Nils & Beauregard's USA Tour: Boston, Woman of Tin, and the Shrinking Horse
The vehicle is a 1978 Volstrada Alpus, painted pea green with a crooked yellow stripe along the side. It was manufactured by Thuringians in a country that can't be found on a map and may not have ever existed outside of dreams.
The body of the Alpus sheds flakes of rust like dandruff with each opening and closing of a door. The interior is finished in wooly carpet and a brittle foam substance that disintegrates in dusty puffs whenever touched.
On the dash there are no gauges for temperature or fuel level, only a single light which glows either yellow or blue. There was once also an unlabeled instrument needle that bounced wildly up and down for no discernible purpose. The metal needle was long ago sacrificed as a replacement for the fuse controlling the indicator light.
For such a cramped car the Alpus gulps petrol and requires a steady supply of radiator water. Nils Odegaard, the expedition's driver, feeds the engine bricks of vintage Thuringian rosin packaged in waxy brown paper. He refers to this substance as "the syrup" and he massages it into the steaming engine's obscure pipes and valves. The hatchback of the vehicle is filled with stacks of the rosin, scarcely leaving room for luggage.
Penelope's voice crackles out from the car telephone, urging Beauregard Ink and Nils to get underway.
It is the first full day in America for Nils and Beauregard. They awaken early to find some hybrid horror of orgy and slaughter is underway in Maine. The lobsters have surrendered and are exiting the sea to give themselves up to mankind.
Bariatrics with heavy-lidded eyes crowd the beaches and bray at the seething tide. The lobsters come in ceaseless, clacking waves. Men struggle to snatch up lobsters and tear out their heads with their teeth. Lips glisten in the pre-dawn moonlight.
These hungry sentinels are shortly overwhelmed. They stagger away with full bellies, belching, farting, and struggling to ascend the staircases to the boardwalk. The lobsters follow them up the steps and file into the streets. They are everywhere.
Lobsters jam up air-conditioners, block the streets and walkways, and scuttle underfoot. The gutters are filled with their husks. Their innards are a hazard that pulls off shoes and congeals into a paste.
They seek out anything with the slightest resemblance to the human mouth. They wedge open elevator and pile into mailboxes. Barking dogs are silenced when lobsters leap into their mouths. The suicidal crustaceans pile against front doors until their antennae are tapping against the transoms.
The lobsters rush gladly into oblivion. Their race is exterminated. The stench of their genocide taints the air twenty miles inland.