When I woke up, Martialla was already up scanning the area with the binoculars. I’m not sure I’ve seen her sleep more than an hour or two since we “arrived” here in the future-present. But she must be sleeping, right? Without the use of powerful stimulants no one can go without sleep, can they? I’ve heard people say that Leonardo Da Vinci and Tesla and other so-called geniuses certain kinds of people like to swoon over only slept two hours a day, but that’s bullshit right? Physiologically that can’t be possible, can it? If the human body only needs a nap every two hours, what the hell are we doing sleeping all the time?
Remember those old cereal commercials where they would say their bowl of sugar was “part of a complete breakfast” and they’d show the bowl of cereal along with a “complete breakfast” of more food than anyone would ever eat in one sitting? There’d be a soft-boiled egg, and a huge tray of blueberries, and some scones with marmalade, and a grapefruit, and some orange juice, and some tea, and berries with cream, and an apple, and a pear, and a banana, and a short stack of pancakes, and some toast, and a cup of coffee, and a glass of milk, and some hash browns, and some eggs over easy, and some strips of bacon, and some sausage, and another stack of pancakes, and some toast with eggs, and a crock of honey, and a loaf of bread, and some rolls, and a vat of butter, and some scrambled eggs, and some link sausage, and orange slices, and a jar of some kind of grain, and some cream?
I would eat all of that right now and feel just fine. Instead my complete breakfast is a roasted beetle the size of a fist that looks like it’s going to come alive and attack my face, wrapped in a dirty piece of a tarp and a bottle of tepid cloudy water. I don’t even want to know what’s going on in my bowel right now. It’s like world war three in there. Nausea, weakness, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, dizziness, that’s my complete breakfast now. You know what the weirdest thing is? I have an insane craving for salt. I want to take a shaker of salt and just pour it into my mouth.
I yawned and almost threw up from the bile that came up “Did Magic Slim do Raw Magic or was that Magic Sam? I can’t remember.”
Martialla continued looking at whatever she was looking like, being very rude “The porn?”
I rolled my eyes “Har-har, you really turned it around on me there.”
“I have no idea, I’m ever so slightly less into Chicago Blues than you are you, Ela.” She pointed “You see that? I think that’s where the complex is where the doctor hides. See those piles of humped dirt? I’d bet you dollars to doughnuts those are collapsed underground passages.”
I yawned again, this time without almost puking “I’ll give you all the dollars for one doughnut. One of those jelly filled ones.” She came over to hand me the binoculars and I waved her away “I believe you. Why would anyone build an underground facility here? Was there an army base here?”
She pointed again “I don’t know, but you see the way the ground ripples outward there? I bet you that’s a fucking missile strike. Someone tried to blow this place up.”
“Wonderful. Well since the fields are being tended by tiny bee children instead of army men, maybe they succeeded.”
She pursed her lips “I’m wondering if we should try and sneak in there. I see a couple spots, what do they call them, defiles, where it looks like maybe we can go straight through into the tunnels. Assuming there’s still any tunnels down there.”
“That sounds like a terrible idea. Why don’t we see what Captain Stabby Arm has to say before we go on a suicide tunnel crawl?”
Martialla frowned “He’s probably gathering a kill squad to come eliminate us right now.”
On cue, we saw a cloud of dust kicking up on one of the trails between fields. We didn’t see where it started so maybe it did come out from under the ground. It was a good ten minutes of slow zig-zagging around fields before they came into view. Captain Stabby was there on his child-sized minibike and joining him on honor guard was another similar sized fellow with a mask on riding a horse. That brought up a little catch in my throat. I gave it up when I moved out West, but back home I used to ride horses all the time. I love horses. It’s a childhood thing I never outgrew. I dated a guy for a year for no other reason than he had horses on his ranch. Seeing something that I Iove, something familiar, it hit me harder than I thought it would.
Trailing them a little ways was a ramshackle (I say ramshackle 1,000,000% more now than I did in the old world) contraption that looked like two motorcycles lashed together to make the world’s shittiest car – and there are a lot of shitty cars in the running for that title these days. Driving that pile of spare parts was a guy that looked way too much like the leechman from the X-Files, pale beyond the pale, hairless, and with a massive round monster-mouth. In the “back” were two more leechmen and a figure in one of those suits like the doctors wore in Outbreak.
They came to a stop a few yards away, Stabby and the Horseman keeping an eye on us while the leech trio helped the hazmat figure down off the ugly motor-cycle car. Hazmat stumbled a little as they touched the ground, like a sailor coming back into land after a long time out. I saw through the faceplate/mask thing that it was an Indian woman. Like a normal Indian woman from our time I mean. I was so amazed that I couldn’t say anything, I just stood there mouth agape like a dork at a strip club for the first time. Her voice was kind of hard to hear through all the apparatus around her head.
“What year did you two go under?”