Bump of the Night
It remains unclear whether the Bump of the Night is animal, vegetable or mineral, as the author's informant on the Tarkherk Corps turned out not to be very informative after all. However, he was able to inform me that it is indeed a noun, thus settling a debate over its grammatical category that has long plagued scholars. Aside from this important syntactical fact, the only firm bit of "knowledge" we have about the Bump of the Night is that it is somehow pertinant to, or part of, or otherwise tied up in, the Conflict That Is Not Happening. The rest is simply scholarly (and occasionally unscholarly) speculation as to "things-that-really- it-might-be- better-not-to- speculate-about," as the author's informant so delicately put it. Nevertheless, a summary of some of the most prevalent theories has been provided for the reader's perusal.
The In-the-Closet Theory
One of the more popular theories associates the Bump of the Night with the dreaded Endlessly Rising Staircase Movement. When this movement first rose to power, so the story goes, one astute corporal in the Tarkherk Corps noticed that an inevitable side effect of the endlessly rising staircase was the infinitely roomy under-staircase storage closet. Now, as every Ghyllian youth knows, an under-staircase storage closet cannot be complete without being home to at least one thing that goes bump in the night. Our corporal, knowing full well that the Tarkherk Corps are not ones to leave a job half done when they can do it once and three quarters, proposed that infinitely roomy under-staircase storage closets, in addition to being the perfect place to store extra beautiful white lady mannequins and Pinky people, were in need of an extra large thing that goes bump in the night. So large, in fact, that it would no longer be a "bump in the night" but rather the more impressive sounding "Bump of the Night."
The Rin-tin-tinitis Theory
Although the In-the-Closet theory is far and away the most popular, many people also consider the Rin-tin-tinitis Theory to be equally probable. According to this theory, the Bump of the Night is actually the cause of the dread disease rin-tin-tinitis, more commonly known as I fear I cannot hear, my dear. Sufferers of the disease report a strange sort of rash of puce and chartreuse bumps on the skin, followed by seemingly random periods of complete deafness. Common lore has it that this rash is caused by contact with the mysterious Bump of the Night; however, when sufferers are questioned on this topic, they invariably respond with "Eh? were you trying to say something, then?"
The Constellational Theory
Other scholars, less prone to medicinal tinkering about, prefer to think of the Bump of the Night as a yet-to-be-found astronomical feature. They assure that there must be something out beyond the stars visible from Ghyll, or the entire orthogonality would fly apart. This mysterious substance has been christened the Bump of the Night, and a recent article in Quester and Phorrus proposed the construction of a giant Space Besq Boat to attempt to explore this possibility further. However, most scholars view this theory as "stuff and nonsense" or "a rather unsporting appropriation of a good vocabulo for bad science." According to this author's informant, "the Tarkherk Corps were not amused."
The "How dull is that?" Theory
This theory, almost too dull to even articulate, holds that the Bump of the Night is simply a synonym for midnight, invented by a couple of drunk Tarkherk Corps men after a bottle too many of Adlorst wine. However, this theory is widely considered duller than toast, and currently has very few card-carrying adherents. Rumor has it that the Mildly Impressive Commandant of the Corps has personally dealt with the majority of those who would admit to considering such a blasé explanation.
--Lady Aleksandra 15:43, 27 May 2005 (EDT)