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Chapter #27

Declan 2.0 (The Dig)

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I must've laid there for hours. I was in hell. I was
devastated and shell-shocked from the events that
had just took place. The truck was full and headed to
the dump and, even though I was freaked out and
claustrophobic, the vibrations from the road and the
hum of the engine after several miles finally put me
to sleep.
I woke up to several squeaky stops and short
accelerations in the dark. Then I heard the whine of
the hydraulics and felt the bed of truck tilting
upwards. The back doors opened and the pebble like
garbstone, started pouring out onto a conveyor belt. I
held onto a crevice in the top door until everything
else dumped out and then let go just as the bed
began tilting down and closing the doors again.
The belt was swiftly moving me down towards a
processing plant, so I jumped off it and hit the dirt
rolling. Then I got up and began running towards a
fence in the distance on the other side of a high
mound of muck and crap. I heard a man yell out,
“Hey!” But I just kept right on running as fast as I
could until I got to the other side of that mound, then
down a hill along the fence line.
At the bottom of the hill, the rain had washed out a
few inches of earth from under the fence, so I
dropped and rolled towards it. I pushed up on the
fence and sneaked under it and rolled down a little
further. Then I got up and started running again. I
would've walked if I hadn't heard that guy yell, “Hey!”
back at the conveyor belt.
I looked back but didn't see anybody. I stopped and
panted a few moments. Then I stumbled back to the
fence. I stopped breathing a moment to listen. Still
nothing. Relieved, I eased back on the fence then

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eased myself down slowly. Still breathing deeply. I
was so thirsty.
Poor Teresa. I hope she's going to be okay.
I hope I don't die out here, all alone.
I got up and started walking down the fence line after
a short rest. One thing is for sure. These new shoes
are a lot comfier than my old ones, but my feet were
still killing me.
The sun was sinking down as I rounded the top of the
hill and right there, about a quarter mile down the
road, there were two or three dozen prisoners wearing
those familiar, bright orange pumpkin suits.
I was floored.
I mean, I couldn't believe it. It was a ways off in the
distance, but I'd recognize them pumpkin suits
There was a bus and some other vehicles scattered
around, along with a few tents and equipment that
the prisoners were setting up.
“State your business,” commanded a loud, stern
voice, startling me out of my state of awe.
I looked over and there was the husky guard from the
He recognized me and immediately shot me with a
shock net as I raised my arms and said, “Wait!”
The shock temporarily paralyzed me as the net
wrapped its sticky web around my head and torso. I
knew better than to try and escape the damn thing.
The more you move the more the ropes tend to stick
together, and I'm claustrophobic.
He rolled up to me in his desert seg and laughed.
“Where are you going, Mr. Fonzerelli?”
Then took his end of the rope off the web canon and
tied it on to his vehicle, looked at me and joked,
“Follow me,” as he slowly started rolling towards the

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“Come on, man!” I shouted as the rope pulled tight
and began dragging me along the desert ground. I put
my feet down, bent my knees, and skied across the
sand the best I could, but my butt kept bouncing up
and down, on and off the desert floor.
Exhausted and dehydrated I fell to the ground about
a hundred yards from where they were tying off a
large tent and unloading and inflating some
mattresses. As he dragged me by them, I saw the
familiar face of Karma Camillion. Standing beside
that cute little thing that was all beat up with black
eyes and bruises, the one that had been in the cell
across from mine back at the prison. One of Karma's
eyes followed me as I was dragged by. The cute girl
didn't even look up. She just kept on working with an
uneasy, sour face. Her eyes looked much better, not
as puffy, but she still had some black lines under
We made it to the interrogation tent, that I'm quite
sure doubled as a dining hall. One of the other
guards began spraying the ropes with a neutralizing
agent, then activated it by hosing me down with a
water hose connected underneath the nearby grub
hut. It stung my sunburned skin as I opened wide to
catch all I could on my mouth.
He said, “Did you really think you could escape?”
Another guard was walking up and replied, “I don't
recall seeing him on the bus, Gus.” The big husky
guard snarled at him then turned back to me and
growled, “Well, did you really think you could escape?
The other guard opened a VeeM and was checking
the roster. He mumbled under his breath, “Well, he is
on the roster, Oh, I see. He was assigned to the
refrigerated supply truck that broke down on the
Gus looked at him, rolled his eyes, then turned his
attention to me and demanded, “Why are you out of
uniform? Where'd you get those clothes?”

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I looked over, and much to my surprise, I saw the
whack-a-doo, the one that was in the holding cell
when I’d first been hauled in. Otis, I think his name
was. He was sitting at a table resting across the tent
from us and wearing a tinfoil hat, just like the one
the mind-melder had on back at the casino. His hair
was shorter, and his mustache was slightly thinner,
but it was him. Still looks kinda like a walrus.
The guard grabbed me by the throat turned my head
by digging his thumb and his finger deeply under my
jawbone, and insisted, “Answer the question, boy!”
I could feel my body going limp. I was so dehydrated
that it took everything I had to ask them for water. I
whispered in a dry voice, “I've been lost almost since
we got here. I sharted in the truck. I swear, I wasn't
trying to escape. I just sneaked over to the other side
of that hill to clean up, but there was shit
everywhere. So, I started looking all over the dump
for something to change into. It was nasty, and I was
lost and wandering around naked until I finally found
this old T-shirt and pants. They're a little loose, but
what was I supposed to do?”
“Give the poor soul some water,” Otis begged from the
other side of the tent.
Gus looked over at him and said, “Maybe I should tie
him up and feed his ugly ass to the coyotes for trying
to escape.”
Otis replied, “Don't worry. I'll put him busting rocks
in the morning. Somebody’s gotta do it.”
Then the other guard giggled, “Sharted. I haven't
heard that word in a long time.”
I knew I was in luck when one of the corners of Gus's
mouth turned ever so slightly up. Otis called out,
“Give the poor soul some water.” Then he looked at
me and smirked, “You're gonna need it.”
Gus punched me in the gut, bending my aching body
in half, and said, “I catch you trying to escape again,

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you'll be coyote meat, punk. Now get up, drink a little
water, and get your zoot suit on before I change my
mind and string you up right here in the mess tent
for the other prisoners to see what's going to happen
to them if they try and escape.”
I straightened up and took the water out of the other
guard’s hand. Drank it down and was thankful to get
a little more, then I got escorted to the sanitation
tent. The solvent stung like hell as it sprayed my
scrapes and cuts from being dragged behind Gus's
desert seg.
Then the familiar zoot suit spray, then poof, I am
pumpkin man again. Nobody would believe my life. I
mean if somebody took the time to write this shit
down, it'd be gold, I thought as I walked out.
One of Gus's henchmen escorted me to the bunk
tent. Then he put an explosive ankle bracelet on me
and tucked me into bed, singing run rabbit run.
Some of the other prisoners strolled in to the bunker
tent and were talking about how nice it was to be out
of the prison. A couple of them were discussing the
conspiracy theories surrounding Suzy’s Ruttenburges
death. Me? I went straight to sleep. I don't think I've
ever slept so well in my entire life.
The guards rounded us up the next morning, and it
was hot. The sun wasn't even up yet, and it was
already hot. I saw a snake slither off a stone in the
distance. The sight gave me an uneasy feeling as we
made our way to the mess tent.
Karma sat down next to me really close. Like, too
close, so I eased my seat over while spreading my
elbows out. I put my fork into an over-easy egg,
squashing its yoke into a piece of toast, and took a
bite. The food was slightly better than I remembered
the prison food being, but I guess it’s not easy to fuck
up an egg, right?

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The walrus stood up at a podium, pulled up a large
VeeM, and started showing artifacts that we were
digging to find.
Mainly stuff from the civil war of 2019. Apparently,
they buried a lot of the old computers and storage
devices around here. I don't know why anybody
would want to dig up a bunch of old war relics, but I
didn't really care, either. All I know is I'm going to be
busting rocks shortly, and I don't think they were
going to supply me an airconbrella. I'll be lucky to
even get any shade.
Karma looked at me with both eyes and whispered,
“What the fuck, Doobie? What are you doing here?
Weren’t you on the slave train?”
“Shhh.” I hushed him with a what-the-fuck look on
my face while kicking him under the table. Otis
pulled up a VeeM that showed a cross-section of what
to expect. There was a layer of garbstone. The stuff
left over after electrode arcing the refuse. Then he
went over the auger tool they were going to have to
use to remove it from the dig site. Then he continued
by showing everyone the sonic graphs of things of
interest down in the ground. Then we saw videos on
how to use all the sifting and sorting equipment that
we were going to be using.
Some of it was pretty cool, but all I could do was to
try to ignore Karma staring at me with one of his
googly, goofy eyeballs while the other one was focused
on the Videos. I kicked him again under the table
again, hard this time, and he yelped slightly under
his breath.
After everything was said and done Otis asked if
anybody had any questions, and black and blue
asked if she could operate the final sift and clean
section of the process in an overly polite manner. Otis
answered, “Sure, why not.” And then he began
delegating the chores to the other prisoners.

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All I saw was Gus's large frame blocking out the
rising sun as he walked up and handed me an
antique pickax with a smirk on his face.
He explained, “This one's for you, bonehead.” With a
concerned, sarcastic look on his face he continued,
“Do you need instructions on how to use it?”
Humbly, I snatched it from his hands and asked,
“Where would you like me to start?”
He looked over at Otis, then to the left of camp.
Looking around, he picked out a mound of rubble
with no chance of any shade or a breeze and said,
“Yup, that's the one. Go get 'em, tiger.”
I replied, “Oh, boy.”
Then he said, “You bust up and move that pile of
rocks by the end of today, and I might let you eat
Fuck me, it was a big pile, and I knew he was
serious, too. I started walking towards my
destination, turned, and asked, “Can I at least have a
shovel to move the sand and rocks that I bust up?”
“Sure” he replied, then turned and motioned one of
the other prisoners to pitch me one.
I caught it and walked out from underneath the
shaded tent into the blinding desert sun.
This is going to suck, I thought as I walked out into
the desert. The heat began roasting my tortured skin
as I made my way to the rock pile a couple of blocks
away from everybody else. I laid the pick down and
began scooping the sand off and around the pile of
rubble. I wiped some sweat off my forehead. The pile
looked to me like somebody stacked all the rocks up
here on purpose. There was garbstone and sand
scattered all around except for a ring of empty desert
sand around the pile of rocks and garbstone that I
was about to bust up and move over.
I thought it was kind of strange, but I didn't care. I
had big rocks to bust up, so I picked up the ax and
swung it around hard. The shock from the blow

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echoed throughout my arms and body. And again,
Bam, bam, bam, then shovel, shovel, for several
I hammered away almost nonstop. About the time the
sun reached high noon, I saw Otis walking towards
me with some canteens of water. His tinfoil hat
glistening in the sun. He handed me the water and I
began to guzzle it down. He put his hand on the
bottle and said, “Easy now, drink it slowly. It's not
good to drink it down to fast in this heat.”
I thanked him, then asked, “What the hell got you all
interested in digging up old war relics?” I shook my
arms to get some blood flow back into them.
He looked at me with a sarcastic grin and stated in
low voice, “I'm not, but no one would fund an alien
cat hunting expedition.”
He was serious. I should have known. Nothing is ever
what it seems. “I haven't seen any cats around.”
He said, “I saw an alien vessel land really close to this
proximity when we first started doing time travel
experiments at area 51. We'd only gone back a few
days, but there it was, nonetheless. It was nothing
more than a slight glitch on the radar, but that's
when I found the anomaly in the ionosphere. The
subliminal message that I told you about back in the
holding cell.”
I didn't believe a word of it. I rolled my eyes and
looked down at the rock pile. Man, I have a lot of
work to do if I'm going to eat dinner tonight. I've been
at it for hours and barely made a dent in this pile.
Procrastinating, I stretched my arms and worked
them back and forth and asked, “So, the cat people
are here? Invading us as we speak?”
I was so sore.
“I don't think so, at least, not yet,” he said.
My arms felt like rubber that was about to fall off the
rest of my body.

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I really don't know why he was telling me all of this. I
just smiled a halfhearted smile and nodded. I was in
no hurry to swing that pickax.

He explained, “The vessel was very, very tiny. I think
they sent a test creature down here to check things
out first. Perhaps lay some ground work in
preparation for their arrival.”
Pretending to hold some interest in the matter, I
added, “I saw in a documentary that we sent a
monkey into space before sending a human. As a test
subject, you know.”
He said, “Of course, we did,” with some measure of
excitement in his voice. I think he thought I actually
believed him. He continued, “I believe this creature
was a little more than a test subject though. I'm
pretty sure that it tapped into the mind-melding
network and began selling us on the next presidential
candidate. The one they found decapitated about a
month ago.”
I remembered Suzy’s head rolling back and the blood.
Then I remembered that stupid catdog. All of a
sudden, I realized that Otis was telling the truth. At
that very moment, I had the epiphany. That nasty
catdog was not of this earth. Holy crappers.
Why me? I must be some kind of weird freaky freak of
nature. I looked at Otis and pleaded, “Please, man,
just shut up. I don't think I want to know about this.
I believe you and everything, but why do you have to
tell me about all this crap? I really don't want to
He shrugged his shoulders and said, “I don't know. I
guess you just seem trustworthy, and you're easy to
talk to.” Then he looked at me square in the eyes and
demanded, “Don't tell a soul. If these creatures find
out I'm on to them, they'll have me killed for sure!”

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I just looked at him, then the pile of rocks, and then I
picked up the ax, wiped the sweat off my brow, and
started swinging.
He said, “I mean it, Duboc, don't tell a soul.” Then he
turned around and walked back to the camp.
I whacked away at the rocks for several more hours.
It was a slow and painful process, but I persevered. I
guess my body got used to the task and my mind
drifted away. Seems like years since I've been home. I
wonder if I'll ever see Mom, John, or Tawana ever
again. I wonder what that asshole-bot, QD is up to
these days. I wonder what happened to Rhonda,
she’d just disappeared off the face of the earth. Yeah,
I was feeling homesick.
Man, I've seen a lot of pain and death over these last
few months. Hope I never wind up lovesick like that
Joe dude.
It was nice having a girlfriend for a while, though.
Even if she didn't speak a word of English.
A breeze chilled my sweaty bones and brought me
back into my own. It was late in the day and the
noisy vibrations from the auger digger back at the dig
site went silent. I knew that they'd cleared the
surface garbstone and would soon be digging stuff up
from way back before electrode waste management.
I laid the ax down and shoveled the broken stones to
the side along with some of the desert sand. The
breeze felt really nice in the slow sinking afternoon
sun. I reached down and took a sip out of the
canteen that Otis the walrus left me and took a little
break. I could see it'd be days before I could actually
knock this pile down. Oh, well, I have nothing else to
do, and who knows what they are going to do to me
back at the prison. I wonder if Captain Kirk even
know that I've been found.
I started glancing over at the others as the setting
sun faded to orange in the deep blue sky. I was
waiting for a bell to ring or some kind of signal to let

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us know that the day was done. No bell rang. We all
just kept on working until the sun disappeared into
the desert sands and low-lying hills. At that point, I
noticed the guards and Otis telling the others to clean
up for the day. I laid my pickax down, leaned the
shovel against the rocks that I'd been busting up,
and dragged my weary feet and body back to the
As I approached the tent, Gus growled, “Did I tell you
stop digging?”
What a fucking prick. I stopped right there in my
tracks, looked up at him, and turned my palms up. I
was speechless and beat.
He commanded, “Get your ass back over there, pick
up your tools, and put them away before I kick your
ugly, stinking ass.
My demeanor dropped I as turned to do what I had to
do. Everybody else was going through the sanitizing
tent and lining up at the grub hut for dinner. The
walk seemed to take forever, and the walk back was
worse, but I finally made it. I just wanted to sleep,
just fall down and die. I made my way through the
sanitizer and walked up to the grub hut with my
stomach growling. Everybody else was finishing up or
done and talking. All that was left of the food was a
couple of scrapings of beanie weenies. Of course,
there were very few weenies in the beanies.
I grabbed my plate and looked around for a seat. I
noticed that cute little black and blue eyes was sitting
by herself, so I made my way over. About halfway
there, we made eye contact and she gave me a sour
face and turned her head away. I pulled out a chair
and she turned back around and shrieked, “Fuck
you!” and then snarled at me.
It was quite discomforting. “What?” I said, wondering
what the hell did I ever do to her? I pushed the chair
back, got up and sat down over beside Karma
instead. He was sitting with some tall, thin, black-

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haired dweeb that I'd never met before and a big
broad chested fella with a cowboy hat on. Karma was
in full camo-mode and if it wasn't for the pumpkin
suit and the wandering eyes, I probably wouldn't
have seen him at all. I looked over at the black-eyed
bitch and then back at Karma and asked, “What the
hell is her problem?”
Karma replied, “Don't pay any attention to her. She's
just a mean and nasty person. She hates everybody.”
The thin black-haired fella said, “Yeah, she snapped
at me, too, a couple of times today. Scary girl, that
one.” Then he stuck a straw between a slight gap in
his front teeth and took a sip.
Then the broad-chested fella joked in a deep voice, “I
hear she's doing time for excessive bitching in a
Then Karma asked, “So what's up, Doobie?” Then he
lowered his voice and whispered, “How was your sex
slave adventure? And how the hell did you wind up
“It's a long story,” I replied, kicking him under the
His skin tuned orange then greyish blue as he sat
there with a blank look on his face, just staring at
me. Waiting for the story. After a long pause, he
stated, “We have lots of time, Duboc.”
I told him, “I don't really wanna talk about that right
now, but never ever drink alcohol with spritz in your
He urged, “Come on, Doobie, give us some juice,
I didn't want to tell him the truth, so I told him,
“Well, there's not much to tell. I met a little senorita
that didn't even speak English, and we made love for
days. And she didn't want me to go, so she tried to
steal me.”

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“Sure,” he said. “I'd sooner believe that you sucked in
the sack and they kicked you off the train.” Then he
snidely remarked, “And you wound up here?”
I looked at him with my bloodshot, tired eyes and
replied, “I missed you.” with a polite smile.
Then I looked down at my food and asked, “How's
Fester doing?”
He told me Fester was fine, and we made some small
talk. I asked if they'd found anything interesting in
the dig and he replied, “Not really.”
The dweeb looked around sharply, left and right, then
said, “Well, I did. I found this!” He held up an old
timey iPhone with proud, smiley eyes and a slightly
bucked toothed grin. He waved it around in the air,
making it dance while going, “Toot toot doo, toot toot
doo, and I found this too,” and he held up a charger
with his other hand and again, “Toot toot doo, toot
toot doo.” Then he swiftly pulled them both back
close and hid them under the table. His face was
beaming with pride as he sat there squirming with
Karma was less than amused. He said, “You really
think that old thing is going to work?”
The dweeb's excitement faded slightly.
Gus announced, “Lights out in ten. Find your
The dweeb’s face turned slightly pale at the
announcement and he whimpered, “They're going to
turn the lights out?” He peered out into the dark,
moonless desert night.
Karma scoffed, “Maybe you could use your iPhone for
a night light,” and laughed at him. My ankle started
itching underneath the explosive ankle bracelet. I
tried scratching underneath it with a stick but
stopped when I realized that if I broke it, I'll get blown
to smithereens.

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I looked at dweeby and introduced myself, “Oh, by
the way, I'm,” and I almost said Declan, but I caught
myself, and said, “Duboc, aka, Doobie Fonzarelli.”
He put out his hand for a shake, and it was trembling
slightly. Reluctantly, I shook it and he said, “My
Name's Stephen, AKA Stephen Kingmare.”
I said, “Well, good night, fellas,” and got up, found my
bunk, and closed my eyes.
I could hear the others moseying into the tent and
scuffling around, pulling shoes off and what not. A
few moments after the lights went out, I heard a
coyote howling and my new dweeby friend say softly,
“Oh, my God.”
Grown man scared of the dark. I wonder what he's
doing in prison. These people in here are going to eat
him alive, I thought as I drifted off to sleep.
I woke up several hours later to some extreme
snoring going on across the tent. It was the cowboy
hat guy shaking the walls snoring and snorting like a
big ole bear. There was a dim light shining under the
covers in the bunk next to mine, and all else was
silent. I heard Stephen Dweebmare giggle slightly in
his lit, bedsheet tent. I thought about shaking the
bed or something to scare him just for fun but
decided to roll over and go back to sleep instead.
The next morning while making our way to breakfast,
I ask him what he was giggling about in the middle of
the night. He smiled a buck-toothed smile and
replied, “Nothing, really. Just a really stupid book I
found on that antique phone.”
“Yeah?” I replied with some interest. “Good book?”
“Nah, not really,” he replied. “Just stupid. I'm quite
sure whoever wrote it was a retard.”
“Oh,” I replied, looking out at my rock pile destiny.
He asked, “Ever heard of Low Earth Orbit by Clayton
“No,” I told him, shaking my head. “Least you got
something to help you pass the time.”

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I sat down with Karma, Stephen, and the guy with
cowboy hat again. Said his name was Hauss, but
everybody just calls him Tex. About halfway through
the breakfast small talk, I heard someone moaning in
pain behind me. I looked around and it was the black
and blue-eyed bitch.
Her hair was sticking straight out, her hands and
arms were tightened with curled, spread fingers, that
were purple at their fingertips as she screamed with
pain, “What are you fuckheads looking at?” She
Shattered to the bone, I turned back around. Her
distressed voice echoing in my brains. For some
reason she was in pain for no apparent reason.
We all just kind of looked at each other, then quietly
finished up.
I glanced over and saw walrus head looking at some
maps of sonar readings as Gus hollered out, “Get to
it, trench worms! Get to work!” and we all scuffled
over to our tasks.
I grabbed my shovel and my antique pickax and
walked out from underneath the tents. The heat hit
me in the face as I made my way to the pile of stones
again, just like yesterday. A grizzly reminder to me
and my aching bones that yes, we're still alive. The
first cut is the deepest, I thought as the dull point
found stone.
And again Pick, pick, pick.
Yeah, I picked, raked, and shoveled for hours, and it
was wearing and hard on me, but at the same time, I
felt alive. Feels good to be young and strong. Yeah, it
sucks like hell, who am I kidding.
I kept swinging away for hours and hours with few
breaks in between.
Picking, raking, shoveling, barreling, and dumping.
Yeah, it was loads of fun.
As I piddled away at the stones, I noticed, when I was
raking in this one particular spot, that it seemed to

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be shaded. At the time, the sun was straight up. I
looked over at the camp site and saw and the walrus
man’s shiny hat leaving the tent with my lunch and
headed my way. There was no reason for the shade,
not a cloud in the sky, and the deeper I raked the
darker the shadow became. It was weird, but maybe
the sun was getting to me. Who knows?
I turned and said hello to Otis as he was walking up.
He replied, “How's it going? Find anything interesting
over here?”
I just shook my head, “Nope, nothing but a bunch of
rocks. Y'all find anything over there?”
He said no, not really, one guy had found an old
army boot, but that's about all right now. Good news,
though. Gus had let Hauss talk him into making
dinner tonight. He went down the road to cut some
branches off an old, nearby mesquite tree. I hope it's
not a mistake.
I sat down on a stone soon to be busted by the
master, took a bite out of my bologna sandwich, and
asked, “So, you really think these cat people are
going to invade us, huh?
He told me, “To be honest, I think they already have.
Think about it. They left a subliminal message
resonating in the ionosphere for ten thousand years
or more. That's an invasion in its own right! No?”
I had to agree, “Yeah, I guess so.”
He continued, “This is no small thing. Suzy. the
woman would've been the next president.”
“Yeah,” I said, thinking about her facial expression
telling me, “I wouldn't sleep with me if I was the last
mammal in the galaxy.”
He stood up and started pacing as he continued, “She
had control of almost every mind that entered into
the mind-meld network,” while shaking his finger at
I looked up at him with great interest, then back at
my sandwich and thought, fucking bologna, I hate

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bologna. I took a bite anyway because it wasn't like I
wasn't hungry. I looked down and back up. He was
all excited.
He stopped pacing, looked up at the sky, and said,
“Imagine traveling in space for ten thousand years to
conquer a planet. Think they're one of the original
generations of beings?”
I said, “I don't think it's been ten thousand years for
After a moment or two, he replied, “Yeah, I guess
you're right. Imagine if we could discover their
“I wouldn't be surprised if we weren't working on
something similar already,” I told him.
“Yeah? Do you know something, Doobie?” he replied.
I just shook my head no.
After that, he got up off his stone and started back
towards camp, and I went back to my stone busting. I
concentrated my efforts on the weird shadow thingy. I
looked up and Otis had turned around and was
almost right in front of me, saying, “Oh, by the way, I
have some good news. Karma found a music video on
an old USB from before the war. We're going to watch
it after dinner tonight.”
“Sweet!” I replied, then I said, “Hey Otis, check this
out.” And I pointed to the unusual shadow.
He looked a bit perplexed at first, but then shocked
and surprised. He said, “This is it.” Then he looked
up at me and said, “That's it right there.”
“What?” I asked.
He looked around and excitedly explained, “I knew it
was over here Doobie. I didn't think we'd see evidence
of it so soon, but I knew it.”
“Great, can I go home now?” I sarcastically replied.
“You can't tell anybody.” He said with a serious face,
“Not a soul.”
“Who am I going to tell?” I asked. “We're in the middle
of freak'n nowhere.”

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“Not a soul Doobie, not ever!” he added, shaking his
finger at me. Then he waved his hand over the
shadow and it distorted as he passed it through.
“The field is still cooling down.” He took an
instrument out of his pocket and measured a very
slight drop over several minutes.
“Weird effect passing my hand through the time
distortion zone, huh?”
“Don't do it again,” I begged. “It might blow us all to
He gave me a don't be a tardo look and did it again.
It was pretty fucking weird, though.
The other trenchers got very excited and began
making happy noises. They must've discovered
something even better than a music video. I
wondered what it could be.
Otis said, “I have to get back. Listen, Duboc, I need
you to bust up the rocks but don't haul any of them
off. Just bust 'em up as deep as you can and leave
the rubble on top. And remember, don't tell a soul.”
He made his way back to the others and left me
wondering what the others were all so happy about. I
looked down at the stones and thought, Bust 'em up
as deep as you can, That's just great. I rounded the
pick and dug in. I hope the pick doesn't spark up
against the rocks and blow us all to smithereens.
Then I thought, I hope this thing doesn't cause
cancer or erectile dysfunction. That would suck.
I picked some more, and my pickax was jerking me to
the left every time I plunged it deeply into the time
distortion field. Wow, I'm probably the only person
ever to watch and experience this weirdness. I guess
that makes me the king of weirdos. King Weirdo,
that's me.
I raked some stones back, revealing the shell of a
small spacecraft that resembled a porcupine.
Otis came back a couple of hours later with some
water in hand. He looked very excited about our find.

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I took one of the bottles he offered me and sat down
for a little rest. It was getting late and it’d be
dinnertime soon.
Otis happily exclaimed, “They found some old war
relics. All kinds of things.” He marveled over the
outlying porcupine structure of the tiny spacecraft.
“Do any of the weapons work?” I asked.
“Huh?” Otis said, “Oh, no, they were all stripped and
decommissioned. Besides, Gus and the boys are all
right there as they are dug up. There's not that many
and we know where they all are from the sonograms
we took a while back.”
We made some small talk about the weird pulling to
the left and how the time shifting element on the
outer part of the spacecraft might work. I'd been
thinking about this since he first told me what it was.
I'm pretty sure I have it all figured out, but I didn't
say anything. I just listened to Otis yammer on
about quantum leaping by dividing then changing
the electro-magnetic dynamics of the inner field to
match those of the outer field of a destination. Then,
viola! The universe simply places you at a point of
least resistance. He sounded like a wackadoo without
a clue to me, and I didn't really care. All I know is
that I was sore and tired from whacking those stupid
stones all day.
I told him, “I'm pretty sure the needles are made from
some dense, alien-made material cooled by some
cryogenic liquid to near, absolute zero while vibrating
at velocities nearly twice the speed of light. The
shadow was surely just a field of dense quantum
particles still resonating in chaotic string patterns,
but what do I know? Wish I was still in college
learning physics. Who knows, maybe I'd have met a
nice girl there and settled down to an ordinary life by
Otis picked up the ax and whacked into the stones.

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I laughed and said, “I told you so, weird action,
“No left,” he chuckled as he took another swing.
“Weird action, for sure.”
I laid back on the sand, exposing my belly button to
the low-lying sun. as Wack-a-doo Walrus was talking
about the cat people coming down to take over
everything and enslave us.
My mind drifted far away as I sat there resting. I was
thinking about lots of things, but mostly how the
porcupine-shaped timeshifter worked. But also,
something that had been bothering me for a long
time. There was something Otis the Walrus said way
back when, back at the holding cell, that just didn't
make any sense to me.
So, I put my hands behind my head as I laid there
and asked, “So, it's my understanding that
President Suzy Ruttenburge was going to build a
sphinx opposite the Washington monument.”
“Yes, that's very true.” He added while waving the
pickax back and forth across the shadows just above
the porcupine quills.
I asked, “If the cat alien's subliminal messages in the
ionosphere are responsible for the sphinx in Egypt,
and Suzy wanting to build one across from the
Washington monument, why does it have a human's
head and cat's body, instead of the other way
around? Doesn't make sense.” I sat up shaking my
head and turning to look at him for an answer.
He had accidentally dropped the pick and was slowly
losing his tinfoil hat as he bent over to pick it up. I
watched it slowly slip off his head as he turned
around with the pick in his hand.
His face had changed from his warm, kind, familiar
face into a rancid, mean, and nasty one. He shook
the pick at me and hissed, “Because humans are
incompetent, bumbling idiots,” and his body bowed
up as he raved, “Ignorant, ignorant beings.”

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He started to come at me, so I rolled over, reached
around swiftly, and grabbed his hat off the ground,
jumped up from my spot, placing it back on his head,
and snugged it on tight again, then jumped back in
one smooth motion.
I was in defensive mode, to say the least.
He closed his eyes as if some bright light hit him in
the face and rubbed his thick eyebrows.
He didn't say anything for several moments. Then he
handed me the pickax and told me to grab the rest of
the tools and come back to the tents.
I could smell the mesquite wood burning and I knew
that I was in for some good, down home barbecue.
That Hauss was a big boy, and I know some of them
big ole country boys can cook up some serious
barbecue, and I was hungry.
I got back to the camp and headed for the sanitizing
tent. Everybody was talking about their big war finds
of the day. Karma rolled his eyes around in opposite
directions and laughed at me and said, “You missed
out on all the big finds, Doobie. It was unbelievable, I
pulled up an old EMP shot blaster. The clip fell out
when I picked it up, and the shells rolled across the
floor. I looked up at the two guards that were
watching me bring it up out of the dirt, and when I
looked back, the shells were gone.”
Melissa looked up at me and smiled. I never saw her
smile before.
“But, Doobie, I really don't know what happened to
them. They just up and disappeared. I was ready to
grab'em and blast my way out of here!”
“Did the guards see them?” I asked.
He said, “I don't think so. They would've said
something, but it was just strange them disappearing
like that. I scanned the floor pretty good, with both
eyes, you know.”
He went into the sanitizer, and I waited my turn and
went in. Then we made our way to the mess tent.

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Black and blue was making some French fries and
Southern style apple pie along with some coleslaw,
while Hauss was making the most delicious smelling
barbecue I'd ever smelled. There was still plenty of
daylight out. They let us quit early on account of
finding the layer with all the ole war relics. Stephen
made his way over to our table and sat down. He was
proudly excited about finding a whole bunch of war
So, I asked him, “What'd ya find?”
He said, “I found a boot, and a pair of broken long-
range lenses with laser auto shot hook ups, and some
twisted up alloy pipes attached a broken microwave
plate, and hat with a rebel flag on it that said, 'The
South will rise again’ underneath the flag.”
I myself was just happy to relax and kick back. After
all, I really didn't find anything worth bragging about,
right? We got up and loaded our tray with onion
rings, fries, and barbecue and sat down to a really
nice dinner. Hauss was right on with the meat. As I
sank my teeth into the tender beef, my mouth
instantly watered. It was nothing less than juicy,
smoky yumminess that filled my taste buds with joy.
I didn't say another word. In fact, we all sat around
smiling and chewing. In fact, the whole mess tent
was quietly eating hardily, and the only sound was
the guard dog. He'd walked up to Hauss, who was
cutting the meat, laid his head down at his feet, and
started whimpering like a puppy. Damn good
barbecue. Even Karma liked it. He commented on
how good it was, and usually he never says anything
about the food. Of course, he has been known to eat
bugs with that lizard tongue of his.
I took my thumbnail, picked a piece of beef from
between my bottom teeth, and asked, “So, who found
the movie and what's it about?”
“It's not a movie,” Steve replied. He wiped his glasses
and said, “They called it a music video back in the

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day. It's kind of like a concert.” Then he lowered his
voice and said softly, “Melissa found it, you know,
black and blue eyes over there.” as he nodded his
head toward her.
“Why'd you say it so softly?” I replied sarcastically.
“That bitch is nuts!” He said, backing up in his chair
with wide, staring eyes.
“Maybe she just needs a good doinking,” I joked.
He answered, “Like a praying mantis.”
Karma snatched a fly that was hovering above the
coleslaw. I wondered if he'd ever punched anybody in
the eye with that tongue of his, then shuddered at
the thought and wondered if he's ever been on the
sex slave train. I could just see some freaky-deak
hiring him to lick pussy.
Gross, I don't know what makes me think of these
Mr. Kingmare said, “I found a boot!”
I told him, “You already said that.”
“I know,” he exclaimed. “Gus said I could keep it until
we go back to the prison.” He seemed very excited
about it and moved it back and forth on the table
making rolloball noises, “Blirrrrr, blirrrrr.”
I looked over at Karma and ignored him.
“So, what kind of music are they going to be playing
in this antique video?”
“Nobody knows” Steve said, “Only Gus and Otis, but I
did hear somebody say that the name of it was Pulse,
and the band was Pink Floyd.”
I wondered what a Pink Floyd was and decided it was
probably just the names of the folks that started the
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Gus and Otis
talking together. Otis Veemed up a remote, and a few
moments later the supply truck opened up and
mobile holo-projectors crawled out. A couple of other
prisoners were setting up the tents for the show. I
said to the gang, “That's a lot of holo-projectors.”

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Karma glanced one of his eyes over as the devices
were lining themselves into position and said, “Yes, it
is. What are they going to do? Entertain half of New
Steve had the heart of child. He was listening to really
old songs like “Bass Head” that was recorded on the
antique iPhone that he'd found. His head bopping up
and down while dancing his upper body sitting in the
When Gus heard his music, he must've liked it
because he used it like a warm-up band and let the
speakers synchronize to it as they moved themselves
around into position for the big show.
We all got up and lined our chairs in viewing
positions. The sun was going down and a very slight
new moon was rising to the east. I stepped outside
the tents to gaze up at the stars. Their depth seemed
to suck me in with their vastness. Took my heart
away for a second. I loved looking up at the desert
stars. Sometimes it seemed as if they were calling me.
The music, the night sky, Hauss' barbeque, man, I
felt alive. I did a little bit of dance step, feeling good,
and made my way back over to my buds. I
complemented Hauss on the food and we all sat down
to enjoy the show.
The introduction was really good and we all enjoyed
the first couple of songs. They weren't bad for a
bunch of old cavemen, haha. Not bad at all. But then
the whole production crashed. Just like that, it was
gone, right in the middle of a totally relaxing melody
with smooth, calming lyrics. Something about being
comfortably numb.
The disruption caused a bit of a commotion and Otis,
Gus, and few others tried to get it up and running
again, but to no avail. Just flashes of coolness and
crashes. Hauss cried aloud, “What are we gonna do

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Steve held up his iPhone and said, “I just started a
really nice, antique movie we could watch.”
And the guards immediately confiscated his phone.
Dumbass, I thought to myself. What are ya gonna do
for a night light now?
Stephen told them, “It's about cute little doggy named
Cujo. He's a Saint Bernard.”
Otis said, “Give it here” to the guard that was holding
it, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Let's see if we
can't get this thing working.” A couple moments later,
we began watching the show.
I found it rather interesting. The copy was from 2042
when re-rendering old movies in 3-D surround mode
became tolerable and popular. Other than that, the
movie was scary as hell.
About halfway through, Stephen Kingmare was
hugging his boot and crying like a little baby. In his
defense, it was extremely violent and scary as hell,
but Karma had poked me in the side during one of
the slasher, attack scenes and rolled one of his eyes
to bring attention to several of the holo-projectors
moving out slowly, behind the scenes.
“Curious,” I said after a quick little glance. Towards
the end of the movie, Karma got up to go to the
bathroom, and when he came back and sat down, he
leaned over and whispered to me, “They're setting up
a screen. They are moving into position over by where
you were digging.” His eyes crossed and then went
wide and stopped here and there on this and that,
and then both of them zoomed in on me as he asked,
“What the hell did you dig up over there, Doobie?”
I looked over at the screen just in time to see the cute
little puppy dog maul a man to bloody pieces. Holy
Then I looked back at Karma. He was unchanged and
engaged. His eyes glaring me down.
“Gold,” I said, not knowing what else to say.

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He could tell I was lying. Eyes fixed, he tilted his head
slightly and asked sarcastically, “Gold?”
I looked at him, smiled a knowing smile, and told
him, “Oh, yeah, man, like there must be a ton of it!
There's an old gold mine under the rocks.” I laughed
and told him with a straight face, “Man, there ain't
nothing but a bunch of rocks and a lot of punishment
over there. I have no idea why they'd want to set up a
screen over there. Maybe they're going to use them to
punish me all day tomorrow. Who knows.”
“Yeah, sure,” his reply.
I turned my attention back to the show. I really was
starting to enjoy that music video. I wish it hadn't
crashed. I'll have to remember the name of that band,
so I can look them up later. I hope I don't have any
bad dreams tonight. This fucking Cujo show has to
After the show, we all went to bed and I kinda felt
sorry for Steve. That guy would never be the same
after watching all that violence. That's for sure.
I chuckled a little inside thinking that he'd probably
be hugging that boot all night. Especially with no
nightlight. We woke up the next morning and it was
business as usual. Everybody was talking about all
the cool artifacts they were going to find, and the
movie, and how nice it was to get away from the daily
grind of prison life.
I had blisters on my hands from swinging that ax and
handling that shovel, but yeah, it was better than
sitting around the prison.
I walked out to my rock pile like always, and Karma
was right. They’d fenced the front of my dig site with
the extra holo-projectors. I walked through the scene
to my stones of destiny. The tiny ship was narrowly
exposed from the front and only partly exposed on
the other side where I'd dug it out for a closer look.
Otis was just on the other side of the cloak and said,
“Good morning,” to me.

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I returned the phrase and added, “You're not going to
lose your hat today, are you?”
Embarrassed, he said, “Well, let’s hope not.”
Then he instructed me to dig out the rest of the ship.
“My team is coming to pick this thing up.”
Then he pointed at the rocks and said, “Hup-hup.
Hurry it up, now.”
“Alright,” I replied and went straight to work. It
didn't take long to uncover the thing. The vessel was
shaped like an egg that was maybe four feet across
and about three feet long, not including its needles.
They were all over the entire ship, slightly folded
back. The shadow was around the entire thing.
After I dug it out, I sat down on the rocks for a little
rest. Otis was on his comband. He was telling Gus, “I
think we should turn on some music for the
prisoners. There'll be less talking and more working.
We need to wrap this dig up.”
A moment later, some energetic music filled the air
back at the campsite. I wondered if the cloak showed
me slaving away. I saw some dust clouds in the
distance while chatting with Otis. He held his
comband up to his mouth and said, “Stealth mode
guys.” The dust dissipated, and moments later, I saw
a couple of swarm cams fly up over a low-lying hill
and scope the scene. Then a few more, and then a
whole swarm of them followed by a couple of small
drones, armed to the teeth. They flew up to the holo-
projected screen that was hiding us, while a handful
of the swarm cams flew unnoticed into the camp to
gather intel. I was glad I’d kept my big mouth shut
when Karma was interrogating me during the movie
last night. Those swarm cams see and hear
A few more drones flew over the hill and took up
positions surrounding the ship. A cargo vehicle
rounded the top of the hill on two pairs of tracks, a
pair to the left and a pair on the right. They separated

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and spread out into four tracked platforms on legs
lifting them up over the spacecraft. I watched as a
wench lowered some padded hooks down to grab the
tiny spacecraft, then lift it up level with the bottom of
its hollow frame. Some smaller clamps extruded out
to grab support beams, front and back, mounted on
top of the vehicle. It had four Exoion4 ion thrusters
stacked on top that raised off the deck to make room
for the cargo. They were attached to x-shaped beams
to roll out for flying.
While admiring the initial low profile, speed, and
efficiency at which this vehicle swooped in and
carefully scooped up its cargo, I noticed a vagina rise
up out of the corner of my eye. Yeah, I watched it rise
right up out of the sand, and then just like that, it
disappeared, and then the damn thing re-appeared.
Otis and I were both standing together, out of the
way, watching the drones and cargo vehicle do their
tasks with expert precision. When I turned to say
something to Otis there it was. A floating,
disappearing vagina. It was only about thirty feet
away at the most, and it came up out of the sand and
hovered there, just off the desert floor. I swear, it was
winking at me!
It kept appearing and disappearing as it seemed to be
waggling towards a small hill in the distance. I didn't
say anything to Otis, mostly because I wasn't sure if I
was hallucinating or not. And besides, I didn't want
that whackadoo thinking I was a whackadoo.
I shook my head and smiled, giving Otis my approval
for his slyness and details of the whole operation,
while nonchalantly observing the genitalia that was
slowly working its way up the side of the low-lying
hill. The swarm cams, armed droids, and cargo lift
were headed swiftly into the desert.
Otis said, “I can't wait to get a look at that thing.”
Personally, I was wanting a closer look at the
waggling, disappearing vagina that was moving over

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the small hill. I walked by him and then in between
him and the phenomenon. I held my hand up over
my eyes for a better look at this damn thing. Just
then, a gust of wind blew sand left to right on the hill,
and there in the distance, I saw the sandy, faint
outline of Karma Chameleon's head.
Huh, all this time. Who'd have guessed? I'd never had
guessed that Karma Chameleon was a woman. What
do ya know about that?
Deep inside, I wished her good luck with her escape.
Otis seemed pleased. Everything was going smoothly
for him. He got what he’d come for. He pointed at the
rock pile and told me, “Bust them rocks up, Doobie.
We're going to be packing up camp in the morning.”