The Gypsy's Address
“Makin’!” sounded the Punc.
Of a sudden she awoke to trade one insanity for another: “Give me a countdown.”
“Ten! . . Nine! . . Eight! . .“
Makin’ filled her lungs with oxygen while adjusting her boundless haunches.
“Seven! . . Six! . . Five! . .”
She heard the call that gave her life meaning, which always occurred at launches.
“Four! . . Three! . . Two! . .”
The score by Danny Elfman, silent in suspense, prepared to break its gate.
“One!! . . “
“We’re off!” Makin’s face turned purple, but not prostrate was her spirit. At a thousand miles an hour, through the turbos you could hear it, as well as Elfman’s rousing symphony, inspired much by Mozart.
Strange looked out her mirror. But before she could finish, “What on earth is that?” Makin’ had blown past. Half a mile ahead of Penny she released a chute from the end of her trailer. Yet another mile it detached and blew to the side of the road. The Punctuator had bars at the end of his trailer which, at the push of a button, extended to each side, preventing anyone from passing. Many a truckload had he hijacked that way. But Makin’ was not so equipped. She would have to outdrive Penny to prevent him from passing while either slowing him down or running him off the road. Fields ceased to pass by at the rate of an acre per flick of a thumb. Makin’ brought Penny’s speed back down to two digits as they began to contend for road. The Punctuator quickly advanced on Strange. He wrapped his eyes in the goggles strapped around the crown of his cowboy hat, flipped a switch which lowered his windshields and grabbed an old Colt M16 from a rack behind his open sleeper curtain. But as he lowered its barrel over the front panel, aiming it through the open window, it didn’t seem enough:
“Ah, to hell with this number! It puts me to slumber! Give me Ma Deuce!” The Punc tossed the M16 back to his sleeper, then pulled a handle in front of the CB at the ceiling of his cab. A panel slid open above, lowering a Browning M2 .50 caliber which he now prepared.
“Penny!” Strange soon walkied. “I see tracers! He’s got a machine gun!”
“Great,” Penny told himself, playing fender bender with Makin’, now but eighty miles an hour, to see which one, he or Makin’, the road would eject. “Can we just go home, dock this nonsense at some port, take up some gentle sport that doesn’t need a rolling fort? I like the notion of billiards, chess and naps in between. On my porch from which I purvey all that‘s mine to be seen.”
“Damn!” Makin’ cursed to the Punc. “We’re coming to a town!”
“Let’s pretend we’re behaved and slow this pig chase down.” After which his Browning disappeared into the ceiling and the windshields slid back up.
As they rolled into town, Makin’ at the front door, the Punc at the back, any guilt between the four looked all innocence in fact. But for the rear of Something’s trailer riddled with bullet holes, so blameless they appeared it was an Oscar act.
When Makin’ slowed for a stoplight Penny took a right as she went straight ahead. Which she saw, then over the CB said, “You think to play with us a game of hide n’ seek? You’re so dead in my crystal ball that it makes me laugh to peek.” After which she took a right the next street up to go around the block and come out behind the Punc.
“It’s time to put this hunt to an end,” the midget told himself. Once all four were out of town his windshield slid back down. Unsnapping a latch, the Punc flipped away the passenger seat to reveal a steel tripod firmly bolted to the floor. To which he fixed a reinforced bar bridging the space between the seats. He then grabbed an AK-47 submachine gun with an under-barrel M203 grenade launcher, removed its clip, attached it to the bar and loaded a 40 mm grenade from a low metal box behind the tripod. Buttons on the custom console between the seats enabled him to easily raise and swing the apparatus as he pleased.
“Pull up beside me, Strange,” Penny talkied as he took a wide gravel road forking to the left. “We’ll lose ‘em in dust.”
The pair, side by side, went through the gears, ‘til at ninety miles an hour, nearly touching mirrors, the ears of steers in Colorado would catch particles of the cloud they made. The Punc had no choice but back off as Makin’ pulled up beside him. They, too, produced so great a cloud of dirt that hanging laundry was four days put to hurt. The gain was two miles ahead for Strange and Penny’s endeavor. But gravel roads, much as wish, don’t go on forever. It soon became a narrow two-lane highway, on which they increased their speed to two telephone poles per second, rendered nigh invisible in passing. Unfortunately, far as the eye could see the road was straight. The Punc, loaded with nigh air, could catch up with Penny at nearly forty tons.
“We’ve got a good lead, Penny. But that won’t last long on this road,” Strange noted, now looking at the rear of Penny’s trailer half a football field ahead.
BOOM! Penny was beyond where it exploded. But Something saw the blast into a hill before she passed just a hundred feet to her right.
“Penny! We need a hole! I don’t know what he’s firing but it’s meant more for tanks than trucks!”
Penny could see the cloud of the burst in his passenger mirror. It wasn’t the danger itself which woke him. That, for him and Strange, was normal. But he recognized of a sudden that he’d been a greater hindrance than help. It was she who’d not leave he, putting the twist to his own intention. He squinted for a thoughtful moment, then reached over and rolled down the passenger window. . . Ah, yes! A loud, powerful, bristling wind! Penny brushes our feathered breast, you and I, with his fingers. Then he says, much more quietly than the force rushing past, “Kia, it would be good if you could lead us to a hole. Strange is sticking with us whatever the curse, which makes her troubles multiply worse. Debit me, if you would, another toll.”
It’s a rush, for a falcon, to fly out a window at this speed. But Penny thinks we can do anything. So we won’t disappoint him. Are you ready? . . We’re off. . . Easy, yes? . . Think you’re scared now? Just wait. . . Trust me. What else are you going to do? . . Oh, holes are everywhere, drifting in and out of earth, suspended in the air. Finding one to drive a truck through, though, much less a pair, can take a little care. We’ll fly ahead some so Strange and Penny can follow. . . Yes, our speed even for a peregrine, the fastest bird on earth, isn’t meant. But we’re the Admiral, our feathers Genius-sent. . . We’re going to take this fork in the road up here to the left. . . To tell you how I know would be like reading Einstein to a three year-old. Just enjoy the ride. You’re safer than Penny a hundred feet behind, thirty feet below. . .
As Penny and Strange follow us around the bend another grenade shoots before Something’s windshield, barely missing the rear of Penny’s trailer before exploding into an embankment a hundred yards off. At the top of a slope Penny could see that the highway ended at a T about two miles distant. The Punctuator saw the same over the rhino horn ornament on his hood as he came to the top half a mile behind Strange. He brought out binoculars to view the stop sign at the intersection below. Straight beyond the T was a dirt road that drew to a huge ConAgra silo a hundred feet ahead.
The Punc to Makin’ said, “The brake check comin’ up will change their attitude.”
“I’ll make her write a hundred times ‘Stealing pigs is rude’. Then feed her to the doves until she’s good and cooed,” Makin’ anticipated as to Strange.
“You’re thoughts have often so great worth, why not keep them, ‘til to an heir give birth?” Which notion to Makin’ had a cloudy glow.
As Kia neared the stop sign he didn’t slow. He dipped to three yards above the earth, aiming directly at the silo. There was a time when Penny thought a rhyme was needed to enter a hole, the words scribbled to help him comprehend. ‘Til he realized that by merely speaking a phrase he could the same apprehend. ‘Til he realized that Mind was in and out, so that by merely thinking he could achieve the same end. ‘Till he realized that all he had to do was do it. His prior methods appeared phenomenally profound, little jewels in such as with which Genius is crowned. Yet, like mathematics which both astound and confound in the finding of whatever’s to be found, one doesn’t need to know a square from circle round to make use of that to which one is bound.
“Kia’s dove to four feet above the ground” Penny shouted to Strange. “We’ve got a hole!”
Even if you’re used to it, speeding directly at a grain silo a hundred feet afore at a hundred miles an hour is entertainment to the core. Only Kia knew that the hole existed ten feet before. It gave even the Punc a rise from his higher elevation to see them bore past the stop sign, fly across the highway and up the dirt road with no possibility of stopping before they struck the great white grain elevator. He was speechless, ‘til Strange and Penny disappeared.
“Makin’! They do holes! Find it!”
As Makin’ Wind pulled ahead of the Punctuator she donned a device consisting of an orange ball cap with three scopes clipped to its bill and two round lenses which she snapped down before her eyes. Over this she slipped a band at both ends of which were attached a black cone eight inches in length, four inches at the open end. Fitting like stereo headphones, they looked ridiculous. The technology, though secret be, was fifty years old. Adjusting some little knobs, Makin’ locked onto the hole, then fingered a dial for good audio reception. It may surprise that high technology could be a tool to brains so thick. But, judging by the way things in the world at present tick, it’s no wonder it’s taken man so many years to get this far, every hard inch forward, three back by some mar.
“It’s fairly stable in front of that silo! . . Brake check! Damned farmer takin’ up both lanes!”
As Makin’ was speaking a giant John Deere columbine pulled onto the highway, causing her and the Punc to slow down behind. All they could do was honk their horns, though not long that civil. How frustrated Makin’ got I’ll leave you to imagine: a columbine overturned in a ditch, become worthless, with a farmer who could wish that his mother’d been birthless. As to all Punc and Makin’ did, you’re the drafter. But be reminded it’s three pig thieves in a hole that their after.
With a POOF! their exit and FOOP! their entrance, Old Penny and Strange were now floating in an absence of which modern science can make little sense. Not a word did either so much as mumble. Such as from a mouth might tumble needed great care to not bumble. For such defined the world into which one would enter from the secret absolute to which all worlds adhered without clinging. That is, in movement relative. Alias began to shake as some dogs do when lightning and thunder is imminent. She jumped back to Something’s sleeper and crawled beneath the bunk in utter respect of what she knew not. Even for Cuddly the word was not even mum, knowing that to lend counsel now would be dumber than dumb. They had arrived to where the worlds were divided from one another, yet where all multiplied into One. I say “where,” for they were nowhere yet everywhere, amidst a vast unconsciousness consisting of the variables of all possible dreams, yet center, boundless, of consciousness. Here was dark so black it was light. And light so white it was hidden from sight. Here what was sooner could well come later. Here was being and being’s traitor. Naught was there to see, so pristine its Genius. Yet possibility of every combination ingenious. Where idea tricked into matter for appearance’s gloss. Yet matter become thought at neither’s loss. The intersource for confusion and chaos in masquerade. Yet where justice and death exactly measured aid. Where Intelligence Meaning Itself did lend. Truths more solid than steel and yet truths one could bend. A supreme ocean vast, consequence its waters. At once the not yet done instrumental to plotters. Where languages silent, so deafening, infinitely echoed their strings in tremulous streams what all creatures sing. Amidst Entity implicitly unalone. Yet a Nothingness too great to be shown. But in the universes of individual minds joined, yet not. And the countless cosmos between which Strange and Penny were caught.
It was now up to Penny to define a world. Why? Let’s leave to poets to write paeans to his praise, and to choirs to sing thanks for his ways. To explain would take more than you’ve left for days. He’s the hero, for one, which succinctly puts “why” in view. Yet I’ll note he has the faith, which brings reasons to two. Three, someone must, because this book’s overdue. So I opened to him where he knocked with small clue. As for the toll, that’s his interpretation, which true shall remain ‘til communication powers other information. At present, Penny pays the reciprocation of one year of life to leave one world and define another. Thinking some balance he shook, he nobly forsook taking his gift for granted, or so he had come to think in the process of gaining it. He had no notion that Makin’ had the crude technology to do holes, much less track his echo in pursuit, much less at no price beyond equipment stolen from a top secret scientific laboratory. As for Strange, she went along for the ride, a little as you will with me once we fly into the world Penny calls, now keying the mike to his CB so Something could repeat his words:
“Let’s have a world where humans are rabbits, because rabbits are at least friendly!”
Something frowned, shrugged her shoulders and iterated exactly, “Let’s have a world where humans are rabbits, because rabbits are at least friendly!”
Eventually a mist began to appear, as if they were driving through a cloud of diffusing sunlight. Dark objects began to take shape, gradually forming into the four dimensions as humans know them. Strange could make out houses to either side of the freeway only after she and Penny did some serious braking. They entered this world at the same speed that they left the last. But the tanker they found themselves behind was moving at an easy speed.
“Brake check!” Penny shouted via CB, slowing down to the tanker’s speed only ten feet behind it. Strange instantly shifted down likewise, both uttering, “Damn!”
“I need a truck stop and a shot of gin,” Something CB’d upon catching her breath, at which moment she noted the microphone in a hairy paw for a hand. Alias barked as she sniffed Something up and down. She removed one of her Georgia boots which no longer fit: “Penny!” She lowered a mirror on the visor before her: “Penny!”
Old Penny looked in his visor mirror and smiled. “I’m not sure if I’m tame or wild,” said he to himself, “but I’m sure feeling friendly this way!” He answered Strange: “At your service! Glad to obey what you say! I don’t know where we are but it’s sure a rich day!”
Strange had been through several holes with Penny before. She calmed relatively quickly upon the initial shock, following him as he accelerated around the slow-moving tanker. It was no odd coincidence that one’s double be in the area where one emerged from a hole. Something’s twin version of herself happened to be driving the tanker, wearing an old cowboy hat much like hers. Strange smiled and waved as she passed. Her alter ego, though, knowing nothing about multiple universes, was not a little taken aback to see herself passing herself along the road.
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