The carriage suddenly tilted to the side as Anonygeoff rounded a mountain and everyone, save Wilbur and that mute person who carried Temponnie’s lipstick, screamed. At the same time, Igedore began to choke on his four sandwiches, although that ceased once the carriage righted itself harshly, forcing masticated, sticky bread out of Igedore’s gullet and into Pavelkay’s wig.
Igedore, eyes bloodshot, pointed at the remains of his food and said, hoarsely, “Carbos… Ha… ha…”
Tanderra turned to look at Igedore. “I seen you vomit. You fell at life,” she said softly, opening her purse and retrieving a chicken drumstick.
“Listen,” said Temponnie with determination, eyes on the hunched over Pavelkay. “I was categorizing our things this morning for four hours. I am very tired. I can’t feel my pelvis. I had some peas for lunch.” She then glared at Wilhelmbur, “WHO IS THE NEW POPE?” she screamed.
At that moment, the television hanging from the ceiling turned on, displaying the masses of Catholics gathered at the Piazza San Pietro. A tall, old man who looked more like a washed-up, ad jingle writer than a Cardinal, appeared on a balcony and began speaking in Latin.
The news anchor spoke over him. “And that’s Molturd Cardinal Brandenbore announcing the new Pope. He looks terrible: the Cardinal College must have been very taxing on the old, old, very old, old man.”
Another commentator said, “No, he always looks like that.”
The Cardinal then began to speak in english. “I, uh, announce to you with great joy here in the subsequent vicinity of my facade: we have, uh, a Pope! The most… emi-eminent? and most revered-en-ed Lord, Lord Johnchee, Cardinal of the Holy Rome Church Burnerstalote, who takes to himself the name of Teagan the First!”
Temponnie stared at the screen, her mouth agape but attractive.
Wilhelmbur screamed, his eyes finally looking away from his balls. “Nein! It cannot be!” he yelled, grabbing Tanderra by the hair with one hand and Igedore by the ear with the other.
“Lady Anonygeoff! Greater haste is due! The Pope will be murdered this nacht!”
Reading of Anthropaulogy, Chapter 1: Megan Mumuduke
The van der Strops gave each other a look as Wilhelmbur continued to scream and jump on his hideous couch, finger pointed at the over-sized television, crystal balls clacking together. Pavelkay waggled his eyebrows and Temponnie sneered and rolled her eyes, looking away.
Tanderra and Igedore moved away from the group, approaching the paintings on the walls. Tanderra took interest in the portraits of large-eyed cats, petting the thick brush strokes, tears streaming down her cheeks. Igedore was more interested in the painting of Super Bowl XL, depicting Chad Lewis holding his broken ankle in one hand and the Vince Lombardi Trophy in the other.
Igedore’s weight pumping quickened at the sight. “Yeaahhh,” he said. “American football. Footie! Ha-ha!” He flexed his biceps in a muscle-man pose. “Yeaahhh, Chad Lewis! Footie! Ha-ha!”
Mascara dripped from Tanderra’s eyes as she looked away from the portrait of the cat and stared at Igedore. “I seen cats,” she whispered hoarsely, removing a hand from the painting to adjust her shirt, revealing more of her areola than usual.
Lady of the Household, Anonygeoff Havamorgej, appeared behind the nameless, silent, stationary and generally-unimportant entourage and entered the room, a tray of schnapps and tumbler glasses perched on practiced fingers. “Schnapps?” he asked in his haughty accent.
Igedore dropped his weights to the marble floor, the sound drowned out by the increasingly excited clacking of Wilhelmbur’s balls. “A walking, talking bottle-o!” exclaimed Igedore, pointing at Anonygeoff. “Ha-ha!”
The van der Strops looked to each other again and smiled simultaneously. Like baboons, this was in actuality a threat display, but instead of charging one another as they would in private, they took each other’s hand and sashayed to Wilhelmbur on the couch.
As they neared, the excited nouveau-riche, Catholic communist stopped jumping on the couch and smiled. “Wilkommen, meine Freunde!” he exclaimed. “Habemus Papam!”
“So we heard,” said Temponnie. “Repeatedly. Who do your balls say is the next Pope, Herr Wurgenmügen?”
The massive jewel that was fixed as a centerpiece in Wilhelmbur’s turban appeared to glow. “In general I would not do this! It is blasphemy!” he said, but then winked. “But now that it has been decided by the Cardinal College, it is mystery, not fortune! Shazaam!”
His hands went to the crystal balls between his thighs and lifted them to his waist, his eyes widening in a trance.
Pavelkay lit a cigarette in anticipation as Wilhelmbur perused his balls. Igedore had begun taking shots of schnapps and Tanderra remained focused on the painted cat. Temponnie yawned.
Without warning, Wilhelmbur screamed and collapsed to his knees upon the couch. “Nein!” he shrieked. “It cannot be!”
The villagers seated and waiting to be seated on Bus 17 collectively sighed when Megan Mumuduke screamed in horror. Frankie, however, only smiled, the gleam of her lips and teeth quieting her passengers into a stupor.
She stood from the driver’s seat and laid a hand lovingly upon Megan’s shoulder and leaned into her ear. “I love horses too,” she said softly.
Megan became at ease at once. Frankie slid her free hand seductively from Megan’s thigh, across her stomach, brushing her breast, and carressing her rigid arm, taking the quarter from her hand. Frankie’s hand on Megan’s shoulder immediately reached up, grabbed a pile of Megan’s hair and pulled.
“I also love podiatrists,” hissed Frankie. Megan let out a gasp and swallowed.
Letting go of her hair roughly, Frankie returned to the driver’s seat as a catatonic Megan Mumuduke moved down the aisle. Frankie buckled her safety belt and dropped the quarter between her thighs with the others, sliding her bare buttocks across the cold, dirty currency.
Edgar Edgytunne, the last passenger, produced a quarter quickly and he too moved down the aisle, taking a seat.
Frankie pulled the lever and shut the doors of the bus. Turning the wheel she pulled away from the curb and began to take her usual route. Unbeknownst to her passengers, however, they were not going to their regular stops.
Tonight, a new Pope would be named. A progressive Pope, according to the reports Frankie had received. ‘No,’ thought Frankie. ‘We aren’t going to the stop on Chichifert Boulevard…’
‘Tonight we go to the Vatican.’