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MARCH 2006

> THE SAD TALE OF DIKKLI LIKKENSCHAFT | simon mckim

Dikkli Likkenschaft had a hard life. It seemed no matter who he met, he was not well received, when he was received at all. Often, he had to present a photo ID to prove that yes, he was Dikkli Likkenschaft, and no, this was not a prank.

High School, too, was hard on Dikkli. But he had sufficient stamina to survive it.

He was unpopular in high school because, like many others of European descent, Dikkli was abnormally hairy. As was the style in his high school days, even for the white kids, he had grown an enormous, bushy, afro.

This made him even more unpopular, because the others could tell that Dikkli was only trying to force his way into popularity. Several people in his senior class claimed to love Dikkli, but he never felt it.

As a result of being unpopular, he thrust himself into his studies. And when, at his high school graduation, they announced, "Dikkli P. Likkenschaft, Honors Diploma," his parents cried, no one applauded, and several of the jocks who had been particularly interested in roughing up Dikkli made small jokes amongst themselves in the front row of bleachers.

Dikkli couldn't imagine much of a life for himself in college, and instead got a job at a jean factory in the city where he lived. There he met many other hairy Europeans with strange names, and befriended as many of them as he could.

Making jeans soon got old for Dikkli, and he very much wanted get off for a week or two to clear his head. The Head of Operations at the factory granted him two weeks paid vacation. This angered his hairy friends, which he soon thereafter lost. They wanted to know why Dikkli had gotten preferential treatment.

"We'd like to keep Dikkli around as long as possible," the Head of Operations said.

They were not satisfied, but Dikkli got off anyway.

He took the time off to travel, and in his travels he met various interesting people. Most of them were interested to meet Dikkli, too.

The most influential of all of these that Dikkli met was a group of seamen he met in Florida. They were very interested in Dikkli's story, what roads he came by, and whether or not he was going to come again.

He told them about graduating high school and going to work in the jean factory.

"Dikkli," one of the seamen, a Mr. Johnson, asked him, "do you really want to spend the rest of your life working in pants?"

Dikkli was uncertain what this might mean, "Do you mean go to work without wearing pants?" he asked.

"No," he said, "I mean…never mind, you are a silly person."

While the end of this encounter may have insulted Dikkli, it gave him something to think long and hard about.

He decided to quit his job at the jean factory and join the military, as these seamen seemed to enjoy themselves.

"You mean to tell me that your godgiven name is Dikkli Likkenschaft?" the Army recruiter asked him.

"Yes, it is." He pulled out various forms of photo ID and proved himself.

"You realize that if you were to enlist, you'd start out as Private Likkenschaft?"

"Umm, yes. Well, I hadn't exactly been thinking about what my rank would be, but that's where most people start, isn't it?"

"I'm sorry son, the Army's full, and we can't allow you to enlist."

"This isn't a joke, sir. I really want to join the Army."

"I know it's not a joke. That's why you can't enlist."

Dikkli didn't get in, obviously. And he wandered around the country for months after this rejection, coming somewhere, and then going at the first sign of danger. People did not like having this especially hairy Mr. Likkenschaft in their town. They would send him on as soon as they found out anything about him.

More and more Dikkli missed his old job at the jean factory near his hometown. He went back to the Head of Operations and begged him to let him back in. After much begging and Dikkli's even taking the Head of Operations to a dinner that Dikkli could not really afford without having his position, he got a job at the factory.

This was how Dikkli got back into pants, and never came out again.

> BIOGRAPHY | about the author

Simon McKim is also known as Phineas McShithead.