A Leap of Lemmings

I hopped on the bus and the penguin said “hey.” It must be hard driving a bus without opposable thumbs. I took a seat next to the albatross. I wouldn’t normally have chosen a seat next to such a large creature, but all the other seats were taken. At least, being a bird, a conversation was out of the question. They have trouble forming words as they have no lips; but you already knew that. I distractedly watched him sharpen a pencil with a mechanical sharpener as my mind occupied itself with other things. He must have noticed me staring, mouth agape, as he looked at me uncomfortably. I awkwardly turned towards the window like a well-behaved passenger. I could hear him emptying the contents of the sharpener on the floor before he snapped the pencil tip and started sharpening it again.

We passed the Channel Six TV Palace and a couple of passengers at the front of the bus saluted. There were only a few worshippers on the front steps today. The Albatross angrily mumbled to himself. He was probably peeved that his sharpener was full again.

As we passed the pillow factory I watched as a leap of lemmings leaped off the roof. I don’t know what the correct collective noun for lemmings is, but leap seems appropriate as that’s what they do. It’s a common misconception actually. The lemmings don’t leap because they want to. It’s just that if they didn’t, then they’d lose their jobs testing pillows. And another thing; it’s amazing how many people don’t know how pillows are tested. A lemming leaps, and if the pillow breaks its fall, it’s a pass. For a fail, well you can use your imagination.

It’s amazing what people don’t know about the world they live in. Like, they don’t know that almonds are de-hulled by miniature stonemasons who are shrunk by witch magic. They don’t know how many seeds are in a pomegranate (it’s 613). They don’t know that electricity is actually the flow of positive energy emanating from retirees performing yoga. Heck, they don’t even know how to bathe themselves!

Speaking of the great legion of the unclean, one of its number stepped onto the bus. You could smell him as soon as the doors opened. He was a tall man wearing a monocle and a trench coat, and possibly a ferret skin tied between his earlobes (it looked like a beard). Sure enough, he sat facing me in the backwards seat. Oh gosh, I hate the backwards seat. “Nice ferret” I said. He corrected me; it was actually a lemming. I tried to make small talk and mentioned that I saw a leap of lemmings jumping from the roof of the pillow factory today. “A leap of lemmings?” he exclaimed, “what the hell kind of collective noun is that? It’s a suicide of lemmings.” At that, I ended the conversation. Thankfully, my stop was next anyway.

As I hopped off the bus, the driver said “bah” as he usually does. The word “bye” is hard for a bird, you know, without lips and all. I wished him a happy day and went on my way.

T.

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