FLAT LAKE OF PARAGON
By Colin James
I'm hired to drive. I don't advertise. Three people
are sitting with me in The Nondescript. I say nothing,
gaze straight ahead. One of the passengers in the
back seat may be covered by a synthetic cloth, or
affecting a look. My rear-view is tinted. I wait for directions.
The weather is hot. I leave the AC off.
" West on 95, 58 miles."
The voice is guttural or foreign. I didn't notice.
I have plenty of gas. I head west.
The night will cool us down. The land is just desert.
Some sounds are coming from the back seat.
Weird sounds, like a bird gasping for air. I have never
heard that sound. I can only imagine.
I roll my window down. It's easy not to talk.
The Nondescript sails through the cooling air.
"Left at the next tree!" I don't see any trees.
There is a dirt road so I take that.
The surface is remarkably smooth.
I'm still thinking about the tree.
I don't discuss fees. It's known I get a thousand, cash
soon as you sit in The Nondescript.
We come to a fence. A big fence.
This is not a cattle fence. Some acquaintances tell me
I'm lacking the sense of touch. I guess they're mistaken.
I feel fine. My front seat passenger hits some numbers
on his cell phone and a gate in the fence opens.
I am tempted to throw The Nondescript into reverse,
drive it sideways up some rocks, flipping it, fighting
these bastards off. But who am I kidding, I drive straight ahead.
We come to a cement bunker. There is a jeep parked at an angle.
I don't suppose that's significant.
They all get out. I am content to stare into space.
The night isn't particularly loud. I don't hear coyotes,
just the beginnings of a hum.
There is a slight vibration in The Nondescript.
I get out and walk around the bunker. It is several feet above ground.
Steps lead down to an imposing door. I believe in dichotomy.
Nature works because there is order.
The hum is getting louder. My ears hurt.
I feel compelled to inform my passengers that I can't continue.
This will be the first. I walk down the bunker steps.
I lean on the door. It opens.
There are the men standing over an animal.
Eyes and limbs, torso vulgar.
They are trying to encourage it to assemble something.
The animal has the ability to move components without touch.
They are floating. I begin to feel stressed. I puke.
I stagger back up the steps to The nondescript.
There is something sitting in passenger seat.
I say nothing. I'm hired to drive. I don't advertise.
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FLAT LAKE OF PARAGON
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