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Kritix & Ripov
by Albert Russo

Waking up one morning with a big bang and before he could exclaim "we've been nuked,” Ripov caught himself spiraling down like a bonzai tree into the vortex of his disrupted dream.

At first, he attempted to counter the centrifugal force, with the result that he succeeded only in having his brain partly squelched.

From then on he let his intuition take over and consequently recovered his wits, but not his balance.

Having little time or occasion to reflect, he spent his dizzying journey jotting down poemixes on the leaves that clothed him. Somehow, the latter tore away and got printed, not a simple feat, considering gravity's implacable clutch.

Some of Ripov's loose manuscripts landed on the desk of Moo Schnozle, the guru editor of Bits 'n Pieces magazine.

Upon reading these leaves, Schnozle blew up. His face turned dark green and resembled that of the Monster of Loch Ness, with carbuncles sprouting all over his forehead and violet flames spewing out of his hairy nostrils. As if this weren't enough, his backside began to itch furiously: a half dozen piles - the stigma of intellectuals - had suddenly reawakened.

A couple of weeks later, Ripov got a note from Schnozle lui-mÍme accusing him of polluting the English language.

"Scribblers of your ilk,' it went on, "ought to be burnt at the stake. Those 'poemixes' of yours aren't even funny - and who in his right mind would come up with such a dumb name? The gall you have, thinking you are perpetuating the tradition of James Thurber! You must be the only one within your radius to giggle reading such trash, unless you happen to be a ventriloquist.

Don't bother to send me any more of your twisted elucubrations. By the way, I've heaped your dry leaves in front of my porch - street sweeper business! For your information, I had to strain my eyes over a looking glass. For this alone, I should be charging you fifty dollars.”

The street sweepers being on strike that week, little Norma who lived opposite Moo Schnozle found those reddish and golden leaves very beautiful and she spent a whole afternoon stitching them together and designed herself a super skirt for her arts and crafts class. She also made a laurel crown to fit her dainty blonde head.

When the mistress saw little Norma's work, she congratulated the lass and gave her an A+ for precision and ingenuity. Then, looking closer, she began to read the poemixes that each one of those leaves contained.

"Do you know that Ripov person?" she asked Norma who blushed then nodded negatively - the little girl didn't dare disclose how easy it had been to get her raw material.

"This man is a genius." the mistress exulted as if suddenly illuminated, "such humor, such wit and philosophy encompassed in a space so minute!"

Norma's mistress who happened to be an active member of the Federal Board of Education convinced her peers that Ripov's poemixes become required reading in high school, and thus the following year, they appeared in the new edition of World Contemporary Literature.

When Moo Schnozle, the editor of Bits 'n Pieces, saw that his own children were learning Ripov's poemixes, he gave up his magazine and turned to woodcutting.