He Thought of Pyramids In The Ocean
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“Why’d you think the core was made of iron?”
Henderson thought about all the things he’d been told about the Earth and why its belly was so hot in the middle.
Card let out a thwoo of smoke and with two dirtied fingers pinched a spec of tobacco from his lip.
“We smash everything up and push it into the middle. Bones too. It all goes in. Like gasoline.”
Henderson didn’t understand.
He prayed this was a dream.
God, what was this?
Card took another drag, pulled the cigarette from his lips, and in one very smooth motion extended his arm to the horizon, “How do you think we keep this shit running?”
Henderson squinted and looked at all of the shit that was running.
He looked at Card’s cigarette smoking and wondered if the cars sizzled when they went in. He pictured an expanse, ancient humans – tree rings, melting red, squirting black.
He thought of pyramids in the ocean.
He thought about how his cat Crayon was missing. Was Crayon in the middle of the Earth too?
“Don’t blank on me now like some little blank.” Card would have usually added “you blank” at the end of that one but didn’t on account of the kid having enough to mash on for one day.
Card dragged and flicked ash.
Henderson thought of basil growing on the Moon. He watched atmosphere gather around its leaves and lift up into the air, separated from the Moon and The Space Beyond the Moon by some perfect, invisible Saran Wrap.
He thought about scientists celebrating the Space Crane. Its first mission was to bring an asteroid into Mars’s orbit. Just pull it over, get it stuck in Mars’s whole thing.
He thought about how on the third day (or was it the fourth?) the Sun separated the darkness and light. He saw an orbiting star plucked and planted. He saw the Space Crane adjusting the Sun.
God, how much bigger did this go? How much shit were they pretending to have just discovered?
Card waved a cigaretted hand, “Slow down, man!” The smoke spread faster than it would have if Card had just kept his damn arm still.
Henderson asked if Card could just chill his body for one second with all that cigarette waving.
He felt very scared and suddenly exhausted.
He thought of pyramids in the ocean.
Henderson saw them coated in the stuff TV dinners were wrapped in. (Cellophane?) He wondered why they never talk about that part. (Cellophane?)
Somewhere in time a translucent peach sheath surrounded a concrete wheel. It flopped off like a dirty bandage after 3,000 rains and left behind something more akin to cavemen.
Henderson thumbed a bolt on the truck bed.
All this stuff was so old.
He thought again of basil on the moon. Christ. His face burned.
“Yeah, that’s what they did here at first.” Card told Henderson. “Once we had plants and air and water and shit, people were introduced.” He smoked a long time. Henderson hated it.
What Henderson wished Card would tell him instead was why they’d go about hiding it all, why not just let everyone in on it? He thought it might have something to do with the way knowing made his hand twitch. (What was that even about?)
He looked at Card.
“I’m sorry, kid. I didn’t know your mom was still pretending to be Santa Claus.”
Henderson started to talk back but remembered Card was joking. God, all this knowing made him touchy.
The radio advertised allergy medication. Yeah, that sounded good. He’d take two and fuzz his head a little. Henderson slid off the tailgate, “Gonna get. Need anything?”
Card tossed a gold Sacajawea at Henderson, “Some chips.”
Sacajaweas were basically pocket lint: totally worthless and always at the bottom of the wash. Card saved a bunch after they went out of circulation, mainly just to give to people as a joke – Monopoly money. Henderson hated this about as much as he hated Card’s smoking.
He wondered why now, of all times, Card had to make him pay for his stupid chips. He grabbed his jacket from the cab. God, what was this place?
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Tiffanie Lanmon was almost born on the Houston freeway on a Tuesday afternoon in 1986. Her parents made it to the hospital and now she lives in Austin, TX where she works as a musician and soundtrack composer. Her most recent work may be heard in the films “Leaves on Trees” and “Broken Gardenias”. She also writes and performs with bands Mirror Travel and Boy Friend.
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