Don Gerund, P.I. (Proofreading Investigator)
Double Negative Indemnity
Tonight’s Episode: Aye, The Fury
When I came to from the smack on the head, I found myself in an old abandoned warehouse that was as dank and mildewed as Estelle Getty’s lingerie drawer.
I had been pounded like a scaloppini and trussed like a turkey to a folding chair. Not that turkeys get trussed to folding chairs. They just get trussed. And roasted.
And, if this was a roast to me, it just wasn’t funny. No Don Rickles or Foster Brooks. Just a bunch of Grammar Nazi goons. But, these were no ordinary Grammar Nazis. These were the elite, the SS, The Super Script. These guys always thought of themselves as a little above everyone else, including other Grammar Nazis. And Spelling Nazis. No one likes Spelling Nazis. Even Aaron Spelling hates Spelling Nazis. However, I do know that his daughter, Tori, has this thing about….
“Mein Gott! Vill you please schut up! Ve can all hear you, Gerund! You haff no internal dialogue! Not zince you had zat accident mit der crazy host oft de $1.98 Beauty Show!”
I nodded knowingly. I’ll always have Barris. But, not this guy. “Herr Colonel Wilhelm Sheissemeister. We meet again.”
“Ya, Gerund. Ze last time I zaw you, it vas at ze International House uff Pancakes, no?”
“Yeah, and you had the Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘n Fruity.”
“IT VAS…REFRESHINK! Und, FILLINK!” He gathered his composure. “You never did call me aaftavards.” He gave a tiny sniff.
“You stupid kraut. You never could take a hint.”
I gotta admit, for a fluffer of a kraut, he had a pretty stiff backhand. My left cheek burned like the ass of a man on the losing end of a habanero enema. Not that I’d know anything about those.
I gave him a hard look. “Look, I know you ain’t got me here to check your legal. What gives, Scheissmeister? What do you want?”
He gave a thin smile, and said, “Ve haff many things in common, you und I, Mister Gerund. Eet zo happens zat ve both vant ze same thing.”
“A way to write a bad German accent without it coming across as racist?”
“Oooh, zat vood be nice,” he mused. “But, no.” He moved in a little closer to me, and I could smell the cheap Gewurztraminer on his breath. “Ve alzo vant Ze Maltese Dictionary.”
I laughed out loud, like a kookaburra at a screening of Airplane. “Ha! Look, Scheissemeister, you are conjugating the wrong verb here. I ain’t got it!”
He gave me a smug look. “Oh, ve know zat. But, ve know who does have eet.”
Out of the shadows stepped a dark-skinned bim with dreads to die for, and a pair of
eyes to match. Oh, I knew this bird, alright. “Churchy La Femme.”
She smiled at me. “Look for the dame, and you’ll find the trouble.”
“Good grief, Gerund. Cherchez la femme. It’s French. Literally, look for the woman.”
“Oh. I thought you were named after that skunk in Pogo.”
She stomped her foot, and held her face in her hand. “No, Don. The skunk was Mademoiselle Hepzibah. Churchy was the turtle.”
“Huh. Wasn’t the turtle a guy?”
“Yes, Don. The turtle was a guy.”
“Well, toots, don’t you think it’s a little disturbing that the cartoonist gave some frou-frou Frenchy name to an obviously male character?”
“No, Don. I don’t care. That’s something you’ll have to take up with Walt Kelly. I’m just disturbed that you think I’m a skunk!”
“Well, somethin’ around here stinks!” Again, a hand met my face, and I felt the burn.
“Enough of ziss!” cried Herr Colonel, as he stamped his little Nazi foot. He turned to Churchy. “You haff Gerund. Do you haff ze book?”
She reached inside her flogger, and handed him a copy of “Atlanta Nights” by Travis Tea. He looked at the cover, and screeched like a little girl given the wrong Barbie doll for her birthday. He threw the book on the floor, and screamed, “You treacherous little klafte! Vot made you zink dat you could fool me mit such a piece of…literary drivel!” He wildly waved his arms in the air like a broken windmill in a dust storm. “Guards! Get her!”
Quicker than Mike Pence running from Ru Paul’s Drag Race, Churchy pulled a heater from her flogger, and pointed it at Sheissemeister. “Not so fast, Herr Colonel. Call off your loogans, and you’ll avoid a lead bath, darling.”
I was impressed. “Nice hardboiled slang there, missy. Now, untie me, and we’ll blow this pop stand.”
Faster than a father chasing his kids around with power tools, she pulled a gat with her other hand and slung the barrel up against my temple. “I don’t think so, Don. You can just enjoy that seat you got.”
I was dumbfounded. “Why, baby? Why?”
She pulled back the hammer. “You shouldn’t have fired me, Gerund. You shouldn’t have fired me like you did.”
What kind of double-cross is this? Who is Churchy La Femme? Really? And why would she have a copy of “Atlanta Nights?” Why would anyone have a copy of “Atlanta Nights?” Will Don escape this crazy triangle? And, what’s wrong with Spelling Nazis, anyway? Tune in next time for another episode of Don Gerund, P.I.!
All images and Photoshop illustrations courtesy of Allyson Brooks, Nethea Rhinehardt, Carolyn Kelley, and PublishAmerica.