Kevin d’ Superelastic Counterside Hitchhacker
When it was terribly hot walking the shoulder Kevin slowed stopping his turning to face oncoming trucking attempting to thumb a ride—what was coming? People of some kind dotting the fields spreading out from the highway on the northbound and southbound sides as well. Kevin slowed looking and, as he drew closer, yes; these were reapers swinging scythes back and forth arcing and clearing their ways cross the field each leaving a trail of dropped plantlife in the wake of a clearedtrack following behind each one.
Looks like terrible work, thought Kevin. Looks like it—but they’re luck ‘cause though it’s terribly hot it could be hotter. These must not feel the terrible heat—must be used to it. Up ten or twelve degrees it may have to kick for them to start here and there pausing to shield eyes or mop brows—
Having seen them and decided he knew what they were and a little but—but not too much—about them ‘cause—needing to know so much more about them as to bog him down into the same spot for too long would equal obsession—so he moved on wanting to clear them but. As he walked past one there was another—and they were closely spaced enough that this triphammering frustration knocking back in his forebrain unseen behind the bow of his face, so that once more the additional drag of the energy sapped back by his rising anger at them, combined with the usual energy sapped back by the need to put one leg in front of the other and the stressors involved with staying in balance while walking given—the top-heavy nature of most of his species caused the act of walking erect hard as hell, but most of his species, including him, do not think so because there—would be absolutely on point in thinking so because—if every time a human walked their mind was consumed with resentment at having to do it to survive and being enslaved by whatever unseen force or higher being who which what condemned them with the need to walk, they would soon drop wither weaken and die as, bitching and moaning and crying and weeping ‘bout something that can never change, which is bad for one but made worse by the natural bent of each individual when angered or frustrated to join with others then, forming a mob seeking something called justice which can only end badly for obvious reasons I mean look around you just look around you look!
What? Who? No one, turn, look, but; engine sound came up behind, sounded. Turning Kevin. A large-noised object composed of shiny squares came beside; remaindering Kevin of the great bunching wagons he had read of all boyish, some of which stood at ninety-six feet tall and weighed more than three hundred tons. Handlegripped. Step beside closer. A button in the handle to be pushed was. Kevin pushed and the nearest square’s side swung out showing a higher handle. Kevin reached gripping. Able to see both ways simultaneously. Heads turned in both directions also simultaneously. The opposite of what should be. Back behind him the reapers swung back and he turned to watch his step up. Kevin pulled himself higher. Cool blew out over bringing him. His legs were not enough he needed all fours then. Walking along the shoulder of the interstate and sitting in some kind of chair can’t happen together but—turning to see what is it this chair while walking watching the reapers can’t be either but. There had been a human sound from the opposite from where the reapers worked. From the shadow further in the box Kevin was climbing had come more than just a human sound. No, it was more it had been a voice. More than that too—a dashboard curved up way before him and a sudden all a sudden the reapers were pushed back. Gone. Gone. Gone no but. The side of the square when closing sucked them up. They’re in a glass panel beside his face. This cannot be a mirror. He is not a field of reapers but so—a wave up and around of some lightness came and calmed him. He turned scanning. From the reapers across leftwise. A vent hard blowing cold air. So that’s what he felt. Less light then when walking. More left a panel of lit letter and numbers and a latticed-tight square letting words flow which—the calm drained resistance to whatever had taken him down enough that he heard the words and what they described crackled the air before him—but out a similar reapersquare in what must have been the other side of the square he sat in he saw a blue Pontiac WagonBoat blow down the road under the field of reapers in the past distance that. A second man beside himself sat out that way gripping a tilted wheel before his breast and his face pointed directly at Kevin his face smiled quite graciously his face opened sending Kevin a sentence this sentence.
Eh, I did not get that. This rig is quite loud—please say that again?
—stand back and watch the ensuing struggle. See this is how worldwise we will defeat the Pullers from Space—
The—uck gagnoggy! Echoed from another face ‘cause. Nothing had mouthmoved—but.
At that Kevin’s first fractional thought meant to say thank-something but snapped down no—no that would not do no thank you that would not do he reached for the seat belt whose law says buckle me pretending to not have heard because—there was no friendly way to answer that question. For example, if he said, I’m sorry, but also confused. I said nothing as I recall—he would be saying simultaneously that in his view, the speaker is somewise deficient deluded or worse, which might provoke a disquieting response that would not have to stop as being verbal, but. If he decided to improvise some casual answer, he ran the risk of being exposed as a liar if the speaker had heard some syllabic snatch or six of somewhere between like five four or lower—in there someplace at any rate eh—and the additional snatch he would provide did not logically link up sensibly with the speaker’s small snatch, but—no. Kevin pressed his feet to a flat hard floor back in the dark under what seemed the control panel of the steel box, which would have to serve as a kick in the ass to himself at his stupidity in not seeing that there can not be a speaker’s snatch because, in fact he had said nothing. In which case, the speaker is a liar. And here he is sealed in an earsplittingly loud—which exaggeration may be excused when the mild even hum in the box was compared to the silence of the Interstate shoulder, where Kevin was far from the reapers who this gave no sound and that for a very long stretch of time there had been no traffic on the interstate but—he yanked his lids wide. He let up on the pressure into his feet, and he listened to a voice begun coming from the speaker which, one not in a heightened state of fearful awareness would simply believe the speaker was speaking, but, which Kevin heard seeing coming around both sides of the speaker from someplace out that far window way out past that side’s field of reapers and it speaker looked became yes a thick dark it looked pier post at like some shoreline he under the pier with one endless wordwave coming ‘round the speaker-post stood up tight et firmly withstanding the pressure by hold of that two-fisted gripwheel up-slant and aside out him furtherpast look look out see the reapers eh set ou all random effective quickly able to take down the field gets fed to the food generating machine but but; there what and why they go. All facing the same all red shirted they move sidewise still reaping sickles swinging sickles swinging coming closed sickles into no it’s not possible all melt flow suck together one reaper one sickle dancing the field as at Spottiswoode in Berwickshire the last corn at no harvest no was cut no reaping of the last corn at harvest at Spottiswoode in Berwickshire no got there cut was this no same way way but Kevin could have known this. No, many reapers swinging many sickles at Spottiswoode in Berwickshire became one reaper blinded dizzily swinging one sickle sickling down the air spinning feeding some loud backwise hilarity until tired out and pulled. Kevin’s eye batted forth forth back back back and forth and the cut corn a line was so as of reapers waiting nothing stepped forward and the next in line was not even worth gathering blindfolded spun about pushed into the field to spin and spin and sickle out the air here and there nicking down corn but again non no nothing worth gathering and it will take—Kevin was able to quickly calculate—uncountable reapers to finish one field out Spottiswoode in Berwickshire let one anywise else, this way. The next reaper’s the world hungry sickling nothing and the for the next after world corn desperate that’s sickling nothing will for become and the next the corn world after that after will starving that all sickling become the for nothing after world corn dying will for corn become will become dead will become rot will become nothing will become never was never was never was and I being Kevin the I will become never and never and—never ever was and eh whew wow wowee the last reaper was tossed up in the air to three cheers brother harvesters three cut until waypast cheers three cheers the race’s starvation but not cut in time but never, because the corn was not cut until waypast the race’s starvation. Not cut in time. Not cut in time. So and—all mesmerized as Kevin’d become at last the speaker—still stood beast-strong against the tide, said—Eh?
Eh? Kevin turned away—in this box no on the verge of learning he never ever was and this—this—this whoever only can think up to say this one, Eh?
No. The handle. The side went never there the thing—what a truck? My God just a truck probably also yes just a driver but what else something else go get out leave jump before she drives off off and we hit ground at sixty—whoop! Tip. O hippo over hippos up came the sweet ground and run. Run away where—God yes blessed be, there are the reapers. Sickling healthily horizon to horizon and. On top of it all. A small pale daymoon centering the bluesky.
Run for it!