“What’d you just call me?”
I–I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.
“It sure sounded like you just called me a—a—hurl? Churl? What’d you say?”
O – oh. You must have overheard me say smurl as I was jotting notes to myself. I couldn’t imagine how you might’ve associated yourself with the term. You can’t have known the definition because I just coined the word.
“You just. . . okay, what’s it mean?”
Serious question? Dropping his head slightly to the right and slanting his eyes at me from beneath his eyebrows, Arlough slowly said, “I think so.”
What did you have in your cereal bowl this morning?
Frowning. “Wheaties. You know that’s what I always eat. Y’know, breakfast of champions? Hard work will put you where good luck can find you? Stuff like that? Besides, I always have Wheaties. You know that.”
Good. Now. What was in the bottom of your bowl that you didn’t – couldn’t, would NOT eat?
EEEeeeuuuw. Just the thought makes me want to blow chunks. They could use that slop to resurface bad roads. It would make an excellent pig repellant. I’d smear it on my driveway to settle the dust but it keeps slithering off. Dogs would sniff it and go somewhere else to pee. We could leave it in management’s in-tray. Shelf-life of—
Got it. In your mind, staring down into that unholy sludge bubbling and blurping in the bottom of your cereal bowl–I give you smurl.
Smurl. noun. The slimy mush remaining in the bottom of cereal bowls that is so unappetizing you refuse to force another spoonful between your teeth. That slurry in your bowl that eerily resembles a prop from a C-budget Sci-Fi flick; some weird mix of protoplasm from Somewhere Else that somehow snuck into your bowl while your Cheerios were morphing into that cloying, miasmic gluck that fails description.
Smurl. You can’t even say it without curling your lip in disgust. Wanna totally slam somebody? “You remind me of smurl.” And walk off pretending like you’re ready to vomit into your mouth, some.
Smurl. That gelatinous goo that clings to the broccoli and beef you ordered the night before, but couldn’t finish once you got it out into daylight. After spending the entire night in your refrigerator metastasizing, it’s not difficult to imagine your mild-mannered leftovers coming to life, oozing out from under the refrigerator door seal, sliding down the door on a thin film of vile snot onto the floor and, like a malevolent amoeba, s-l-i-t-h-i-n-g across the floor and slither-surfing on the carpet, slowly advancing on your bed. . .
Arlough? Hey, buddy? Where’d you go? Huh. Must have a weak stomach this morning.
Well. I need to go toss this smurl in the garden. Kills bugs.
© D. Dean Boone, April 2016