Pugnacious Footefake — bachelor, volunteer fireman, and seller of shoes — is beset by the unearthly and the magical.
One night the moon falls into his yard. Then he meets a frenetic mousefox while taking the census. Two children try to sell him a cup of gravity. An event with a fax machine prompts him to arrange a marriage. He finds himself on a snowy world, with a Princess trapped in ice. He receives an unusual package that keeps changing its mind. A roach starts a conversation with him. And on a summer evening in a forested park, he is kidnapped by a pitiable nymph, who wants to grant him three wishes.
Pugnacious was awakened not by the rumble of the nearing moon but by a tapping at his window. Sleepily he looked to the glass and saw behind it an anxious star.
Easily a Hundred
He told the Census Bureau that he
would count the people. The Bureau told him that wasn't necessary. He said it was
. The Bureau said it wasn't
. I'm volunteering! said Pugnacious. We don't need you, answered the Bureau.
The children, a boy and a girl, were manning what appeared to be a Lemonade Stand. Except that there wasn't any lemonade in the pitcher. There was — well, as a matter of fact, Pugnacious would have thought the pitcher empty, except that it didn't seem
empty. Then again, it didn't seem full, either. And it was clearly swelling inward — if a thing can indeed swell inward.
The Fax & Francine
Francine, who was taller than her mother, moved a bit behind her, as though to hide herself. She kept pushing her glasses back up on her nose. Meanwhile her mother inflated herself, again inhaling the lovely day, and then sighed for a very long time.
The Woeful Princess
Pugnacious knew he was not in his town of Flattened Hills anymore because there were no streets, no curbs, no sidewalks, no cars, no shops, no signs, nor any traffic lights. No pedestrians either. There was snow, however, crusted by ice, more furiously white than the sun above.
The Capricious Package
It was bound in twine and heavy for its size. It had no markings from the post office nor from any delivery service, but in a luminescent cursive it was addressed to The House of Liggip ap Num
Making Pranks With Roaches
A prankster was calling the Thornberry home, often as late as midnight, and asking for Pugnacious. As soon as Pugnacious was on the line, the prankster simply chortled and hung up.
The Essential Wishes of Pugnacious Footefake
Pugnacious checked his watch. He could tell already that the nymph was going to delay him for a while. He hoped that Lily and Edie were not too near the end of their circuit. He should have ten minutes or so. He could only hope the nymph would be expeditious.Amazon Link