I’m pretty sure we’re east of where the Rocky Mountains used to be. I say used to be because what we flew over didn’t look like the Rocky Mountains I knew. Or any other kind of mountain. What we flew over looked more like the Badlands in Montana or Wyoming or wherever the Badlands are. (Martialla’s note – they’re in South Dakota) [No they aren’t Martialla, that’s too far east and quit messing with my journal!] The once mighty Rockies look like they’ve taken quite a spanking over the last century.
What could cause such destruction to a mountain range? I know that mountains, like actresses, don’t stay firm and perky and pointy forever but I thought it took take millions of years to grind them down. Ten years is plenty for Hollywood to chew up a woman up and leave her a shattered wreck, but we’re just flesh and bone, a mountain range should be more resilient.
Maybe “they” dropped a bomb on it, whoever they are. Why anyone would want to kill a mountain is beyond me but a lot of things people do don’t make sense to me. When we left I was worried that Martialla’s little plane wouldn’t be able to go over the mountains, or we’d by flying through canyons or something crazy like that, but it turned out to be no big deal – smooth sailing, er flying, right over what was left of them. Until we got shot down I mean. Actually I guess technically we didn’t get shot down, Martialla wrecked our own machine.
Anyway, the mountain death isn’t the big deal here. The big deal is that on the other side of the Rocky Badlands the land below turned from the brown and grey and black dirty filth color shot through with purple-bruises to . . . well, not green exactly, but a yellowish-green that looked you know, normal. We landed the plane in an area that looked like a filming location for Dances with Wolves. There were plants is what I’m saying. Ugly and burr-y plants but they were recognizable as plants. It was like a biome or an ecosystem or something.
As we were standing around by the plane I was heard to remark “What the hell, why isn’t everyone living over here? Why are they scrabbling around in the muddy shithole we just came from?”
Lucien looked up from his precious map that he was trying to pin against Martialla’s wide manly shoulders and glanced around like he hadn’t even noticed the drastic change in scenery “Prairies don’t support much life unless you’re a chinch bug, until the introduction of the horse by Europeans indigenous people didn’t even live in the plains of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.”
“What about the sage and wise buffalo? What about these things!” I waved my arms at the wooly rhino-elk-hippo creatures in the distance slowly swaying their way across the land like covered wagons.
Martialla who was trying to hold the map across her flat and unwomanly chest opined “They kind of look like banthas.”
Lucien had a confused look on his face “What’s a bantha?”
Martialla responded as they both got the map under control “You never saw Star Wars?”
“The missile defense system?”
Martialla shook her head “No, the movie! That’s terrible, so they’re on this desert planet where for some reason there’s big grazing animals there that . . .”
“Shut up Martialla!”
Lucien gave me a stern teacher look “There’s no need to be rude. I don’t know the lifecycle of a buffalo or bantha but if people could live here they’d be here.”
I don’t think that’s how it works at all. Lucien is starting to annoy me almost as much as Martialla. If there’s one thing I can’t abide it’s a know-it-all. At least Paul is on my side, he was amazed by our surroundings like he had never seen anything like it before. Which he probably hasn’t.
I sat on the wheel of the plane’s landing gear and watched him looking around for a little while. When I spoke to him he flinched like a scared rabbit. This dude is weird, someone shoots at him and he doesn’t move a muscle – except to run at them and hack their lungs out with his machete – but when I talk to him he’s scared out of it wits.
“Quite the view isn’t it Paul?” He managed to meet by eyes for a moment and nod quickly before looking away “We spend all this time together and I feel like I don’t know you at all. What’s Paul all about? What’s your background? Where do you see yourself in five years?”
He looked at Martialla as she and Lucien were messing with their damn map “Wherever she is. Or dead.”
I nodded “Good answer. Do you love her?”
I expected him to give me some kind of Star Trek ‘what is this love you speak of’ answer but instead he just said “yes”. He doesn’t of course, he’s just a horny teenager in the body of an adult man that got laid for the first time. Although I suppose that is love in a certain kind of way. A gross immature way, but it’s not nothing. I wonder if Martialla is purely just taking advantage of him or if she’s getting anything out of this “relationship”. I should ask her one of these days.