There sits Todd, Todd-like in his Toddness, munching a lunch of Sameoldcereal in a red rubbery bowl. His posterior, beneath him, is firmly rooted in a field of crushed purple velour, his sightballs affixed upon the light-emitting and televised cartoon show The Snorks playing in a continuous loop upon its own dedicated channel. Todd’s arm ratchets up and down in steamshovel fashion, dropping during each ascent a payload of cerealistic substrate to the internals of his mouth, which automatonically closes around the stainless spoon he uses as a delivery tool. Both of his lips pull the foodstuff from the spoon as the slashing tongue and circling jaw maneuver the material into back corners, whereupon Todd’s molars gnash and crush and grind it into a curly pulp. Then down the tube it speeds into the sphere of Todd’s abdomen.
The phone rings. Todd picks it up without curtailing his incessant activity, and subsequently hears only every third word of what his best friend Fragg is attempting to communicate. River, weather, ripe, swim. Todd gets the picture.
Twelve minutes later, Fragg and Todd are three minutes into a fine river swim in the ripe weather. Todd’s Snork-emitting television sits on the bank, its cord extended the three hundred and twelve feet back to the nearest electrical receptacle at Todd’s house. It’s a good episode – “Revenge of the Fish” – but Todd can barely hear it over the cereal he continues crunching as he bobs along and Fragg’s stream of consciousness monologue on the nature of nature and the fineness of fine summer days. The triptych of sounds, though incongruous, induces in Todd a harmony that makes him think of Wanda. Suddenly he swims ashore, climbs the bank, and runs off, cereal and TV in tow, yelling, I’ll see you tomorrow, Fragg! I have to go see about a girl!
Wanda lives across town, so Todd stops at Lazenby’s Hardware to pick up a few extra extension cords. By the time he gets to Wanda’s, the ice cream cones he’d bought at Bobby V’s Cool Corner have melted all over his hands. At the door, Todd finds a message tacked up – I’m out of the office on an extended trip through the American Southwest. Please contact my assistant Professor Q.U. Cranberry if you’d like to leave a message.
Todd leaves, sticky and dejected. He wheels his television and carries his cereal across town, leaving the two cones face down on Wanda’s milk crate. Todd wanders here and there, looking in the windows of the pawn shops. At one he sees a mirror – or thinks he does. It is in fact Droid Unit 8633 Joe, whom Todd decides would make a fine addition to the household. Todd goes in to inquire about the price. Two half-melted ice cream cones, says the owner, a mysterious old man wearing a wizard’s hat and with mystical bargaining powers.
Todd knows just where to find them. He retraces his steps but lost in thought on the particular episode of Snorks – it’s moved on to “The Snorks Awaken” – he goes past Wanda’s, past Bobby V’s Cool Corner, which is running a sale on half-melted ice cream cones, past Lazenby’s Hardware, where Todd only briefly recognizes the buy-seven-get-one-free special on 100-foot extension cords, past the river where Fragg is still mid-monologue, soliloquizing upon the sun’s position relative to all other stars. Before he doesn’t know it and without much beyond the bare minimum of cognition Todd is back in his living room with a fresh bowl of Whateverthesethingsare, happily processing the bite-sized granules with his pulverizing molars and the Snork-light from the cathode tube with his blank and fulfilled mind.