|Two-Teef P about to embrace The Giant Cheerio|
WHO WILL RULE BABYVILLE? AND WHY? FIND OUT IN...
Chronicles of Babyville
High on a hill in the heart of a beanstalk orchard, and far behind a cornfield with only one cornstalk surrounded by 2000 scarecrows, somewhere between the mountains of Kansas and the Himalayan cat show, is the simplemindedly awesome but shakily constructed town of Babyville.
The mayor of Babyville cried and cried. The only reason the rest of the babies listened was that the Mayor was the loudest baby. His concussive bawling broke windows, popped balloons, and made other babies cry. He cried so ferociously that his bib flapped straight out and finally ripped in half.
Why was the Mayor so upset? He thought Babyville was getting too stinky. A majority of the babies refused to bathe, while most of the remainder were amenable to bathing, but simply neglected it. This was nothing new. There were two political parties in Babyville—the Bath Party, led by the Mayor, and the No-Bath Party, headed by Ploppy Busterson. There were more babies in the No-Bath Party, but since no one could count, there was no reliable census data. Best of all, there was no polling. Honestly, there wasn’t even enough organization in Babyville to sustain a modest anarchy. “Bite-Makes-Right” was the law of the land, softened with just a dribble of Milk of Human Kindness.
The Mayor crawled to the top of a pillow and held up his drool-soaked fist. But Ploppy Busterson rambled to the top of a heap of old diapers, lifting his carrot-shaped teether like a scepter—a rare challenge to the Mayor’s leadership! Both babies pointed at each other, gagged, and prepared to cry by sucking in half of the air in the town. All the other babies’ eyes bulged out. It was going to be crazy loud! Some of the more sensitive babies, like Lily Snizzle, rolled into their beds or wiggled under a row of pickle bushes. Silly Billy Coddle was caught out in the open, so he jammed a pacifier into one ear, then laid his other ear against the ground and fell fast asleep.
The Mayor pulled rank and screamed first. He wound up his lungs, then wailed with jackhammer force. The grass around him blew outward, then laid flat on the ground. The Noodlebaum Triplets went rolling away like tumbleweeds. A small formation of diaper owls was blown from the sky, along with a goose and a kite.
Ploppy Busterson’s turn came. He screamed loud enough to kill flies and curdle milk, but there was a single, undeniable fact: the Mayor had already cried so loudly that everyone’s ears were ringing, which indicates hearing damage. They didn’t even know if Ploppy was louder, because they were half deaf when he started. So, at last the Mayor was victorious, but of course Ploppy vowed revenge. He rolled forward and screamed into the dirt, driving several wiggly earthworms out of the ground, and one of them straight into the bedrock below. TO BE CONTINUED...
WILL THE GENIUSES AT NASA BE ABLE TO MAKE A PETTING ZOO ON THE MOON? FIND OUT IN...
Moon Base Alfalfa
In the early days of NASA, long before they landed rovers on Mars and Venus, long before the discovery of sleeping Transformblers on the Moon, NASA had to compete with the Soviets. It was a “space race.” The Soviets (Russians with frowns) not only had a beeping metal ball named Sputnik in orbit, they also launched a dog into space. Her name was Laika.
Never known for their social grace, the Soviets sent Laika into space, but gave her no way to come home. After a while, she ran out of food and air, so she pooped out in a fatal way. She would have whimpered, but she couldn’t breathe. At least she died a hero, but she would have rather eaten some savory leftovers in an oxygen-rich environment.
Most people would be embarrassed to do that to a dog, but not the Soviets. They took a picture of her in space and mailed it to the President of the USA, saying, “Top this, Yankee swine. Also, Happy Holidays!” (This was the Soviets’ idea of a Christmas card.) You could even see Sputnik shooting by in the background, even though that never happened—it was just pasted in, to make the President even more upset.
It worked! The President stared at the card every day until his eyes cried. Finally he slammed it down on his desk, called Dave at NASA on his red telephone, and gusted, “I bought you guys Cape Canaveral and now the Soviets have a space dog! What happened? How did we get so far behind?”
“Well, sir, we have the weather balloon turtle, AND a supersonic guinea pig—he went secretly around the Earth in John Glenn’s fanny pack!”
“Grrr!” uttered the President, “Why didn’t we get that on television? Now it’s too late—that looks silly next to a cosmonaut dog!”
“Be patient, sir, we—” said NASA Dave.
“Shut up! No more waiting patiently! I want astro-pups and low-orbit marsupials! Give me big results, Dave! By next Christmas, I’d better have a ding-dong PETTING ZOO on the Moon, with little American flags all over that stuff!” The President hung up the phone, forgetting that NASA Dave was a very literal-minded sort of fellow.
“Well, it’s only January, and the moon IS the closest heavenly body,” stated Dave. He called together his best engineers. First, they needed a petting zoo.
“What animals belong in a petting zoo again? Is it limited to barnyard mammals?”
“Negative,” said NASA Yuri. “Ducks and chickens can be included in that scenario.”
“Right. So, domesticated mammals, AND fowl.” Dave began sketching a simulation.
“Wait,” announced Yuri, scratching out an equation, “exclude roosters, ganders, and peacocks.” Yuri scribbled in his Big Chief algorithm pad. “Their behaviors fall outside petting zoo parameters.” Yuri had a mathematical talent, all right.
“That’s right,” said NASA Bob, “Those boy-birds will peck and flog a child to ribbons quicker’n you can say Jiminy Christmas!” Bob left the math to Yuri (he flew by the seat of his pants, which were blue jeans).
So, by week’s end, they had assembled America’s elite new team of Animals Amenable to Repeated Petting (AARP): a duck (Mallard), a goat (Nubian), a sheep (Merino), a calf (Holstein), a small pony (Shetland), a rabbit, two hens (Leghorns), and a sheepdog sworn to protect them all. Why two hens? “Redundancy,” said Yuri. His calculations showed a statistically significant chance that the dog would choose hunger over duty. The dog resented the implication; he, in turn, smelled Soviet spy all over Yuri. TO BE CONTINUED...
WILL THE ORPHANED CLOWN PULL IT TOGETHER, OR BE STEAMROLLED BY AN UNCARING UNIVERSE? FIND OUT IN...
Struggles the Clown
Once, a baby clown was born in the back of a crummy old costume shop. He was very tiny, so his mother laid him to sleep in the cozy hollow of a well worn sombrero, nested in red clown hair and covered with a tear-stained newspaper. Mother Clown thought her baby looked scrawny and fragile. “Baby, milk will not be enough. I will feed you sticks of butter.” So she ran out the door to buy some butter, and promptly fell down a flight of stairs behind the costume shop. Unfortunately, she was in her clown clothes, so people on the street who saw her tumbling down the stairs thought it was part of a clowning act. They laughed and laughed! No one called an ambulance. She was hurt pretty bad, so she couldn’t get up or cry for help. All she could do was toot her little rubber horn, which just made everyone laugh harder.
Although her final comedy routine earned good word-of-mouth reviews around the neighborhood, soon it was too late for Mother Clown. But what would become of her little clown baby? Well, he wasn’t finished, not by a long shot! He cried and wiggled. He tore his newspaper blanket into shreds. He wobbled his way out of his sombrero and onto the floor. For a little while he was lost in a spill of packing peanuts, but he clawed his way out. He rested his head on one peanut and sniffled, sniffled, sniffled.
His feeble cries sounded almost like a kitten. A very lonely stray cat found him, rubbed him, licked him, and warmed him up until he stopped crying. The cat watched over him for a while, considered eating him, then got bored and went to chase a squirrel. A hobo named Tony came around looking for the cat. He usually fed the cat, which was not in its usual spot by the trash dumpster. “Oh dumpster cat,” said Tony. “Here kitty katty kooty kooky pooky.” He carried a can of goat milk that was expired but still tasted fine. Up the stairs he went, looking for the cat. He heard some little cries and found the baby clown, squirming in a puddle of drool and tears.
“Oh dear, little goobee… you need some holiday cheer-ups. Here is a kleenex and a candy cane—well, part of a candy cane.” Tony couldn’t stop wiping the baby clown’s face with his last kleenex, and the baby wouldn’t stop crying, until the kleenex was turned to a salty mush that Hobo Tony knew could be used as a way to stretch oatmeal. He wiped the kleenex paste on his grimy pants and declared, “Baby Struggles, you deserve better than this hard-luck vale of tears. Someday you will live high on the hog, and forget all about tears-and-kleenex oatmeal… you will own whole entire candy canes that don’t fall out through the holes in your clothes, because you won’t even have holes in your clothes. Well, except for the holes your put your arms and neck through. Now stop crying, or you will dehydrate!” TO BE CONTINUED...