There Ain't No Machina
Like a Deus Ex Machina
Needless to say, I was overjoyed to hear that I could shuffle off my bovine coil. To put it mildly, we were by no means overstocked in the underjoyed department.
"When do I start being a slug?" I said.
Slug. It sounded heroic, macho. Where you gonna go Saturday? I'm going to the Slugfest!
After a quick look at his database, the Giant Eye said:
"I'll just open a new ticket for you and see if you have gold, silver or bronze support."
And then he said:
"Unfortunately you have balsa wood support. You've heard of 24/7? Well this is 1/100. We can support you one minute out of every 100 years."
I took a few minutes to cry a lot...
"If it's any consolation, I can tell you that you were misrouted at the Superstore-at-the-End-of-the-World. You were supposed to pass down to the wrathful deities at the Meat Department."
Damn that Ken and his rutabagas. What was I supposed to do now?
"Well, you could start by vocalizing your thoughts," said the Giant Eye. "That way, I could hear you better. But no matter. We do have an instant preview feature to this Help Desk. I could let you get a sneak peak at the joys of slughood, of which you may be able to partake sometime in the next 100 years."
In an instant, I was a slug.
Immediately, I had an overwhelming craving to wiggle through mud, which, thanks to my abysmal housekeeping, I found under the sofa.
After a few minutes of wiggling, I got bored.
"That was fun. Now what do I do?"
"Well, that's basically all slugs do. Occasionally, you get to destroy garden vegetation, but then there's the carpet-bombing with nematodes, Metaldehyde, and Rotonone."
"That doesn't sound like much fun."
"Well, sometimes they just set out a dish of beer."
"But then you fall in and drown."
"Man, this slug business really sucks! I want my aardvark body back!"
"Well, I'm sorry we just can't...What? What ho?"
He made a few stabs at his keyboard.
"There seems to be a flag on your account. Hold on..."
I took advantage of the intervening moments to classify my brachiopod fossil collection, specifically Hebertella occidentalis and Platystrophia acutilirata, securing them neatly to a piece of cardboard with pins. This is actually hard to do, since they are made of limestone.
"Well, according to the flag, you are our one millionth disaster report."
"What does that mean?"
"It means you get one free wish."
"Woo-Hoo! I want my aardvark body back!"
He stabbed at his keyboard again.
"Well, there's a slight hitch."
"It seems they destroyed your body after you left the planet Flidlap."
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it was.
I decided, right then and there, to make no mention of the curd dumplings with sour cream, nor of the dish of pig's fry that was served with the soup, nor of the turkey with plums and raisins, nor of the dish which greatly resembled a boot soaked in kvas.
I didn't mention them because they didn't exist.
"However," he said brightly, "We do have an oversupply of Bill Gates bodies. Handy. Disposable. Easy to hack. Never been used."