e secretly savored how cool her palms were, like a salve on a burn he didn't even know he had... douglas coupland “miss wyoming”
he discreetly gulped sauvignon blanc he always had in his pocket and thought how cool it would be to lie under a palm instead of standing within the salvo fuss, burning in the infernal sunlight of a dirty sandy dream he didn't even know he'd like to have... doug singland “mister iraq”
he cautiously stroked the cat hanging on the screendoor and thought how cool lion tamers were, standing amidst predators in the blaze of glory instead of wasting their life waiting for a pizza delivery guy and never getting their order anyway... douggie lameland “mistah s.t.f”
not even a stiff cat fur was to catch his attention at the moment; an eigteen-wheel cistern emerged on the misty horizon, barely seen with a naked eye, but strongly felt at an avid, ekhm, thirsty heart... “the sauvignon at last!” he purred with a smile resembling a princess charming from the South, though a bit twisted; be the day filled with salvoes, lions, or just plain pizza folks, the duty of the dusk was to bring solace within a deep sea of a divine bubbling delight... and the heavy load of such an ecstasy was being carried to him by an eighteen-winged angel in a baseball cap... well, what a night!... di rhea “habitual and excessive consumption of bubbled up grape varieties”
and what a night it was... a night when bubbles burst into thousands mirrors of dancing light and pure joy and delight of just being and made glorious bells of existence play their hymns... “oh, what a night,” he thought having another sip... “too bad i have to be going soon...” he took a look at the cat still hanging on the screen door... the cat did not move... it was hanging there, exactly as he did the whole afternoon... and morning... and the afternoon before... “that's odd,” he mumbled. he came up to the door and poked the cat with the index finger of his left hand (he still had that bottle in his right hand). the cat fell off the screen door and splashed on the cold linoleum on the floor. a thought flashed through his mind. “that would explain the smell. i thought it was them damn rats.” he considered the cat for a moment. how fragile it was, the existence. one day you are a happy cat hanging from a screen door and then you are a disgusting pile lying on the floor waiting for someone to remove you. “ah, shit, damn it”, he said and took another sip... r.d.lite “of cats and screendoors”
a brief concept of awakening the cat with a few drops of precious liquid nagged his mind for a while, soon to be smothered by another whispering sensation: again he had this annyoing feeling of his world too narrow, not rapidly choking but lazily causing the claustrophobic thrill of being trapped under ice, well, whiskey and ice to be honest. if only the cat wasn't so dry, he would definitely weep a true-blue tear.
still firmly holding the bottle, he carefully stepped down the three wooden stairs and took a wide look around: the desert was spreading in each direction, with all damn yellowish tints of yesterday one could only imagine... or maybe he was the yesterday man? but even when seen through the bubbles, the choice was crystal clear: go North! secret longings burst from his very heart... how relentless once were his thoughts of visiting the Polar Star! and the alternatives, they were so poor: the West was wild and a little pissy, people in the East were talking so oddly all the time, and the South... well, he certainly had enough to carry without its Cross.
so Polaris it was... a tingle ran down his spine... yeah, time to move on... leave this godforsaken place for good... start an adventure... he felt giddy. was it the bubbles or was it the promise? or maybe it was the smell... he had to do something about it and immediately. he went to the shed and took a spade. he held it firmly in his hands. he was going to bury the poor thing still lying stiff on the cold linoleum. but it was more than that: it was his past he was going to bury, the miserable succession of days and ways he would leave behind. at last. the spade went sharply into the dry dirt and clouds of dust spread around. some of it got into his eyes and they went teary. they say men don't cry but it is really okay to shed a few tears. only real men are capable of it. he rested his arms on the handle of the spade and looked towards the horizon. the moon rose over distant hills. it was reddish and immense and the sad face on its surface was manifesting its silent misery. he turned his eyes a little bit and there it was: Polaris, the Northern Star, his princess, his comfort, his destiny... he breathed in the cool evening air and let the breeze caress his face. yeah, time to move on...
but then, why moving..? the wooden veranda might not have been a five star place on Earth, but the grandpa's chair was still standing - how voyeuristic it always was to sit there and run the glassy eyes over these little shiny beads of rain dropping in through the sieved roof! – a burst of shivers shook his loins as he recalled the feeling he was about to discard. nevertheless, he could take his imaginations anywhere he could aimlessly wander, as long as he could embrace the bubbling flask with his weary fingers. faithfully, a raindrop was the least expected guest these days in this deserted land dominated with squeaky cicadas and oh! – damn'em – mojitos.
“keep digging!” sounded deeply in his brains and he could swear that the scary voice was mewing. the ancient predator must have been put at least six feet under the dust, and the impression was growing that this time it's his gravedigger who would be the hunter. the spade started whizzing in his hands as he was making his way through the dusty matter, deprived of any life signs by the merciless star it had been bound to by the spiteful Unknown. “the stars, how incredibly they differ from each other...” he thought with a barely noticeable sigh and then turned his eyes to the North, like the magnet needles always on their sentry duty of honour. Polaris, it was still there in its unceasing constancy, flawless and gorgeous as no being – not even human – had ever managed to be; as one fragile touch would sometimes light up the damn ol' world with a charming spark, with this soft glance he felt he was all needle.
saying no prayers he hastily covered the excavation with rock debris and fine dry sand born in some ancient stone. the cobweb of the past he got stucked in was gone, and it was high time for him to face brand new challenges, one of them being the shiny vehicle that had already approached the backyard. he knew he needed to stock up on sauvignon, but even more desperately he demanded an ark to take him far far away! he straightened up and turned his evil-looking face towards the gate, knowing that the poor cistern driver prophesied in no nightmare how toughly and precisely might the spade be wielded...
he felt it in his hands, the smooth wood of the handle reminded him of afternoons spent gardening when he would dig the dirt and try to plant and grow something in this deserted middle of nowhere. he always failed. anger started to swell in his chest. always in vain... he never managed to nurture anything into flourish. and everybody was just laughing at his futile efforts... that sting in his heart, again, as always when he remembered... now he was going to leave all this. just one more thing to do, getting hold of the vehicle that would carry him away, just like that chick in crystal slippers, found by the prince charming and saved from her misery. the guy was there, resting from the desert heat that had tortured him for the whole afternoon. it was so easy, you just hold the handle firmly, raise your arms, and then lower them in a quick and confident move... and it was this... he rested his eyes on the split skull belongind to the corpse lying at his feet... it was odd how peaceful it felt, watching the blood pouring among pieces of something that looked like a crushed watermelon except that the color was a bit different, greyish, and there were no seeds that were always troublesome when you were having a piece of a chilled watermelon on a hot summer afternoon... yeah... he sighed at the thought of what was going to have to be done. one more grave to dig, damn it... but he could not leave that mess behind... it had to be clean. he had to erase all traces of him being there.
he needed a drink. a wide grin appeared on his face when he remembered that now he had all this treasure, a carload of bubbles, all his and nobody else's. it should last him for a while and the grin got even wider when he thought what an exciting while it was going to be...
nce or twice in a bluish moon it happens that a straight sleepwalking fellow gives his life a new course – replacing someone else's; although murdering someone rarely leads an outlaw to the subtle comfort of a calm roomette. “that's what you call a captain's cabin!” he had gone into speechless raptures for a long while, scrutinizing the bull-skin upholstery, as well as each of the round colourful buttons placed on a dashboard. in a jiffy he pressed a few of them and then he was on the road again! well... not precisely again, the virginity pinched him a little, but he knew he was simply fit for the place. stepping on the gas he took a fleet look into a rear-view mirror where the wooden veranda, along with the whole world he had known since, was dilatorily vanishing beyond his barely distant frontier of perception. the image suddenly revealed how lonely and deserted he was – a farewell to the screen door cat was so hasty that he ended up having neither a piece of tail nor even a single whisker of his fellow citizen... a purest kind of solitude grieved his loins, forcing him to squint and achingly blurring the sight of a brand new desert cemetery that no map would ever reveal.
while sensing not much on the outer side, his imaginations were rapidly evolving, finally allowing him to catch a glimpse of his prettie – so hot that all her elements were melting into one delicious essence and... ouch! “some of them one just can't touch”, he heard his mother saying; it was no wonder why the heat was so all-embracing: his Northern Mistress was a star indeed! the eternal spectatress queen of Ursa Minor, a bubble of flawless fire floating on the surface of his sky and his mind since he first contemplated the vague reason of his presence in this world... Polaris! a veraciously familiar sign of hope for those who believe that the vile case of a fallen star may only happen to others – and yes, he certainly was a heartfelt believer.
the reflection of bubbles made him recollect that he was the only helmsman to steer the vessel of living sparks he recently aboarded, so he decided on keeping his eyes wide open and sticking to the appropriate side of the road. the surrounding milieu was still shrouded with dust and dirt, but deep in his soul he had no doubt that somewhere there lay a spacious fertile oasis of breathtaking jacaranda trees with their purplish succulence giving a trustworthy shelter to a shattered passerby.
the road was winding like a streak of mercury on a slanted board and glittered in the moonlight... the eerie vastness surrounding him was creeping up but he was not frightened; it felt comfortable and homey in this leather-smelling shelter, speeding toward whatever was waiting for him. he was deeply convinced that it may only be something better than that pathetic existence he called life... he did not feel tired... quite the contrary, he was wide awake and felt so alive... he had never felt so alive in his so-called life... he could not wait to reach the Oasis... he only heard of it... all right, he saw it but it was only in his dreams... he had dreams shrouded in the purple haze of jacaranda blossom... and they were not ordinary dreams, they were more like visions, premonitions of some kind only they had that deja vu-ish quality about them... he remembered waking up sobbing because his heart could not contain the longing... his whole being was aching for it, for the safe haven his soul was weeping to embrace...
he glanced at the dashboard sparkling with millions of colors. it reminded him of christmas when he always felt the loneliest, having nobody to give gifts to... the cat was happy with whatever brand of catfood it got and never said thanks anyway... plus, it never gave anything in return... he shrudded the thought away... it didn't matter anymore... he scanned the vastness around him and released a sigh. the sigh contained sorrow and hopelessness. he was getting rid of these emotions little by little. not anymore...
he noticed lights on the horizon. they were not fixed motionless lights, they were more like fireflies on acid on a June night. they were approaching him and he had no idea what that meant. he reached for his bottle and indulged himself in some life-saving bubbles. he needed his mind to be sharp and quick and bubbles made sure it was the case. the fireflies were getting bigger and brighter. he could not figure out their nature and origin. “all right then,” he thought, “come what may.” suddenly he was blinded by a flood of light so bright he thought was only possible on judgement day. his vehicle stopped. the engine released a few final moans and died. and he felt he could not move...
thoroughly blinded, he was desperately trying to focus his consciousness just to figure out what specific sort of phenomena his naked eyes were failing to perceive then and there... he had been gazing at falling stars so many times before, believing that these were his ruined ideas of life, but he had never seen these beauties flying so low over the sand!
suddenly he felt an astounding sensation speeding through his veins, his body responded with one of these least familiar thrills that could ever be experienced by a needy southern hayseed, a hyperspatial loser that dared to set out on a journey to the North. in nameless enchantment he was contemplating the eclectic kaleidoscope of silhouettes tinged with immaculate hues that would certainly humiliate even the purest kind of rainbow. the blessing of synesthesia filled his ears with the most stirring sea nymph ballad of the lifetime. spurred by the rhythm, he got so close to the dancing shapes that he thought he could use them to forge a megalith of the goddess he’d hitherto been awaiting in a silent solitude... his fingers went a little numb, mortified by their own infinite potency.
this drift of perception lead him astray, perilously close to the event horizon that could catch his very spirit for an eternal sojourn. he gathered all mental strengths that lagged behind the revolving course of dimensions, just to bounce away from the shark-toothy edge of darkness and utter a sonorous shout of liberation. nonetheless, he was only able to air the voice of one calling in the desert: once left to infertile chit-chats with his stiff ol’ friend, his tongue had never really improved over what he’d been talking in to his kindergarten paramours... he was still so much together with all these girly pretties, maybe not exactly in time but surely in space... the bluest sapphires of their callow eyes spiking his torso, his firm laps, hot heels...
the deepest memories brought him back to the image of a smelly cat in his cradle; as soon as the well-known fragrance spreaded inside his nostrils, the surrounding world rapidly stopped spinning. he vigilantly tried to raise his arid lids, soon to be astonished by a discovery that his eyes were already wide open; the blindness started to die out, giving way to an unexpected scenery...
he dancing silhouettes were a distorted image of palm trees swaying in the breeze... he was at the edge of the jewel of the desert: the Oasis...the place he had only heard about and attempted at visualizing in his dreams was now within the reach of his hand... it was more beautiful than he could ever imagine. the palm trees – the kind he liked best, those tall spires with a thin trunk – watched over the abundance of other, smaller plants. they were like big sisters babysitting a crowd of jasmine and jacaranda trees... his heart lost a beat and tears welled in his eyes becuase his body could not contain all emotions he felt all at once... he recognized the purplish haze from his vision-dreams. he recognized it all: the palm trees, the haze, and the pond that looked like a mirror lost by a nymph when she was startled by a stranger watching her comb her long hair... he inhaled the freshness and humidity of the air. it was all gone: the memories of the cat and its foul smell and the restlessness haunting him for so many eyars... he felt unbelievably light and... yes, he felt happy... this sensation was so new and so unfamiliar... he had not known it before but he recognized it right away. it felt so good and so safe, like a lover's embrace, that it scared him...
he came up to the pond and touched its surface glittering in the first beams of the rising sun. the circles created a confusion among the shiny spots and it looked as if someone in heaven emptied a bag of sparkling diamonds right beneath his feet... he contemplated the view for a while until the pond calmed down and waited for another bag of sparkling wonders to fall from the sky. it was then that he felt a delicate touch on his shoulder. it startled him. he turned around and saw her. he had to squint his eyes because his mind could not process all her beauty at once. her eyes that were the color of the bluest blue, the blue that made you think of the ocean and your first kiss, were looking at him and it was a look he would get from someone who was expecting him and was happy to see him. a curl of her night-black hair was caressing her forehead and he thought that it was funny how we noticed such details and would remeber them and cherish that memory till the moment we died... her flowing dress the color that was matching the bluest blue of her eyes was only emphasizing the perfect curves he thought were only possible to exist in his lonely dreams... she was barefoot and she was smiling at him... he wanted to say something but she put her index finger to his lips, which made him tremble and he felt thousands little pins piercing his skin and incredible warmth overcame him... she did not say a word, not a sound sneaked out through her full lips. she only raised her arm and knocked castanets she was holding in her palm. she turned her head the direction she was pointing with the instrument that looked like shells in her hand... he was sure pearls would now start falling from her palm. instead she knocked the castanets again and he looked the way she was making him look in this odd but, he had to admit that, incredibly charming way...
he fixed his eyes on her fragile hands and tacitly asked himself how much puissance they kept in secret until they caressed the castanets for the first time to make the world look different. his experience with sorcery was somewhat scarce; actually, the one and only fairy he had ever faced was the toothfairy! he flinched as his mind abruptly revived bygone memories of losing his teeth one after another, just like the life opportunities towed away by a sticky finger of fate. but whoa! now he got a complete suit of his own teeth again! he scented the long-awaited blissful freshness emanating from his sigh of relief. he recalled all the delicacies he used to chew massively before his jaws turned into filthy rust which now seemed to vanish for good... the miraculous images surrounded him, once hazily blurred but suddenly crisp and fresh like the surrounding air: a deer consommé spiced with smoked oysters, thin discs of French cake stuffed with any given inhabitant of the deep blue ocean, along with one of these strongly flavoured Colombian unknown-meat soups imbued with the burning piquancy of turmeric dust... maybe even a stockfish-like cod could be his way in this savory hour?
with all the spice in his mind and before his very eyes, he felt he needed to wet his whistle. he rushed to the pond and dipped his hands in the crystal clear liquid, noticing how artfully his own hands were carved by the unexpectedly cast spell. his face twisted in an unsightly grimace when he took a sip of the water; the ugly, salty taste reminded him something familiar... “a gamma-oh!”—a thought suddenly struck him, making him think of the early years when he had been serving this salt of love to the pretty maids on his uncle’s ranch. he smiled unawarely and pondered for a while – coming upon his old hand potion in this alluring realm was at least quite dubious. he started to keep his eyes peeled for the depths of the water, looking out for a solution of this mystery. all at once he caught a glimpse of a little hillock sticking out in the midst of the pond. the object must have also noticed him, because it nervously stirred and started a fleet raise to reveal the lawful owner of the Oasis. in a trice he saw a hundred-feet-long lizard watching him carefully with its eyelid-lacking orbs... a legendary supersaur in the flesh!
he was pertified thus his mere choices were limited to standing still and praying for the vision to evaporate. one weighty detail, however, riveted his spoiled attention: a five-gallon tear was slowly flowing down the scaled cheek... he suddenly realized how the salt had come into the waterhole! a sense of embarassment chained him to the solid ground, but his celestial companion stepped lightly closer to the reptile. her starry eyes were shining and he was certain that no single thought of the giant could get away unnoticed. her ethereal figure contrasted with the colossus as if they came from different planets tactfully situated on the opposite outskirts of the universe. “you’re a supersaur, and supersaurs don’t cry!”, she whispered in a melodious and the most soothing voice he had ever heard. saying no more, she raised her hand for one click of castanets and the tanker truck pulled out towards the pond; the second click was drowned out by a cascade of exquisite sauvignon blanc directed straight into the frightful mouth... a blustering murmur of the carnal relish sounded so intensely that it could be easily heard on the distant ocean shores; a huge blowout of an acrid smoke covered the pond, repelling the cursed mojitos for good. the eternally burning thirst got extinguished and went down in history.
she blew the sulphurous dust off the castanets and turned towards him. the forelock of her raven hair fell a little lower, and he could have sworn her irises were even deeper blue in the radiance of the rising desert sun. all his passions focused on anticipating the second she would smile again, transiently eclipsing even the divine aureola of Polaris.
she held out her hand toward him. he looked at it and hesitated for a moment. he slowly reached for it and touched it, first with his fingertips. he traced the veins forming an arabesque on the olive skin. it occured to him that this was her blood, right there beneath his touch and the tiny streams of life made it possible for her to be right here and right now so he could touch her hand and feel the softness and the warmth... and he felt soft and warm inside... and he liked it... he took her hand, looked up and smiled at her. and she smiled back. and what a smile it was... he would not mind dying at this moment knowing that this would be the last image his mind registered before it went blank.
they left the supersaur bathing happily in the pond of sauvignon, snorting and occasionally blowing a small flame. the lizard's scales were glittering in the sun and his eyes were shining. was it the bubbles? could be... they had this effect on all kinds of creatures, lizards included... they make you do and say silly things or act goofy, and this is what the supersaur was doing: acting goofy. but that was okay, after crying so much he deserved to laugh a little for a change...
lue-eyed led him toward a building he had not noticed before. it was hidden in the shade of jacaranda trees and looked inviting. it was a plain marble structure and it actually intrigued him, this combination of marble and plainness. he had always thought that marble deserved grand palaces and cathedrals in great cities of the world. and this here... just seemed odd. they entered the cool darkness of the building. he had to wait a moment before his eyes adjusted and then he saw that the building was actually bigger than it looked from the outside... just like great cathedrals, they always look smaller from the outside and when you find yourself inside you find yourself amazed by their spaciousness and you wonder how it is possible that the whole thing just won't collapse...
suddenly a small lamp lit and he saw that the only piece of furniture in the room was a bed, a king size bed covered with silk sheets and fluffy pillows the color of the ocean... he felt he would love to lie down on this bed and he even more would love Blue-eyed to lie down next to him... would he dare to even consider such a possibility? oh, yes, he would... he would while Blue-eyed was coming up to the bed and he was following her, mesmerized by the flow of her dress and her curls and her movements... she turned to him and said: “we need you... but more about that later. rest now, you are tired...” he obeyed because he indeed was tired... very tired... and he would do anything Blue-eyed wanted him to do... he would go to hell and back... and this time her wish was for him to just lie down on the silky softness... his body gave a sigh of relief and he smiled. Blue-eyed smiled back. and then she did something so unexpected that it took his breath away: she tucked him up. the last time he had been tucked up was when he was five. and he felt like that kid again, peaceful and helpless. she smiled again and this was the last thing he saw before he fell asleep. It was a dreamless sleep and felt very short. it seemed he had only closed his eyes five seconds before he heard Blue-eyed whisper in his ear: “you must wake up... the storm is coming...”
“just a lil’ drizzle, sugar,” he murmured drowsily as he used to during the morning bedroom talks with the stiff cat. for a fleeting while he expected to smell the scent of his old fellow screen door mate, but a sudden opening of the eyes left him flabbergasted. the darkness of the building was all gone letting the roomy chamber fill with an exceptional bluish radiance that could only be cast out by the sun glowing right beneath the edge of a thick cloudy mattress. partially blinded by the light, he did not know whether it was the sleepy silk that touched his hand or the delicate skin of his wake-up caller... but nevertheless, he enjoyed it profoundly.
as his mind was trying to keep pace with the awakening of the body, the room began to reveal its concealed details. it seemed barely furnished, only equipped with some essential elements, as if all the decorative intentions of its designer were thrown away into the infernal desert. the mammoth bed in the center seemed quite grotesque, especially when he directed his eyes beyond the blue canopy to notice the familiar silhouette of the supersaur painted in fresco on the ceiling. he soon felt the silky touch again as Blue-eyed sailed across the chamber, bringing up an austere tray with a few cinnamon-raisin bagels and some cream cheese along with two tall beakers of latté. he instinctively stepped toward the window to give way to her, and snatched a glance through the crystal window pane just to turn into a plain pillar of salt.
he once azure sky looked as if all the clouds nature had ever created formed a giant swirl of destiny dancing in a vicious circle on a boundless promenade of the wasteland. a spiral chain of anything that could have been picked up from the desert was coiling furiously accompanied by the wild consonance of a whistling gust, still pretty warm but quickly cooling down, and a dreadful howl of shattered plants insidiously hijacked from their nests and massacred by sticks and stones raised by the hand of an unseen force. myriads of tiny sand particles raised by the whirl reminded him of the bubbling fiestas he used to perform on his wooden veranda, carrying his perception away and making him heavily unsure of the genuineness of his lurid observations. he was pretty bent on laying them on the confounding, mirageous quality of yesterday events, but one look into Blue-eyed’s assured him that what he saw was what they were soon going to get. “geez, this is really something to be reckoned with,” was the only syntactically complete thought he managed to form but quite certainly not sophisticated enough to be verbalized to his fellow beauty.
right at this moment, deep in his heart and in his guts he felt that all the words were just an option, not a thorny requirement for building a bridge between his straight redneck soul and the celestial blue-eyed and blue-blooded being at his side. at once he understood that he could easily base an endless and fruitful conversation on just looking into the blue... and far beyond. the genes of his adventure seeking ancestors, once dormant, now struck him with all their force, stirring up the passion that he had never imagined he might put into anything. whatever would happen, he decided he’d never turn back from a road to saving this angel and her marble city... but at first he really needed to move his precious tanker to a safe parking lot.
he headed toward the door with an intention to move his mighty steed into some shelter. he was almost there when he felt the floor tremble. he hesitated, startled. “leave it, the storm is stronger than we expected, there is no time,” he heard Blue-eyed's authoritative voice. he did not know her like that... he had to admit it: he even liked her like that very much... he turned around and saw that she had put the tray on the floor and she was looking at a small watch-like object on her wrist. “strange,” he thought, “I had not noticed it before.” or maybe it had not been there when he first saw her. anyway, the thing produced a series of beeps and clicks and Blue-eyed looked at him and told him to follow her. he obeyed. she approached a small side door and it slid soundlessly. behind it there was a corridor lit by pale blue light that seemed to be coming out from the walls and the ceiling as if they were covered with some fluorescent substance. he set off after her, grabbing a bagel and latte on his way. he had not eaten for a very long time and the breakfast smelled so tempting... he was aware that there was no time to waste and that something big was going on but he had to pause and wonder how different the bagel was from that stuff he had been buying at his local supermarket and what he thought had been bagels... a thought that he might yet have hundreds of opportunities to reconsider what he thought was true fireworked beneath his skull... munching the bagel and sipping his coffee he followed Blue-eyed along the corridor until they reached an elevator. it had glass walls but behind them he could only see the rock that the elevator shaft was drilled in. the door of the elevator closed and he felt they were going down. and fast. he knew it by the way his stomach felt funny. it was almost like being tickled. it was even nice. he knew it might not have been appropriate, with the danger and all, but he smiled at Blue-eyed... she faintly smiled back but at almost the same moment her mind returned to whatever was troubling her...
uddenly it got very bright. the elevator lowered into a huge hall, almost the size of the football arena he had once seen on television, which the commentator had described as one of the biggest in the world. it was brightly lit by hundreds of lights and there was much commotion. people in overalls were busy tending to all kinds of vehicles and operating equipment that looked nothing like he had ever seen in real life, rather like in those movies that he had sometimes seen in the theater in his town. in the center of the hall there was a huge tank filled with water. in it there was the supersaur and a few dolphins. the supersaur was floating in front of a dashboard that was illuminated by many different lights and indicators. the dolphins were swimming around, every now and then approaching the supersaur and exchanging noises so characteristic of dolphins. it looked as if they were discussing something. “yes, they are discussing something,” said Blue-eyed jumping on his train of thought. “they are the brightest creatures here. we trust them.” the elevator stopped at the bottom of the hall and the door opened. she stepped out and he could do nothing else but to follow her, again...
he was more surprised with the similiarity of the twinkling dashboard to the one in his tanker truck than with the fact it was operated by a strapping reptile accompanied by a few water mammals. this thought made him smile broadly, but right then a decisive click of castanets roused him from these meditations. a narrow passage in the seemingly solid wall opened and they came into a darkened place. as his eyes got accustomed to the gloom he saw the stairs leading upwards, covered with a soft-looking carpet in the tint of ash. he noticed two slim figures standing still as if on guard at the top of the stairs. Blue-eyed raised her gentle voice and swelled up a torrent of incomprehensible yet melodic phrases that he was taking in like a heavenly nectar given to a barely vital victim of drought. on her words, the two creatures quickly faded in silence to the darkest corner of the room. he noticed they were wearing hooded long coats in gray, and they were relatively low. he believed he saw girly faces under the hoods but he put it down to a lustful illusion.
“welcome to le coeur de sauvignon”, Blue-eyed said with a warm but decisive voice. “it’s been ages since we started to control the vitis vinifera genotype so it evolves exactly the way we want. starting from scratch with the cat's pee on a gooseberry bush, we created a divinity of the bouquet that you, and all the world’s gourmets, fell in love with. and me, I did too.” her smile was no longer indistinct and it became unbearable for him not to come a little closer. with her face a bit somber, she continued: “however, a fateful weather problem emerged lately, which is also an opportunity for us to uncover and expand our vision onto the desert areas turning green with the pouring fallout, warm and full of nourishing compounds. simply and sadly in equal, we cannot control it and the accompanying twisters really do rampage around here, not only demolishing our marble offices, but also any ground installations we try to construct. even the palm grove guarding the supersaur’s pond!”. he stood in bewilderment with his eyes questioning astonishedly. “you have been chosen,” she was reading his mind with ease, “for our savior and the chief architect of our control facility. the Council, as you can see it here in the debate tank, is thoroughly convinced that your ancestors made a plenty of great discoveries in the past ages of this land.” her face lit up again, “genes, you know, they make us who we are.”
at this very moment he seemed far more than perpetuated, but he knew as well that he would be so much honored if he could leave a mark for each and everyone in the history of this unusual place. “a couple of marks, maybe,” he grinned in his vivid southern redneck manner. he briefly recalled his papa saying “remember, son, in this ol’ world each good deed gets fairly punished”, but the expectant eyes of blue convinced him that he would try hard. sooooo hard. he recalled how edifying had it felt to be tucked up last evening and felt a desperate need to hear the sweet “good night” at every dusk until the end of his terrestial existence.
“may I?”, he peeked a bit imploringly and Blue-eyed nodded in consent. he cautiously raised the castanets and made a vague move with his arm, but no sound could be heard. she craned her neck over his arm and grabbed his hand to show him how to wave the magic out of the wooden shells. a strong click reverberated around and the room filled up with the plenitude of dancing shadows. bathed in a neon-like glow Blue-eyed looked even more alluring than in a raw daylight. her look of glass might have been perceived as a translucently cold one but he found it somehow familiar and stirring up a gravity of passion coming from his chilling fingertips down to the deepest-rooted core of sensibility. with bated breath he was staring at the spotlights floating slowly on her delicate yet energetic body. an elusive smile made him immediately follow the emergent behaviour ciphered deep down inside his double helix. he was astonished with the discovery that this trap of evolution was making him feel entirely safe and sound. he stood so close that he could feel a physical sensation of her breathing. one more step and they would unify in a never disturbed harmony of souls and minds, even if theirs came from the two separate worlds. it was a straightly human idea to discriminate wood in the marble land and in his celestial state of mind he refused all mortal prejudice. he felt he just crossed a conceptual frontline in the ocean of sand, getting verily deprived of his consciousness in this miraculous drift of excitation.
e looked around. the shadows stopped their mysterious dance, the light went back to normal and Blue-eyed was looking at him expectantly. “well...?” she whispered. “well, what do I do?” was his only possible reply. in a form of a question, which he mentally noticed and at the same time remembered that grandma had always told him not to answer a question with a question. however, Blue-eyed did not seem to notice this manifestation of the lack of earthly refinement and smiled radiantly. it looked as if a waterfall of sunshine filled the room and he felt that at this moment he would agree to anything... and he meant, everything...
“I want you to first put it on,” said Blue-eyed and handed him an earpiece made of what looked like aluminum but he suspected it was some cosmic miracle alloy never before touched by a human. “this will make communication much easier.” “communication?” he thought. “heh, the only communicating I want to make is with you, babe...” he called himself to order, however, sensing that right now something more important and of much grander scale than his romancing was about to happen. and he somehow felt that he would still have a chance to hold Blue-eyed's hand and look into those oceans of blue looking right back at him... and only him... but first things first, right now he was on the way to become a hero. he would save the world and then he would get the girl of his dreams. that's the way it always happened on cable anyway.
he put the earpiece on. it fit perfectly and he instantaneously forgot it was even there. he looked at Blue-eyed with expectation of what would follow. she smiled – again – and her delicate fingers struck the castanets. this time, however, he heard not a click but a voice which belonged neither to a female nor a male whispering “we are ready, bring him in.” he almost jumped up in a reaction that would not become a future hero and the savior of the universe and all the bubbles it contained, yet he managed to compose himself and assume a self-confident and self-assured look. “let's go then, the Council wants to meet you,” said Blue-eyed and led him down the stairs. the two hooded shadows followed them to the huge hall and the water tank where the supersaur and the dolphins had already been waiting. the dolphins surrounded the lizard and the dashboard and all of them were looking at him. the gaze of so many pairs of piercing and wise eyes paying attention just to him made him feel a bit uncomfortable but he tried not to demonstrate that feeling. he approached the transparent wall of the tank and stood still, waiting for the series of the usual dolphin whistles, clucks, and snorts. however, he did jump up this time when he heard a soft “welcome, at last we meet” in his ear. the welcome came from the dolphin who had left the group and swam closer to the brink of the tank, so close that he could trace the tracks of droplets of water making their way down the dolphin's skin and back into the tank. “we are glad you've agreed to help us. we need you to do things that we are not able to. as you are certainly aware, nature created us in a way that we are, well, it is physically impossible for us to perform certain things. besides, as your lovely guide has already explained to you, there are some aspects of you that could not have gone unnoticed. we think you have great potential and your genes will turn out to be very useful in our venture.” he could have sworn that the dolphin smiled broadly although it was hard to tell if it was really the case since they had a permanent happy expression and a friendly look on their faces: “welcome aboard, my friend, and this is what we want you to do first.”
a glassy tank reminded him a wishing well in the towns he saw as a child, yet this time he surmised it would be strongly profane to drop a copper coin into it. once this wicked thought crossed his mind, his eyes met the visibly disgusted gaze of the supersaur. noticing out of the corner of his eye that the dolphins also lost some of their happy facial expression, he blushed a little with a rosy tint on his cheeks. he wished he could mask it with a twilight of an aureole, but he knew he had to tour a whole lot of back roads to earn even a tiniest one.
“brave man”, the soft voice continued, “through making the tanker truck your only home for so long, you brought a plenitude of comfort to the ones in thirst, from deserted villages up to these modern cities in the making. thanks to your valuable efforts, thousands of fellow citizens are now able to recognize many brands of our uncommonly excellent sauvignon blanc”. he felt a niggling doubt that this mammal dignitary was actually addressing his speech to him, and it seemed like this misapprehension could perversely dominate any further conversations. “therefore, we are indubitably sure that you are the man of genuine hard work, and that you know by rote all the intricacies of the surroundings and the whole land. as we all know, there is one more reason for the latter, which you are so modest about: these are your royal roots, our unsung hero”.
a familiar sensation of missing the point passed him nearby, but this time it didn’t stay long. an explanation of the mystery dazzled him intensely as he noticed the coat of arms embroidered on the departed driver’s jacket he still had on. he had seen this sign so many times before, carefully situated on each bottle that passed through his hands and his throat, which was now clasped tightly with a glacial grip of a demon of yore. what he just saw was the emblem of the Family. this mark could only be worn by members of the kin, a roughly tribal group that once ruled the land and controlled the treasures of sauvignon in an exceptionally despotic manner. natives in the village rumored that the Family seniors were direct descendants of the druids that inhabited the land before its lush vineyards turned into dust. everyone mentioned the horrendous curse... holy crap! they were the reason why he was even afraid of his own screen door cat swinging in the desert wind – and now he was carrying Family jewels! this burden made him immediately feel very different, a little odd at the outset but then marvelously resurgent... like the entire loathsome planet had been crafted again. he instantly became who they mistakenly thought he was, a totally different sort of person whose detailed concept of existence had just instigated to crystallize.
„each thousand years of this land’s history”, the younger female member of the Council began confidently as if she’d seen many departed eras in person, “is dedicated and dominated by one of the nature’s elements”. he quickly listed them in his mind: “fire, rain, boredom and lust... or is it?”. the dolphinette didn’t turn a hair, but she surely would if only she had just one. pulling a few peculiar poker-to-be faces, he bashfully let her continue. “yes, we fought fire and we won, as we are the creatures of water. but even a strongest ark wouldn’t endure sailing its course in a thousand-year hurricane – even if not drowned, it would inevitably be pushed aside”. the dolphin lady turned her head so her left eye was looking directly at him: “for centuries the Family of yours had been able to influence the natural phenomena, but your forebears took the blessed memory of secret recipes to their early graves. now we, the orphans in grief, want you to revive them by recalling or reinventing the mechanism behind their skills. for God’s sake, you are one of them! we know you’d been through hard, and your aristocratic look had decayed a little bit. for that reason, although we always put spiritual attributes over mundane visuals, we agreed to revive your appearance, which was proposed by one of us for your comfort... and hers too” – he could swear the finned woman made a wink, and the Blue-eyed blushed almost imperceptibly.
as he bent his body a little bit closer to his ravishing guide, he immediately felt like he was floating in the navy shade of a thousand needle cloud formed of her vivifying flavor, not imitable with any means of expression he had in command. his mind was liberated from the shackles of its underprivileged origin, and at this very moment he precisely knew how to counterfeit an innate pureness of his heart, not losing even a bit of the earthly delights. he had just been offered an enormous power in this odd society, and he was certain he could gain a full influence on it, gaining all possible benefits from that state of affairs... well, especially one particular affair.
“a-ha,” he thought. “so I stop the hurricane and I get the fame, the riches, and the girl. nice...” especially nice was the thought of getting the girl. he smiled broadly at the thought and his smile became even broader when he looked into those bluest eyes. he visualized himself in the glory of the savior of the universe, with all the perks that go with it, and, oh boy, pleasant the vision was.
“water,” the thought flashed in his head in big neon-blue letters. “water is the solution.” fight fire with fire, they say, but this time we will use one element to contain another. he grinned to himself. “oh no,” he heard in his ear “we cannot use our water.” the dolphin looked worried. “of course we won't,” he replied. “we'll use some other liquid,” he said and grinned even wider.
sauvignon, there is a whole lake of sauvignon outside. all they have to do is to convince the supersaur to start crying. and then they have to get the giant hoses ready. there is not much time left. the trembling of the ground and the darkness were signalling the imminent danger. now every second counted.
t’s not unusual at such moments for a ruffled memory to rewind and play its tricks using ancient images that one doesn’t believe he might even have recorded. this time, it flashed him back with a marvel he heard of in his early infancy, sitting in a rocking chair on a wooden veranda. that was this evening when the old grandpa, may the good Lord conserve his well-worn soul in peace, was holding his impenetrable tale about the potency of hills, with all his usual statements akin to that a lingerie is always purer on the other side. not even close to a boy child’s wavelength! but then, an old geezer unfolded a vision of a bizarre yet not impossible phenomenon, which many saw, but very few could ever talk about. the grandpa named it a bullet time.
sticking from the top of a red neck, a cowboy’s brain is rarely thought to be a complex machinery. once the cows come home, a self-respecting village man breathes a newly rectified spirit of joy into the night, then a foggy morning comes outstandingly quick with all its ennui, and he never realizes that it’s the next week already... until he visits his cowshed again. this damned speed-up of the clock, the grandpa said, has its very opposite. it may be a side effect of some spooky substance exuded by a drowning brain, or a pathetic counterfeit of what they call a balance of the nature. a bullet time! the time after one sees a bullet or two proudly marching out of the rifle’s barrel, and before they actually reach his widely shut eyes. we all know shotgun marriages happen! and it’s the bullet time when you see a whole life of yours... or when you can tell someone your mawkish story. “the time... it stretches like, you know, this rubber you can never wear off quick”, he heard an allegory from the past. good enough! whatever surrounded him at this moment, got outstandingly peaceful and quiet. he approached the supersaur’s pond and calmly started telling his story.
„There were times that I felt so very very lonely.” he started. And he paused. The memory of the emptiness and the overwhelming sadness gripped his heart very tightly. Supersaur looked at him with his big dark eyes that were like wells of wisdom and eternity. „I feel your pain,” he whispered. And that was enough. Huge tears started rolling down his cheeks. First it was trickles and dribbles, then streams and then rivers. And then there was flood.
The level of the lake started rising. A mosaic of waves covered the surface with unusual shapes and textures. The hoses filled with liquid and started hovering like snakes emerging into the sky. Their tips sparkled blue and dense plumes shot towards the darkness on the horizon. Supersaur cried and his tears were like a magic potion working its power on the dangerous element. The darkness stumbled, then halted, then curled up and whimpered and withdrew. And there was silence.
Everybody gasped. Even the dolphins, in their own way. The sky turned lavender and golden, the sun was hanging like a tangerine over the horizon. The world was glowing. Blue-eyed turned to him her radiant face. „You did it,” she laughed brightly. „You saved us.” „So, what now?” he asked. And everything turned into the question mark and awaited.