By Greg Roensch
I’m steering a speedboat across the desert.
Signs warning about flash floods are everywhere. Alternating with signs pointing the way to Giant Rock. I learned about Giant Rock from the woman selling knickknacks at the Integratron sound bath gift shop. “It’s the largest freestanding boulder in the world,” she explained. “It’s seven stories tall.”
So, I’m not all that surprised when I arrive at Giant Rock to find a glass and steel and concrete building on the face of the massive granite boulder. Seven floors of office spaces. Cubicle after cubicle. With all the computers humming – and espresso machines, too.
But where are the workers, I wonder? Where are all the people and how horrific is their commute? Two quails stroll through my legs, followed by eight quail babies the size of my thumbs. And when I look closer, I see that they really are thumbs.
I follow the thumbs for a few steps, but my attention is drawn to another speedboat racing across the sand. It roars like my old Triumph motorcycle. And it spits sand and small critters into the air. Squirrels and bunnies. Lizards and hummingbirds. They all giggle, and I’m relieved to see them land on their feet before scurrying off or flying away. Their giggling tickles my ears.
The woman from the Integratron gift shop waves from the backseat of the speedboat. She’s the one who told me to come here in the first place. Her nametag says “Venus,” and she resembles Marilyn Monroe in “Some Like It Hot.” I wonder if I’m dressed in drag. I reach up to feel if I’m wearing earrings (I’m not); I also check to see if my hands still have thumbs (they do).
Venus yells something from the speedboat, only it isn’t Venus any longer but a bobcat urging me to find higher ground. “The rain is coming,” shouts the bobcat. Just then a series of lightning strikes dance across the desert sky. Thunder cracks. “Move to higher ground,” the bobcat shouts again.
I’m no longer standing in the sand or captaining a speedboat across the desert. Now I’m bouncing on a pogo stick, and with each bounce I find myself peering into the Giant Rock office building, with each floor representing a different phase of my life.
First floor: Infancy. Diapers. Pacifiers. And a Casper the Friendly Ghost blanket.
Second floor: Adolescence. Catholic schoolboy uniform. Baseball practice. And getting busted for shoplifting candy at the Ben Franklin Five & Ten.
Third floor: Teenage years. Marijuana, mescal, and mushrooms. Tripping over a dead body on a moonless night in Golden Gate Park. High school hair.
“Was that really my hair?” I ask.
“Yes,” replies the bobcat, “but hurry up… you don’t have much time.”
I bounce up to the fourth, fifth, and sixth floors, glancing at each phase of my life, while heeding the bobcat’s warning to move faster.
Then I hear a roar in the distance before glimpsing a tidal wave coming my way.
“Oh, God,” I cry. “Please help me.”
Only it isn’t God who answers my prayer. It’s Charlton Heston as Moses in “The Ten Commandments” who raises his staff and parts the water just far enough for me to pogo up to the seventh and top floor, where I come upon myself on my deathbed.
Venus is there. Chuck Heston, the bobcat, and the quails are there, too.
Everyone is crying, bawling their eyes out and lamenting that I can’t be saved.
“Don’t worry,” I tell them, though no one hears me. My words are drowned out by the music of the spheres being played on crystal bowls by a quintet of hyper-sentient aliens who chant my name and assure me everything will be fine.
* * *
Greg Roensch writes flash fiction and poetry, makes short poetry-films, and writes and records original songs. His writing has appeared in Dream Noir, 365 Tomorrows, Defiant Scribe, Potato Soup Journal, and elsewhere. His poetry-films have been official selections at the Holly Weird Film Festival, the Absurd Art House Film Festival, the Socially Relevant Film Festival, and elsewhere.