a one panel comic strip with a kissing creature with protruding lips kissing people below, leaving lipstick on their foreheads

#200 "Kiss"

Two lips, slightly moist, pressed against a cheek, a forehead, the tip of a nose, two surprised lips. An electric circuit completed, splitting a plutonium atom somewhere in the chest, enduring a high desert-like drought. Hallucinations and delusions and illusions dissipate instantly into the lingering wetness, the newbie quasar near el corazón, the zinging in the neurons. A peck of pecks is not needed, just the simple, singular gift, replete with unspoken reason and understanding...

That's enough about kisses. Let me move on to the importance of numbers that end in double, triple, and (if I live long enough) quadruple zeros. If I get this new comic posted before I die, my legacy as a cartoonist will be at least 200 comics given to the world for its enjoyment, revulsion or indifference. Much better than leaving 199 behind. For if I did leave just 199, my soul will have left the earth mighty restless, and most certainly needing to reincarnate just to see if I could live a 200-comic life. In that way, nice round numbers contribute to the peace of the spirit.

Next stop, 300 comics, which means at my current rate of production, I will have to live at least another 2.9 years. To reach 1000, I'd have to scrape and claw myself through another 19.8 years. 10,000 comics would require lots of amphetamines, a cadre of marine drill sergeants yelling at me daily to stop being a blob, and to be kissed by God in the same way as the Reverend Howard Finster (my favorite folk artist) had been, transforming him into a uncorked creative conduit who produced 46,000+ (not a round number) pieces of art (including album covers for Talking Heads and R.E.M.).

If God has kissed my soul in a way that has made me prolific at something, it would be in the "eating dessert" category. I recently calculated that I've eaten 62,016 desserts since I was born. My mother fed me my first package of Twinkies when I was six months old. I was stealing dimes and quarters from my Dad's change jar when I was four and sneaking to the store behind our house to get some of those delicious cream-filled sponge cakes, ice cream sandwiches, and Drake's Devil Dogs. I stopped stealing change when I realized that being caught resulted in a spanking, being banned from the TV den, and worst of all, no dessert. My love of (okay, my addiction to) desserts continues to this very day. It's made me overweight at times, and is threatening to do so once again. But that won't stop me. Doomsayers tell me that dark chocolate Hershey Kisses might bring me to an early grave, but since everyone dies when it's their time, they'll actually just bring me to the time of departure with great punctuality and satisfaction.

What's better, a Hershey Kiss or an actual kiss? Actually, that's a moot question, as I've come to believe that a kiss that delivers a Hershey's Kiss at the same time is the ultimate expression of love one can give or receive with one's lips.

P.S. #2: Obviously, I posted the comic before I died. So, please, no need to email me saying things like "I hope you get it posted, and are you okay? What's happening with your body? Go ahead, you can tell me. I won't tell the National Enquirer. "

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Crusted Salt comics by Jimmy Brunelle