Sunday, 10 October 2010

Sand, tears and melodrama

Sand blowing on the Kelso Dunes, California.Some sand. Image via WikipediaThe desert stretched out in front of me like a big desert, spreading from horizon to horizon like Lawrence of Arabia. Or a big desert. Sand, filling the area like a bathtub fills with sand, stretched across this aforementioned area. I'd wandered from the road. Where I was going, we didn't need roads.
 Still, I'd noticed some tracks heading off into the distance about 3 hours ago. Having no sense of direction, nor natural compass, I decided to follow them, falling step after step into pace with the ghost of my predecessor. As I walked, I began to study the tracks. They were... strange, to say the least. Long, sideways strokes that I'd at first taken to be snake, and also large paw-claw prints. You know, feet shaped like claws, but more padded and cuddly? But still not quite paws. Those kind of footsteps, intermixed.

So that was 3 hours ago. Now, after that time, I noticed something in the distance. A spec at first, as all things are when first conceived, growing into a blob of uncertainty as I approached. I drew nearer, still unable to understand the scene ahead. If I had know what tragedy lay in front of me, on that lukewarm desert, I would probably have turned back. Or maybe not - as I say, I have no sense of direction.

 The scene unfolded in front of me like a pop-up book of tragic proportions. This wasn't one for the kids, unless of course, you hate your kids. Two figures were ahead of me, animals flat in bestial movements. The Octopus, long and red and squidgy, lay prone on the ground. His eyes were glazed like solid ice, a substance he would surely have greeted gladly some time ago. His stare looked upwards, asking the Gods themselves, "why?".
 I looked into the eyes of his companion, and saw that no reassuring answer was forthcoming from the heartless azure that stretched above us. These eyes were fluid, melted ice that filled the wells and traced a path down the face of the Armadillo. She looked up to me, her tears still spilling and pooling on her companion's otherwise drenchless body.
 "What happened?" I asked.
She looked at me, her eyes -as I have mentioned - filled to the brim.
 "My parents told me it would never work. They were old fashioned like that."
 I nodded. I didn't know what was going on here, but this didn't seem the time to bring that up. Best just to let her talk.
 " 'Marry one of THEM?', they said. Back home, they don't like us inbreedin' with Octopus."
 I nodded. It was all I could really do.
 "So we runs off, Olly and me. Heads for America, got an aunt out there. Of course, the desert ain't for Olly. But he didn't say, never did like to complain. And now look at him! Look at him!"
 I looked at the dead Octopus. Secretly, I was impressed he'd made it this far. Resisting the temptation to fry him, I patted the Armadillo on the back and began to walk on.

The desert goes on for miles. Otherwise, it would just be a sandpit of a little beach without any water. Up high, we all look like ants. Desert ants. From the clouds, the Gods watch as one ant walks on. Behind him, there's a figure - could be two ants, could just be one really fat ant. After a while, a pool of salty tears forms. Eventually, a lake spreads out and drowns the two ants. The years go on, and life begins anew, trees spout by the lake, grass grows. Eventually, helicopter, pilot blinded by a reflection from the lake's surface, crashes into the pool. The oil leaks out, destroying the Oasis. But the Gods watch on, impassive. All live has it's place, and what can an ant do but play his role?

 Probably not run off with a Octopus into the fucking desert, I suppose.
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