Posted on: August 22nd, 2009 My Phrasebook Is Useless

by Caleb Wilson

April.  My phrasebook is useless.  They speak in dialect here and the words all sound corrupted.  Months of study wasted!  At cultural training we’d practice by ordering korckru at the restaurant across from the office.  The waiter would bring a plate of savory wedges with golden sauce seeping into the rice, then dazzling Jenny and I, sitting opposite across the red paper tablecloth, would offer each other every old toast we could remember.  Here when I buy korckru from a street vendor I receive a foam clamshell, melted at the bottom from the heat of beige chunks with the caustic flavor of gland meat.  My flat is filled with such packages.  The food residue attracts nizemboil, who swarm from the drainpipes each night, and who have nibbled the clothing in my closet till it looks like lace.  I would buy new clothes, but through some fluke of the bank, my money supply dwindled oddly when I exchanged travelers’ checks for 10 olarck notes.  All I can afford is rent and one meager meal per day.  I have sent a telegram to head office to request more funds but haven’t yet receieved a response.  I wonder if gorgeous Jenny, across the Wdanied Chasm in Vorsklizpl, fares any better?

May.  Money problems solved.  Have been volunteering as test subject at the Unzlesniack Memorial Hospital.  Desperate for human contact, and the medical students’ probes are better than nothing.  Each test puts 20 olarckl in my wallet.  I’ve restocked my closet with drab, tough fabrics that are impervious to the hungriest nizemboi.  Eating better.  Have learned difference in local dialect between korzckru (food of the gods) and korckru (food of the dogs).  Could use a date.  Still unable to raise lovely Jenny by telephone; despite proximity the phone connection with Vorsklizpl is flaky.  Last week I went to the lip of the Wdanied and looked across to the gleaming skyscrapers, the boulevards thick with flowering trees, the citizens with their cheery parasols.  Did not see Jenny of course.  On the way back to the Riltprzian District, walking between the green brick buildings and clouds of earthy exhalations from the charnel cysts, a prostitute approached me.  “Jrlzickth ydurckzeel?”  Looking for a girl?  I was, but didn’t suppose she’d be able to help me find ravishing Jenny.  Desperation in her voice as I walked away and she offered to rub me down with fermented gifnozd oil.  A not entirely unwelcome prospect, but declined for now.

June.  Again destitute.  Hospital condemned (szkrulni plague) so working the assembly line in holashirckl factory.  The blood gutters in the floor are choked with bones, beaks, and clots of zwershluny.  Will never eat another holashirck as long as I live!  Have downgraded from 20 olarck girls to 5.  Cleanliness factor becoming a problem.  My flat reeks like a bindzuyck nest.  Afraid I do too.  Still no word from flawless Jenny!  Have determined to travel to Vorsklizpl to find her.  My neighbor Hovartsh has lent me a wiplozna for crossing the Wdanied.  Must go now to chuztrapnikol ritual.  Deacon Gimzled is sponsoring me as an orburgistor.  After the surgery I will be allowed to urndip the chuztratl.

July.  Durckfixniadz!  Olarcklzeel still proving difficult.  Durcklingl durckfuylinginzia!  Every waking moment I frmzithlrd the unforgettable Jenny, though odds of impressing her durck erdoli after my disfigurement from botched orburgizdian procedure.  Must hop everywhere, and harugrizl very painfully distended.  Durcklly all back-alley surgeons!  Oh no, alarms ringing.  Have the chuztratl escaped?  Again!?

August.  Zerckzu bitten off by rogue chuztrat.  Blood everywhere.  Evicted.  Still hopping.  Gone to find the fluyzniadniaz Jenny.

Filed under: bad-ass, stories

3 Responses to “My Phrasebook Is Useless”

  1. Ben Says:
    August 24th, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Loved this. It would be great to hear it read aloud.

  2. Ben Says:
    August 24th, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Loved this. It would be great to hear it read aloud.

  3. Keyan Says:
    August 25th, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Really cool story!

  4. Keyan Says:
    August 25th, 2009 at 9:53 am

    Really cool story!

  5. Lyn Aspey Says:
    September 4th, 2009 at 3:32 am

    Laughed out loud. A travelblog leading to nightmares. Durckfixniadz! Am obsessing Durcklingl durckfuylinginzia Chutzratl. Thanks!!

  6. Lyn Aspey Says:
    September 4th, 2009 at 3:32 am

    Laughed out loud. A travelblog leading to nightmares. Durckfixniadz! Am obsessing Durcklingl durckfuylinginzia Chutzratl. Thanks!!