Changes, Part 8

Continued from previous weeks…

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Everyone relaxes for a moment as they listen to the heavy footsteps recede farther into the forest.

Mona:  “Did you at least make whatever that was go away, Gary?”

Gary:  “No, not even that.  Again, I can’t do any of this taking-something-different-out-of-infinity stuff now that I’m not high anymore.  But maybe, just maybe, if we all believe in it together…kind of like believing Tinker Bell can fly.”

Ritchie:  “Again, Gary, tell us what to do!”

Even the wino draws closer to Gary.

Gary:  “First you’ve all got to understand…”

The wino’s hands shake violently as he reaches for his bottle.  Mona spreads her hands out, palms up, looking a question.  Ritchie throws his hands up, rolling his eyes skyward.

Gary:  “Look at the sky…all of you.”

They do.

Gary:  “What color is it?”

The wino, looking confused, scratches his head.  Mona, looking helpful, and Ritchie, looking murderous, both say, “Blue.”

Gary:  “Who says?”

They all look confused.

Gary:  “Suffice it to say there’s a nice factual explanation.  Now tell me what you see hanging over this forest.”

An innocent, hopeful smile blooms on all three faces as they look in wonder and speak as one:  “Smog!”

The wino, suddenly sober, starts to laugh.

Gary:  “Nice factual explanation for that, too.  Smog is caused by cars…except they haven’t been invented yet.”

Steady now, the wino stops laughing, frowns and holds up a finger.  “I remember reading once how the smog in L.A. is actually from natural sources…”

Gary claps a hand over the wino’s mouth, grabs the bottle he didn’t get to drink from before, and then pours wine into the wino’s mouth so fast that he almost chokes.

The wino frowns for a moment, but then blinks, sways a bit, and rejoins Mona and Ritchie in looking hopeful.

Gary:  “Reality is in the eye of the beholder.  How else could we see both a forest from prehistory and the smog from our own time?  It’s only because we’ve all somehow agreed that both are here.”

They all look confused again.

Gary:  “Go back to why the sky is blue.  The only reason we think the sky is blue is because our mommies told us the sky is blue, and their mommies told them the sky is blue.”

Mona perks up.  “And if we ever colored the sky a different color with our crayons, someone eventually corrected us.”

Gary:  “Now, all of you, listen to me very carefully:  The sky is orange.”

To be continued next week…

Ink Splatters 3

 

Changes, Part 7

Continued from previous weeks…

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Ritchie glares at Gary.  “White Boy?  ‘New York intellectual’?  Genius who just took us into prehistory?  Now that you’re no longer high on that ‘better than acid’ you can’t get us back to 1968?  You so damn useless you’ve even got Mona kicking tree trunks when what we’d really like to kick is you!”

Mona hugs the tree she just kicked, looks sheepishly at the uninterrupted forest surrounding them, and starts to cry.

The wino stumbles to Mona’s side, struggles to regain his balance, and clumsily strokes her back.  Then he turns to Gary.  “Tell us what we all have to understand to get back, Gary.”

Ritchie smirks and throws his hands up.

Gary glares at Ritchie.  “You got any better ideas?”

Ritchie starts to speak but then stops, several times.  Then, like Mona, he looks at the forest.

There’s a moment of silence.  Then, deep in the forest, there’s the sound of heavy footfalls.

Wino:  “Gary, how about…the smaller monster?”

Mona:  “No, forget monsters, Gary!  The butterfly!  The butterfly like you did before!”

Gary:  “I didn’t do this!  I don’t even know what’s out there.  I can’t do any of this taking-something-different-out-of-infinity shit now that I’m no longer high.  Unless…  Maybe…”

There are more footfalls, getting much closer now.  Branches are snapping like twigs.

Everyone steps back.

Ritchie’s looking back and forth between the approaching footsteps and Gary.

The footsteps suddenly change direction and recede into the distance.

Ritchie grabs Gary.  “Tell us what we all have to understand to get back!”

To be continued next week…

Ink Splatters 3

Changes, Part 6

Continued from previous weeks…

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Ritchie shakes the wino off.  “You one fay idiot!”  Ritchie storms off, kicking tree trunks again.

Gary and Mona are still seated between the trees.  He’s buried his face in his knees; she’s still staring at the ground vacantly.

Ritchie storms back, gives Gary and Mona a look of disgust, and shoves the wino’s chest.  “We stuck out here in prehistory, and you gots to be goin’ on ’bout that white Reverend?  He died saving my life so long ago that’s almost prehistory.”

The wino struggles to steady himself from Ritchie’s shove.  “That car accident?  It was terrible.”

Ritchie:  “What all that wine has done to your brains is terrible!”  He kneels next to Mona.  “How we gonna get outta’ here, Mona?”

Mona fights back a sob.  “Gary’s not high anymore.  We can’t.”

Ritchie leans over to smack Gary’s back.  “You one useless white boy!”

Gary, jolted forward, lifts his head.  “Maybe…”

Ritchie and Mona each grab one of Gary’s arms and ask in unison:  “Maybe?”

Gary:  “If all of us together…”

Ritchie and Mona:  “What?”

Gary:  “But you’ve all got to understand.”

Ritchie rolls his eyes.

Mona:  “Understand what?”

Gary:  “See that tree over there?”

Mona:  “Yeah?”

Ritchie smirks.  “Which one?”

Gary:  “Do you want to know why there’s a tree over there?”

Ritchie:  “No.”

Mona:  “Yes.”

Gary:  “Because we’ve closed our minds to all the other things that could be there instead of that tree.”

Ritchie groans and kicks the tree.

Mona:  “I don’t understand.”

Gary:  “When I was high, first I saw all the things I knew of that could possibly occupy the space occupied by our beach in 1968.”

Ritchie:  “Cut the jive, New York intellectual!  Just get us back to 1968!”

Gary springs to his feet, glaring at Ritchie.  “Whaddaya want me to do?  Hail a cab?”  Anger gone, Gary continues to Mona, who’s also on her feet now.  “Then I started seeing all the things I didn’t know of that could possibly occupy that space instead of our beach.”

Ritchie’s voice drips sarcasm.  “You so smart you can see shit that doesn’t exist, and you don’t know about?”

Gary shrugs.  “I don’t know quite how I did it, but I was seeing everything.  There were objects, shapes, colors I could never imagine or describe.  Everything that could possibly exist.  In other words, I was seeing…infinity.”

Ritchie’s voice is even more sarcastic.  “And seeing…infinity…will get us back to our beach in 1968?”

Mona:  “Patience, Ritchie!  Gary got us here; he’s our only hope for getting back.  Go on, Gary.  Tell us more.”

Gary:  “Reality equals infinity minus one.  Or…really…reality is the one you choose to take away from infinity.  All you have to do to change reality is accept the whole infinity of things that could possibly occupy the same space and pick a different one.”

All the rest of them groan.  Even the wino.  Mona kicks a tree.

To be continued next week…

Ink Splatters 3

Changes, Part 5

Continued from previous weeks…

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Stubborn, Gary stifles another sob and squeezes his eyes shut again.  “The present!”  But when he opens his eyes the forest is still there.  He buries his face in his hands.

Even Mona’s shoulders sag.  She slumps to the ground.

Gary starts to laugh hysterically.

Ritchie throws his hands up.  “Hey!  We in a past so long ago that even the coastline’s in a different place, and you no longer high on that ‘better than acid’ shit that got us here?  Nuthin’ funny ’bout that, White Boy!”  Ritchie looks around at the others, trying to conceal it, but he’s starting to shake.  He just barely stops himself from reaching for Mona.

Staring at the ground and rocking herself, Mona doesn’t see when both Gary and Ritchie look at her expectantly.

Instead the wino puts a hand on Ritchie’s shoulder.  “You look like the night Mona coaxed you into telling her about the Rev…Rev…”  Slurring and struggling with the word, the wino trails off for a moment.  “Rev…’rend.”

Ritchie shakes the wino’s hand off his shoulder.  “You always around to listen in?”

The wino’s thrown off balance, then stumbles around, rambling absently.  “Rev…er…end died saving your life, Ritchie,” he says, squinting at the tree he’s talking to instead of Ritchie.

Ritchie smirks at him.  “What you goin’ on about now?”

Still confused, the wino turns toward the sound of Ritchie’s voice but seems to be having trouble locating him.  “Up in…”  The wino wrinkles his brow.  “No, that’s not it,” he tells another tree.  “No.  The town was Ukiah.  That…rev’rend’s church had a funny name…”

Ritchie rolls his eyes, then stamps his foot.  “Why you still goin’ on about my past…which is now the future?  How’s that going to get us back to 1968?”

“Funny name,” muses the wino.  “People’s Shrine or Temple or something.”

Ritchie:  “Who cares?”

Wino:  “One of those weird religions black people get suckered into by white people.”  Suddenly focused, the wino manages to locate Ritchie, grabbing his arm and spinning him around.  “Is that what bothered you so much, Ritchie?  That some white Reverend gave his own life by jumping in front of a car to save you?”

To be continued next week…

Ink Splatters 3