Upon beholding his reduced library, Doff de Chonez displayed both sadness and rage, but he then seemed to understand the disappearance of so many volumes, and to calm down, after Dr. Nicholson explained that it had been necessary to “undress” his library of books, since, in that way, the remaining books could “be exposed” before the missing books would be redelivered and have their turn to “breathe.” What Dr. Nicholson learned, on the other hand, from Doff de Chonez was that he had not been able to find his tire pump, and had thus proceeded to walk from his backyard into that of a neighbor, one Samuel Dominguez, whom he had heard mowing his lawn, in order to ask if Mr. Dominguez had a tire pump he could borrow. Apparently Mr. Dominguez had not been alarmed by his neighbor’s nudity, or else he had hidden his surprise, and exchanged some pleasantries with Doff de Chonez before lending him his tire pump.
Dr. Nicholson found this interaction with the neighbor most curious, but inquired nothing further about it, and excused himself, promising Doff de Chonez he would stop by again the next day.
Our hero, after downing some fruity juice and a bowl of mixed nuts, and hearing the continued sound of his neighbor’s lawnmower, remembered that he needed to return the tire pump. He found his neighbor as he had left him, shirtless but wearing heavy jeans and boots as he marked freshly cut rows of grass along his back lawn. Doff de Chonez waved to get his attention, holding up the tire pump.
“Just leave it there next to the fence!” Mr. Dominguez shouted, but then he turned off the lawnmower, because Doff de Chonez kept motioning to him.
When the noisy machine had been silenced, our valorous nudist remarked to his neighbor, “Since thou art already naked from the waist up, why dost thou not try it from the waist down?”
“Sr. Lopez,” began the neighbor, “don’t think I haven’t considered it, especially seeing the likes of you running around naked all over the place! But as they say, lazy people will eventually lose even their own trousers, and already my wife Teresa thinks I’m lazy, and so, you see, I need to show her who wears the pants around here.”
“Let me inform thee, friend,” replied the nudist, “that I am no longer Sr. Lopez, but rather Doff de Chonez pa su Mecha. My new name asserts what thou canst see with thine own eyes, which is that I am only too willing to not wear any pants at all.”
“Yes, it is hard to ignore that fact, Sr., uh… Chonez,” agreed the neighbor, “but what is the benefit in it?”
“What is the benefit in it?” Doff de Chonez repeated incredulously. “Why, there are as many benefits as there are pores in thy skin, each one open to the warmth of the sun, the caress of the breeze, the tickle of the sand, or the deluge of the rain. There are as many benefits as there are people thou meetest, whom thou thus reassurest that thou art comfortable with thine own body as thou art comfortable with theirs, that thou art unarmed physically, open and frank in thy dealings, and uninfluenced by the social status that garb can indicate.”
Mr. Dominguez took this all in, squinting into the sunshine, dripping with sweat. Then he shrugged and said, “Well, someday I’ll try it.”
But as he made to once again pull the starter cord on the lawnmower, Doff de Chonez interrupted him. “Samuel, if I may, I beg thee excuse my interruption for just a moment. Dost thou possess any other name?”
“Feel free to call me Sammy,” he replied. “My wife calls me Sammy Panzón,” he added, scratching his large belly. “I wonder why.”
“Sammy…” mused Doff de Chonez. “I know that from the tongue of Cervantes, panzón means large belly. But to the ear of Shakespeare, it sounds rather like ‘pants on,’ which is abjectly wrong and unsatisfactory… How do you feel about the name… Sammy Panzov?”
“Even though I am, like you, of Mexican heritage,” began the neighbor, “there are many people who assume by my appearance that I am Russian or Polish. So, I guess it makes sense. But, why are you giving me this name?”
“Sammy Panzov, if I may,” stated Doff de Chonez in a manner as grandiose as he could muster, “I hereby invite thee—nay, beseech thee—to join me on my travels as nudist-errant. I am but one exemplar of nude body acceptance, but with thee at my side, I can double the strength of our message.”
Sammy Panzov, as he henceforth became known, turned around and looked nervously toward the windows of his home. “Is there any… Excuse me for being so direct, Your Nudeness, but is there any payment in it?”
“Indubitably,” answered Doff de Chonez, “as a result of my efforts in nudist-errantry, I will be made Emperor of a Nude Cruise Line. It would therefore correspond to thee that, at minimum, thou shalt be named to the Directorship of a Landed Naturist Resort.”
“I don’t quite understand what you’re saying,” Sammy replied, even as he was sweating more profusely due to the sun’s now higher position in the sky, “but, since Teresa hasn’t returned from the grocery yet—and since, as it is said, God promised me a fur coat but I’m already sweating—I’m going to give this Panzov business a try.”
Stepping out of his boots, Sammy Panzov then shimmied his pants off, leaving his clothes discarded on the grass. “Ah, yes!” he shouted joyfully. “That certainly does feel much better! The air over my… Qué rico… I’m cooling down already!”
“Now thou understandest what I’m saying, dear Sammy,” said our hero, nodding and smiling. “Listen to me: Finish thy work here, and rest. Ah, and make sure thy bicycle is ready to go. Thou hast a bicycle, yes?”
“Sí,” Sammy affirmed, “it is a large one, a three-wheeler with a large basket over the back.”
Doff de Chonez’s eyes lit up. “Perfect!” he exclaimed. “Tomorrow morning, just before dawn, I’ll meet thee here. Bring some food, and uh… some currency, as I will too, and sunscreen, and we’ll set out.”
“But what shall I tell Teresa?” asked Sammy Panzov.
“This matter is one about which I cannot advise thee, friend,” replied Doff de Chonez, “for only thou knowest how to approach her.”
“It is a difficult thing you ask of me,” said Sammy, “but, an exciting thing, too. I will try my best.”
The two men took their leave of one another, Sammy finishing his mowing of the lawn while naked, and Doff de Chonez strolling back to his home to prepare for the next day, which he did with great enthusiasm and no small amount of pride.
Slightly before dawn of the next morning, just as he had done on his first sally alone, Doff de Chonez mounted his trusty Bare Glider and rode over the yard to meet his companion. When he saw, a few minutes later, that Sammy exited his home still dressed, he was crestfallen. “What’s this, friend? Art thou unable or unwilling?”
“Neither the one nor the other, Your Nudeship,” responded Sammy Panzov, “for my Teresa has surprised me with her understanding. She packed a lunch for us both, told me to take my clothes with me, and… what was the other thing? Oh yes! She said, above all, not to come back until after midnight.”
“Such wondrous wisdom!” enthused Doff de Chonez. “Such charm and grace!”
“Oh, and look here,” continued Sammy, “she printed up these cards for us to show, just in case we get in trouble. She said it’s a blessing, or a magic charm, something like that.”
“What do the cards say?” inquired the nudist-errant.
“Looks like it says ‘non compos mentis,’” replied Sammy.
“Discreet lady! Is she perhaps,” probed Doff de Chonez gently, “also of the nudist persuasion?”
“What I can tell you,” answered Sammy, “is that there are indeed times when she takes off her clothes, but the number of those times is no greater than the number of times she puts herself under the showerhead. And there are some few other occasions as well, when, between the sheets…”
“Of this,” interrupted the nudist-errant, “I have neither need nor desire to know, friend. It is enough to say that, clever and considerate though she may be, she is nonetheless one more who stands to be convinced of the benefits of social nudity in nature. But, speaking of this, let us sally forth! Remove thy clothing, make haste!”
And soon, as has been chronicled by the myriad historians, narrators, translators, journalists, and editors attendant to the relation of these matters, Doff de Chonez and Sammy Panzov, their bicycle tires inflated and their baskets filled with food and coin and sunscreen, set off into the rising sun.
As they traveled along a back road, which was a service road to a major interstate, it was not long before they came in sight of a large billboard that rose above the plain, high enough to be seen by the drivers speeding along the highway. Since they approached from above an incline, it appeared at first that the billboard, and what it displayed, rested right at ground level.
“Fortune,” said Doff de Chonez to his neighbor, as soon as he had seen it, “has arranged matters for us better than I could have hoped. Look there, friend Sammy Panzov, where two monstrous giants recline in tantalizing poses, displaying as if for sale the enemy cloth that covers them, and challenging us to consume it from them.”
“What giants?” said Sammy Panzov.
“Those thou seest there,” answered Doff de Chonez, “leveling us with their scowls like scoffs of disdain.”
“Look, Your Nudeship,” said Sammy. “What we see there are not giants but underwear models on a billboard advertisement.”
“What is easy to see,” replied Doff de Chonez, “is that thou art not yet used to the enterprise of nudist enlightenment. Those are giants, and if thou art afeared, get thee away while I engage them in fierce and unequal combat.”
So saying, he raised himself to pedal in standing position, and burst forward, down the incline, on Bare Glider, heedless of the cries of his companion, who continued warning him that most certainly it was a billboard and not giants that he was going to attack. Our hero, however, was so determined that they were giants, that he neither heard Sammy’s shouts, nor perceived, though he was approaching the bottom of the hill, what they indeed were.
“Flee not, textile cowards,” shouted Doff de Chonez, “for it is but a single nudist who confronts ye with liberation from thy bindings!”
A strong wind gusted at this moment, enough to make ripple the printed material of the advertisement that had been stretched taut over the frame of the billboard.
“Though ye ripple and flex thy massive muscles, still ye shall have to reckon with me!” exclaimed Doff de Chonez, when he saw this.
So saying, he commended himself with all his heart to his Lacy Mechinelda, imploring her to support him in the face of such peril. Naked and unarmed, with only his faith in his cause, he charged at Bare Glider’s fullest speed into the massive pole supporting the billboard. Instantly he flew over the handlebars and was sent rolling over the plain, in most lamentable condition.
Sammy hastened to his assistance as fast as his large tricycle could go. He found his neighbor splayed across the grass, bruised and shaken, with a dented Bare Glider lying askew not far away.
“For the love of humanity!” said Sammy. “Did I not tell Your Nudeness to be careful what you were doing, because it was only a billboard with underwear models? No one could have hazarded such a colossal misjudgment unless he were already quite used to making this kind of error.”
“Silence, friend Sammy,” replied Doff de Chonez, “for fortunes are subject to frequent fluctuations, almost as if they were windmills. Moreover I think, and it must be the truth, that some portentous capitalist curse has turned these giants into billboard models in order to rob me of the glory of convincing them to abandon their undergarments once and for all, such is the spell that consumerism weaves into its textiles. But in the end, my determination will prevail over this enormous cover-up.”
“Que será, será,” muttered Sammy, helping his neighbor to get up and remount Bare Glider, whose handlebars had been knocked askew. Then, discussing the adventure, they followed the road to Modesto, for there, Doff de Chonez surmised, they could not fail to find textile-challenged interlocutors in great abundance and variety.